Not All There Podcast

Not All There Podcast #4 - Crossing Lines with Tyler Vega

June 25, 2021 Aric Mackey, Jim Scarantino, Tyler Vega Season 1 Episode 4
Not All There Podcast
Not All There Podcast #4 - Crossing Lines with Tyler Vega
Show Notes Transcript

Tyler Vega, far left progressive Port Townsend City Council candidate (Position #5), joins us in the studio to discuss his campaign and a range of topics related to life in a left leaning town. This conversation includes the housing crisis, homelessness, addiction, water, taxes, and the divide that exists between conservatives and progressives. 

Jim Scarantino:

Welcome to another, not all their podcast. This is Jim's guarantee no with Aric Mackey We are so excited to have with us as a guest today, Tyler Vega, who is running for Port Townsend City Council. It's a beautiful evening. And we're here just to sit and kick back and talk about the issues about the race. Learn about Tyler why he's running his views on what the city needs. We're looking for a fun conversation. It's going to be relaxed because Aric's poured himself a scotch and he cracked open a bottle of really nice French wine for Tyler and I. So he's lubricating the conversation. Welcome, Tyler. How are you?

Unknown:

Thanks, man. I'm good. I'm glad to be here as well. I'm looking forward to the conversation.

Aric Mackey:

Yeah, we're really glad to have you here. Aric. Thanks for setting this up. Yeah. Well, Tyler, thanks for coming out. I know we had back and forth and there was you know drama as usual.

Tyler Vega:

It is politics. After all

Aric Mackey:

It's politics. I know. But still. So I'm on my second scotch at this point.

Jim Scarantino:

So does that mean I have to do all the talking or you just talk for the next hour and a half?

Aric Mackey:

I'll be fine.

Jim Scarantino:

Anyway. Well, Tyler, welcome. You're the first city council candidate we have we've lined up, one more we expect others to follow. And what we want to do here is this is your show. This is an opportunity for us to ask you mostly open ended questions and for you to explain yourself. There's no it's not like a radio show. You know, so there's no deadline. You know, it's, we can talk as long as we feel like talking, or until I guess, until it's wise to shut up and just stop talking.

Aric Mackey:

So I guess, I guess easy. The softball question is, why are you running for city council?

Tyler Vega:

Sure, um, that, I guess I'm going to, I'm going to try to illustrate that throughout this conversation. And I think it is well illustrated by me being here in this particular company. And I want to immediately highlight, what I'm really doing here is is is an invitation to, um to the whole spectrum, but kind of more specifically to the more conservative right leaning people in this area to come to an event on the 17th of July, at three o'clock in the cotton building. And it's a housing event. And it's something that we basically the whole spectrum agrees on housing, it's some common ground, and it's a place where we can start to solve some stuff. And I'm hoping that we can redirect some of this some some energy into into into hardcore solutions that might have been harder if we didn't have the whole spectrum at the table. And so I'm the candidate who, despite being you know, a self professed, far left progressive, you know, I'm at the table with the entire spectrum intentionally and, and with a fair amount of very bold about this, this is my normal, my normal tack, you know, I'm immediately going to reach out to all of my opponents and say, Hey, can we talk and that's where this conversation came from. And I wanted to immediately figure out who Sky was, and, you know, I already knew to some of these

Jim Scarantino:

Sky Hardesty. Okay, so set what time?

Tyler Vega:

Yeah, correct. And that's, you know, that this is an extension of that conversation, really. And so I'm about this continuum conversation, that includes all Three o'clock cotton building. the voices, and I'm going to stand strong in my corner and and with my beliefs, and I'm going to come from a agree to

Aric Mackey:

Cotton Building? disagree point of view, and find common ground and let's work

Tyler Vega:

Yeah.

Aric Mackey:

And it is what is it? from there. And, you know, housing is the tip of the

Tyler Vega:

It's a it's a housing continuum event, it's iceberg in my book, but it is a great starting place. And so, come please come please put 7/1 on your calendars the idea is to try and get all the people who care in the same room and start to figure out where we can match up ideas and skill sets and dollars to get to start making solutions. You know, for example, I'd love to see my basement, turn into a place where we could have another person live, but but I don't have the money for that. So there are there are people in this town whose whole thing is to just link up people who can help that happen. And then there's one more unit. And you know, so that's one of a million examples of how different people are approaching this this problem. You know, and I, obviously, I think, you know, things like Cherry Street are going to be out of out of the scope of this event. But you know, the idea is that we want to see the people come to the table and finding creative solutions to a very difficult problem, because it is a very ...

Aric Mackey:

Is the cape George proposal going to be part of this?

Tyler Vega:

Well, I mean, everything, nothing is not on the table.

Aric Mackey:

But it's unrelated?

Tyler Vega:

I mean, yeah, technically this is this, the idea behind the event is to is to highlight who's doing what and and figure out where people who care can plug into a proactive solution. And if there's something missing, we're going to invent it, I think is the kind of the general idea

Jim Scarantino:

Tyler who's sponsoring who's sponsoring this?

Tyler Vega:

Well, it's really it's really the candidates this came from. It came from a law we started meeting, a month and a half or two months before filing week, everybody who we knew was running for office. We started sitting down once a week. And as people popped up that we that we would discover they were running or when they filed, we would add them to this group. And so the group said, hey, let's, let's figure out how we can take some of this energy that goes into kind of butting heads during campaigns, which is pretty wasteful. You know, I like the great example is yard signs, I hate yard signs. And let's take some of that energy. And let's show up to the same event and try and make a difference on stuff we all agree on. Because literally every single candidate put housing is the top priority, me, Libby, Sky, and the others and including all the people who are seated, everybody cares about this single issue. So we decided to to say okay, let's just plan an event. And then we asked housing solutions network to moderate the event. And then we're going to ask the other folks to show up all basically all the orgs in town from Bayside, and, and Olycap to dove house and, you know, whoever's doing something on housing, and the idea is to illustrate this whole spectrum of people who are doing this or that the other thing and figure out where we can all plug in.

Aric Mackey:

And so using this, the City Council candidates?

Tyler Vega:

The six of us are all of this, all of the all of the people running for city council are the people who originated this idea, you know, in varying degrees, because we didn't, not everybody was on board, and we didn't have fluid contact with everybody when the idea was born. That was, well,

Jim Scarantino:

this this is this is novel, this is uniquely Port Townsend, that all the candidates that are running against each other are collaborating.

Tyler Vega:

This is the idea

Jim Scarantino:

on a forum, you know, people you listed, I did not hear builders. I did not hear people who own businesses, people who own supply art, people who do excavation and plumbing that people actually build the houses. Yeah, need to be there. Because,

Tyler Vega:

please, yeah. And so that's why I'm here is because, you know, that just popped out and obvious thing that needed to be said, and and it takes a full spectrum conversation to say, Oh, hey, you're missing this. Can we get this to the table? And that's exactly what I'm doing here.

Jim Scarantino:

Well, I hope you hold another one because I would love to be there. But I can't be there. And of course, you cannot reach a solution the first time people get,

Tyler Vega:

of course,

Jim Scarantino:

the other I hope I hope there's more of these show.

Aric Mackey:

So how. So then I guess this segues in what do you think of the cape george proposal?

Tyler Vega:

I'm not familiar. I'm

Aric Mackey:

basically Oh, you're talking to the county proposal to build a

Tyler Vega:

Yeah, I got it. I just didn't recognize it by that name.

Aric Mackey:

Well, I don't know what that what is that? What are they calling it? And I don't know.

Tyler Vega:

But it's all over facebook.

Aric Mackey:

I know that there's the cape. There's cape George location, there was location by the new DSH s building. Right? I think there was another one up. Oh, and keeping up at the fairgrounds.

Jim Scarantino:

fairness, you're mixing apples and oranges. So the D, the facility,

Aric Mackey:

homeless and housing, right, your right

Jim Scarantino:

by DSHS is being considered that's within Port Townsend city limits. That's a 14 acre property that cherish kronmiller of Olycap came up with the idea to have a and it's been called the housing hub. So it will serve the homeless as well as those transitional housing, workers housing, low income housing. The two proposals for the cape George

Aric Mackey:

County,

Jim Scarantino:

emergency shelter,

Aric Mackey:

right

Jim Scarantino:

is out in the county. And the other location they're looking at is by the airport and those are considered emergency temporary shelters.

Aric Mackey:

So you're talking about

Jim Scarantino:

there diffeent things.

Aric Mackey:

solving the housing shortage or supply the offsetting the long term. Okay, so dearth of housing options, it's versus homeless,

Tyler Vega:

it's not versus it's, it's we're trying to really show this as a housing continuum issue. And, and the perspective of most of the people who've been at the table so far is that there are a lot of people dealing with that particular piece. And so that's not where the hole is, the hole is really in. A lot of people are objecting to the term, but what has been called workforce housing, you know, people who don't, you know, this, this, this kind of median, there are all kinds of terms for it. But you know, basically, young people who are worried about

Aric Mackey:

affordable housing

Tyler Vega:

affordable house is a is an easy way to put it,

Aric Mackey:

right.

Tyler Vega:

And everybody feels like the real gap is there. And it's in this idea of adus, and, you know, you know, technically out of out of the scope of this really, too, but you know, what, the golf course that that question, in my mind is something that should be discussed amongst the same kind of groups of people. But the idea is to show that we here's the continuum from, you know, from extreme transients, to, to just gentrification and actual, you know, real estate and the cost of cost of buying houses, or in the cost to move here and buy a house, to the kind of middle ground, which is where everybody is identified this void, where, which is really rentals. It's really, it's being able to afford your rent on your job, and the gap is really wide right there. So it's not okay, yeah, you got,

Aric Mackey:

I get what you're saying. Okay. Okay. So the 17th is really, you're really going to kind of focus on the middle of that bell curve, which is the quote unquote, affordable housing end of that spectrum,

Tyler Vega:

I think, yeah. Within the context of a continuum. You're accurate. That's correct.

Aric Mackey:

Okay. Okay. I'm just, you know,

Jim Scarantino:

got it. So what does Tyler Vega propose?

Tyler Vega:

I mean, I, I propose that we do We come together as a community on that day, and we look at who is doing what, and figure out how to plug in people and money into those systems. And if there's an if there a system is missing, then we build them that day. And we literally just, you know, the idea is that you get a bunch of people in the same room, and then you and you have a certain amount of presentation and, and a program. And then after that you have time to actually talk about stuff. And, you know, imagine. I mean,

Jim Scarantino:

what would be your analysis of why we have such a problem with affordable or workforce housing?

Tyler Vega:

Well, it's endemic, it's our system. I mean, we're basically gentrification is an is a, I mean, if you want to put it bluntly, it's a normal symptom of capitalism. It's like, it's what happens when there's a desirable place to live is and there's wealth disparity is, you know, the real problem is just wealth disparity. And the fact that people who have more money can afford to move here and people who can't can't is just that's just the way it is. That's

Aric Mackey:

the way the world doesn't that go down to supply and demand, because we've been crippled, we've been choking off the supply of housing and construction and encouraging only upper end construction, and not investing in infrastructure for well, high density.

