It’s a great day for Washington: I-1515’s failure means zero right wing initiatives on the November ballot

Ballot Watchdogging

Shortly after the close of business today, word came down from Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office that backers of Initiative 1515 had canceled their Friday appointment to turn in petitions, owing to having failed to collect the minimum number of signatures required to make Washington’s November 2016 ballot. The demise of I-1515 is a watershed victory for LGBT civil rights, and leaves in place a Human Rights Commission rule that expressly protects the right of transgender individuals to access washrooms and bathrooms designated for the gender they identify as.

The law that serves as the basis for the Human Rights Commission rule I-1515 tried to repeal was itself briefly threatened ten years ago by a failed referendum instigated by Tim Eyman that NPI’s Permanent Defense fiercely opposed. Eyman teamed up with fundamentalist pastors and the religious right for the campaign. But, as with I-1515, they never turned in any signatures, and so Referendum 65 did not qualify for the November 2006 ballot.

Eyman is also not on the ballot again this year, due to having failed to persuade his wealthy benefactors to pour money into the various schemes he had claimed to be working on for 2016. This November will thus be the fourth Eyman-free general election since the 1990s, after 2003, 2006, and 2014.

More significantly, the collapse of I-1515 and the unexpected idling of Eyman’s initiative factory means that, for the first time this century, there will be zero right wing initiatives on Washington’s November ballot.

For NPI’s Permanent Defense, it is a historic and unprecedented moment.

“2016 marks the first time in the history of Permanent Defense that we have not had a right wing-backed ballot measure to fight on the general election ballot,” said NPI/Permanent Defense founder Andrew Villeneuve.

“This is a truly encouraging and welcome development. As a state, our focus needs to be on improving lives, expanding freedom, and bettering communities. Progress gets impeded when we have to beat back attacks on our Constitution, our commonwealth, and our values. Fortunately, Washington progressives have come together to make the most of this presidential election cycle. Voters will see a robust mix of worthy ideas, including a proposal to raise the minimum wage and create extreme risk protection orders — but no right wing measures that would take our state backwards. That’s as it should be.”

NPI welcomes Judge Ellen Fair’s order requiring Tim Eyman’s cooperation with AG Ferguson’s investigation

In the Courts

Notoriously dishonest initiative promoter Tim Eyman must turn over tax returns, bank statements, and other records requested by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office within the next two weeks, Snohomish County Court Judge Ellen Fair decided today, ordering that Eyman comply with Ferguson’s lawfully issued subpoenas.

Ferguson’s office has been seeking the records for months so it can investigate serious violations of Washington’s public disclosure laws uncovered during a multiyear Public Disclosure Commission investigation of Eyman’s finances, which was referred to Ferguson’s office last autumn.

Ferguson’s probe has been stalled due to a lack of cooperation by Eyman and his associates, which prompted the filing of petitions in Snohomish and Thurston Superior Courts. At the time those petitions were filed, NPI called on Eyman to stop stonewalling and comply with the Attorney General’s subpoenas.

That has still not happened (Eyman’s attorney Mark Lamb’s response to the petitions was to declare that he was “happy to litigate” the issue), but hopefully it will very soon now that Judge Fair has issued her order.

“We welcome this important development and thank Attorney General Ferguson for going to court to hold Tim Eyman accountable and get this investigation moving,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman initiatives for more than fourteen years.

“Tim Eyman has operated for years as though the law simply doesn’t apply to him. He has pretended to be interested in cooperating with this investigation while stalling, obfuscating, and delaying at every turn. Enough! It’s time for the stonewalling to end. We hope that Judge Fair got Eyman’s attention today when she ordered him to pay the State of Washington for the costs of bringing this action. It’s about time Tim Eyman started paying a price for repeatedly wasting the people’s time and money.”

NPI applauds Attorney General Bob Ferguson for going to court to put an end to Tim Eyman’s stonewalling

In the Courts

Following Attorney General Bob Ferguon’s announcement today that his office has filed motions in Snohomish and Thurston Superior Court to enforce subpoenas issued as part of the state’s investigation into Tim Eyman’s egregious violations of Washiington’s public disclosure laws, the Northwest Progressive Institute called on Eyman and his associates to stop stonewalling and cooperate fully with investigators.

“We commend Attorney General Ferguson for going to court to compel Tim Eyman to turn over the records needed to investigate the illegal concealment uncovered by the Public Disclosure Commission during its investigation into the 2012 I-517 and I-1185 campaigns,” said NPI founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve.

“Today’s court filings make it plainly clear that Tim Eyman has been incredibly uncooperative with the Attorney General’s investigation since it began last autumn. He has refused to turn over documentation that would reveal what really happened. What little he has produced has been heavily redacted, suggesting he and is attorney are trying to drag this out as long as possible, and increase the cost of the investigation to taxpayers.”

“This stonewalling is completely unacceptable, and it needs to end immediately.”

