Category Archives: Endorsements

AARP Washington State, OneAmerica Votes join coalition fighting I-1366

EndorsementsFrom the Campaign Trail

As of today, we are just two months away from the November 2015 general election. While we remain hopeful that the Washington State Supreme Court will spare us all the time and expense of having to vote on Tim Eyman’s incredibly destructive I-1366, which is well beyond the scope of the people’s initiative power, we continue to make preparations to fight I-1366 in the event the Court does not invalidate it.

The team at NPI and the staff of the NO on I-1366 campaign continue to reach out to potential partners (as we have throughout the summer), and we’re pleased to report our efforts are meeting with success. This week, we’re delighted to welcome AARP Washington State and OneAmerica Votes to the NO on I-1366 coalition.

They join an increasingly long list of organizations and individuals committed to protecting Washington from the devastating short-term harm that would be caused by the loss of $8 billion in sales tax revenue over six years (Scenario 1 of I-1366) or the extremely damaging long-term harm caused by sabotaging our Constitution to allow a submajority of seventeen senators or thirty-three representatives to veto any attempt to raise or recover revenue for our state treasury (Scenario 2 of I-1366).

I-1366 is also opposed by the Washington State Democratic Party, the Mainstream Republicans of Washington State, the League of Women Voters of Washington, the Tri-City Herald, and dozens of other organizations. The evolving list can be viewed at the NO on I-1366 website.

Washington State Democratic Party joins coalition opposing Tim Eyman’s I-1366

EndorsementsFrom the Campaign Trail

Some very good news to share: This weekend in Pasco, the Washington State Democratic Party took a position strongly opposing Tim Eyman’s I-1366, following in the footsteps of the King County Democrats and several local Democratic organizations. A resolution approved by the Washington State Democratic Central Committee (WSDCC) – based on Permanent Defense’s model resolution opposing I-1366 – urges Washingtonians to refrain from signing I-1366 and to emphatically vote NO in the event I-1366 qualifies for the ballot.

NPI thanks the Washington State Democratic Party for taking an early position opposing I-1366 and setting a good example for other organizations to follow.

“I-1366 is the most destructive, mean-spirited initiative ever proposed by Tim Eyman,” said NPI founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve. “I-1366 doesn’t just warrant defeat if it makes the ballot: it deserves to be resoundingly crushed. To give I-1366 the burial it deserves, we’re building an unprecedented, broad, and diverse coalition to fight it. The Washington State Democratic Party was a dependable partner in the incredibly successful campaign against I-517 in 2013, and we’re very pleased to once again have the party with us in this effort.”

“The stakes simply couldn’t be higher. Tim Eyman is trying to blackmail lawmakers into gutting our state’s cherished tradition of majority rule by taking our schools and universities as hostages. Our schools are already underfunded, but Eyman wants to deprive them of billions more if the Legislature doesn’t do as he demands.”

“Eyman may think he’s being clever by ripping a page right out of Ted Cruz’s playbook. But that’s the same playbook that brought us the costly, stupid, and irresponsible 2013 federal government shutdown, which even many Republicans admit was disastrous. We have a moral and constitutional obligation to support our children and ensure that every young person gets a good public education. Those are Washington values that date back to statehood. In 2015, we will stand strong in defense of those values with our campaign against I-1366.”

Washington State Democratic Party adopts resolution opposing I-1325

EndorsementsFrom the Campaign Trail

The Washington State Democratic Party today became the latest organization to take a position opposing Tim Eyman’s I-1325 by adopting a resolution at its 2014 State Convention in Spokane recommending that voters decline to sign I-1325 petitions from now through July 3rd (the deadline for submitting signatures) and further recommending an emphatic NO vote in the event it qualifies for the ballot.

Several weeks ago, the Washington State Labor Council also adopted a resolution opposing I-1325 at its annual COPE Convention.

Introduced in January by Tim Eyman, I-1325 is a Ted Cruz-inspired scheme that would wipe out $1 billion in funding for education and other vital public services every year unless the Legislature passes a constitutional amendment sabotaging Article II, Section 22 by requiring two-thirds votes for any bill that would increase revenue.

Such a restriction had previously been unconstitutionally imposed by a series of I-601 clones sponsored by Eyman, which were invalidated last year with the Supreme Court’s League of Education Voters decision.

The Washington State Democratic Party was an important part of the coalition that successfully defeated Tim Eyman’s I-517 last year, along with NPI’s Permanent Defense. I-517 went down to defeat in historic fashion, with over 62% of voters casting no votes. In King County, the vote against I-517 topped 73%.

