Get Involved

Throw a Postcard Party!

This past weekend, I organized a get together in my neighborhood. The effort was inspired by the 10 ACTIONS / 100 DAYS from the Women’s March on D.C.

Given that most people were focused (and attending) the SEATAC protest and/or preparing for the protest at Westlake Center, our mighty effort was very well attended, enjoyed, and most of all–appreciated.

People ordered their drinks and got to work.


Several folks wrote me on the side that they wanted to know how to do one in their neighborhood, so I thought I would share my materials so you can do one in your neighborhood before the next action comes out.

  1. Make it easy for people to write a letter by giving them a template they can sign, or use to inspire their own story. These were taken from form letters I found online and the unity principles of the march. Use this or make your own! Make a label sheet for your senators.
  2. Be inclusive. Have crayons for the kids.
  3. Make it easy on yourself. Go to Kinko’s and use their paper cutter. Much easier.
  4. Highlight a great place to meet and make sure you call ahead to work in conjunction with their down periods. We brought business and traffic to a local beer hall and exposed several people to a new place in town.
  5. Get the word out through meetup,, facebook groups, organizations in your community that care about what is happening and aren’t intimidated by appearing partisan.
  6. Make it cheap.
    • Use 4×6 index cards as postcards.
    • Let people pick their issue and the representative they want to contact.
    • Tape everything down.
    • Materials all in cost me about $40 (tape, crayons, cards, copies, and postage for a few groups). I collected donations for about this much so broke even.

It should look something like one of these cards:



Postcards cost $.40!

People should send on their own, or you can collect donations. I did both. Most people wrote between 25-50 cards a person.


Folks enjoyed meeting one another. Genuine connections were made that would not have been otherwise. The reasons people shared for coming were:

  • Every day I wake up and don’t know what to expect
  • I don’t recognize my country anymore
  • What’s happening isn’t what America is about
  • I want to do my part
  • I’m a therapist, and my latino/latina clients are feeling anxious and suicidal. I am here to represent them.
  • Because I want to help but feel overwhelmed with all the lists I’m being sent my so many organizations. Having this helped me focus and feel like I’m doing something, with others, that matters.
  • Because every call and letter count.


“Bullies are mean and bullies are not allowed.”


A Checklist for Dissent


Congress in Simple Terms…

  • You have three members of Congress who represent you in D.C. – two Senators and one Representative.
  • Senators serve 6-year terms in the Senate and there are two from each state.
  • Representatives serve 2-year terms in the House of Representatives. The number of representatives from each state is determined by population. For example, there are numerous Representatives from New York City while there is only one Representative serving the entire state of Alaska.
  • Representatives are frequently referred to as Congressmen, Congresswomen or Reps.

Impact Meter

  • Good: Call your 3 congressional leaders once a week.
  • Better: Call on specific bills and issues.
  • Best: Teach friends, family and co-workers how to call their leaders.


  • First, track down the phone numbers for your senator’s national office, as well as their regional offices throughout your state. Although you may find it easiest to always call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 to reach your senators or representative, you can also find the direct number to any member’s office by consulting the Senate phone list or House phone list.
  • Work out ahead of time precisely what to say, in a polite yet firm and concise manner, and write it down so that you don’t lose your train of thought mid-call. If this kind of outreach to Congressional leaders is uncommon for you, you might find yourself feeling nervous or losing your train of thought when you’re actually on the phone, so it’s good to have things planned out ahead of time. Staffers have a checklist they work from. Here is mine:


  • Full review of Trump’s taxes
  • Full investigation of Trump/Russia and FBI’s biased handling of this issue
  • Reject Trump’s NYC and FL residences at taxpayer’s expence
  • Support any bill or committee seeking Trump’s impeachment
  • Prevent the Gutting of the Cardin-Lugar Anti-Corruption Law
  • Reject the Muslim Ban
  • Say NO to a Border Walll and ICE raids
  • Support Human Rights at Standing Rock


We no longer have adequate healthcare, bring back ACA. Do not allow the heads of other departments and agencies to waive or delay the implementation of any ACA provisions that would impose a financial burden or any state or a regulatory burden on any individuals.


We no longer have safe, accessible women’s care, protect Women’s Health. Women should have access to confidential, safe, and accessible health care. The president reinstated the so-called “Mexico City Policy”, which blocks the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions. It was established by former president Ronald Reagan and has been rescinded by Democratic presidents and reinstated by Republican presidents ever since.


