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Catching Up With Mayor Cook - Transcript

CG: Hey folks, welcome to Episode Three of the I heart Woodinville podcast. My name is Chris Griffin, I'm the owner of jam Academy music school right here in downtown Woodinville, and I'm going to be your host today. As every week I'm your host, so this week we're talking with the mayor of Woodinville, Elaine cook. We talked about a lot of stuff and it's not very much politics, it's really the core of the podcast itself, which is what's good in the neighborhood. So, here it is, here's what's good.

Hey everyone, welcome to this episode of the podcast. I heart Woodinville where we share all that good in your neighborhood. Today, I'm sitting with Mayor Elaine cook, who I've known for a little while. And we're going to have a little bit of a chat with her and learn from her what is good in our neighborhood so Elaine, welcome. How are you doing?

EC: Great Chris, thanks for having me. And I heart Woodinville also.

CG: Maybe we can begin with having tell everyone how you and I met

EC: I met you for the first time, when you opened up Spotlight Studios. You had left Kennelly Keys when they moved out of the downtown portion of Woodinville. I think you were teaching over there, and you started spotlight studios and I came over to take guitar lessons.

CG: Right, from my friend Henry Lamkin

EC: Henry Yeah. I remember, thank you. I'd always wanted to play Spanish or flamenco guitar. And then, alongside me playing or taking guitar lessons there. My kids took different lessons I think Claire took piano for a while and I can't remember Annabel. Oh Annabel took piano lessons.

CG: She might have done some violin as well

EC: Yep. Yeah, all my kids tried violin with orchestra at their school and I thought, if she had extra private lessons with you or with your studio it would help her. And so, yeah, I am an advocate of what you're doing for families and for kids. And because it's a small town. I know a lot of the kids in your studio and I just love seeing them kind of grow with your music program. I think what you're doing with kids is great. And when you changed the name to Jam Academy. I just thought that was the best paradigm to pull kids together to play together.

CG: Thank you. Yeah, and that's what we do. I mean that's our whole thing is that music is a language. We want them to communicate with one another, using that language. And, I mean, it crosses boundaries right? So kids can speak the same language can speak that way together.

EC: Yes, it is. I do see music as another language, and whether it's learning how to read music or how to listen to music and and respond to it or how to listen to the person playing next to you so that you're in sync with that person it's just connections on all levels

CG: It's the ultimate team building exercise

EC: Beautiful. You have cooperation Yes, and it makes you really feel part of something. So if you are jamming with other people. You feel like you're part of something bigger than just yourself and what you were up to. And I think it's way more motivating. It's like for me running. I am only truly happy when I'm running with other people. Because I am motivated or incentivized or inspired by and pushed

CG: So you're so you're competitive is what you're saying

EC: No, I think I'm lazy. But I do better when I'm around other people. Yeah.

CG: Yeah, that's pretty common I think so well, saying that, how are you dealing with quarantine?

EC: I think as a mom of three kids who are ones in high school and the middle school ones in grade school and the expectations of all those look all three levels of school are different in the North Shore School District. I think the North Shore school district tried their best and offered us what they could. And it was up to us to figure out the rest, or to support our kids in engaging staying connected or staying engaged or doing what the teachers expected of them, because there was, there were expectations. And that for me personally was really hard. It's the worst part of our online school because I felt guilty for my kids, not doing enough. And I felt like the onus was on me and I think we've all gotten used to being quarantined, and it's almost like you might have said something about online music classes being this new norm. Well the new norm is social distancing and not shaking hands and some of it good some of the bad. So I was telling someone yesterday. I can't wait to hug people again, let alone handshaking you know that the formality of being with people or meeting, meeting people, I think that the physical connection is important so I miss hugging my friends.

CG: Full disclosure, I have a friend or two that I have... that we've hugged so....

EC: Good, oh I love that

CG: Just gotta go wash hands when you're done

EC: And try not to sneeze on each other

CG: My new moisturizing cream is actually called hand sanitizer - people love it. Not so good for your skin.