Tyler Vega:

Yeah, and I agree with that being part of the problem. And definitely, and most of the solution, that's what we can do is correct that is, and that's where I think a lot of this push, I think you've just touched on what we will be working towards, you know, if you, I don't have a way of kind of downloading the conversations we've had, but

Aric Mackey:

the term gentrification I always interpreted watching it happen in the Bay Area was these were areas that were predominantly industrial, lower income, lower end of the, the cheaper end of the city. And because of the nature of the growth of the city, and the growth of jobs, and the growth of income, those houses, were pushing out everybody who traditionally lived there, and that was gentrification, not the, they wanted to live there. I mean, there is that aspect, but it was more of those were houses that were available. They bought them, they fix them up, gentrification, which is okay, fine, because you get Whole Foods, and you get the rest of this crap. But is it? It sounds a little like, you're blaming capitalism.

Tyler Vega:

I mean, you'll, you'll find me It goes deeper than that. And you'll? I am. Okay, first of all, let's get a couple things out of the record. On the record, though, you know, this idea of what is socialism and capitalism, we're going to get really into that. It's not about socialism, or capitalism, or any of these systems, because those aren't even those are mutually inclusive terms. You know, it's not one or the other, it's necessarily both all the time period. And so the, it's not that I'm blaming capitalism, it's that it's, it's the, the nature of greed itself. And people's, the natural, the natural tendency of those who have more to be able to make more with what they have just naturally creates a gap between the wealthy and the poor. That's it's just the way the world works period. And so it's not, it's not even necessarily good or evil, it's just the way it is. And we have to figure out how to operate intelligently within that system. And so things like building higher density housing is basically a no brainer, you have to do that in order to in order to hang with the system that we exist in. And I also, you know, I would go go way off on what the real context of socialism is, it just means that the workers are in control of their, of their, you know, of the means of production in the Union. It's just the Union and the worker own Co Op in in within the context of this.

Aric Mackey:

So how does socialism solve the affordable housing?

Tyler Vega:

Well, for example,

Aric Mackey:

or what part does it play? Let's try it that way. So for example, imagine if Imagine if the, okay, let's, I'm going to try and take this to up to a logical extreme here, let's, let's say, the golf course, you know, we a lot 20 acres of that to a urban housing cooperative, where the people on the ground, make call the shots and control everything about it, the rent is never going to go up. And those people are always gonna have a place to live because those are the people making the decisions. That's who it's affects. With the, again, socialism does not it's not it's it's not either or, it's already here and the idea of a socialist constructs the difference between within this context here, okay, here's an example the shipwrights Co Op is, is a perfect example of a natural, naturally born, socialist construct existing in a capitalist structure. It's just a bunch of people who pooled their money together in the races to grow. They're working their tails off and they're doing really well. So they're nobody's pricing that that team out of town. Because it's just not going to happen. They're too strong. They're too strong as a unit. And so you could do that at every level. If you really, if you really applied the basic principles of the people who are affected by the decision, are the people who are calling the shots on any cooperative is socialism?

Tyler Vega:

effectively. Yeah, I mean, any cooperative, that's all it means is that the worker is in control of the means of production. That's what socialism means.

Aric Mackey:

Okay,

Jim Scarantino:

so if you get so, again, what

Aric Mackey:

so a banking cartel would be socialism?

Tyler Vega:

If it was run democratically, and those people had called the shots I mean, I

Aric Mackey:

my issue where I'm going, because the problem is I have a, I guess, a philosophical bone to say that socialism gets the claim, gets to claim that anytime anyone cooperates, that socialism,

Tyler Vega:

it's really it's it's a very specific definition. And it's that the workers control the means of production, they control whatever it is there producing.

Aric Mackey:

I don't, see.

Jim Scarantino:

So coming back to port let's,

Aric Mackey:

ok ok

Jim Scarantino:

let's back to housing and porch sounds. So again, what you're on, you're on City Council. Okay. You know, you win the election. So you win the election, you're on city council? What legislation would you introduce, to spur an increase the supply of affordable workforce housing in Port townsend?

Tyler Vega:

such as huge question, and and I'll preface this by saying that I'm in sponge mode learning, you know, paying a lot of attention to what you can't even can and can't do. You know, what, how am I? How would we be limited by the state constitution? You know, and a lot of it comes down to this whole idea of what would we do with the golf course? And the answer is, we have to deal with 1000 hoops to jump over for everything you want to do in the city. So I can't, I don't have the XP to really say with confidence what I would do going in, but I can tell you who I am and what I would be trying to do,

Jim Scarantino:

Okay,

Tyler Vega:

with that disclaimer in place, you would start with things like that. And there are a lot of cities around around the country that are doing things like subsidizing worker owned co ops right now, as of 2019, you can incorporate as a what's called a limited cooperative Association. It's like a, it's like an S corp or or a sole proprietorship, but it's an actual cooperative, and it's an entity, it's a natural way to put people in a position where they can, by their own means just hang in society takes, you know, most of the this high, high level ulterior profit motive that goes back into the pockets of the people. And those people are generally speaking, substantially more able to deal with housing problems. So that's what this is from the other side from the how are you going to support the people who want to stay here as opposed to create the houses. So these are two different different approaches. On the other side of the of the spectrum, where we're actually talking about creating these units, I would be basically say, okay, we need to look ahead to this, you know, this conversation about the golf courses, you know, this is almost a no brainer that there's a certain amount of high density housing that goes there. Let's talk about the zoning, let's talk about the, you know, all the hoops we have to get through. And I would be holding the position that within the context of his system sustainable, and I use that word intentionally sustainable as possible. We we go high density on what we've got. And I think that's okay, we get pretty far in the weeds, if I say much more than that.

Jim Scarantino:

But here, okay, so say, say 20 acres, on the golf course, is now available for housing instead of recreation,

Aric Mackey:

golf,

Jim Scarantino:

golfing. How do you get the houses built? And where's the income going to come from? Where's the I guess it for the people to move in there? I mean, so But first of all, how you going to get your high density housing built? Yeah, it cost a lot of money.

Tyler Vega:

Agreed? Yeah. So I think, you know, these are all things where there are a lot of people with some great ideas. You know, I met a gentleman, I won't use any names who, who thought the idea was, you know, you sell off a couple acres here. And then you develop a couple of acres here, and then you keep the rest of it a park. I think you, I think you put a tee at every green and a green at every tee and then you have you know, and so every hole is two holes. And now you've got now you've got 18 holes on nine and you and you and then you take the rest of it, and you do other cool stuff with it. And you keep as many trees around and then you add in the middle of all that. To answer your question. You just look at the options, you know, there was that everybody saw that post, the one where it's the modular, you know, they're big, they're, you know, they're units that are they're pre produced and you buy as many as you can and you just start stacking them and you basically create you know, you they built 100 units in a day, right put together

Jim Scarantino:

but how is the city going? Is it the city that's going to be buying these units and building this is it

Tyler Vega:

so that's it mean, that's an that's

Jim Scarantino:

a developer? And

Aric Mackey:

it's not like, Oh, this is what we'll do. But I mean, what's your concept? I mean, you mentioned the state constitution. And I read your website. So I'm wondering, is this income tax? Is this what's generating the revenue? Because I assume this is this is the county or the city, paying for

Tyler Vega:

sure, let's let's get some money in just a second. Let me finish where I was going real quick. Because

Jim Scarantino:

take it, it's your show.

Tyler Vega:

That was the right question. And I just wanted to cinch that up so that we can then move to that, because the this idea of of, of how we're going to kind of handle that, I think is really, really brilliant. And so a couple of people brought up particularly interesting ideas, one was to sell a little bit and then develop a little bit that would effectively one pays for the other. Another was you. You allow, you know, you kind of allow the nonprofit sector to jump in and take it, I want to draw people's attention to what I call or what not, I call what what people call the Vienna model of Vienna, Austria has the the most kind of robust housing system in in the world really it from you know, and, of course, I'm coming from this kind of leftist consciousness on this, but this is a this is a system that that all the people swear by. And all the politicians are obliged to swear by or you don't get elected. So and it's it, the breakdown is pretty simple. It's 30%, public housing, full on public housing, and I'm talking about the city runs it, and 30% nonprofit housing. And that's all run by the nonprofit sector and then 40%, private sector, and they're able to make this work. And I know, we're not vienna, we're nothing like vienna. But the idea that those three things can coexist and the system is working really well is is well worth pursuing. And so I actually love the idea of taking any space in that space is arguably a bad, a bad choice, because it's so convoluted and complex, but any space and dividing it up and actually having all three things do that and you say, Hey, you know, whoever's building, you know, the Olycap right now is putting in a bunch of units, because ideally, it's the same people, the same builders the same money in the same grants that just slide in and do the same thing, again, at whatever scale is possible. And then I think you probably have to start super small public public sector housing, should I and I believe will be a thing of the third millennium. And then private sector, housing also should be a thing. And there may need to be some limits on that. And all that stuff, you have to take it to the table with a bunch of people and you got to hash it out. And it's going to get nasty and and eventually, if everybody's at the table, in theory, you come up with some good solutions. So you asked about how you're going to pay for it all.

Aric Mackey:

I mean, it comes down to math. It's like everything's great pie in the sky. But then we get down to math.

Tyler Vega:

So let's let's go over the math, the math. Right now in in California, the infamous Gavin Newsom is is working with a huge amount of money because he employed what's called a capital gains tax. And this is the kind of standard stopgap because we have a broken system, Washington. I don't know how this looks from you guys's perspective, Washington is considered to have the most regressive tax structure in the entire lower in the entire country, actually. And the reason is, because of this 1930 nothing. Supreme Court ruling you guys familiar with the story of I'm sure

Jim Scarantino:

you're talking about the the Supreme Court ruling saying that the income taxes is the Supreme Court ruling that the state income taxes violation the state constitution

Tyler Vega:

correct. Yeah. So this is this is a this is a what is considered And I don't I don't know, I haven't heard that much of the of the conservative perspective on this. I can kind of imagine I know what it is. But from a from a leftist perspective, this is the problem is that we the municipalities have always been hamstrung by money we don't have enough money to do you know, you can't even these guys are city councilors are working for less than minimum wage, it's crazy. And when and when we want to fix the streets, we got to go out and convince the people to vote on a levee or, you know, all kinds of stuff have to happen to make that happen. And the income tax, you know, is considered to be broken because it you know,

Aric Mackey:

Okay, so now i have to fireback, because basically, it's just the poor people. And so the numbers break down to something like the the poorest people are carrying, you know, a huge portion of the of the burden in the state. And that's the way it's been for a long time. So the capital gains tax has been extremely successful in the infamous California and is being pushed by Inslee and probably will be a thing and and from my perspective, it is coming and there's nothing literally anybody can do about it. You know, and especially in a progressive town with a progressive Council, no matter what, you know, winner take all system. That is what's going to happen. And that's and within a very short amount of time, you're going to see large, large changes in us being hamstrung as a municipality on issues of money. So that's the short term step two, stopgap is this concept of the capital gains tax and then the long term fix is really just to challenge that Supreme Court ruling because it's, it's bullshit. I mean, It was the whole story is hilarious, and it's not, it's not going to stand. So right now, Seattle is running a test case to challenge that ruling. And as far as I know, port Port Townsend has already signed on. And that's the long term. So once you move down that path, you start to see a city that is not hamstrung by this conversation. And you can start paying for stuff like, I mean, you can put you can go where you want to go with it. And in my perspective, a couple of places that you would start looking at allocating funds would be public sector housing. And another place would be incentivizing worker and co ops. California is at what 14% income tax, state income tax, they have property taxes, they have sales tax, they have every other tax, so a shortage of money. I don't know if it's an income problem or a spending problem. So there's that. Next cut, Washington State has ridiculous real estate taxes.

