Hella Bus Blog
- 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.
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!
Live in King County? Want to help save Metro? Have you moved or changed your name since the last election?
If you answered "YES!" to all three questions then just know that today, March 24th, is the deadline to register to vote or update your voter registration via mail or online. Don't have a form? No worries, we've got you covered. Registerinwa.org is the best, fastest, and easiest way to make sure you have your voice heard for the April 22nd special election to save Metro. Remember, you only have to be 18 years old on or before election day to register.
Not near your favorite local non-profit to fill out a form? Internet down on the day this post went up? Really just like to do things in-person?
If you can't make today's deadline and you're a new voter in Washington, you can still go to register to vote in-person at either the King County Admin Building downtown (Room 440 is the Voter Registration Annex) or the full King County Elections Office in Renton until Monday, April 14th.
Want to get involved? Check out our events page above for all things Metro, attend Parliament on April 9th at Chop Suey, and/or sign-up below to be a Save Metro volunteer with the (WA) Bus. Questions? Email emilio[at]washingtonbus.org!
This blog post was written by Bus Intern and Hella Bus Content Lead Isabella Fuentes. This is the first post in our series of "Meet the Office" articles on all of the crazy things we've collected in our office over the years.
Seattle City Councilwoman Jean Godden is looking out for you. Never mind any of the campaign slogans, platitudes about how she’ll improve the city, none of that. You know that, deep down, she truly cares about you, because .
This sign's sage wisdom dates back to Godden's talent act from July 28, 2011, during the second biannual Washington Bus Candidate Survivor. In case you haven’t heard, Candidate Survivor combines a hard-hitting interrogation, a serious political forum, and a Japanese game show to create one of the most innovative, smartest, and most fun events in Seattle politics.
As badass Bus Program Director and Candidate Survivor 2011 attendee Alex Miller explained, this sign is a perfect example of the humanizing power of Candidate Survivor. It’s not about tightly crafted PR soundbites or quippy slogans, it’s about how the politicians we elect are actually people too. They rap really badly (Tim Burgess). They skinny dip in Lake Washington (Peter Steinbrueck). They juggle (Mike McGinn). And yes, they give sexting advice. Politicians: they’re just like us!
This gem of a sign graces our office walls because, as Miller put it, it’s something that “needs to be preserved unto time immemorial.” The sign is pretty hilarious on its own, but when you put it in context – an 80-year-old elected official giving sexting advice to a bunch of twentysomethings – it’s.
Bey, you funny.
And the drunk sexting tip wasn’t the only thing Jean Godden had for us. She reminded us all to never send head shots, to never send questionable messages to coworkers, and to never feel shy about using some photoshop.
Feel a little better about Seattle politicians? Think Jean Godden should write an advice column? Me too. In the meantime, here's the everlasting glory of those wise words of wisdom:
This post was written by Lucas Simons, current Washington Bus intern and Move King County Now volunteer. You could say he loves buses.
You may have heard about the upcoming bus cuts that King County Metro is facing. You may also have heard about the measure that the King County Council unanimously approved putting Proposition 1 before the voters in April to prevent these cuts. Prop 1 did not come out of a sudden realization that Metro is bloated and inefficient. Actually, for the past six years King County Metro has been the (or someone's) ideal government entity: cutting service after service, raising fares, and cutting staff pay and benefits just to try and maintain status quo. Furthermore, they have gotten no help from Olympia, where gridlock has continually stymied a transportation package that helps transit. Now, with no other options, they have been forced to ask the voters in King County to save Metro.
Perhaps you are a car owner and you drive your car everywhere you need to go. If that is the case you may think, "Why should I care about buses? I don't use them. I don't want to pay more taxes for buses I don't use." But that line of thinking would be very short-sighted.
Like many services the government provides, such as public safety, the benefits to individuals may not be immediately apparent - but the benefits to the region as a whole are very real. Buses take thousands of cars off the road, lessening traffic for everyone and preventing a lot of auto-related pollution - making the entire transportation system work better for everyone whether they bike, walk, drive or bus.
Traffic and pollution, all in one image.
