Seattle Works

A blog that documents all things Seattle Works…and much much more!

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream, For Ice Cream… August 12, 2011

Filed under: Influence,Lead,Our Team,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 6:08 pm

Vanilla, Snickerdoodle, Coconut mint chip… decisions, decisions.

On Wednesday we rallied at Gas Works Park to celebrate and give thanks to everyone who volunteered with us (HOT Projects and Teamworks), took the Bridge, and those who served on different Seattle Works committees over the summer months.

We had over 50 different volunteer projects this summer, so we teamed up with Bluebird Ice Cream (our Capitol Hill neighbors) to give delicious treats out to everyone. We had ladderball set up, a croquet course, and there was a pretty intense game of bananagrams – still not really sure who won that…

This was our way to thank all of you for coming out and spending your time with us this summer. Seattle Works couldn’t survive without all of the volunteer hours that are put in by all of our participants. Even if you couldn’t make it this time, let it be known that:

a.) You rock!
b.) We hope to see you at some of our awesome Fall programming.

This ice-cream party also coincided with the end of my term at Seattle Works. I’m sad to leave as I’ve had a great time in Seattle; working at Seattle Works this summer has been a great experience and I’ve learned so much about how to get involved with my own community. I’ve met some amazing people along the way, from the Seattle Works staff to the volunteers who I’ve worked with – thanks for being so welcoming and sharing with me some of your Seattle wisdom!

I’m heading back home to England tomorrow, and then in a couple of weeks I’ll be back in Durham, North Carolina to start my Junior Year at Duke University. I won’t be in Seattle for a while, but I’ll be sure to keep updated on everything that’s happening out here.

Seattle – it’s been a blast!


Keep It Coming, Seattle August 11, 2011

Filed under: Influence,Lead,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 11:10 pm

The Points of Light Institute, and its volunteer affiliate, the Hands on Network, want to inspire individuals, and show them how to create change in their communities. They have found that despite economic woes across the globe, in the US this year 62.8 million people came together to make an impact where they live. The value of this commitment in monetary terms is $173 billion dollars – volunteers are matching the difference created by cuts in government spending and fewer resources with their own time and efforts.

Teens are showing high volunteering levels, an important effect that relates to service learning in high schools and colleges, more volunteer opportunities available online and thus more easily accessible to teens, and the volunteer efforts of their parents that are making an impact on them!

Seattle did particularly well in the national standings. Served by Seattle Works (us!) and United Way of King County Volunteer Center, we ranked as 4th best ‘large’ city in the US with a 33.9 volunteer percentage. Seattle has been chosen as an innovation hub for the Hands on Network, meaning the city will be a learning ground for different types of engagement and leadership.

For more information: Volunteering In America

To see the results from Seattle: Seattle Volunteering


Spotlight on Hot Projects!

Filed under: Hot Projects,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 7:20 pm

This past weekend, a group of Seattle Works volunteers headed to Gossett Place, an apartment complex in the UDistrict, to help out the LIHI (Low Income Housing Institute) prepare apartments, as new residents were moving in imminently!

We were greeted by Tony, one of the site co-ordinators at Gossett Place, who prepared us by giving us a brief overview of the project. This particular complex would house homeless youth, couples and veterans.
The construction and interiors of each apartment were all complete – all that we needed to do was furnish the apartments. We unwrapped kitchenware (pots, pans, plates, silverware), cleaning supplies, bedding and pillows, and bathroom items (such as shower curtains). From the alarm clocks to the tooth brush holders, we worked in teams to unwrap the items, all generously donated, to outfit each apartment and make them feel more like “home”.

Preparing the apartments went surprisingly quickly, probably aided by the various IPhones and Blackberries that provided musical entertainment. Our volunteer session ended at 2pm and we were pleased to discover that in only 4 hours our group had completed 20 different apartments, over 3 different floors.

Checking the sign on each door after finishing an apartment was oh-so-satisfying, as we knew that a new person or couple would be able to move in.

Thanks to LIHI for having us – we certainly had a blast and were happy to help out! We look forward to hearing about how the project is going and future projects that LIHI has coming up!


Orchard Revamp! August 10, 2011

Filed under: Volunteer — seattleworks @ 10:30 pm

At Seattle Works we love eating delicious blackberries just as much as the next person, but the problems start when blackberry thickets overgrow and become difficult to work with. Many of our Hot Projects involve working outdoors with fruit, vegetabls and overgrown plants, and now we overhear good things are happening at the Dr José Rizal Park, near Beacon Hill.

