Hella Bus Blog
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- Only a few states actually matter. Because most states electoral college votes are winner-take-all (50% + 1 vote gets you 100% of electoral college), only the swing states really matter on election day. Historically blue (sound familiar, Washington?) or red states don’t get much time, money, or attention from the candidates - while swing states like Ohio and Florida are inundated with endless campaign propaganda.
- Faithless electors. This is admittedly rare, but not unheard of. Electors “pledge” to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in their state, but aren’t legally bound to honor that pledge. This means that some sneaky electors have voted for another candidate than the one who won their state, going directly against voters’ mandate.
- 1876, 1888, 2000. Because of the way electoral math works out, a candidate who did not win a plurality of popular votes has been elected President three times in our history. Yikes! Popular interest and electoral vote aren’t always one and the same.
This post was written by our summer engagement intern Amulya Cherala.
Cartoon by Rex F. May
With rising carbon emissions, Washington and Oregon are taking some tips from their friendly Canadian neighbor, British Columbia. Many concerned lawmakers are pushing for a carbon tax in hopes that the impact of green house gases on the environment decreases. Carbon tax is always a tricky issue. Lawmakers believe a state-level model of the carbon-tax could serve as an example for a federal model and encourage national support of the tax. But how much should the tax be? How do you decrease the burden of a tax for those who can't afford it?
Legislators in Washington are giving the carbon tax a push forward by implementing three major developments that ensure the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions:
1. Under an evaluation of current efforts to cut carbon emissions in Washington State and elsewhere would be conducted. This evaluation would be used by a newly created group of legislators who would create an action plan with strategies that provide the most environmental benefit to the state. l
2. A University of Washington economist recently filed a ballot initiative that would replicate the British Columbia $30 per metric ton carbon tax while rising at 5% a year. The measure would also decrease sales tax and increase tax exemptions and tax credits. It would also use revenue from the tax to support energy efficiency projects.
3. A carbon tax spread sheet model was also developed to track revenue generation and CO2 reduction from the tax. This model was also used in Oregon's evaluation of its carbon emissions.
Increased carbon emissions are killing the earth.
BUT...Some people are worried...
Regulating CO2 emissions but regulating people seems like it will become a problem in and of itself. With taxes on gasoline people may cross he border for energy sources. Some also believe that a federal tax is a more viable option because it would impose taxes on imports from other countries and would encourage those countries to take on their own carbon tax (a carbon tax domino effect!).
Those who oppose the carbon tax believe that additional policies to directly regulate CO2 emissions threatens the economy because indirect regulations on transportation and land-use may smother the construction industry and other industries.
What Can we Expect?
Our state's ballot initiative is based on British Columbia's carbon tax model and is different from other state-level models. As New York and Oregon figure out their legislation on the carbon-tax, it will be exciting to see what unfolds in the state of Washington.
The 43rd annual Fremont Fair is a celebration of culture and arts which will be taking place from June 20-22. Every year it draws in 100,000 fair goers to one of Seattle's quirkiest neighborhoods. People keep going back for more because its a great way to experience the arts and culture of Seattle!
What can you expect at the fair?
Fair Food : Food Trucks, Food Stands and more Food Trucks!!
On both Friday and Saturday, ticket prices are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate or a two-day pass for $35.The Fremont Fair Solstice Concert Series will host several local artists.
Check Out the Main Stage Performances
Friday- June 20th:
Saturday- June 21st:
It's that time of year again! Tomorrow, June 18th, 2014 is the day we finally get to meet the 2014 bus fellows. The fellows are ready to join us at the bus and do some petty awesome local politics work with young Washingtonians and the Bus.
We will kick off the 2014 fellowship with the 2014 Bus Fellows Inauguration which will take place tomorrow at the Wing Luke Museum from 6:00pm-8:00pm.
J O I N Us There! It's a free, all ages event. Food and drinks are on us!!
What exactly is the Fellowship ? The fellowship is a 10 week long program that trains young leaders to participate in grassroots organizing and promote progressive politics in the Seattle area. The fellowship is an intensive program and aims to empower young leaders with the skill sets needed to go make change in their own communities and hopefully even the world!
We're all pumped to see what great things our fellows do this summer and can't wait to see you all celebrate their arrival with the Bus at the Wing Luke Museum tomorrow evening!!
