Hella Bus Blog
- Meet with Engagement Organizer once a week to review goals and weekly work plan.
- Attend 1 Winternship team meeting each week with intern class.
- Choose two work days in the office to continue work on individual project 2-3 trips to Olympia.
- Voter’s Pamphlet. The pros: It’s sent to my door, both State and County versions are available online, and has everything covered. The cons: It’s lengthy, and allows candidates, initiatives, and ballot measures to describe things in their own words, how can that possibly be objective?
- The Municipal League. The pros: objective grading system of everything from candidates to ballot measures, all available online. Full disclaimer: I have multiple friends on their board, and have volunteered with the candidate evaluation process in the past before I became a citizen, so have some vague familiarity and recollection. Cons: It’s yet another set of information I have to sludge through.
- Blogs and the Media. The pros: Up-to-date coverage with multiple perspectives on multiple platforms that I can read and catch up on my many devices. The cons: As a journalism graduate, I’ve been ingrained with a lot of idealism about objectivity, but we all know that most media outlets have political agendas, and even the most objective ones tend to lean a little to the left or right. Many people pointed me to The Stranger’s Cheat Sheet as a Seattleite and because of my age, though it’s definitely not objective (and, to it's credit, very openly so). Others mentioned The Atlantic, and Publicola which, while certainly not without biases, strive for a more objective and centrist voice.
- Other resources: family, friends, mentors, community members, my Facebook and Twitter feed. Pros: I trust, and have real rapport and relationships with them. Cons: They’re human and come with their own set of biases and beliefs, which may nullify the quest of getting objective informants.
Last month, an unstable gunman brought an assault rifle into Sandy Hook Elementary school and open fired, killing 20 children and 7 adults. The horrific nature of this event has catalyzed the nation into addressing America's unique gun problem.
I work in an elementary school, and remember the day the news broke. I was at home when a special report came on KUOW. As the details came out, I felt this raw mix of sickness, anger, and sadness. Schools have had procedures in place since the 1999 Columbine Massacre, reverse evacuations that pull children into locked bathrooms, closets and copy rooms. Sandy Hook had similar policies, but in a world where automatic rifles can shoot 800 bullets in a minute, running and hiding is drastically too slow.
In response, groups from across the political spectrum are coming together in the hopes of preventing future tragedies, or at least lowering the all-too-American prevalence of them. Below are some of the actions being taken in the attempt to leverage the right to remain unperforated with the right to bear arms.
King County's Approach
One idea to prevent future gun violence is voluntary gun buybacks, in which people are anonymously allowed to turn in guns for disposal for cash or gift cards. King County is joining other municipalities around the country in launching a gun buyback program that will start January 26th in downtown Seattle. The county will give out $100 gift cards for handguns, shotguns and rifles and $200 cards for assault rifles. Because the program is voluntary, it's often the easiest to accomplish without treading on the 2nd Amendment.
Something being easy doesn't make it good public policy. In analyzing the effectiveness of gun buyback programs we can look no further than a 1994 National Institute of Health (NIH) study of a gun buyback program Seattle implemented 20 years ago.
In 1992, three shootings occurred in a single Seattle neighborhood over one weekend, sparking the buyback program. The NIH studied the effects of the program two years later. The study found no significant change in gun-related crimes the 6 months after the buyback.
According to the study, the 1,700 handguns collected amounted to less than 1% of handguns in Seattle homes. The authors concluded: "Even under the unlikely assumption that guns turned in during buyback programs are as likely to be used in a crime as the guns not exchanged, the effect of removing 1 percent of guns from the community on rates of firearm crimes is negligible."
Contrast programs like these with Australia's 1996 mandatory gun buyback law. Following a mass shooting and subsequent assault weapon ban, Australia forced its citizens to sell their guns back to the state. Since then, there have been no mass shootings and a drastic reduction in suicides. Studies disagree on the effect on homicides.
But gun buybacks are one of the few options cities and counties have. Currently cities are unable to enact any gun control measures if they are stricter than state regulations. Seattle previously enacted a ban on guns in public places, but a King County Superior Court Judge ruled the ban violated state laws. Which means any significant new legislation will have to come from Olympia.
