Category Archives: Threat Analysis

Tim Eyman concedes he won’t make 2016 ballot; NPI’s Permanent Defense ready to fight I-869

Ballot WatchdoggingStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Implicitly conceding at last that he doesn’t actually have a paid signature drive in the field and thus won’t have anything on the 2016 ballot, initiative profiteer Tim Eyman announced this morning that he’s devoting his energies to qualifying a new initiative for 2017 that would eviscerate funding for roads and transit at both the state and regional levels.

“Today is the third time in the past seven months that Tim Eyman has ‘launched’ a new initiative,” noted Northwest Progressive Institute and Permanent Defense founder Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman initiatives for over fourteen years.

“The first time was back in November of 2015 when he said he was doing a follow-up to I-1366 to require revenue increases to expire after a year. Then, in February, he said he was also going to try to qualify to the 2016 ballot I-1421, an initiative to repeal vehicle fees. Now he says he’s doing I-869, a similar initiative to the Legislature for 2017. His announcement today makes no reference to either of those previously planned initiatives.”

“And that’s no accident. Eyman doesn’t like to dwell on failure, and it’s evident at this point he will fail to make the 2016 ballot with anything. It appears the good people of Washington will once again be able to enjoy an Eyman-free election this autumn, while having the opportunity to consider several progressive initiatives that would move our state forward. That’s a victory we will be celebrating all summer long.”

“Time will tell if I-869 is for real or not. Remember, Eyman printed up petitions for I-1421 too — and even made a big show of being the first to sign one in front of television cameras — but I-1421 has now been abandoned. I-869 won’t make it either unless Eyman has commitments from his wealthy benefactors to fund a signature drive. The gears of his initiative factory simply cannot turn without big money.”

In the event I-869 does have serious money behind it, NPI’s Permanent Defense is prepared to fight it and defeat it, together with the Keep Washington Rolling coalition and many other allies.

“Tim Eyman has tried to mess with mobility in our state many times before and been defeated,” Villeneuve observed.

“In 2000, he qualified a scheme to take money away from transit and spend it on highway construction. Voters defeated it. In 2008, he qualified a scheme to eviscerate our HOV system. Voters defeated it. In 2011, he qualified a scheme to prohibit variable tolling and block East Link light rail. Voters defeated it.”

Eyman claims that a survey he paid for shows that I-869 is wildly popular, but the press and public should be aware Eyman says that about all of his initiatives.

Prior to the 2005 general election, Eyman boasted that John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur’s initiative to repeal the fuel tax increases approved by the 2005 Legislature as part of that year’s transportation package was destined for certain victory. Following I-912’s qualification, many pundits shared that view, or were skeptical that I-912 could be beaten.

“With I-912, inevitably approved this fall, voters will say NO to Queen Christine’s underhanded effort to sneak through a multi-billion tax increase when the voters clearly opposed it,” Tim Eyman wrote in a September 26th, 2005 email.

But instead, much to Eyman’s astonishment, I-912 was defeated by voters in a landmark victory, after opponents successfully waged a compelling NO campaign.

NPI is a veteran of that campaign, as are the many organizations that belong to Keep Washington Rolling.

“Voters have repeatedly said no to right wing initiatives that would mess with our transportation system, but Eyman refuses to listen,” said Villeneuve. “The will of the voters clearly doesn’t matter to him. He just keeps recycling the same awful ideas, election cycle after election cycle. We are prepared and committed to ensuring that I-869 ends up in the same graveyard as most of Eyman’s other initiatives, should it end up qualifying to the Legislature at the end of the year. The investments we’ve made to strengthen mobility in Washington must be protected.”

An updated version of Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart, documenting the long list of Eyman initiatives that have either failed to make the ballot, been defeated by voters, or struck down as unconstitutional may be viewed on Permanent Defense’s website.

Fourteen Years: Statement from the Founder

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its fourteenth anniversary, marking one hundred and sixty-eight months of continuous operation. Since going live on February 15th, 2002, Permanent Defense (PD) has been a fierce defender of Washington’s Constitution, common wealth, and vital public services, unceasingly organizing opposition to destructive initiatives proposed by Tim Eyman and other malicious actors.

