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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Free Advice to the Washington Bus Campaign

posted by on June 26 at 8:04 AM

Who is the Washington Bus Campaign, you ask? They’re the group that’s holding a Jean Godden Lookalike Contest tomorrow at 6 pm. With suburban city council members. In South Seattle. (I’ll be at Jean Godden opponent Lauren Briel’s kickoff.)

Based on that information alone, I thought I’d offer the Bus Campaign a bit of free advice.

Unsolicited Suggestion No. 1. Don’t hold a contest in Seattle, making fun of a Seattle City Council member, and not, you know, invite any Seattle City Council members.

Although Jean Godden has reportedly volunteered to MC, which sort of makes me love her, the other (invited) hosts of the evening include the following: Ken Mann (Whatcom County Council, District 2, Seat B), Mia Gregerson (SeaTac City Council, position 3), Keri Andrews (Bellevue City Council, position 7), and De’Sean Quinn (Tukwila City Council, position 2—you know, the really controversial one).

Probably these are all worthwhile campaigns—in Whatcom, SeaTac, Bellevue, and Tukwila. But the fact is, people in Seattle don’t care about Whatcom, SeaTac, Bellevue, and Tukwila. In an e-mail to Stranger editor Dan Savage, Bus Campaign organizer Thomas Goldstein explained that the campaign isn’t focusing on Seattle races because Seattle is overwhelmingly progressive and that would “divide our base. While the races we will choose to start with [are between] a progressive [and] a reactionary.”

Um, guys? You really might want to think about tapping that Seattle progressive base instead of ignoring it if you want to rake in the donations you’ll need to get your campaign up and running.

Unsolicited Suggestion No. 2: Don’t have an event in a place that’s not easily to get to from all parts of the city. Seriously: I tried to figure out how to get there using Metro’s trip planner from ten different addresses around Seattle, and the only direct rides were from South Seattle or downtown (which, incidentally, would have been a great place to hold this event.) In general, the Central Area Senior Center is not a commute-friendly location.

… Which brings us to Unsolicited Suggestion No. 3: The freaking Central Area Senior Center? You can’t be serious. This is supposed to be an event that draws young people, right? Frankly, I doubt that a “cupcake reception” (no, really) is going to get the kids to flock in droves to an old folks’ facility. (“Well, I was going to go out drinking with my friends, but now I’m totally taking three buses to the Central Area Senior Center!”) Booze and nudity, maybe; a cupcake reception at a senior center … no. (In his e-mail, Goldstein notes that there will be beer, but it doesn’t say that anywhere on the invitation.)

Sorry to throw stale beer on your parade, Thomas, but there’s so much about a progressive campaign to get young people involved with grassroots activism that sounds right. So why are you running it all wrong?

RSS icon Comments


"Booze and nudity"

Exactly why don't political events have more nudity.

Posted by Giffy | June 26, 2007 8:44 AM

jesus. relax. the central area senior center is where the 37th district dems regularly have their meetings. it's an easy walk from 23rd and jackson, a major transportation hub. it's very convenient to south seattle, which might have something to do with it. and how are they ignoring Seattle progressives if they're doing a fundraiser in the city? too much exaggeration going on here.

Posted by wf | June 26, 2007 9:23 AM

First I thought the lookalike contest was a mean slam on Jean Godden.


I thought then it was worse as it was done by an opponent of hers -- why else not invite her?

Then I heard this was the Washington Bus campaign. Oh, good, I thought, a new pro transit group.

Then I read that it is for other local candidates.

But nowhere in the name of the group or the description of the event (lookalike contest) do you get any clue this is supposed to help progressive candidates.

Get a clue you political hacks. Your name should carry your message and don't confuse us with names like the Bus campaign if you are not in fact about buses.

You think anyone esp. young people associate a "bus campaign" with an ol' fashion campaign swing across the region...what, in a bus? Like bill and al in 1992 which was what, 15 years ago? Connotations of give em hell harry's whistlestop campaign?

Whoise your strategist, Bob Dole or another of his generation?

No wonder the conservatives out organize us - they can communicate !

Posted by Joe | June 26, 2007 9:34 AM

Q: So why are you running it all wrong?

A1: local politics

A2: politics in the PNW

A3: it is a Gean Godden look alike contest without a hint of any drag or kitch. How could it be run any other way... other than with men in drag and with the hint at a promise of nudity and beer. And men in drag. Oh, and maybe with a rock band, perhaps a DJ or two?

