Tim Eyman hit with additional sanctions and ordered to report $766,447 in personal ‘gifts’ as campaign contributions

Eye on Money: DevelopmentsRethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

Today, Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon granted Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s motion to impose additional sanctions on disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman, who has consistently tried to evade accountability for his violations of Washington’s public disclosure law through a legal defense strategy we’ve dubbed “stonewalling in the extreme”.

Dixon ruled that contributions Eyman has previously received as personal ‘gifts’ qualify as campaign contributions and affirmed that Eyman remains in contempt because he has failed to comply with the Court’s discovery orders.

Dixon also awarded the state attorney’s fees.

Northwest Progressive Institute founder Andrew Villeneuve called the ruling a significant development in the case that brings Eyman closer to his day of reckoning.

“The barricades that Tim Eyman has thrown up to shield himself from accountability are crumbling,” said Villeneuve.

“For years, Tim has tried to pretend that the fundraising he does for himself is separate from the fundraising he does for his initiative committees. But that is a fiction. The truth is that money given to benefit Tim Eyman benefits his initiative factory, and money given to whichever scam Eyman happens to be hawking at the moment benefits Eyman.”

“Just look at how I-976, Eyman’s latest initiative, got onto the ballot. The lion’s share of the money that paid for signature gathering came from Eyman himself; Eyman claimed he cashed out his and his wife’s retirement fund in order to make the signature drive a reality. The PDC reports for I-976 make it look like Eyman is his own biggest donor. Except he’s really not, because he doesn’t have a way of supporting himself without the continuing generosity of wealthy supporters like Kemper Freeman, Jr., who stated in a deposition that he wanted to make sure Eyman had enough ‘grocery money.'”

“There is simply no separation between Eyman’s personal and political funds anymore because he has mixed them so thoroughly.”

“It is entirely appropriate that Judge Dixon has found that the ‘gifts’ Eyman has been soliciting are really campaign contributions and are subject to public disclosure. If Eyman won’t comply and file the requisite reports, he’ll find himself in even more trouble.”

Backgrounder: Voters to see twelve “advisory votes” (Tim Eyman push polls) this year

Ballot Watchdogging

In less than a month, elections officials throughout Washington will mail out ballots to military and overseas voters, kicking off the November 2019 autumn general election in Washington State. This year, voters in every part of the state will see an unprecedented number of “advisory vote” measures on their ballots… three times as many as ever before.

Conceived by disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman, these measures masquerade as legitimate ballot measures when they are in fact a form of push poll, similar to the widely hated malicious telephone attack campaigns classified as a “DIRTY TRICK” by Safire’s Political Dictionary.

Our team at the Northwest Progressive Institute has prepared the following Q&A to provide answers to commonly asked questions about “advisory votes”.

We hope this discussion helps you make sense of this year’s ballot.


What are “advisory votes”?

Conceptually, an advisory vote is a nonbinding plebiscite… a kind of ballot measure that asks voters to weigh in and express an opinion on an issue, but which does not change public policy.

However, at the state level in Washington, “advisory votes” are actually a form of push poll concocted by disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman to load up Washingtonians’ ballots with anti-tax propaganda.

Why do you call the “advisory votes” push polls, and why do you put “advisory votes” in quotation marks?

We call “advisory votes” push polls because that is what they really are.

“Advisory votes” is not an accurate descriptor, so we put it in quotes.

A push poll is generally understood to be a type of campaign tactic that attempts to influence public opinion by pretending to measure it.

For example, a candidate who wants to undermine support for a rival might pay a political operative to call voters with a script that dishes dirt on the rival candidate and then asks the voter for their opinion of the rival candidate. The poll itself is meaningless; the question being asked suggests its own answer. Consider the following script:

John Doe is running for city council this year in Anytown, Washington. John Doe was recently caught speeding by our local police department and ticketed for going too fast in a school zone. John Doe’s neighbors have also complained that his animals are aggressive and a threat to kids playing in his neighborhood. The police have been called many times to John Doe’s home to deal with complaints made against him by his neighbors. Knowing these facts, are you more likely or less likely to support John Doe’s candidacy for city council?

Notice the script ends in a question, but any data resulting from question responses is totally worthless because it is preceded by information meant to bias the listener against John Doe. That’s actually not a problem for the poll’s creator, though, because the poll itself is a mechanism for the dissemination of information that could harm the prospects of John Doe.

