Saturday, October 01, 2005


So one of the many advantages that I have in life is that I go professionally and personally by my middle name (Jeff). The reason for this is I share my first name with my father, and growing up it avoided confusion as to which one of us was in trouble with my mother (note that when we were in real trouble, she would use the full names anyway). But the result of this was that when someone calls to sell me gutters or insurance or asks me for help with a political campaign, I already have my shields up when they ask for me by my first name.

Not so in this case. The caller from the Sierra Club (who will remain nameless) recognized my last name, and the first question on the phone was "Is this Jeff?". So I was blindsided and easily manipulated into volunteering to help the Sierra Club do some door-to-doot Get Out The Vote (GOTV) work this weekend. Just so you know, the Lovely Bride already edits the local Sierra Club newsletter calender, and today was down at Soos Creek, helping with some new plantings.

So I, Jorgen (who was our team leader) and a woman named Eleanor were covering the Hilltop neighborhood of south Bellevue. Our task was to contact possible voters (culled from the election rolls) with the message to vote this November 8th, and to think about the environment when making their choices. We were handing out fliers comparing the records and statements of the two candidates from King County Executive - Ron Sims and Dave Irons. Ron Sims has been a supporter for open spaces, clean air and water, and hybrid busses. Irons? Not so much. We are not allowed to campaign for one candidate, thought the fact of it was that if you're interested in the Environment (and its a safe bet to say that if you're canvassing for the Sierra Club, you are), its likely that you're probably leaning towards Ron in the first place.

In general, it was pretty nice. It was a pleasant neighborhood of nice homes with largish yards, and the trees have had a chance to grow up around the houses. I didn't run into anyone who was hostile, though more than a few were abrupt or impatient (as I would be if I was hauled off the sofa for a political message). I found that I was reading my subjects and changing my patter, shortening it up if they were in the "Get on with it" mode, and smiling and thanking them if they said they weren't interested. I've had to deal with enough idiot cold-callers over the years to know that when someone says no, its 95% likely that they mean "please go away", and the cause is better served by being "that nice young man" than being "that jerk who argued his points".

I had only one talker, and very nice man who had alder tree blown down in his back yard in the rains yesterday, and would rather talk to an activist (or even, I suspect, have major dental surgery) go back to the woodchipper he had rented. And one house had a very detailed and amusing "no solicitor" sign that I thought was amusing, however, it was mounted so I had to get up to the porch itself to read it, which sort of defeated the purpose of the sign.

So my feet hurt, but I've done a good thing for the day. Now I have to catch up on the other things that I put aside to do this.


More later,