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Become a Friend With Benefits ;)

Posted by Sonny Nguyen at Mar 31, 2016 11:52 AM |

We're in the midst of a fundraising blitz right now, gathering as many new monthly donors as we can. All the cool kids are doing it, and we're excited to have you join us by clicking here. But if I'm not enough to convince you (I've been here for nine years, surely the Bus is doing something right!), here's our two newest staff members with more reasons for you to join our Friends With Benefits program today.

Alisha Agard, Campus Coordinator

I’m Alisha Agard and I first met the Bus (and Michael!) in 2013. Three years feels like a long time ago and like a very different me. By introducing me to new concepts via our classroom time and new tactics via our campaign field time, the Fellowship program not only helped me learn about political organizing, but about myself.

As a young woman of color born to two immigrant parents, I never saw myself in politics. I thought that I didn’t have a voice in the system because of this. The Fellowship helped me realize that it was because of these very identities that I needed to use my voice in politics, since so many people like me have been pushed out of the system.

After finishing my degree in 2015, I came back to the Bus as a staff member. As a 2015 Fellowship Coordinator, I was privileged with the opportunity to help other young people realize their power and their importance in the movement. It was incredibly powerful to be able to pay it forward, passing on my skills to young activists in the very program that made me the organizer I am today. Now, as the Campus Coordinator, I work with campus leaders across Washington to register thousands of students to vote every year.

I’m living proof that the Bus works. We’re not just training organizers and activists and sending them out into the world. We’re training organizers so good, everyone wants to hire them, including ourselves. We’re willing to put our money where our mouth is by hiring our own program participants to lead our life-changing work across the state. Now, we’re asking you to join us in investing in our young leaders by starting your monthly donation with the Washington Bus.

Help us empower our next class of young democracy heroes by becoming a Friend With Benefits.

Michael Padilla, Development Coordinator

My name is Michael Padilla and I am the Development Coordinator at the Bus, but before I jumped into running our Friends with Benefits membership program I became friends with the Bus (and Alisha!) as a 2013 Summer Fellow. That summer was one of the busiest, most educational, and most fun summers I have ever had! I was part of an amazing group of Fellows that taught me so much about the issues and struggles people go through everyday.

Without the Bus and the supportive Bus network I would never have been on the ground fighting and winning on tough, world-changing issues like leading the country in getting a Living Wage for Seatac workers or leading community members in Tacoma in a fight against unjust medical debt. Aside from the big issue wins, I was really excited about working with my community to get young people invested in the political process and engaging first time voters in the Latinx community.

The Bus gave me so many valuable experiences in talking to folks at the door and in the field, but it also helped me realize that when it comes to really changing how the world works, how to make sustainable impact, you need sustainable funding. I learned that one of the best ways I can continue helping the Bus engage people is to get the support and funding we need for all the great things we do. I felt and still feel that it’s extremely important that hundreds of other young people get to go through the amazing opportunities I did. Now, I’m the Development Coordinator of the Washington Bus, managing our Friends With Benefits program for monthly donors.

The Bus doesn’t just train field organizers, it trains leaders in every aspect of the movement. We’re not just cultivating field tactics, we’re cultivating leadership, community, and growth through a social justice lens. The Bus showed me that my voice matters, that I have something to contribute, and that my actions really can change the world.

When you sign up to make a monthly donation to the Bus through our Friends With Benefits program, you’re helping us continue to develop young leaders in every place of the movement - in the field, in the boardroom, on campuses, and in elected office.


12 Things To Do In The 12 Days Before Ballots Drop!

Posted by Mason Bennett at Oct 09, 2015 11:23 AM |

You’ve registered to vote! Now you eagerly await your ballot's arrival, sitting next to your mailbox with baited breath and repeatedly asking the internet when your ballot will arrive. (The answer is that ballots will drop on October 20th by the way) What will you do? How will you spend your hours before your ballot arrives and you’re able make your electoral voice heard!