Posted by Phenics | June 26, 2007 9:39 AM

Making fun of Jean Godden's appearance is uncool, no matter how much of a lame duck politician you may believe her to be. It's childish and mean-spirited and smacks of underlying institutionalized sexism.

Go ahead and target her voting policies, her track record, or even her lame-ass column that used to run in the Seattle Times. Fair enough. That's all open game.

But, a look-a-like contest? What the fuck? She's an old woman -- is that supposed to be hilarious?

Thomas Goldstein has a proven track record with the kids (see his work with The Service Board), which would lead me to believe that getting young voters involved in the Bus Project is a priority. I hope that future events will reflect that thought process.

Posted by kerri harrop | June 26, 2007 9:39 AM

Not to mention that "progressive" doesn't really tell you anything. Buses? You like buses? What does that mean, exactly? Do you have some sort of program besides making fun of old ladies? And by not inviting her, you've obviated any possible fun factor and revealed yourselves to be thoughtless, humorless drones. Nobody from Whatcom County or Tukwila is going to show up. Of course, they'd have to drive.

Net positive impact on the universe: zero.

Posted by Fnarf | June 26, 2007 9:52 AM

Don't the 36th Dems also meet in a Senior Center?

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 26, 2007 9:53 AM

To everyone who's freakin out over the "how dare you be mean to nice old Jean Godden", I just want to point out that SHE'S JUDGING THE FREAKIN CONTEST! She must be really pissed off.

Get over yourselves.

Posted by Willis | June 26, 2007 10:10 AM

I hear you, ECB, but at least Thomas is effectively getting this group off the ground. It is formerly "The Organization", which had little organization at all prior to him.

Also, I think young people need to see community centers (and yes, the senior center is a community center) as theirs as well. The paradigm right now is that young people do their politics in bars and the powerful, older people do their politics in senior centers, church basements, City Hall chambers, etc. It's time younger people familiarize themselves with these non-glamorous places, too.

FYI for all: This is patterned after the Oregon Bus Project, which does have to do with bussing young people to swing neighborhoods to canvas/doorbell them.

Posted by um | June 26, 2007 10:15 AM

A bit picky are we? Can we try not to be such naysayers (I understand that's a bit hard to do in Seattle) and not judge an organization or Thomas' leadership based on one event you don't like the sound of. The Service Board events have always been more fun than most of the other events in Seattle -- and are more diverse than anything I have seen here to date. I think the Washington Bus Project shows serious promise!

Posted by Emma | June 26, 2007 10:26 AM

How about some seniors doing wheelchair jousting?

Posted by SeMe | June 26, 2007 10:37 AM

Above, Emma

you do not work at the Danger if you are not a naysayer - SOP

they are mostly very hip and all too cool and cynical...the truth is Jean Godden is a shoo in, the Stranger has decided they don't like her, and nobody gives shit what they think about political races

ask Stephanie Pure how much they helped her

for those not on the clue bus at the Stranger, Jean Godden LOWERED electric rates to consumers ---- by all means, vote her out, replace her with some one young and sparkling and who gets drunk with your writers and with no political experience, no brains to speak of, and no campaign money

like the new younger wife thing ... or just plain ageism forte

rock on Jean, a very hip old dame

Posted by Essex | June 26, 2007 10:44 AM

We're going to the event -- but we're dubious, and have a right to say so going in. If it rocks the house, we'll say so.

We've been supportive of Godden when she's been good on issues we support, such as strippers and the late great monorail.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 26, 2007 11:23 AM

#12: What are you yammering about? Why is having a Jean look-alike contest demeaning to Jean? I wish I looked like her at 73! She's fit, has a good sense of style, and is always smiling, unlike a lot of people her age whose faces have settled into permanent scowls.

(By the way, just lowering electric rates isn't always the best policy. Sometimes it's the wrong thing for the public who has to pay in other ways.)

Posted by what | June 26, 2007 11:24 AM

"The Stranger has decided they don't like her." - Essex

"...which makes me sort of love her..." - ECB

huh? read with your EYES once in a while.