What Will Washington Do?
Washington State's legislature is currently divided between a solidly Democratic House Majority and a tenuous Republican Majority in the Senate. (After the 2012 election, Washington's Senate was 26 Democratic Senators to 23 Republicans. Senator Rodney Tom (?-48) and Tim Sheldon (?-35) decided to switch to the Republican Minority to create an ostensibly bipartisan caucus.)
The House of Representatives has introduced HB 1114, which would allow the state to lock up individuals deemed a public safety threat who are otherwise incompetent to stand trial for up to 90 days. Current law protects people from being locked up long-term if they are found incompetent.
The House HB 1147 which amends unlawful possession of a firearm laws to ban people who are found not guilty for reason of insanity.
All three House Bills have bipartisan sponsors.
In the Senate, Senator Benton (R-17) introduced SB 5015, a bill that would make killing a youth age 14 or younger an aggravated first degree murder, carrying harsher penalties. Benton is also a co-signer of SB 5058, a bill that would increase penalties for assaulting law enforcement officers. SB 5058 is currently sponsored by Democratic and Republican Senators.
These five bills represent a reasonable start, and we'll likely see more bills introduced as the legislative session goes on. But compare these bills to New York State's sweeping gun control legislation, where a similar Republican Senate and Democratic Assembly agreed on reforms banning assault weapons and limiting magazine capacity to 7 bullets. New York's bill also includes a statewide gun registry, gives law enforcement the ability to remove guns from the mentally ill, and establishes a life sentence for anyone who murders a first responder.
The Right To Bear Ballots
If Washington is going to be anything like New York, it'll take a groundswell of public support for sensible reform. The Senate switcheroo put Senator Mike Padden (R-4) in charge of the Law and Justice Committee, which will limit which bills eventually move to the floor and get a vote. Padden was endorsed by the NRA Political Victory Fund, an organization that has thus far reacted to the Sandy Hook shooting by requesting armed guards be placed in every school. (Anyone believing children should be in close proximity to guns might want to consider how often elementary school children staple their own fingers.) Also this.
If the legislature fails to act, activists could look to run a statewide initiative. Ceasefire Washington, a gun safety group, released the results of a statewide poll Tuesday.
They found that 87% of Washingtonians support closing the gun show loophole, 66% supported banning semi-automatic weapons, and 68% of Washingtonians would like ammunition clips to be limited to 10 bullets.
Any initiative campaign would need to be heavily financed to withstand the influx of NRA money that would enter Washington State in response. The NRA spent nearly $30 million in 2012 to prevent any new gun-safety legislation from being passed.
The 2nd Amendment isn't going anywhere, and no one is going to take away the American Right to responsibly own guns. But as a nation, and as a state, we can mitigate the damage these weapons cause. And we as a nation have a responsibility to the past and future victims of gun violence to have a serious discussion on how to best move forward. I believe we can do just that.
Want to learn how to put young people in the driver's seat of democracy in Washington State? Yes? Then apply for the best internship of your life..... the Washington Bus Winternship.
Email katie[at]washingtonbus[dot]org for the full application.
The mission of the Winternship is to develop a full-spectrum understanding of political advocacy and civic engagement in Washington State. The Winternship will provide interns with an introduction to legislative advocacy during the 2013 legislative session. Winterns will develop a strategy to educate their peers on a current issue of their choosing. The Wintern class will put on one large-scale education event and will also have the opportunity to participate in legislative work in Olympia.
See the full application here.
Timeline: February 4th, 2013 - April 28th, 2013 (3 Months), 10-15 hours a week.
The Washington Bus internship program will provide:
• Opportunity to pursue what you’re interested in
• Professional development and resume building for future employment
• Practical skills training and an educational component
• An understanding of the U.S. political process and local politics
• Self-starter who can work in a fast paced environment
• Energetic and fun personality
• Relentlessly positive attitude
• Passion for civic engagement
• Interest in politics
Click here for the full application.
This internship is an unpaid volunteer opportunity, although some reimbursement for travel expenses and/or college credit may be available.
