January 26th, 2011
State Representative Marko Liias: Tim Eyman is an ignorant blowhard
State Representative Marko Liias, who has the unfortunate distinction of having Tim Eyman as a constituent, says he’s had it with the watch salesman-turned-initiative promoter after Eyman harshly berated Liias for introducing a bill allowing Western Washington transit agencies to raise revenue through vehicle fees.
Liias gave Eyman a piece of his mind in a Facebook note posted last night. It read, in part:
I have proposed a simple little bill to give local transit agencies one way to protect transit service and reduce congestion. My bill would let local elected officials vote on a temporary charge of up to $30 to support local transit service. That’s it. I want to let local community leaders make a decision about local infrastructure.
And it’s no blank check, either. They have to write a plan on how the new funds will help reduce congestion, and they have to report on their progress. And did I mention that the new congestion reduction charge is temporary? The bill expires at the end of 2013.
But, Tim Eyman sees this as an opportunity to grandstand and beat his chest about “his” initiative, and keep the press talking about him. Well, Tim Eyman, I think you should read your own initiative. It applies to state decisions, not local ones. Unless you want to run for city council and then try and get on the Community Transit board of directors, you should leave these decisions to the folks that do care.
By “your own initiative”, Liias means Initiative 1053, Eyman’s most recent, which reimposed the unconstitutional “two-thirds” threshold for raising revenue that been established by I-960 and I-601 before it. None of the aforementioned initiatives prevents local governments from democratically voting to raise revenue, or prevents the Legislature from democratically voting to give local governments new revenue-raising authority – although Eyman has drafted a measure to impose a two-thirds threshold on cities, counties, and ports.
Liias is hardly the first legislator or elected leader to voice his frustration with Eyman’s confrontational rhetoric and tactics. He won’t be the last, either. But it’s good he’s standing his ground. The only response Eyman respects is a forceful one. If Democratic representatives reframed aggressively every time Eyman attacked them, Eyman would be on the defensive more often.