The results are irrelevant… by design.

Eyman’s push polls work the same way. Their language and format was conceived by Eyman, and dictated by Initiative 960, which Eyman wrote.

Each push poll follows an identical format: highly misleading information is offered about a House and Senate action that raised state revenue (beginning with the words “The Legislature imposed, without a vote of the people…”), and then voters are asked to render a verdict on the tax increase by checking one of two ovals: “Repealed” or “Maintained”.

Voters are not told that regardless of how they vote, the law will not be changed. The only hint that they’re participating in a con is in the heading, which says “Advisory Vote”.

But don’t “advisory votes” still have some value, even if they’re not binding?

No. They don’t have any value whatsoever.

In fact, they have negative value: they waste tax dollars and confuse voters. Legislators can’t draw any conclusions from an “advisory vote” result, because the questions voters are being asked are not neutrally written.

Bad inputs produce bad outputs.

As a programmer working at Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, or countless other tech companies might say: garbage in, garbage out.

You wouldn’t consider a poll that contained negative information about one candidate and positive information about another as credible; it would not be deserving of a news story. Similarly, legislators cannot use any of the data produced by the “advisory votes” to inform their future decision making. The data is garbage. It simply cannot be relied upon.

Where did “advisory votes” come from? How’d we end up with them?

The RCW establishing “advisory votes” first came into being with the narrow passage of Eyman’s I-960 in 2007.

Initiative 960 was a measure that principally attempted to reinstate an unconstitutional scheme to require a two-thirds vote to raise revenue, in violation of Article II, Section 22 of the Washington State Constitution, which says that bills shall pass by majority vote.

“Advisory votes” are not a form of ballot measure provided for by the Washington State Constitution, so we believe they are likely unconstitutional, like that two-thirds vote requirement was.

The Constitution spells out three kinds of measures: initiatives, referenda, and constitutional amendments, all of which are binding.

  • Initiatives (see Article II, Section 1) are laws proposed by citizens. An initiative can either go to the people or to the Legislature for consideration. All initiatives originate from citizen petitions. Petitions must contain signatures bearing the marks of a number of voters equivalent to eight percent of the total who turned out in the last election for governor.
  • Referenda (see Article II, Section 1) are votes on actions taken by the Legislature or by the Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials. Usually, the action is a bill, but it could also be a salary schedule or an initiative passed by the Legislature. A referendum can be triggered in one of two ways: by majority vote of the Legislature, or by citizen petition. Petitions must contain signatures bearing the marks of a number of voters equivalent to four percent of the total who turned out in the last election for governor.
  • Constitutional amendments (see Article XXIII) are proposed changes to the state’s plan of government. To pass, a constitutional amendment must first earn the support of two-thirds of the members of the Washington State House and Senate, then a majority vote of the people at a general election.

The first “advisory votes” appeared on ballots seven years ago, at the 2012 general election. Although Eyman’s push polls date back to December of 2007, when I-960 initially went into effect (part of it would later be struck down as unconstitutional in League of Education Voters v. State of Washington), no one remembered that they existed until several years later… not even their creator Tim Eyman.

How many “advisory votes” have appeared on Washingtonians’ ballots to date?

There have been a total of nineteen, from 2012 through 2018.

And how many will voters see this year?

Twelve. That’s three times as many as voters have seen at once before.

There are so many Eyman push polls in 2019 that important local races for county, city, port, and school board positions will be pushed to the back of the ballot.

Why are there so many this year?

Because Eyman set up his push polls to be automatically triggered any time the Legislature takes an action that raises state revenue, and the Legislature this year did more to reform our tax code than in any other recent session.

The Legislature could have nixed this year’s crop of push polls by passing Senator Patty Kuderer’s SB 5224, as The Herald’s Jerry Cornfield recently explained.

The bill cleared the Senate, but it did not get out of the House due to opposition from former Speaker Frank Chopp.

The bill remains alive and we are working to pass it in the 2020 legislative session.

As part of its efforts to create a budget that could meet the state’s needs, the Legislature adopted a slew of bills that increased state revenue. For example, the Legislature adopted a more progressive real estate excise tax (REET) which replaces the old flat REET. The new REET is graduated, so will result in some Washingtonians paying less tax, but the passage of the bill nevertheless triggers an “advisory vote” because the new REET increases state revenue overall.