This blog post was written by our summer Bus Intern Amulya Cherala.
The plight of low wage workers has been put on the shelf for far too long and Seattle's push towards better pay has been an important step forward in recognizing the problems these workers face. On June 2nd, 2014 the Seattle City Council approved the $15 minimum wage. This vote serves as a milestone decision and gives hope to many low wage workers in other cities around the United States where income inequality is hindering their daily lives and driving them to poverty.
What does it mean now that Seattle has approve the 15 dollar minimum wage?
Currently, low wage workers in the United States struggle to pay bills and provide for their families because they don't make enough money to account for those costs. Some people believe an increased minimum wage will be good for Seattle's economy and will lift thousands out of poverty. However, others worry that it puts a lot of stress on small business owners and reduces the number of jobs because higher wages would force employers to try and compensate for labor costs.
SO...what is Seattle doing to address these concerns?
Seattle is the first major city to take such swift action in addressing the issue of income inequality. Still, the city is taking the aforementioned concerns into account by implementing an incremental plan. Starting April 1st, 2014 the minimum wage will increase to either $10 or $11 depending on the employer. City council members have worked hard to reach a compromise which they feel "recognizes the harm caused by stagnant wages and the harm to local businesses should [they] move forward too quickly."
The hope is that the increased minimum wage will give low wage workers some room to breathe. Although there will continue to be conflicting views and many challenges , there is no denying that the organizational efforts of those who were part of the increased minimum wage movement were successful. Their victory will serve as an example for many cities and states across the country. San Francisco is already following in the footsteps of Seattle. Last week, San Francisco's mayor proposed a measure that, if approved by voters in the fall, would increase the city's minimum wage to $15 by 2018.
Amulya Cherala is an International Affairs and Chinese major at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She was born in Bellevue, Washington and moved to Hyderabad, India, living there for seven years before moving back to the Pacific Northwest in 2005. Experiencing Indian culture first hand, living in the U.S., and traveling in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East has given her a better understanding of global issues and challenges. In San Antonio, she is involved with MOVE (Mobilize Organize Vote Empower), the newest affiliate of the Bus Federation Civic Fund. As engagement intern, she plans to increase volunteer engagement and get the youth more involved in local politics.
This blog post was written by former Bus Intern Isabella Fuentes, Junior extraordinaire at Ingraham High School in Seattle.
January 21, 2010 was a pretty awful day for democracy. On that hallowed day, our Supreme Court handed down their decision on Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Committee, a ruling that opened the floodgates for corporate money in political campaigns. The Supremes (no, not these Supremes, although they go about as far back) said that political contributions were a form of free speech, and that the FEC couldn't restrict the amount of money a corporation (which is defined for legal purposes as a person) spent independently on a campaign, since that would be restricting their free speech. This decision was denounced by many Americans who reasoned that money is not speech and corporations are not people. Pretty simple, right?
But then came April 2, 2014. The SCOTUS handed down the decision for McCutcheon vs. Federal Elections Committee, which takes everything bad about Citizens United and makes it 500,000 times worse (approximately). While Citizens United struck down corporate contribution limits, McCutcheon removed the aggregate cap that individuals can spend directly on an election. This means that while the $2,600 maximum that an individual can donate to a single candidate remains in effect, the overall cap of $123,200 is removed.
The court was divided in classic 5-4 style, identical to their vote on Citizens United 4 years ago. The conservatives (Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and swing vote Kennedy) argued that the cap on direct individual donations doesn't prevent corruption and is essentially meaningless, while the liberals (Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan) dissented. In a rare and powerful display of significance, Justice Breyer read his dissenting opinion from the bench on the day of the decision. His blistering opinion stated that this decision "eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve."
In the expensive and polarized political landscape of today, the McCutcheon decision is incredibly relevant and holds major repercussions for future elections. Taken together, Citizens United and McCutcheon create major loopholes where donors can funnel millions of dollars to parties or campaigns.
The 2014 Midterm Elections: presented by The Monopoly Man (source)
The extent of the influence that the money has on elections is questionable. Karl Rove's Crossroads PAC and nonprofit spent a combined $400,000,000 on the 2012 election, more than even the RNC. The flush-with-cash PAC and nonprofit saw 1% and 14% success rates, respectively.