“If Eyman expects to be exonerated, as his attorney Mark Lamb has previously said, then why is he refusing to cooperate with the state’s investigation? We can only conclude that it is because the evidence will show that Eyman is guilty of the charges against him, and Eyman wants to put off his day of reckoning for as long as possible. But that day is coming, and Eyman can’t stop it.”

Earlier today, in a related development, the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) notified Washingtonians For Ethical Government (WFEG) that it has opened an investigation into its allegations that Tim Eyman again broke the law by failing to report the launch of an April 2016 independent expenditure against several dozen Democratic state legislators, and for failing to include required disclosures in the ads produced as part of the expenditure.

WFEG notified Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg on May 25th in a forty-five day notice letter that it would bring a citizens’ action against Eyman in Superior Court if the state did not take action against Eyman. On June 7th, 2016, the Attorney General referred the matter to the PDC for review. The PDC has now opened an investigation into the allegations and assigned a case number — 5729.

“We are pleased to hear that the PDC is investigating Eyman’s most recent public disclosure law violations,” said Villeneuve, who serves as a boardmember of Washingtonians For Ethical Government. “Tim Eyman is a serial offender who needs to be held accountable. He has been given plenty of opportunities to clean up his act, and he has failed to do so. He should be penalized to the maximum extent the law allows for these violations, as well as his previous violations.”

“Fidalgo” is here: Welcome to the new Permanent Defense, circa 2016!

Announcements

Today, after many months of hard work, the team at NPI is pleased to unveil Permanent Defense 9.0, codenamed “Fidalgo”.

As you probably noticed from the moment you pulled up permanentdefense.org, the site looks a lot different than it used to, and that’s no accident. “Fidalgo” is nothing less than a sweeping, thoughtful top-to-bottom redesign.

The previous incarnation of the site, codenamed “Camano”, lasted for more than six years, which in Internet years is more like a century. We figured the time was ripe to give Permanent Defense’s online home a visual overhaul.

Unlike with “Camano”, however, not much has changed under-the-hood. Six years ago, when we migrated Permanent Defense to WordPress, we were confident we’d picked the perfect content management system for the project, and not a day has gone by since when we’ve regretted that decision. Because we already had a rock-solid backend to work with, we were able to concentrate on giving Permanent Defense a beautiful, polished new exterior that’s responsive, mobile-friendly, and pleasing to the eye.

“Fidalgo” isn’t merely eye candy, though. There’s also a plethora of new and improved content. Missing or incomplete pages from bygone years that weren’t previously imported from the archives are now part of the site, and there are a number of new pages, too. Here’s a summary of highlights of this new version:

  • Brand new responsive design. Whether you’re visiting from a smartphone, tablet, notebook, or desktop with a big high-resolution monitor, you’ll be able to browse a website that’s accessible, visually appealing, and neatly-organized.
  • Streamlined navigation. The new mobile-friendly Permanent Defense navbar makes it easy to move between pages and posts. It’s a modern replacement for the flat, antiquated set of buttons found in prior versions.
  • Breadcrumbs to aid in wayfinding. In addition to the new navbar, there’s also a breadcrumb widget providing contextual navigation assistance.
  • Updated graphics. Everywhere you look, you’ll see new graphics, with the notable and worthy exception of the timeless Permanent Defense logo that dates back to the site’s inception. The bigger your display, the more you’ll be able to see of Mount Baker, which graces the site’s nameplate.
  • Modern charts. The new Permanent Defense utilizes JavaScript and HTML5 to render charts instead of Adobe Flash, which is an insecure, dying technology.
  • New intuitive page hierarchy. Permanent Defense’s more than one hundred pages are now organized into an intuitive hierarchy, which simplifies browsing.

New pages include:

  • Current Campaigns. Learn about the right wing initiatives we’re presently fighting.
  • Think Before You Ink. What to be on guard against when approached by a petitioner.
  • Archive. Useful landing page for exploring old content.

And finally, be sure to check out our completely redesigned Dangerous Initiatives reference, which contains comprehensive, in-depth profiles of right wing initiatives that have appeared on Washington’s ballot during the Eyman error.

We took great care in redesigning the site not to break anything.

For the most part, PD’s permalinks have not changed, so you shouldn’t run into errors while following external links. Any permalinks that did change due to modifications to the site’s hierarchy were given redirects. Sadly, that’s something a lot of mass media outlets completely neglect to do when they launch new incarnations of their websites. We dislike broken links and link rot as much as you do, so we’ve done our best to ensure existing URLs continue to resolve properly.

We hope you enjoy the new Permanent Defense!

Tim Eyman concedes he won’t make 2016 ballot; NPI’s Permanent Defense ready to fight I-869

Ballot WatchdoggingStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Implicitly conceding at last that he doesn’t actually have a paid signature drive in the field and thus won’t have anything on the 2016 ballot, initiative profiteer Tim Eyman announced this morning that he’s devoting his energies to qualifying a new initiative for 2017 that would eviscerate funding for roads and transit at both the state and regional levels.