Posted by ECB | June 26, 2007 11:40 AM

What is the "mission" of The Bus Campaign (formerly The Organization). What is it? Nobody in Seattle knows... and apparently they shouldn't care. Seriously, this isn't about what Jean Godden looks like, this is about electing candidates... which has been completely lost in their message. Supporting progressive candidates outside of Seattle is a good idea, but the planning and marketing is a turn off. ECB is right... this is a botched job.
To be fair, I know that they have good intentions and I've heard good things about Goldstein, but it seems like this is yet another one of those organizations that is funded to "take back politics" or "change the system" i.e. Wellstone, Rock The Vote, Progressive Majority, etc. etc. etc.

Posted by Organizer | June 26, 2007 11:58 AM

A lot of the Democratic LDs - and probably the Republicans, too, although I wouldn't know about that - meet in different senior centers. It's usually just a case of where they can regularly book space for free. The LDs that actually have large numbers in regular attendance, like the 34th, meet in larger venues. (I am SO envious of the 34th - they not only regularly get more than 100 people at their monthly meeting, they have a decent social hour beforehand, with more than stale cookies and old coffee.)

There's also a dirty little secret in some of the LDs, which I discovered when I was running for office myself and going around to different LDs to campaign. In many LDs, the organization is held in a stranglehold by a handful of reactionary types, who genuinely do not want new blood. One particular individual sticks in my mind - a fellow who objected to the Young Democrats coming in to speak, because then they'd "take over" and who also went off on a half-hour rant about allowing anything in their platform about equal rights for LGBT Democrats. I doubt that particular fellow, in that particular LD, is entirely unique. With friends like these...

Posted by Geni | June 26, 2007 12:02 PM

Have you ever looked at most politicos with their clothes on? Please don't advocate for more nudity for the sake of all of our retinas.

ECB makes some great points, btw.

Posted by CHL | June 26, 2007 12:18 PM

Alright, I am going to come out and say it: I am planning this event.

I am also 19 and I know I speak for other young people, when I say that I care about races in Tukwila. Meaningful progressive legislation cannot be passed at the state level if just one major city is progressive. Thats why Seattlites need to support candidates across the state, but especially those in our own backyard.

We were inspired by oregon's bus project ( and yes we do have a bus. We're going to take bus trips and volunteer for progressive candidates running for local office.

We're also new. So if you want to learn more about us come to the event at the Senior Center. Yes the Senior Center, the same Senior Center where the Seattle YOUNG People's Project holds their events. Its got unbeatable views of Lake Washington. And with free beer and cupcakes, what more could you ask for.

Oh yeah, both Venus Velazquez and Bruce Harrel are both coming to tend bar. Goes to show that Seattle is full of great progressives, and having them duke it out would be to miss the bigger picture. Instead we need to get behind candidates who trully face scary competition. For example Keri Andrew's opponent, Phil Noble, who reputedly doesn't believe in Global Warming .

Oh almost forgot... Jean Godden is coming to. She is a nice lady with a great sense of humor. Believe me I know, funny as it is, I volunteered for her original campaign to city council.

I know that the Seattle Young People's Project has done events there in the past. Its easy to get too, by the 8, 48, and 14... I think it says so on their website.

Posted by Dimitry | June 26, 2007 12:56 PM

If you can connect to the 14 downtown, it will let you off at 31st & S King (1 block away).

Posted by elswinger | June 26, 2007 12:57 PM

But that's a block away.

They might get winded.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 26, 2007 2:36 PM

@12- Please don’t confuse political experience with policy experience…after all, aren’t our elected officials (supposed to be) creating the policy? I will not take up precious SLOG space to give you my resume or GPA but if you would like to talk offline, I can be reached via e-mail to discuss my ideas, credentials, and reasons for running at

It is a sad fact that you and many others do not consider a candidate viable without money- this is true, no matter how much talent or experience you have…so if anyone out there has $1 (or preferably $700) to spare, please send it my way!

Democracy doesn’t work if you don’t have real choices, even if the incumbent is considered by some to be a “shoo in”. As a representative of the people, you should also be able to articulate what it is you have done, and what you plan to do for the community to which you are beholden…and challengers encourage this explanation.

@19 – good luck with the event tomorrow; I am all for getting younger people politically engaged. According to Claritas, the largest demographic chunk of Seattle is 25-34 (21%) (followed closely by 35-44) – sadly, until people in these groups become engaged and VOTE that fact doesn’t carry any weight, politically speaking.

Your sparkling candidate for Seattle City Council Position #1,

Lauren Briel

P.S. - Other than briefly meeting ECB twice I doubt any of the Stanger staff would know me other than from my website (

Posted by Lauren Briel | June 26, 2007 5:01 PM

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