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Volunteering: part II

I volunteered for "the local candidate" again this afternoon. I put in over 2-1/2 hours stuffing envelopes. I stuffed about 500 envelopes with an invitation and donation envelope. Someone else will finish stuffing 300 more, and someone else will label, stamp, and seal them and get them to the post office on Monday.

Several things seemed peculiar to me about this particular job.

The event advertised is a "friend-raising" wine and cheese affair at someone's house in Santa Barbara. The "suggested donation" is $30-35. Peg will be there for two hours, gladhanding.

* The senate district extends down to Santa Maria, at the northerly end of Santa Barbara County. A person living in Santa Maria would have to travel 60 miles or so to get to the event.

* An event at a home is probably not going to get more than 100 people. That is, how many people can you fit into even a fairly large home?

* The campaign headquarters not only does not use folding machines or postage meters, but they don't have a bulk mail permit. They put stamps on every letter going out.

So the postage alone costs $296. The printing of the flyer - not too much because they copied it in the office. Two reams of paper plus toner cost = $20?

The envelopes are printed, and there are two: one "remittance" envelope, and one #10 envelope. What does that run? 800 of each?

Then, if they are lucky, they take in 100 X 35 = $3500. I'd say that's high.

I don't know how to estimate these things, but I can bet fewer than 50 people will show.

I guess it adds up, though. A little here, a little there.

But there's another side. I asked about the use of a postage meter. The person there told me they did everything by hand. If they had the machines, people wouldn't have anything to do, she said, and people want to feel useful!

Not me. I would gladly have taken off and volunteered somewhere for Kerry, doing something that was a bit more than "make-work". AS it was, I kept thinking of the developmentally disabled who occasionally volunteer for the city of Pismo, doing just the sort of thing I was doing today.

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