Tyler Vega:

I agree.

Aric Mackey:

It also has ridiculous business taxes, like licensing for everything.

Tyler Vega:

Why though,

Aric Mackey:

in fact, I went through more questions on getting a fishing license for my son than buying an AR. Not that I'm advocating for more AR questions. But it's ridiculous for a fishing license for 10 year old.

Tyler Vega:

But why is that the case?

Aric Mackey:

Why is what the case?

Tyler Vega:

Why are all those things the case? Why did you Why are all those taxes there? Because we don't have a way to pay for stuff. The income tax is the is the only logical way to do it, the only fair way to do it. Now, the real question here is, are you going to get rid of those if you add the income tax, and that is probably what should happen. And it probably is not what will happen.

Jim Scarantino:

And I and that's, I think, the big objection and the big fear, because I've asked, you know, Republicans who just owe income tax income tax, and we can't have an income tax, and I'm going, wait a minute, we're killing people with the real estate taxes on their homes, right, people are losing their homes,

Aric Mackey:

this county has taxed multiple people out of living

Jim Scarantino:

they have and I've seen people lose their homes here sells a property. And it's really bad. And we use the real estate tax here. I mean, to create, you know, money for affordable housing programs, which is an makes no sense protecting poor people. More to her anyway. But the fear that I you know, that I see is that nobody trusts Olympia, to impose an income tax, and not

Tyler Vega:

and not scaling back

Jim Scarantino:

the other taxes. And we've seen the problems. We've seen this everywhere else. And if you could ever get past that hurdle, I think I've expressed, you know, I think there's a real argument to be made for an income tax replacing these property taxes that are crushing people. I you know, it's just Yeah, and that's ideally, and part of the cost of housing, when we when we start off on housing is, and politicians, somehow they don't realize that paying that 5000 $6,000 bill every year on property taxes is a cost of housing, they are making housing more unaffordable every time they increase real estate taxes.

Tyler Vega:

Yeah, and I would just argue that, and we're going to get back to the same way. So I don't want to spin around in circles too much. But that that is a stopgap is it is a forest, you know, an unfortunate symptom of a bad problem. And, and we are now going after the actual problem. And once you put it at, you know, income taxes is a logical way to do that. It's a logical way to pay for the roads, it's a logical way to do the things you need to do. And I, you know, I can't sit in front of you and promise you that, that that any body is any body and I mean body of people, anybody, any legislative body is going to figure out a way to also eliminate the sales tax and the property tax.

Jim Scarantino:

Well, they could if they did it all on one bill, but that's I'm just telling you, that's where I think

Tyler Vega:

No, and I get it no

Jim Scarantino:

the problem that nobody believes the politicians are going to let go of any tax. Why? Because when was the last time anybody saw it, anybody lowering taxes, and from long term from the democrat side? And you know, let's be frank. I don't know the last time democrats lower taxes was john F. Kennedy the law.

Aric Mackey:

I did I hesitate to that.

Jim Scarantino:

But anyway, so coming back to

Aric Mackey:

left and right

Jim Scarantino:

coming in to Port Townsend to Port Townsend. The other part of the equation with affordability is the ability to pay and

Aric Mackey:

income

Jim Scarantino:

income

Aric Mackey:

jobs

Jim Scarantino:

for people, the people, the homeowners, the renters. Lots of people in this town don't have an affordability problem. Why? Because they have money.

Aric Mackey:

They're, well, they're retirees

Jim Scarantino:

retirees or they're making money. There. There's quite a few people in this town who do very well.

Aric Mackey:

Or they're getting the senior discount. They're not paying the property.

Jim Scarantino:

That's a whole nother issue. So here's so what we what we have is we've got

Aric Mackey:

Its the scotch talking

Jim Scarantino:

when this was a mill town this was a mill town. And my grandfather was was a coal miner, okay. didn't make any money. He can secure the music. You know, my father literally had to walk two miles to take a hot shower. But the miners when they came out, he showered with his father when he came out of the mill, and they walked back to a house that they own. They could afford it. They were making income plus the house didn't cost as much. But when this town was a Milltown one, well, before the tourist town, we didn't quite have not a Milton. But this affordability issue was hasn't always been the case in this town. Sure. We don't have the kind of maybe we've got an economic problem, too. We have an economic

Aric Mackey:

that is specifically inflation.

Jim Scarantino:

Right. And, and we've got workers, you know, so much on a tourist industry is I don't know, what would you do? Here's my question to you to attract to port towns in higher paying jobs provided by sound businesses.

Tyler Vega:

Yeah. So I, this for me, really comes back to this idea of the worker owned cooperatives because it's resilient, and it survives things like pandemics, and you can't price it out of town. And there and there are a bunch. So I look at it from the opposite perspective, you know, I, I'm watching my Facebook feed, and I'm seeing it people get priced out of these out of town. And it's always these people who are a little bit out on a limb, who are entrepreneurs who are super bright and super hardworking, but they just got their asses kicked by a pandemic coming down. And so this idea that you can convert a small business into a worker owned cooperative allows a certain amount of flexibility, and it allows a certain amount of resilience that it's really hard to, to relate. But the the, the idea that you that you keep the businesses you've got using some tool, and that that in my tool belt is is the strongest tool because you suddenly you incentivize the workers and and you and you get a level of buy in that is completely impossible in a top down system, you just never see it, you never you don't see people really, really, really go for it unless they are unless they are fully invested in what they're doing. And so that solves a bunch of those problems in my mind. And it also it gives room for that to come in to this town. So it's one of many tools. But as far as looking at what kinds of tools I would want to go in automatically putting on the table, that's where I would be starting,

Jim Scarantino:

would you I mean, you're not talking about forcing people to be

Tyler Vega:

I'm talking about incentivizing it.

Jim Scarantino:

Okay. And you would incentivize it how, by throwing money at it.

Tyler Vega:

I mean, that's the easiest way you can you can do other things like you can create. Yeah, I mean, that's Yeah, are you, you know, you there, we should get way out of the weeds on some of the very creative ways to do that. But those are the simplest ways. And you can also create organizations that can make it easier. You can, you can have a single person in the town whose job it is to just really, really make it happen. And you know, and hold people's hands through the whole process. So

Jim Scarantino:

whoever's building the houses, whether it's a nonprofit, like Oly cap, or whether it's a builder, is facing pretty much the same problems, the city may waive some permit fees, but they're facing problems of complying with very, very expensive building codes. Really strong views. Yep. stormwater permits, building codes that make things more expensive, what would you do? And I go back to my grandfather's house that's still standing. That certainly wasn't built under the codes now that make things so expensive. What would you do to make it possible to build at a lower cost?

Tyler Vega:

So okay, so that there are a bunch of different things that come to mind to speak to on this, you know, the, especially, you know, one of them is the rising cost of building materials. So you get you there's a whole different vein that

Jim Scarantino:

let me let me cut you off right there because I one criticism that's not really fair, because we had the problem of rising building costs before the current spike in lumber, it's been going up and up and up in this town oly cap before the pandemic was talking about how incredibly expensive it was for them to build their project because they have to comply with codes that weren't there before. We went to but we were gonna look at building a metal building. And I talked to this guy who this manufacturer who apologized that said 25 years ago, I could have given you that metal building for a quarter of what I'd have to charge you now and inflation adjusted dollars. Why? Because they've dumped all these other codes into this building. That's what I'm talking about.

Tyler Vega:

Yeah. So okay, well, I'm going to go down that channel. For me this the answer to this question is in the same dialogue about about continuum approach to things. And I'm going to, I'm going to digress a little bit into the nuts and bolts of politics for a second and get back to your to your to your question in, in what we call a nonpartisan race. The I believe that this whole idea of non partisan is actually an illusion, because it's winner take all and the same body votes, and you get kind of a fairly narrow spectrum of people doing all this stuff. And I'm trying to get away from that. And so what I want to see is when we're making decisions about things, like building codes, that you have those builders at the table, and and that voice is suddenly activated, because I believe that, you know, I'm not a builder, I can, you know,

Aric Mackey:

the state sets the building and the state building the councils that did that set up the building codes, this is not the city of Port Townsend developing.

Tyler Vega:

So to some degree, means what degree we are in control of that.

Aric Mackey:

Okay,

Tyler Vega:

I mean, I can't we are not going to have any sway over the state legislature, you know, we I mean, I might be able to make one or two more phone calls and and get five minutes. But the The reality is that we got to work within our scope and what, what we can do within our scope is we can get the right people to the table, and talk about what makes sense. And I think I think it's more fair to talk about zoning then about building codes. And well, and I mean, you could talk if you really wanted to get serious about this conversation, you could go back to this whole state charter idea where we could start writing the rules. Sorry, a county chartered

Aric Mackey:

Home Rule charter.

Tyler Vega:

What?

Aric Mackey:

Home Rule charter?

Tyler Vega:

Yeah, yeah, something like that, if you really want to challenge it at that level. And I think that, again, if if, once you get what I consider that the main problem in our world is this heavy division across different spectrums. And the result is you get, you're lacking the necessary full continuum, approach a holistic approach to a given problem, because you don't have the right human in the room, to pipe up and say this, we need to do this, or we need to not do this, because they're not at the table. And so if you can get to the point where you're actually making decisions, what I you know, the word is holistically, and there's probably a better political word, but that's the word that I've been using, then these things are going to be approached in a in a more and more intelligent, a more intelligent is the wrong word, a more comprehensive way. And so my answer to the question, in short, is that we need these the full spectrum of able and experienced humans at the table when we make decisions like that, and I'm coming from a place where I'm trying to make that happen.

Aric Mackey:

So let's go ahead and shift this. For instance, who would you bring to the table as city council city council appoints the I'm just gonna pivot for wordens board is appointed by the Port Townsend City Council, who would you bring into the room? And what do you think should happen to Fort Warden?

Tyler Vega:

I mean, I'm not going to I'm not

Aric Mackey:

you would be City Council. Yeah. And city council appoints the fort worden board. Yeah. And has oversight over their operations.

Tyler Vega:

Yes, sir. Is is a is a process. And the answer is you, you you cast as wide a net as possible. And, and you make sure that the net is, is comprehensive in its in its outreach, and then you figure out a way, and then my job is not to name names, or pick my friends or pick people that I even know but my my job is to is to is to make sure that whatever decision making body is a balanced a balanced body with with the you know, with the right experience in the right, you know, you also you also need experiences just one side of the spectrum. You also need this kind of visionary impulsiveness is another part of the spectrum. And so you need to tie all these things together, and in order to create bodies that can actually do effective work.

Aric Mackey:

Okay,

Jim Scarantino:

so, so if you want that diversity on boards and commissions and panels, if you are elected, city councilor, would you argue that Republicans should be appointed to say the Planning Commission?