“Today is the third time in the past seven months that Tim Eyman has ‘launched’ a new initiative,” noted Northwest Progressive Institute and Permanent Defense founder Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman initiatives for over fourteen years.

“The first time was back in November of 2015 when he said he was doing a follow-up to I-1366 to require revenue increases to expire after a year. Then, in February, he said he was also going to try to qualify to the 2016 ballot I-1421, an initiative to repeal vehicle fees. Now he says he’s doing I-869, a similar initiative to the Legislature for 2017. His announcement today makes no reference to either of those previously planned initiatives.”

“And that’s no accident. Eyman doesn’t like to dwell on failure, and it’s evident at this point he will fail to make the 2016 ballot with anything. It appears the good people of Washington will once again be able to enjoy an Eyman-free election this autumn, while having the opportunity to consider several progressive initiatives that would move our state forward. That’s a victory we will be celebrating all summer long.”

“Time will tell if I-869 is for real or not. Remember, Eyman printed up petitions for I-1421 too — and even made a big show of being the first to sign one in front of television cameras — but I-1421 has now been abandoned. I-869 won’t make it either unless Eyman has commitments from his wealthy benefactors to fund a signature drive. The gears of his initiative factory simply cannot turn without big money.”

In the event I-869 does have serious money behind it, NPI’s Permanent Defense is prepared to fight it and defeat it, together with the Keep Washington Rolling coalition and many other allies.

“Tim Eyman has tried to mess with mobility in our state many times before and been defeated,” Villeneuve observed.

“In 2000, he qualified a scheme to take money away from transit and spend it on highway construction. Voters defeated it. In 2008, he qualified a scheme to eviscerate our HOV system. Voters defeated it. In 2011, he qualified a scheme to prohibit variable tolling and block East Link light rail. Voters defeated it.”

Eyman claims that a survey he paid for shows that I-869 is wildly popular, but the press and public should be aware Eyman says that about all of his initiatives.

Prior to the 2005 general election, Eyman boasted that John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur’s initiative to repeal the fuel tax increases approved by the 2005 Legislature as part of that year’s transportation package was destined for certain victory. Following I-912’s qualification, many pundits shared that view, or were skeptical that I-912 could be beaten.

“With I-912, inevitably approved this fall, voters will say NO to Queen Christine’s underhanded effort to sneak through a multi-billion tax increase when the voters clearly opposed it,” Tim Eyman wrote in a September 26th, 2005 email.

But instead, much to Eyman’s astonishment, I-912 was defeated by voters in a landmark victory, after opponents successfully waged a compelling NO campaign.

NPI is a veteran of that campaign, as are the many organizations that belong to Keep Washington Rolling.

“Voters have repeatedly said no to right wing initiatives that would mess with our transportation system, but Eyman refuses to listen,” said Villeneuve. “The will of the voters clearly doesn’t matter to him. He just keeps recycling the same awful ideas, election cycle after election cycle. We are prepared and committed to ensuring that I-869 ends up in the same graveyard as most of Eyman’s other initiatives, should it end up qualifying to the Legislature at the end of the year. The investments we’ve made to strengthen mobility in Washington must be protected.”

An updated version of Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart, documenting the long list of Eyman initiatives that have either failed to make the ballot, been defeated by voters, or struck down as unconstitutional may be viewed on Permanent Defense’s website.

Supreme Court affirms ruling that Tim Eyman’s I-1366 is unconstitutional in its entirety

In the Courts

This morning, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Tim Eyman’s I-1366 is unconstitutional, affirming King County Superior Court Judge William Downing’s January ruling striking down the initiative as null and void in its entirety. Six justices signed the majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, while the remaining three justices signed a concurring opinion authored by Associate Justice Steven González.

No further appeal is possible, so today’s verdict means that I-1366 is dead.

I-1366, narrowly approved by a fewer than twenty percent of the state’s registered voters last November, attempted to coerce legislators into passing a constitutional amendment to permanently require a two-thirds vote to raise revenue.

In the event lawmakers refused to vote for Eyman’s desired amendment by April 15th, 2016, the sales tax would have been cut by about 15%, depriving Washington’s public services of a whopping $8 billion over six years.

However, I-1366’s sales tax cut was never implemented because the initiative was found to be unconstitutional by Judge Downing. With that decision now affirmed, I-1366 is no longer a threat to Washington’s people or future.

“We are elated by today’s ruling,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Tim Eyman initiatives for more than fourteen years.

“This is truly a great moment for our beloved state. Today, one of the most destructive Eyman initiatives of all time has been finally sent to the graveyard of Washington politics by a united Supreme Court. Our popularly-elected Justices stood up for us and upheld our Constitution, safeguarding our tradition of majority rule and putting a stop to Tim Eyman’s outrageous abuse of the initiative power.”