Permanent Defense: Fourteen YearsPermanent Defense was born out of a realization that passivism (passive resistance) is a fatal response to right wing initiatives. We believe that only effective antidote to Tim Eyman’s toxic politics and destructive initiatives is relentless activism that informs, educates, and persuades the public to protect their public services by rejecting Eyman’s snake oil and voting against his schemes when they appear on the ballot. PD exists to provide such antidote, on a year-round basis, as the oldest project of the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI).

Today marks the conclusion of Permanent Defense’s fourteenth year and the beginning of its fifteenth. Last February, we were able to celebrate the first Eyman-free November in eight years. Unfortunately, as we anticipated might happen, Eyman was able to line up new wealthy benefactors to get the gears of his initiative factory turning again. With an ample supply of cash from real estate developers and hedge fund managers, Eyman was able to buy his way onto the ballot with I-1366, a clone of I-1325, which failed to qualify in 2014.

With the possible exception of I-1033 from 2009, I-1366 is perhaps the most destructive initiative Eyman has ever qualified for the ballot.

Seemingly inspired by the failed federal government shutdown of 2013 orchestrated by Ted Cruz, I-1366 threatened to wipe out $8 billion in funding for our public schools and other vital public services unless the Legislature capitulated to Tim Eyman’s demand to overturn the Supreme Court’s League of Education Voters decision by April 15th, 2016. LEV is the Court’s landmark decision upholding Article II, Section 22 of our Constitution, which provides that all bills shall pass by majority vote of greater than fifty percent. That includes revenue bills, which Eyman has always wanted subjected to an undemocratic higher standard of two-thirds.

From the day we learned that Eyman was printing petitions for I-1366, we began organizing to defeat it. There was no point in waiting — it would have meant squandering valuable time. We spent the first half of 2015 in coalition-building mode, building an online presence for the coming NO campaign and working to secure commitments from individuals and organizations in opposition to I-1366.

Once I-1366 made it to the ballot, we shifted into mobilization mode.

We supported the lawsuit to have I-1366 removed from the ballot due to being outside the scope of the initiative process, which sadly was not successful.

We launched a political action committee with bipartisan leadership to fight I-1366, and worked cooperatively with our allies to craft a strong con voter’s pamphlet statement.

We conducted research to discern how to most effectively counter Eyman’s deceptive sales pitch for I-1366.

We raised funds and placed ads to educate voters. We helped brief editorial boards and city councils so they could take an informed NO position.

We regularly published analysis documenting the harm I-1366 would do here on Permanent Defense and on NPI’s sister project websites.

We did more than we have ever done to defeat a Tim Eyman initiative, and yet it wasn’t enough. We fell short of victory in November when I-1366 narrowly passed. The November 2015 general election ended up setting a new record as the election with the worst voter turnout since the state began registering voters in the 1930s.

To have worked so hard and to have come up short by such a small margin was disappointing. Regrettably, the NO coalition lacked the financial muscle it should have had, and much of the money that was raised materialized late, after voters had already started voting. We probably could have defeated I-1366 had our community as a whole been more engaged and better organized. NPI’s Permanent Defense certainly did its part.

Though we didn’t have much to work with, we were still able to defeat I-1366 in four counties (King, Jefferson, Thurston, and San Juan) and significantly narrow Eyman’s margin of victory statewide. Impressively, as the count went on, the NO vote rose from 57% to more than 61% in King County.

We vowed on Election Night to keep fighting, and we have. We’re proud that our state’s Democratic representatives and senators stayed unified and refused to capitulate to Eyman in the wake of the election. We strongly support the lawsuit filed by our friends Reuven Carlyle, David Frockt, Eden Mack, Tony Lee, Angela Bartels, Paul Bell, and the League of Women Voters of Washington to have I-1366 invalidated.

We’ve already had one victory in that legal challenge. It was a joyous day when King County Superior Court Judge William Downing struck down Eyman’s I-1366 in its entirety as unconstitutional. Judge Downing agreed with all of our side’s arguments, finding that I-1366 was unconstitutional every way to Sunday.

Judge Downing’s decision has now been appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court, which will render a final verdict. Oral argument will be heard next month and a decision is expected sometime in the weeks to follow.