EC: Oh that's funny. A couple months ago, a gentleman... I'm part of Woodinville rotary. And one of the older fellows in wrote wouldn't go rotary says well, no one's gonna keep me from hugging my grandchildren, and I thought well of course not, you know, you don't want our, we don't want our grandparents or parents to get sick, so there's that part of it, but at the same time can you keep us away from those that we love and I think we all did the very best we could. I do, and I think we're in a community of people who are conscious and respectful and, you know, not, they're not judgmental. I think we've done a really good job kind of getting by with, what we had in front of us...whether it was the governor's workers or Hagen's ask about when we went into Hagen, I only went into Hagen there was I don't think I went in the other store. But um, I just think this community. It's a small community but it's a community of people who care. And I think have done a really great job with the quarantine.

CG: Yeah, it does seem like we've been pretty successful. I think as a state. We've been pretty successful and and willing to hunker down and do what's asked of us. So, so, I think I think the state deserves some props

EC: I agree, it's all right for other states or other countries to see what we did, or just to watch what maybe any other community did that was successful. I think we've done a good job as a state like you're saying and as a county modeling for other people. The best way to go about this, and who knew, right. I think we did the best we could. And it worked out, like you said, it worked out and it benefited us in other ways and we saw where in the world that it didn't work, or decisions that other leaders made this them doing their very best, but it not working

CG: Sorry my phone started to buzz. That's the Ring doorbell I hate it, anytime ups drives by, buzz-buzz

EC: I've always wanted one

CG: You might not want one

EC: Constant distraction. The cat ran past the door

CG: Yeah, and I've got a hummingbird feeder out there and like you know Hummingbird will set it off, which is great because I get to watch the hummingbird for a minute. So, I'm easily distracted I'm like.. oh! There's a squirrel

EC: Yeah, haha squirrel....What else can I tell you?

CG: Well, what's good in the neighborhood, what can we share that's good and will make people happy and inspire people to do more good.

EC: So I think for me. What I would say is great in this community is something that popped up as a grassroots level effort to feed other people to feed people were hungry, and I think most people probably heard a little bit about this already, and it has a name and the name is East with Food Rescue, so about two and a half months ago, a gentleman that lives in Bothell. His name is George Hearn, who grew up in Othello Washington so over in eastern Washington where there are farms. He has a connection to a potato farmer, or a potato farmer says, you know, we don't have the distribution channels any longer to distribute the food for harvesting. So about a million pounds or a million tonnes of potatoes are going to get under stone. They're not going anywhere. They're not turning into French fries at restaurants are being sold to Europe for tater tots or for quality, quality produce grown in eastern Washington that all of a sudden had no place to go. So George j Hearn, this Bothell residents posted on what a bill or a local Facebook page that he needed someone with a track to go with him out to a fellow, and again this was like two months ago, maybe more than two months ago, I think they've made seven trips to a fellow, and he really thought he was bringing back a couple truckloads of potatoes, turned out it was potatoes and onions. And I think that they have. In the last two months, made a trip, each Friday to a fellow with semi trucks and pickup trucks and trailers and brought back to Woodinville. This farm in Woodinville called, I think it the farms called farmer frog. And she offered voluntarily. Her farm to dump this produce, and people came in mass amounts to help bag the produce. And then they connected with food banks and they connected with organizations that were feeding food, not just here in Woodinville. But over the entire region, and who came and we're feeding people. This produce to the produce has been distributed widely. It keeps coming back to what a bill to get bagged and to be distributed, but there's not, they're now bringing back apples. I think they brought back, eggs, I think there's plans to bring back as they harvest new things, they are planning to distribute or bring back to this area to be distributed to people who are hungry, and it has become a just a enormous community effort to do something really good. As we slowed down and we had time on our hands. In fact, I went out there this morning to bag, potatoes, and I said to the gentleman who was running the, he runs the COVID restrictions out there like the social distancing and tells everybody they need to wear a mask and they need to wear gloves when they're bagging the potatoes and they need a social distance. I said you have a lot of people here, and I know that they turn people away, so that they can maintain social distancing. And he said, Well, yeah, but we're putting people to work in other parts of the farm we're having people weed. So people go out there with their families. All week long now Chris and bag produce that is distributed very quickly to hungry people. It's amazing. Yeah, it's been the most uplifting story and started by this gentleman George j Hearn, and a woman that is part of what of the rotary her name her name is Nancy baylin, and she quickly said to him, Well, I've got a truck and I know people have trucks, and I know people who like to volunteer or serve others, and she quickly, organized this giant effort to help. So, it's become something and they have raised money for the farmers So, initially they were the farmers were giving this food away for free. And now, each week I believe they're bringing the farmers money for the food. And that's been raised here, and the city of Woodinville gave a grant of $10,000 to the effort, so they could pay the farmers, it's Yeah, it's been really neat.

