Life on Whidbey: Political process comes to your computer

  • Wednesday, May 2, 2007 2:00pm
  • Life

Chicago’s Washington Square began as a lovely neighborhood park. It wasn’t long before it became the most celebrated open-air free-speech center in the country. Some called it “Bughouse Square” for giving a platform (actually a soap box) for political radicals and hobos to pontificate for hours.

My how times have changed! A young woman with ties to Oak Harbor has the right idea, and citizens who just want the numbers and facts, unfettered and unedited, are going to love it.

“By bringing more citizens into the legislative process, we’ll increase governmental transparency and civic engagement,” said SARAH SCHACHT, executive director of Knowledge as Power. They have a new Web site at www.knowledgea which they tune up daily.

Schacht, 27, went to the University of Washington and Central Washington University, studying political science. She’s worked on presidential campaigns, on Capitol Hill and specializes in online strategy.

“With KAP’s new services we’re testing, you can search bills by key word, register for an account, scroll down to bill information and even e-mail your legislators,” she continued. In fact, they have just added all bills from the 05-06 and 06-07 sessions.

She invites people to visit their “Action Center” with bill tracking, a “letter desk” and a cool new way to see where your bill is in the legislative process.

The mission of Knowledge as Power is to help ordinary citizens become effective advocates in Washington State’s legislative process.

“We think you’re the most important person in government,” Schacht said. “Without you, our democracy isn’t at its best.”

Life is busy and issues are complicated. This simple tool can help you track and break down bill information and stay informed.

Knowledge as Power is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization, registered as a Washington State non-profit and charity.

Schacht’s mother Jill feels this will make a great resource for school civics classes.

“It could be huge,” said Jill. “Sarah presented at a conference in San Francisco and met political people from Europe who want her to come over and implement it there.”

Jill manages the family businesses, two Oak Harbor stores: Fox Pointe and The Casual House on Pioneer Way’s Harborside Shops.

If you wish to contact Sarah or learn more about Knowledge as Power, visit

Pose among the posies …

There’s always something fun going on at Hummingbird Farm Nursery and Gardens, and this Mother’s Day is no exception.

Owner LORI SPEARS suggests, “Leave on your Sunday best after church or brunch and bring the family for a once-in-a-lifetime family portrait.”

Pendleton Imaging and Photography will be set up in the gardens from noon to 5 p.m. Portraits (8 inches by 10 inches, family/single) will be printed on-site for $20 each.

The regular $75 session fee has been waived for this special occasion. Other poses can be taken and will be posted for online ordering. Contact JOHN PENDLETON at 672-2097 or write to him at

Everyone is welcome to browse the hundreds of items for gardens and home. Saturday “Garden Chats” will continue through August. Plan to meet Lee in the nursery between 9 and 10 a.m., hear about what’s new, ask questions and get help for your garden dilemmas. A discount coupon to use in the nursery is yours as the farm’s thank you for attending these garden chats.

Call 679-5044, visit or come to the corner of Zylstra and Fort Nugent Road.

Battle of Puebla

Cinco de Mayo on May 5 (not to be confused with Mexico’s Independence Day on Sept. 16) is more than just a day when we enjoy Mexican food and drink. It actually commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

The Whitehead-Muzzall Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7392 Ladies Auxiliary will host a festive Cinco de Mayo party on Saturday, May 5. The event is part fun, part fund-raiser and part membership drive to help support the community and veteran service programs conducted by the auxiliary.

Dinner, served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., will be followed by music, dancing, games and prizes. Ticket prices are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and include dinner. If you have a festive Mexican dress or shirt, by all means, wear it.

The Post is on North Goldie Road. Visit

Whatever became of …

Do you happen to know the whereabouts of CHUCK JONES and REVA SCOTT? The Coupeville High School class of 1957 would like to find them in time to attend the 50-year reunion on July 28.

If you know them or where they now live, please e-mail PEGGY LALL at plall@gc, call 509-346-9276 or write to her at 2683 Hwy 26W, Royal City, WA 99357.

I’ll be back May 9. Write to

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