Eighteen Years: Founder’s Retrospective

Statements & Advisories

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its eighteenth anniversary, marking one two hundred and sixteen months of continuous operation.

Permanent Defense celebrates eighteeny earsThe events of the past twelve months have served as a reminder of how important and essential Permanent Defense’s work is.

After a multi-year stretch with almost no right wing measures on the statewide ballot, we faced an election in which there were two (Initiative 976 and Referendum 88) in yet another odd-numbered year with poor turnout.

We did not realize our 2019 electoral goals, but our work goes on. The results of last November’s election were a setback,  but not the end of the story. We refuse to lose.

We simply can’t afford the destructive cuts to multimodal transportation infrastructure that would result from the implementation of Tim Eyman’s I-976, nor can we allow Eyman’s Initiative 200 to remain in place for another two decades.

2019 also reminded us how tough it is to wage campaigns when the opposition has a stacked deck working in their favor. Going forward, we must end abusive practices like ballot title shopping that make it laughably easy for scammers like Eyman to perpetrate their cons. And we must eliminate Eyman’s taxpayer-funded propaganda from the ballot.

Even though the 2019 ballot was rigged against us with deceptive, poorly written ballot titles and propaganda, we went all in to defeat Initiative 976 and save Initiative 1000.

And we have no regrets about that. Our communities are worth defending from bad ballot measures. Even in an electoral landscape rigged against us, taking a stand for the values our state was founded upon was the just and moral thing to do.

I have no doubt that were it not for the work of NPI’s Permanent Defense project and Keep Washington Rolling/Washington Fairness Coalition partners, the outcomes of both initiatives would have been very lopsided in favor of the right wing. By taking a stand, we brought down the opposition’s margin of victory significantly.

During the past twelve months, in addition to opposing I-976, we also opposed three other Tim Eyman ballot measures that all failed to qualify:

  • Referendum 80;
  • Initiative 1648;
  • and Initiative 1082.

Referendum 80 sought to nullify a set of pay increases approved by Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials, while Initiatives 1608 and 1082 were attempts to repeal modest revenue reforms adopted by the Legislature in the 2019 long session. All three measures died after their signature drives ended in failure.

Were it not for our work to hold Tim Eyman accountable for his lying, cheating, and stealing, Eyman might have been able to line up one or more wealthy benefactors to put money behind those measures, like he has in years past. But he wasn’t able to.

And consequently, Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart gained three new entries.

All the while, Eyman was racking up fines in Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s long-running campaign finance enforcement case against him due to his continuing and willful violations of court orders, which have landed him in contempt.

We wish the Attorney General’s office well in their determined and sorely needed efforts to hold Eyman accountable. This summer, the case against Eyman is scheduled to go to trial, and we will be following the proceedings with great interest.

Even in difficult times and difficult circumstances, there are bright spots. I’m very proud of the groundbreaking initiatives Permanent Defense undertook in support of Initiative 1000 and against Initiative 976 in 2019. They made a difference and demonstrated what can be accomplished with imaginative advocacy.

Enjoy the following chronology of my favorite moments from our eighteenth year.

Eyman abandons Referendum 80

April 12th, 2019

Often his own worst enemy, Eyman made an incorrect assumption when proceeding with plans for a signature drive in support of a measure aimed at nullifying the 2020 salary schedule approved by the Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials in early 2019. As a consequence, all of the work he put into Referendum 80 was for naught, and he abandoned the measure in disgust rather than start over.

Eyman’s I-1648 crashes and burns

July 5th, 2019

With representatives of the Northwest Progressive Institute watching (and photographing!), Tim Eyman was forced to admit that his frantic efforts to qualify a measure to the November 2019 ballot with the muscle of a reactionary, pro-secession group called “Liberty State” had ended in failure.

Tim Eyman in agony
An unhappy Tim Eyman was flanked by glum followers at the Secretary of State’s Elections Annex in Olympia. (Photo: Sherry Bockwinkel for NPI).

Lynnwood Link groundbreaking

September 3rd, 2019

Just after Labor Day, Sound Transit broke ground on Lynnwood Link, an extension of the agency’s regional light rail network, which will bring light rail close to Eyman’s old stomping grounds of Mukilteo (he is now a resident of Bellevue in the heart of King County). Preventing Eyman from interfering with Sound Transit’s efforts to build Link was the objective of the first campaign that Permanent Defense undertook in 2002.

Every groundbreaking and every station opening gets our region closer to a future where people have the freedom to safely and reliably get around without a car.

Lynnwood Link groundbreaking
Elected leaders from the federal, state, and local levels celebrate the groundbreaking of Lynnwood Link (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Progressive Institute)

Eyman ordered to report personal income as campaign contributions by Judge Dixon

September 13th, 2019

Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon granted Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s motion to impose additional sanctions on Eyman, who has consistently tried to evade accountability for his violations of Washington’s public disclosure law through a legal defense strategy dubbed by NPI as “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.

NO on I-976 Impact Map launched

October 24th, 2019

Never before has the destructive impact of a Tim Eyman initiative been visualized as elegantly and powerfully as it was with our NO on I-976 Impact Map, designed by the talented Oran Viyancy. We rolled out the map at press events in Auburn and Seattle, and it was seen by hundreds of thousands of people on the web or on the local news.

NO on I-976 Impact Map

Spanish language radio ads go up on the air

October 30th, 2019

We developed two ads for Spanish language radio outlets urging a NO vote on Tim Eyman’s transit-destroying Initiative 976 and an APPROVED vote on Initiative 1000, the Washington Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Act. Although not all voters speak English or use it as their first language, very few campaigns make any effort to create materials in languages other than English. We made the effort.

Listen to our NO on I-976 ad:

And our Approve I-1000 ad:

Translations are available in this newsroom bulletin.

Initiative 976 blocked from taking effect

November 27th, 2019

Just before Thanksgiving, King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson put Eyman’s incredibly destructive I-976 on ice with an injunction barring it from taking effect on December 5th — a decision that was subsequently upheld by the the State Supreme Court a few days later, and a decision that kept funding for transportation improvements flowing to over sixty cities throughout Washington.

Eyman fails to qualify I-1082

January 3rd, 2020

As 2020 began, the deadline to submit signatures for initiatives to the 2020 Legislature came and went without an appearance by Eyman at the Secretary of State’s office. The death of Initiative 1082 went entirely unmentioned by Eyman, who had ceased using the doomed measure as a fundraising gimmick several weeks prior.

Inspired by Permanent Defense’s eighteen year track record of taking on right wing initiatives and getting results? Donate to Permanent Defense PAC now to keep Washington safe from threats to its Constitution and common wealth

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NPI responds to today’s I-976 court ruling and Eyman speech
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NPI applauds Judge Dixon’s 02/21/2020 ruling in long-running Eyman campaign finance enforcement case

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Victory: I-976 struck down!

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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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