State of the Hill 2014

If you know me at all you probably know that I'm kind of obsessed with my neighborhood, Capitol Hill.  Pretty much my entire life happens along either Pike, Pine or Broadway on the hill.  So I was excited to be the official videographer for the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce's "State of the Hill" event a couple weeks ago.  The video I produced is below, and the full State of the Hill address is up on the chambers' website. 

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Mike McGinn Interview

It was a really exciting and optimistic time when Mike McGinn was elected as the Mayor of Seattle in 2009, with his election following shortly after Obama's swearing in (remember how excited we were about that one?!).

His urbanist positions on density, bike improvements and transit are exactly what we need in Seattle and are what a majority of Seattleites say they support.  So I have never understood why, even in liberal Seattle, so many people become anti-density, anti-bike and anti-transit when it comes time for real-world implementation.  I thought that McGinn's take on this would be interesting to hear, as someone who more than anyone else right now, personifies urbanism in Seattle.

So, yesterday I asked Dominic Holden, the smart and telegenic (a rare combo for journalists in Seattle) News Editor at The Stranger, to interview him on this topic at my studio.  It's still up for debate what form this project will take, because it all came together really quickly (I didn't think he'd say yes when I asked for an interview!).  So stay tuned for updates and let me know if you have any suggestions for relevant articles, interviews, people, ideas, etc that I should be aware of.

Below is a behind the scenes look at the shoot, in the form of a pop-up video.

Nuclear Protest

Came across this sign in Tsugawa, the small town I was staying in, in Japan.  It says something to the effect of "tell America to abolish nuclear weapons!"  At first I just thought it was interesting that in a such a small town, in a country where people really don't protest or voice their political opinions much, this poster was there.  But now after Fukushima, you have to wonder if they wish they had directed their protests closer to home.


Big Box Ban in Bellingham

I just got a youtube message bringing to my attention the fact that Bellingham is considering partially lifting it's ban on Big Box stores.  I think it'd be too bad if they reversed themselves so quickly after creating the ban, but at least it wouldn't be lifted without conditions.  I made this video in 2007 when the ban was first put in place, but wanted to re-surface it now that the topic is up for debate again...  I was doing videography for the city council meetings on BTV10 at the time so I watched the whole debate unfold in excrutiating detail.  Believe it or not I actually found that job really interesting (most of the time) and would jump at the chance to do it again... call me Seattle Channel! 

McGinn Announcement

On Tuesday I covered Michael McGinns announcement of his candidacy for mayor for CHS.  KIRO was the only TV crew that was there, the only other camera there besides me was the McGinn Campaign’s crew.  It was funny seeing how much the KIRO crew stuck out, all the journalists asked questions like normal people, and then Essex Porter in his suit talks all loud in his trained journalist voice... he just seemed out of place since he was the only one.  I'm so glad I don't have to deal with a huge camera like theirs and all that gear, although I was definitely grateful for their light.  It still seems odd to me that the people putting on the press conferences don't set up lights, even at the Sonics we'd rely on the TV crews to light the press conferences. I got some great feedback on my use of ‘tweets’ and blog comments in the video… Scott Schaefer of the B-Town Blog said
"Sweet Tweet Touch on the Vid!  Your use of Tweets in the video is very clever...innovative, appropriate, and definitely made me overlook that McGinn should've shaved.  I'm stealing this idea now."
Eli Sanders called me “ever present” on Slog.  I guess that’s a good thing…? And Monica Guzman of wrote about me on the Big Blog, the post includes a rambly, semi-coherent quote from me… I definitely should’ve had my morning coffee before I called her back. I also got a comment from Paul Balcerak, of, who I quoted in the video as saying that he liked McGinns idea of fiberoptic networking.  Here’s what he said
On second thought... I have to reconsider what I said (and was quoted as saying). Yes, at first the idea of Internet infrastructure seemed cool ... but as so many have mentioned, it's not as if Seattle has an Internet problem or anything. The economy sucks right now and it seems like kids are getting shot in the CD and South Seattle on a weekly (if not more frequent) basis. I agree with Uncle Vinny: "I would be much happier if he'd drop the 'fiber optic network' thing and put the social safety net front and center. So anyway, consider "paulbalcerak's" video comment redacted.
This points out that including the tweets and comments in the video is not meant to be analysis, it’s just commentary… immediate reactions.  The value of having these comments is to give some context to what McGinn is saying by showing how others in the community are reacting to his statements. For some it may be useful to see other people’s reactions on screen.  For others, I’m sure it’s distracting and unnecessary.  Personally, I think it can be useful to see other people’s reactions because it can help you see where your own biases and preconceptions are, I think it is also a great way to engage the community by giving them a chance to be part of the conversation instead of just observing.
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