Besides roads, there are some important social and economic impacts to consider. Obviously, buses benefit the people who ride them by providing a cheaper means of transportation (I mean who wants to pay for a car payment, parking tabs, car insurance, AND gas when you can just take the Bus?). But by maintaining mobility options for those folks it provides more opportunities for everyone, benefits the whole economy, and promotes social justice in our local communities.
So if you take a minute to think about the benefits of public transportation to the community, not just for the people that ride, you quickly realize that we would be shooting ourselves in the foot if we allow these cuts to happen. Nobody wants King County to be more polluted, have worse traffic, or become more economically polarized. We must vote "Yes on Proposition 1" on April 22nd and continue to build our public transportation system.
This post by Bus Fellowship Organizer Karter Booher!
There seems to be a whole lot of bad news out in the world this week. Well, we’re here to brighten up your day with some great news you may have missed. Also, this picture of an ecstatic Jackie Chan and some pandas.
We’re still over the moon about the REAL Hope act in Washington but there are a few more gems the state legislature passed this session. There are now some great laws on the books regarding gun control and domestic violence. TVW’s roundup is a good summary of what passed this session.
Devin told you about President Obama’s appearance on “Between Two Ferns” earlier, word on the street has it that FunnyorDie.com accounted for a 40% bump in traffic to the federal health care website. That’s a whole lot of young Americans getting access to health insurance. We couldn’t find just one .gif to express our excitement, so feast your eyes on this list instead. Oh yeah, go health yourself.
Also Gonzaga is going to the NCAA tournament for the 5,650 time and Emerald City Comicon is coming up? Washington, you’re doing swell.
Also have we mentioned the 1,504,405* different ways there are to get on the Bus to build on these good vibrations? First, you should most definitely put the Bus’ party of the spring, Parliament on your calendars.
Are you a Washington Bus admirer from afar? Lucky for you we have some pretty rad friends all over the place. Apply for the Politicorps program in Oregon and let it change your life. Or maybe you want to spend the summer in the windy city – we have friends there too. If Rocky Mountain’s majesty is more you’re thing hit up our friends at New Era.
This blog post was written by the lovely Dagmawit Kemal (aka Dee!) a Winter intern who's also leading the charge at Garfield High School to help save King County Metro!
A few weeks ago, some of our former and current interns went out to Olympia to advocate for the three priority bills that the Bus was hoping to turn into law. Those include Pre- Registration for 16 and 17 year olds, the Washington Voter Rights Act, as well as extending the voter deadline. Four brave Interns: Meron, Erasmus, Nina, and Isabella all testified for these bills in front of Senator Pam Roach (R-31), head of the Government Operations Committee in Olympia. As intimidating as that might have been, our Interns did a fantastic job stating why these bills would affect them, their peers, and communities across Washington State. Check out their testimonies below!
As of now, all of our bills have "died in committee" with the ending of the legislative session. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun advocating for them this Winter! We had a successful Winternship with over 500 total phone bank volunteer hours, urging constituents to support these bills. Overall, we left over 150 constituent messages with the legislature and made OVER 7,000 CALLS! In addition, we built relationships with each other and filled our bellies up with some good food.
Let's Save Metro!
The Bus is now moving on to a new project: SAVE METRO! As many of you might have heard, Metro is in jeopardy of cutting 17% of it's routes and revising many others, affecting up to 80% of all transit riders. Our job at the Washington Bus is to make sure this does not happen as we are all avid bus users! The Seattle Globalist has a fantastic breakdown of cuts and their effects on Seattle and King County. Personally, if you are like me, and rely on the bus whenever you go out with your friends, you might have to cut your evening short (and let's be real, 11pm is not late enough to kick it). Long story short, there is a special election happening, and we hope that you vote Yes on Prop 1 to save King County Metro (and also provide some much needed funding for roads)! Interested in helping out? Sign-up to volunteer and learn more info below! Lastly, clear your calendars because (. . . drum roll please . . . ) Parliament: the Save Metro Ballot Party is happening at Chop Suey on April 9th at 8pm!
Have a fantabulous weekend ;) and don't forget to sign-up to volunteer to help the Bus save Metro.
In case you weren't aware, the deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act is March 31st.
People lacking coverage (either through their employers, parents, or private market plans) will owe the government either $285 or 1% of their yearly household income,
Also when they get sick they'll end up owing thousands of dollars to a hospital that provides them with bare bones care.
