Hella Bus Blog
Last week, King County Metro announced the bus routes that are on the cutting block, or will face reduced service, due to a projected $60 million shortfall. Cuts include eliminating high ridership routes like the 26, 28, and 46, as well as reducing service to dozens of other popular routes. The cuts may go into effect as early as February 2012, and will have a drastic effect on the effectiveness of the entire Metro system. Our weekly Dansportation series explored potential solutions here.
This Tuesday (tomorrow) at 6:00, you have the opportunity to let the King County Council know how the proposed cuts will effect you. The hearing will take place at the King County Council Chambers (516 Third Avenue, 10th Floor). If you can't make the hearing, you can still give the Council a piece of your mind on their website.
King Count Metro Town Hall
Tuesday, July 12th
516 3rd Ave, 10th floor
When I returned to Seattle for the summer, driving around town I began to notice a number of marijuana dispensaries that had popped up around the city. Rumors were circulating about these dispensaries: that they were legal, that they were illegal, that they were operating partially “underground”, that the cops knew about them but didn’t bust them, etc...
Turns out, people are largely unsure and confused about the legality of these dispensaries for a good reason. The legality of these dispensaries is in fact confusing and unclear to all parties involved—cops, dispensary owners and lawmakers alike.
Washington state’s passed a medical marijuana law in 1999 that permits the use of medical marijuana however, it does not specifically allow or ban marijuana dispensaries. This has left dispensaries in a strange legal gray area in which lawmakers, cops and dispensary owners must try to interpret the vagueness of the law. Essentially, I, like many others, am right back where I started, pretty confused about the whole thing. However, the general confusion makes it clear that this is something that legislators need to clear up. In an attempt to do so, legislators passed bill SB 5073 in April which aimed to protect and regulate dispensaries and growers and also allow for them to be taxed which, according the Seattle Times, could produce “an estimated $920,000 in state and local revenues in 2012, and $6 million by 2017”. However, Governor Gregoire vetoed large portions of the bill, including the lines directly referring to dispensaries, firmly implanting them back in a legal vacuum. Recent raids in Spokane underline the consequences of leaving out formal guidelines for dispensaries. The only clear thing here? It's time we confronted the question of dispensaries directly.
By 2011 Summer Fellow Amber Rose Jimenez
Shannon Perry is one of Seattle’s most illustrative artists, reflected both in her work and her personal appearance—she’s got hella style. Shannon, a self-described “hippy punk,” took a moment to chat with Hella Bus about art, culture, and politics.
HB: How does art affect your life?
HB: Which local spaces do you haunt and which NW bands are you currently loving?
SP: I usually go to the Funhouse and Cairo for live music, Rancho Bravo (tasty Mexican food), and Cal Anderson Park. I love the Flexions, Christmas, and the Fleet Foxes.
HB: Why should young people vote?
SP: Voting can be a great thing. It can be freaky, but instead of feeling powerless, you can get informed and learn more about the issues. What’s the purpose of democracy if you don’t contribute?
Courtesy of 2011 Summer Fellow Omar "King of Illustrator" Mozo
Votebot and her trusty entourage of Summer Fellows are hitting the streets yet again this weekend, chatting with young voters like you who can't wait to register and pledge to vote. We're making voting sexier than ever at a whopping SEVEN different events this weekend all over the city. Really, it's almost impossible to avoid us.
So if you're planning on attending West Seattle Summer Fest, the University District Farmer's Market, the Seafair Pirate's Landing, the International District's Dragon-Fest, Urban Craft Uprising at Seattle Center, Ballard Seafood Fest, or just planning on going outside your house, keep your eyes peeled for that beautiful glint of silver cardboard that lets you know - the Votebot approacheth. And remember the eternal words:
It looks at opportunity, privilege, and structural inequality in our school systems and the alarming link to incarceration of young folks. Their central questions include: what is the opportunity gap? What is the school to prison pipeline? What causes these phenomena?
Smart, timely, and important information and insight. Strap on your earphones and give it a listen!
