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Why's Pre-K Such a Big Deal?

Posted by Emilio Garza 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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Seattle Sports 2k14

Posted by Emilio Garza at Oct 29, 2014 01:05 PM |

Hella Beautiful Tribute To Seattle Sports (source)

This blog post was written by Elijah Newman, a sophomore at the Puget Sound Community School and  Communications Coordinator for the 2014 Fall Internship.

Seattle has long been deprived of consistent winning in professional sports. As the Mariners were playoff contenders this year for the first time in thirteen years (one game!) and the Seahawks got their first Superbowl Championship since joining the NFL in 1976, I thought it would be interesting to dive into a bit of Seattle’s sports history.

Since the year 2000 professional sports titles have been relatively scarce in Seattle. Sure, we’ve had some great teams here and there, but is it enough to justify the massive amount of public spending that goes into these modern-day gladiator games?

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Buses. Are. Amazing.

Posted by Emilio Garza at Oct 29, 2014 12:44 PM |

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

Buses may seem like an eyesore and a drain on the economy to someone who doesn’t understand their importance, but for those who use them or understand their value, it’s easy to see how much they mean. Buses get people to work. They get people to school. They create independence for seniors and disabled people. They reduce traffic. Buses are hugely important to having a healthy and productive city.

At my first phone bank to fund Seattle’s metro I heard someone say, “The bus is one of the only places that people are together on a daily basis regardless of class, race, and gender.” That idea really means a lot to me. It shows how Metro in Seattle is much more than just a bunch of buses. It’s a force that brings together almost every kind of person that lives and travels in our city.

The awesome #10 Seattle bus goin' up Pike towards 15th ave.

In the world today there are often very strict barriers between race, class, and gender. These issues are slowly improving but they’re far from over. On the bus everyone sits together or stands if it's rush hour. Everyone who takes the bus spends a few minutes of their day in the company of a greatly diverse group of people. There may not be a lot of communication or dialogue but everyone’s still there and together in the same space.

Just being in the same space as others and seeing diverse groups together can help change the way people think about others. I think that just by taking the bus people can become more accepting and understanding of others around them. It may be a small change but even on a very small level this acceptance is critical.

So how should you support this amazingly important cause? By voting yes on Seattle Transportation Prop. 1 on November 4th!

Seattle Transportation Prop. 1 will fund the buses and make them run more smoothly and efficiently. With this measure the bus will be able to reach more people and will better serve our city. Gettin' people where they need to go. Bringin' the city together. All good things when it comes to the Seattle buses. And as always, don’t forget to


8 Facts You Didn't Know About Voting in Washington State

Posted by Emilio Garza at Oct 27, 2014 01:52 PM |
Filed under:

This blog post was written by Leila Reynolds, sophomore at the UW and Volunteer Coordinator with the 2014 Fall Internship.

Voting! You turn 18 and BAM! Everyone you know is doing it. In this case, I think we'll all agree that a little peer pressure is a good thing. You vote, but how much do you know about it? Here are a few quick facts to get you started.