Still not clear? Maybe watch Obama and Zach Galifianakis talk about birth certificates and spider bites.
New waves of cultural + economic developments are breaking ground in Seattle. From the Waterfront to the Central District, evolving demographics, developments, and existing regional disparities illuminate a significant opportunity for our city to refine our future with lessons from the past.
James Corner, celebrated landscape architect and urban designer, set forth an ambitious vision for Seattle’s Waterfront that has everyone talking. In fact, the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture is co-presenting “Art, Design, and Play: Liane Lefaivre” tonight at the Plestcheeff Auditorium in the Seattle Art Museum from 6-8PM, to curate a discussion around “play as a design tool for architects, city planners, and public artists.” The evening is one of four public events hosted by the Friends of the Waterfront via Waterfront Week, a short series inviting public dialogue around urban design and creative placemaking.
Recent disruptions with Bertha below the Alaskan Way Viaduct have drizzled uncertainty and concern among community stakeholders. No time for play, in other words. Charming renditions of waterfront designs have also catalyzed criticism from folks about the practical utility of investing millions in such plans. Yet, stakeholder input is welcomed across every stage of the planning process, including remarks from Mayor Ed Murray,
“I am committed to transforming our waterfront into a world-class park, to reconnect our city to the bay, and to create a waterfront for all. Although our waterfront is downtown, this project is not just for downtown, but for every neighborhood and community,” Murray said.
A City in Transition
Reconnecting our city is certainly worth the investment. Recent sentiments in Naomi Ishisaka’s reflections “Changes in the Central District Affect the Africian American Community” in Seattle Magazine reinforce the need for community engagement, cultural preservation, and intentional, equitable urban planning as a new wave of gentrification crests. Gentrification. What does gentrification mean for communities socioeconomically, ethnically, and culturally diverse?
Human geography is infused with evolution. While evolution is often not inclusive of intentional, equitable permutations, Seattle is uniquely poised to venture onward responsibly. Relevantly, a conscious articulation of responsible evolution includes lessons from the newly published, 20 Ways to Not Be a Gentrifier in Oakland, “What people don’t seem to realize is it isn’t the mere act of moving into a neighborhood that makes you a gentrifier; it’s what you do once you get there. “
Closer to home, you can find 5 ways to Make the City Better for People of Color, by Danielle Henderson, which is a response to Issaquah High School students use of social media for racist attacks against rival basketball team players at Garfield High School. When it comes to racial equity, Henderson advises,"Don’t assume what people of color in your community need—ask them."
Evolving demographics, developments, and disparities call for our communities to work together to ensure the Seattle of tomorrow speaks to the priorities and concerns of today.
Are you aged 18 to 25? Do you have an abiding love for political engagement? Do you want to make 19 new best friends? Are you looking for something to do this summer? Well, look no further! The Washington Bus Fellowship is the place for you.
The Fellowship is a 10 week long summer social justice, politics, and community building program that will probably change your life. Fellows run some of the most innovative and exciting political campaigns in the state, while learning how to amplify the voice of young people in the political process. An average day for a Fellow might include learning from some of the top political leaders around, working on - and running - amazing political campaigns, or speaking at Capitol Hill Block Party!
This could be you!
If that sounds like something you're interested in (and let's be honest, it probably does!) then you've come to the right place! The next deadline for application is THIS FRIDAY, March 7! You can download applications from the Washington Bus Fellows website. Get them in and get ready to have the best summer of your life!
Can't wait for the Fellowship to start? Count down with us on the official Washington Bus Fellowship Countdown Calendar!
This blog post was written by Isabella Fuentes, a current Winter Intern at the Washington Bus.
Big news, Washington! A little over two weeks ago, Governor Jay Inslee put a moratorium on executions for as long as he's in office. This represents a change of heart for the head of our state, who previously supported capital punishment.
Inslee, who spent months reviewing the use of the death penalty with everyone from families of victims to prosecutors, cited a few flaws with the system in issuing his moratorium: that it could be applied unequally, took too long, cost too much, and was too final.
This comes hot on the heels of a study out of the UW Sociology department which showed that, in otherwise alike cases, African-Americans were 3 times more likely to be executed than Caucasians.