Indians are not being recognized and the environment is being damaged, protect Sovereign Lands. Trump encouraged the construction of two controversial pipelines, the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline. The DAPL action instructs an expedited review and approval of the remaining construction and operation of the pipeline by the Army for Civil Works and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Keystone XL action invites TransCanada, the Canadian energy company behind the pipeline, to re-submit its application for a presidential permit to construct the pipeline. It also instructs the Secretary of State to reach a final determination within 60 days.


We no longer have a true, free, global market, resist non-discrimination. The President should not dictate how companies go about their business. Trump wants the Secretary of Commerce to create a plan for pipelines created, repaired or expanded in the United States to use materials and equipment produced in the country “to the maximum extent possible.” It establishes that all steel and metal used in such pipelines be completely produced in the United States, from the initial melting stage to the application of coatings.


We no longer are stewarding the land, protect the Environment. Trump issued an action that instructs the Secretary of Commerce to contact stakeholders to review the impact of Federal regulations on domestic manufacturing. After the review, the Secretary of Commerce is instructed to create a streamlined Federal permitting process for domestic manufacturers.

We no longer protect human rights. Denying entry to green card holders, to refugees seeking asylum is unconstitutional and unAmerican.

Related Executive Order: Increasing border security measures
Trump signed an executive order that directed the secretary of homeland security to:

  • Begin planning, designing and constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, including identify available federal funds and working with Congress for additional funding
  • Construct and operate detention facilities near the border to make adjudicate asylum claims, subject to the availability of existing funding,
  • Hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents, subject to the availability of existing funding,
  • End “catch and release” policy
  • Quantify all “sources of direct and indirect Federal aid or assistance to the Government of Mexico on an annual basis over the past five years”
  • Take action to empower state and local law enforcement to act as immigration officers

Related Executive Order: Pursuit of undocumented immigrants

  • Trump signed an executive order that directed the secretary of homeland security to:
  • Prioritize certain undocumented immigrants for removal, including those with criminal convictions and those who have only been charged with a crime
  • Hire 10,000 additional immigration officers at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, subject to the availability of existing funding,
  • Prohibit federal funding, with the help of the attorney general, to “sanctuary” jurisdictions, where local officials have declined to help enforce federal immigration laws
  • Reinstate the Secure Communities program, which was terminated in 2014 and enables state and local law enforcement to effectively act as immigration agents
  • Sanction countries, with the help of the secretary of state, that refuse to accept the return of undocumented immigrants deported from the U.S.
  • Create a list, updated weekly, of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in sanctuary jurisdictions
  • Create an “Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens” to “provide proactive, timely, adequate and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and family members of such victims”
  • Trump feels misunderstood on Muslim Ban
  • Trump overturns LBGTQ protections


On the radar:

WEEK 10: Keeping a list of what is changing so we can find our way back

via (Amy Siskind)