1. Women didn't have the vote in Washington State until 1910.
And that was progressive! Here's to 104 years of gals with ballots. Being the 5th state to o grant those rights, the rest of the country didn't catch up until 1920.  Women nearly had the vote in 1854, but the movement was overturned by one vote. Sometimes one vote can make all the difference.
2. The first Washington State voters pamphlet was published in 1914.
Nowadays, the pamphlet is distributed to 3,000,000 households for voting in the General elections. Here's to 100 years of non-spam, informative mail!
3. Before 1971, the voting age was 21.
In 1971, the Constitution was amended for the 26th time and the voting age was changed to 18 across our fair country. Why you ask? The Vietnam War. People were getting a little riled up about the fact that you could be put in the army at 18, but you couldn't use your civil liberties to make your voice heard in politics.
4. The average age of an off-year, primary voter in Washington is 62.
Do you remember what you were doing in July and August of 2013? I know your grandparents do. So remember as you cast your ballot this November - there's an election, every year, two or three times per year. (And yes, each one is important definitely counts.)
5. Washington State is one of two states to be completely vote by mail.
Since 2012 there are absolutely 0 polling locations in the Evergreen State. Ballots are sent out about two and a half weeks before the election. Voters have until the first Tuesday in November (#ElectionDay #Nov4th2014) to either mail their ballots in, or find their nearest ballot dropbox.
6. Voters are increasingly identifying as Independent.
This really depends on whom you ask, and at what time, since people tend to identify differently closer to election time and in off years. However, in an Elway Foundation study looking at a 20 year average, almost 40% of voters identified as independent.
7. In 2012, Washington State had the highest voter turnout in the nation.
Issues such as Referendum 74 (legalization of same sex marriage) and Marijuana Legalization, plus the fact that it was a presidential election year, drew a record number of voters to the polls.
8. In 2013, voter turnout was the weakest in a decade.
This was despite ballots being mailed out to every voter, making it more convenient to vote by mail. Let's all forget this happened and make 2014 so much better.
Let's make 2014 another record year. You should have received your ballot by now. If you haven't, contact your county elections department ASAP for a replacement. You can find that information here.

Otherwise, pull that ballot out from under all those magazines on your kitchen table, whip out a blue or black pen, get busy filling in what may seem like a multitude of little circles, stick a stamp on that baby, and march out to your mailbox to exercise your civil liberties (and your legs).

Go. I said go. Yes now. Or at least by November 4th. Happy Voting, y'all.

Columbus Day or Indigenous People’s Day?

Posted by Emilio Garza at Oct 12, 2014 04:30 PM |

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

On October 6th Seattle lawmakers passed a resolution unanimously to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. But why should it be changed? Couldn’t another holiday just be created instead?

In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He set forth on the Pinta, the Nino, and the Santa Maria to discover the new world, trade with the natives, and bridge the gap between Europe and the Americas; is what traditional history would like for you to believe.

The truth is that there is a LOT more to the story.

Read More…

Everyone Gets A Job!

Posted by Emilio Garza at Oct 08, 2014 03:30 PM |

This blog post was written by Elijah Newman, a 15 year-old sophomore at the Puget Sound Community School and Communications Coordinator with the 2014 Fall Internship!

The national unemployment rate is below 6% for the first time since President Obama took office in the Summer of 2008! AND There were 248,000 jobs added nationwide in September which is about 70,000 more jobs than were added in August.

This guy was probably one of the lucky job getters. (Source)

Progress, progress, progress.
Not only is low joblessness big news right now, but control of the senate is at stake with the mid-term elections coming up. I don't know about you, but I think that the low joblessness rate will have a giant impact on who is elected in the future.


Another great and interesting statistic is that unemployment rates have been dropping at about 33% each year since 2012 relative to the year before it. If this pattern persists by this time next year the unemployment rate will be around 5%!
I can't wait for what the future holds!

Four reasons why you should come to #TransitTuesday

Posted by Emilio Garza at Oct 06, 2014 09:20 PM |

This blog post was written by Tatum McConnell

  1. Voters haven't had the opportunity to expand the bus system in 8 years (that's like 40 Vote-Bot years.) Getting more buses will make them more effective and useable.

  2. Less traffic. Even if you drive your car everywhere voting for Prop. 1 will help you out. The more people on buses, the less cars there are on the streets, and who likes traffic?

  3. Volunteering with the Washington Bus is the best ever! We have home made delicious food, fun games, and a room full of passionate Vote-Bot Enthusiasts.

If these all seem like pretty great reasons to support the Prop. 1 and Volunteer at a #TransitTuesday, then you are in for a treat, because we have two more Prop. 1 phone banks,  October 7th, and one on October 14th.

RSVP and come join in on the fun! (No prior experience necessary.)




Beat the Heat!

Posted by Emilio Garza at Aug 12, 2014 03:55 PM |

This blog post was written by Jasmine Karpelman , 2014 Bus Fellow and Event Coordinator for the Washington Environmental Council (WEC), a council dedicated to engaging communities in building movements and educating them regarding environmental issues that directly affect them. You can find out more about the Washington Bus Fellowship at!