The twelve bills that are fodder for this year’s push polls are:

This list is available on the Secretary of State’s website. Each link goes to the text of the bill the Legislature approved.

Despite what Tim Eyman has claimed, these revenue reforms are pretty modest.

The taxpayers most affected by the Legislature’s actions are large corporations that can easily afford to pay more to support Washington’s public services, like the Wall Street banks that lost a lucrative tax break.

What else is on the statewide ballot this year?

There are three legitimate statewide measures that are binding (meaning, their outcomes will influence public policy).

  • Tim Eyman has an initiative to gut transportation funding at the state, regional, and local levels, impairing Washingtonians’ mobility (I-976).
  • There is also a referendum that would reinstate Tim Eyman’s I-200 (R-88) and prohibit state agencies from undertaking affirmative action projects.
  • Finally, there is a constitutional amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 8200, concerning the purposes for which the state’s emergency powers can be invoked.

Because fourteen of the fifteen measures appearing on the 2019 ballot are Eyman-related (SJR 8200 is the only one that isn’t), we’re calling it “the Eymallot”.

Are there costs associated with the presence of Eyman’s push polls on the ballot?

Yes. As The Herald of Everett recently reported:

In previous elections, each measure soaked up two pages in the voter pamphlet and the cost per page ranged between $12,000 and $15,000 depending on what else was in the pamphlet.

Final figures for this year won’t be known until September. If they’re in line with the past, these measures will require 24 pages at a cost of up to a half-million taxpayer dollars.

The costs associated with Eyman’s push polls go far beyond pages in the voter’s pamphlet statement, however. The push polls also increase the cost to Washington’s thirty-nine counties to print, send, and tabulate ballots. Quantifying these additional costs is neither simple nor easy, because the counties do not typically break down elections costs by jurisdiction and category.

However, in odd-numbered years, the counties do bill the State of Washington for state-level items, under an arrangement that dates back several decades. And in 2017, in most counties, the only state level items on the ballot were “advisory votes”, because there were no initiatives, referenda, or constitutional amendments on the ballot that year. That gives us a better idea of how much the “advisory votes” cost on their own.

As we explained to the editors and fellow readers of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, our research at the Northwest Progressive Institute found that Walla Walla County billed the state of Washington $11,438.52 for costs associated with the “advisory votes.” That was the bill for just one of the state’s thirty-nine counties in one year!

We have compiled a spreadsheet that documents the cost to the counties of the 2017 crop of “advisory votes”. It can be downloaded from Permanent Defense’s website.

Where can I find additional information about the “advisory votes”?

Referendum 88 certified; voters to decide whether to keep Initiative 1000 or not

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

As expected, the right wing has succeeded in forcing a vote on Washington’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Act (Initiative 1000). Adopted by the Legislature on April 28th, 2019, I-1000 would empower state agencies and institutions of higher learning to conduct outreach to disadvantaged populations and underrepresented constituencies.

After the conclusion of session, the right wing mobilized to mount a referendum campaign against Initiative 1000, using a bevy of lies to convince voters to sign their petitions. The campaign began turning in its signatures several days prior to the deadline.

“Sponsors had ninety days to collect at least 129,811 signatures of Washington registered voters. 213,268 signatures were submitted during the week leading up to the July 27th deadline,” Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office said in a news release. “The Office of the Secretary of State verified that R-88 had been signed by enough registered voters to meet constitutional requirements to make the November ballot.”

Referendum 88 is the second right wing measure to qualify for the November 2019 ballot, following Tim Eyman’s I-976. Twelve Eyman push polls will also be on the ballot, but unlike R-88 and I-976, they are not binding.

If R-88 is approved, Initiative 1000 will remain in place and go into effect as intended by the Legislature. If I-1000 is rejected, it will be repealed.

NPI is working with business, labor, and civic groups to build a strong coalition to Approve Referendum 88 and uphold Initiative 1000 this autumn.

We believe Washington’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Act is worth defending, and we’re committed to ensuring voters have the information they need to cast an informed vote on Referendum 88 this autumn.

Journalists, when reporting on I-976 (devastates transportation funding), don’t forget about the impacts!

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

Equations. They’re an essential element of mathematics: statements that assert the equality of multiple expressions.