“All of us at NPI extend our deepest thanks to Paul Lawrence and the team at Pacifica Law Group that represented our courageous and dedicated friends Reuven Carlyle, David Frockt, Paul Bell, Eden Mack, Tony Lee, Angela Bartels, Jerry Reilly, and the League of Women Voters of Washington in this important case. They were outstanding, and they brought the best case we believe could possibly have been brought against this awful initiative, all but guaranteeing it would be thrown out.”

“We look forward to celebrating this victory with our tireless supporters, who have kept us going through thick and thin.”

An updated version of Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart, documenting the long list of Eyman initiatives that have either failed to make the ballot, been defeated by voters, or struck down as unconstitutional may be viewed here.

I-695’s devastating impact is no laughing matter

Election PostmortemRethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

Irked by a letter to the editor published by The Herald of Everett, initiative profiteer Tim Eyman this morning sent out an email to his followers ridiculing elected representatives and civic leaders over their opposition to I-695 (on the ballot in November of 1999), which wiped out billions of dollars in funding for public services following its implementation by the Legislature in 2000.

“[F]or nearly a decade, our initiative was blamed for most everything. ‘Heavy rainfall in Seattle caused by I-695’ — ‘I-695 spurs riots in LA’ — ‘Earthquake in East Timor exacerbated by I-695’. Our opponents couldn’t get enough of it. But eventually, their silliness eventually dissipated,” Eyman wrote in his email.

To NPI’s knowledge, no one opposed to I-695 has blamed it for out-of-state civil unrest, bad weather, or earthquakes abroad. However, Eyman’s I-695 has been blamed — and deservedly so — for having made our tax code more regressive and weakened the vital public services which our tax system funds.

The devastating impacts of I-695 are no laughing matter, nor were they overstated by Lynnwood’s Jerry Fraser in his letter to the editor.

Before I-695 was reinstated by Governor Gary Locke and lawmakers, the state-level MVET was projected to bring in more than one and half billion dollars during the 2001-2003 biennium, as noted by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) in its 1999 fiscal impact statement:

In the aggregate, I-695 would reduce motor vehicle taxes and fees by up to $1.1 billion in the 1999-01 Biennium and by up to $1.7 billion in the 2001-03 Biennium… As detailed on Table 1, the initiative would eliminate up to $1.1 billion in state revenues in the 1999-01 Biennium and up to $1.7 billion in the 2001-03 Biennium, which currently support transportation, criminal justice, public health, and other programs.  It also repeals the statutory method for the valuation of vehicles, as well as the distribution formulas for MVET revenue.

OFM’s analysis went on to offer a list of major public services funded by the state MVET:

  • Local transit districts
  • County public health account
  • Distressed county assistance account
  • Ferry capital construction account
  • Ferry operations account
  • Motor vehicle fund
  • Transportation fund
  • City & county sales tax equalization
  • Municipal & county criminal justice

Prior to its repeal, about 47% of the statewide MVET went to state transportation, while 29% went to local transit agencies and 24% went to local governments.

Below is a compendium of four fact sheets documenting the impact that I-695 was projected to have on a selection of county and city governments throughout the state:

Passage of Tim Eyman’s I-695, and the Legislature’s subsequent decision to reinstate it after it was struck down by the State Supreme Court in the ATU case had huge ramifications (like delayed/lost bond sales), and ushered in an era of backfilling at all levels of government that went on for years.

“We’re not even close to filling the holes,” State Representative Hans Dunshee told The Seattle Times a few months after the 1999 general election. “The largest impacts of I-695 will be unaddressed. That’s going to take more working and more thinking.”

Times editors felt the fallout from I-695 was so significant and newsworthy that they established a special section on seattletimes.com to chronicle developments.

To replace the sudden, giant funding loss resulting from I-695, state agencies and local governments across Washington were forced to resort to drastic emergency measures.

Washington State Ferries was forced to hike fares dramatically (because funding for operations decreased by 58% and capital funding decreased by 70%).

The City of Mountlake Terrace stopped providing animal control.

Washington State University instructed its extension offices to begin preparing for massive budget cuts.

And the laudable goal of reducing class size and putting more money into schools fell by the wayside as the Legislature struggled to backfill the loss of MVET money.

In some cases, voters were asked to approve tax increases to replace lost funding.

In Longview, voters were asked to approve a flood control levy (and they said yes). The success of the levy mitigated one problem, but basic and essential public services still took a big hit in a Longview. The Daily News reported on November 16th, 2000:

The loss of motor vehicle excise taxes with last year’s passage of Initiative 695 hit Longview hard, and will reduce city revenue by about $1.4 million in 2001-2002, [Longview finance director Kurt] Sacha said. All city departments took cuts, and Longview police lost five officer positions in 2000.