Washington State Labor Council takes position opposing I-1325 at 2014 COPE Convention

EndorsementsFrom the Campaign Trail

Good news to share: Today, at its annual Committee on Political Education (COPE) Convention, delegates from the Washington State Labor Council’s member unions took a position opposing Tim Eyman’s latest initiative, a Ted Cruz-style scheme intended to coerce lawmakers into approving a constitutional amendment to permanently require two-thirds votes to raise or recover revenue.

The WSLC is Washington State’s AFL-CIO affiliate. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations is the nation’s largest labor federation, directly representing tens of millions of working men and women, and indirectly representing hundreds of millions more.

I-1325 contains a provision that automatically wipes out $1 billion in funding for education and vital public services like foster care if the Legislature does not pass the constitutional amendment Eyman wants by April 15th, 2015.

Constitutional amendments may only originate in the Legislature, which is why Eyman is resorting to extortion: he can’t get the undemocratic two-thirds vote scheme he has spent millions of dollars promoting reinstated any other way.

Eyman filed I-1325 back in January and launched a signature drive for the measure several weeks later. He has until July 3rd to submit at least 246,372 valid signatures of Washington voters. To offset duplicate and invalid signatures, he really needs around 310,000 signatures. So far, it doesn’t appear that Eyman has found a wealthy benefactor willing to put up the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to bring in paid signature gathering crews. Eyman has relied heavily on paid petitioners to collect signatures since he started up his initiative factory.

The Washington State Democratic Party is expected to join the WSLC and NPI in opposing I-1325 next month, when it holds its biannual convention. A resolution opposing I-1325 has been submitted to the convention for consideration, and is currently in the hands of the convention’s Platform & Resolutions Committee.

Washington Realtors says it “strongly opposes” I-517

EndorsementsFrom the Campaign Trail

Another one of the trade associations that backed Tim Eyman’s I-1185 last year has decided to take a formal position against I-517, Eyman’s initiative on initiatives, which he and his associates at “Citizen Solutions” qualified for the ballot by piggybacking on the I-1185 signature drive last year. (We believe this piggybacking occurred in violation of Washington State’s public disclosure laws).

The Washington Realtors announced earlier today that its legislative steering committee has finished studying Eyman’s I-517 and overwhelmingly concluded it was poorly written and infringed on property rights. They have chosen to take a position against the measure, urging a no vote. From their press release (PDF):

“While we respect the initiative process, as an organization that champions private property rights as well as the health and recovery of small businesses we have major concerns with I-517,” said Michael Schoonover, a commercial real estate broker and the 2013 vice president government affairs for the Washington Realtors. “I-517 would impede and interfere with both.”

The Washington Realtors’ legislative steering committee, the 25 member group appointed to determine the organization’s policy positions based on their impact on the real estate industry, reviewed the provisions of I-517 and overwhelmingly voted to oppose the measure on behalf of its more than 15,000 members.

“I-517 does not allow business owners to restrict or inhibit in any way signature gathering at the entrance and exits of their shops, an activity that often irritates the public who do not want to engage in any given political debate,” says Schoonover.

“Many of our members have storefront offices and, like so many other small businesses, work hard to attract clients and customer through their doors. It is their rights at stake here.”

Last year, the Washington Realtors donated a total of $50,000 to the Association of Washington Business’ political action committee; most of that money was then sent to Eyman’s associates Roy Ruffino and Eddie Agazarm at Citizen Solutions to cover the cost of the I-1185 signature drive.( The AWB activated its PAC last year principally for the purpose of helping raise money for I-1185).

By the time summer weather had set in, AWB and its members, along with other business trade associations like the Realtors and the Restaurant Association, had written checks in excess of a million dollars to Eyman’s PAC or directly to Citizen Solutions for signature gathering. Approximately $1.2 million of the $1.4 million raised ultimately went to Citizen Solutions.

But they were duped by Eyman, Ruffino, and Agazarm. The true cost of the I-1185 signature drive was only a fraction of this amount.

We know from talking to petitioners that they were being paid one dollar a signature, and the Secretary of State recorded 320,003 signatures as having been submitted. That means the signature drive could not have cost much more than $320,000.

Even if there were, say, $100,000 in additional or miscellaneous expenses, that still leaves more than three quarters of a million dollars unaccounted for. Where’d it go? We can only assume into the pockets of Eyman and his associates,who also ripped off their own workers. (They told petitioners they needed to collect for both I-517 and I-1185 at the same time or they’d be fired… and they were expected to collect I-517 signatures without any compensation).

This arrangement was documented in the Public Disclosure Commission complaint filed by Sherry Bockwinkel last year. The investigation remains open and ongoing; the PDC says it won’t be finished until after the election is over.

We’re glad to see that the Realtors have joined the diverse and bipartisan coalition working to defeat I-517. I-517 is Tim Eyman’s most self-serving initiative yet. It was conceived to make getting signatures cheaper and easier so that Eyman & Co. could make more money. NPI’s Permanent Defense strongly urges a no vote on I-517.