Now, I know what y'all in the greater Seattle area are thinking: Seattle Pride, Capitol Hill Block Party, Dragon Fest, Bite of Seattle, and all of the other wonderful Seattle festivals and events have come to an end for the summer. This means you will have to wait a whole year before you get to enjoy another season of fun summer events.

Fear not! The Washington Bus fellows of 2014, Fuse, and the Sierra Club have been working closely with the Washington Environmental Council to plan a fun family event in East King County.

"Beat the Heat", an environmental event full of free snacks and local music will take place on Sunday, August 17th at 4PM in the Downtown Bellevue Park. That means this coming Sunday you can bring all of your family and friends down to Bellevue and celebrate your community along with a local ice cream truck - because who doesn't love ice cream?!

Our Beat the Heat event will feature a local band "Table for Three", a local spoken word performer, and a photo booth. Come out to Bellevue next Sunday (the 17th) and join us - not only will you have a blast with about 500 other folks from the area, but you'll also be able to support the Washington Environmental Council and build awareness for climate action.

You can learn more and RSVP online at our Facebook event for Beat the Heat. We're excited to see you there!

Edited by Angela Tang

Phone Banking is Awesome

Posted by Emilio Garza at Aug 12, 2014 03:48 PM |

This blog post was written by Al Reeser, 2014 Bus Fellow and Phone Bank Coordinator for the Youth Voter Engagement Campaign (YVEC), a campaign aimed to engage the new American electorate by registering young voters as well as underrepresented voters. You can find out more about the Washington Bus Fellowship at

Talking on the phone is difficult. From the excited hellos to the tentative goodbyes, I have always struggled to have a casual conversation on the phone. Consequently, I was less than thrilled when I was named as Phone Bank Coordinator for the Youth Voter Engagement Campaign. However, after personally calling over 500 Seattleites over three days to talk about Proposition 1, I have learned something about myself - I love phone banking. Why? Here are my top five reasons why phone banking is awesome for everyone!

1. You know exactly what to say. Having a script at your disposal makes talking to people so much easier. Very little small talk is required and you’re already prepared when people start to press you for more details regarding whatever it is you’re calling about. It’s perfect for people who quiver at the idea of awkward phone silence!

2. You only have one or two talking points. I have a difficult time extending the average phone conversations past ten minutes. Phone banking is awesome because most conversations are short and sweet. With only a couple of asks per conversation, it’s unusual to have more than a couple of conversations that go past ten minutes. These quick turnover rates help keep everyone interested throughout the duration of the phone bank and make goodbyes a lot easier.

3. Free food. Sometimes you need to take a break from all the conversations. What’s the best way to stop talking? Food. What’s the best kind of food? Free food. I don’t think this needs an explanation.

4. It’s entertaining. Sometimes phone banking can be a great source of entertainment. Watching a fellow volunteer work their way out of and/or around a conversation is hilarious! That said, be careful. The hilarity of schadenfreude quickly disappears when you’re on the phone with an avid opponent and your fellow volunteers are having fun at your expense!

5. It’s rewarding. At the end of the day, phone banking is rewarding with or without a victory at the polls. The Bus fellows put ten hours of their time into calling over 17,000 Seattleites to stand up for a proposition we all felt passionate about, but had received strong opposition heading into Election Day. It’s easy to say that working towards a goal that may not be realized, despite your best efforts, is worthless. But I disagree. Actively working to make the world a better place and standing up for what you believe is a victory in and of itself. I believe phone banking, albeit unconventional, is an excellent platform to do just that. So these are my top 5 reasons why phone banking is for everyone. It may not be a popular opinion and Buzzfeed probably won’t view this list as newsworthy, but that’s fine. I believe in the power of phone banks to empower people and movements. Everyone should try phonebanking. Just breathe, believe you can make change, and...