King County Metro also went to the voters to gain back lost funding (and again, the voters said yes). Unfortunately, in Metro’s case, the mechanism the Legislature came up with to allow the agency to backfill from I-695 was an increase in its sales tax authority.

So even though the voters said yes to Metro’s request, the dot-com bust wiped out the projected revenue, as this 2010 King County Metro “System Overview” presentation explained on Slide 19 (“Funding Issues”):

  • 1999: I-695 approved. Metro’s funding reduced by $110 million per year (29% of budget)
  • 2000: Transit sales tax authority raised by Legislature to 0.9 percent
  • 2000: 0.2 percent Metro sales tax approved
  • 2000: Dot com bust: The projected sales tax growth to fund most of the service adds in the plan is lost
  • Plan became largely unfunded, but included the revised allocation policy of “40-40-20

In Snohomish County, Community Transit initially responded to I-695 by laying off dozens off bus drivers. Here’s how the Seattle Times reported it:

You’re a mean one, Mr. Eyman. All the bus drivers in Whoville say so.

Whoville, of course, is where the Grinch stole Christmas. And Community Transit (CT) drivers in Snohomish County who received layoff notices on the eve of the holidays want everyone to know that Initiative 695 sponsor Tim Eyman is their Grinch.

They gathered yesterday at the Labor Temple here to tell how Eyman – and the state’s voters – took their holiday cheer.

Pink slips were handed to 90 CT drivers and other employees earlier this month, announcing layoffs effective Feb. 6. Thirty other employees will be cut from full- to part-time status. The move was made in response to a projected loss of $18.7 million, 30 percent of CT’s budget next year.

Community Transit subsequently reversed some cuts to bus service using temporary funding. County leaders warned residents at the time that the service restorations might not be permanent. And sure enough, they weren’t. Sunday service went away that same year. It was brought back in 2002, then indefinitely suspended again in 2010 along with paratransit for disabled Snohomish County residents.

Five long years went by before Community Transit brought back Sunday service.

The motor vehicle excise tax used to be a stable revenue source that transit agencies could count on. After the statewide MVET was eviscerated, transit agencies became heavily dependent on sales taxes. As anyone with a basic understanding of public finance knows, the sales tax yields less revenue during economic downturns. Downturns, however, are precisely when many people rely on public services the most.

Community Transit, Metro, Sound Transit, and other transit providers will be facing the same predicaments they’ve grappled with in the past as soon as another recession occurs. Sales tax funding will go down, and that will jeopardize essential service that people rely on.

This is one of the many long-term consequences of I-695 that Tim Eyman never wants to talk about. He may not ride the bus, but hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians do. To them, the prospect of not being able to get to their job on Sunday, or utilize paratransit service to participate in community functions, is very scary.

Tim Eyman can pretend the real and serious consequences of I-695 don’t exist, but neither we nor our elected representatives can afford to live in his fantasyland.

Washington is home to more than seven million people. By working together and pooling our resources, there is much we can accomplish. To move forward and raise our quality of life, it’s imperative that we reject Tim Eyman’s destructive agenda and reaffirm that we believe in the values that Washington was founded on. We call upon our elected representatives at all levels to work with us to undo the harm caused by Eyman’s past initiatives as well as defeat any new schemes that Eyman comes up with.

Fourteen Years: Statement from the Founder

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its fourteenth anniversary, marking one hundred and sixty-eight months of continuous operation. Since going live on February 15th, 2002, Permanent Defense (PD) has been a fierce defender of Washington’s Constitution, common wealth, and vital public services, unceasingly organizing opposition to destructive initiatives proposed by Tim Eyman and other malicious actors.

Permanent Defense: Fourteen YearsPermanent Defense was born out of a realization that passivism (passive resistance) is a fatal response to right wing initiatives. We believe that only effective antidote to Tim Eyman’s toxic politics and destructive initiatives is relentless activism that informs, educates, and persuades the public to protect their public services by rejecting Eyman’s snake oil and voting against his schemes when they appear on the ballot. PD exists to provide such antidote, on a year-round basis, as the oldest project of the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI).

Today marks the conclusion of Permanent Defense’s fourteenth year and the beginning of its fifteenth. Last February, we were able to celebrate the first Eyman-free November in eight years. Unfortunately, as we anticipated might happen, Eyman was able to line up new wealthy benefactors to get the gears of his initiative factory turning again. With an ample supply of cash from real estate developers and hedge fund managers, Eyman was able to buy his way onto the ballot with I-1366, a clone of I-1325, which failed to qualify in 2014.

With the possible exception of I-1033 from 2009, I-1366 is perhaps the most destructive initiative Eyman has ever qualified for the ballot.

