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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Rachel Crick. Rachel Crick is a Social Documentary Photographer who is pursuing her Masters in Digital Communications at the University of Washington. Currently, Rachel is working on two documentary projects, as well as book/art installation showcasing multi-racial children.

June 11, 2012 at 6:30 AM

A Seattle woman named Melanie: young, pregnant, and homeless

Melanie, a homeless woman on a Seattle street corner on May 3, 2012. (Photo by Thor Tolo/UW Election Eye)

During election cycles, much attention is paid to the economy, and more specifically, job creation. UWEE talked to a homeless woman in Seattle about how she found herself on the street after her career faltered, which provides a sobering reminder of how easily it could happen to others.

SEATTLE — Melanie has bright eyes, a welcoming smile, and a wicked laugh. She is 27 years old, a jewelry artist, an expectant mother, and a self-proclaimed Republican. A former Whidbey Island resident, Melanie currently lives on the streets. She panhandles for a living, sleeping in doorways with her boyfriend and her dog Duke.

Five years ago, Melanie’s life was very different. She explained that she owned her own home and a successful jewelry business. Then the economy turned.  “The tourists started buying cheap key chains and stopped buying my jewelry,” she said.  Without reliable income, she found herself struggling to make ends meet. First, the career she built was lost. The house followed.

While standing on the corner of 45th and University Way, a stone’s throw from the University of Washington campus, Melanie and Duke hold court. Melanie displays a sign asking for money for marijuana and beer. She says that the sign is more for the amusement of those that pass her on the streets than anything else: local college kids will give to a cause when they readily agree with the sentiment. A young man stops and gives Melanie two cigarettes and she tucks one behind each ear. He laughs, then gives her two more to which she responds, “I only have two ears!” and pretends to give them to her dog. A college-aged young man hands Melanie ten bucks and tells her to buy Duke dog food, to which she smiles and says, “I will! Thanks!”


Comments | More in Local | Topics: Homelessness, Republican, Seattle

May 7, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Stranded on top of Snoqualmie Pass provides an opportunity for storytelling

Greyhound Bus station. (Courtesy of Omar Omar on

Greyhound Bus station. (Courtesy of Omar Omar on

En route to Spokane, Washington a Greyhound bus experienced engine trouble and pulled off to the side of the road to await help. This created an opportunity to talk with the passengers — everyday people — about politics and issues that are important to them.

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wa. – The Friday mid-morning Greyhound bus from Seattle to Spokane was already running late. Passengers waited patiently in line for the bus to arrive, and then to walk to the boarding area, and finally to board.  The bus driver stood at the front of the bus after all had been seated, and in no uncertain terms discussed all the reasons he may have to pull the bus to the side of the road should he feel the need. Drinking, sneaking alcohol onto the bus, loud or obnoxious behavior, disturbing fellow passengers, or bothering the driver.  The bus pulled out of the station maneuvering through city traffic, onto Interstate 90 and up to the mountain pass towards Eastern Washington.

About 90 minutes into the drive, the bus slowed, and pulled over to the side of the road.  You could hear murmurs and whispers about smoke coming from the back of the bus, and the driver got on the radio to headquarters.  Those of us in the front of the bus could hear him talking to dispatch, giving details and grumbling that he’d been so close to reaching the top of the pass, if only he’d had made it….now he feared he would have to return to Seattle.  The driver got off the bus, checked the engine, and decided to forge on a few hundred feet to a safer place where passengers could stretch their legs and get a bite to eat.  The side of the road outside of a convenience store at the summit of Snoqualmie Pass was to be our resting place for the next three hours, until help arrived.


Comments | More in Local | Topics: Greyhound bus, Seattle, Snoqualmie Pass

May 1, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach discusses the political climate and parallels to Washington State

Senator Daylin Leach Campaign Headquarters in Bryn Mawr, PA. (Photo by Derek Walker/UW Election Eye)

The political climate in Washington State may become similar to that in Pennsylvania should Rob McKenna become Governor of Washington State this fall. UWEE sat down with State Sen. Leach to discuss the similarities.

BRYN MAWR, Penn. — During our Pennsylvania road trip, we traveled to the 17th Senatorial District to interview State Senator Daylin Leach (D). Senator Leach served under Pennsylvania’s former Governor Ed Rendell (D) and has seen the dramatic changes in the State government under its current Governor, Tom Corbett (R).

The political climate in Washington State may become similar to that in Pennsylvania should Rob McKenna, who is currently favored to win, become Governor of Washington State this fall. McKenna has made promises similar to those Corbett made while campaigning:  Prioritizing education, putting cost cutting reforms into place in order to balance the budget, and managing state services.

We arrived at the Senator’s office to a flurry of activity. Volunteers were preparing to “Get Out The Vote” by canvassing neighborhoods and making phone calls. We asked Senator Leach, a self described liberal, to discuss changes he has seen under the new administration and to address issues that his constituents have faced since Governor Corbett has taken office.  Our hope was to shed light on possible parallels Washingtonians may themselves face should McKenna be elected.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Daylin Leach, Ed Rendell, Environmental Proection

April 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Cleveland’s West Side Market: Family farms weather the economic downturn by building local customer base

West Side Market in Cleveland on April 20, 2012. (Photo by Elizabeth Wiley/UW Election Eye)

Cleveland’s West Side Market is packed with local vendors, fresh produce, and hope for an economic upswing. 

CLEVELAND — Cleveland’s West Side Market is an indoor market taking up several city blocks.  Smaller than Seattle’s Pike Place Market, it is more comparable in size to Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market. Celebrating its 99th year, the market leans heavily towards the sales of meat products with specialty vendors selling everything from coffee to pastries and pastas. The weekends draw large crowds of customers threading their way from stall to stall.

Across the way is a smaller marketplace focused on produce. Aisles and aisles of colorful items line the stalls of the market: bountiful grapes, bananas, peppers, tomatoes, kiwis, and star fruits. Vendors call out to shoppers offering tastes of their wares — creating a loud, crowded, and energy filled environment. 


Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: Cleveland, Economy, Farmers Market