Seattle's next mayoral competition is going to have an intense and crowded primary. Mayor Mike McGinn is up for re-election in November, and the list of challengers has been steadily growing.
So far, City Councilmember Tim Burgess, Former City Councilmember Peter Steinbreuck, State Senator Ed Murray (D-Equality Pants), Activist Kate Martin, and Businessman and Bow-Tie-Enthusiast Charlie Staadecker have all announced they will challenge McGinn.
And last Friday Seattle rapper Macklemore told MyNorthwest he too will run.... in 2025.
If Macklemore (Ben Haggerty) were to run this year instead, his odds look pretty good. A 100% official SeattlePI.com poll currently has Macklemore far in the lead with 58% of the vote.
Macklemore's entrance into the race would make him the second rapper competing to be the head of Seattle's Executive Branch. The first?
"Everything I do representative."
With or without Macklemore, it'll be an exciting primary. And the other candidates have plenty of time to bone up on their freestyle skills before Candidate Survivor 2013.
President Obama gave a speech in Michigan yesterday attacking Governor Rick Snyder's aggressive push of "Right-To-Work" (RTW) legislation. The legislation prevents unions from compelling union members to pay dues.
Obama calls the law "Right To Work For Less", referring to the fact that states with similar Right-To-Work legislation have seen wages drop significantly. The non-partisan Economic Opportunity Institute found that union members in RTW states earned an average of $1,500 less than their counterparts elsewhere in the nation.
Michigan would be the 24th state in the U.S. to have RTW legislation, further damaging the ability of workers to bargain collectively for wages and benefits. By allowing union members (in the short term) to benefit from union representation without paying for it, most unions see a drastic drop in dues, which in turn gives them less ability to bargain over the long term.
It'd be like allowing citizens to voluntarily opt out of paying taxes while still demanding state services. Or you know, Washington.
Unions have been attacked by Republican Governors repeatedly over the last few years. Last year Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker passed a law ending collective bargaining for state employees. (A judge has since overturned the law as unconstitutional.) Earlier this year Indiana passed a RTW law. Republicans in the House of Representatives have tried and failed to pass a National Right To Work bill that would cover all states.
Union membership has consistently waned over the last 50 years. That same decline has led to growing income inequality: workers make less while CEO's keep more.
Recent attempts to unionize Wal-Mart employees and fast food restaurants in New York City could signal low-paid workers are fed up and ready to fight back. But Right To Work legislation makes it all the more difficult to do so.
There's been a lot of attention on the upcoming "Fiscal Cliff", a problem of our own making and one of the worst abuses of the English language since funner was added to the dictionary.
The reason behind this attention is purportedly because the series of tax increases and spending cuts happen automatically come January 1st.
But there are other crucial issues that expire at the end of this year that have importance beyond this so-called cliff. (For more on why the "cliff" ain't no thing look here.)
One of the bills still in limbo is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Congress passed VAWA in 1994 and reauthorized it twice along bipartisan lines. But the bill was not reauthorized last year over disputes about protecting vulnerable LGBT, Native American and immigrant communities. The Democratically controlled Senate wants a VAWA that incorporates the needs of all women, while the Tea Party infused House of Representatives have called the extended protections a distraction. Washington's own Cathy McMorris Rodgers called the protections "side issues" and claimed the House Bill protected only "the true victims of domestic violence".
Word in DC is that Vice President Biden (one of the original architects of the 1994 VAWA) is working with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to try to work out a deal. The sticking point? Protections for Native American women.
Currently jurisdictional issues on reservations give non-native white men protection from prosecution for rapes or assaults against Native American women. The Senate bill aims to make it easier to prosecute these offenders.
All of the protections provided by VAWA expire at the end of this year, but that's no excuse for congress to allow Native American women to continue to be victimized.
The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women has an action page set up here.
Sunday, December 9th was the first day same-sex couples were legally allowed to marry in Washington State. City Hall was brimming with couples excited to tie the knot on the first day ever. Judges, city officials and members of the community came out in droves to volunteer their time in order to make everything come together.
And it was beautiful.
An amazing 138 couples were married in City Hall. Many had been together for decades and are just now able to legally wed.