Seemingly inspired by the failed federal government shutdown of 2013 orchestrated by Ted Cruz, I-1366 threatened to wipe out $8 billion in funding for our public schools and other vital public services unless the Legislature capitulated to Tim Eyman’s demand to overturn the Supreme Court’s League of Education Voters decision by April 15th, 2016. LEV is the Court’s landmark decision upholding Article II, Section 22 of our Constitution, which provides that all bills shall pass by majority vote of greater than fifty percent. That includes revenue bills, which Eyman has always wanted subjected to an undemocratic higher standard of two-thirds.

From the day we learned that Eyman was printing petitions for I-1366, we began organizing to defeat it. There was no point in waiting — it would have meant squandering valuable time. We spent the first half of 2015 in coalition-building mode, building an online presence for the coming NO campaign and working to secure commitments from individuals and organizations in opposition to I-1366.

Once I-1366 made it to the ballot, we shifted into mobilization mode.

We supported the lawsuit to have I-1366 removed from the ballot due to being outside the scope of the initiative process, which sadly was not successful.

We launched a political action committee with bipartisan leadership to fight I-1366, and worked cooperatively with our allies to craft a strong con voter’s pamphlet statement.

We conducted research to discern how to most effectively counter Eyman’s deceptive sales pitch for I-1366.

We raised funds and placed ads to educate voters. We helped brief editorial boards and city councils so they could take an informed NO position.

We regularly published analysis documenting the harm I-1366 would do here on Permanent Defense and on NPI’s sister project websites.

We did more than we have ever done to defeat a Tim Eyman initiative, and yet it wasn’t enough. We fell short of victory in November when I-1366 narrowly passed. The November 2015 general election ended up setting a new record as the election with the worst voter turnout since the state began registering voters in the 1930s.

To have worked so hard and to have come up short by such a small margin was disappointing. Regrettably, the NO coalition lacked the financial muscle it should have had, and much of the money that was raised materialized late, after voters had already started voting. We probably could have defeated I-1366 had our community as a whole been more engaged and better organized. NPI’s Permanent Defense certainly did its part.

Though we didn’t have much to work with, we were still able to defeat I-1366 in four counties (King, Jefferson, Thurston, and San Juan) and significantly narrow Eyman’s margin of victory statewide. Impressively, as the count went on, the NO vote rose from 57% to more than 61% in King County.

We vowed on Election Night to keep fighting, and we have. We’re proud that our state’s Democratic representatives and senators stayed unified and refused to capitulate to Eyman in the wake of the election. We strongly support the lawsuit filed by our friends Reuven Carlyle, David Frockt, Eden Mack, Tony Lee, Angela Bartels, Paul Bell, and the League of Women Voters of Washington to have I-1366 invalidated.

We’ve already had one victory in that legal challenge. It was a joyous day when King County Superior Court Judge William Downing struck down Eyman’s I-1366 in its entirety as unconstitutional. Judge Downing agreed with all of our side’s arguments, finding that I-1366 was unconstitutional every way to Sunday.

Judge Downing’s decision has now been appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court, which will render a final verdict. Oral argument will be heard next month and a decision is expected sometime in the weeks to follow.

We believe we stand an excellent chance of winning on appeal, and we look forward to the day when we can add I-1366 to Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart.

At the same time we were organizing against I-1366, we kept on encouraging the Public Disclosure Commission to finish its long-delayed investigation into Tim Eyman’s willful violations of our state’s public disclosure law. Our efforts were rewarded in September of 2016 when PDC staff wrapped up their investigation and presented their findings to the Public Disclosure Commission, which unanimously voted to refer the case to Attorney General Bob Ferguson for prosecution.

We have long believed that Eyman was getting kickbacks from the paid signature gathering company he hires every year. Without being able to examine that firm’s books, we couldn’t prove it. But PDC staff were able to confirm that it was happening.

And the Commissioners, recognizing and appreciating the severity of Eyman’s offenses, deemed that a more comprehensive investigation was warranted. They asked Attorney General Ferguson to broaden the scope of the investigation to discern whether Eyman’s 2012 violations were part of a larger pattern.

This investigation is currently ongoing, and we hope it results in Tim Eyman being held accountable in a court of law.

In the meantime, we have an important success to celebrate: the opening of Sound Transit’s University Link light rail extension. U-Link is opening months ahead of schedule and under budget, thanks to outstanding project management by Sound Transit and the contractors it selected to build the project.

We would not be celebrating University Link’s grand opening this spring had Tim Eyman succeeded in his early 2000s campaign to destroy Sound Transit and prevent it from building the rail spine our region desperately needs and deserves. Fortunately, Eyman’s war on Sound Transit was a failure. ST survived, endured, and today is one of the highest-performing and most widely respected regional transit agencies in the country. The agency has delivered Central Link, Airport Link, and now University Link light rail, with the Angle Lake Link extension due this autumn.

In 2002, at the time Permanent Defense was founded, Sound Transit didn’t have many friends. It was under attack in the press, in the courts, and via initiative (thanks to Eyman). Permanent Defense stood with Sound Transit against those attacks, and made the defeat of Eyman’s I-776 its first priority.

