Posts Tagged ‘Future talk


Hella Bus – The Rebirth

There comes a day in every blog’s life when it must leave the comfort of its WordPress home and step out into those bright lights of the interweb.  Friends, countrymen, netizens, Busridas – that time has come. THE HELLA BUS IS MOVING TO A NEW SITE.

This post marks the final time our pun-filled rants will grace this hallowed page.  But wipe away those tears blog-dwellers – a new dawn, a rebirth of sorts, lays before us.  Hella Bus now lives on the Bus’ new website – bigger, better, and more pun-heavy than ever.

We let you decide how to get to the newest iteration of Hella Bus – choose your favorite death/rebirth narrative!

The Biggie Version

The Bus Version


R-52uesday! Saving Scrilla!

Last week I left ya’ll with the notion that turning saved energy into saved money, is perhaps an equally important outcome of the bad-ass-future-saving Referendum 52. Indeed for Aberdeen School District’s business manager, Tom Laufmann, saving cash through R-52 is his primary interest:

Philosophically, we should say it’s better for the planet.. But it’s about the money. We’re so short on money anyway, we don’t want to pay any more on utility bills than we have to.

Although we may be passionate going green, we always gotta remember the other green; keep the wise words of the Wu in mind (CREAM). This week I wanted to share some stories where energy-retrofits, just like the ones that will come with R-52, have helped schools save some dolla dolla bills, while cleaning up the environment at the same time.

Kiona-Benton School District

The district was not even thinking about energy retrofits until they spotted energy efficiency grants being dished out by the state. This inspired them to hire a company called Quantum to give their K-8 building the once-over. Quantum laid out what would be the most cost effective, and the state  bit into their suggestions like the juicy locally grown apple you gave your kindergarten teacher. Lighting, heating, and cooling systems were updated to be more modern and energy efficient. The cost? $380,000 total. This is important, because this sort of money is virtually impossible for local school districts to get their hands on (the district paid $150,000 in this case), which is why we need the force and funding of R52 to make it happen. We need not worry about R52 emptying the state’s wallet either, because repairing school buildings is expected to save the state $610,000 in new construction costs over 8 years, or more than $75,000/year on average. But back to the local – the Kiona-Benton school district will now be saving $20,000 annually, from repairing just one school building.

Burlington-Edison School District

In 2002 the district retrofitted lighting, water and ventilation systems at two schools and the district office building. The project cost $323,000, $278 thousand of which was paid by the district. Now the district is saving an estimated $35,500 each year. They’ll be counting stacks beyond their costs in only 8 years. And wait.. I think that means we’re using less energy too. Gettin’ paid to save the world… sounds kind of like working for the Bus.

Aberdeen School District

What about our buddy Mr. Laufman? How did he fare in his sustainable quest for cash-money? Well, retrofitting a school heater alone saves about $30,000 every freakin’ year. They also decided to switch out to more efficient lighting in the school gym. We are still waiting on numbers for energy savings, but students and faculty are already diggin it.


You don't even want to know what I can do with a trowel.

There you have it. Schools are already making it happen. Imagine what they could do with R-52 in place! Thanks for joining me for another Bustastic R-52uesday. I love having you all ❤

Shout out to the Sightline Institute for hooking up so much good info on the Referendum 52. The Bus will drive over soon for a many-handed-high-five. For those who haven’t checked them out yet, clickity clickity.

See the previous posts on R-52: Introduction, Kids Getting Smarter, Saving the Future


R-52uesday! Rescuing the Future!


R-52 enjoying a day in nature. Still in pose.


Last time I rapped at ya, I mentioned that Referendum 52 is all different sorts of awesome for our student’s learning environment.  Well, it turns out it is equally awesome for Washington’s natural environment – predominately by reducing energy use. When we pass R-52, hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians will be gainfully employed to retrofit our state’s public schools. This means: new-fangled lighting, appliances, water-fixtures in schools, perpetually requiring less energy than their rusty old predecessors. Energy efficiency also stands to be improved simply from modernizing air circulation and insulation within our schools, 45% of which haven’t been updated since 1969.

