The Backlog

March 29, 2018

The cities throughout the Puget Sound region are home to Amazon, Microsoft, and tons of other tech companies—many of which hire a significant number of their employees on H1B visas. These are temporary work permits designed for foreign workers with specific kinds of skills and expertise. In recent years, a vast majority of those workers have come from India. And when they and their employers apply for permanent residency—something that's legally required after six years on an H1B—that's when they run into problems. Workers and the companies that hire them are insistent that the system needs to change. Their critics, meanwhile, argue that H1B holders are taking jobs away from Americans and that the current system is more than fair. This week, Seattle Weekly staff writer Melissa Hellmann and H1B visa holder Lokesh Marenayakanapalya discuss the gigantic green card backlog for Indians and the impact it is having on the lives and families of thousands of our area's tech workers. 

Featuring interviews with Melissa Hellmann and Lokesh Marenayakanapalya; performance by Mark Siano.

Music by Leeni Ramadan, Jahzzar, and The Insider

This week's cover photo is courtesy GC Reforms and was taken in downtown Bellevue during a rally in late February.

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Boarders vs. Bureaucracy

March 22, 2018

Skateboarding continues to grow in popularity in the Pacific Northwest. But it’s still difficult for skateboarders to find a good, safe place to get together and do their thing. Rain is a big problem, and covered skate parks are few and far between. Recently, a group of skaters in Renton took matters into their own hands and, using 50,000 pounds of cement, built a park under a freeway overpass. This was, of course, illegal. The Washington Department of Transportation threatened to tear it down last fall, but a crowd of skaters from across the region showed up to defend it. Renton Reporter staff writer Leah Abraham set off to figure out just why one park could mean so much to so many people—and discovered a whole world in the process.

Featuring interviews with Leah Abraham, Jack Skeel, Kristin Ebeling, Marshall Reid, and David Waite. 

Music by Leeni Ramadan and Jahzzar

This week's cover photo is a shot of Longacres Skate Park, taken by Leah Abraham for the Renton Reporter in late November 2017. 

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Black Lives Matter Meets #MeToo

March 15, 2018

The Black Lives Matter movement has been active in the Seattle area for more than four years. But it wasn't until this past December that a trio of activists created the first official BLM chapter in the region, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (BLMSKC). The catalyst for this, organizers say, was the harassment and abuse that some male BLM leaders had allegedly been exacting on women and gender non-conforming members of the movement. In this week's episode, South Seattle Emerald editor and Seattle Weekly columnist Marcus Harrison Green talks about Black Lives Matter's #MeToo momentand how the fight for one kind of justice can sometimes overshadow other injustices. As the nation grapples with revelation after revelation of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination in the workplace, Green discusses a history of the same thing happening within social movements. 

Music by Leeni Ramadan, Kai Engel, and Grapes

This week's cover photo was taken by Naomi Ishisaka during a 2015 Black Womxn's Lives Matter memorial gathering.

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The Matriarch of Marijuana

March 8, 2018

Everyone knows that Washington was one of the first states to legalize marijuana—medicinal in 1998 and recreational in 2012. But few know the story of the small, tight-knit community that fought the battles for patients' rights that eventually opened the door to recreational cannabis. Those who do know will tell you that none of it would have happened without JoAnna McKee, who passed away in late 2017. In this episode, we meet some of the people who knew and loved JoAnna; hear about her role in the first-ever federal raid on a medical cannabis dispensary in the country; and pause to reflect on the legacy of a person whose life's work won't be forgotten, especially with new leaders at the federal level who are attempting to turn back the clock on cannabis policy. 

Featuring interviews with Meagan Angus, Dale Rogers, Douglas Hiatt, and Stich Miller.

Music by Leeni Ramadan, Jahzzar, Josh Woodward, and Doctor Turtle

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A Hardwood Classic

March 1, 2018

In this mini episode, we introduce you to the editorial director for the show, Mark Baumgarten, who is really into basketball. He plays in a pick-up league on Monday nights and on Tuesday nights in winter he and some buddies go to high school basketball games. It's cheap, he says, and really good! So good, in fact, that after one dramatic game this season, he was inspired to write a poem about it. Since this weekend is the Washington state high school basketball tournament, aka the Hardwood Classic, we decided we would share it.

Music by Leeni Ramadan

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