Couples were married at one of five temporary wedding altars, and afterward were led into a reception area where they could give video testimonials about their relationships. These videos are all up on the Seattle Channel.
Yesterday was the culmination of years of work, from the dream Senator Ed Murray had for 17 years, to the Marriage Bill passed in January, to the Referendum that voters approved in November, and the weddings all over the state. Being present yesterday was awe inspiring - Washington State affirmed these couples as being completely equal in the eyes of the law.
Way more photos of happily married couples after the jump.
Today marks the first day that same-sex couples can legally marry in Washington State.
Not wanting to wait any longer, couples lined up outside the King County Courtroom in downtown Seattle to be married at 12:00 am last night.
The Seattle Times put together an amazing and heart-warming video of last night's events. King County Executive Dow Constantine was there signing Marriage Certificates, as well as Senator Ed Murray, the creator of the Marriage Equality bill in the Senate.
Of course, Marriage Equality is huge for couples on both sides of the Cascades. Equality Spokane has this video of the first lesbian couple married in Spokane. Of extra significance, one of the wives is also a married veteran benefiting from the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
One other congratulation in order: Washington State hit 81% voter turnout, the highest in the nation. These historic events wouldn't have been possible without such huge turnout. Congratulations to all the happy couples.
As an amazing year draws to a close, now is the time to get on the Bus!
In 2011, Bus supporters who gave a one-time gift of $500 or less collectively provided nearly $21,000 in fuel for the Bus! Thank YOU for contributing your part.
In 2012, the Bus exceeded all of our goals – 14,357 voter registrations, 20,000 doors knocked, 95,000 phone calls – but most importantly, volunteers came out over 4,000 times to make it possible.
We are better together – $21,000 is better than $50, and 5,000 is better than one. We invite you to give what you can again this year – $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 – to achieve together what we cannot do alone.
Speaking of what we can do together…Join us at FestiBus for a rad party: free food, drinks, awards, DJ, unveiling of new Bus swag…did we mention FREE drinks?
All ages | Thursday, December 13 | 6pm – 9pm| Be there.
Thank you for your ongoing support. The Bus is as powerful as the people who are on board, and having you makes all the difference.
Bus Development Coordinator
Last month Washington voters passed Initiative 1185, a third Initiative from conservative activist Tim Eyman that imposes a 2/3rds majority requirement to raise any revenue in Washington State.
In 2007, Initiative 960, Eyman's first 2/3rds Initiative passed with 51.24% of the vote. In 2010, after the legislature overturned 960, Eyman's 1053 passed with 63.75% of the vote. Currently 1185 is passing with 63.91% of the vote. Tellingly, none of these bills would have become law if they were subject to the same 2/3rds requirement placed upon the legislature.
In fact, none of the ballot measures on the 2012 ballot would have passed the 2/3rds requirement. No gay marriage (54%), no marijuana (56%), no charter schools (50.69%). Even President Obama didn't manage to pull in 2/3rds of the electorate in deep blue Washington state.
Which is part of why a back in May of this year. Super-majority requirements are in practice unattainable. The State Supreme Court has yet to set a date on when they will decide on the case, but will likely do so before the January legislative session. If they don't, the 2/3rds majority requirement will still be considered unconstitutional when state legislators return to Olympia.
What's At Stake:
Washington State is not paying its bills. After a drawn-out recession, we're simply not raising enough revenue to keep up with a very baseline upkeep. Our state-based revenue system falls disproportionately on the poor and is slow to adapt to changes in market conditions and demographic shifts and trends.
The Washington State Budget and Policy Center finds that state revenue is projected to come in at $4.8 billion less than our current obligations. This includes vital state services plus our state's "new" obligation to fund schools due to the Supreme Court's McCleary decision.
As just one example of many, according to the 2010 census, Washington State spends $9,452 per student each year. Contrast that with Washington DC, which spends $18,667. Do we value our student's education half as much as our country's capital?