There are two sides to every equation, but you wouldn’t know that from reading the materials that Tim Eyman sends out about the initiatives that he sponsors.

For example, consider the “info sheet” that Eyman distributed today for Initiative 976. It contains no discussion about what the people of Washington stand to lose if Eyman’s latest measure is adopted. There isn’t even a passing acknowledgment that the initiative could result in the cancellation of countless projects to improve mobility plus cutbacks to existing services.

The Office of Financial Management analyzed last week that I-976 would result in the loss of more than $4 billion for transportation investments in revenue at the state, regional, and local levels over six years.

Affected projects and services include:

  • Amtrak Cascades, a regional intercity rail service that provides Washington’s only rail link with British Columbia
  • Road and sidewalk maintenance in sixty cities, including road resurfacing
  • King Country Metro bus service funded by Seattle taxpayers
  • Essential freight mobility projects needed to ensure the smooth movement of goods
  • Sound Transit system expansion (ST3), including light rail, commuter rail, express bus, and bus rapid transit projects

Eyman is fully aware that services like Amtrak Cascades rely upon vehicle fees for funding and that the Washington State Constitution prohibits the use of taxes on fuel for non-highway purposes.

Eyman is lying when he suggests the funding for these projects and services could simply come from somewhere else. Where’s that $4+ billion supposed to come from? Money for the essential services our economy requires doesn’t grow on trees. It comes from taxes. Taxes are investments… essential investments. It is not possible to repeal billions in revenue and suffer no consequences. There are always consequences. This is basic math!

We saw this in the aftermath of I-695 in 1999 and I-776 in 2002.

For example, Washington State Ferries still hasn’t fully recovered from the impact of I-695, while the King County Department of Transportation still hasn’t recovered from the impact of I-776. Those measures were considered and voted on decades ago, but the impacts are still being felt today, as the elected officials and public workers who are responsible for providing mobility services to the public can attest.

Many communities lost funding against their will. For example, people in King County voted against both I-695 and I-776.

If I-976 is implemented, then there will be cuts to already-approved projects and services. These would be significant cuts that would be noticeable and widely felt. Cuts that increase traffic, make our tax code more unfair, and saddle us with costs we don’t need or want. For example, Everett and Tacoma could lose their planned light rail stations because it’s unlikely there would be sufficient funds to build them.

That’s the other side of the vehicle fee equation… the side Eyman doesn’t want you to ever talk about, but which you have a duty and obligation to cover so that Washingtonians can make an informed decision on I-976.

The truth is, Washingtonians and their elected representatives have voted repeatedly to fund multimodal transportation infrastructure.

(“Multimodal” refers to the concept of enabling people to get around through different modes, whether that’s walking, biking, taking the bus, taking the train, vanpooling, or using a scooter, as opposed to merely driving alone.)

Eyman is ideologically opposed to investing in any kind of transportation infrastructure that does not subsidize automobile travel… and in particular, single occupancy vehicle travel. (High occupancy vehicle lanes are part of our highway system, but Eyman opposes those because you can’t drive alone in them during peak hours, at least not without paying a toll, something else Eyman is opposed to.)

How do we know this? Because Eyman has previously sponsored initiatives to redirect money from mass transit to roads (I-745 in 2000), open high occupancy vehicle lanes to everyone during all but a few hours of the day (I-985, 2008) and prohibit variable tolling (I-1125, 2011). Washington voters rejected all three of those initiatives.

Sadly, Tim Eyman doesn’t care. He is just as determined now to undermine and destroy multimodal infrastructure as he was twenty years ago.

Eyman also doesn’t care that voters in Puget Sound voted repeatedly to expand light rail, commuter rail, express bus, and bus rapid transit projects by approving Sound Move in 1996, Sound Transit 2 in 2008, and Sound Transit 3 in 2016.

The outcome didn’t go his way, so he considers the will of the voters irrelevant. Meaningless. Not even worth acknowledging.

It is vital that voters understand both sides of the equation — not just Eyman’s side — before they return their ballots. So make sure when you’re covering I-976 to talk about the impacts. In detail. I-976 would wreak havoc in every part of the state, so no matter where your audience is, there’s a local angle (perhaps several!) to explore.