CG: So it's all volunteers are there enough volunteers? Or are they, like you mentioned they're turning people away

EC: There's enough volunteers so many people want to help. A really neat thing happened a couple weeks ago I went out there on a Saturday with my daughter. And there were a bunch of teenage boys out there. I think their parents are dropping them off, and they're spending the day

CG: Get to work kids.

EC: Yeah. Yeah, they're these young boys or young kids are moving around 50 pound bags of potatoes and 50 pound bags of onions, they're not easy to pick up. So people are bagging them and other people are moving them around and putting them on pallets, so that these food banks can come and pick them up. So there's plenty of volunteers they have done a remarkable job, promoting their needs. And I think that they have people volunteers designated to organize volunteers to organize the drivers of the trucks that go out to Othello. It has become a really well run effort.

CG: So they probably could use donations but they can't use volunteers

EC: East/West food rescue is looking for donations They have a GoFundMe. And I think that they. I don't know what the how much they've raised. But I know they've done a really good job but yes they could use more, because they want to pay the farmers more, and the farmers have more food to give to the more and more food here and I don't think that this is going to end anytime soon. I don't think all of a sudden the farmers are going to have their normal distribution channels in place. So, this is a this is a new norm for distributing food from farms into the hands of people who really need it.

CG: That's fantastic. Well, I will ask that you send me links, so I can share those on the blog page. I am sure people will want to participate and help. All three of our listeners I'm sure one of them will contribute something

EC: You know what? If the three of your listeners share with three people that's nine people and those nine people share it with three people and those nine people share it with three people

CG: That's what we need. Yes, that sounds, that sounds perfect. so maybe they'll do that

EC: Just for fun is also Men's Health Month. And today, sun came out Finally I thought it was going to thunder, lightning, it was dark clouds overhead. But today at three o'clock so as we're speaking. The Seattle Mini Cooper club is doing a cart parade around the roundabout over near the Hollywood schoolhouse, and they're raising money for the family jewels Foundation. The Family Jewels foundation also happens to be run by Nancy Baylin, and it's a it's a men's health awareness, education, around testicular cancer, and she's been doing this for educating people about testing and about self testing for a couple of years now, and raises money for testicular cancer research. And so today's Mini Cooper parade. Nancy has made pie she's also known as the pie lady

CG: She's prolific.

EC: Yeah, she's wonderful. She makes a pie for everybody who donates to the cause today. So, yeah, as we speak. I think the mini Coopers are driving around town.

CG: I'm pretty sure I have a rock band friend that is in that mini-cooper club

EC: Oh really. Oh how fun

CG: I have another rock band friend who's a survivor of that cancer

EC: Wow,

CG: Yeah I'm pretty sure he was in his young 20's

EC: So her stepson was 20, when he died

CG: Oh no

EC: Yes,

CG: So it's near dear to her heart

EC: Yes, Nancy Balin's son, his name was Jamieson. 20. Yes. And so she started this in his name. It was called the Jamison jewels foundation and she said she changed it to the family jewels foundation. Yeah, but it's it's still in honor of him.

CG: Well, it's a great cause.

EC: It's a fabulous cause.

CG: All right, well, so how can they give to that?

EC: You know what, I could, I could easily find the link.

CG: Yeah, just send me whatever things you can and you know you can send me, you can send me links for things that we don't talk about today, happy to share them on the I heart Woodinville podcast page

EC: I love this podcast. I appreciate what you're doing

CG: Thank you. The first the first couple were pretty rough as I kind of got my feet under me. I sounded like I'm reading a script so I decided to throw scripts out the window.