Volunteers from Seattle Works, Microsoft, EarthCorps, the Filipino-America community and many other local schools and colleges came together to cut back the blackberry thickets so that there could be access to the community orcahrd that was set up in the park, by City Fruit, a local non-profit that works in different neighborhoods to help local tree owners grow healthy fruit, harvest their crop, use it and distribute excess to others. The growth of the orchard means that more apple trees, blackberries and even a walnut tree have begun to flourish.

Check out this link for more information on the project: Community Orchard at Dr. José Rizal Park


We Feel the Need… the Need for Speed August 9, 2011

Filed under: Our Team,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 6:29 pm

This past Thursday, volunteers from the Seattle Works team headed over to Magnuson Park to help out with their Outdoor Movie Screening of Top Gun. They donned their aviators to do outreach work, help out with tickets, and then watch the movie.

Check out Kym’s Top Gun ensemble:

If you missed the show this time, head on over in the upcoming weeks to enjoy some time outside and watch one of these movies:

August 11th – Ghostbusters
August 18th – Beauty and the Beast
August 25th – Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Seating starts at 7pm, it’s $5 per person.. and even better? There are trivia contests, as well as games and prizes to be given out, before the show even starts.

Sounds like a great Thursday night to us…


Russian Roulette, Submarines, David and Goliath, Red Herrings – so just your average Thursday night… August 8, 2011

Filed under: Election,Influence — seattleworks @ 9:06 pm

Boy what a night it was!

Last night we kicked off elections season with ‘Cheers to the Primary’ – we got a chance to mix and mingle with panelists, and even more importantly – you!

We had various elections materials on hand to guide you to make your own decision about the tunnel referendum, as well as the help of the campaign managers, Dan Nolte (from the Let’s Move Forward – Approve campaign) and Esther Handy (from the Protect Seattle Now – Reject campaign) who were on hand to offer last minute advice and information!

See Bevin, Angela (from City Club) and me above at the event! This image is from Earica Brown Photography, and all of her photos from the event can be seen here: Earica Brown Photography

Our political evening began with two debates, sponsored by City Club at the Seattle Public Library, about the legislative process and the tunnel. And things got slightly heated! Over 100 people turned up to listen to the panelists discuss the issues. Afterwards we headed to Fado to talk it out, meet new people and get the inside scoop!

We’ll forgive you if you weren’t able to make it this time, but we still want all of our Seattle Works friends to get the update! Check out below this link Publicola for the Publicola report of the evening, and check out below for my notes/points that we found particularly interesting!

Tim Eyman and Senator Adam Kline – The Initiative Process

Senator Kline wants people to be heard independently of their legislatures. He talked about the issue of getting support, and argued that voters are often too quick to give their signatures to different causes – *real* elections fraud is committed when people forget signatures on those pieces of paper. Kline doesn’t like the idea of signature gatherers being paid – they should be spontaneous and grass roots operated. The purpose of not paying signature gatherers is to try to enforce honesty and accountability.
He also drew an analogy of a bus. It has 20-30 people and they vote who will drive the bus. People nominate themselves and eventually someone is elected. After driving for a while, the people at the back of the bus don’t like it anymore. They want to go a different route. This leads to an inherent tension between democracy and efficiency. Legislators have been elected to drive the bus, not because they are elite, but because they were chosen by their peers. But you can’t drive the bus normally when people at the back are arguing about which direction to go. There needs to be democracy, but a controlled, efficient democracy. Not an authoritarian control with a whip, but with order – legislatures need time to make policy work.
There is a difference between quantity and effect when it comes to initiatives. Initiatives are the big things that get voters to the polls. Although there are many bills that are looked at and Washington residents only get to see a few of those, the numbers should not look like David and Goliath. The pieces of legislature that were passed by the voters were huge and influential.

Tim Eyman appealed to Senator Jacobson who described the current legislative process as Russian roulette: a bad gamble that we need to take from our state’s constitution. He does not like that people are trying to introduce difficult hurdles to the process. Eyman commented that in 13 years there was only 1 case of voter fraud – Josh Feit, the Publicola moderator, points out that Eyman had voter fraud in his own Spokane office – but Eyman retorted that people need to police themselves.