Overall, however, it's undeniable that McCutcheon will add a new dimension to our nation's already questionable and porous campaign finance laws. Look to the 2014 midterms and 2016 general elections to see how the latest influx of money will affect your elections. In light of Citizens United, McCutcheon, and a host of other campaign finance laws, it's important to know that the United States government is of the people, by the people, and for the people; not of the millionaires, by the 1%, and for the corporations. Our Supreme Court would do well to remember that.
This week's comic about GiveBig was created by Bus intern and content lead of the Hella Bus Blog, Sophie Reingold.
Want more information? First, check out Amber's run-down of all things Gif Big, Give Bus, then click here to learn more about The Bus and GiveBig! Or click here to make a donation on Tuesday, May 6th!
WE SURPASSED OUR $10,000 MILESTONE!!!
Today, May 6th, your gift to the Bus will grow BIGGER and BUSSER! All donations to the Bus via the Seattle Foundation website will grow thanks to GiveBig!
Make A Gift!
When you make a donation to the Bus on GiveBig, your gift is stretched by The Seattle Foundation. That means for every dollar you donate, the Bus gets even more: your gift literally grows bigger. For every fundraising milestone we reach, the Bus will share specialty .GIFs throughout the day!
Simply click here and select a personally meaningful donation amount to #GiveBus on Tuesday, May 6th. We invite donations of all sizes and appreciate all your support. Once you've donated, change your social media picture with the image below, share the link with your friends, and stay tuned for our milestone GIFs.
Be a GiveBus Ambassador!
Interested in contributing in other ways? Be a GiveBus Ambassador and commit to sharing GiveBus with 4 of your friends, family, and network. Create your own GifBus GIFs with the hashtag: #givebus. Have more ideas? Email Amber to get involved.
This comic about Proposition 1 was created by new Bus intern and content lead of the Hella Bus Blog, Sophie Reingold.
Hey Buslandians! There are 2 things we love here at the bus: elections and buses. And right now, it's that special time when those two things converge. Behold, today's special election!
First of all, get your ballot in. There are drop boxes all over the county or you can drop it in a mailbox or at the post office before last pick up, TODAY, April 22nd. There's only one thing on the ballot, so filling it out is as easy as, well, riding Metro. Make sure to get your ballot in by tomorrow and vote YES on Proposition 1!
And secondly, thanks to everyone who came out toto help us get out the vote! We talked to over 1600 King County voters last night to remind them to send in their ballots. And we looked lovely doing it!
So guys, today's election day! Truthfully, there's not much left to say about our eternal love for buses or Metro. It's up to you now: send in your ballot, vote yes on Proposition 1, and remind other people to do the same so that our busses are saved for King Countyites and Buslandians everywhere.
The Bus waits for no one. Frequent bus riders know how it feels to show up late to your bus stop. If you're a minute late, it'll leave without you.
Ballots are the same way.
Don't let the bus pass you by! Your ballot is due Tuesday, April 22nd. If King County's Proposition 1 doesn't pass, you may never see that metaphorical bus again. (Not to mention all these real buses that will actually disappear.)
Already sent in your ballot! Good for you! There's more you can do. You can track your ballots progress online here.
Want to do more to save King County Metro? Come to our final phone bank Monday evening at the Bus HQ!
This blog post was written by our newest Bus Intern and Seattle Academy senior, Sophie Reingold. This is her first post as the new content lead of the Hella Bus blog! Get to know her below!
My name is Sophie Reingold and I am currently a senior at Seattle Academy. I live in Bellevue and in my spare time I enjoy playing soccer and tennis, jamming out to music (especially Kid Cudi or Beyonce), baking goodies, and playing with my dog, Kevin.
I absolutely love making art – especially comics and cartoons! I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. My closet is full of (if not bursting with) notebooks, napkins, and scraps of paper covered in these doodles. Drawing is incredibly important to me. It is the way I express myself, tell stories, and compile memories.
A "hand" drawn example of Sophie's style.
I also have a passion for travel. I have been lucky enough to have gone on several school trips to Costa Rica, India, and most recently, Alaska during my high school career. I love immersing myself in a completely different culture, trying new things, and meeting amazing new people. One of my favorite memories is of watching a Puja ceremony from a canoe on the Ganges River – which was definitely one of the most amazing things I have ever done!