Inslee isn't the first governor to push back on the death penalty recently. The chief executive of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, recently issued a stay on executions in the Centennial State. Martin O'Malley of Maryland banned the death penalty in his state in June, making Maryland the 18th state to do so. Finally, Oregon's John Kitzhaber adopted a moratorium on capital punishment similar to Washington's way back in 2011.
Governor Jay Inslee looking all gubernatorial and stuff
So what does this all mean for Washington? Well, nobody will be executed here for at least the next three years, or seven if Inslee is reelected. There's a bill in the legislature, sponsored by Representative Reuven Carlyle (D-36) which would ban capital punishment in Washington entirely. And King County prosecutor Daniel Satterberg called for public debate on the issue, meaning an initiative or referendum could be coming your way soon. Stay tuned to Hella Bus as things develop!
This blog post is written by 2013 Bus Fellow and UW Alumnus (c/o '13) Michael Padilla.
The Washington State House passed the Senate version of the DREAM Act last Tuesday*, and it is heading to Governor Inslee’s desk for a final signature today at 2pm before it becomes law. The DREAM Act is a much needed piece of legislation that will help countless undocumented students, by providing them fair access to state need-grant money.
Nearly 12% of Washington State is Hispanic and over 250,000 people of that 12% were born outside of the country. Many of them were brought over as babies and toddlers by parents seeking to make a better life for them. And many would have graduated from Washington high schools every year with no real shot at a college education regardless of how hard they worked and how well they did in school. The financial barriers of rising tuition and textbook costs, not to mention living expenses, contradicted the widely held belief in our country that hard work and perseverance would get you ahead in life. The passage of the DREAM Act is a major step to remedying that. I hope that this news demonstrates to other states and national leaders that there is not only a need for reform and progress, but that it is also something people support.
Final tally for passage of the "DREAM Act" in the House
While this an incredible step forward for Washington and the young people of the state looking to continue their education past high school, there is still so much more left to do! A first step should be to send a quick thank you email to the legislature (with the help from our friends at OneAmerica) for putting aside politics and sending the DREAM Act to the Governor’s desk. But the fight doesn’t stop there! The bus and other awesome organizations are still working on making Washington a better place by pushing for motor voter registration for 16 and 17 year olds, extending voter registration deadlines (it could boost voter turnout by 85,000+ votes every year!), and pulling out all the stops in support of the Washington State Voting Rights Act.
Washington is going in the right direction and I hope that it keeps up the pace!
*The WA State House of Representatives made history by passing their own version of the DREAM Act on 1/13/14, the first day of session. The version passed last Tuesday by the House was the State Senate's version of the bill, called the "REAL Hope Act."
Monday afternoon the King County Council approved a ballot measure aimed at maintaining King County's current level of bus service.
The same great recession that gave us Obama and terrible youth unemployment also dramatically lowered the revenues dedicated to King County Metro. The funding deficit would force Metro to cut 17% of its existing service levels.
Until recently our local leaders were hoping Olympia would give us the authority to enact a progressive local fee in order to pay for our own bus service. But unfortunately the splintered factions to the south failed to act, leaving King County with one final option: a $60 car tab fee and a 0.1% increase in the sales tax.
This is King County's final option. If voters fail to pass this ballot measure, nearly 1 in 5 bus hours will be lost. King County has a great list of the potential cuts here.
The special election will be held April 22nd of this year. So load up on stamps, register to vote, and have that trusty black pen on hand. Your commute depends on it.
Motor Voter 16 and 17 year old Pre-Registration - Double the excitement of getting your driver's license by registering to vote? Yes, please.
Extending the Voter Registration Deadline - This bill was amended to move up the online voter registration deadline from 29 days to 11 days. Studies suggest that this little 'ol change could boost voter turnout by roughly 85,050 votes every year. And many of these late bloomers will be first time voters.
Washington State Voting Rights Act - To put it simply: Democracy works better when more people are involved and everyone is represented. The Voting Rights Act ensures that when structural barriers are leaving people out, we have a way to address them. Learn more at wavotingrights.org!
This image of Rep. Sam Hunt only begins to describe our happiness.