1. Research candidates and ballot measures

It's important to stay engaged and informed about how these upcoming elections will effect our lives. The Washington Bus is throwing a voter guide party on Wednesday, October 21st, where we'll be releasing our official Bus voter guide!

2. Decorate your house for election season.

Maybe look on pinterest for some fun DIY ideas! Or take a cue from some of our most well-decorated government buildings, such as Seattle City Hall! Or even just print out and frame pictures of the dreamiest electeds (Tacoma City Councilman Ryan Mello, obvs)!

3. Bake 144 Apple Pies

There's nothing more American then apple pie, I've heard. Apparently. While you're preparing to help change your America for the better, make a many apple pies as you can!

4. Watch the entirety of the Harry Potter series 15.1 times!

Pay attention to any mention of politics at the Ministry of Magic and compare and contrast that with the American political system!

5. Attend protests, rallies and demonstrations

Get up and get active! Protests are a great way to support a cause you believe in!

6. Drive across the nation to Washington DC and back 4 times!

The National Mall, or something.

Learn more about our country and it's government just by driving there! 4 times!

7. Listen to the highly underrated 2000's hit Potential Break-Up Song by Aly & AJ Michalka 4800 times

Relive your favorite early 2000's musical sister duo! Much like the Bus's Engagement Coordinator, Sonny Nguyen, you probably already plan to do this anyway.

8. Make 8644 hot pockets

You probably won't have time to eat them if you make that many

9. Memorize all of our elected officials!

Challenge your memory and love of democracy by memorizing every single elected official in Washington! (Starting with Tacoma City Councilman Ryan Mello)

10. Read Jennifer Aniston: The Biography of Hollywood's Sweetheart 77 times

This best-selling (citation needed) 3.5-star-Amazon-rated tell-all is totally worth 77 reads. And only about $3!

11. Watch 192 Sounder’s Games

I mean, if you like sports! It'll probably be hard to get the players to go along with it, though.

12. Attend Phonebanks

The Washington Bus is throwing several phonebanks throughout October to both Get Out The Vote and support Honest Elections Seattle. There'll be free food, games, and themes like Xtreme 90s, Homecoming, and Pajama Party!

Our Favorite Made-Up Holiday of the Year!

Posted by Sonny Nguyen at Sep 18, 2015 11:30 AM |

Okay Washington, now that our true favorite seasons has arrived….

we have some important things on our to-do list. After you figure out your fall look and come to terms with that reading list you’ve been neglecting all summer, we need to talk about about a v. important holiday coming up.

No, no, you still have months to figure out your Halloween costume.

I want to talk to you about National Voter Registration Day (NVRD). NVRD is exactly the kind of holiday it sounds like. It’s an opportunity to register to vote, update your registration and remind your friends, family and community to do the same. You may have heard about one of the Bus’ favorite holidays from our friend President Obama. But maybe you haven’t and you’re wondering why we need a holiday to encourage folks to register to vote. If that’s the case, you’ve come to just the pithy blog to fill you in.

In 2014 alone there were 1,454,738 Washingtonians that were of voting age that didn’t register to vote and weren’t able to participate in last year’s election. Of course voting excludes our immigrant, refugee, undocumented and formerly incarcerated friends, family and communities. But for those that do have access to register to vote, we want to make sure that no one misses an opportunity to participate in an election in Washington State. We all do better when everyone can participate in our democracy. We have so many important decisions ahead of us as a state: funding for public education, moving climate justice forward, banning reparative therapy, and addressing the housing accessibility crisis. You know, just to name a few small things we need to tackle.

Every year in the state of Washington, 96,000 people turn 18. That’s a lot of people who need to register to vote.