The initiative process is not just about passing laws, but is about putting the spotlight on issues. Out of 3000 bills in our legislative session, only about 500 become law. Washington residents get to see about 3 of those. All we can do is vote for those initiatives as citizens and the legislators have the power to ignore us, but at least our voices get to be heard. Government is like a battleship; try to move the ship in one direction or another and get some impact. We, as voters, are innocent bystanders but yelling ‘Hey you’re off track!’ is better than sitting at home eating potato chips.


Councilmember Mike O’Brien and Kate Joncas – The Viaduct Referendum

For O’Brien the question is simple: do we want to spend our money on education or transport? He thinks we should step back and work on our priorities in the city. People in this region like transit and yet want to fund education. There is a 2 billion $ gas shortfall on tolling. We cannot spend all of our money on everything that we love – he views the viaduct as a silver bullet system which will not work, and that there must be a better way to spend our money. The debate is exhausting, but it is irresponsible to walk away from a disaster.
The tunnel is a transportation solution that doesn’t solve a problem. Why don’t we spend smaller amounts of money on fixing I5? Diversification of projects and money will work more efficiently. It is hard to get on a bandwagon for 2 years and then suddenly say no, but this is the chance for citizens of Seattle to step away from the table.
O’Brien also comments that there is zero money in the tunnel: having a toll will simply make people drive downtown or choose other options – this will worsen the traffic options. There will be a clear picture after the referendum and he will work for the tunnel if that is what the voters want – but he wants to spend the money on priorities and the real problems that need a solution.

Kate Joncas disagrees and argues the tunnel is great for the environment and will bring jobs to Seattle. Most importantly, there are no other options. The surface option is terrible as it will increase both traffic and pollution, and if people vote for this it is unclear what they are voting on. After all, it is a state highway so it is up to the state about whether they will move forward. If there is a toll, worst case 60,000 cars will use the tunnel rather than 100,000 – but she does not see this as a tolling issue. Ultimately, having no plan is not an option for downtown. Although drawn out by O’Brien, the cost overruns are not a big issue, according to Joncas, and says they are red herrings in the whole debate. Joncas says it is unfortunate that we cannot use gas tax money for education. Ultimately the Viaduct project is already underway and they are 6 months ahead and under budget. She says the problem with the no campaign is that they are promoting a project which has no money and no plan.


So that’s a lot of information! I’m still thinking on it. We’re not going to tell you which side to take, but what we *will* encourage you to do is to research the issue, think about what it means for you and the residents of Seattle, choose a campaign, and go out and vote!!


Did I hear you say.. after-party? August 2, 2011

Filed under: Election,Influence — seattleworks @ 6:22 pm

Over at Seattle Works we still haven’t quite recovered from Jean ‘Friends Don’t Let Friends Sext Drunk’ Godden and Tim ‘Khalifa’ Burgess’ talents from Candidate Survivor… but what might help us is if we get our hands on some more voter knowledge!

That’s why our Seattle Works Elections Season programing is officially kicking off this Thursday at 6pm. We will be co-sponsoring City Club’s ‘The Viaduct Referendum – What is it really about?‘ event at the downtown branch of the Seattle Public Library in the Microsoft Auditorium.

Where do you stand on this issue? Approve? Reject? Unsure? What the what? What tunnel? (Hopefully not..)

Wherever you stand, don’t fret. For many of us, the facts about the tunnel are blurry and we want all of our Seattle Works friends to be as informed as possible before they cast their ballot! So come along, bring your friends, and learn more about one of the most important issues on our ballot.

You will get to hear from Tim Eyman, Senator Adam Kline, Kate Joncas, and Councilmember Mike O’Brien about their views on what is happening. There are sure to be some lively debates and discussions that you don’t want to miss! Register here –
City Club Registration

But that’s not all….

Join Seattle Works for the **after-party**!! Even if you are unable to come to the City Club event, join us after work at Fado’s downtown (1st and Columbia) from 7.30pm onwards for our ‘Cheers to the Primary!’ event. After the library event we will be heading over there to mix and mingle – panelists from the forum have been invited so this could be your chance to ask any of those lingering questions you might still have!

Oh… and did I mention happy hour priced drinks? And free appetizers? It’s a big deal.

So join us! Head on downtown this Thursday and join us as we gear up to kick-off the elections season! Check it out on Facebook here: Cheers to the Primary!

Stay posted for more elections events coming your way…