Permanent Defense was founded by Andrew Villeneuve in February of 2002 to oppose Tim Eyman, Permanent Offense, and Initiative 776. Its founding came on the heels of Eyman’s admission that he had pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars of his supporters’ donations for his own use, and lied about it.
In its early days the website had very few sections (for example, Essays and Critics’ Voices) but continued to expand and add more pages and information. After Eyman’s Initiative 776 qualified for the ballot, its founder resolved to continue its mission until Eyman was out of the initiative business.
It was accepted into major search engines such as Google, MSN (now Bing), Yahoo!, and Alta Vista in the summer of 2002. It was subsequently accepted and listed in the Open Directory Project and can now be found on almost every web directory or search engine on the World Wide Web.
In the fall of 2002, Permanent Defense formed a partnership with other groups to form the NO on Initiative 776 Campaign to reach a common goal: defeat of Initiative 776. Although its first mission, the defeat of Initiative 776, was unsuccessful, it remained committed to informing voters, stopping Tim Eyman, and promoting real tax reform and relief for Washingtonians.
In 2003 Permanent Defense worked together with Taxpayers For Washington’s Future and David Goldstein to defeat Initiative 807. I-807 was defeated in July of 2003, ensuring an Eyman-free November and a victory for Permanent Defense and other Eyman opponents. 2003 also saw the debut of its e-newsletter for supporters and members – Extra! – and a sixfold increase in website traffic.
In the fall of 2003, Permanent Defense became a project of the Northwest Progressive Institute, following NPI’s founding in August.
In 2004 Permanent Defense again joined forces with Taxpayers For Washington’s Future and David Goldstein to fight Initiative 864, a 25% cut in property taxes, which would have devastated public services. The initiative was defeated in July of 2004, and gave Permanent Defense its second great victory.
In the autumn of 2004, Permanent Defense rededicated itself to the defeat of Initiative 892, which would have greatly expanded gambling in Washington’s communities. Organizers distributed yard signs, flyers, and buttons across the state in an effort to educate voters about I-892. On November 2nd, Initiative 892 was defeated in a landslide, in the third great victory for Permanent Defense.
In 2005, Permanent Defense stood almost alone in opposing Initiative 900 (although a number of other organizations also endorsed NO), charging that the initiative was unnecessary and gave the state auditor’s office too much power.
However, thanks to nearly half a million dollars in financial help from multimillionaire Michael Dunmire, I-900 made the ballot.
Of greater concern to the organization, however, was Initiative 912, which also qualified for the ballot. I-912 would have repealed a significant part of the 2005 transportation package and crippled a sound investment in Washington’s future.
Deciding that I-912 presented a more significant threat, Permanent Defense’s leadership set up a sister organization, Washington Defense PAC, to mount a widespread grassroots campaign to oppose it. On November 8th, 2005, in a landmark victory, Initiative 912 was rejected. Initiative 900 passed as expected.
In 2006 Permanent Defense worked to help defeat Tim Eyman’s Referendum 65 (legalizing discrimination) and Initiative 917 (destroying transportation funding – considered to be the sequel to I-912), neither of which managed to qualify for the ballot. Both triumphs were significant victories that ensured a rare November ballot free of measures sponsored by Eyman.
In 2007, Permanent Defense fought Initiative 960 (Eyman’s undemocratic assault on majority rule) but unfortunately the measure narrowly passed, despite containing multiple provisions that are blatantly unconstitutional. (The Supreme Court has declined to consider whether I-96 is constitutional or not.)
In 2008, Permanent Defense and a strong coalition of other organizations came together to successfully beat back Eyman’s Initiative 985, dubbed by PD as the “More Traffic Measure”. I-985 would have opened HOV lanes during rush hour and forced state funds to be spent on enlarging highways.
In 2009, Permanent Defense helped stop Initiative 1033, perhaps Eyman’s most destructive measure ever, which would have trapped Washington State in a permanent recession.
In 2010, Permanent Defense launched StopGreed.org, a site that served as an online hub for voters looking for information about that year’s large crop of right wing ballot measures. StopGreed.org urged a no vote on Initiatives 1082, 1100, 1105, 1107, and 1053. Voters defeated three of the five initiatives; 1107 and 1053 were passed. I-1053 was later successfully challenged in court in League of Education Voters v. State.
In 2011, Permanent Defense helped organize opposition to Tim Eyman’s I-1125, which voters defeated.
In 2012, Permanent Defense worked against I-1185, a clone of I-960 and I-1053. In 2013, Permanent Defense helped organized the bipartisan, diverse coalition against Tim Eyman’s I-517. I-517 was overwhelmingly defeated by voters; more than 62% of the electorate statewide opposed the initiative, and more than 73% in King County.
NPI’s Permanent Defense has appeared in nearly all the state’s media outlets over the years, including Associated Press, the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and KOMO AM 1000 Radio, and has been invited to speak at numerous community debates and forums.
Well into the future, Permanent Defense will continue opposing senseless right wing initiatives, advocate for a higher quality of life in Washington State, and carry on the fight for tax reform.
Membership and reuse information
The Northwest Progressive Institute welcomes any Washingtonian who shares its mission and values to help keep Permanent Defense strong and vibrant. We invite you to learn more about becoming a member of the Northwest Progressive Institute.
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We will work to protect Washington by building a first line of defense against threats to the common wealth and Constitution of the Evergreen State.
A public conversation freed from the dominance of right wing demagoguery, an electorate that respects and values the common good, and an end to the abuse of the initiative process by powerful interests.
- To expose the manner in which Tim Eyman, the Fagans, and their followers deceive taxpayers with anti-government propaganda
- To maintain an Internet presence opposing Tim Eyman and his harmful schemes
- To collectively oppose Tim Eyman and his initiative factory and provide advance threat analysis of Eyman’s initiatives
- To support the organizations Eyman aims to destroy, notably Sound Transit