The smoke from Initiative 776 is clearing
Only a few months after passing narrowly, Eyman’s I-776 is already falling apart. Recently, Eyman was dealt two serious setbacks in court — one dismissing his lawsuit in Snohomish County and the other declaring I-776 unconstitutional (a final ruling on 776 by the state Supreme Court is pending).
Furthermore, Eyman’s enemy, Sound Transit, has now secured the support of George W. Bush’s administration for Link light rail construction. Bush’s budget includes money to build Central Link from Seattle to Tukwila. The federal government also gave the project a “highly recommended” rating – only one out of two projects in the country to receive that rating. What does Eyman have to say about that? The administration of the Republican President Eyman supported is siding with Sound Transit — not he or his fellow anti-rail zealots!
Another election has come and gone. As the smoke clears here in Washington State, we see the approval of Initiative 776 and the defeat of Referendum 51, which Eyman is hailing as a big conservative victory. But before the Republicans rejoice in their successes, let’s pause to consider what happened at the polls on Election Day.
Initiative 776 was a statewide initiative that only affected four of thirty-nine counties. Voters in places like Spokane, Pasco, and Vancouver approved Initiative 776 by a resounding percentage, but passage of I-776 will not save them any money. Even in the four affected counties, there will still not be thirty dollar tabs for everyone — and no revote on Sound Transit’s authorization to construct the Link light rail system — a clear contradiction of proponents’ claims about the initiative.
The Department of Licensing has said it will continue to collect the vehicle fees that King County and Sound Transit levy locally on motor vehicles for transportation projects. Why? Because those funds were pledged to pay off bonds created by voter-approved projects years ago. These bonds cannot be repealed by an ill-conceived statewide initiative. Voters outside of Sound Transit’s jurisdiction have asked for more gridlock by not only defeating funding increases, but voters statewide have no authority to void these bonds.
I-776 might not have passed at all had we done a better job of communicating the destructive ramifications of I-776 to voters.
Nevertheless, it looks like Tim Eyman will fail to accomplish his goal of destroying light rail, because Sound Transit’s MVET revenue stream is still intact — and consequently, Central Link is still very much alive and well.
What will happen next? It’s hard to say, because the smoke is only beginning to clear from the election. And already Eyman is pitching forth plans for more damage. These initiatives are malicious schemes centered around Eyman’s wishes and desires. Eyman is skilled at using the mass media to dupe and manipulate voters, and his misinformation can only be effectively countered through reframing.
So as the smoke trails off, Permanent Defense is beginning a new chapter. Permanent Defense will continue to provide fierce opposition to Tim Eyman’s initiative factory. We will carry the torch on with those who understand that Tim Eyman and his operation are manufacturing destructive and hurtful ideas. Eyman’s attacks on our government will be met with an unyielding response. Our government needs the means to operate and cannot do so if Eyman and company continue to destroy its funding as they are.
Permanent Defense urges all voters to decline to sign Eyman’s next scheme, I-807, and join in the effort to defend our state’s well-being. Respond by making your voice heard. All Washingtonians who believe the values our state was founded on need to come together to stand up for our state’s future and stop Eyman’s relentless assault on government.