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Dastardly Cleverness in the Service of Good:Learn what works from leading social innovators, with host Spencer Critchley.

Spencer CritchleySpencer Critchley is the host of Dastardly Cleverness in the Service of Good. He is an award-winning writer, producer, and communications consultant with experience in broadcasting, film, digital media, public relations, advertising, and music. He is the managing partner of Boots Road Group, an advertising, public relations and digital media firm that serves purpose-driven organizations.

As a communication consultant, Spencer has worked for both of Barack Obama's presidential campaigns, former Congressman Sam Farr, the U.S. Department of Labor, the University of California at Berkeley, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and many others.

As a digital media producer, his clients have included David Bowie, Moby, Santana, Britney Spears, and others while he was with Thomas Dolby’s Beatnik Inc; the Silicon Graphics-Time Warner-ATT interactive TV system; Silicon Gaming; and the multiple award-winning Choosing Success multimedia program for CCC/Viacom, described by Wired magazine as "the most inspired piece of educational software ever created." He produced Boots Road Group's Davey, W3, and Videographer Award-winning video “Rancho Cielo: Transforming Lives” for Rancho Cielo Youth Campus.

As a journalist, Spencer reported stories for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio, the Associated Press, and others, winning awards for investigative reporting from Public Radio News Directors Inc. and the Associated Press. For CBC Radio, he was a correspondent and guest host for the national entertainment and popular culture show “Prime Time,” the host of the syndicated “Canada Rocks” record review, and a contributor to “The Entertainers” and other programs. He has written for the Huffington Post, O’Reilly Radar, Business Insider, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and other publications, and is the host of the Dastardly Cleverness in the Service of Good podcast (

As a composer and music producer, Spencer was signed to a songwriting and artist development contract with Warner-Chappell Music Publishing. He created music for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation including for the Peabody Award-winning CBC Radio drama “Paris from Wilde to Morrison” and the series shows "Prime Time," "Radio Banned," and "Metro Morning." He composed the score (with collaborator Marco D’Ambrosio) and produced the music, dialog, and sound design for the Emmy-winning PBS documentary "Blink.”

Spencer is an adjunct lecturer in Journalism for the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. He has been a guest speaker for Stanford University’s documentary film program; New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; Art Center College of Design; California State University Monterey Bay; the American Constitution Society; MacWorld; Intel Developer World; the Game Developer's Conference (GDC); Interpret America; the New Teacher Center; the California Association of Public Information Officials; and the SXSW, Hot Springs, and Bermuda Film Festivals.

He has been interviewed or quoted by the Associated Press, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CNN, Fox News, i24 (Israel/US), ITV (UK), Mix Magazine,, National Public Radio, Reader’s Digest, Sky News (UK), and others.

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Dastardly Cleverness In The Service Of Good is produced by:

Boots Road group: We create content that creates impact.

Nov 10, 2017

Cities across the United States struggle with gang violence, and the challenge can sometimes seem hopeless. But you may be surprised to learn that we know a lot about how to reduce gang violence — often dramatically. We just have to act on what we know.

Our guest this time is an expert on the subject, from a small but innovative California city: Salinas.

If you know about Salinas, it may be because your vegetables come from the Salinas Valley, sometimes called the Salad Bowl of the World. Maybe you know that John Steinbeck was born there. Or maybe you’ve visited, and enjoyed the scenery, the nearly perfect weather, and the charming old downtown.

What you may not know is that this rural town of 150,000 has a big-city gang problem. But it’s also a national leader in taking an innovative, evidence-based  approach to reducing the violence, by dealing with it as a public health problem — one that can be prevented.

The strategy in Salinas brings together law enforcement, social service agencies, nonprofits, the faith community, and anyone else who wants to make a difference in a county-wide group called the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace, or CASP.

The director of CASP is Jose Arreola, who is also the Community Safety Administrator for the City of Salinas. (Disclosure: the City of Salinas is a client of Boots Road Group, the producer of Dastardly Cleverness.)

Jose ArreolaJosé Alfonso Arreola is the City of Salinas Community Safety Administrator and Director of the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace. He was born and raised in San Diego, California. José graduated from San José State University.

He co-founded and was the founding Principal at Downtown College Preparatory Alviso, a middle school in North San José, California.

Prior to joining the City of Salinas, José was the Education Specialist and Extensions Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monterey County. He currently serves as the Millennium Charter High School Board President.

José is also the site coordinator for Salinas‘s participation in the Government Alliance on Racial Equity, California Cities Violence Prevention Network and the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.