If you care about those things or are moved by our impressive .gif collection, knowledge of pop and sports ball things, there are a few things you can do to help us spread the word on NVRD:

  1. Change your profile picture. Check out your options here or take a look at the Bus’ Facebook page. Be sure to use the hashtag #celebrateNVRD
  2. Spread the online voter registration link via social media. In the state of Washington you can register online. Fancy, huh? Check it out:

You can check out what’s happening in Washington state on National Voter Registration day here on this handy map. If you have any questions or want to get involved send me an email at

On Community Leaders and Heroes

Posted by at Aug 06, 2015 11:05 AM |

On Tuesday night, we went to the ACT Theater to see Hold These Truths, a play about Gordon Hirabayashi, one of the few people who resisted against Japanese internment during WWII. The show forced us to confront some uncomfortable truths – the failure of our country to uphold its values, the gross hypocrisy of our government leaders, and the human toll of all of this on Japanese Americans. It was about principles, and more importantly, the courage of the man who maintained them, even in the face of extreme difficulty and injustice. The play allowed me to reflect on my own values, and whether I would uphold them during such difficult times.

Recently, the International District lost a beloved community leader and hero, Donnie Chin. Much like Hirabayashi, Donnie was a man of values. Throughout his life, he dedicated himself to making his community safe. Donnie was the founder and director of the International District Emergency Center – a community-run safety patrol. He spent his nights watching for crime in the neighborhood, and providing emergency care to those who waiting for an ambulance. “He was like a real life superhero,” Sonny Nguyen recalled, as he told a story in which Donnie helped evacuate an entire building from a fire before the Seattle Fire Department arrived. Last week, we saw more than two hundred community members come together in a barbecue celebrating his life. I was moved by the many lives he has touched, and the compassion and kindness that he embodied.

As we come to a close to our time in Seattle, we have certainly learned a lot about the issues that the city faces. However, more importantly, we have learned about the incredible people and non-profit organizations that stand up to these issues. The work that these organizations do is not easy, but at the end of the day, their passion and courage help sustain their causes even during the most challenging of times.

Sa(you)want Rent Control?

Posted by at Jul 30, 2015 03:35 PM |

Last week, nearly a thousand people gathered in Town Hall to witness the debate on rent control. The atmosphere was tense and the crowds were restless, highlighting how pressing the issue of housing affordability in Seattle has become.

Seattle City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata led the argument in favor of rent control. Both Sawant and Licata described the severe burden that the increasing rent prices are placing on low-income households, and called for the need to limit these large price hikes through the rent control policy.

“The housing market is broken, and needs to be fixed,” Licata stated, “Without rent control, there is no answer to these skyrocketing rents.”

State Rep. Matt Manweller and Roger Valdez, a developer lobbyist, painted a far more negative side of rent control. They explored rent control in cities such as San Francisco and New York, linking the policy with the rise of dilapidated housing and the lack of housing growth in these areas. For them, the problem is centered on the widening disparity between supply and demand, and rent control does not address this.

“Rent control does not work,” Valdez asserted, “Build more housing - it’s that simple.”

However, addressing housing affordable is never that simple. Housing affordability has been a growing problem in Seattle since the late-1970s, and is only getting worse. Even so, history and experts are not on the side of rent control. In a rare consensus, nearly 93 percent of economists agree that rent control creates more problems than it solves. Nevertheless, Sawant and Licata are convinced that it can work.

“At end of the day, we can recite all facts, but this is about vision,” Sawant concluded, “if you want Seattle to be a vibrant, dynamic, and culturally diverse city, then we will need policies like rent control.”

Each city is unique, and it is impossible to predict whether such a policy would work. However, if any city could break the pattern, my bet is on Seattle.


Posted by at Jul 28, 2015 12:04 PM |

Natalie Brand, K5 News' chief political reporter, came to interview our very own Toby Crittenden this morning.

Toby is a master narrator- he told The Bus' story seamlessly. His hair also looked great (#TeamSaveIt).

Brand seemed interested in voter apathy and ways in which local organizations, such as The Bus, work to engage people. Brand asked, "Why is voter turnout lower in the tech community?" to which Toby responded, "I wish I could say that young people are a big, monolithic block, but they aren't... If I moved across the country, I would be aware of what's happening day to day, but it wouldn't necessarily catch my heartstrings."