Hello, my name is Al and I’m a fellow with the Washington Bus this summer. Have you heard about…?


Inslee Goes National

Posted by Emilio Garza at Aug 12, 2014 02:00 PM |

This blog post was written by Josh Strassman, 2014 Summer Intern and Content Lead at the Bus helping to run the Hella Bus Blog.

Have you ever wondered why Washington, a solidly progressive state, hasn’t done much as a state to combat climate change? Fed up about it? Governor Jay Inslee is too. When Inslee came into office in 2012 one of his top priorities was fighting climate change and making Washington greener.

Governor Inslee looking cool here. (Photo credit: New York Times)

Last year, the Seattle Times published an award-winning investigation into the effects of rising carbon levels on our oceans. It revealed an aspect of climate change which was being ignored in the national news – ocean acidification. Washington State’s huge shellfish industry is now endangered because of the damage done to sea life by increased levels of carbon in the ocean.

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Do you TRUST this Act?

Posted by Emilio Garza at Aug 06, 2014 03:27 PM |

Undocumented Californians who were being threatened with deportation have worked hard to make their voices heard  and change is on its way for undocumented immigrants in California. The Trust Act is giving the notorious federal immigration and customs enforcement (ICE)  "Secure Communities" program more than just a face lift. The controversial program which allows ICE officers to work with local law enforcement to obtain fingerprints and identify undocumented immigrants who were formerly charged with crimes. They then use that information to arrest and deport those immigrants. The Trust Act would look to lessen, if not eliminate, this close connection between local law enforcement and ICE.

Washington is also looking to adopt similar immigration laws. Under a new policy in Whatcom County, jail staff will not detain a person because of an ICE detainer or delay release of an inmate because of an ICE detainer.

In a nutshell the TRUST Act's goals are to:

1. Set a standard for local police so they don't detain undocumented immigrants unless they have been convicted for a serious felony such as a violent crime. This would rebuild trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement agents.

2. Create a clear divide between duties of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Local Law Enforcement and  the ICE. Because ICE holds are voluntary, local police are unfairly burdened to enforce federal immigration laws.

3. Safeguard against racial profiling and wrongful detention.

California has seen lots of success with the implementation of the Trust Act. The new law is already showing signs of lowered deportation rates. Counties that reported their numbers to the associated press said they had experienced a 44% drop in the number of deportations.

Still, like everything that is new the Trust Act will need some getting used to. Recently, in California’s Orange County a police officer violated the Trust Act. He arrested 25-year-old Samuel Sixtos-Gomez because of an old warrant for driving without a license. Now, Samuel faces deportation for a crime that is protected under the Trust Act.

Music + Social Justice + Politics = Rad!

Posted by Emilio Garza at Aug 05, 2014 01:05 PM |

This blog post was written by Manuel Siguenza, 2014 Bus Fellow and Campaign Manager for the Washington Environmental Council (WEC), a council dedicated to engaging communities in building movements and educating them regarding environmental issues that directly affect them. You can find out more about the Washington Bus Fellowship at

Music is an important part of my life. I have strong opinions and views on social justice issues, especially those related to immigration and racism. With a background of learning about social justice in academia and organizing movements, I am growing to understand more about social justice and steps that need to be taken towards creating positive change. This raises a couple questions: how does music play a role in social justice? And are there artists that talk about these issues?

Music is a way to build movements, unify people, and is a channel for speaking about the unspoken.

As far as artists and songs go, I have 3 examples of songs that have a political message and/or discuss problems in our world.

The first one comes from an Atlanta rapper by the name of Killer Mike with the track “Don’t Die” off his 2012 album R.A.P. Music. With the help of production from NYC-based "El-P," Mike speaks to the problem of police brutality, especially towards the black community. He adds some satire through the

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Dishes of Democracy at the Bite of Seattle

Posted by Emilio Garza at Aug 05, 2014 01:05 PM |
Filed under: , ,

This blog post was written by Moses Chege, 2014 Bus Fellow and Data Coordinator for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR) , a campaign dedicated to passing I-594 on the November ballot.  You can find out more about the Washington Bus Fellowship at

What's up Bus people?! While you were taking a Bite of Seattle, The Washington Bus Fellows were taking an - Om nom nom nom - bite out of crime! This past weekend, Fellows and their partner campaign the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility advocated for Initiative 594 to hundreds of voters attending the Bite. Within hours, nearly a thousand voters pledged to vote for I-594 to ensure that all consumers undergo a background check prior to obtaining a firearm.

