Nineteen Years: Founder’s Retrospective

Statements & Advisories

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its nineteenth anniversary, marking one two hundred and twenty-eight months of continuous operation.

The past year was unquestionably one of the greatest and most successful years in the history of this project. The movement of people and organizations that Permanent Defense supports succeeded on all fronts — legislative, electoral, and judicial — in protecting Washington from bad ballot measures and holding bad actors like Tim Eyman accountable for their misdeeds.

After an eighteenth year that had its fair share of setbacks, we were ready for a change of pace.

And that’s exactly what we got.

Our nineteenth year was marked by a series of tremendous victories that will resonate for years. Like the final defeat of Tim Eyman’s I-976 in the Washington State Supreme Court. Or the overwhelming approval of Referendum 90, which preserved our comprehensive sexual health education law, last November. Or, just a few days ago, Judge James Dixon’s long-awaited ruling punishing Eyman for his serious violations of our public disclosure laws.

These and other wins have kept intact hard-won progress on a number of issues, from multimodal transportation funding to improved school curricula to meaningful enforcement of the Fair Campaign Practices Act.

Permanent Defense’s mission is to protect Washington by building a first line of defense against threats to the common wealth and Constitution of the Evergreen State. We ensure that when the right wing attempts to use the ballot to undo progressive policy advances, those efforts are promptly challenged. We know from experience that bad ballot measures take a lot of diligent work to knock down. Consequently, when facing a measure like I-976 or R-90, our top priority is always to support the swift organization of a broad and hopefully bipartisan coalition of like-minded Washingtonians to take that measure down.

Last year, when comprehensive sexual health education came under attack, we sprang into action, and collaborated with our friends at Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and many other organizations to ensure R-90 would be met with a strong response. The Safe & Healthy Youth Washington coalition did a tremendous job uniting Washingtonians in support of sex ed. The result was a landslide electoral victory that left our opposition utterly dumbfounded. The likes of Loren Culp are on record as questioning the legitimacy of the election results not because Democrats won up and down the ballot, but because Safe & Healthy Youth Washington won so overwhelmingly.

The outcome was not a surprise to us, for we knew from NPI’s research that voters in Washington State support comprehensive sexual health education. It was our job as a coalition to tap into that support and unite Washingtonians around an Approve R-90 position, taking nobody’s vote for granted. We did that, and we showed our opposition just how out of touch they are with the voters.

In addition to decisively winning the battle over R-90, we succeeded in our efforts to support the lawsuits aimed at overturning Tim Eyman’s incredibly destructive I-976 and forcing Eyman to answer for his egregious violations of our public disclosure laws. Eyman’s gubernatorial campaign also ended spectacularly in failure in the August 2020 Top Two election, putting an end to his ambition to be Governor Jay Inslee’s general election opponent.

Our work is never done, because the right wing will always seek to roll back the progress we have made. However, we now have almost two decades of experience providing vigorous, year-round opposition to their bad ideas. We’ll continue to put that experience to use to protect Washington in the years ahead. Your support enables us to continue our essential work.

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

Voters put the kibosh on Tim Eyman’s gubernatorial bid

August 4th, 2020

On August 3rd, Tim Eyman’s eight month long gubernatorial campaign ended in embarrassing failure when Eyman — who had repeatedly bragged that he would be more than a match for incumbent Democratic Governor Jay Inslee — finished with a meager 6.41% of the vote, well behind both Republicans Joshua Freed and Loren Culp. Eyman’s campaign failed to carry a single county, not even east of the Cascades. (Raul Garcia, another Republican who performed even worse statewide than Eyman, was able to carry tiny Adams and tiny Garfield counties.)

Eyman initially had little to say about the election results. Within a few days, however, he issued an enthusiastic and ringing endorsement of Loren Culp, and proceeded to start making campaign appearances in support of Culp with his daughter Riley. Culp went on to get clobbered in the November 2020 general election, garnering just 43.12% of the vote.

Tim Eyman campaign sign with abandoned chair
An empty office chair parked next to a Tim Eyman campaign sign in Whatcom County. Tim Eyman was infamously caught on camera in 2019 stealing a chair from a Lacey Office Depot. (Photo: Renee L. Miller)

Supreme Court rules I-976 unconstitutional in its entirety

October 15th, 2020

A few weeks into autumn, the Washington State Supreme Court delivered its verdict on Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976, finding the measure unconstitutional in its entirety.

Writing for the Court, Justice Steve Gonzalez held: “Initiative Measure 976 contains more than one subject, and its subject is not accurately expressed in its title. Accordingly, it is unconstitutional.”

I-976 had previously been blocked from taking effect thanks to an injunction issued by King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson, which the Supreme Court had repeatedly left in place.

The Supreme Court’s decision ensures I-976 will never be implemented, upholding our Constitution and protecting Washingtonians’ freedom of mobility.

The successful conclusion of the legal challenge against I-976, Garfield County v. State, marked the end of a more than two year effort to defeat Tim Eyman’s latest attempt to destroy multimodal transportation infrastructure in Washington State.

Victory: I-976 struck down!
This victory banner, featuring photography from NPI’s staff, depicts a northbound Amtrak Cascades train rolling towards Vancouver, B.C. along the shoreline in North Seattle right at sunset.

Referendum 90 is approved in a landslide

November 3rd, 2020

The electoral work of the Safe & Healthy Youth Washington ended in resounding success in the November 2020 general election with the lopsided approval of Referendum 90, which kept Washington’s comprehensive sexual health education law intact. 57.82% of Washington voters who participated in the election voted to keep the law, with only 42.18% voting to reject it.

Safe & Healthy Youth Washington Campaign Logo
Dozens of organizations joined the Safe & Healthy Youth Washington coalition to protect comprehensive sex ed across Washington State

Right wing fails to qualify Initiative 1109

December 31st, 2020

As 2020 ended, a second attempt to overturn Washington State’s comprehensive sexual health education law also collapsed: Initiative 1109. I-1109 — an initiative to the Legislature for 2020 — sought to replace CSHE with “opt-in sexual health education programs only” for a subset of students (specifically those in grades five to twelve).

School districts would have been required to offer curriculum that “confirms with the values of the parents or legal guardians and the families in their community” — an absurd an impossible mandate given that families in Washington have different values.

No signatures were submitted in support of the measure by the deadline, resulting in the end of another threat to comprehensive sexual health education in Washington State.

Eyman’s day of reckoning finally arrives

February 10th, 2021

Five days before Permanent Defense’s nineteenth anniversary, Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon issued his long-awaited ruling in the main State of Washington v. Tim Eyman Fair Campaign Practices Act enforcement case. Judge Dixon ruled that Eyman had committed multiple egregious violations of the FCPA and fined him $2.6 million for his lawbreaking. Dixon also barred Eyman from continuing to engage in financial chicanery in the future by taking away his ability to direct and control money as the officer of a political committee.

The ruling marked the first time in over two decades that Eyman was meaningfully held accountable for disregarding Washington State’s public disclosure laws in his never-ending efforts to dupe voters into destroying funding for the essential public services that make Washington great.

Justice is Served Upon Tim Eyman
Justice at last! Permanent Defense’s victory banner celebrating a successful outcome in the main State of Washington v. Tim Eyman case.

Inspired by Permanent Defense’s nineteen 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

NPI on Judge Dixon’s decision in State v. Eyman: Justice is finally served
A reminder that Eyman initiatives have consequences: “WSF couldn’t afford to build new boats for a decade, due to fallout from a car tab cut in 2000”

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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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