Tyler Vega:

I would, yes. And this

Aric Mackey:

isn't a planning commission, nonpartisan?

Tyler Vega:

All of this is tech well and partisan, but it doesn't work out that way.

Jim Scarantino:

Somebody somebody who's known as a conservative,

Tyler Vega:

right, appointed to the answer is absolutely yes. And I would strongly advocate for and this is, I believe, this is on my website, I believe nonpartisan is actually an illusion. I really believe that and it's because it's a winner take all system and in a progressive town, it's basically going to be all progressive to get elected and that is not the ideal situation and I'm not going to go up here and you know, agree if I was okay, so let me tell you how I believe it should be and it has been is what's called proportional representation is the best A system that I know of and that's that you and a council of seven in a town like this, you would wind up with probably one far left progressive, three or four, kind of more democrat ish, probably three Democrats, two republicans and kind of more of a libertarian Far, far, far right type person. And that would be basically that the the majority of decisions would still be made by the left because it's a left leaning town. But you would still have the voice of the conservative right and the far left at the table and every single decision. And that would not be a situation where you get a lot of obstructionism because you can't know the majority of this word exists.

Aric Mackey:

What about rank choice voting?

Tyler Vega:

Um, okay, well, that's a big ball of wax. I'm, I'm a big proponent of rank choice voting. And I also And ideally, within the context of proportional representation, though it rank choice voting has its own caveat. And I'm actually more of a pro, I'm totally on board with with RCV, you know, in the fair vote Washington, and that whole movement, I'm actually I prefer a star voting, which is score the car score, then automatic runoff is a similar variant that is growing in popularity and is said to have less, less flaws. Rc V is way, way better known is doing great, it's about to be on the ballot everywhere. And I'm totally on board for it. But I think there is a

Aric Mackey:

New York Mayor, New York Mayor will be ranked choice.

Tyler Vega:

Yeah, so so it's happening everywhere. And, and I my own, I only I always have to mention star because rank choice voting actually does have a spoiler effect. And we've seen it in Washington State before. And so it's imperfect, it's a step in the right direction, but it's an imperfect step. So I would like to see it pass everywhere. And I'd like to see us then move beyond it to something like Star property

Aric Mackey:

for all voting, or just local and county.

Tyler Vega:

I mean, in a perfect world, I think it's the best system that we've got, if within the context of proportional representation, and within an n star CP, that would be my druthers, in a multi partisan system, this hashtag of post partisan is coming along, and I love that too, but non partisan and post partisan, my worry is that they are illusions for winner take all in which which has really led us to where we're at first past the post, they call it, you know, and that leads to this kind of whole lesser of two evils two party system with corporate dominance, and that's statistically proven that that's the case. So I believe we need to fix all that stuff, and ideally would fix it. I don't know. I I might sound crazy, but I think, you know, fixing that from the ground up is not unreasonable.

Jim Scarantino:

Well, your your your statement that you would want to see a wide spectrum of voices on sit, you know, city council or local boards and commissions is I've never heard that. I must tell you tell you tyler. I've never heard that.

Tyler Vega:

Well, I'll take some flack for that. But

Jim Scarantino:

why No, I don't think you should,

Tyler Vega:

because I believe that that's what it is.

Jim Scarantino:

I think they're a little my little get on my podium. I think one of the reasons why Port Townsend has the problems it has, is because it's been the same little culture of the monoculture. And and well, My hat off my hat's off to you on that. Because I think that might have prevented disasters like the Cherry Street project, which we don't have to go into. I want to ask you a question. So let me ask you about some specific port towns anything's you know, our largest private employer is the mill the mill frequently comes under a lot of fire there's actually people who don't like the mill in town. Yeah, I mean, there's a lot what are what are your views on? Whether the city should be a supporter of the mill and should do you know, do it best to see actually see it expand perhaps, or grow or whether you see the mill as a problem?

Tyler Vega:

Well, okay, so the the problem with the mills is the smell and I but I think that kind of comes with the territory and I'm sensitive to that that being an issue for many people but at the the greater weught for me actually goes to the water you know, we get our water from the mill that's what makes that happen. And it would be a very, very, very difficult situation to solve without that relationship and you know, the jobs a

Jim Scarantino:

lot of people may not understand that who are just heard you say that sure what and so, you know, more than a lot of people actually on that, why don't you go ahead and explain that okay.

Tyler Vega:

So, I mean, this is such a and also let me disclaim this, the mill is outside of the city limits, so, but the water is piped in from elsewhere, the mill maintains all of it, and we basically get our water all of it for free, at the city, because of the mill and that's I mean, the one cannot one cannot overstate the, the importance of this reality of you know, fresh water is what it all comes down to, you know, I mean, this whole Water is life movement is real. And so the. So, all those things just don't add up to, to, to we need that that is a relationship that we have built and and and we need to figure out How to preserve that. And I want to also Okay, go ahead Yeah,

Aric Mackey:

so wait, backup. So I didn't know this. So did the mill install the pipe to like Leland?

Tyler Vega:

my understanding is that's where it came from it was built in has always been maintained, maintain it to be maintained.

Aric Mackey:

So capitalism installed worker run

Tyler Vega:

now again keep in mind though that I'm not anti capitalist in the slightest I am anti greed and I'm about checking greed because

Aric Mackey:

Greed is good.

Tyler Vega:

listen is the greed is good to a point and it's very valuable to point it's really destructive if it's out of control so the this idea that that yes that that is a good thing that created something that we absolutely need and cannot live without. And like if that if that relationship were to fail right now we would be in real trouble. And we needed that to not be the case. And we also need to support those workers and unionize them. And I don't even know if there's a job now that

Jim Scarantino:

their union theyre theyre teamsters.

Tyler Vega:

So thank you for telling me that because I wanted to know that and I hadn't had the time to check. And that that really matters to me because that to me is and I say this with a with a straight face. And very seriously that is this idea that those two things are separate socialism, capitalism is ridiculous. They actually exist simultaneously because the mill because they're unionized, are in control of the means of production. So they are applying socialism within capitalism and it is mutually inclusive, they're both existence is gonna kick in.

Jim Scarantino:

Can you see anything that the city of Port Townsend can do to promote the mill and encourage its growth, and we could build houses to make sure that those people have a place to live? You know, a lot of the a lot of those men and women do not live in Jefferson County. I know they commute from Kitsap. County, to mill

Aric Mackey:

or mason.

Jim Scarantino:

Yep. Or Mason.

Tyler Vega:

So I mean, that could that all comes back to housing, and we have to solve that problem.

Aric Mackey:

Well, but you know, I don't think it's not a lack of housing. It's the cost of ownership of housing. I mean, the property taxes I mean, I you know, going through we built this house, we built our other house, we went through wetland delineation a lot of stuff in it, I'm again, I'm not blaming some Jefferson County. Exactly. You know, a lot of this was Gregoires's implementation, watershed act, a lot of other stuff that comes down from state or fed, which, okay, fine, we have to kind of wrangle with. But I don't think that they're commuting from Mason. Im surprised theyre commuting from Kitsap. Because Kitsap not a cheap county to live in either. There are more houses to live in. But Jefferson County is an expensive County, particularly on this end to live. And I've talked to people over the last 20 years, I talked about how not only difficult it is to deal with the zoning and the bureaucracy, in Port Townsend in particular, but also just the cost of living the cost of the property taxes and what they're getting for it. So are the millworkers living not living here, because there aren't any houses or the living because it's mathematically makes more sense? Or benefits them because they're closer to I don't know, services or whatever they want to call it.

Tyler Vega:

I mean, I think it's probably both ended up in that scenario. And I would, and I should actually just get down there and talk to a bunch of people about these, you know, people who are actually on the ground living that life that I have had one, one good conversation of late that was directly in that vein, and, you know, that gentleman did live in town and was doing was kind of where you would hope that would be you know, you know, modest living but making it and happy with where they were at. I would like to see, I would like to see those people not have to commute a long ways, the less we commute, the better. And I would like to see it reach a place where, hey, you know, this is what I'm going to be doing with my you know, for my career, let's make it work, where I'm at and make it happy. And I don't I don't have good answers for how to make it more cost effective. Right off the bat.

Aric Mackey:

You know, I know some of these these questions. So these questions can't be answered. they're not they're not. So do you

Jim Scarantino:

have any thoughts on what could be done to reduce the cost of living and doing business in Port Townsend?

Tyler Vega:

Well, the cost of living is going to keep on going up. We have to, we just have to adapt with the tools we've got, you know, we've got to put more units in where people can live, we have to we have to create opportunities for people to find the kind of employment that they that is resilient. And that's why I keep on coming back to this whole worker owned cooperative idea is because it is a well tested method that that that achieves that goal and so it

Aric Mackey:

so wait wait how does that achieve that goal?

Tyler Vega:

You get people in positions where they're making enough to get by and they're really invested in they're gonna stick around and they're not, you know, this

Aric Mackey:

okay, but let's so let's say we apply a worker collective or cooperative to the millworkers. Giving it because I'm not understanding the concept

Tyler Vega:

they've already really got it wouldn't doesn't apply there because the union already that gap they have good wages and and and they're able to make it and if that were ever challenged, they would rally together and fix it.

Jim Scarantino:

Except it was a couple investors from I forget where who sank the $45 million into the mill to modernize it so I can compete on an international scale.

Tyler Vega:

Yeah, it's a Canadian company. I think it's um, I have their name just on the tip of my tongue. Anyway, so I

Aric Mackey:

Was it crown?

Tyler Vega:

Yes, that's it. No, yeah. Um, so, for example, let's take such a small town. I got to be really careful here. Let's take

Aric Mackey:

Don't worry, no one's listening.

Tyler Vega:

Yeah. No. People are listening to this. This is uh, you know, you don't have to let

Jim Scarantino:

him show by the way, by the way, we just have Jim's guarantee No, and Aric Mackey, we are talking with Tyler Vega here on not all there podcast.

Tyler Vega:

Yeah. And it's good. This, you know, this is a wide spectrum. We're so that when you have a worker, uncooperative? Okay, let me start with on the other side of this, in, in small business, you know, I come from a family of high powered entrepreneurs, the thing you run into with this, with this, with the small business, which is kind of the icon of America, you know, this, this, this, this, this little, little enterprise that, you know, who knows, one, two to 10 employees, and you're making it work, but you're, you're fairly vulnerable, and the big guys can knock you out pretty easily. And your biggest problems, there are a couple of really, really, really big problems. One of them is this 80 hour work week that the principal has to work for their entire lives, that burns you out, destroys you, I don't care who you are, you can't keep it up forever. Well,

Aric Mackey:

so let's wait, let's have context. What did your parents do? I got I, they were entrepreneurs. So they started businesses. Yeah,

Tyler Vega:

so you got you've got a paralegal

Aric Mackey:

a paralegal, okay,

Tyler Vega:

a lawyer, a doctor and a doctor, including who they married.