We believe we stand an excellent chance of winning on appeal, and we look forward to the day when we can add I-1366 to Tim Eyman’s Failure Chart.

At the same time we were organizing against I-1366, we kept on encouraging the Public Disclosure Commission to finish its long-delayed investigation into Tim Eyman’s willful violations of our state’s public disclosure law. Our efforts were rewarded in September of 2016 when PDC staff wrapped up their investigation and presented their findings to the Public Disclosure Commission, which unanimously voted to refer the case to Attorney General Bob Ferguson for prosecution.

We have long believed that Eyman was getting kickbacks from the paid signature gathering company he hires every year. Without being able to examine that firm’s books, we couldn’t prove it. But PDC staff were able to confirm that it was happening.

And the Commissioners, recognizing and appreciating the severity of Eyman’s offenses, deemed that a more comprehensive investigation was warranted. They asked Attorney General Ferguson to broaden the scope of the investigation to discern whether Eyman’s 2012 violations were part of a larger pattern.

This investigation is currently ongoing, and we hope it results in Tim Eyman being held accountable in a court of law.

In the meantime, we have an important success to celebrate: the opening of Sound Transit’s University Link light rail extension. U-Link is opening months ahead of schedule and under budget, thanks to outstanding project management by Sound Transit and the contractors it selected to build the project.

We would not be celebrating University Link’s grand opening this spring had Tim Eyman succeeded in his early 2000s campaign to destroy Sound Transit and prevent it from building the rail spine our region desperately needs and deserves. Fortunately, Eyman’s war on Sound Transit was a failure. ST survived, endured, and today is one of the highest-performing and most widely respected regional transit agencies in the country. The agency has delivered Central Link, Airport Link, and now University Link light rail, with the Angle Lake Link extension due this autumn.

In 2002, at the time Permanent Defense was founded, Sound Transit didn’t have many friends. It was under attack in the press, in the courts, and via initiative (thanks to Eyman). Permanent Defense stood with Sound Transit against those attacks, and made the defeat of Eyman’s I-776 its first priority.

Even after I-776 narrowly passed, we didn’t give up. We vowed to keep on fighting, and Sound Transit did likewise, managing to get I-776 partially invalidated in court and securing federal funding to break ground on Central Link.

Since that first campaign, we have fought numerous Eyman initiatives that tried to mess with Sound Transit and WSDOT in one way or another. Most of those schemes have been failures. But Eyman hasn’t given up. He resents our success and still wants to see Sound Transit destroyed. Eyman recently redeclared war on Sound Transit by announcing his intention to qualify I-1421 to the November 2016 statewide ballot. I-1421 seeks to repeal one of the funding sources the Legislature made available to Sound Transit for its Phase III (ST3) expansion package. It would also repeal billions of dollars in funding for Amtrak Cascades and freight mobility projects.

I-1421 must be defeated — and it can be, if it is effectively opposed. We will be at the forefront of efforts to ensure that it is.

Eyman has also threatened to qualify a second initiative to the November 2016 ballot. This one, intended as a sequel to I-1366, is an attempt to slap a one-year expiration date on any future revenue increase. It’s unconstitutional, of course, but Eyman doesn’t care.

Eyman already has $1.2 million in financing lined up to qualify these measures. Three-quarters of that sum came from his wealthy benefactors.

Eyman is already circulating petitions for I-1421, and will doubtless be printing up petitions for his other scheme by the time spring gets underway.

We can save ourselves and the state we love a lot of trouble in 2017 and beyond if we stop Eyman cold at the ballot this year. Though we appreciate the fine work of Paul Lawrence and the Pacifica Law Group legal team, it shouldn’t be necessary to have to go to court to get Eyman’s malicious schemes thrown out. These terrible initiatives shouldn’t be getting past the voters in the first place.

After our experience fighting I-1366 last year, we resolved to work more proactively to raise money on a year-round basis as well as organize. Permanent Defense’s parent organization NPI raises money year-round, but the vast majority of it goes to support NPI’s core mission along with NPI’s other projects and publications.