Saving energy is a direct benefit to the environment at large because 17% our electricity in Washington is produced by our one remaining coal plant in Centralia. Factoring the potential energy savings from R-52 into the reality of coal production, we will be reducing our State’s CO2 output the equivalent of taking 130,000 cars off the road (meanwhile reducing other nasty byproducts of coal plants as well). The referendum explicitly prioritizes projects with the highest projected energy savings over the following 10 years.

For a more localized picture, we can also look to health benefits within our own urban/suburban environments. For the same reasons we will see students learning easier, retrofitting schools also improves the condition of the school-environment. Studies have repeatedly shown that energy efficient schools reduce the incidence of the flu and asthma attacks. This is a direct environmental benefit for Washington’s young folks and teachers.

One could also judge the benefit of reducing energy-related pollution by the reduction of energy costs to our schools. For some taking this monetary outlook is a necessity. Aberdeen School District’s business manager, Tom Laufmann, admits that counting bills is most important to him:

Philosophically, we should say it’s better for the planet.. But it’s about the money. We’re so short on money anyway, we don’t want to pay any more on utility bills than we have to.

Although we may be passionate about the importance of environmental improvements, Laufmann’s outlook is still effective for saving energy.  It’s always great when economic and environmental benefits go hand in hand.  Every dollar saved on energy via retrofits translates to less energy use and a cleaner environment. Tune in next week to hear stories from the Evergreen state where schools are already saving cash and saving the future at the same time.

See the other posts on R-52: Introduction, Kids Getting Smarter, Saving Scrilla


Look what’s coming…

Each and every year, the Bus asks you one all-important, vital-to-the-good-of-society question: do you like candy? And the answer is, of course, yes. You love candy. You also love getting it for free… and also getting thousands of young people to vote.

All this can add up to only one thing: Trick or Vote is lurking just around the corner!

‘Tis true. The biggest non-partisan costumed get-out-the-vote canvass/candy party in Washington is back in action! This year is going to be the biggest, best, and all-around spookiest (here we go with Halloween puns, yes, already) Trick or Vote Washington has ever seen – no matter where you live in Washington, you’re near a Trick or Vote! Spokane? Hell yeah. Vancouver? Believe it. Seattle? Trick or Voting like a boss.

That means you and this year, you’ve got tons of options! Want to find the nearest Trick or Vote to you? Just go here and enter your zip code – you can RSVP right then and there. Want to be a Trick or Vote Captain or a Trick or Trainer? Most excellent! We want you too! RSVP just the same, and we’ll get you going from there!

As always, Trick or Vote is ALL AGES, and is going down on October 31st. Because we love parties, we’re throwing parties (see how that works?) after the Trick or Voting has gone down. Keep your eyes peeled for the performers and venues to be announced!

Halloween: not just for kids anymore, amirite??? RSVP today!


I Come From The Land of Hella

Hello Hella Bus Crowd!

My name is Scott and I am oh-so proud to be the newest blogger for Hella Bus. A pleasure to meet each and every one of you! My seat on the bus has an excellent vantage of local politics and environmental issues, so I’m here to scribe what I see for the rest of you(th). Thinking about communities and ecologies is my brain food at least two meals a day, for one at the University of Washington, but also just as I meander through the streets of Seattle. I want to know what creates communities, what keeps them together, and how we can make them stronger; no matter whether we are talking about human or plant politics.

A little bit about me: I arrived here in Seattle in the Fall of 2007 to attend the Seattle Campus of UW from the land of hella (the San Francisco Bay Area). Since then I have fallen in love with this place. I’ve done my best to introduce myself to all the neighborhoods, landmarks, secret staircases and butt-kicking groups like the Bus. The Bus and I share a strong faith and excitement in our fellow young people. I believe that if we are daring, but always critical, we can kick down the door to progressive change before we are declared officially-jaded.

Along the lines of this philosophy,  another youngin and myself founded the youth-powered Our American Generation (OAG) in 2009. OAG is a social justice think-tank that helps folks get serious and get organized about social justice issues they care about. The group also throws down everything it takes to get projects published and spread all around Seattle free-of-charge. On top of this, we provide a public forum for issues pertaining to youth, American culture, and social justice on our blog, “The Youth Talks”. OAG definitely works by the Bus mantra, “of young people, by young people, for all people”. I wholeheartedly believe that everyone who gets down with the bus should get up on OAG.