Wenatchee World urges a no vote on 517: “A legal pedestal for signature gatherers is neither necessary nor egalitarian”

EndorsementsFrom the Campaign Trail

Yet another major Washington State newspaper has come out against Tim Eyman’s Initiative 517. In an editorial published earlier today, the Wenatchee World offered a cogent analysis of I-517, dissecting proponents’ arguments and rejecting them as unsound. As publisher Rufus King and his editorial board noted, I-517 is really about giving petitioners special rights that nobody else would have.

The collectors of initiative signatures have a right to petition the government, they have a right to free speech, but that just makes them like everybody else. It does not make them a class of the anointed, separated by privilege. Exercising their right does not give them powers and protections beyond those of ordinary citizens. It does not give them the right to violate the rights of others. It does not make them a protected class.

The Bill of Rights grants every American the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, while state law stipulates that harassment of anyone is illegal. Tim Eyman, Eddie Agazarm, Paul Jacob and Mark Baerwaldt know this, but they want to make the initiative business easier and cheaper.

Every provision in I-517 was written to make pursuing initiatives at the state and local level (even invalid or unconstitutional initiatives) more lucrative and rewarding. I-517 purports to protect the rights of petitioners, but it’s really a Help initiative profiteers make even more profits initiative.

Section 2 of I-517 was conceived to ensure that paid, out of state petitioners could set up shop right in front of store entrances and exits and intercept shoppers, but initiative opponents could not stand next to them with a “think before you ink” message. Decline to sign campaigns would be criminalized.

The mechanism? I-517 says that no one can maintain an “intimidating presence” within twenty-five feet of a petitioner. What constitutes an “intimidating presence?” The initiative doesn’t define these words, but presumably if a petitioner calls up the police and says, “I feel threatened”, that’s grounds for the initiative opponent to be arrested, or asked to leave. Law enforcement would be required under I-517 to “vigorously protect” petitioners, but not initiative opponents.

This doesn’t make sense, nor is it fair. The World says:

Imagine, pass I-517 and a store owner with distinct and protected property rights and a uniform set of rules could prohibit a charitable solicitor from setting up at his door, or a religious pamphleteer, or a political candidate seeking votes, but not a petition signature collector. The managers of a convention center, fairgrounds or stadium, can set rules for public conduct in their facilities, but signatures gatherers would be exempt, because Initiative 517 says they shall not be deterred. They have super rights.

We agree. We strongly urge a NO vote on I-517 this fall.

Tired of legislative gridlock? Then vote NO on I-1185

EndorsementsRethinking and Reframing

The Olympian, our state capital’s longtime daily newspaper, published a truly superlative editorial today calling for the rejection of Tim Eyman and BP’s Initiative 1185 which we commend to the attention of voters, activists, and reporters. It’s one of the best editorials we’ve seen in a long time, and we can’t say enough good things about it. Here are its opening lines:

Voters, are you tired of a Legislature that can’t make progress on fully funding basic education?

Do you want less-congested highways, and lower tolls on bridges? Do you want state parks that stay open, and in good repair? Do you want college tuitions that your family can afford?

Do you want quick response times from law enforcement, fire fighters and ambulances when you need them?

If you do, then you must reject Initiative 1185 on Nov. 6.

By continuing to support these Tim Eyman initiatives you are subverting a fundamental principle of representative democracy.

That principle? Majority rule with minority rights. We will cease to be a democracy if power becomes concentrated in the hands of the few instead of the many. Initiative 1185, like its predecessors, takes power away from the many and gives it to the few. It is intended to prevent our Legislature from functioning democratically as our founders intended it to. I-1185 allows seventeen out of forty nine senators, or thirty-three out of ninety-eight representatives, to kill any bill that raises (or even recovers) revenue for the state treasury.

Corporate lobbyists are for I-1185 because it’s easier to manipulate a system that’s rigged. That’s why companies like BP, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and Tesoro gave Tim Eyman and his buddies more than a million dollars to buy signatures for I-1185. I-1185 helps them protect their profits… at our expense.

Join us in voting NO on I-1185. Let’s uphold our Constitution and reject this attack on our democracy.

Everett Herald takes courageous, thoughtful position against Tim Eyman’s I-1185

EndorsementsFrom the Campaign Trail

Recognizing that Tim Eyman’s latest oil and beer soaked initiative would prevent our Legislature from democratically functioning as our founders intended it to, the Everett Herald today emphatically recommended a NO vote on I-1185, joining NPI’s Permanent Defense and hundreds of other organizations in opposing the measure.