And that's not even the half of it - there's more.

Not only did the Fellows take a bite out of crime, fellows also turned The Washington Bus into a people-mobilized food truck, serving up the hottest and freshest righteous democracy in the state. As a result, nearly two dozen folks registered to vote and entered our tasty democratic process. By the end of the day, it was clear that folks came to the Bite for the deep fried snickers, but stayed for the sweet justice and democracy brought by the Fellows of 2014.

Edited by Angela Tang

Capitol Hill Block Party Meets Buslandia

Posted by Emilio Garza at Aug 04, 2014 05:34 PM |

This blog post was written by Dahlton Madison, 2014 Bus Fellow and Campaign Manager for the Washington Alliance For Gun Responsibilty (WAGR), a campaign dedicated to passing I-594 on the November ballot. You can find out more about the Washington Bus Fellowship at

Capitol Hill Block Party #CHBP was a clash of music and good ol’ democracy. The Bus rocked the stage and rolled out voter Regs. The dedication was real by both the bus and the crowd at #CHBP.

The thrill of the crowd was evident in that I couldn’t put my arms down. The good vibes got my hands up but the crazy packed crowd kept me from putting them at my sides. Amidst all the energy and excitement, I found one and only one thing to be a buzz kill: the adamancy from the young crowd in regards to voting.

Granted, a concert is much more interesting than talking about voting but I had a few people talk to me for a good minute about why they “didn’t care to vote” when it could have taken that time to register to vote and place a vote.

While I am bothered by the young audience’s obdurate thoughts toward voting, I am also reminded of the bus’ mission to get young voters involved and the importance behind that. I hate seeing college tuition rise more than seeing the average 62 year old Washington State Voter. Why? Because it affects us [young go-getters] more!

The mission to register more young people is deeper than telling people to vote or even why they should vote. It’s about planting the bus seed and letting people know why they should care. If young people collectively began to care more about issues that affect us (cough, cough…tuition) and voting as much as we care about diving into a sweaty, smelly, and pushy crowd then we could have the most progressive and politically engaged system ever.

All in all as a bus load of canvassers, buslandia rolled through with a busload of new voters. It’s a movement- a movement to get people on the “bus wagon!” Okay… that was lots of bus puns, but the bus love is real.

Edited by Angela Tang

The Honest Truth

Posted by Emilio Garza at Jul 29, 2014 03:21 PM |
Filed under:

This blog post was written by Karen Ruiz, 2014 Bus Fellow and Events Coordinator for the Youth Voter Engagement Campaign (YVEC), a campaign aimed to engage the new American electorate by registering young voters as well as underrepresented voters. You can find out more about the Washington Bus Fellowship at

Do you know what the average age of the Washington state voter is on an off year election?

24? Nope.

41? Higher.


53? Think again.

Gasps of unbelief are quite common, but the answer is 62!

No offense to all the 62+ people reading this blog but that age is just too high. Millennial? Generation X where are you?

This weekend, I canvassed at Tacoma Ethnic Festival and let people know of this very important truth. The reactions from people were universal. From “Wow no way it’s that high!”, to “I knew it!”. Funny thing is that children often had the closer guess. Good job kids, you know what’s up! My point is (there is a point in this rant) young people and parents need to get out the vote. You folks have different needs than the baby boomer generation and if we keep forgetting to vote, our needs won’t be met. Voting won’t hurt!

So get out the vote: fill out your ballot, sign it, and mail it back in with a stamp or find a ballot dropbox by August 5th.

Edited by Angela Tang

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