Can't Squeeze Blood from a Stone
Washington voters are pretty consistent about their desires to lower taxes. On the same ballot voters approved the 2/3rds requirement, they rejected two non-binding advisory votes to raise revenue by removing a deduction used by large out-of-state banks and delaying the expiration of a current tax on petroleum manufacturers. (Both votes have mere symbolic effect thanks to a prior Eyman Initiative.)
And I'm empathetic. Low-income and middle income Washington residents are feeling the squeeze. (As is my broke ass.) According to a report by the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, Washington's poorest residents pay up to 17.3% of their income into state coffers while Washington's richest pay just 2.9%. We live in a very high-tax state if you're poor and a very low-tax state if you're rich.
But there are ways to raise revenue that don't soak the poor. Last session legislators attempted to create a modest tax on capital gains - i.e. the money earned from sales of stocks or property. Capital gains are almost ubiquitous amongst the richest members of Washington State, and rare among low-income and middle-class Washingtonians. The bill that failed to pass last session exempted the first $10,000 in capital gains, resulting in a tax on only the richest 3%.
A capital gains tax would be one of many possible ways to get Washington out of debt. But ideas like this are non-starters while Olympia is shackled by 2/3rds requirements.
Regardless of how we do it, until Washington gets real about paying for the things we value, we'll continue to underfund schools, roads, transit and life-saving services. It's time for the Evergreen State to put its money where its mouth is.
Applications due this Friday! Make all your Bus employment dreams come true:
Bus Fellowship Coordinator - A.K.A. The Great Facilitator
Know how to manage a diverse and energetic group? Great at inspiring others? Then the Bus Fellowship Coordinator might just be the job for you. Check out the formal description and application below.
The Bus Fellowship is a ten-week leadership development, political organizing, and community-building program for 18- to 25-year-olds from across Washington State that runs from mid-June to mid-August. Fellows spend the summer learning state-of-the art campaign management, leadership, grassroots organizing, and public policy formulation.
The Fellowship Coordinator is responsible for facilitating day-to-day group discussions, managing group dynamics, and supervising Senior Fellows. The Coordinator works closely with the Fellows Manager to conduct outreach, shape curriculum, metrics and day-to-day logistics.
To Apply: Send resume and cover letter to jobs [at] washingtonbus [dot] org. All applications must be submitted electronically in pdf format. No phone calls please. References and writing samples should be available upon request. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. If the position is not already filled, the final application deadline is Nov. 30th at 5pm.
Engagement Organizer - A.K.A. The People Person
Want to be the face of the Bus? Work directly with awesome volunteers across the state? Lead ? Then this is the position for you. Formal description below:
The Engagement Organizer is responsible for implementing the Bus’s year-round leadership development and volunteer programs. The Engagement Organizer supports the Engagement Coordinator in meeting monthly and election-long volunteer engagement metrics. This includes developing and implementing engagement strategies, running day to day internship programs, being the face of the Bus at schools, universities, and community events, and managing volunteers.
The Engagement Organizer position is a highly social, highly demanding, and highly rewarding role. This is a full-time, permanent position, which means you’ll be working many evenings and weekends. The Engagement Organizer reports to the Engagement Coordinator and Program Director.
To Apply: Send resume and cover letter to jobs [at] washingtonbus [dot] org. All applications must be submitted electronically in pdf format. No phone calls please. References and writing samples should be available upon request. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. If the position is not already filled, the final application deadline is Nov. 30th at 5pm.
The Washington Bus is an inclusive organization, fostering and drawing on leadership from communities of color, recent immigrant communities, and emerging young voter demographics.
In 2008 the country elected our first black President amidst a horrid recession with the powerful urgency of hope. In Seattle people amassed in the streets, poured champagne into stranger's mouths and danced in a celebration usually reserved for the toppling of third world dictators.
Four years later, it happened again.
President Obama won a second term Tuesday night. In some ways this is just as huge as his first win. After four years of slow, erratic and sometimes painful progress, Obama faced what would have been a referendum on his first term.
As it turns out, we're just not that into referendums.
Obama won with a projected 303 electoral votes Tuesday night. He's currently slightly ahead in Florida which would be another 27 electoral votes. (Rumor has it Floridian's are still in line waiting to vote.) In 2008 Obama won with 365 electoral votes. Obama carried the popular vote once again.