At the NO on I-976 website, home to the Keep Washington Rolling coalition, you’ll find a useful fact sheet which delves more deeply into the impacts, as well as frequently asked questions and a list of cities that would be directly affected by I-976.

Second right wing measure appears destined for November 2019 ballot: Referendum 88 likely to qualify

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

A right wing effort to overturn the Washington State Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Act (Initiative 1000) by referendum appears to have succeeded in collecting the necessary signatures to force a statewide vote this autumn. Backers of Referendum 88 today submitted what they said were almost 177,000 signatures and plan to turn in another 20,000 more by Saturday at 5 PM, which is the deadline for submitting signatures.

To be certified, petitions for a referendum like R-88 must contain the signatures of at least 129,811 registered voters. As set forth in the Constitution, the minimum number of valid signatures required for a referendum is equivalent to four percent of the number of Washingtonians who participated in the last election for governor.

NPI’s Permanent Defense has been monitoring the R-88 signature drive for the past several weeks and expected today’s developments.

Many people who were approached to sign a Referendum 88 petition reported to NPI that the petitioner told them R-88 was a measure to help veterans, or to make affirmative action legal. The truth is just the opposite. Backers of R-88 want to overturn I-1000, a legislatively adopted initiative that prohibits discrimination against veterans and allows state agencies to help disadvantaged and historically underrepresented groups. It appears that a significant number of signatures for R-88 were obtained under false pretenses.

To keep I-1000 the law of the land, a majority of voters in Washington must vote Approved on Referendum 88 this autumn.

NPI is working with business, labor, and civic groups to build a strong coalition to Approve Referendum 88. Below is the press release we published today in response to the submission of signatures for this measure.

Keep reading

Statement on the failure of Tim Eyman’s I-1648

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

This afternoon, Tim Eyman’s massively hyped, “unprecedented” effort to qualify an initiative to the November ballot to wipe out the Legislature’s 2019 revenue reforms imploded in spectacular fashion when the signatures Eyman was clamoring for from his followers failed to materialize.

As a consequence, I-1648 will not go before voters this autumn.

I-1648 sought to repeal all of the revenue reforms enacted by the Legislature this past session and slap a one-year expiration date on any future revenue reforms not subjected to a public vote. The measure would have jeopardized billions of dollars over the next four years for essential public services throughout Washington State, cutting taxes for big banks and oil companies in the process.

Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman initiatives for over seventeen years, called the demise of I-1648 welcome news. I-1648’s implosion will keep Washington’s budget whole, preventing unexpected cuts to education, healthcare, environmental protection, and human services.

“More than seven million people depend on the essential public services funded by our state budget,” said Villeneuve. “Tim Eyman’s I-1648 would have put the progress we’ve made on progressive tax reform this year at risk. Thankfully, because Eyman and his cohorts were unable to gather sufficient signatures, I-1648 is no longer a danger to our communities.”

“Had I-1648 qualified for the ballot, it would have represented a grave threat to our schools, access to college, forest health and firefighting, sorely needed investments in behavioral health, the removal of barriers to fish passage, and the cleanup of polluted waterways.”

“Our elected representatives are required to produce a budget that goes out four years, not just two. They worked hard to craft a budget that takes into account the needs of Washington’s growing population. Although that budget only contained modest revenue reforms, Tim Eyman nevertheless professed himself to be enraged, and set about trying to overturn the will of the people that the voters chose to write a budget for our state.”

“Happily, he has failed, and I-1648 is dead. It will be a pleasure to add a new entry to Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart today.”

Ever the con man, Eyman tried to will success into existence through bluster and hyberbole, in an effort reminiscent of his disastrous attempt to subject LGBTQ+ rights to a vote in 2006. It didn’t work, as those who were on hand today to watch Eyman fail in person got to see for themselves.

Eyman and his followers did not even collect the minimum number of signatures required by the Constitution, which means none of their petitions will be counted or processed.

(The Secretary of State only accepts submissions of signatures that are beyond the minimum number required, currently 259,622. Sponsors are advised to obtain a cushion of signatures equivalent to 25% of the minimum required to offset duplicate and invalid signatures.)

Eyman already has an initiative on the ballot for November — I-976, which would wipe out billions in bipartisan transportation investments at the state, regional, and local levels. The Keep Washington Rolling coalition, of which NPI is a member, is working hard to build a strong NO campaign to defeat I-976. Learn more at no976.org.

