Danny Westneat assails Tim Eyman’s secret war on light rail

From the Campaign TrailRethinking and Reframing

Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat has a blistering must-read column in today’s edition of the Seattle Times, taking Tim Eyman and Kemper Freeman Jr. to task for quietly trying to stop Sound Transit’s East Link project through a sneaky provision buried in I-1125, which is intended to kill East Link, but doesn’t actually mention the project or even include the words “light rail”.

When Tim Eyman went before the Bellevue City Council recently, he handed out a sheet describing what his latest idea, Initiative 1125, would do.

It’s what was missing from the sheet that got the most attention.

“I’ve never seen an initiative quite like this, where its intentions are masked from the people who will vote on it,” says Grant Degginger, a Bellevue City Council member and former mayor.

“If you’re trying to kill light rail, just come out and say so.”

It’s not just that the words “light rail” weren’t in Eyman’s handout that day. They also are not in the Voter’s Guide statement for the I-1125 campaign. Nor in any of Eyman’s campaign news releases. Nor in recent op-eds written by Eyman and the initiative’s financier, Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman.

The words “light rail” aren’t in I-1125 or in Eyman’s campaign materials because Eyman and Freeman apparently don’t want to be seen as trying to overturn the will of the voters. (The phrase will of the voters is one of Eyman’s favorites). Both Eyman and Freeman opposed Sound Transit 2 when it was on the ballot three years ago, but they lost. In fact, they didn’t just lose, they lost big.

As Westneat notes:

[P]utting light rail across the Interstate 90 bridge is already voter-approved, by a 57 percent vote in the 2008 election. Brochures from that campaign show a rendering of the bridge with light rail running on it, along with before-and-after drawings of how the traffic lanes would be altered. So it’s hard to argue people didn’t know what they were voting for. Then, anyway.

Of course, in Tim Eyman’s mind, a vote of the people only counts when it goes his way. Eyman views his own losses as temporary setbacks, but he demands that his opponents recognize his victories as permanent. It’s quite the double standard.

Please join us in voting NO on I-1125 this autumn. Keep Sound Transit’s East Link project on track, keep our roads safe, and keep Washington rolling.

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The Columbian: I-1125 “threatens greater harm” to our transportation system “than any proposal we’ve seen in years”
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Statement on the apparent defeat of I-1125

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