EC: What I learned that early on, if you come prepared with a script. It doesn't make any sense to you when you try it on right? You know I want to tell you your first podcast was about the young boy, Jr. I know him and his twin sister they go to the local school and so I'm familiar with them and I just thought that was so beautiful. In the middle of all this in the middle of people being very unsure about their livelihood are made a lot of people really wanting to get food, and for all the seniors who use the Northshore Senior Center as a place to socialize, a place of connection, a place for their daily lunch or their their their their morning breakfast, those little things been a lot of uncertainty and people feeling very unsure about whether they're going to be okay or not so for a young boy like that to step up and collect all that info the Northshore senior center that was very special. So I loved that podcast. Oh, this is something good

CG: I did too. What a great What a great way to kick it off. Right, yeah. And it's funny that you mentioned that so my, my original vision for podcasting, was to involve the kids at my school. And to get them involved in interviewing and asking them teachers questions in school teachers their dentist anybody just getting people in the community, to have conversations with the kids. And of course you know they'd have they'd have a list of questions that we predetermine to ask but I, that's what I picture is getting them involved more in this, I'll be a co host. And that's that's that's what I hope to see so I just love seeing kids being involved in the community and doing something cuz they're gonna grow into great people.

EC: I agree Chris and I'm watching that. I met a couple of young gentlemen. They were their college age yesterday, and the. As soon as I met them. I knew that they were dynamic leaders already, and they are college age and they're from the area, and they're up to something great. And I thought, wow, what great role models for the kids in our community to look up to. And so, yeah, as you give kids that you're working with that sense of not necessarily responsibility....

CG: Empowerment is the word I like to use

EC: Empowerment. It grows them. It enriches them yes. It has them see themselves capable of a lot more than maybe they typically see themselves capable of. So it's wonderful.

CG: You used the word leaders and that's kind of what, that's kind of what our hope is, is we were hoping to build, confident, kids that become confident leaders also. And, you know, how is music, doing that? Well, it's helping them because they are having to commit. They're having to commit and and maintain a routine of commitment.

EC: Yep

CG: So I think that's all good leaders need to need to practice that.

EC: I think playing music has an enormous amount of life lessons in it, that are not just those musics, the music lessons themselves. And like you said it's commitment, it's sticking with something that you think you'd say you're going to do. And, and it's accountability to a teacher, right, kind of like school is. Who are we held accountable by?

CG: Or to their bandmates...

EC: Yes, Your bandmates expect you to show up.

CG: ..and be prepared, you need to have done the work so that when we're ready to practice that you're ready to perform them and keep up with everybody.

EC: You're doing a great job. You and your, your instructors are doing a great job with these kids.

CG: Thank you. Yeah, so I call that a "sticktoitiveness"

EC: Hmmm, I like that you have sticktoitiveness

CG: I didn't coined the phrase but I certainly love to borrow it and throw it in when I can because that's really what they're doing. I mean, the ones that the ones that succeed, it's because they have sticktoitiveness.

EC: Hmm. I'm gonna use that. You know what? Once when I was in my 20s, a friend of mine. I was I was signed up for some seminar and it was every week a Wednesday night, and I remember saying to him I don't really want to go tonight he said, doesn't matter how you feel, just go to show up. Doesn't matter how you feel today

CG: and what happened once you got there?

EC: Oh, you're so happy to be there. Yes. You're so thankful someone said to you just show up. I'll Remember that

CG: Exactly. Well I know you don't have a whole lot of time so I do have a question. What do you know about the plans for the city reopening, do you have anything you can tell us?

EC: Well, all I know is that the governor accepted that King County's application for phase, 1.5, and that a lot of the restaurants have been communicating with the city and the city has been creating plans to allow the restaurants and maybe some other businesses to expand their footprint and operate outside their business into the sidewalk or the parking lots for the eye. Not streets, so that they can serve people or sell their product outside of their small footprint, and to allow for social distancing and to allow for serving people, maybe, maybe more people than they would if they were only serving indoors and think the out of the outdoors has a lot to do with it. The governor's allowances. And so I know that the city is has either almost come up with a plan, and has been communicating to businesses, or as they're either finished with their plan or continuing they are still working on their plan for that so that's really all I know so far I know that there are businesses who felt like, when we were moving into phase two, they were preparing to open. And then when the governor said, King County's not moving into phase two. It made some of the businesses in the town very worried for their ability to survive. I have been talking to property managers of some of the commercial areas in the city whose tenants are very worried some of those tenants have been able to pay rent some of those tenants have not some of those tenants have negotiated paying half rent some of those tenants have said we don't think we're going to open again. Some of those tenants quickly. At the start of all this, laid off all their employees. You know I was surprised to hear from these property managers that it's, it was the smaller businesses that were kind of on their feet and able to pay the rent versus the big businesses. And I think that that's the opposite of what a lot of people might think or assume someone might assume that Barnes and Noble is going to have a much easier time paying the rent to the landlord than, say, a smaller business like Jam Academy. And I found that that wasn't necessarily consistent with the assumption, and so we're. We've been worried about the businesses in the town, as have the landlords and but the landlords of these commercial areas have done an amazing job working one on one with each business. At least, that's what we've learned Have you experienced a landlord or have you have you experienced anything positive that you could share with me about your experience going through this as a small business owner?

