As I approached the ballot drop box in front of the Rainier Community Center, I noticed crows flying above it. They were massively interested in all of the human activity around this thing. Surely something tasty had to do with what's happening here. My votes slipped through the slit. The crows wanted to know what was in the thick-ish envelope. But it's nothing—just paper, darkened dots, and city politics. Nothing to eat here. The humans must be crazy.
But I have seen hundreds of crows eating bugs exposed by the rain-softened fields of Rainier Playfield. It's nothing like the drama you see for scraps from trash cans. The soil food in the fields is so plentiful that these birds can finally eat without one fracas after another. None of this screaming and cawing after the rain. They are calm because there's enough for all. And this, dear crow, is what's going on in those ballot boxes.
The way one votes determines the direction the city takes. If you vote one way (see Seattle Time's endorsements), there will be no distributive peace in view; if you vote another way (see The Stranger's endorsements), there is. All humans want is to be as peaceful as the crows after the real rain has fallen.
As Matt Baume said this morning, and Girmay Zahilay said this afternoon, and I'm saying at the end of the day: Young people, please make sure this world is yours, this world is yours. Get that ballot to the box.
As of today, the day before our local elections, we have 19.7% voter turnout. That number is much, much lower for Gen Z and fellow millennials.
If you’re reading this, please don’t scroll past. Take 5 mins to mass text and call your friends to remind them to vote by tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/hUjCLTtqXH
— Girmay Zahilay (@GirmayZahilay) November 1, 2021
I must mention one more thing about the ballot drop box in front of the Rainier Community Center. This is something I noticed this afternoon, and also the last time I voted two or so months ago. During the final days of an election, human busy-ness around this box recalls, in my imagination, bees flying to and from a hive. But our honey is democracy.
What happened in Everett during last week's Week Without Driving challenge? A lot of people discovered how crappy public transportation actually is. And this crappiness is no accident. It is made to be that way. You are made to be in a car because public transportation is made to be as horrible as possible. The headline of Ben Watanabe's important article in the Herald: "Being car-less means cold waits, long trips: It’s ‘exhausting’ / The Week Without Driving challenged policymakers and planning professionals to ditch their vehicles." The real tragedy is it's actually more efficient (meaning, much cheaper) to provide public transportation with conveniences (higher frequency, better shelters, more shelters, dedicated lanes, and so on) than any mode of private transportation you can imagine.
I have to bring this up because it's in a book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, I recently read by the black theoretical physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein.
When I asked leading New York–based educator Erica Buddington what she thought [black] communities needed [to expose children to observational astronomy], her answer was very specific: “Easier routes to Long Island and upstate NY. Robert Moses created our highways. He made low bridges so city buses couldn’t use the freeways.”
What this? Another executive order by the soon-to-be-former mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan. This one, according to KING 5, "aims to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions and help transition to a city without fossil fuels." The order was executed at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, which Durkan attended in her remaining days. Her left hand feeds the police state, her right hand, the urbanists. There are no other hands left.
If you do not know why this made me sad, you do not know me. So, why don't you just fuck off.
Gene Balk, as if these elections were not tense enough. Why did you drop something like this on us now? "Seattle is the most anxious major metro in the U.S., new data shows."
In a survey conducted Sept. 29 to Oct. 11, 54.5% of the adult population of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties — that’s roughly 1.8 million people — said they felt “nervous, anxious or on edge” for at least several days during the past two weeks. That’s the highest percentage among the 15 largest U.S. metro areas.
What, what? "Gov. Inslee’s ‘broad sweeping’ emergency powers ‘should scare us.’" This is something that was said to MyNorthwest by "State Senator Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville)." Now I have to live to the end of my days with the fact that my state, Washington State, has a place called Ritzville.
Sing your song, Queen Anne Greenways:
My god, people. This chatter about the sharp decline in Florida COVID cases is utter nonsense. That state has clocked nearly 60,000 dead from COVID, and has a population of 21.4 million. All you need to do is compare the Sunshine State with Washington to see a striking difference. Our state has a population of 7.6 million and just over 8,600 COVID deaths. What this means is if we had a population of 21.4 million, the COVID dead would be far less than double of Florida's. This means, if Florida was Washington State, the bulk of 35 thousand people would be alive today. And the right is, unsurprisingly (they have learned well from the master), celebrating this catastrophe as a victory.
It’s true: the media has totally ignored how few of the 300 Spartans died AFTER the Battle of Thermopylae. Sure they were basically annihilated but c’mon lamestream media tell it like it is! pic.twitter.com/Vv3NTYlbW5
— David Chen (@davechensky) November 1, 2021
Of course I'm going to say it. I have been waiting all of my life to say it. And now is the night it's going to be said: Shit happens:
A mile of Houston, TX sewer pipe serves 377 people, whereas that number is 1276 in NYC, 338% more efficient. The hidden costs of urban sprawl are fiscally unstable. pic.twitter.com/GeXS7vOW1q
— Hayden Clarkin (@the_transit_guy) November 1, 2021
Let's end by releasing some of that Seattle tension with Bobby Hutcherson's calming "Procession":