About Permanent Defense
Permanent Defense is a project of the Northwest Progressive Institute founded in February of 2002 to protect the Evergreen State from bad ballot measures proposed by the militant right wing. Permanent Defense’s primary objective is to safeguard Washington’s common wealth, which funds our schools, transit, roads, parks, libraries, hospitals, police, fire, and emergency medical services… or, more concisely, all of the great public services that we as a people have created through the years through the wise investment of our tax dollars.
In years past, our common wealth has been threatened and attacked by a steady onslaught of right wing initiatives designed to paralyze our communities and wreck government. Permanent Defense was created to provide a year-round first response to these harmful ballot measures.
We’re proud that for several years in a row (2021, 2022, and now 2023), no right wing initiatives or referenda have qualified for the statewide ballot in Washington, thanks in part to our work to hold bad actors like Tim Eyman and “Citizen Solutions” (a former signature gathering company) accountable for their dishonesty, deception, and blatant violations of our public disclosure laws.
We are keeping watch: if any threats to Washington’s future look likely to qualify for the ballot in the coming years, Permanent Defense will be ready to respond.
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.
- Analyze, critique, and combat harmful right wing initiatives from the moment they are proposed
- Maintain an online clearinghouse of information about the consequences of right wing initiatives
- Ensure that Tim Eyman’s initiative factory receives the year-round opposition it needs and deserves
- Support public agencies and organizations that come under attack from Eyman or other
Permanent Defense was founded by Andrew Villeneuve in February of 2002 to oppose Tim Eyman’s initiative factory and fight wing initiatives. 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.
The first version of Permanent Defense was built with a Java applet over a dialup Internet connection, and consisted of only a few pages. PD was accepted into major search engines such as Google, MSN (now Bing), Yahoo!, and Alta Vista in the spring and summer of 2002. It was subsequently accepted and listed in the Open Directory Project, and today can be found through every major search engine. In addition to its own website, Permanent Defense also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
In the summer of 2003, Permanent Defense became a project of the Northwest Progressive Institute, following NPI’s founding. In early 2016, Permanent Defense PAC was organized to raise money to fight right wing initiatives on a year-round basis.
During its fourteen year history, Permanent Defense has helped organize or support dozens of campaigns opposing right wing schemes to wreck government or undermine individual liberty. Most of these efforts have been successful. Of the nearly thirty-six right wing measures that have appeared on the ballot since PD’s founding, only four have both passed the voters and survived legal challenges.
|Right wing initiatives defeated by Washington State voters||Right wing initiatives partially or wholly voided by the courts|
|Measures that failed to qualify for the ballot|
|Referenda approved and defeated by voters
||Initiatives passed and implemented|
Washington State’s mass media outlets regularly turn to NPI’s Permanent Defense for comment when covering right wing initiatives.
PD’s work has been featured in newspaper stories, radio shows, television news broadcasts, and online media reports. Permanent Defense is also frequently invited to present the opposition viewpoint at community debates and forums.
As the twenty-first century progresses, 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.
Key moments and victories in Permanent Defense’s history
- February 15th, 2002: Permanent Defense founded
- July 3rd, 2003: Tim Eyman admits that I-807 (a scheme to unconstitutionally require a two-thirds vote to raise revenue) will not qualify for the autumn ballot
- August 22nd, 2003: The Northwest Progressive Institute is founded and becomes the parent organization of Permanent Defense
- November 8th, 2003: Sound Transit breaks ground on Central Link, the first phase of its Link light rail system
- November 2nd, 2004: Voters defeat Tim Eyman’s I-892 (a scheme to legalize electronic slot machines all over the state) by resounding margins
- January 25th, 2005: The Public Disclosure Commission fines Tim Eyman and his associates for violating Washington’s public disclosure law after investigating a complaint filed by Permanent Defense, TaxSanity, and Taxpayers For Washington’s Future
- November 8th, 2005: Voters defeat Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson’s I-912, keeping in place funding for the 2005 Transportation Package
- June 6th, 2006: Tim Eyman’s Referendum 65 fails to qualify the ballot after Eyman tallies up the signatures and concludes not enough were collected
- November 8th, 2007: The Supreme Court strikes down Tim Eyman’s I-747, which artificially limited property taxes, as unconstitutional
- September 12th, 2006: Tim Eyman’s I-917 fails to qualify for the ballot after the Secretary of State determines insufficient signatures were submitted
- November 4th, 2008: Statewide voters overwhelmingly defeat Tim Eyman’s I-985 while Puget Sound voters enthusiastically pass Sound Transit 2
- July 18th, 2009: Sound Transit’s Central Link light rail line opens to huge crowds of eager riders after nearly six years of construction
- November 3rd, 2009: Voters overwhelmingly defeat I-1033, Tim Eyman’s jobs-killing, Colorado-style scheme to handcuff government
- December 19th, 2009: Airport Link opens to the public, bringing Link light rail to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
- July 3rd, 2010: Permanent Defense launches StopGreed, a campaign to urge Washingtonians to vote down that year’s large crop of right wing initiatives
- November 8th, 2011: Voters defeat I-1125, Tim Eyman’s scheme to outlaw variable tolling and prevent East Link light rail from being built
- May 30th, 2012: King County Superior Court Judge Dean Heller strikes down Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1053 (itself a successor to Initiatives 601 and 960) as unconstitutional in League of Education Voters v. State
- February 28th, 2013: The Supreme Court rules in League of Education Voters v. State that Tim Eyman’s many initiatives to require a two-thirds vote to raise revenue are unconstitutional, affirming Judge Heller’s earlier decision
- November 5th, 2013: Voters defeat Tim Eyman’s self-serving I-517, which becomes Eyman’s worst-ever electoral defeat
- July 3rd, 2014: Tim Eyman’s I-1325 fails to qualify for the autumn ballot, resulting in the first Eyman-free November in eight years
- September 21st, 2015: Public Disclosure Commission staff announces the completion of a two and a half year investigation into allegations that Tim Eyman willfully violated Washington’s public disclosure laws; three days later, the Public Disclosure Commission votes to refer the matter to Attorney General Bob Ferguson for investigation
- January 21st, 2016: King County Superior Court Judge William Downing strikes down Tim Eyman’s I-1366 as unconstitutional in its entirety, prompting an appeal to the Washington State Supreme Court
- March 19th, 2016: University Link opens to the public, extending light rail to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington
- May 26th, 2016: The Washington State Supreme Court affirms Judge Downing’s ruling striking down Tim Eyman’s I-1366 in its entirety, setting an important new precedent against abuse of the initiative power
Membership and reuse information
The Northwest Progressive Institute welcomes all Washingtonians who shares its mission and values to help keep Permanent Defense going strong. We invite you to learn more about becoming a member of the Northwest Progressive Institute.
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