CG: So I missed the first round of PPP applications by the time I was ready to apply. They had shut off. They admit their quota. So, that that on that day, I emailed my landlord and said I don't know what's gonna happen with rent, what can you do, I didn't ask him if right away. I said, What can you do so yeah I kind of put the onus on him to give me something, anything. So he did he gave me half rent. I still had to pay in full property maintenance costs, triple net, basically, yes I still had to pay that but I was, you gave me two months of deferred half rent so basically added one month to the end of my lease is all so I plan on staying there anyway so that's that was nothing. Okay, that was generous and that helped me through a couple months. Our business took a hit, you know, But, but yes we're in a small enough location, and our location is in a, in a place where rent is reasonable compared to being in any of the shopping centers. Yeah. So, so we're counting ourselves as lucky there someone like Barnes and Noble I mean I can't imagine what that rent would be for a building like if they're not able to sell books. How are they going to cover that and for how long can they be closed and still cover it

EC: So, there were businesses that were promised they could open in phase two. And when we didn't hit phase two, they called and said, you know, at what point is the county going to apply for phase one and a half and what is phase one and a half mean for our business. We understood what what phase two meant for our business was one and a half meant for our mean for our business. So there are a lot of resources out there, but not every business owner knows how to access the right resources, right. So, and everybody's situation is different. It's unique, it's unique to their financial situation, unique to their type of business. It's not cookie cutter. None of this. And like you said, a lot of the businesses had a hard time getting PPP

CG: I did finally get that.

EC: Good

CG: And I was approved for EIDL but I decided I didn't want to take that one because to me it just seems unless something happens and this is, you know, goes on for a year I won't I don't think I'll need it. And I don't want to have debt. And I don't want to take funds that that somebody else might need. Yeah. So, for those reasons I said, I've got another 15 days so if they say, if they kick us back into phase one or something, then I might follow through with that.

EC: Well we'll keep up with our social distancing. For the first time today. The first time through all this went on to the Burke Gilman trail and ran and your people biking and I think that in 1.5, you can run with up to five people, and I saw a group of five running I was running by myself but there were families biking and rollerblading and I, you know, you kind of try to manage yourself on that trail but it was good to see people out, and I know people have been out but it was my first time getting out there and not running kind of just in my own neighborhood so

CG: well how did that make you feel?

EC: It made me feel good. I, I'm a people person so I like to be out and about and to see people and connect with people and say hello to people so, and I felt safe being out there and saw people wearing masks and you know I wasn't wearing a mask running I haven't worn a mask running. But of course when I go inside to a public space. I'm wearing a mask.

CG: Yes, you were when I ran into you and Hagen. Yeah, I was too

EC: Yeah, we can all recognize each other across the eyes right. Well thanks for talking to me, Chris

CG: thank you for joining me. This is this was a fun interview, and I always like talking to you, regardless of if it's an interview or if it's just meeting in Haggen and running into you and catching up

EC: I appreciate what you do for this community because it is unique. And I think the kids in this community absolutely need you and your instructors and what you offer.

CG: So, well thank you for that. And thank you again for joining us. I'm gonna let you run we ran run around a half hour which is about what I like to do. Any more than that people, you know, might start to tune out so we don't want that to happen.

EC: I hope I wasn't too boring

CG: Oh no no I'm sure people will enjoy this very much so thank you again and I'll see you at Haggen

EC: Thanks. Bye.

CG: All right so huge thanks to Mayor cook for sitting with me today, having a fun little discussion. If you could please share this post with your friends on social media, it's going to help us a lot, as we try to build an audience for the show, and we do appreciate you very much so thanks again for joining us on I heart Woodinville. Stay tuned for our next episode, which should be coming out next Monday. We'll see you guys then. Until then, do what's good in your hood. Bye for now.

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