Aric Mackey:

So professional,

Tyler Vega:

all professional or educated. First generation on one side, you know, Filipino. I don't go all the way into it. But so the family, you know, we grow up, barely making it, you know, in a lot of ways. And then as, as the kids kind of grow up, and a lot of stuff happens, including, you know, the whole race thing comes up. They basically, through the course of me growing up all of all of my, all of my parents, all of my my world starts to really get to do well, because they work so hard in as being entrepreneurs. I'm kind of a black sheep in this way. But the the problems with this are that you don't get to have a life and you do burn out if you if you work 60 70 80 hours, you know, there's a little bit of an exaggeration, but okay, way more than you should period, you have to be a workaholic to make it that's one of the problems. The other problem is that the people who you who you bring on, are likely to turn over quickly and not be super, super invested in what you're doing. So, for example, in my business, my business, my business I work at currently, you know, it's very, very common to hire a new tech happening right now. And then, and you teach them everything you got to teach them, they get really good at the job. And then one year later, they're gone. They've been snapped up.

Aric Mackey:

What do you do?

Tyler Vega:

I'm a computer technician, I work with daily computer daily, okay, right. And we're, you know, we're about to open and go nonprofit with with a whole wing, but right now, I'm literally training my replacement. And if history would repeat itself, we're going to lose that guy in one year or less than two years. And we've got to retrain a new a new person and and it's going to just take more and more and more more and more energy. And meanwhile, the principal has to continue working crazy hours

Aric Mackey:

shows that entrepreneur and capitalism fault? pr that workforce training and,

Jim Scarantino:

frankly, a salary, pay more, offer more money to stay No, what No,

Aric Mackey:

I don't disagree. It's like you can if you pay someone 20% more than you're not going to get 20% more work. And I say this from having hundreds of employees and supervising departments and running my own businesses. It's not like you can say, Oh, I'm going to get 10% more if I give them 10%. Either they have the work ethic, or they don't and the work ethic, frankly, does not come from the job. So why bring it in or they don't.

Tyler Vega:

So why wouldn't this this young guy that I'm training to do my job right now, right? one year from now, he's got a great resume. He knows everything he needs to know, to get paid six figures or six figures is an exaggeration, but he knows he knows enough in money to make twice as much as he makes. And guess what? We've seen it happen. time and time and time again. They just come of course they're going to go and take a job that pays twice as much why would they that makes perfect sense is

Aric Mackey:

greed is good.

Tyler Vega:

And so I mean for I don't want to say that. Guess what, I don't want to get too distracted by that comment. But the solution to this to find a way to create a robust atmosphere for that same person, if you convert that to a worker and Co Op, what you see is that person a, there's, there's, you know, this, the the, the pay is suddenly evenly distributed between all the workers and so they have more to work with period, the worker has more more to work with. And the principal, if the principal still, you know, sometimes the principal gets bought out. And that's one of the reasons why you do this is because these businesses die with no one to sell them to, because there's nobody who can be that principal period, you know, like,

Aric Mackey:

okay, but wait, you're talking about equal pay for all the workers regardless of skill set?

Tyler Vega:

No, I said that round,

Aric Mackey:

were you're saying everyone has equal pay?

Tyler Vega:

No, I, if I what those words may have come out with so let me let me clarify that what I what I meant was that you're, you're distributing the the the, the profits amongst the people in a way that is that is agreed upon by the people and there isn't a person or, or a set of shareholders at the top who are taking a large chunk. Okay, off the top. So that gets redistributed. So, boy, Okay, wait.

Aric Mackey:

So and this is this is coming from years of being a greedy capitalist, okay. So I'm the principal, I'm working 80 hours a week, I've invested the cash, I've invested in taking all of the risk. But now any of the profits, or the return on investment that I would have, has to then go to these workers, so they potentially stay regardless of, you see, I'm saying, like I do, they're, they're not putting anything in. Other than showing up on time, the contract is, I'm paying you for your time, I'm paying you 20 bucks an hour to do this job, you have this skill set, you're more valuable because of your skills to me, because you can do X, Y, and Z. So I'm gonna pay you $3 more an hour than I'm not going to pay this other kid. Because he's not as skilled or experienced,

Tyler Vega:

you still keep all that stuff you don't you don't, you're not going to pay your tier three tech, the same as your tier one tech in this situation. I'm not that's an article saying, alright, profit sharing is. In most systems, you still have an experience based qualifications based pay scale, people who come in with just ridiculous amounts of knowledge and ability to get paid more than people who are coming in learning the job from scratch, okay. But there is an element of profit sharing when when there's an excess of profits that is shared amongst the people

Aric Mackey:

who decides if it is excess?

Tyler Vega:

worker owned cooperative is by definition is democratically run to some degree. And in some models, you have the exact same model where the same human is calling all the shots with with no questions asked. And there are some models that are entirely democratic, where the entire group is making every single decision. And there are other models where there's everything in between, you can

Jim Scarantino:

Tyler have you done this? I have you, why not just start your own and show how it's done and how it can be a success.

Tyler Vega:

So we got a well into the, into the conversation about doing this daily computer. And I you know, I got super involved with this movement as a result of the interest in doing that in, in doing what's called a, you know, what do you call it an ethical business, you know, this idea that you can do it in a way that is healthier and more ideal for the for the greatest number? And I have several points that I want to get back to you on but the answer to your question is that I haven't actually done this myself but I've been studying these models pretty intensively I'm, I sit on the intellect the name of the steering committee for the Olympic cooperative network right now. And you know, the studying the models as they exist in the world. And they're they're quite numerous, you can find entire entire cultures, entire bio regions that are running entirely on this model, if you look hard enough, and if you're interested in doing so. But what I want to really highlight here is that for, you know, for, for you, and I don't want it

Aric Mackey:

as the greedy capitalists in the room,

Tyler Vega:

as the greedy capitalists in the room that just self identify as is that. I don't have a problem with that, you know, and I had this conversation with my own parents who are the who are the principals of organizations like this, and they're, they're the best bosses you can imagine. They're people that I respect, and I compare all of my bosses to these people, so much respect, and they bring things to the world that would not otherwise be there. If I had an hour to tell you the story

Aric Mackey:

they took the risk and took the gamble all of and invested their time.

Tyler Vega:

100% of it, no question. So let's fast forward.

Aric Mackey:

Okay.

Tyler Vega:

From from where you're at, to when you're at the level where you're ready to get out. You've poured your life and soul into this thing for God knows how long many decades 4 decades, five decades for some of these people, and it gets to the point where you actually can't let go of the thing because it's going to die. If because there's nobody to replace you

Aric Mackey:

employee owned. Okay,

Tyler Vega:

so you're you're in this position where you're ready to retire, you're done. I'm so done and I can retire you know, I don't need the income then you But But my business and what I brought to the world, My vision is literally going to fall and turn into dust because I am what's keeping it alive. So the natural thing to do in my book is then to convert it let the employees take on the on the ball and take on the mantle of that you incentivize with the obvious, you know, there's there's a bunch of profits that gets shared that point there, their wages go up, they they're able to make enough to, to go for it. And they're invested in this thing, because they own it. And when they do better, they really feel that and really see that so you so the turnover, okay.

Aric Mackey:

But that's okay.

Jim Scarantino:

But how will this get port towns in the streets fixed? So coming back to being a port towns in the city councilor, you? How will you get port townsend in city streets are just terrible? Yeah, I've never seen a town this size that has streets is bad. And you look in social, everybody agrees? So as port townsend and city councilor, how would you fix the streets?

Tyler Vega:

Right now, I mean, you know, it's the levee right now, and in the future

Aric Mackey:

is it money or is it management?

Tyler Vega:

I mean, I don't have any complaints with the management other than they're spread too thin. I think that the the staff has spread too thin, there needs to be more money. They're hamstrung and everything can be better. And I and I actually believe that we that this whole continuum based approach to problem solving is a part of that solution. We, you know, we, at all levels of government on both sides of the spectrum. to it, it's the norm to have a small sector, a small slice of the of the spectrum, running the show, and basically walking over all of the other other places, you know, we could get into national politics and talking about how extreme that is.

Aric Mackey:

We don't have to see that's just it. I mean, we have the we don't have to go international to talk about the current situation. I

Tyler Vega:

just want to say that it's endemic to our system, that that's not the case. But the answer to the to the question of how are we going to pay for it? How are we going to get those streets fixed right now in the short term is about to be a capital gains tax. And in the long term, it's fixed income tax.

Jim Scarantino:

Okay, that's just Port Townsend. People don't like to talk about it. Port Townsend has a serious substance abuse problem with it, particularly among its youth. Port Townsend has a far higher suicide rate than the national average. It's got some terrible social ills that just gets swept under the rug. So turning first, to the meth problem in Port Townsend, and the drug problem that is killing people. What will you do as city councilor to improve conditions particularly for young people?

Aric Mackey:

Well, I mean, come on. That's, that's

Jim Scarantino:

why not?

Aric Mackey:

its city council.

Jim Scarantino:

But But you but you, you're responsible for overseeing the police department, you're responsible for various committees. So let's reframe it. You're on. You're on the health board. There's pork, as

Aric Mackey:

well as Port Townsend City Council, how would you solve the issue in the Middle East? How would you know of homelessness in the world and stop wars? it come on? That's, like ridiculously tough question. But

Jim Scarantino:

I think let's try the other. Now. It's not

Aric Mackey:

a policy to potentially address these issues. How could what could change with the police? What could change with the city? easier? I'm saying what,

Jim Scarantino:

what would you do to improve

Aric Mackey:

based on your powers as a city councilman,

Jim Scarantino:

but you can laugh, but the city council people sit on the health board, and the health board is the agency in this community that is charged to drug education for youth?

Aric Mackey:

Okay,

Jim Scarantino:

city councilors oversee the police department. city councilors oversee. So take a look at all. There's a lot. So what would you do as city councilor on on the drug problem in this town?

Tyler Vega:

Yeah. So there, there are a lot of answers to this question. And none of them are perfect.

Aric Mackey:

There all Perfect.

Tyler Vega:

I will. I'll start by saying the you know, from a policing standpoint, you know, you got this navigator riding along with the with the police right now. That is definitely a step in the right direction you've got with

Aric Mackey:

I don't know what that is

Jim Scarantino:

that's the social worker. So you got it. You got a social worker? Yes. Yeah, that's the that's a nice term because they steer people to services. But yeah, so

Tyler Vega:

so you, you know that one of the big complaints about policing is that it's used for damn everything and it's crazy. You don't you don't want it's not fair to them. And it's not fair to the person you're calling. It's not fair to anybody to send them to certain scenarios. And so you find the right person to send in a lot of cases a social worker, it's a person whose job is to talk the situation down person who does not have a gun to present on and maybe it goes in with, you know, with with some backing, but this person responds to a lot of calls and de escalate situations,

Jim Scarantino:

they don't deal with the drug dealer.