Even after I-776 narrowly passed, we didn’t give up. We vowed to keep on fighting, and Sound Transit did likewise, managing to get I-776 partially invalidated in court and securing federal funding to break ground on Central Link.

Since that first campaign, we have fought numerous Eyman initiatives that tried to mess with Sound Transit and WSDOT in one way or another. Most of those schemes have been failures. But Eyman hasn’t given up. He resents our success and still wants to see Sound Transit destroyed. Eyman recently redeclared war on Sound Transit by announcing his intention to qualify I-1421 to the November 2016 statewide ballot. I-1421 seeks to repeal one of the funding sources the Legislature made available to Sound Transit for its Phase III (ST3) expansion package. It would also repeal billions of dollars in funding for Amtrak Cascades and freight mobility projects.

I-1421 must be defeated — and it can be, if it is effectively opposed. We will be at the forefront of efforts to ensure that it is.

Eyman has also threatened to qualify a second initiative to the November 2016 ballot. This one, intended as a sequel to I-1366, is an attempt to slap a one-year expiration date on any future revenue increase. It’s unconstitutional, of course, but Eyman doesn’t care.

Eyman already has $1.2 million in financing lined up to qualify these measures. Three-quarters of that sum came from his wealthy benefactors.

Eyman is already circulating petitions for I-1421, and will doubtless be printing up petitions for his other scheme by the time spring gets underway.

We can save ourselves and the state we love a lot of trouble in 2017 and beyond if we stop Eyman cold at the ballot this year. Though we appreciate the fine work of Paul Lawrence and the Pacifica Law Group legal team, it shouldn’t be necessary to have to go to court to get Eyman’s malicious schemes thrown out. These terrible initiatives shouldn’t be getting past the voters in the first place.

After our experience fighting I-1366 last year, we resolved to work more proactively to raise money on a year-round basis as well as organize. Permanent Defense’s parent organization NPI raises money year-round, but the vast majority of it goes to support NPI’s core mission along with NPI’s other projects and publications.

We came to the decision last year that to become more effective, Permanent Defense needed its own treasury. And so, we’ve given it one. Today, we are proud to announce the formation of Permanent Defense PAC, a continuing political action committee that will serve as a bulwark against Tim Eyman’s noxious initiative factory. Donations to Permanent Defense PAC will be used to ensure Eyman’s destructive initiatives are met with the vigorous opposition they deserve. You can contribute to Permanent Defense online or by mail (PO Box Redmond, WA 98073).

Here are three other ways you can help:

  • If you are not a member of the Northwest Progressive Institute, we urge you to become one. Members are the backbone of NPI’s supporter community, providing the time, talent, and treasure that makes NPI’s work possible.
  • If you see a petitioner collecting signatures for an Eyman measure like I-1421, we ask that you report your experience immediately so we can track Eyman’s signature drives.
  • And if you are free on the evening of April 1st, 2016, we encourage you to join us for NPI’s eighth Spring Fundraising Gala, where we will talk about our next steps for 2016 and beyond.

As I said last year, through perseverance and hard work, we have won many victories over the years. Tim Eyman may be relentless, but so are we. We don’t give in and we don’t give up, because our Constitution and our commonwealth need safeguarding.

We need this fighting spirit to be contagious. Join us in helping make it so.

Here’s to a great fifteenth year for Permanent Defense.

NPI thanks Senate Democrats for voting to protect Washington’s cherished tradition of majority rule

Legislation & Testimony

This morning, the Washington State Senate voted twenty-six to twenty-three to reject a proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 8211) to undemocratically require a two-thirds vote for passage of any bill that would raise revenue.

The amendment, which itself fittingly required a two-thirds vote to pass in the Senate, was defeated, with all twenty-three Democratic senators voting no and all twenty-six Republican senators (Tim Sheldon included) voting yes.

Following the vote, Northwest Progressive Institute/Permanent Defense founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve thanked Senate Democrats for sticking together to defend Article II, Section 22 of Washington’s Constitution, which the Tim Eyman-backed amendment would have sabotaged.

“Our tradition of majority rule dates back to the founding of our state,” said Villeneuve. “The seventy-five delegates who participated in the 1889 constitutional convention debated voting limits more than just about any other topic, as David Perez of Perkins Coie discovered while researching the convention four years ago during the League of Education Voters case. The delegates decided that the only standard that made sense for passing bills was a majority vote. Not a three-fifths vote, not a two-thirds vote, not a three-fourths vote… a majority vote.”

“Our Founders understood that our state needed a plan of government that balanced majority rule with minority rights. Where they felt it appropriate to protect minority rights, they explicitly required minority consent to take action. That is why there are numerous places in the Constitution that require a two-thirds vote or a three-fifths vote to take an extraordinary action, like amending the Constitution or overriding a veto. But for passage of bills, our Founders made it clear in Article II, Section 22 that an absolute majority was the threshold for passage of bills. They wanted laws to be made by the many, not a few.”