I decided to intern at The Washington Bus because I believe in the work they do. I love the idea of an organization run by young people, for young people with the intent of improving the political process for all people. As an 18-year-old concerned about the well-being of my home state, I believe getting youth involved in politics early is important. I also think the Washington Bus houses employees who are devoted and passionate and seem to be both the busiest and the most chill people I have ever met. Working with them is inspiring.
At The Washington Bus I will be helping to reinvigorate the Hella Bus Blog. I will be reaching out to potential bloggers, doing research, and writing and posting my artwork on the site. My goal is to help make the Hella Bus Blog exciting, lively, and informative. I am jazzed to be contributing to an organization (and a blog) that is run by such enthusiastic, talented, and driven individuals!
The Hella Bus reign of Sophie and Alien Squidman has officially begun!
Parliament: the Save Metro Ballot Party is only two days away! Click here to grab your tickets now!
Parliament returns for a second straight year! This time, we're going all in to SAVE KING COUNTY METRO! As usual, Parliament features awesome local bands fused with activism. Details below:
Who: The Bus + Move King County Now + Chop Suey + You + Your Rad Friends of All-Ages!
What: The annual event that fuses local music with activism; this year, we're hoping to Save Metro!
Where: Chop Suey - 1325 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98122 (two blocks north of the Bus office on Madison in Capitol Hill).
When: Wednesday, April 9th. Doors at 7:30.
How: Bring yourself and as many friends as possible because this show is FREE and ALL AGES!
Chop Suey is ADA accessible. Call for more info: (206) 324-8005
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~PERFORMING ARTISTS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A 20 year old emcee from Seattle by way of Minneapolis, Dex's latest project "HerbPenSoul" has been getting coverage on hip-hop blogs around the country. His sound has been described as confident, smooth lyricism over soulful, jazzy production.
The Hoot Hoots
Local self-described "Fuzzy Power Pop" band The Hoot Hoots' latest EP "Feel the Cosmos" was named Seattle Metropolitan Magazine's album of the month, with single "Go For a Walk" being named as song of the day by KEXP.
Move King County Now
Seattle Transit Riders Union
Save Metro at UW
Downtown Seattle Association
Cascade Bicycle Club
This Blog post was written by Bus Intern and Hella Bus Content Lead Isabella Fuentes!
This week, seniors across the nation are receiving their university decision letters and choosing their future colleges. I think this means that it’s time to talk about another very important college:
Where they party almost as hard as this guy.
The electoral college was created way back in 1787 by our founding fathers, intended to be the best method for choosing our presidents. They shot down the idea of Congress electing the president (not enough separation between branches of government) and direct popular vote (because then the South would have to figure out what to do about slaves), and ultimately settled on a system where a handful of electors choose the president for the country a few months after the popular election takes place.
Nowadays, however, some flaws in the system are pretty apparent.
On that note, I have two pieces of news. First: the electoral college isn't going away anytime soon. Second: this doesn’t mean we can't have a popular vote.
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement between states that is currently being debated across the nation, would utilize the electoral college system to create what is effectively a popular vote. Since the Constitution permits states to decide the method of appointing and pledging their electors, states who join this compact pledge their electors to whoever wins the national popular vote. If enough states do this - however many it takes to get to 270 votes, or a majority of the 538 needed to win – then whoever won the November popular election would be guaranteed an electoral victory as well, meaning we would effectively have a direct popular vote.
Progress of national popular vote bills by state. Credit: www.nationalpopularvote.com/map.php
In recent news, New York just became the 11th state to join the interstate compact since 2007. This means that 165 electoral votes, or 61% of the votes needed to achieve a direct popular vote, have been pledged to support the popular vote winner. That’s no surprise, since over 70% of Americans support a popular vote.
There’s not much Washingtonians can do now - our state has already joined the compact and passed the bill! However, keep a look out for this issue nationwide. If this passes, candidates will have to win everyone’s vote, and Washington voters will finally get the love we deserve!
Want to get involved? Of course you do! Check out the blurb below to find out what is the what:
EARTH DAY GREEN-A-THON/ Saturday, April 26, 2014.
In 2014 Got Green is bringing that same vision of equity, savings and opportunity back to Southeast Seattle!
BECOME A GREEN-A-THON Team Member
Participating in the Green-A-Thon shows you support families in Southeast Seattle. This year we're raising our goal to lift up more voices and new leadership in our communities!