Toby believes that the more time you spend in a city, the more likely you are to develop a keen awareness and passion for what's happening around you. The tech community tends to be in-and-out, and it's understandable that young people are likely to have strong roots and interests elsewhere. However, Toby argues that as tech community grows and solidifies, if in 10-20 years we are still asking that question, then we will have a huge problem.

On the efficacy of reaching out to young people, Toby explained The Youth Agenda's four core issues are purely representative of young folks' concerns and passions. Part of The Youth Agenda's goals, beyond engaging young voters, is to make sure politicians know which issues young people care about as a means of enhancing their credibility.

When questioned about voter demographics and target populations, Toby explained that we ask ourselves, "where are the most young people, and where are the most people of color? We strongly believe in racial justice, and we try to target folks who are least likely to have access to information." The Bus' places a substantial focus on Districts 2 and 3, for example.

In relation to The Bus' youth engagement, Toby relayed some of the super fun and cool things we do. He described Candidate survivor as a "...way to flip the Town Hall [paradigm] and take candidates out of their comfort zones... to ask real policy questions while creating an immediate feedback loop (i.e. text to vote)."

Kudos Toby, on a job well done!

Americans with Disabilities Act, 25th Anniversary @ Westlake

Posted by at Jul 23, 2015 03:35 PM |

On July 22nd, Seattle celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in Westlake. The first part of the event was devoted to the recognition of donors, sponsors, volunteers, and speakers, and the second half was devoted to a rally.

Over ten organizations volunteered, and the event was sponsored by a number of corporations, government affiliates, and independent donors (I.e. SPD, City Council, the City of Bellevue, Starbucks, Boeing-which-did-not-show-up, etc.).

The Executive Director of the Washington State Independent Living Council (WASILC), Emilio Vela Jr., stated that his favorite part of the event was recognizing those affected by disabilities—he pointed to one fellow stating, “This guy right here was one of the first guys to go to college in Kansas and make a case for accessible entrances, transportation, and walkways.” He further argued, “disability rights are civil rights… it’s about independent living; working and residing where xtyou want, using public transportation, whether you’re deaf or blind or a wheelchair user.”

One speaker evocatively explained how she had developed a debilitating, "invisible," disability, or a crippling anxiety disorder, and was able to benefit from the ADA  in ways previously thought unimaginable. She claimed, “If it were not for the ADA, [the act] which told my family and my friends, and frankly me, that having a disability is nothing to be ashamed of, I would still be governed by my disability today.” Instead, she is making a difference in Washington State, by servicing those living with disabilities, and engaging folks on the importance of the ADA across the state. Her story dually speaks to the ADA’s protections for those living with mental illness.

Several politicians spoke to the importance of the ADA. Patty Murray, a Washington senator strongly in support of disability rights at both the state and national levels, left an audio message. She stated, “We have so much to celebrate today, but we must also think about what more can be done.” Murray is working to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) so that students with disabilities have the opportunity to “work and grow and thrive,” in an increasingly inclusive environment.

On a beautiful sunny day, the ADA was celebrated in a crowded city square—visible, potent, and necessary.

Plymouth Housing: A Landing Site for the Homeless

Posted by at Jul 17, 2015 02:22 PM |

Last Saturday, we had the opportunity to visit Plymouth Housing Group, an organization that serves some of the most disadvantaged homeless adults in Seattle. During this visit, we learned about the organization’s unique approach towards tackling homelessness.

Plymouth operates under a “housing first” philosophy, which focuses first on bringing people off the streets and into stable and permanent homes. This means that individuals who often have no other options for housing – drug addicts, the chronically ill, and the disabled – can find a home at Plymouth. By lowering the barriers to housing, and accepting those who are struggling the most, Plymouth acknowledges the challenges that come with homelessness and aims to tackle the issue at its core.