It's time to start the countdown folks. One of the summers hottest events, Capitol Hill Block Party, is only two weeks away. That's just 14 days until you can rock out to the likes of TV On The Radio, Ghostland Observatory, and Explosions In Sky (can you rock out to Explosions In The Sky?). This year, CHBP has added an unprecedented third day to the festivities and is coming at you with four stages. The lineup is bigger and better than ever before and the Bus will be out in the sun registering voters, and empowering youth as always.
Over the coming two weeks, I will be giving you the lowdown on some of the lesser known Block Party acts (maybe an interview or two thrown in there). Today we have electronic artist Baths, known as Will Wiesenfeld to some, of Los Angeles. Wisenfield burst onto the scene last year with his impeccable debut album Cerulean, and has graced stages across the United States including the venerable Low End Theory weekly show in LA. Similar to artists like Toro Y Moi and Washed Out (featured in this weeks Gabe's Picks), Baths has been pegged into a number of genres in the electronic realm, but his eclectic sound really transcends any genre. More so than the aforementioned artists, Baths uses an extremely unique blend of unorthodox samples (scissor snaps and rustling blankets) to his chilled out, hip hop influenced sound. While I find it highly questionable to compare any beatsmith to the great J Dilla, The Guardian's Paul Lester stated that the Baths sound reminded him of "J Dilla playing around with the Pavement and Prince catalogues", a fairly apt description. Baths will be playing at the Vera Stage at 10:45 on Saturday night, and while he's up against heavy competition with TV On The Radio (one of my favorite live shows) playing in the same times slot, I would highly recommend checking out the young Angeleno.
Faithful Hella Bus readers - I'm going to admit something I'm not proud of.
I spent a year waitressing at a local retirement home. I loved my job, particularly because of the funny, loving retired people I fed lunch and dinner to almost every day. But here's where the job gets less fun: even while working full time, I did not have paid sick leave.
Because of that, I distinctly remember two days where I went into work quite sick, just because I was worried about paying my rent and didn't feel like I could afford to take the time off. I knew that I was putting the elderly people I served at risk, especially since they are more vulnerable to illness than the general population, but I felt I had no other option.
No one should have to choose between paying their rent and keeping people healthy. Luckily, a bill will soon be voted on by the Seattle City Council that would require all employers in Seattle to provide five days of paid sick leave to their employees per year. At a public hearing last night at Seattle City Hall, supporters overwhelmingly outnumbered opponents to the bill, with members of countless organizations showing their support for the bill. It was a beautiful sight.
In our city, young people are disproportionately represented in the service industry, often without paid sick days or health insurance. Passing this bill would be a victory for human rights for all the residents in our city, but for young people in particular.
Courtesy of 2011 Summer Fellow Hannah Dean!
How closely have you been
stalking keeping decidedly non-creepy tabs on the adventures of the 2011 summer fellows? Test your Fellows knowledge by correctly completing the sentence below:
The summer fellows spent their fourth of July weekend...
a.) grilling tofu dogs and binge-eating apple pie while singing an original rendition of "God Bless America."
b.) redecorating the Washington Bus office in a Paul Revere theme.
c.) pledging amazing young people to vote across Seattle while getting our sunburns and patriotism on!
If you answered c, go buy yourself a trophy - you deserve it! The summer fellows were out and about this weekend, canvassing the Cal Anderson Independence Day Picnic on Saturday, followed by the Zombie Walk in Fremont! On Sunday, we made an appearance at the Wooden Boat Festival at Lake Union, and on Monday we made our way to Gas Works park for the Family Fourth at Lake Union, all the while accompanied by the newest and most enthusiastic member of the Bus family, Uncle Sam Vote Bot!
Where will we turn up next?!
Sighting at the legendary Piazzo San Busso:
Authored by the illustrious 2011 Summer Fellows Rosalie Wilmot and David Reyes
Since prohibition was instituted in the jazzy 1920s*, liquor laws have been a hot topic for our country. This election year in Washington is no different. Before you all hit the polls, let’s consider how liquor privatization could affect the Evergreen state.