  1. The Times reported that Trump’s first meeting, as president, will be with Putin.
  2. In interviews with the Times of London and Germany’s Bild, Trump referred to NATO as “obsolete.”
  3. Next day, the front page of Le Monde showed Trump standing with his back turned, and a title, “Trump Contre L’Europe” (translates, Trump Against Europe).
  4. The Trump transition team is considering a plan to evict the press corpsfrom the White House. Trump later clarified, saying he won’t evict all press, but he will pick who is allowed to come.
  5. Trump’s war of words with Rep Lewis continued for four days.
  6. Trump canceled his plan to visit Museum of African American History on MLK Day. Spicer said Monday, Trump never planned to be in DC, after Conway said the prior Friday, Trump was going.
  7. A dossier provided to US Intelligence alleges that Trump agreed to sideline the issue of Russian intervention in Ukraine after Russia promised to feed the emails it stole from prominent Democrats’ inboxes to WikiLeaks.
  8. Trump ally Rep Rokita is considering legislation that would allow Trump to fire federal employees for no cause.
  9. Trump publicly traded barbs with outgoing CIA Director John Brennan. Brennan said Trump,”does not yet” fully appreciate what embracing Russia might mean, and called Trump’s response, “repugnant.”
  10. After saying that the American people don’t care about his tax returns at his press conference, an ABC poll found 74% of Americans want Trump to release his returns.
  11. In a 2014 interview, Trump identified Russia as the US’s “biggest problem” and greatest geopolitical foe.
  12. On Sunday talk shows, Preibus and Rep Chaffetz warned and attackedthe director of the Office of Governmental Ethics, who has publicly challenged Trump’s conflicts of interests.
  13. In a speech, Putin defended Trump, and said the Obama administration was trying to undermine Trump’s legitimacy.
  14. Trump’s cabinet level appointees are the least diverse in decades: 18 of 23 are white men, and none are Latino. Trump defended this, saying his cabinet has the highest IQ of any cabinet ever.
  15. Michael Flynn’s son tweeted an article from a Kremlin-funded websitewhich said Flynn should take control of the 16 US Intelligence agencies.
  16. A disturbing WAPO article detailed Trump’s isolation at Trump Tower, including his leaving the building only once over several days, and interacting with very few people.
  17. NBC and WSJ reported that jobs at GM and Bayer, which Trump took credit for, were in the works for years; and that corporate leaders are crediting him to avoid his Twitter wrath.
  18. In Greenwich, CT, a Republican official grabbed a woman by her genitals, bragging “I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct.” He was caught on tape, and later arrested.
  19. Trump was sued for defamation by one of the woman who accused him of unwanted sexual advances. Attorney Gloria Alfred said she will subpoena unseen “The Apprentice” footage.
  20. SOS nominee Tillerson’s disclosure says he intends to stay away from State decisions benefiting Exxon for only one year.
  21. Media was banned from Trump’s DC hotel in the days leading up to his inauguration. Trump did, however, stop by his DC hotel, and Spicer told the press, “I encourage you to go there, if you haven’t been.” Trump still benefits financially from the hotel.
  22. Passwords used by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s incoming cybersecurity advisor, and 13 other Trump team staff, were leaked in a mass hack.
  23. A CBS News poll found Trump’s favorably had fallen to 32%. Similarly, a Fox News poll had him at 37% favorability. Trump is the first incoming president to have a net-negative approval rating.
  24. Trump bragged about “displaying our military,” including possible military parades in major US cities.
  25. Trump also had tried to include tank and missile launchers in his inaugural parade.
  26. McClatchy reported that the FBI and 5 other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been investigating how money may have covertly moved from Kremlin to help Trump win.
  27. Nearly 70 members of Congress and SOS Kerry boycotted Trump’s Inauguration.
  28. Rep Cummings who did attend, explained, “members of Congress have a lot of information that the public does not have,” and eventually the American people would understand the boycotts.
  29. As Trump takes office, he has the fewest cabinet members approved of any modern day president. Trump has nominated only 28 of 690 Senate-confirmable jobs in the Executive Branch.
  30. The day before his inauguration, Trump asked 50 Obama administration officials to stay on in their roles.
  31. As Trump takes office, the State Department says they have not been instructed on whether to attend upcoming peace talks.
  32. The Trump team tried an additional form of suppressing the media, serving CNN with a retraction request, which the network is forced to responds to, for a routine story.
  33. In a parting interview, VP Biden told Vanity Fair, he is worried Trump might destroy Western civilization.
  34. The NYT reported law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining communications and financial transactions between Russian officials and Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone.
  35. Despite his efforts to promote ticket sales through a heavily advertised online video, Trump Inauguration and events were poorly attended, and no well known celebrities agreed to perform.
  36. The Guardian’s Editorial Board described Trump’s Inaugural speech as, “bitter, blowhard and banal,” and said, in contrast to FDR’s speech of overcome fear, Trump “told the world to be very afraid.”
  37. The streets along with Inaugural parade had thin crowds, and the entire stands were empty (see video below).
  38. Trump team banned the Department of Interior from Twitter, after the department retweeted photos of small crowds on Inauguration Day. A National Park Spokesperson apologized.
  39. Within hours of Trump being sworn in, all mention of climate change, civil rights and LGBT were removed from the White House webpage.
  40. Upon taking office, Trump was likely already in violation of the federal lease with his Trump hotel DC property.
  41. An estimated 2.5 million Americans marched in the Women March, ten times more than showed for Trump inauguration. AP reported that 500,000 marched in DC alone, doubling the expected attendance.

Past weeks:
Week 1: Week 2:
Week 3: Week 4:
Week 5: Week 6:
Week 7: Week 8:
Week 9:


I’m back in the saddle.