What struck me the most was the extent to which Plymouth went to try to make their tenants feel at home. As part of our visit, we helped make welcome posters and calendars for new residents, to provide a more welcoming and comfortable touch to their new homes. The idea is that by prolonging their stay, tenants will have greater opportunities to seek the supportive services that they need and build towards a better and more stable life.

So far, the hard work seems to have paid off. According to Winona Caruthers, the Community Engagement & Housing Stability Coordinator, nearly 98% of tenants remain with Plymouth after one year. Today, Plymouth is serving more than 1000 formerly-homeless people in its facilities.

However, there is still much work to be done. The problem of homelessness remains rampant in Seattle, with nearly 4000 people still living on the streets – a 20% increase from 2014. At Plymouth, waitlists extend through several years, and have even closed. This poses many questions: Are we taking the right approach? Are we tackling homelessness at its source? What is the source? The city and non-profits certainly have a complex problem to address. Whatever the answer may be, volunteering at Plymouth has shown me the value of incorporating kindness and humanity into this solution.

O'Toole Is O'Cool, Harrell Go To He...The Park

Posted by at Jul 16, 2015 01:40 PM |

Recently, I attended a City Council Committee Meeting on public safety, civil rights, and technology. There were some 60 attendees in addition to Committee Chair, Bruce Harrell, council member, Jean Godden, and Chief of Police, Kathleen O'Toole.

Harrell began by addressing a group of middle school students in the audience, stating, "we have the Chief of Police here today, the highest ranking police official in the city, AND, she is a woman...We are very proud that gender doesn't make a difference, at least not here in this city."


Last time I checked, gender makes a difference everywhere - even in a city as comparatively progressive and proactive as Seattle. Harrell, are you familiar with the host of LGBTQ hate crimes happening in and around The Hill these days? Unequal wage gaps? Apparently, you aren't.

(I'll revisit later on).

For now, allow me to debrief on a few of O'Toole's main points on the SPD's efforts to augment police accountability.

1. So far in 2015, the SPD has not been involved in officer shootings and other violent disputes (phew).

2. The SPD has implemented an Early Intervention System (EIS) to enhance officer accountability. O'Toole stated, "[the EIS] is a way to identify an officer's abnormalities before he/she becomes problematic." And yes, we've seen "problematic" from sea to shining sea.

3. The SPD mandates de-escalation training as a part of its police academy, in efforts to "use deathly force [only] as a last resort so that officers have the tools to effectively de-escalate a dangerous situation." While reminiscent of the "talk a man off the ledge" strategy, popularized in films and literary account of sorts, O'Toole argues that de-escalation has been largely successful to date.

4. The SPD is going #Social #WorldWideWeb, via "trying to get better at telling [its] story," says O'Toole. She is proud of the SPD's new social media presence (FB, Twitter, etc.). Personally, I'd like to see an Instagram account titled, "TheCopCar98105," but we're not there yet.

5. The SPD is working to align its statistical data with Seattle's 57 distinct micro-communities. Each neighborhood has its own set of diverse challenges, that O'Toole and fellow officers believe should be uniquely addressed. Kudos!

6. A new (mysterious ghost) IT man is working to develop "agile policing," or the use of data from previous events to render new protocols. O'Toole says that this will help to "rapidly deploy resources through the use of technology" (like drones, but not).

7. Community outreach is in. So is police recruitment. The SPD has the most "...diverse police explorer program in the state" for young people (like, 4th graders) to "...learn about policing... and to see if it's right for them." Forest Fire Fighting (yes, the FFF) was "right for me" when I was that age, but unfortunately, things change. Anyways, the program is diverse, and "targets historically underrepresented groups," says O'Toole.

8. O'Toole signed off (kind of) with these inspirational words, to soon be etched upon the back of a Pottery Barnes pillow - "I like to emphasize that prevention and intervention are always more important than enforcement." #True.

Long live O'Toole!