I am absolutely jazzed to get so much contact with this generation of movers and shakers. I hope that everyone can enjoy what I have to share. On that note, here is fun game you can re-create at home to blow off some steam before the school year kicks into gear!


As the primary dust settles, let’s see what we’ve got

Phew. Feels a tad like November, doesn’t it? Some primaries go softly into that good night. Others – notably our current 2010 version – go out with a bang.

So now that the returns are (in large part) in the door, what can we say about the state of the Bus, the state of you, the awesome volunteer, and the state of our state? Let us begin.

The State of the Bus: behold the rise of young politics.

Let’s just come straight out and say this first and foremost: young people have never mattered more in Washington State politics. Sure, we could quote our recent op-ed in the Seattle Times about voting trends, but there’s an even simpler metric to go by: young candidates, across the board, owned this primary election. In the three primary races the Bus was working on, Joe Fitzgibbon in the 34th Legislative District, Andy Billig in the 3rd Legislative District, and Nick Harper in the 38th Legislative District, the younger candidates came through the primary across the board. The Bus is proud that young people are headed towards elective office, and we’re glad that with each election, more and more campaigns realize that young people are a key constituency to be considered and valued. Pow!

The State of You: every door counts.

Did you know that you were the most important person in the primary? It’s true. In each of the Bus’s three primary races, the difference between the top two vote-getters was razor thin: as close as 21 votes, and no more than 246. Oooooweee! Bus volunteers knocked on thousands of doors, and made thousands of calls – more than enough to be decisive in each of these races. Your work as a volunteer is what made these races so competitive, and as we take a deep breath and look towards the general election together, know that your time and energy is going to be as important, if not more. It’s an exciting time – and you’re the reason it’s happening!

The State of the State: engaged.

The Bus is proud to be a part of a most excellent trend, which is a higher-than-usual turnout in a primary election. As the ballots continue to pour in (watch out this afternoon for another update), the Secretary of State’s office is predicting a primary turnout of 38 percent – enough to tie the recent (2006) record – and is crossing their fingers for the grand total to break 40. Now, we realize that means there’s much much more to do, but the fact that the dial is moving in the right direction, and that young people are a big part of it, is making us do the “high fiving my cousin” dance (fyi, there is no such dance. It simply sounds like fun).

The moral of the story? The wheels are in motion, the Bus is rolling, and you’re in the driver’s seat. Whether you’re in Vancouver, Spokane, Tenino or Tacoma, the Bus is going to be in your area this fall! We have miles to go before we sleep, so get your catnap in now, and let’s get ready to rumble!


It is primary night, and the feeling is right

Seriously, have you mailed your ballot?

It is primary night, oh what a night.

Where will you be this evening, as the ballot results flow in? Excellent question. The answer, of course, is that you should be with the Bus. Which begs a further question: just where in our evergreen state will the Bus lay its weary treads to rest? Aha. Let us enumerate.

Firstly and foremostly, the Bus is happy to be co-sponsoring the only non candidate-oriented primary party we’re aware of. It’s in co-conspiracy with the good folks of Publicola, Strategies 360, Northwest Passage, and Sound View Strategies. It’s going down from 6 to 11 at the estimable, unimpeachably amazing Five Point Cafe (415 Cedar St), and it is highly recommended you attend.

Secondly and fivemostly, various elements of the Bus’s shadowy army of volunteers will be kicking up their heels at the election night party of one Joe Fitzgibbon, noted young person, candidate for 34th LD State Rep, and all around nice guy. That particular throwdown is on the go down at the Bembow Room in the Admiral District (4210 SW Admiral Way).

Regardless of where you end up, make sure you’ve already gotten your ballot postmarked and in the mail, and that you’re near a tv or computer at 8:15 when the first bath of results will be released. Thanks to everyone for all your hard work this primary election – tonight’s a night to celebrate that which you have wrought!

And now, the song which inspired the title of this post.