The first phase of this blog started as a distraction from grad school and a series of life transitions. I walked the streets at all hours, talking to people of all kinds. Here is a sample of those interactions. In exploring my relationship with citizenship and with place, I learned three key things:

  • People are generally approachable. Everyone wants to be seen, heard and accepted.  To really do that takes attention. How much do you pay attention (really pay attention) to people you interact with or to strangers you pass by?
  • Place influences how we connect with one another. Our sense of and genuine commitment to place is a product of our votes and our individual efforts. We matter, whether we like it or not. For example, Occidental Park went from a neighborhood dustbin that no one would cross in broad daylight (1999), to an open park where homeless and professionals who work there play ping pong together (2016). Not all change needs to take that long if we are actively engaged. How do you contribute to the place you live and work?
  • Citizenship is adulting–plain and simple. Like wearing our seatbelt, flossing, and eating kale–citizenship is an activity that needs to be done on an ongoing basis in order to be effective. Like you, there were many days when I was too busy to observe changes my neighborhood, pick up trash when I saw it, go to city council meeting, or even greet people I passed in the street. And when that happens this place loses vitality. What daily practice do you do, like flossing, for your neighborhood?

When Bernie Sanders ran, I was energized. It looked like the party would hold itself accountable in a new way (or, there were enough other people activated that I could remain an interested spectator). When Hillary lost, it should have come with a trigger warning. Gross incompetence and misinformation won out over experience and preparation, again. Politicians across the board had failed to effectively connect with their base. But it wasn’t all their fault. We weren’t always there to greet them.

In the past several election cycles we are treated like subjects, not citizens. Things are done to us, not with us. We’re not co-producers, and we’re not engaged in a co-creating a story, day in and day out with our government. Even with social media, it’s a one-way conversation with one notable exception: during elections. All of a sudden people are engaged in the conversation. We court politicians. They want our vote, they want our money, they want us to volunteer for whatever the cause is, the initiative or their own campaign. But right when that election’s over, when we are most amplified and engaged, our voices are turned down all of a sudden. Disappointed, we go back to this broadcast model: We vote; Politicians like Trump decide. Conversation over.

When I was in D.C. protesting this weekend, it became clear that this framework and relationship needs to radically change. It needs to start early and never end.


Her mom uploaded this photo to Facebook with the caption, “#inherownwords #shespeaksforherself.”


So this blog is evolving to be an eye on what citizens of PSQ are doing to claim their responsibilities as active citizens (#peopleofpsq). Over the next few weeks and months, I’d like to challenge us to commit to 10 ACTIONs, as prompted by the Women’s March on Washington. Small, consistent actions lead to effective change.

All of us, myself included, need to start training ourselves to acquire the adulting practices of good citizenship. Rights are liberties are on the chopping block daily now. Politicians need to know that midterms are on the horizon.


10 Actions for the first 100 Days

Action 1 / 10


Where: Altstadt Seattle, 209 1st Avenue South

When: 3-5 pm, Sunday January 29th (mark your calendars!)

How much of my time? 5 minutes, or support Altstadt and have a drink a beer or a brat!


  • Write your representatives about an issue you care about. Prompts will be available. Send as many cards as you like as long as you donate postage. You don’t have to commit to staying long, just writing a postcard.
  • Connect with people in the community. Meet the faces of those that live and work here. Engage with what makes this neighborhood special. Main Street has always been a place of pioneers. Come meet some.
  • Make effective change. Change the election dynamic. Keep the conversation going. Our representatives need to know we are not going away!


Write a postcard to your Senators about what matters most to you – and how you’re going to continue to fight for it in the days, weeks and months ahead. We’re offering printable postcards for you to download.

You can go it alone, or come to Altstadt for a drink or dinner to talk about your experience and fill out your postcards.

Write down your thoughts. Pour your heart out on any issue that you care about, whether it’s ending gender-based violence, reproductive rights and women’s health, LGBTQIA rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom, environmental justice or anything else.

Before you send it, take a photo of your postcard and use the #WhyIMarch #PeopleofPSQ tags when posting it to social media.

Sign up for the event here.

Our senators are:


154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510


511 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

I can’t keep quiet. Can you?


Code for Seattle – every Wed – Go After Work!


Come join developers, designers, data geeks, leaders, and idea-makers who volunteer to help Seattle, WA government and civic orgs adopt open web technologies.

Technology and civic activists fostering the community-authored and LocalWiki powered site,, among other projects. Inspired by, and eager to contribute to, Code for America’s


WHEN: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

WHERE: Impact Hub Seattle 220 2nd Ave South, Seattle, WA

WHY? Do your part to increase civic engagement

Their list of local projects is a little hard to understand and make sense of. Hopefully they’ll get a communications person on it (that could be a hack day project for someone non technical!). Here is what came out of the last one.