“Today, our Democratic Senators voted to defend our cherished tradition of majority rule. They stood together, unified, for the values Washington was founded upon, in defiance of Tim Eyman and his wealthy benefactors. They did so knowing several of them will likely be attacked in campaign advertising this coming election season. They showed real courage today, and we cannot thank them enough.”

“Tim Eyman knows that when Democrats stand together in opposition to his destructive agenda — and when progressives unify a majority of our state’s people around our finest traditional values — he can’t win. Eyman is well aware that he cannot get the amendment he so desperately wants without Democratic votes. That’s why he resorted to blackmail with Initiative 1366. Thankfully, Eyman’s attempt to coerce Democrats into doing his bidding has been a complete failure.”

“It’s a shame that not a single Republican was willing today to stand up to Tim Eyman today. We would have liked to see some of the Republicans listen to the elder statesmen of their party and vote against SJR 8211. Distinguished Republicans like Sam Reed, Ralph Munro, and Dan Evans, who have been elected statewide to govern in years past, understand that majority rule is good for Republicans and Democrats alike. That’s why they opposed Tim Eyman’s I-1366 last autumn.”

“It’s really too bad that Tim Eyman, who is under investigation for serious violations of our state’s public disclosure laws, continues to enjoy such influence with legislative Republicans. But at least he has none with Democrats. History shall reflect that when our cherished tradition of majority rule came under attack, twenty-three brave Democrats stood up and defended it. They deserve the admiration and thanks of all Washingtonians who want to see our Constitution upheld.”

NPI’s Permanent Defense ready to fight Tim Eyman’s latest assault on Sound Transit, WSDOT

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

This morning in Olympia, Tim Eyman announced his intention to try to qualify a second initiative for the 2016 ballot that would eviscerate state and local transportation funding by repealing vehicle fees. Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve attended Eyman’s press conference at the Secretary of State’s office and spoke against the measure afterwards, making clear that NPI is ready to build and work with a broad coalition to defeat Eyman’s I-1421.

“The campaign to defeat Tim Eyman’s I-1421 has already begun,” said Villeneuve. “We’re not waiting to get started, because we appreciate how high the stakes are. If Washington is to keep rolling, Sound Transit and WSDOT need the resources to build a twenty-first century, multimodal transportation system for our state.”

“Sound Transit needs to be able to deliver the regional light rail spine and express bus network that our population centers need and deserve, while WSDOT has to be able to replace crumbling roads and bridges, deploy new ferries, expand Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service, and enhance freight mobility. All of that costs money.”

“If we want broad prosperity and economic security, then we owe it to ourselves to build upon what previous generations of taxpayers made possible for us,” Villeneuve added. “None of us can afford these badly needed transportation improvements on our own. It is only by pooling our resources that we can make progress together.”

“Last year’s Connecting Washington transportation package is one of the very few things our divided Legislature has been able to get done. Now, Tim Eyman is trying to undo it. Unfortunately, this is what Eyman does. He’s a public menace. He has made it his business to attack our common wealth and undermine our plan of government.”

“Fourteen years ago, when I founded Permanent Defense and became involved in Washington politics, Tim Eyman was trying to dismantle Sound Transit and prevent Central Link, our first light rail line, from breaking ground. Today, in what could have passed as a media scrum from February 2002, Eyman made it clear he still hasn’t given up on his nefarious goal of destroying Sound Transit.”

“It’s evident that Eyman resents that under CEO Emeritus Joni Earl, Sound Transit has become one of our state’s most trusted, effective, and high-performing public agencies. People all over Puget Sound are clamoring for Link to be extended to their communities. They want choices for their commute. They don’t want to be forced to drive to get where they need to go. Since the opening of Central Link more than half a decade ago, Link has been a tremendous success.”

“And this year, it’s going to expand in two directions, to serve even more neighborhoods – from the University of Washington to Angle Lake.”

“We have always believed that Sound Transit could do great things if it was allowed to live up to its potential. Today, Sound Transit is firing on all cylinders, but incredibly, Eyman still wants to wreck it. Eyman and the wealthy benefactors funding him must be stopped. We have defeated Eyman before many times, and we are confident that we can do so again. It will take hard work and a lot of organizing, but we can do it.”

“My team at NPI has never been more enthusiastic and never been more resolved to halt Tim Eyman’s war on light rail and defeat his initiative factory than we are at this moment. We are ready to put fourteen years of Eyman-fighting experience to work against I-1421 and the other atrocious measure that Eyman has planned for this year. We’ll have more news to share about our next steps in the weeks to come.”

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Permanent Defense works to protect Washington by building a first line of defense against threats to the common wealth and Constitution of the Evergreen State — like Tim Eyman's initiative factory. Learn more.

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