The paper’s stance is a reversal from just two years ago, when The Herald backed I-1185’s predecessor, I-1053. Of its change of heart, the paper’s editors wrote:

We were wrong. Rather than pressure reforms, Eyman’s supermajority rule has spurred paralysis. Rather than bolster creative solutions to benefit the average taxpayer, the two-thirds’ mandate is now one of the apron strings special interests hide behind to avoid ponying up.

The latest incarnation of Eyman’s supermajority effort, I-1185, is bankrolled by the likes of BP (the company that brought us the Deepwater Horizon oil spill) and ConocoPhillips. Each has contributed $100,000, with an additional $400,000 from the Beer Institute. Why so much loot from Big Oil and non-Washington booze interests? With 1185, it takes a simple majority vote in the Legislature to create a tax loophole, but a two-thirds’ supermajority to undo it. Not a bad scheme if you’re a deep-pocketed special interest. It’s a much higher hurdle, however, for Washington families that support tax fairness.

We commend The Herald for this editorial. It’s courageous, it’s thoughtful, and it’s honest. The Herald is correct in asserting that the two-thirds scheme leads to gridlock. It allows seventeen state senators and thirty-three state representatives to block bills that would raise revenue in their respective houses. That’s undemocratic and unconstitutional. Article II, Section 22 of our state Constitution plainly states that bills shall pass by majority vote. Majority vote means fifty out of ninety-eight in the House, and twenty-five out of forty-nine in the Senate. No more, no less.

Proponents of I-1185 don’t have a problem with allowing majority votes to decide the fate of legislation that creates new tax breaks, or in legislative parlance, tax preferences, as The Herald notes. But they argue that recovering revenue for our state treasury by repealing a loophole amounts to a tax increase, and should require a two-thirds vote. That’s a double standard. If it takes a two-thirds vote to get rid of a tax break, it should take a two-thirds vote to create one.

Like its predecessors I-960 and I-1053, I-1185 is unconstitutional, undemocratic, unfair, and unsound. Vote NO on I-1185.

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

EndorsementsFrom the Campaign Trail

The Columbian has joined the list of newspaper editorial boards opposed to Tim Eyman’s anti-tolling, anti-light rail I-1125. In an editorial published today, the Vancouver-based paper denounced I-1125 as “inedible soufflé was cooked up by professional initiative chef Tim Eyman and leavened with expensive dough: a $1 million donation from Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman Jr.”. The editorial went on to criticize several of I-1125’s thoughtless provisions.

The worst of I-1125’s many flaws would be its mandate for Washington to do something that not one of the 50 state does: politicize the setting of tolls. All states correctly place that function in the hands of experts in transportation, finance, planning and management. In Washington state, we have an independent, bipartisan commission that sets tolls. Eyman and Freeman, however, want that job turned over to the Legislature, to be ground up in the partisan turbines of politics.

Washington State actually has a long tradition of having an expert commission set toll rates. We agree – it makes no sense to change that approach. It has always worked for us and it can continue to work, so long as we reject I-1125.

Vote NO on I-1125 this autumn and keep our roads safe.

The News Tribune: I-1125 is “a monkey wrench aimed squarely at the state’s efforts to keep cars moving”

EndorsementsFrom the Campaign Trail

The campaign against Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1125 continues to gain momentum. Across the state, editorial boards are universally coming out against I-1125, because it jeopardizes transportation projects that Washington needs to replace and repair unsafe roads and bridges. The latest paper to oppose I-1125 is the News Tribune of Tacoma, which called I-1125 “a monkey wrench aimed squarely at the state’s efforts to keep cars moving on overcrowded roads.”

As the News Tribune observes, there are lot of “dumb things” in I-1125.

It would forbid variable tolling, a strategy designed to relieve rush hours by encouraging people to make unnecessary trips before or after. This would also threaten plans to finance the replacement SR 520 bridge and the Alaskan Way tunnel in Seattle, among other projects.

The initiative also contains a payoff to Kemper Freeman Jr., a Bellevue real estate magnate who opposes light rail. An innocent-sounding provision in the initiative would have the effect of sabotaging a planned extension of Sound Transit’s light rail system across Lake Washington to Bellevue on the Interstate 90 bridge.

Why should a state initiative tell Puget Sounders they can’t have the light rail system they voted for? Here’s a guess: It might have something to do with the more than $1 million Freeman paid to bankroll I-1125.

Section 2 of I-1125 is proof that Tim Eyman only cares about the will of the voters when voters agree with him. Each time he has tried to play transportation planner (like with I-745 in 2000, or I-985 in 2008), voters have said no. But Eyman isn’t listening.

It’s time once again to say no to another counterproductive, thoughtless Tim Eyman measure. Vote NO on Initiative 1125 and keep Washington rolling.

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