We came to the decision last year that to become more effective, Permanent Defense needed its own treasury. And so, we’ve given it one. Today, we are proud to announce the formation of Permanent Defense PAC, a continuing political action committee that will serve as a bulwark against Tim Eyman’s noxious initiative factory. Donations to Permanent Defense PAC will be used to ensure Eyman’s destructive initiatives are met with the vigorous opposition they deserve. You can contribute to Permanent Defense online or by mail (PO Box Redmond, WA 98073).

Here are three other ways you can help:

  • If you are not a member of the Northwest Progressive Institute, we urge you to become one. Members are the backbone of NPI’s supporter community, providing the time, talent, and treasure that makes NPI’s work possible.
  • If you see a petitioner collecting signatures for an Eyman measure like I-1421, we ask that you report your experience immediately so we can track Eyman’s signature drives.
  • And if you are free on the evening of April 1st, 2016, we encourage you to join us for NPI’s eighth Spring Fundraising Gala, where we will talk about our next steps for 2016 and beyond.

As I said last year, through perseverance and hard work, we have won many victories over the years. Tim Eyman may be relentless, but so are we. We don’t give in and we don’t give up, because our Constitution and our commonwealth need safeguarding.

We need this fighting spirit to be contagious. Join us in helping make it so.

Here’s to a great fifteenth year for Permanent Defense.

NPI’s Permanent Defense ready to fight Tim Eyman’s latest assault on Sound Transit, WSDOT

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

This morning in Olympia, Tim Eyman announced his intention to try to qualify a second initiative for the 2016 ballot that would eviscerate state and local transportation funding by repealing vehicle fees. Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve attended Eyman’s press conference at the Secretary of State’s office and spoke against the measure afterwards, making clear that NPI is ready to build and work with a broad coalition to defeat Eyman’s I-1421.

“The campaign to defeat Tim Eyman’s I-1421 has already begun,” said Villeneuve. “We’re not waiting to get started, because we appreciate how high the stakes are. If Washington is to keep rolling, Sound Transit and WSDOT need the resources to build a twenty-first century, multimodal transportation system for our state.”

“Sound Transit needs to be able to deliver the regional light rail spine and express bus network that our population centers need and deserve, while WSDOT has to be able to replace crumbling roads and bridges, deploy new ferries, expand Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service, and enhance freight mobility. All of that costs money.”

“If we want broad prosperity and economic security, then we owe it to ourselves to build upon what previous generations of taxpayers made possible for us,” Villeneuve added. “None of us can afford these badly needed transportation improvements on our own. It is only by pooling our resources that we can make progress together.”

“Last year’s Connecting Washington transportation package is one of the very few things our divided Legislature has been able to get done. Now, Tim Eyman is trying to undo it. Unfortunately, this is what Eyman does. He’s a public menace. He has made it his business to attack our common wealth and undermine our plan of government.”

“Fourteen years ago, when I founded Permanent Defense and became involved in Washington politics, Tim Eyman was trying to dismantle Sound Transit and prevent Central Link, our first light rail line, from breaking ground. Today, in what could have passed as a media scrum from February 2002, Eyman made it clear he still hasn’t given up on his nefarious goal of destroying Sound Transit.”

“It’s evident that Eyman resents that under CEO Emeritus Joni Earl, Sound Transit has become one of our state’s most trusted, effective, and high-performing public agencies. People all over Puget Sound are clamoring for Link to be extended to their communities. They want choices for their commute. They don’t want to be forced to drive to get where they need to go. Since the opening of Central Link more than half a decade ago, Link has been a tremendous success.”

“And this year, it’s going to expand in two directions, to serve even more neighborhoods – from the University of Washington to Angle Lake.”

“We have always believed that Sound Transit could do great things if it was allowed to live up to its potential. Today, Sound Transit is firing on all cylinders, but incredibly, Eyman still wants to wreck it. Eyman and the wealthy benefactors funding him must be stopped. We have defeated Eyman before many times, and we are confident that we can do so again. It will take hard work and a lot of organizing, but we can do it.”

“My team at NPI has never been more enthusiastic and never been more resolved to halt Tim Eyman’s war on light rail and defeat his initiative factory than we are at this moment. We are ready to put fourteen years of Eyman-fighting experience to work against I-1421 and the other atrocious measure that Eyman has planned for this year. We’ll have more news to share about our next steps in the weeks to come.”