Who Let the Cats Out (Not Kitty Hall)

Posted by at Jul 10, 2015 02:55 PM |

Today Seattle City Hall told the world that local shelter cats would be chilling for the public to enjoy. "Come," they said. "There will be cats," they said.

But really, we show up to City "Kitty" Hall today, expecting to find an abundance of fluffy ferocity left and right, and instead we find an ultra-exclusive tent housing no more than three kittens at a time. Not to mention the longest line in history (for City Hall, obviously).

The kitten to people ratio was probably 1:70. It's like asking a group of 100 strangers to split two jelly beans amongst themselves. Like, they can't.

We demand more cats in the wake of false advertising. Do you know how many stairs it takes to climb up there? And for what? Heartbreak?! Meow.

Youth Homelessness Training @ New Horizons

Posted by at Jul 03, 2015 11:20 AM |

On the night of July 1st, I attended Ropes, a homeless youth training program run by New Horizons’ staff, Joseph Seia and Tristan Herman.  The training was both intensive and interactive. At first, we were asked to name the various causes and characteristics (both stereotypes and realities) associated with youth homelessness. Then, we were taught to analyze ways in which volunteers can appropriately support these populations to minimize power differentials and transactional relationships. We participated in a role playing exercise, in which we were given identification cards of respective homeless youths, and asked to achieve a set of goals (i.e. SSI, transitional housing, a bed for the night, medical care, etc.) from service organizations played by other training attendees.

I played the character of 25 year-old Sage, an African-American transgendered female, who had recently escaped the confines of an abusive relationship, and had no financial backing. In our role play, Sage was denied SSI from DHHS because her illiteracy prevented her from filling out the right forms, denied transitional housing because of her anxiety during her housing interview, and was sent to jail for not being able to pay two tickets for jaywalking (is that even a real crime?).

Throughout the exercise, the police did little to help Sage and the other youth—rather, they were stifling.  Right before the exercise was over, Sage received a change card, detailing a hate crime incident that left her in the hospital. She could not afford to pay the $1200 medical bill, and she was sent to jail. Again.

The exercise was difficult for everyone involved—service organizers were torn between wanting to do what was humane (denying no one) versus what they were told to do (stick to bureaucratic routines, rules, etc.). The exercise helped me to realize how readily the homeless are dehumanized or victimized by not only the public, but by government and law enforcement officials as well. Playing the role of Sage was especiallydifficult given her gender identity—in almost every scenario, she had a significantly harder time achieving her goals than did cissgender youths participating in the same exercise.

Joseph stated, “how you receive [trans youths] at the door [of any organization] will determine whether or not they continue to come back,” highlighting the importance of LGBTQ education in his work. As hate crimes increase on the streets, the world becomes infinitely more cruel towards LGBTQ homeless youth. Violence aside, Joseph and Tristan explained how internalized oppression is one of the most lasting and dangerous effects of youth homelessness. Tristan argued that one of the biggest obstacles New Horizons faces is “young folks’ really lowself worth… this unshakable sense of inferiority.” Internalized oppression drastically increases drug and alcohol abuse on the streets, as well, making it even harder to reach out for support.

This training was super helpful (thanks Josephand Tristan!) and informative. I’d strongly recommend attending—you won’t be the same person when you leave.


Pride Weekend 2015

Posted by at Jul 01, 2015 10:32 AM |

This weekend, we attended our first Seattle Pride. On Friday, we attended the TransPride festival on Capitol Hill, and on Sunday, we attended the larger parade in the city's center.

The Bus has been attending TransPride for two years, and the festival itself has existed for three. It is organized by the Gender Justice League and depends on donations from a number of  organizations, such as the Social Justice Fund Northwest (SJFN) and the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA).

Karter Booher, The Bus' Fellowship Coordinator, stated that TransPride 2015 seemed to be about twice as large as it was the previous year, highlighting the festival's substantial growth.

