Initiative 900 an attack on King County, home rule

Essay At A Glance

Ever since Initiative 695 in 1999, we’ve observed a common theme among Tim Eyman-sponsored initiatives: they are all, in one way or another, an attack on King County and on home rule.

Initiative 900 is not an exception.

Eyman has been saying for months that the state auditor needs unchecked power to conduct performance audits of local government (the auditor already has the power to conduct financial audits).

To illustrate his point that local government, in his view, needs auditing, Eyman has come up with some examples – Sound Transit (which Eyman despises), King County Elections (unpopular with conservatives after Chris Gregoire’s victory) and the Seattle Monorail Authority – not to mention King County Executive Ron Sims’ office and the King County Council.

Is it a coincidence that all of these examples are governments within King County? No.

Sound Transit also operates in Pierce and Snohomish Counties, but the heart of its operations are in King County, home to Seattle and its suburbs.

Eyman is hoping his measure will help bring a heavy hand crashing down on King County. While the current state auditor isn’t a Republican, he’s also not a progressive.

Many conservatives would like nothing more than to dissolve Sound Transit and the Seattle Monorail Project. They’d love to have King County Elections taken over by one of their own. And they would definitely like to come down hard on Ron Sims and the Democratic controlled County Council. To accomplish those goals, they need ammunition. They seem to believe that empowering the state auditor to conduct performance audits would give them evidence of wrongdoing by King County and other local governments inside King County.

Initiatve 900 is a recipe for trouble. It gives the auditor too much unchecked power.

While the office remains in the hands of Brian Sonntag, we are hopeful that there will be no abuse of power.

But there’s no guarantee that Sonntag, the next state auditor, or any future state auditor will wield the extra power I-900 gives the office responsibly.

Government needs to be structured, and policies designed, for the worst-case scenario. That is why the Legislature’s performance audit legislation set up a citizen advisory board to check the power of the state auditor.

Too much power isn’t a good thing – especially if that power is used to stifle home rule and attack King County.

Don’t support Eyman and his anti-King County, anti-Seattle agenda. Vote no on Initiative 900.

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