His eponymous accomplishment, Obamacare, has now survived numerous Republican attempts at repeal, a Supreme Court case, and an oppositional Presidential campaign aimed at killing it. Obamacare is the floor all future healthcare legislation will be built upon.
He now has four more years, four years in which we'll likely see two more Supreme Court justice picks, and ideally some kind of grand bargain on our tax policy in order to address the deficit he inherited.
The Democrats not only maintained power in the Senate, but managed to pick up one extra seat. They remain the minority party in the House. While a recipe for gridlock, it's also an indication that most of the signature legislation of the last four years will remain in place.
Elizabeth Warren of Harvard picked up Massachusetts' Senate seat, defeating Scott Brown.
Richard "God's Will" Mourdock of Indiana and Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin of Missouri were both defeated by their Democratic challengers. Both men rose to fame for making incoherently poor statements about rape, and voters of their respective states responded. This is also a win for science, as Akin, a man with zero understanding of women's reproductive anatomy was just voted off of the House Science Committee.
Angus King, the Independent Candidate from Maine pulled in a solid victory against his Democratic and Republican challengers. As a pragmatic Independent, he's expected to regularly caucus with the Senate Democrats, but has fought valiantly to avoid joining the partisanship on each side. He will be the second Independent Senator currently in office, joining Bernie Sanders who was elected as a Socialist.
In other close races, Connecticut's Christopher S. Murphy (D) wrestled his senate seat away from former WWE CEO Linda McMahon. In Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin (D) beat out Tommy Thompson (R). Nevada's incumbent Dean Heller (R) held onto his senate seat. And in Virginia, Tim Kaine (D) beat out former Gov. George Allen solidly.
In The House:
The Republican party was able to hold onto their majority in the House of Representatives, although the Democrats did pick up 3 new seats (and a few are still undecided). In some ways, this victory is more a victory for gerrymandering than it is for a particular party - in 2010 a lot of congressional districts were redrawn to favor incumbents, at the time the majority of which were Republicans. The Senate is less affected by these fluctuations in part because we don't redraw state borders every 10 years.
Here in Washington's redrawn 1st District, Microsoft Exec Susan DelBene (D) beat out John Koster. Delbene won two elections, both the race to finish the rest of Jay Inslee's term as congressman, and the race to replace him come the new session.
Turns out Paul Ryan was smart to hedge his bets: while he won't be the Vice President, he did win his re-election bid for the Wisconsin House. He'll maintain his role as the chair of the House Budget Committee, where he'll continue to convince people that he's "kinda a numbers guy". Ryan's supporters and GOP officials are already talking about Ryan being a potential presidential candidate in 2016.
To The Future, And Beyond!
The next big confrontation between House Republicans and the Senate Democrats will be over how to deal with the "fiscal cliff", a horrible shorthand for a slew of reasonable cuts and tax increases set to land January 1st, 2013. If the Republicans are unwilling to compromise, the Democrats can just let the Bush era tax cuts expire and return to the rates we had under Clinton. More of a fiscal "watch your step."
Last night Washington State did something that has never been done before. By popular vote, Washington citizens voted to approve Marriage Equality and to legalize the recreational use of Marijuana.
Referendum 74 is currently winning by a 3% margin statewide, and Land-of-Dorothy King County is still counting ballots. We'll likely see an even higher win percentage over the coming days and weeks.
Washington is joined by Maryland and Maine, both of which also extended marriage rights to same-sex couples by popular vote. Together these three states marked an historic change, one in which voters approved Marriage Equality with majority votes. Prior to last night, whenever a popular vote was taken, gay marriage lost.
War On Nugs:
Marriage Equality wasn't the only victory for social justice advocates last night. Washington State fully legalized the recreational use of Marijuana. The ACLU's successful initiative put a stop to the state's prohibitionist arrests and prosecutions of an inordinate amount of people of color for a non-violent crime.
Initiative 502 is currently passing with more than a 10 point lead statewide, and across a majority of counties. This isn't an issue passing in metropolitan areas alone - across the state voters have said it's time for a change.