The Bus had four fellows involved in TransPride this year, whose primary responsibility was to register voters and engage people in The Bus' youth agenda (police accountability, youth employment, housing accessibility, specifically) in regards to issues within and around Seattle's trans community. Namely, there has been a recent increase in trans related hate crimes and violence, the necessity for protection against discrimination in the workplace, and the need for safe and affordable housing. This past year, Seattle had the third-highest rate of LGBTQ-related hate crimes in the United States.

Karter believes that education around these issues is crucial to lessening tensions. Theo Savini, a 2015 fellow, stated that The Bus' involvement at TransPride is crucial because it urges people to vote and organize in spite of being made to feel invisible or silenced.

In attending Seattle's Pride Parade on Sunday, the Bus teamed up with Equal Rights Washington in marching. The march was nearly two miles long, and endless lines of supporters filed along sidewalks. At the end of the parade, we saw the rainbow flag hanging atop the Space Needle, evidencing Seattle's (and America's) recent legislative and judicial success and fight for social justice. We've undoubtedly come a long way, and  the fact that #LoveWon this weekend is no small feat. However, there is still so much progress to be made, and as young folks, we're lucky to have both a hand and a say in where we go from here.


Posted by at Jun 26, 2015 03:55 PM |

We spent our day at The Bus running about Capitol Hill (aka "The Hill," "Trapitol Trill, but never EVER CapHill), interviewing locals about their favorite neighborhood dessert spots.

The Hill was adorned in rainbow, in celebration of Pride this past weekend. 'Safe Place' signs were attached to windows and doors, and crosswalks were freshly painted rainbow. Locals were not only excited about the recent Pride festivities, but also about the ways in which each dessert cafe/shop/hub incorporated the theme into its decor and food items.

Seeing as we had already been lucky enough to eat bumbleberry pie at High 5 Pie just two days prior, we decided to go back and talk to Adaam King ("'King' like royalty") one of the the cafe's baristas. Adaam told us that he's worked at High 5 for over three years, and that his favorite pie is the peanut butter and jelly cream pie. He explained that the pies are made exclusively of butter crust, and only from local ingredients (fresh from WA, OR, and ID). When we asked Adaam what makes the coffee so fantastic, he responded "Me." No arguing here! High5 also specializes in the sweet or savory pie fries, or what we affectionately refer to as "the munchkins of the pie world." If you want to be cool like Adaam, you can enjoy the savory fries with a side of sour cream.

Upon arriving in Cal Anderson park, we met Joyce B., a mother, who recommended D'Ambrosio Gelato. In her opinion, D'Ambrosio has some of the best gelato in all of Seattle. Her favorite flavor is salted caramel fig, and her five-year-old daughter is crazy about the avocado flavor. #SophisticatedTaste. Sam Warren, a Seattle native, loves Dilettante's wide selection of cakes, and we later found out that the cafe services a complete chocolate martini bar.

Another local, named Nicole, recommended the chocolate eclair at Cafe Petti Rosso, which we then decided to try for ourselves. Really, REALLY wasn't bad. So basically, if you have your heart set on running into us (anyone?), chances are you can find us chilling here.

We were drawn to Marcus Garthe, a cyrwheeler (please, look it up, it's fascinating and magical). He told us that the best dessert is located in Belltown (not The Hill, but closeish?). La Vita e Belle has some of the best homemade canolis and tiramisu in the city, and as Marcus explained, "great Italian desserts are super hard to find."

While watching Marcus, we were also drawn to a rainbow-haired woman named Colleen Langdon, and her adorable dog, Maggie. Colleen works for the Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea), and as a security guard in The Hill. As a key initiator of both the pride-painted crosswalks and The Hill's Safe Place movement, Colleen lent an interesting perspective on LBGQT hate crimes, and told us that she is excited for the upcoming Seattle Pride Parade. On a lighter note, Colleen raved about Molly Moons (which we actually have not tried yet, despite tons of recommendations). She
also men
tioned Cupcake Royale, which we decided to visit next.

