Posted by: Gentry | August 20, 2007

Some Highlights From the Past Week


House Parties

The house parties have been moving through Seattle at a rapid clip. This Sunday several more house parties gave Joe Szwaja a chance talk to supporters one on one.

A great big thanks so far to all the supporters who’ve made this campaign the campaign to watch in the primaries. The house parties have been a great way to energize the campaign and drive momentum going into the primaries.


Green Drinks Seattle

“Green drinks Seattle was a great event for me personally, as a Joe supporter. I wore my Joe T-Shirt, and though I typically don’t do my best networking in this type of meet and great with so many people (like 200+ people in a gallery), the T-Shirt made my introductions for me.  Wearing a Joe Szwaja T-Shirt in this town is one of the easiest ways I’ve ever made friends in a crowd.”

— From Gentry

Sign waving for Joe, an Email from a Supporter

“The feedback from drivers and bicyclists has been most encouraging – lots of honks, waves and thumbs up (or is it thumb ups?).  I’m delighted that Joe has so much support and name recognition even before the primary…. ”

“My favorite sign-waving spot so far was on the north end of the Fremont bridge.  I thought for a minute I was in Amsterdam with so many bicyclists going by.  It was a most environmentally friendly spot with all the bicycles, bus riders and small cars – perfect Joe territory. I feel privileged to have the time to wave a sign for Joe on street corners.  Joe can really make a change in our fair city.”

–From Cecile

Posted by: buckywunder | August 15, 2007

Joe is a l-e-a-d-e-r

On Monday, I received a bulk email from a national candidate for President of the United States (POTUS). This particular candidate – to their credit – was doing a bus tour across Iowa using B20 biodiesel and tying this “clean fuel” usage to his “clean money” pledge to fuel his campaign.  

The first thing I thought was: Joe was already on this bus.  

The single most important factor in my currently owning and driving a VW Golf TDI with biodiesel was that I had gotten a ride from Joe Szwaja and Deb Morrison several years ago. Not knowing at the time that I live about six blocks from Dr. Dan’s Fuelwerks in Ballard, Joe and Deb stopped there before dropping me off at home. Having been a member of and worked with food cooperatives, I was intrigued with the DIY aspect of fueling up a car with vegetable matter a few blocks from my house – and fighting global warming right away without having to get a brand new, expensive hybrid vehicle.

Within a half year, I had my Golf. 

On the not small matter of voter-owned elections, Joe has embraced its ethic by taking the pledge of Washington Public Campaigns to support clean elections initiatives as they are voted upon and enacted down in Olympia (due to past voter initiatives, local elections funding laws must be passed by the state legislature before local directions can take shape or be changed). In the meantime and unlike his well-funded opponent, Joe is not accepting PAC money by local groups and is being supported almost entirely by individual donations. 

My point is: Joe has already been there, done that. He is a clean candidate fueling his campaign with clean money that is beholden to no one other than the citizens and electorate of Seattle. Joe is the very epitome of a leader.  

Posted by: buckywunder | August 15, 2007

Sign-waving in Ballard

You gotta work for it!

I spent last evening and this morning sign-waving for Joe at 15th and Market in Ballard. Cecile was there yesterday morning and we drove past with our “Joe For Council” car magnet fully exposed (on the way to the airport) and gave her the thumb’s up. 

Good responses, primarily last evening. Lots of knowing smiles, thumbs up and honking. A few people I know just happened to drive past and honked as well. It is a very visible location and I hope to do this at least once a day (either drive time a.m. or p.m.) this week and next Monday.  

The two most common questions from pedestrian passersby?

Are you Joe? (Answer: No, but I *am* a F-O-J (friend of Joe!). He’s as big as I am but has twice as much muscle.)

How do you say his name? (Answer: “Swi-ah” — rhymes with “Hi ya.” I never remember to tell them to look for the YouTube video.)

Posted by: Gentry | August 12, 2007

Reducing our campaign carbon footprint

Reducing our campaign carbon footprint one yardsign at a time

A volunteer for Joe placing signs. He takes Joe’s pledge seriously – we need to reduce carbon emissions. If you see the zero-emission Joecycle around town, say “hiya!”.

Posted by: szwaja | August 12, 2007

Mail from Supporters of Joe Szwaja

Joe Szwaja supporters on Aurora Ave GreenlakeL

Letters and emails from supporters really help keep you focused in a campaign for office. If you’ve ever run for office, you know what a tremendous amount of work it is, and you’ll also know how impossible running for office would be without help. Volunteers make all the difference, and it’s really humbling to see how the campaign grows along the way.