Tyler Vega:

Well, I don't know but necessarily true. Keep in mind here that we're talking about complex stuff, hardest job, anywhere, and the results have been good. And we've been seeing this across the country, there's, you know, the the terminology is bad. But there's there's a lot of motion to reallocate funds towards less guns and less tanks and more of people who can address a broad spectrum of problems. And I want to give a shout out to the fact that we're doing that in this town, and it's actually working, that particular program is, is moving in the correct direction. So that's one, you know, one place that that happens. Now, when we talk about drug addiction, the where I come from on this, on this, and you know, I have a long history with this subject and I, I can tell you some crazy stories. But where that comes from, so many angles I got to write, I got to take a couple of notes that I get to several different things. But drug abuse comes from despair, it comes from not having, whatever, whatever it is, that makes you tick, if you're doing it, you're going to do it and you're not going to have enough time to go overboard, it doesn't mean you won't ever play or enjoy or indulge. But when you're on your track, looking at your what I would call your your life quest, or your purpose, or the thing that makes you the thing that you want to do, then the natural tendency is to put more and more energy into that and and then and drug addiction isn't so much a problem. And so when you talk about this whole endemic problem of opioid abuse or meth abuse, it's not a that's just the symptom, you know,

Aric Mackey:

is it a disease or a choice?

Tyler Vega:

It's irrelevant, it's the you can call it, you can call it either, and, and one and either can be damaging and either can be empowering. And the point is that if you get in front of that, and find a way to, to create enough of a I mean, it comes back from a housing project, this comes back to the housing first movement. And I want to I want to highlight that in just a second. But I myself have struggled with addiction my entire life. And what has the only thing that ever truly cured it was to have something better to do with my time, that was me saying, This is what I'm going to do with my time. And I am. And it's more important than everything else in the universe,

Aric Mackey:

a new addiction,

Tyler Vega:

a new addiction that is productive and

Aric Mackey:

a constructive addiction,

Tyler Vega:

yes, and those exists in every world. And every kid I've ever talked to every adult I've ever talked to has that it's there, it is definitely there. For every human I've ever met, I've never, I've never met an exception. And so finding that thing, and our job is not to try and put a bunch of possible professions in front of the kids, our job is to keep them safe, keep them healthy, give them a place and make sure that when that expresses itself, that they have the support to do it. Now, in the case of this town, you can tie a lot of this stuff back down to housing, because people are not stable enough to do whatever that is, you know, people you know, let's say you've got you know, maybe it's it's it's Jimi Hendrix, but he didn't have a guitar, and he didn't have a place to practice didn't have a home. And so you can solve a lot of this stuff by just having basic needs, but you know, we can get into this whole, probably, we'll get into this whole argument of of, of enabling, but the housing first movement has shown, from my perspective, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you can provide people with what they need, and then they will figure out their direction, and they're going to go for it. And that's that's how you solve homelessness, you help you know, you just give people what they need, and they're gonna figure it out. Because people are naturally inclined to do something with their lives that they are and addiction is not it's you guys know about the studies with the rats method. So

Jim Scarantino:

coming back to the city council, though, I mean, you know,

Aric Mackey:

what would this what what would the city change to facilitate this?

Tyler Vega:

Yeah,so I mean, you

Aric Mackey:

How would they enable social services?

Tyler Vega:

It's it's solving the housing crisis and and it's and that's pretty much decriminalizing, you know, you wouldn't get it.

Jim Scarantino:

So housing is pretty much the linchpin for you have so many issues in this

Tyler Vega:

housing is the Yeah, it's it's the attackable it's the, it's the solvable problem with all these Brits, it's the solver way to go after these things he talked about. I mean, there are a number there are many ways to look at this, but it's the most basic way to begin the process of solving the problem is to make sure that everybody has a safe place to be because these kids if they have a safe place to be, and they're not, you know, stuck on the streets, doing whatever it you know, and I'm not even that judgmental of that because I've been there and it's not you know, it's it's really okay. If we can, if we can back back off a little bit on the policing and figure you know, the point is that when you when you give people a safe place to be, they can heal and when they can heal then they can then they can find a direction.

Aric Mackey:

So what would you want to decriminalize?

Tyler Vega:

the decriminalization? I think You can decriminalize. I mean, the vast majority of things and you, you

Aric Mackey:

Heroin? Coke?,

Tyler Vega:

I mean, so so let me put this in context math. Let me put that in context. I can go to my doctor right now and get any one of those three three things prescribed to me.

Aric Mackey:

I really doubt you can get meth prescribed. I've tried.

Tyler Vega:

But you haven't know you know what it's called in real life. Sudafed? Well, I don't know what dextroamphetamine Well, that's, that is meth.

Aric Mackey:

Yes, its a a cooked form of amphetamine

Tyler Vega:

no. dextroamphetamine is the exact same thing as crystal meth but done really, really, really well by the pros. oxy content is heroin done better by the best lab you can get in the universe. Adderall is cocaine. done well, and you can get a prescription for that. Why is that illegal? But it's illegal for the kid to get on?

Aric Mackey:

I don't know about adderall and coke. I'll have to talk to a couple cokeheads

Tyler Vega:

you look it up right now on your little computer right there.

Aric Mackey:

I don't know. I'm not gonna look at it. I will ask some coke some x cokeheads that I know

Jim Scarantino:

but the city council can't decriminalize these drugs. These are all scheduled !,

Tyler Vega:

I mean, so we got so so and I

Aric Mackey:

well pot is still schedule 1 drug and the state decriminalized it

Tyler Vega:

so Yeah, exactly. So that that happened. And and right now there's a huge move the

Jim Scarantino:

the state did but I'm talking City council

Tyler Vega:

decriminalize. Right now there is a very strong, extremely robust movement to decriminalize antigens right now.

Aric Mackey:

Okay.

Tyler Vega:

And it's a perfect start. You know, it's a no brainer from from the perspective of most people

Aric Mackey:

wait, decriminalising what?

Tyler Vega:

antigens are the is the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. So you're, you're and you know, from, from the perspective, you know, I've come from this, you know, this kind of far left hippie background, right, you know, sure get high, I mean, I want I want to see the kids exploring their psyches. And I would much rather they do it

Aric Mackey:

with meth?

Tyler Vega:

No, with with a magic mushroom that grows in the dirt nearby where they live. And I would like them to know what they're looking at. And, and, and go explore, I did a lot of exploration to my time, and I found some cool stuff. And I also found that it was better, you know, better off doing that in, in real life

Aric Mackey:

without any say you're talking about edibles, not anything else

Tyler Vega:

I mean, so. So for example, if you had, if you had a, I believe the, I'm going to get this wrong, I wish I wouldn't, but I think it's gift real care, if you had a really strong, robust community, who is engaging intelligently and safely with psychedelics. And, and the young population had safe places they could go to explore, the need for that is going to decrease. And this is this has been proven you. Because first of all, it's better, it's better for you, the company is better, and the trip is going to be better, because you're going to find more interesting stuff, and it's not going to hurt you within a day. Because people know, when the thing is starting to drag them down. They can feel it and and, and people reflect it to you, there's no question about it. So the idea of how we can as a community beat these problems is already out there. And I believe that that's the right community to solve this problem. I think that, you know, in, in this perfect world that that I would see moving forward, you know, the children, children, but you know, the young adults would be encouraged to go explore what felt appropriate to them, and you and you'd ask your kid, you know, can I help my children listen to this just yet? Not ready. You know, you'd ask you, your adult child and say, Hey, you know, I know you're getting to that age, do you want to talk about it? And your kid is like, yeah, you know, I'm really curious about this and that the other thing and you say, okay, so could you please do it in a safe place?

Aric Mackey:

I can see Jim squirming so your solution to the drug and problem in the town is encouraging young adults to do more edibles.

Tyler Vega:

I mean, you could that is one solution. And I don't I don't know that you need to encourage it. There's no there's no nest, there's no need to encourage people to explore these things. But you can do. And I speak from experience here because I you know, I went through this, as a young adult I was about as unruly as you can possibly imagine. I was going to do whatever the hell I wanted. The question wasn't whether or not it was going to do it. It was what I was going to do and where, and in my particular scenario, it was safe to do it in particular places. And that really mattered.

Aric Mackey:

Okay.

Jim Scarantino:

Well as city councilor, you can't decriminalize. But city council could conceivably

Aric Mackey:

open up a spot

Jim Scarantino:

well, and also prohibit police from arresting

Tyler Vega:

also the same thing and that's happening right now. But it's just

Jim Scarantino:

I mean, I mean, um,

Aric Mackey:

lack of enforcement versus decriminalzation, no.

Jim Scarantino:

Proactive. The city council could pass its resolution or ordinance women prohibiting the PUC telling the police they will not arrest for possession or use of magic mushrooms or meth, or coke or heroin. You would support prohibiting our police from arresting for, for for meth heroin or cocaine?

Tyler Vega:

the resolution is literally on the table right now. And yes, I supported it's

Aric Mackey:

Wait are all the drugs are on the table?

Tyler Vega:

for antigen specific, like just antigens

Jim Scarantino:

is just an ad

Tyler Vega:

in the county and in the city right now this this conversation is very alive. And I don't know if it needs more attention. It's got lots of attention, but it knows this and it's going to go through it's just a matter of time. And if it doesn't go through by the time this council exits, it's definitely going through by the time no matter which of the six of us gets elected, this is going to pass within the next eight months Mark my words,

Jim Scarantino:

but for also for meth and cocaine and heroin.

Tyler Vega:

No.

Jim Scarantino:

Okay, this is just this just basically magic mushrooms shorthand,

Aric Mackey:

just the lightweight, fun stuff.

Tyler Vega:

Well, and for a reason, because first of all, it probably doesn't make sense to go farther than that. And because why not create a space where people can explore that is safe. Just like with marijuana.

Aric Mackey:

Wait, let's, let's not talk about state sponsored spots, Hangouts. But we're talking about what didn't Portugal decriminalize, like, everything, like, personal weight all the way up mean, and everything. And didn't, I must say, Brazil, there's another country did it.

Tyler Vega:

The whole country. I'm not familiar.

Jim Scarantino:

I don't know about that either.

Tyler Vega:

There are a number of cities there is there are a lot of precedents for what we are doing in existence. And like I said, this is on the table that we'll go through, you know, if you listen to the city council meetings, you'll hear McKinley, what's the what's the guy's name? Faber, no, no, lawyer guy, the prosecutor? Kennedy Kennedy. Yeah. So you know, you'll hear these people talk about this and the pros and the cons and the issues. And, you know, Troy was one of the guys who was sitting at the table with us early on in this process, where we had all the candidates talking about this stuff. So we got some really unique angles on this stuff. And there are some complications for it. What I'm saying is that there are already motions towards good solutions existing in our community. And this is one of them. And I think it's a very valid point.

Jim Scarantino:

And this will address the math crisis in Port Townsend, this will reduce death suicides

Tyler Vega:

im of the opinion that this will and this will impact that in a positive way and potentially very positive.

Jim Scarantino:

And this would have prevented a death like that of Jared bramson?

Tyler Vega:

Okay, so that I mean,

Aric Mackey:

Who is Jared Bramson?,

Jim Scarantino:

he's the is the wonderful musician who was pretty much killed by a drug dealer, so that, you know, who injected him with all sorts of things, or the young woman at the fairgrounds who, you know, 20 years old, so came back here and ran across open heroin dealing in the fairgrounds. I've read the police reports, and relapsed.

Tyler Vega:

So I would argue that this is a this is a about as robust a step in the right direction as you could make.

Jim Scarantino:

So let me ask you this. In terms of law enforcement then, since we're talking on that issue, what are your views on our police force? That you know, there was an effort last year to look at everything they did. various proposals, including one that was on the table, which was to prevent police from carrying weapons. What are you what are your ideas on? Because that is a true part of your duties? as a as a city councilor?