The weekly civic hacking night is a chance for you to spend time working on the civic application you’ve been meaning to work on. Need a project to work on or have an idea that you’d like help with? Attend to meet like-minded folks looking to team up on projects.

Who should attend:
Technologists, designers, urban planners, journalists, and anyone interested in civic engagement & technology. Not a coder? Attend to learn programming or get involved other ways!

What you’ll need:
Please bring a laptop (or be prepared to team up with someone that has a laptop, or work on projects that don’t require a computer).

How to find them:
2nd floor Triangle. Go up the stairs or the elevator to the 2nd floor and head over to the triangle area of the building. You’ll see signs.

Sign Up!

Rain City Housing – Ideas for Occidental Park


If the services are able to stay near Occidental for the foreseeable future, than something needs to be done on the streets where they stay (Main St., James St., Occidental Park)

a home for every person

RainCity Housing and Support Society is a grassroots organization built around compassion, purpose and a commitment to delivering progressive housing and support solutions for people living with mental illness, addictions and other challenges.

The people who benefit from the services of RainCity Housing are treated with dignity and respect, and are offered a safe place to live, independence and improved quality of life.

Since 1982, RainCity Housing has provided shelter and housing for thousands of people in the Lower Mainland. With a proven track record, a strong leadership team, and a clear vision for the future, RainCity Housing is a leader in finding workable, cost-effective solutions that ultimately benefit everyone in our community.

RainCity Housing is an independent, non-political, non-religious, charitable organization based in the Lower Mainland. Canadian Registered Charity #12711 5780 RR0001 – See more. 

Here Ye, Here Ye: Kathleen O’Toole Confirmation Process


Taken from an email from city council member Bruce Harrell. All meetings happen during 9-5 hours, but those that can go-should. Drop us a line and let us know how it went!

Dear Community,

I would like to invite you to attend the upcoming meetings regarding the appointment process of Kathleen O’Toole as the new Chief of Police for Seattle. These meetings will allow the City Council’s Public Safety committee to conduct a thorough and transparent confirmation process as well as provide an opportunity for the public to voice their concerns and to contribute their opinions.

I would like you to be there to have your voice heard specifically. I am grateful for the time and diligence that you invest into our community and the outstanding work that you have done to make it better for all of us.

Please join me at the following committee meetings:

Wednesday, June 4, 2:00 p.m. in Council Chambers 
Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee 

Kathleen O’Toole will appear, make opening comments, and respond to initial questions from Councilmembers. Public comment will be accepted at the beginning of the meeting.

Wednesday, June 11, 5:30 p.m. at New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Ave South 
Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee 

Public hearing and Councilmember questions on O’Toole’s appointment 
Thursday, June 12, 3:00 p.m. in Council Chambers 

Kathleen O’Toole will appear and complete final round of questioning from Councilmembers.

Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee will vote on confirmation.

Monday, June 23, 2:00 p.m. in Council Chambers
Full Council Final Action on Confirmation
Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Chief of Police Webpage

Once again, I would like to thank you for the all of the work you have done in the community and I would be truly appreciative to see you in attendance and hear your voice.

Thank you.

Bruce A. Harrell
Seattle City Councilmember

Code For Seattle May 31 – It’s not just for geeks


The Seattle event is one of dozens planned around the country, and will be part hackathon, part unconference.

The goal: bring together technologists, entrepreneurs, social activists, designers, and citizens to address civic issues in Seattle.

Anyone can participate. You don’t have to be an expert in technology.

  • you do have to care about your neighborhood and community.
  • storytellers are needed
  • Non profits need to think beyond their one big silent auction events to incorporating more informal ways of interacting with ALL donors, not just the 1%ers

Schedule and updates at

Have a project to pitch? there’s a wiki page for that!


WHERE: Seattle City Hall, Bertha Knight Landes Room
600 4th Ave

WHEN: May 31, 2014 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

COST: Free

CONTACTEvent website 

Urban Planning 101: Shops Give Away Bags


The effectiveness of advertising, endorses marketing strategists’ efforts further to strengthen the sustainable distribution of their bags through unusual design, (hopefully) sustainable, waterproof materials, and the potential for re use. From global brand labels to the local baker and food store, everyone is trying to communicate his or her particular advertising message via unusual bags.

For those looking for stimulating cocktail stories, this from the history of shopping bags.

Walter H. Deubner ran a small grocery store in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was looking for a way to give his business a boost.