Colorado also passed an amendment legalizing recreational marijuana, while in Oregon a measure attempting to do the same thing failed.
Marijuana is still illegal federally. Whether the Federal government will attempt to impede state law is unknown, although they've so far allowed for the medical use of marijuana (also illegal) as long as dispensaries followed state law.
Think of the Children:
Charter school legislation is currently passing by 3%, a much smaller margin than polls predicted. Populous King County is coming out against the Initiative, while Pierce and Snohomish Counties, also very large, are both coming in for the Initiative. With ballots still being counted, it's hard to predict how this initiative will fair.
"It's very possible the Initiative could be defeated," reports Ben Lawver, an organizer for the No on 1240 campaign. "I'm optimistic."
Initiative 1185, requiring a 2/3rds super-majority to raise any revenue, passed in every single county last night. One need look slightly further down ballot to see the results - both attempts at raising revenue were voted down by voters.
Advisory Vote 1 would have removed a tax deductions for banks. Advisory Vote 2 would have extended a tax on petroleum products. Because neither one could get past a 2/3rds majority hurdle, they were put up to a public vote and subsequently repealed. This is why Washington is failing to fulfill our most paramount duty. Whether or not we find a way to fund our state is up to the Supreme Court now.
Sheryl Gordon McCloud solidly defeated Richard Sanders. Sanders was voted off the court back in 2010 after claiming blacks had a "crime problem" and gays "had more sexual partners". Rather than recognize defeat, he stayed on the court in the equivalent of a volunteer role and attempted to earn his place back by running for another seat. Perhaps this time he'll get the message.
Jay Inslee beat out Rob McKenna with a safe 3 percent margin. As is usually the case, the Democratic Inslee safely pulled in most of the coastal areas, including a whopping 63% in King County, while McKenna performed strongly in Eastern Washington. Inslee likely was boosted by a strong turnout for Obama and Marriage Equality. Of note, so far Obama has received 87,221 more votes than Inslee, meaning some Washington voters split their ticket between Obama and McKenna.
Bill Finkbeiner's (R) progressive endorsements weren't enough to unseat the reigning Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen (D), who has been in the seat for 15 years.
Bob Ferguson (D) defeated Reagan Dunn (R) despite a slew of outside expenditures. The Attorney's General seat receives a lot of attention because in recent years it's been a stepping stone before running for Governor, which worked for Gregoire and not so much for McKenna.
Secretary of State:
Kim Wyman (R) is currently ahead in the race to be Washington's Secretary of State, but with a less than 1% lead in the ballots. Her Democratic challenger, Kathleen Drew earned 61.77% of the ballots in King County, which is still being counted. It would be very easy to see this race change up as late ballots are counted.
Tacoma's Jeannie Darneille beat out her self-funded challenger Jack Connelly by 15 percentage points. Darneille likely benefited heavily from her 12 years in the House representing Tacoma. And maybe a bit from a huge core of volunteers who love her.
Noel Frame looks to have lost her election against Gael Tarleton, despite an impressive ground game. Tarleton currently has a 15 point lead in the race.
Firefighter Bud Sizemore trails traditional burger enthusiast Mark Hargrove by less than 100 votes in the 47th. King County elections has only verified 61% of the ballots they've received within that district. We'll know in the coming days and weeks who comes out ahead in this race.
Cyrus Habib has a strong and commanding lead against his opponent Hank Myers. Beyond being an amazing campaigner, Habib will be the first blind man to serve in the state house. Habib has been an advocate for people with disabilities throughout his life, and will take this stewardship to the legislature.
Marriage Equality advocate Mary Margaret Haugen looks to have lost her race against her Republican opponent Barbara Bailey. Haugen was targeted by conservative groups for her support of Marriage Equality after being the deciding vote back in January.
North Seattle had a few really close races, and former Transportation Choices Coalition director Jessyn Farrell appears to have beat out Sarajane Seigfriedt for the 46th's Position 2 Representative. In Position 1, UW professor and education activist Gerry Pollet beat out Sylvester Cann.
