NPI’s Permanent Defense responds to submission of signatures for I-1125

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

This morning, at the Secretary of State’s Elections Annex at Union and Cherry in Olympia, Tim Eyman and his associates turned in an estimated three hundred and twenty plus thousand signatures for Initiative 1125, paid for by developer and Bellevue Square owner Kemper Freeman, Jr. Although the Secretary of State still has to conduct a random sample check to verify that enough valid signatures were submitted, it’s a safe bet that Eyman has succeeded in buying his way onto the ballot again.

“The only reason we’re voting on Tim Eyman’s latest scheme to mess with plans to replace crumbling infrastructure like the SR 520 Floating Bridge is because one wealthy developer sunk half a million dollars into it,” said NPI founder Andrew Villeneuve.

“Around this time of year, Tim likes to put a number on a whiteboard and say, ‘Look at how many people signed and are in support of our initiative!’ But during the signature drive for I-1125 (as with other Eyman measures) paid petitioners working for Eyman cajoled people into signing by telling them that they don’t have to decide whether they support the measure or not because signing it only puts it on the ballot. It’s one of their favorite tactics for convincing people to succumb to the pressure they exert.”

“The people Eyman uses to get signatures just want to make a buck. They don’t necessarily believe in his cause. They may not even be Washington residents.”

“What we hope people understand is that there is no grassroots uprising going on here. The only reason Eyman was able to do a signature drive is because Kemper was willing to pay for one.”

“Tim frequently says he wants to have a debate about the merits of his ideas, but he ignores the fact that he pays for petitioners to go out and deceive people. We know people are being misled and lied to because we’ve documented it. We saw petitioners for I-1125 in action this spring. We recorded their sales pitch. And they weren’t even trying to accurately represent what I-1125 would do.”

State Treasurer Jim McIntire has already warned that I-1125’s passage could hinder Washington State’s ability to finance critical projects like the new Evergreen Point Floating Bridge using tolls. If I-1125 prevents the state from collecting the needed toll revenue to finance the project, it could actually increase the cost to taxpayers across the state, because SR 520 is a state facility.

“The Legislature did not draw up the plans for tolling SR 520 overnight,” Villeneuve noted. “Years of public input have gone into designing this project and its financing mechanism. That’s why construction hasn’t been started sooner. Now, the state is trying to move forward and get this done, and Eyman is trying to throw a monkey wrench into it.”

“Tim is constantly admonishing the Legislature for ignoring the will of the voters. In reality, the Legislature does listen. Lawmakers were paying attention when voters said NO to Initiative 912 (the 2005 fuel tax rollback), which Tim strongly supported and wrongly predicted would pass. Lawmakers were paying attention when voters said YES to Sound Transit 2, which Tim fiercely opposed and wrongly predicted would fail.”

“And they were paying attention when voters overwhelmingly rejected Eyman’s own Initiative 985 – his last attempt to mess with transportation planning and restrict tolling – in the same election.”

“It’s funny… he didn’t mention any of those recent votes at his press conference today.”

As NPI’s Permanent Defense has previously pointed out, I-1125 contains a clause intended to mess with Sound Transit’s East Link project, a major part of the voter-approved Sound Transit 2 measure. The clause seeks to prevent the state Department of Transportation from transferring part of the Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge over to Sound Transit, even though that is exactly what a longstanding agreement between King County, Seattle, Mercer Island, and the state government calls for.

The clause is no doubt one of Bellevue Square owner Kemper Freeman Jr.’s favorite parts of the initiative. (Freeman despises Sound Transit, can’t stand the thought of light rail coming to Bellevue, and has actively worked to try and stop ST from fulfilling its promises to voters and its obligations to taxpayers.)

NPI’s Permanent Defense intends to work closely alongside the many other individuals and organizations coming together to vigorously oppose Initiative 1125.

“Over the next few months, we’ll be working to help the people of this great state make sense of the cost and consequences of Tim Eymans’ Initiative 1125,” Villeneuve said. “We’re confident that if voters understand the ramifications, they’ll handily vote this ill-conceived scheme down and keep projects like the new Evergreen Point Floating Bridge on track.”

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