By Careful observation, he noticed that his customer’s purchases were limited by what they could conveniently carry. So he set about devising a way to help them buy more purchases at one time. It took him four years to develop the right solution: a prefabricated package, inexpensive, easy to use and strong enough to carry up to seventy-five pounds worth of groceries.

Damn him.

Then, in 1852, Francis Wolle and his brother invented the first paper bag in Jacobsburg PA. By 1870, the invention was enhanced and the paper bag found its way to retail, creating the first game changer. Paper bags remained the standard for carrying groceries for over 100 years, through the growth of the cities and the development of suburban grocery chains. 

The next great game changer was developed in 1975. At that time, the first plastic bags were introduced at retail, beginning with industry pioneers such as JC Penney, Sears, and Kroger. Plastic was a great solution to the challenges and opportunities of the time: Wood pulp was now expensive, oil was cheap. Plastic was considered the technology of the future! Making plastic bags required less energy, less water, the finished bags took up less space, was more durable for customers, and cost about 1/3 the cost of paper bags.

Around 2000, the world recognized that we had to do something to dispose of these durable bags which were staring to pile up in our environment and were killing our marine and wild life. We realized that over 4 billion bags are littered per year, enough to circle the earth 63 times! Infrastructure was developed for recycling bags, which had the potential to be a great solution to the bag problem. However, only about 7% of the 400 billion bags produced per year in the US alone actually make it to recycling. 

Environmentalists began lobbying their legislatures around 2005 to begin banning the use of plastic bags at retail. Over 63 communities have now embarked down this path. 




Why The Seattle Hub Is Special, Get Involved

The Hub is an international Co Op of co working and community spaces for social enterprise. The Hub Seattle occupies the first two floors of the building, as such it is one of the largest of the 50 hubs in the world.

But this location is special. It is special because on the third floor is the headquarters of Social Venture Partners, a global non profit made up of tens of thousands of business professionals who use their business expertise to fund and mentor other non profits. One the fourth floor is the headquarters of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, a ten year old, accredited business school, first in the world to teach a sustainable MBA. The Hub is also home to Unitus, SLOW Money Northwest, Fledge, and others.

Added together, it’s a pretty high concentration of social good.


Check out Fledge’s upcoming event: 

Demo Day
Wednesday, May 7th, 6pm-9pm

Not your typical Demo Day but instead a night of inspirational talks by the “fledglings”, sharing their stories of how they intend (or already are) making the world a better place. Special guest Mal Warick, author of “The Business Solution to Poverty“. Early bird tickets available until Saturday.  Buy yours today.

Features stories from:

  • Activate Hub – A platform for finding the people and events
  • Broad Street Maps – Bringing mapping solutions to global health organizations
  • Distributed Energy Management – A unique approach to energy conservation
  • EA Fruits Farm – Fruit and vegetable production, aggregations, and distribution in Tanzania
  • Karibu Solar – Affordable solar lighting solutions for Tanzania and East Africa
  • Juabar – Solar cellphone recharging kiosks in Tanzania and East Africa
  • Plus updates from some of the Fledge graduates

Seattle 2035: Planning for Seattle’s Future


Today is the last day of the official commenting period for their three planning alternatives. Theywant to hear your thoughts on how and where Seattle should grow. You can comment on their site or send an email at


Reblogged from post: 4/21/2013

By 2035, we expect 120,000 people, 70,000 households, and 115,000 jobs to come to Seattle. That’s an increase of about 20% from what we currently have today. How should we plan for that growth? We want your ideas.

Washington State has a law called the Growth Management Act that requires cities to anticipate and manage growth and steer it to already developed areas in order to protect natural resources. Seattle does this through its comprehensive plan, a 20-year roadmap for the city’s future. The plan promotes a development pattern called the urban village strategy, which encourages new jobs and housing to the designated urban centers and urban villages in the city. There are six urban centers (like Northgate, University District, Downtown, and Capitol Hill) and 24 urban villages (like Columbia City, Lake City, Morgan Junction, and Fremont). This approach strengthens neighborhood business districts and lets make the most out of the roads, transit, and utilities we already have.

So how do we plan for the next 20 years? That’s the central question we’re asking with Seattle 2035, a citywide conversation about how and where to accommodate new households and jobs within the city. Where should growth be focused? What investments do we need to make in things like parks, transit, and infrastructure to maintain a livable city and healthy economy? How can we protect the vital natural resources that sustain us? How do we work towards greater racial and socioeconomic equity? Our goal is to leverage growth to build better neighborhoods, create jobs, and work towards a more sustainable Seattle.