Tyler Vega:

Absolutely.

Jim Scarantino:

So what are your views on?

Tyler Vega:

Yeah, policing so let's go to policing

Jim Scarantino:

what changes you would bring in our police department.

Tyler Vega:

So I liked what I heard you know, though, is this the last meeting where I saw serious journals in the room the new police chiefs whose name is slipping my mind

Jim Scarantino:

Olsen.

Tyler Vega:

Olsen was in the room

Jim Scarantino:

Chief Olsen

Tyler Vega:

Kennedy's in the room all three commissioners are in the room all seven counselors are in the room and Heidi Greenwald's in the room I'm struggling with all the names but you know, it's it's the whole point was to get the county in the city and both police departments in the same rooms to talk about the stuff and NTG came up body cams came up and and it was really informative for me you know, as I was watching this along with with Cameron he had a different place but the but the the the idea that we would have these conversations was hot in my mind in this day and a couple of things came up first of all, I realized that I hadn't had very much experience with police in this in this part of the world. Despite coming from a crazy background I you know, I've been just basically just working this whole time and taking care of my own crazy stuff and I haven't had much contact so what I got out of that was that the people were quite obviously coming from a good place and I heard this I heard these guys talking about how they had already put in place things that that for the rest of the country or are still catching up within the navigator came up with and that was that was really telling for me because As far as I'm concerned having that guy, that human right along is cutting edge and is definitely moving in the correct direction. And I also heard at what what to me felt like a robust statement from, from the sheriff. About how about everything from how it's been from from George Floyd's death, to now and how, how it I don't know, it spoke to his commitment to moving forward in a good way. And, you know, to the degree that there was a statement that, you know, if that had happened here, we would have done something about it, you know, like, I think it came out in so many words. And so, what I see is, is a is a is a, an entity that is already moving in the correct direction and does not need that much help.

Aric Mackey:

What's that direction?

Tyler Vega:

towards doing it right to towards doing it as with the best data we've got available? You know, and I think that that I think, Arielle, in that very meeting says, look, can we talk about the, the parameters around when the body cams are going to be on? And I think that is something that will come? I mean, if it doesn't come up by the time one of us six are seated, then then it will shortly afterwards? And I think that's something that we should talk about debate. What's up

Aric Mackey:

with the debate with body cams?

Tyler Vega:

Well, is the cop allowed to turn the body cam off? Okay. Yes or no?

Aric Mackey:

Yeah, I can see that.

Tyler Vega:

Yeah. So because because how many times have you encountered a situation where something crazy went down, and the and the in the body cam magically turned off right before everything went out. So that needs to be addressed? You know, and within the county, they don't have body cams yet. So that's not my jurisdiction. But that's something that should be discussed. You know, the city police have body cams now need to talk about the parameters around? Yeah, you should really just keep an eye on all the time,

Aric Mackey:

where you met. You mentioned Cameron, who's

Tyler Vega:

Cameron is another city council candidate candidate Cameron. running for position one, I think. And he's the one of the cofounders of the Black Lives Matter movement, has some history with Jim here. And you know, he's a close ally of mine, you know, we're the two people of color running for running for office this year. And we have a lot of a lot of common ground. And he has had some interactions with the cops. And you know, we haven't really had this conversation, but you know, that there was a body cam involved, there was and so and so we got to see the story kind of as it is, as a result of that. That really matters. And especially if you're a person of color, because this is we're talking about a case of mistaken identity. And I don't know if you guys know this, but mistaken identity is a joke amongst people of color, because

Aric Mackey:

Ive had it happened twice.

Tyler Vega:

You have no okay. Now, I'm glad to hear that. I'm glad to I'm glad to hear that because it's it's a it's literally a running joke, because it is so ridiculously common. Especially for black people that that what it just can't be legit. It's because it's called out so many times that Oh, you look like the suspect. And it's just like, it's it's been used so much that it's assumed to be a lie at this point. And that is under the unfortunate truth that Okay,

Aric Mackey:

so let's ask the question. So systemic racism?

Tyler Vega:

What's the question that they are?

Aric Mackey:

Do you believe that the cops are systemically racist?

Tyler Vega:

All people are systemically racist. The cops are not or the cops have the hardest job and are the most affected by that system? And are the most are in the most difficult and poignant and important role within that system?

Aric Mackey:

You're going with unconscious bias?

Tyler Vega:

Okay, I'm going to say, it sounds to me like there's more to that question. I guess there is a huge amount of unconscious bias

Aric Mackey:

and literal question as if it's an overt racist Act, or if it's a I guess nature versus nurture when it comes to races,

Tyler Vega:

yeah. Oh, no. Okay. So racism is is intrinsically a part of every person in the world. And there's, there's a whole spectrum of where you can be on that from out and out full on like Nazi actually believing that people with a different skin color should be killed is a whole is a level and then there's a level where you are, where you are a part of a system that is that is all completely racist, just by the way it's set up and the way that the history is gone, and the way that the dice were rolled. And then there's a whole nother set of races where you're conscious of the fact that, that you treat people of different skin tones differently, whether that's your own skin color or not. And that you were actively working with that that's another kind of racism that exists. And for me, it's so ridiculously complex as to be almost laughable. But with within the context of police, it's different because these are people who are in the position of enforcing the laws and they must be held to a higher standard than the rest of people and they have to do their jobs with a different level of impeccability than the rest of us. And

Aric Mackey:

I think the police force over the last I'd say 30 years has made dramatic improvements in professionalism.

Tyler Vega:

And I would agree with that. And I'd like to see more and I like

Aric Mackey:

not dramatic increases in pay.

Tyler Vega:

Okay, I'm just gonna say that I think they're getting paid pretty well. And I and and

Aric Mackey:

I'm not saying that but but I mean, I've read some of these resignation letters from police officers around the country and they talk about the amount of grief and hostility and risk that they assume for $47,000 plus partial benefits, you kind of start to question whether or not you want to do that job.

Tyler Vega:

I agree.

Aric Mackey:

But also, but then you're also saying that, okay, they need to be less systemically racist.

Tyler Vega:

Cops are the face of Okay, so this, this gets real complicated the you can go, I could argue this whole point of view that that, that cops are exists specifically to defend capital to defend the stuff and to maintain the status quo. I could totally take that pole hold it, I could argue it. And I could hold my own with that.

Aric Mackey:

Okay, so their job is to protect private property?

Tyler Vega:

correct. Yeah. So I could I could, I could totally argue that point of view, and I could hold my own. That's not where I'm coming from. What I want to say here is that we're talking about racism, racism is real. And we've all got it. And we and and for people in all the force it is, it is 10 million times more important to be aware, awake and dealing with this kind of good work. I

Aric Mackey:

know I get this, I get the talking points. But let's talk about one. When is it racism in a wasn't going with data?

Tyler Vega:

Are you talking about mistaken identity right now?

Aric Mackey:

No, I'm not talking about mistaken identity, I'm saying about the practical application of them applying their job in their training, their training is to discern who is to identify, in this case, identify who the person is they get a, let's say vague. A vague description of a vague description of the suspect of whatever they are there says they're suspected of doing something.

Tyler Vega:

So okay, so I mean, just so

Aric Mackey:

but that I'm saying is, they have this data to operate under. Yeah, but in my case, in my case, a mistaken identity. They had a description of the vehicle, they had a description of the person driving it, and I fit those close enough. And they pulled you over for that? And it was a felony stop. And it turned out, I ended up knowing the cop and I was like, why the felony cop? Or felony stop, like, what the fuck? And he explained it, and he's like, we're looking for this person, this and you fit? They're all like, Okay, great, cool, fine. Great. So that was that was in that was here locally?

Tyler Vega:

I mean, it's just, it's

Aric Mackey:

so was that him going? You see, I'm saying like, when is it racism? And when's it going off the data?

Tyler Vega:

I'm just gonna say that it is and how long their perspective of a bipoc person it is impossible that there is not a very, very wide gap between the two. Because this is so in impossibly prevalent for people of color. It's and and for people in the line of duty that has to be curbed in order for them to to to and I'm on USA maintained to regrow any kind of respect, because people do not respect the forest right now. And the reason is, things like that, when you when you when you've been stopped too many times for it to be chance

Aric Mackey:

by local police?

Tyler Vega:

I mean,

Jim Scarantino:

you know, have you gone on a ride?

Aric Mackey:

No, no, no, no, let's back up.

Jim Scarantino:

We can look down some police. Second, you can actually go for a ride with the police. You might send you one, you might you want the job of overseeing their operations. I would suggest that you contact the Port Townsend police department and asked to go on a ride along and spend a night sitting next to a police officer in a patrol car as he goes up a dark alley. You know, it gets a call out on a domestic violence. Yeah. And you can do it. I've done it.

Tyler Vega:

I've always wanted to do it.

Aric Mackey:

So let me give me some context. My mother was briefly at Berkeley cop in California, and briefly have a by i mean a couple months. But there was very much it was a lot of hostility in the 70's towards female officers. Now, I also grew up behind the red line in Oakland, California. I was behind the red line. They didn't show up in less than platoon strength, and they always shot so I understand both sides of the shitty policing argument. But what I see in this is a good test up here. So is the Jefferson or Port Townsend police overwhelmingly are excessively pulling over people of color? Is there data to support that? So this is what I'm saying? thing is this is everything being chopped everything you know, when your hammer everything looks like a nail, right? So is everything racism? And is it getting chalked up to that? And all cops are bastards and all the other things

Tyler Vega:

I didn't say any of this stuff. So let's see here.

Aric Mackey:

But that's the the litany.

Tyler Vega:

So okay, so we'll get into that conversation to the answer, from my perspective is that this force is moving the correct direction. You know, you've got things like choice server marching with Black Lives Matter, you've got, you know, you've got the navigator in place. I don't know that we need to split hairs over what?

Aric Mackey:

Well, no, you're saying all cops are systemically racist? I said, people are systemically all races, all human being but also by by context by

Tyler Vega:

context, cops are all racist in within the context of that conversation, and they must be held to a much, much, much higher standard than the rest of us.

Aric Mackey:

What does that what does that mean? That means criminal prosecution, prosecution if it's deemed to be racist?

Tyler Vega:

Well, we could start with if you killed somebody without any with without justification, you get prosecuted, which just happened for like, the first time, you know, like this, this is still we're still in new territory here. What I'm saying is we're moving in the right direction. You know, the fact that the this, you know, blatant murder caught on camera is actually has actually been prosecuted George Floyd, that it went through, you know, because we have, how is it possible that we held our breath to question whether or not that was going to be an indicted?

Aric Mackey:

murder implies intent

Tyler Vega:

Okay. I mean,

Jim Scarantino:

let's not re argue the George floor. No,

Tyler Vega:

I would I'm we're talking race and policing here. I mean, I think if you asked the sheriff and the police chief show, they're not you wanting to have this conversation? I think

Aric Mackey:

guilt by Association.

Jim Scarantino:

Well, joe nole has made it clear. And I think that that is not the way his department conducts itself.