Tim Eyman’s I-1648 looks like another fake from a con artist with no shame

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Over the past four years, while doing his best to stonewall Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s investigation into his egregious violations of Washington’s public disclosure laws, Tim Eyman has attempted to qualify nearly half a dozen initiatives to the ballot.

Each time, with the sole exception of I-976 (which is on the November 2019 ballot), Eyman’s petition drives have ended in failure, because he didn’t have the money to purchase the signatures necessary to force a public vote on his bad ideas.

There was I-1421, I-869, and I-947, the three failed precursors to Initiative 976.

In between I-869 and I-947, there was I-1550, a failed scheme to gut property taxes.

And before those four, at the end of 2015, there was a initiative concept announced by Eyman and his associates Mike and Jack Fagan with an ice cream social in Governor Jay Inslee’s office. Eyman printed up prop petitions for that measure to use at his press conference, but then failed to actually launch a signature drive following the new year.

That initiative concept from almost four years ago is the basis for I-1648.

As with I-1648, each of the aforementioned fakes was unveiled and trumpeted by Eyman with all the fanfare he could muster through email blasts, social media postings, and right wing talk radio appearances. And each went nowhere, because Eyman simply does not have the network of support necessary to qualify anything to the ballot with just volunteer labor.

I-976 is Eyman’s first real initiative in years. It’s already on the ballot — Eyman claims he cashed out his retirement in order to finance the signature drive, although documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court suggest Eyman didn’t entirely empty his retirement fund to qualify the measure — but rather than focus on trying to sell it to voters, Eyman has decided to make another run at getting a second scheme on the November ballot.

Eyman’s initial plan to double up on the November 2019 ballot was to qualify Referendum 80, an attempt to void the new salary schedule for legislators and statewide elected officials adopted by the Washington Citizens Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials.

But he botched that effort and it imploded a few weeks ago.

Now Eyman is trying to resurrect the scheme he came up with a few years ago to follow his hostage-taking Initiative 1366, which would force any revenue reform agreed to by the Legislature to expire after one year unless approved at the ballot.

Initiative 1648 also seeks to repeal all of the modest revenue reforms just enacted by the House and Senate as part of the recently-concluded regular session of the Washington State Legislature. Since it’s trying to do two different things, it probably violates the Washington State Constitution’s single subject rule.

Because Eyman is aiming for the 2019 ballot, he is operating on a tight timeframe. He has less than two months to collect 330,000 signatures.

We can’t find any evidence that Eyman has found a wealthy benefactor to underwrite the signature drive for I-1648. And Eyman would need a wealthy benefactor to make this initiative go. Therefore, at this time, we assess that I-1648 is another one of Eyman’s fakes — a scam designed to part rank and file Republicans from their money.

If I-1648 becomes a credible threat, we’ll immediately begin organizing opposition to it.

Statement on Senate passage of legislation to repeal Tim Eyman’s push polls

Legislation & TestimonyStatements & Advisories

This morning, the Washington State Senate adopted NPI-backed legislation to permanently abolish Tim Eyman’s push polls, which Eyman falsely calls advisory votes.

Senate Bill 5224, prime sponsored by Patty Kuderer, passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support.

Northwest Progressive Institute Founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve issued the following statement following the vote.

“Congratulations to the Washington State Senate on the passage of Senate Bill 5224! For over half a decade, Washingtonians’ ballots have been burdened with the clutter of Tim Eyman’s push polls… anti-tax, anti-government propaganda falsely dressed up as plebiscites. Thankfully, we are now on the verge of getting rid of what has become an annual exercise in trickery and confusion. ‘Advisory votes’ are wasteful and deceptive. They are intended to shape public opinion, not measure it. Their very naming is dishonest. To ascertain where the public is on any issue, it’s vital to ask neutrally-worded questions. A question that suggests its own answer will not yield any useful data.”

In a presentation to the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee one month ago, Villeneuve demonstrated how similar the advisory votes are to traditional telephone push polls, which are listed in the most recent version of Safire’s Political Dictionary under the entry DIRTY TRICKS. Not long after that hearing, the Committee voted unanimously to advance Senate Bill 5224, with all three Republicans voting aye.

Those same three Republicans joined most of the Senate’s Democratic members in voting for Senate Bill 5224, and were essential to the bill’s final passage.