Over the next year, we will discuss and study a full range of topics: land use, transportation, housing, economic development, environment, services, infrastructure, and more. There are nine guiding principles shaping our work, and we’re asking a wide range of stakeholders and communities how we can plan for a better city. What matters to you? What are the most pressing issues facing Seattle as it plans for the future? How can we capitalize on population and job growth while maintaining our quality of life? We want to hear from you as we think about Seattle’s future.

To learn more about the plan, visit or follow us on Twitter andFacebook.

98104: Responsiveness, And Why We Don’t Have It


In this country, citizens across a broad spectrum of diverse backgrounds don’t often come together over a cause. We just don’t organize much anymore. Our rights and liberties were bought and fought for some time ago. Or so we think —

We expect our water and electricity to just work. We expect to easily cross neighborhood boundaries for markets, brunches, or parks without incident. We hope our voting mechanisms work, and when they don’t, we are outraged – and tell everyone on Facebook things should be different.

Generally speaking, most citizens have very little insight to what government actually does. And government probably feels that citizens are entitled, complacent, and whiney. Both perspectives are accurate.

This didn’t just happen, it’s been in the works for a very long time. The system in which we operate (society/neighborhoods and government) are not really designed for openness and responsiveness. They are designed to run as efficiently as possible for the most people possible. When was the last time your water didn’t work, or your electricity? When is the last time you really went without, in terms of basic government provisions? Though we usually fail to notice it, government programs and policies improve our daily lives in innumerable ways. 

The problem is, the people in government are stuck in processes that close them off to the daily lives of its citizens. Government is designed for top-down messages, most of which people struggle to make relevant to their lives (if they consider what government has to say at all). The system is breaking down and everyone knows it. The failure here is lack of real leadership.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in neighborhood meetings, where government tries to put its best foot forward and in the first sentence, pretty much loses its audience. After about 14 years of living in the Central District and Pioneer Square, I’ve seen first hand the inequality of neighborhood safety/protection and general funding priorities. Nowhere has this been more apparent than the latest incident in Pioneer Square.

In response to neighborhood unrest, the Mayor had two events: Stand For Compassion, and a Neighborhood Summit. Both could not have been more disappointing. The introduction of this article pretty much sums it up.

Seattle’s soul might be said to reside in its neighborhoods, but often immersion in neighborhood politics feels more a ride in the back of a Metro bus.

Still, the recent Neighborhood Summit was important. Seattle’s disaffected hinterlands — almost anyplace outside of downtown — carry a lot of anger and distrust about city government’s intentions and responsiveness. The neighborhoods were asked to plan for growth; most did, then saw their plans shelved, overrun by events, or ignored. Some neighborhoods have had to absorb more than their fair share of growth, others have seen affordable housing shunted aside for high-priced high-rises, most have seen potholes proliferate.


“It’s harder to make eye contact here than it is in New York. You need to come check out #uptown #parks we have a great grant writer.”

Aside from the out of touch presentations of the meeting, there were a number of lost opportunities at this event. Two stand out:

  1. Uninterested & Understaffed Police

A first miss was a lack of actively attentive, and interested police presence.


This was the 911 booth.   The SPD had an unmanned table with a few brochures on the end.

Most of the time, the cop on duty was on his cell phone.

Most of the time, the cop on duty was on his cell phone.

And he certainly wasn't manning the twitter feed.

And he certainly wasn’t manning the twitter feed.

UPDATE: It may sound like I’m being hard on the police department…and to some degree I am. While the Mayor doesn’t staff the neighborhood, the police that are here aren’t stepping in on bad behavior. Our neighborhood has numerous examples of de policing and slow response from 911:

  • “I’ve watched a sailor try to sexually assault a veeeery drunk girl at Seafair last year in the outside doorway by Seattle Fitness. The best was watching her throw up all over his little Popeye suit. I then turned on my bullhorn and informed him I could see everything, and he’d better let her go.”
  • “I’ve watched a drunk dude get in his car and drive right into the back of the car parked in front of him. At least that one brought the cops around. “
  • “I’ve watched a car rear end a cab in the intersection of 1st Ave South and King. Then the two guys got out of the car, and started beating the cab driver, while I watched 3 different SPD cars drive by, slow down, then speed up and drive away. When I called 911 about it, the dispatcher said they were coming, and when I told her 3 other cars had just driven by, she told me to watch MY tone.”
  • “SPD has almost zero presence. I know Cowgirls is supposed to have their front door shut after 9, but I can hear those servers barking on the mike in there from MY BEDROOM while I’m watching Saturday Night Live. I actually know the playlist Thursday-Saturday, because I hear it in MY BEDROOM.”
  • “It’s Trinity and Fuel I can’t stand. Especially Fuel. The amount of ridiculous illegal activity that goes on in the parking lot across from it drives me mad. Watching a drunk guy stumble out of there and start smashing car windows as he walks to his own car is just one of the more time things I’ve seen happen there.”