Tyler Vega:

He said, it's in so many ways. I've heard it. I was just there. He said, If that happened here, we would have stopped him.

Jim Scarantino:

Yeah, I heard him say, exactly. I've heard that too.

Tyler Vega:

That is enough for me. I don't know if it's enough for black people in this town. I've that that conversation is pending.

Jim Scarantino:

Well, last year, you know that. I mean, we're sort of going over ground that the port towns and city council didn't examine last year, because they did look at the statistics of arrests by race, incarcerations by race. They really did. They looked at it all, and they really didn't find any disparities in this in this area here. And

Tyler Vega:

I'd like to see that data.

Jim Scarantino:

Yep, it was last year. It's all it's all online. And so you know, I would just say I'm not weighing in on this, but I'm just going to state right here and we can have this conversation later. I disagree with you very strongly that all people are racist, but we don't have the time to deal with that. I really think that's that's a fallacy

Aric Mackey:

thats part two,

Jim Scarantino:

but we could talk about that some other time. So let's talk to the board about the boring stuff city council deals you know,

Tyler Vega:

we're getting to keep on getting out and that leads on

Aric Mackey:

we're getting into the meaty topics

Jim Scarantino:

Yeah, water rates are killing people in Port Townsend and water is on believably expensive and tacked on to your water bill you know if you look at if you get a water bill if you you see the water bill or not? No Do you see all the pay that every single i mean i don't i don't break it down but what what will you do to bring down the water bill that people are paying for a necessity of life in Port Townsend

Tyler Vega:

I would convert the golf course into a water desalination plants so we had infinite freshwater

Aric Mackey:

what do you do with your salt?

Jim Scarantino:

No, are you serious? Are you serious about that proposal?

Tyler Vega:

I just get up here after an hour joking but I actually do believe that we need to solve the water crisis on a grand scale and I think Port Townsend should consider things like that

Jim Scarantino:

like it sounds like a desalination plant really

Tyler Vega:

passive ideally distillation based

Aric Mackey:

well how do you generate the energy?

Tyler Vega:

we're in the rain shadow we have we have solar we have we have passive solar infinite passive solar we also have tidal we also have

Aric Mackey:

waves, wave wires, large pumps and high pressures and that requires energy more than solar is going to produce

Tyler Vega:

pressures for for reverse osmosis desalination I would think that we would go distillation but this is all this is all way out in the woods and I was okay but

Jim Scarantino:

before we spend out like that seriously getting back to the nickels and dimes and dollars so this is a real problem for people and for Townsend. That water bill is out rageous 250 $300 a month on your water bill. I mean, I pay I pay the bill for up for an organization in town and I looked at it last month it's almost what our energy bill is now how would you let down that bill? I would you bring down the cost, cut all the stuff that's in that water bill, what would you do? So here's where

Tyler Vega:

I would immediately go with that. And this part i am i'm not not serious about desalination, but I am I am but that's you know, that's how In the weeds, and it would require a huge amount of, as you said, madness that you got to bring in into the table. And realistically, it's 10 years down the road. But within the context of what we actually can do, why not just put water catchment on every house, for example, and decrease the amount of water they use for everything to take the bill down? So you're watering your garden from your roof?

Jim Scarantino:

Is that legal in port townsend? And I heard it's not legal. To harvest rainwater.

Tyler Vega:

Well, my understanding is it's not and I'm doing it anyway. And other people are doing it anyway. Not my I've heard a lot. I haven't looked into it. But my understanding is that there, there are a number of things that that is no brainers that are illegal.

Jim Scarantino:

So we have one specific, very specific proposal from Tyler Vega, city council member that you would introduce a bill to make rainwater havesting rainwater harvesting and Port Townsend legal. And if it's a state law, that you would fight,

Tyler Vega:

I would request that I'd like I, I'm not ready to go on the record saying that I will do that. Because I don't know the nuts and bolts of why it's not legal and why it's not being done and things like that. But the answer is yes, I and I'm serious about that, I would go to the table saying can we do this? And what does it take to do this? And do I have to find somebody to do this? And if I And if the answer is yes, I'll take that fight. And because that it is a no brainer to me that in, you know, in, we're in the rain shadow of a in the temperate rain forest is right next to us, all we need to do is take the water from the winter and save it for the summer, and we're good. So your water bill could be cut down to next to nothing if you know because you don't need to use the same water to flush your toilet as you drink. And you don't need the same water to water your garden as you do to flush your toilet or to drink. You know, these are totally these can be different systems that could that could be more intelligently managed. Rainwater is a very simple way to solve some of these

Jim Scarantino:

I think water is cheaper in Israel than it is in POrt Townsend.

Tyler Vega:

And so we I think we can fix that. I don't think that's I don't think that's a huge thing to fix. And I you know, and the idea of

Aric Mackey:

what about just installing a stormwater system in city limits?

Tyler Vega:

So that's that's the same, same concept. You know what, why not just figure it out for Port Townsend,

Aric Mackey:

Port Angeles has this stormwater and a sewer system. They're two separate. Well, they're supposed to be two separate systems. They are not. They're cross connected. And yeah, a lot of places.

Tyler Vega:

So I mean, in this, and this is where I come to a place where you know, I'm not coming in thinking like I have all the answers. I'm coming in to talk to people talk to experts and figure out what the people who do these jobs, you know, what is possible, and and how do you pay for it and, and things like that, but I think that that kind of a direction? Is the answer to the question. Do you have creative answers to the question?

Jim Scarantino:

Okay, well, that you had something definite there. But that is a problem. I mean, and and the other beef you always hear is the garbage contract that you hire with one company.

Tyler Vega:

Yeah. So I mean, we can I mean,

Jim Scarantino:

one company has the monopoly, and you must contract with that company. Yeah. And I must say, I don't think the service is that great. For the price you pay.

Tyler Vega:

I am a big proponent of theirs. They're kind of three concepts that I that I, when I, when I think about where we're really going, and I'm talking about 10 20 30 years out, the they are energy independence, carbon negative, and zero waste. The third one being the most important in this particularly zero waste is this concept that a community can deal with all their own waste. So we're not stuck, doesn't leave the city to go to the landfill, is not easy to achieve, it's very, very difficult to achieve. But if one looked at it within the context of a long term goal, definitely doable. And I believe that we should be working towards that. And I think you're coming from more of a dollars in service perspective on this but I actually believe that a town like Port Townsend with the particular ideological bent that we have, we could be looking at how could we actually take all of our waste and turn it into something useful or get rid of it and you can, you know, at this point, you can trap carbon so you know, so burning stuff is less challenging and you can make concrete out of the stuff you burn all kinds of stuff, they're amazing ways of dealing with these problems that weren't exist didn't exist before. Right now there's talk of putting a a biodigester in in one of a couple of different locations which will allow us to to take plastic and recycle it into energy in town, probably not in town and probably be out of town. I mean, I actually I think it's worth considering doing that and you know, when I when I get way out in the weeds on this stuff, I you know, we talked about this big picture for the golf course. I can imagine a situation where it's three dimensional it's, it's an entire outer ring of entire you know, of green, you know, a beautiful park and then inside of it is is a ring of of high density housing and inside of that is a is a specifically dedicated Zero Waste hub. And I think that we should be thinking about things like that very seriously within you know, not not today, not tomorrow, not next year. This is going to take probably decades, but we're trying to solve world problems on a micro scale here. This Zero Waste is one of the concepts that I like to would like to bring to the table. And I think it does, it includes things like using pyrolysis to, to it, pyrolysis is when you take plastic and you heat it up in the absence of oxygen, so it doesn't oxidate the the carbon and creating carbon dioxide, but it creates a bunch of long chain hydrocarbons, which you can then use for that

Jim Scarantino:

another dollar and cents, because generally, I think municipal governments about dollar and cents in basic services should city councilors be paid and how much?

Tyler Vega:

more than they're being paid now, I mean, we have an independent salary Council for that, they'll they'll answer that question for us by the time

Jim Scarantino:

but do you have any views on it?

Tyler Vega:

it should be enough to survive?

Aric Mackey:

Should we take money out of politics? blended? So it's not a full time job?

Jim Scarantino:

It should be enough to live on? So it could be a full time job?

Tyler Vega:

No, it should pay a living wage for part two, I should i i, i both think you should. And I would like I still want to do my job. I like my job. And I'm very passionate about what I do. And I'm happy to work 60 hours a week and put 30 of them here and 30 of them here. It needs to pay enough that that is worth it for me.

Jim Scarantino:

Okay, I hear what you're saying.

Tyler Vega:

And I think the independent salary commission is going to do that they're going to do a good job with

Aric Mackey:

but is it a job? Or is it civil service?

Tyler Vega:

It's both

Jim Scarantino:

or county commissioners.

Tyler Vega:

Those guys make like over six figures

Jim Scarantino:

No, not quite a few. If you had their benefits package and making all those 87,000 silver,

Tyler Vega:

okay, I my memory I

Jim Scarantino:

but I will say this, I've been watching them, they work. These, these counties are working really hard, harder than any county commissioners I've seen in the past.

Tyler Vega:

So this is not the argument for this being civil service. The problem with that argument is that it rules out,

Jim Scarantino:

that means we can't get rid of them except for

Aric Mackey:

So okay, so fine. So the pay is coupled with term limits.

Tyler Vega:

I mean, I don't have any problem with that. I don't I think term limit should be a no brainer. And I yeah, I don't I don't know why you wouldn't I don't have the objection to term limits, I do have an objection to a system that makes it so that people who are poor can't serve

Aric Mackey:

okay.

Jim Scarantino:

So we're getting close to the end of the podcast anything else you want to say and you want to do a practice your closing pitch when you do your

Tyler Vega:

Yeah, debates, I want to remind people to come help us solve housing on the 17th of July cotton building three o'clock, all six candidates, three of whom will be seated will be there. And, and and a number of organizations throughout town and we really want to get we want to get people helping us solve problems because this is a big problem. It's a global problem. And it's the tip of the iceberg. But we can come together we have common ground

Aric Mackey:

start local

Tyler Vega:

local, some local solutions to global problems and and I want to say that we need to put on the table these three concepts, energy independence. And I know that sounds crazy, but it's we could achieve energy independence here in a certain amount of time, carbon negativity, we can be a force to reverse climate change as a small community. If we do it, right. It's not easy, and it's and it costs a lot of money and you've got to what the basically reverse the thinking of a lot of people in order to do that, but it is definitely possible. And zero waste is another concept that needs to be on the table because we need to be thinking you know, I the term is almost becoming cliche, but it's really appropriate seven generations in advance. And here we're in the dawn of the third millennium, it's time to really take long term global problems and solve them as a community.

Jim Scarantino:

Well, Tyler, I want to thank you we're shaking hands you folks can see it really appreciate you coming on air. And

Aric Mackey:

it's coming and putting up with our crap for two hours

Jim Scarantino:

and he's been better behaved than he usually is with guests. Yeah, I had we had a long talk for before. No, I'm kidding. Hey, we really enjoyed having you here. This is Jim Sacarantino and Aric Mackey, not all their podcast. You want some more wine, Tyler,

Tyler Vega:

I will have refill thank you.

Jim Scarantino:

All right, folks. Thanks very much. It's been great. Thank you for listening.