“NPI is extremely grateful to Senators Hans Zeiger, Barbara Bailey, and Brad Hawkins for their votes in support of SB 5224,” said Villeneuve.

“These three Republican Senators listened to what we had to say in committee and then took a courageous vote twice to repeal Tim Eyman’s push polls, knowing full well that they were voting against Eyman’s wishes. They did the right thing instead of bowing to Eyman’s self-serving demands. This is what public service is supposed to be about: listening with an open mind and then voting for what’s in the best interest of our state.”

“We also want to thank Senator Patty Kuderer, who represents the Northwest Progressive Institute’s home legislative district, the 48th. Without Senator Kuderer’s leadership, this bill wouldn’t have been introduced, wouldn’t have earned a do pass recommendation, and wouldn’t have passed out of the State Senate today. NPI is honored to be represented by Senator Kuderer, and looks forward to continuing to work with her to raise Washington’s quality of life.”

Statement on Tim Eyman’s theft from Lacey Office Depot

Statements & Advisories

Today, The Seattle Times published video provided by an Office Depot in Lacey which shows disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman stealing an office chair from the store.

Northwest Progressive Institute Founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve issued the following statement after having watched the video.

“Seventeen years ago today, I founded Permanent Defense to combat Tim Eyman’s destructive initiatives and toxic politics. I did so because it was apparent that Eyman needed vigorous, effective, and year-round opposition. At the time, Eyman had just been caught funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds into his own pockets and lying about it. Yet it seemed his political career was not over, especially with his associates and some of his donors making excuses for him. So, I resolved to do my part to stand up for Washington’s people and values by building a first line of defense against Eyman’s future attacks on our Constitution and common wealth.”

“Seventeen years later, that work continues, and it’s more important than ever.”

“I hope that the publication of this video helps more Washingtonians see Tim Eyman for who he truly is: a greedy, self-serving individual who thinks that dishonest, unethical, and even criminal behavior is okay. As Permanent Defense has documented, Tim Eyman has an extremely long track record of lying to the public, the press, and his own followers. Now he has been caught on tape committing petty theft.”

“It’s time Tim Eyman spent some quality time in jail. I wish I could say I’m shocked, but sadly, this is the kind of behavior I’ve come to expect from Tim.”

“I am an optimist, so I remain hopeful that the day will eventually come when Tim Eyman will reform and change his ways. I don’t expect him to abandon his core beliefs, but it sure would be nice if he would stop lying, constantly disrespecting our elected representatives, and stealing from others.”

Wondering why King County doesn’t have more snow routes? Remember, Tim Eyman initiatives have consequences

Rethinking and Reframing

February 2019 is going to be remembered up and down the I-5 corridor as the month that much of Western Washington turned into a winter wonderland resembling C.S. Lewis’ fictional land of Narnia under the rule of the White Witch, Jadis.

Two walloping snowstorms have already upended normal life in and around the state’s largest urban centers of Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett, which normally see mild winters thanks to the influence of the Pacific Ocean. And more snow is on the way.

The wintry conditions are making travel difficult. Many people have wondered on social media why the state and local governments don’t have more resources available to deal with the snow and ice and keep the roads clear. On the snow and ice page of its website, King County’s Department of Transportation has an answer to this question:

Why are there fewer snow routes?

King County crews respond to weather events that affect the bridges and roads of unincorporated areas – the network that keeps communities connected. In past years, the county was able to plow and sand critical snow routes. But the county is no longer funded to plow and sand as much as it used to.

Unfortunately, nearly three decades of annexations, declines in gas tax revenues, and the effects of voter initiatives have led to the chronic underfunding of the local bridge and road system.

Fewer resources means fewer staff to perform work during inclement weather as well as year round, resulting in significantly reduced service levels for maintaining roads and bridges in unincorporated areas including plowing and sanding services. Key transportation routes for public safety will be plowed, however, in the past we were able to open secondary routes. The county used to plow and treat 30 percent of county-managed roads, but this year there are only resources to plow 15 percent of the county’s 1,500 miles of roads.

Read the Strategic Plan for Road Services (SPRS) update and the Line of Business Plan.

For a longer discussion of this topic that offers much more context, see: Must-read article: King County struggles to fund roads and bridges.

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