I-1183, the initiative on this year’s docket supporting liquor privatization, is a slightly amended follow-up to I-1100, which was defeated last year. With privatization on the ballot once again, we’re here to provide all you beautiful young voters with the wisdom your brains have been yearning for.**
There’s a lot of information flying around about this topic, so we’ve conveniently organized it for you in a support/opposition dialogue. This is a heated debate, so if the two sides seem at odds, it’s probably because they are.
Issue #1 - Money for the State:
What Supporters Say: “Private liquor stores will give almost a fifth of their revenue back to the state, creating a new source of revenue.” Stores would be required to give 17% of revenue from annual liquor sales back to the state, on top of a hefty licensing fee. In addition, the state will be freed from the expenses of running a business, such as the $35 million spent annually on employees and benefits, leases, and utilities of the state's 373 existing locations. However, with the loss of markup revenue for the state, liquor sales would need to increase substantially in order to parallel current income from state-run liquor stores.
Issue #2 - Prices:
Support: “Liquor will be cheaper, since the price will be determined by the free market.” The 51% state markup will be eliminated, which means cheaper prices for consumers. Additionally, competition amongst Costco, Safeway and other large grocery chains will lead to lower costs for liquor.
Opposition: “Liquor could get even more expensive.” The current 51% markup will be gone, but this won’t stop Costco, QFC, or Safeway from creating their own markup, which could raise exponentially higher without regulation.
Issue #3 - Size Limitations:
Support: “More stores will be able to sell liquor.” There are approximately 1,500 stores in WA that fit the parameters set forth in I-1183. That’s 1,100 more locations than now.
Opposition: “The stores selling liquor will be less convenient and unequally distributed.” If a store wants to sell liquor in this fine state, it will need to take up at least 10,000 square feet, so corner groceries and gas stations are out. For communities and neighborhoods without large grocery retailers, buying liquor could require a long car ride to the store.
Issue #4 - Who benefits from this initiative?
Support: “This bill benefits the consumer.” By putting liquor on the free market and taking it out of state control, liquor becomes like any other consumer product. Through supply and demand, consumers will have control of the state liquor market.
Opposition: “This bill only benefits big business.” If Washington privatizes liquor, larger retailers could create a monopoly on its distribution and sale, which means many micro-breweries and local spirit producers could be bullied out of the current market. In addition, the revenue from privatized liquor sales will go to large grocery stores chains, instead of being used by the state to fund social services like it is now.
Support: “If liquor is privatized, retailers selling alcohol to minors will be fined double what they are now.” With the state out of a position of direct control, stores will need to demonstrate to state regulators that they are up to snuff before receiving licenses. Communities will be able to give input before stores enter the area and most importantly, license suspension penalties would be twice as strong as current fines.
Opposition: “Privatization means easier access to liquor for minors.” While state liquor stores are currently carefully regulated to make sure they don’t sell to minors, keeping that same level of regulation when the number of stores more than triples would be impossible. This means easier access to liquor for Washington youth.
Liquor privatization in the Evergreen State is a complex issue that we can’t be understood from just one amazing blog post. If you’d like to delve a little deeper into the issue, here are a few related articles:
-the Washington State liquor store locator iPhone app
-background on I-1100
As the general election gets closer, the conversation about this initiative will only get louder***. Now, you have the tools to join it. So get in there! And tell them the Washington Bus sent you.
Hi Skagit County!
Tell me, how do you feel about 48 million tons of coal being shuttled through your county every year?
Not great? Here's some info on a forum in Mt. Vernon to discuss the issue - make your voice heard!
The Coal Hard Truth Forum
Learn more about protecting Skagit county from twenty 1.5 mile long coal trains per day!
When: Thursday, July 7, 7:00 pm
Where: Lincoln Theater, 712 South First St, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
What are our risks if Peabody Coal (largest coal company in the world) and SSA Marine are allowed to transport up to 48 million of tons of coal through Skagit county to send to China via Cherry Point just north of Bellingham? Join with fellow community members on July 7 and be informed about some of the long term negative and destructive impacts this proposal could have on our entire region.
· Learn about what you can do to stop this coal export proposal!
Spread the word on Facebook!
P.S. Be sure to sign the petition that says NO COAL EXPORTS out of Washington!