Follow Me on Twitter
Find us on Facebook
You are here: Home Blog Hella Bus Blog

Hella Bus Blog

Your place for all things Buslandia!

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.

Read More…

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

Read More…

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

Vote YES on Prop 1 for Seattle parks!

Posted by Emilio Garza at Jul 29, 2014 02:55 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 noticed an official looking green-white envelope with your name on it lying around your house? Those are ballots! The time to vote is now. Ballots have all been mailed and the deadline to vote is August 5th. Besides the various primary races going on, there is one huge issue all Seattleites can vote on – Prop 1 for parks!


The view from my favorite park – Seward Park.

I think everyone agrees that parks are simply the best. But currently we have a $267 million park maintenance backlog. Our system of funding parks is hardly a system at all – the city of Seattle has continually needed to go to voters with funding levies to keep parks funded. The last levy was enacted in 2008 and it is running dry. The economic recession of 2008 resulted in a sharp reduction in tax revenue for the city. As a result, parks have been relegated to the backburner when it comes to city funding. Parks are a necessity for any vibrant, urban city. They provide space for public gatherings and socializing, and give residents a much-needed green oasis in the midst of all the clutter of the city.


The fantastic Rainier Beach Community Center and others like it will benefit from Prop 1.

That brings us to Prop 1. It would create a permanent parks district to be administered by the Seattle City Council. This would allow the Council to provide funding for parks and community centers without having to run a big election campaign to get a levy approved whenever parks are short on funds. This wonky measure will go a long way towards helping Seattle become a greener, better place to live. Let’s support it!

Honey I Shrunk the Class Sizes

Posted by Emilio Garza at Jul 29, 2014 11:37 AM |

When it comes to class sizes, Washington State ranks 47th out of the 50 states (so. . . pretty bad). This means that Washington's K-12 public schools have some of the largest class sizes in the nation. Initiative 1351 would reduce this problem by capping the number of students per class. Smaller class sizes would allow students to succeed in classrooms that are not overcrowded and would give them the opportunity to work more closely with their teachers. Being in large classes may also make it difficult for students to pay attention. But...most research on the benefits of small class sizes don't show a consistent trend in academic gains for students.

What "personalized education" currently looks like in Washington state.

The main concern is that this measure might be too costly and that the state may not be able to fund the measure. With reductions in class sizes more teachers would have to be hired and some programs may need to be cut. Opponents of initiative believe that having a system to filter teachers would be a more favorable plan because even if class sizes are reduced, there is no guarantee that the students are being taught well by their teachers.

Still, smaller class sizes would increase graduation rates and consequently increase post-secondary education attainment. If the measure passes,  class sizes be would be reduced from 25 to 17 students in kindergarten through third grade, from 27 to 25 in fourth through sixth grade, and from 29 to 24 in high school.

How Much are You Willing to Pay?

Posted by Emilio Garza at Jul 22, 2014 05:09 PM |

What is college notorious for? We're not talking crazy parties and stressful finals. We're talking about something near and dear to everyone's hearts: tuition costs. Many students go into college thinking that a bachelors degree will give them access to better paying jobs. Education is also a way for everyone to get access to opportunities which will put them at a level playing field with others. But tuition costs are causing college students mo problems than they signed up for.

Tuition costs are at the highest that they've ever been and the amount students need to pay for higher education doesn't seem to be going down anytime soon. Public universities and colleges are seeing the most dramatic rise in tuition.  Most costs from increasing need for research funding and salaries for staff.

Student debt is a huge concern for many college grads.

Unfortunately routine budget shortfalls since the beginning of the Great Recession (especially in the state of Washington) have dramatically increased the portion of higher education that students themselves are paying. Where the state used to fund 80 percent (yes, you read that right, eighty!) it is now below 30 percent.

As tuition continues to rise students are beginning to more seriously weigh the costs and benefits of higher education. However, by 2020, around 70% of jobs in Washington will need some kind of post secondary education.

With rising tuition costs dealing with student debt is going to become more difficult for people. What do you think? As a young person, how are you dealing with your student debt?

Saving Metro. . . Again . . .

Posted by Emilio Garza at Jul 21, 2014 10:36 AM |
Filed under:

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

It should be obvious by our name, but here at The Washington Bus we are huge supporters of public transit! We organized for Prop 1, which would have stopped large-scale cuts to King County Metro transit. Although Prop 1 passed overwhelmingly (with 66 percent of the vote!) in the City of Seattle, it failed county-wide.

And just in case you forgot how to ride the Metro, this video is a gem.

Fortunately, our city is not out of options when it comes to transit. After the defeat of Prop 1, activists and public officials quickly mobilized to hammer out a proposal to stop most Metro cuts in Seattle. On Thursday, the City Council met to vote on a proposal to send to voters - this time only Seattle voters - to stave off Metro cuts.

Read More…

How To Train Your ‘Dragonfest 2014’

Posted by Emilio Garza at Jul 18, 2014 02:24 PM |
Filed under: , , , , , ,

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


Super awesome $2 food fair? Check.

(Image Source)

30-foot half-man half-dragon performance? Yep.

(Image Source)

A group of Bus Fellows registering people to vote and spreading the word about I-594? You know it! This past weekend, July 12th and 13th, the Bus Fellows hit up the International District here in Seattle for the 2014 Dragonfest. Together with some of the amazing folks from the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), we were able to spread the word about an upcoming initiative that will be on the November ballot.

I-594 aims to close the gun show and private sales loopholes that currently exist by requiring anyone attempting to purchase a firearm to undergo a background check. On Saturday the Fellows witnessed an incredible response from the local community while spreading word about the initiative in the form of countless voters ‘pledging’ to vote yes on I-594, and some actually pledging their time to advocate for the initiative. All in all, Dragonfest was a screaming success and allowed the Fellows to engage with the local community in a meaningful and informative way.

Edited by Angela Tang

Hope For The New American Electorate

Posted by Emilio Garza at Jul 16, 2014 04:26 PM |
Filed under: , , , ,

This blog post was written by Gladys Gitau, 2014 Bus Fellow and Campaign Manager 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

It's always bizarre to see the political phenomenon you learn about in class manifest outside in the field. This weekend I got an up close and heartbreaking look into why politics work how they work.

This weekend the YVEC campaign took to Broadway street in the lovely city of Tacoma in a valiant effort to get all of its eligible residents registered to vote. Walking around Tacoma pride, I myself was encouraged to see droves of queer brown youth, out and proud. What would happen if all these beautiful people were registered and excited to vote, I thought? What kind of world would we live in then!

Read More…

Filed under: ,
Document Actions