Here’s an email from two of my friends and supporters:

We’ve known Joe for years when one of us heard him speak about the tragedy of East Timor, at the time still under brutal U.S. supported occupation by Indonesia. Joe was the guiding energy in our little Seattle chapter of ETAN– the East Timor Action Network–which worked to change U.S. policy on this issue.

More recently we’ve witnessed Joe’s resourcefulness and tireless commitment as a member of SETRA– the Seattle/East Timor Relief Association– which morphed from ETAN after East Timor gained independence. SETRA fundraising has resulted in substantial donations to two health clinics and a school in East Timor. Joe has been a vital part of this–especially in the formation of a sister school in East Timor with Joe’s high school, Nova. He’s taken a class to Timor as well as several to Guatemala.

Joe’s involvement in social justice issues shows him to be a person who truly cares about other people. He’s a “doer”, who follows up conviction with concrete action, always directed toward making this a better world. On the city council, we feel confident he would direct this same boundless energy toward making Seattle a better place for all!

Neil Planert & Pam Shea

Posted by: szwaja | August 12, 2007

Helping the campaign is easy

Thomas helps Joe Szwaja

Thomas, pictured above, has provided great support and he has helped us get many waves and honks- it is great to work with a young person with such a sophisticated knowledge of what we need to do to restore the ecological balance of our planet and his enthusiasm is infectious.  Helping the campaign isn’t hard, and during the primary, waving signs is a big help. Thanks Thomas! And thanks to everyone who is helping out, or has helped out so far!

Posted by: szwaja | August 12, 2007

Being a teacher and running for office

Joe and former Students

One of the great things about running for office if you are a teacher is that alot of your great former students get in touch with you and want to help out, It was so awesome  to see Duclie and Amanda- I hadn’t seen them since the late 90’s and they plugged right in and provided wonderful help along with James who has been a stalwart vounteer the last few weeks.

Afterwards the volunteers and staff mad some good connections at one of the many nieghborhood block parties around the city while I attended my own neighborhood party in Ravenna.

Posted by: Gentry | August 8, 2007

Want to meet Joe? Come to a house party!

Joe Szwaja plays the Saxaphone

In the warm evening of August 1, a few dozen people gathered on the deck of the Phinney Ridge home of Karen Shaw and Larry Hohm, eating appetizers (many of which Karen prepared), listening to a live jazz violin and piano duo, and waiting for Joe Szwaja to arrive. When Joe appeared on the deck (to a chant of “Joe! Joe!”) he surprised everyone by pulling out a sax, playing a quick riff, and then singing a short ditty (to the tune of “Summertime”) about why he was running.

Joe remarked, “It is pretty scary for me to stand up in front of people and sing and play. But sometimes we have to do scary things. We are faced with a huge challenge: global climate change. To be effective we have to get out of our comfort zone. It’s so easy for us to make that unneeded car trip, buy food from 8,000 miles away, jump on the plane for a weekend vacation…I realized that we need to take achievable, concrete steps, and make them interesting and fun so that people get behind them. I think we can start by committing to reduce our carbon emissions by 4% a year…This is what I mean about being a “world-class” city – a city that takes the lead.”

Afterward, Joe answered wide-ranging questions in a lively political discussion, and then sat in on sax with Diana Herbst (vocals) and Matti Mero (guitar) for more jazz standards (pictured above).

So if you’d like to meet Joe, call or email the campaign, and come to a house party… it’s more than a little fun to be around Joe Szwaja. 206.420.1830, or

Posted by: Gentry | August 8, 2007

Annual Hiroshima Peace Celebration

On Monday August 6 Joe and I got to attend the annual lantern floating ceremony at Green Lake and join the hundreds of local people who gather each year to re-dedicate themselves to working for peace and the aboliton of nuclear weapons. The ceremony is powerful and moving, and the spirit of the event stays with you long after it is over. It’s so great to know that people all over the world are celebrating in the same way on the same day, and our own focused wishes for peace, joy and abundance are moving out into the universe and joining with all those other focused wishes all over the planet!

Posted by: Gentry | August 8, 2007

Joe Helps Katrina Survivors Raise Money for Return

Last weekend Joe came out to a car wash that Common Ground Seattle held at K-Mart on Aurora. Common Ground is organized by displaced Katrina survivors who are raising money for returning some of their members to New Orleans. Joe met the group a year ago and has helped them energize and organize their fundraising efforts since then, including a local showing of Spike Lee’s “When the Levees Broke” at Central Cinema. Joe really loves helping community groups like this move their ideas and energy to a higher level. It’s grassroots activism for real!

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