2. No One To Man The ‘Hoods


The Neighborhood Summit had No Neighborhood Reps

A second miss was a lack of city council presence at the event, as well as neighborhood organizations. The tables were “claimed” by neighborhood residents, whom politely asked that other neighborhoods not sit at their table. There was also not enough seating for everyone. The wrong kind of seating, audience style, did not facilitate conversation. And not enough table seating created territories.


Recommendation: Lay a foundation for Meaningful Participation.

  1. Ask for Meaningful Contributions.

Too often, we invite people to participate in ways that are trivial or just plain useless. People don’t want to be talked-at. Society today is about two-way communication. So few large institutions really understand what this means. They need to take a page from Gavin Newsom. “In a world where people can do anything at the touch of a button—shop, communicate, do research, publish a blog, transfer money—government cannot keep functioning in a twentieth-century mind-set.” It is about openness over control. As a rule, ask important questions, the answers to which should benefit the organization, or your own life. If the question being asked of more than 10 people provides boring responses, you’re asking the wrong question.

What would have come of having easels throughout the room with questions such as:

  • When crime happens in my neighborhood I wish, that….
  • When I see homeless in my parks, I wish that…
  • When I see litter around my streets, I wonder…
  1. Scaffold The Experience.

A blank page can be a scary thing, but give people a list to start from, and suddenly everyone is an executive – leverage that. Scaffolding provides a framework for participation. It works best when the framework matches the task at hand. If you want people to write a letter, give them one to start from and let them modify it. If you want people to vote on top issues, put ten of the top issues around the room and let them vote with stickers on which ones need to be focused on for that conversation. Have City Council members host a round-robin conversation with groups of 8-10 people on that particular issue…share feedback and outcomes. When tools fit the experience, it’s simultaneously immersive and focuses people on the task at hand. The experience adds valuable content to the process government is trying to guide.

  1. Honor The Participant.

Don’t “shush” them. Not everyone came for four hours of listening to data from a year ago. They came to collaborate on something common to all of them. And, not everyone wants to actively participate. The majority would often prefer to stand back and watch. If you are inviting participation that is highly involved, make sure to build in secondary ways to participate. This might mean voting on favorite entries, commenting, or snapping pictures. The more public the participatory experience, the more likely people are to move from spectating to participating. When you can watch other people do it first, it builds confidence and trust that this is a worthwhile activity.

On April 5, the room was filled with willing minds and hands. So much energy and enthusiasm just lost as presentations droned on with dated information. The neighborhood summits could have been and still could be a great local hub event with hackathons dedicated to solving community problems. Here is an example.

Save The Date: April 5


There’s a meeting April 5th to talk to the Mayor. ***You can sign up here.***

  • Take a sec to read the recently released Seattle Civic Health Index report. The report finds Seattle’s civic health to be excellent, but there are key areas where we can improve, specifically in connection and trust.
  • To consider: How does Pioneer Square organize differently from other communities?
  • Most of the press has been about the viaduct. City-wide infrastructure is a main priority. From the perspective of downtown, parking and crime are still a problems to be solved.

Fill out their online survey to let them know what you would like to get out of the Seattle Neighborhood Summit and what is important to your neighborhood. To learn more about the Seattle Neighborhood Summit, check back here regularly. You can also email or call Kathy Nyland at 206.684.8069.

Seattle Center has been renovated:



Ask the Mayor: March 2014 3/25/2014

Approaching 100 days on the job, Mayor Ed Murray joins host Brian Callanan and a live audience to discuss a range of city issues including rideshare caps, the creation of a parks district, neighborhood crime, universal preschool and more. The second half of the show focused on raising the minimum wage. The co-chairs of the mayor’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee — Howard Wright, Seattle Hospitality Group CEO, and David Rolf, president of SEIU Healthcare 775NW — joined in the conversation.