Hello carbon tax friends: We’re halfway through the year and at a turning point for the campaign, so in addition to reporting on the June totals I’d like to provide a mid-year review of the campaign.
Here’s the short version: We are 10x relative to where we were in January, and we need to be 2x relative to where we are now in order to make the ballot. This is completely possible, but it will take grit and effort: signature-gathering at the Fourth of July and beyond (check the signature-gathering calendars, and here’s Seattle RSVP and Bellevue RSVP forms), reaching out to friends and family and neighbors, hosting fundraising house parties and writing checks (or donating online), encouraging young people you know to apply for a summer job working on carbon taxes, connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter; volunteering to make phone calls from your home or help out around the campaign office or help with your local chapter, etc. etc. Everyone can do something, so thank you for helping out however you can!
And here’s the long version:
We collected about 22k signatures in June, up from 8k in April and 18k in May. That brings our grand total up to just shy of 50k signatures, about 90% of which were gathered by volunteers. (Thank you!!)
Our task for July is to bring our grand total to 100k, and we have a plan to get there. That plan is to continue to expand our volunteer signature-gathering effort and to supplement that effort with labor from the 40+ students and others who have signed on for our summer job working on carbon taxes. Together that will bring us to 50k for July, to 100k overall, and on our way to the 315k we need by the end of the year to make the ballot.
Congratulations to our new members of the 250 Club (and please contact us if you don’t already have your CarbonWA t-shirt!): two supporters in Olympia (Betty Hauser and Carole Richmond, joining Thad Curtz, Penny P., and Susan Sunshine), Dick Stockment in Port Townsend, Larry Lowther in Ellensburg, Alex Mezentsev on Bainbridge Island, Aaron Tam at UW Seattle, and five supporters elsewhere in Seattle (Anne Shields, David Foutch, Alan Ness, Kyle Conyers, and John Lombard). They join previous 250 Club members from Climate Action Bainbridge (Herb Hethcote, plus others who have graduated to the 500 Club, see below!), from east King County (Louise Stonington and staffer Jason Puracal), Chom Greacen from Lopez Island, John Whitmer in Bellingham, and campaign co-director Duncan Clauson.
Double congratulations to folks who have hit 500 signatures: five members from Climate Action Bainbridge (Cheryl Hunter, Gerlind Jenkner, Mary Clare Kersten, Brian Anderson, and Erika Shriner) and four supporters from Bellingham (Andy Day, staffer David Jackman, Dave Hopkinson, and Ben Larson). They join previous 500 Club members in Seattle (Mike Massa, campaign co-director Kyle Murphy, and yours truly). Update: Also Ande Finley on Lopez Island!
Quadruple congratulations to Seattle staffers Laurel Wolf and Ben Silesky for giving Ben Pfeiffer and Bob Jeffers-Schroeder some company in the 1,000-signature club!
And an extra shout-out to Madi Thomas, a recent high school graduate who is making the most of a summer job working on carbon taxes: she’s collected 1,360 signatures so far!!
We had another solid month in June, hitting our $30k target plus a little bit more. Thank you to everyone who contributed, and please email Event Fundraisers Ellen Lockert and Dominique Atherley if you want to host a house party fundraiser!
Campaign structure: In January we had a handful of chapters around the state but no office and no campaign staff. We now have 20+ chapters around the state, a campaign office in Seattle (at 1914 N 34th St, Suite 407, near Gasworks Park… come visit anytime!), seven paid staff, and an amazing group of volunteers and interns helping push the campaign forward.
Legislation: In January we had a solid policy idea but were still struggling to get it into good legal form. Thanks to amazing work from our legal team, we finalized the legal language and filed our initiative at the earliest possible opportunity (in mid-March).
Finances: In January we had just gone from a bank account balance of $14k to a balance of $90k, thanks to your moneybomb support and to a handful of generous donors. Since then we have felt the weight of staff, rent, printing 17,000 petition sheets, etc… and despite that we finished June with a balance of $110k. We will be spending that balance down in the months ahead, so continued success in hitting our $30k/month fundraising target will be crucial. Thank you for your one-time or monthly contributions, and thank you for opening your homes and working on house parties with our Events Fundraising team of Ellen Lockert and Dominique Atherley.
Strategy: In January we were in a tricky strategic position, self-described as the “relief pitcher” in case Governor Inslee’s cap-and-trade bill failed. Being the relief pitcher meant making sacrifices, like not promoting this March endorsement of CarbonWA from the editors of Washington State Wire because it said the Governor’s bill was dead when others said it still had a chance. (Indeed, House environment committee chair Joe Fitzgibbon gave CarbonWA credit for helping to revive the Governor’s bill in April.) But the legislative session is now more-or-less over, and Carbon Washington’s I-732 is now the only game in town. This doesn’t mean we don’t face opposition from the right, and even from the left—as we’ve noted before, some groups have criticized CarbonWA for pursuing a bipartisan revenue-neutral approach—but it does mean that these critics will have to contend with questions about whether they are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good and why they don’t have a policy of their own to advocate for. In contrast, our strategic position is now much simpler and clearer: we know how we will win and we just have to execute our plan.
Endorsements: In January we had a few endorsements, but mostly we were boxed in by our “relief pitcher” status. We now have endorsements from Seattle Business Magazine, from the editorial board of The Olympian, from the editorial board of Washington State Wire (at least that’s how I read it!), from Ron Sims, Mike McGinn, Nick Licata, and Krist Novoselic, and from national and local chapters of Citizens Climate Lobby, a terrific grassroots group working on national fee-and-dividend legislation. And we intend to get more endorsements in the months ahead!
Context: Finally, we all know that climate is different than weather, but in January it seemed possible that the “global warming pause” would continue, and it now looks like this year will set a new global temperature record, plus in Washington State we now have the hottest June in Washington State recorded history as we continue to swelter through a “global warming stress test”.
Let me close with a comment from Michael Moore in Olympia, who came to the great event at the Olympia UUC last month:
“I have been busy in life as it goes and have gotten out of the fight for the environment that was so important to me before children, business and home building entered my life. Last night was the first such meeting I have been to in years where I felt hopeful and inspired to be involved in positive solutions to an enormous problem we face and our children most certainly will be dealing with. Thank you again for the inspiration.”
As always comments are welcome on the blog (or email them to me if you encounter a bug that seems to be affecting the blog comment feature) or via Facebook or Twitter, and please send your Tales from the Trails, good or bad, to me at firstname.lastname@example.org (please cc: email@example.com if you can).
Talk to your friends and neighbors about I-732