Spokane's urban 3rd district stayed Democratic, re-electing Andy Billig, Marcus Riccelli and Timm Ormsby. It's less urban 4th and 6th districts continue to be held by Republicans. In the 4th Matt Shea beat out Democratic challenger Amy C. Biviano by 13 points. Biviano performed well in what's normally a very conservative area.
The same held true in the 6th, where Dennis Dellwo (D) came close but was unable to beat Jeff Holly (R).
On Mercer Island, Steve Litzow (R) beat out Maureen Judge (D) in the Senator's Race. Litzow was an early supporter of Marriage Equality, and was one of only a few Republicans who voted for the bill.
In the same district, Marcie Maxwell (D) beat Tim Eaves (R) for the contested Representative position.
Election Day is here!
Voting is an individual act of pure power; that’s one of the things I’m learning as a first time voter. It’s like we’re a group of millions of ants, all collectively working together, pulling a giant leaf of citizenship to make it to the top of a political anthill. That anthill is not a candidate being voted into office or a law being passed; the top of that anthill is our collective voter registry, our unified willingness to show up for our country and make the best of this democracy. I feel a greater responsibility now to hold my fellow citizens accountable to step up and utilize their personal power. After completing my last phone call tonight, I feel a deep sense of empowerment that I’d participated in the process. In a small way, I was able to contribute to tangible democracy and make a difference.
So what did I learn in this journey of first-time voting in the past few weeks that I will apply the next time around when I’m going a second-time voter?
The no on I-1185 campaign has a video up explaining their view of a 2/3rds majority requirement to raise revenue.
I'm fond of these sped-up animation talks, probably because I have absolutely no artistic skill myself.
My one critique of their message is that they only use the word taxes, not revenue. Tim Eyman's 2/3rds initiatives don't just prevent legislators from raising taxes, they also prevents us from closing tax loopholes to raise revenue. Which is why oil and alcohol companies overwhelmingly fund them.
The initiative is going to pass regardless. Which instead means all eyes should be on the Supreme Court and the Lieutenant Governor's races.
This is installment #2 of a new series by My Tam Nguyen, friend of the Bus and all around awesome person. Check our part 1 here.
Read & Research
This next step is perhaps the most crucial in the journey of voting and good citizenship: reading and researching about the issues and the candidates.
Since you heard from me last, I survived Hurricane Sandy and the many trains, planes, and automobiles as a part of a LA-NYC-Boston-Detroit-Seattle extravaganza. I’m also in between deadlines for community and professional commitments, and of course, am completely behind on finding that perfect poem to read during the ceremony at my friend’s destination-wedding next week. I get it, we’re busy.
Young people are caught between our balancing ambition, reality, budgetary and time constraints, being there for our family and friends, answering a deep desire to make a difference in shaping our local and global communities, and seeking strategic ways to get into that not-so-secret Macklemore & Ryan Lewis show. How do we fit voting into this equation?
It’s less than a week until Election Day (Nov. 6), and a second Voters’ Pamphlet greeted me when I opened my neglected mailbox after my week away. They call this one, the King County Local Voters’ Pamphlet, apparently it’s different than the State of Washington Voters’ Pamphlet I’d received the week prior. Most of my more experienced-voter friends have already posted humble-brag Facebook photos of their completed ballot, with snapshots of their choice political candidates and ballot measures. With my trip, and the limited time on my hands with all the things I’m balancing, I’m a bit behind. I also don’t want others’ biases to affect my own voting opinion. Voting is a new freedom of mine, as I’d mentioned extensively in my first post, I don’t want to mess it up by being easily influenced. So where do I find unbiased information?
It's a much more nuanced and difficult question than I’d imagined. In order to choose my candidates and be informed about these ballot measures, I have very finite options to get objective information, most people merely scoffed and laughed at me when I’d asked for unbiased voters’ resources:
So what do I do and whom do I trust for my research and information? My approach is going to be a combination of the aforementioned, browsing through the voters’ pamphlets, checking out what the Muni League has to say, paying attention to what’s trending on major local and national media outlets and blogs, and of course, keeping a close ear on the ground and eye on my feed of what my friends and family are saying.
Next post...Show Up & Question.