Posts Tagged ‘Politicking

22
Oct
10

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

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06
Oct
10

Luchador? Robin Hood? Definitely a Hero.

 

 

They don't just give those belts away

 

When the general election ballots make it to your door, you will find the usual alphabet soup (do they make numeric soup?) of ballot measures. It can definitely get confusing, and those little blurbs on the actual ballot are usually just enough to remind you that you don’t know what the heck it’s all about. Ten ninety who? R fifty cent? Never fear, the Bus has got wheels so we’ve got a head start towards the whole initiative circus, and its looking much clearer now. We’ve already given a nod, a nudge and a wink to Referendum 52, one of this year’s ballot heroes. Now meet its best friend, the awe-inspiring Initiative 1098, who is here to save Washington’s future in a big big way.

I-1098 will set up a trust fund for education (BOOM), health care (BAM), and middle class tax relief (KAPOW), a true investment in the future of Washington. And the investment is substantial – over $2 billion is expected to be accrued to the fund every year. Our state education system would be seeing an extra billion dollars every year, health care would benefit from roughly a half-billion, and the remaining would allow for tax relief for property owners and nearly 90% of businesses. These aren’t numbers I pulled out of a hat (that was indeed a rabbit); local experts such as the Economic Opportunity Institute, Sightline Institute, Our American Generation, and the Washington State Budget and Policy Center have all done their homework. Follow each link to see what those folks have got to say about 1098; the Economic Opportunity Institute in particular is on their shizznat. You can also check out the measure with your own spectacles here.

The “Education, Health Care, and Middle Class Tax Relief Fund” will get its cash flow from a modest-income tax on the wealthiest 1.2% of Washingtonians. Individuals will still have zilch income tax until they make at least $200,000/year, or $400,000 for couples filing jointly. The income tax will be a marginal tax rate set at 5%, which means only income above and beyond that mark is taxed (so if you make $200,001 in a year, your annual income tax will add up to a whopping one nickel). The marginal rate increases to 9% for incomes above $500,000/year, or $1 million for couples. Predictably, this concept of creating a new tax has sparked quite a bit of debate around the fairness of this measure (someone should hide those barrels of tea at the port). However, the idea that 1098 will hurt entrepreneurship or punish rich people is way-dumbed-down way of looking at it. 1098 is about fixing an unfair tax system, not piling on the taxes. Not to mention Washington State is currently ranked dead last in tax fairness in the whole country. Continue reading ‘Luchador? Robin Hood? Definitely a Hero.’

05
Oct
10

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

19
Aug
10

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!

13
Aug
10

The Magic Vote Bus, Episode 3: Exploring the elusive cupcake

Dorothy Ann: Ms. Frizzle, Did you know that some group called The Washington Bus will be giving  away free cupcakes and cupcake gift certificates from Cupcake Royale this Saturday?

Frizzle: Why of course Dorothy Ann, the Bus will be hosting a Doorbelling for Democracy extravaganza on August 14th in one of my favorite neighborhoods, West Seattle.

Ralphie: They are going to give away sooo many cupcakes!

Frizzle: Yes Ralphie, I can’t think of a better way to turn out young voters and eager volunteers.

Carlos: What’s so great about cupcakes anyway?

Dorothy Ann: According to my research, cupcakes are a delicious treat that inspires joy and happiness.

Frizzle: That’s correct Dorothy Ann, and a great way to get excited about this Saturday, is to go on a field trip to the best Cupcake factory in town, Cupcake Royale!

12
Aug
10

The Magic Vote Bus explores Delridge

Why drive when you can fly?

Arnold – Hey Phoebe, why the long face?

Pheobe- I’m sad because all the young people I know moved to West Seattle in time for Saturday, August 14 so they can be at Delridge Park. I’ll never see them again. Siiiiigh.

Arnold – Hold on, isn’t there something going on in West Seattle this Saturday?
Something democracy related?

Frizzle: Good find, Arnold! We have a solution for Phoebe’s friendless woes – a trip to wild West Seattle. To the MAGIC VOTE BUS!

Phoebe – Wow – look at all those young people! Why is everyone so excited?

EVEN MORE SUPER KIRK EXCITEMENT!

Frizzle – Because the Bus is all about making sure young people vote, and that means we go where the action is! West Seattle is embroiled in the hottest (practically only) primary battle in Seattle, and we want to make sure young people make their voices heard!

Phoebe – Are those my friends down there knocking doors?

Frizzle – Indeed they are! We’ll be joining them on Saturday, August 14 at Delridge Playfield to talk to young voters, and make sure they send their ballots in. Could it be that easy? It could! . Friends! Cupcakes! Vote Bus!

06
Aug
10

Get on the Magic Vote Bus

Mz. Frizzle works for the Bus!?

Are you ready for the Magic Vote Bus?

The Fellows have officially stepped onto the Magic Vote Bus. What is the Magic Vote Bus, you ask? Well, it is certainly magical. It certainly is serious about turning out voters. It is friends with the Voteshark. Its driver is into science or something. There may or may not be an iguana. It has all of these elements, to be sure. But if you were to sum up the Magic Vote Bus in one sentence what would you say? What is it?

It’s the Best Doorbelling Voter Turnout Knockout EVER.

Join Your Friends in the Politics Business, the 2010 Summer Fellows, on the (metaphorical) Magic Vote Bus. The Fellows, as you know, love doing field work. And they want to help you learn to love fieldwork, too.

So: if you think you’re cool enough to knock doors with people who spend their free time knocking doors (which you totally are!), meet us at Delridge Park at 10 AM on Saturday, August 14!

Free food, good company, and, best of all, sweet dance party.

This is the Progressive Voter’s Guide.