Cupcake Royale is a princess's paradise. We spent ten minutes deliberating on which cupcakes to get, and finally decided on "The USA" (previously "The Gay" -thanks SCOTUS!) and a mini chocolate cupcake. Both were incredible. Seriously, better than Magnolia in NYC. They had all kinds of cool flavors, like Blueberry Lavender Honeycomb, Raspberry Pavlova, and Blackberry Brown Butter. Cupcake Royale also has really good ice cream, but sadly, we were already sugar crashing by the time we walked in.

Basically, we fell in love with Cupcake Royale, High 5 and Pie, and Cafe Petti Rosso. Thanks for the food baby, Seattle. We hope everyone had a great Pride weekend!


Posted by at Jun 26, 2015 11:45 AM |

Hi everyone!

We are Allen and Natalie, and we come to The Bus this summer as DukeEngage interns. We are super excited to begin our work with The Bus and to experience all that it has to offer.

We are eager to begin working on and learning about issues of accessibility and equity resources, green and urban development, and anti-oppression mechanisms within the Seattle community. Together, we've had experience in marketing, branding, research, and developmental analysis. We hope to both augment these skills during our time with The Bus, and to learn more about Seattle's political processes, policy needs, and youth agenda.

We will be working with Sonny, The Bus' engagement coordinator, and blogging every week about various Bus happenings. If you see us out and about with The Bus at various events, please be sure to say hello and tell us where to grab our next meal!


Natalie hails from Duke University as a Public Policy Major. Natalie can often be found drinking the wrong coffee from the wrong places, helplessly navigating this majestic novelty of a city, or freestyle rapping at the expense of others. Natalie is looking forward to engaging and mobilizing the citizens of Seattle, and learning as much as possible about anti-oppression, human rights, and urban and green development. She is eager to get started in the field and will be blogging weekly about various Bus happenings.



Allen is a rising senior at Duke University, and is majoring in Biology. He comes from a small town in New York called Corning, and enjoys spending time outdoors, whether it is by running, playing soccer, or hiking. When he is not outside, you can find him catching up on sports or watching cooking shows. He is excited to be working as an intern with the Bus, and be a part of this movement of empowering the youth of Seattle in tackling issues important to their communities.

Why's Pre-K Such a Big Deal?

Posted by at Oct 29, 2014 01:29 PM |

This blog post was written by Tatum McConnel, sophomore at the Seattle Academy and Communications Coordinator with the 2014 Fall Internship.

A battle has raged on between Seattle lawmakers and Seattle unions, AFT Washington and SEIU Local 925, for months now - so what’s it all about? Preschool. Might not be what you were expecting. By November 4th, voters will have to decide between two options on the ballot that both have to do with the child care industry. Here’s the thing, only one can get passed.

prop 1a.jpg

Prop 1A, backed by AFT Washington and SEIU 925, aims to improve working conditions by raising wages and creating a new training institute for child-care workers, while also limiting costs of pre-K to 10% of a family's income.

Prop 1B, proposed by City Council and the Mayor, wants to take a first step towards creating a universal Pre-K by subsidizing Pre-K costs for families earning up to 300% of the federal poverty line.

They say the devil's in the detail, so what's the catch?

Currently, the main issue is that no one has any idea how much Prop 1A will cost. Prop 1B aims to serve 2,000 3- to 4-year olds through a $58 million property tax levy over 4 years, but Prop 1A estimates have huge ranges! The Prop 1A campaign says it will cost about $3 million. The Prop 1B campaign says Prop 1A could cost $100 million. That’s a pretty big difference.

So how can there be such a huge difference between the two budgets?? The problem is that no one can really know how much Prop 1A will cost, because no one knows how the wording will be interpreted in court. There’s no way to know if pieces of the measure will be viewed as mandatory or aspirational. (For an in-depth look into the financials of Prop 1A check out Publicola's recent article on the subject.)

So why is preschool so important?

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