Statement on Supreme Court’s ruling in Huff v. Wyman

In the CourtsStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Late this morning, the Supreme Court released its ruling in Huff v. Wyman, the preelection legal challenge to Tim Eyman’s I-1366, which sought I-1366’s removal from the November 2015 general election ballot on the basis that 1366 was beyond the scope of the people’s initiative power. The Court decided on September 4th, 2015, that plaintiffs, led by King County Elections Director Sherril Huff and Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall, had not made the clear showing necessary for injunctive relief, but retained the case for a later ruling on the merits. That explanatory ruling was released today.

“We thank the Supreme Court for the timely decision it released today explaining why it did not grant an injunction removing Tim Eyman’s I-1366 from the ballot last summer,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Eyman’s initiatives since February of 2002.

“We agree with King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum that the fundamental and overriding purpose of I-1366 is to coerce the Legislature, and particularly Democratic lawmakers, into invoking the constitutional amendment process spelled out in Article XXIII, something that an initiative simply cannot do.”

“Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court did not definitively answer the question of whether I-1366 is beyond the scope of the initiative power. We believe this is a question that needs to be answered, and we hope it will be addressed in the forthcoming postelection legal challenge. As we said on Election Night, we remain committed to defeating this incredibly destructive hostage-taking initiative, so that our state’s public services and tradition of majority rule are protected. We will be fully supporting the new challenge to I-1366 that will be filed in the days to come. We urge the courts to swiftly take up this matter and uphold our state Constitution by striking down Tim Eyman’s I-1366 in its entirety.”

Eyman’s I-1366 certified for ballot; jeopardizes $8 billion in revenue through 2021

From the Campaign TrailRethinking and ReframingStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

As required by law, the Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM) has completed a fiscal impact statement for Tim Eyman’s I-1366, which was today certified for the November 2015 statewide ballot by Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

According to OFM’s analysis, I-1366 is an even greater threat to Washington’s future than previously believed. The 13% sales tax cut that I-1366 would impose if legislators don’t submit to Eyman’s demand for a constitutional amendment to sabotage Article II, Section 22 translates to a loss of $1.4 billion a year in 2017, the first year it would fully be in effect. It only gets worse after that.

Through 2021, Washington’s treasury would be deprived of approximately $8 billion in funding for vital public services like schools and universities.

“OFM’s fiscal impact statement for I-1366 confirms what we’ve been saying for months about I-1366: This is the most destructive, mean-spirited initiative that Tim Eyman has ever qualified for the ballot,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder Andrew Villeneuve. “Eyman doesn’t have the votes in the Legislature to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2013 League of Education Voters decision, so he’s resorted to blackmail. And he’s taking Washington’s young people as his hostages.”

“We can see what’s at risk by looking at the state budget. The sales tax is easily our state’s largest single source of tax revenue, supplying nearly half of the money that goes into the general fund. And more than half of the general fund goes to K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.”

“Education is our single largest responsibility as a people. And, in the words of our Constitution, it is also our paramount duty. We are obligated, as a society, to make ample provision for the education of Washington’s youth.”

“”The Supreme Court has determined we have not been meeting this obligation and ordered our legislators to act. The slight progress the House and Senate have made to date towards complying with the Court’s McCleary orders is jeopardized by I-1366. Legislators just agreed on a bipartisan basis to put more money into schools and lower tuition. That carefully crafted agreement will be undone in the span of a few months if I-1366’s first scenario comes to pass,” Villeneuve said.

“And under other I-1366’s second scenario, our regressive tax code would be locked into place permanently. As few as seventeen senators – twelve percent of our entire Legislature – could kill any attempt to raise or recover revenue for our state treasury. Our founders strongly believed that decisions like these should be made by the many, not a few. We should honor and uphold the Constitution they gave us by rejecting I-1366.”

OFM’s analysis also determined that funding for implementation of I-900, Tim Eyman’s performance audits initiative from ten years ago, would be cut by Scenario 1 of I-1366. I-900 stipulated that a percentage of state sales tax revenue be dedicated to funding performance audits. Ironically, money for conducting those audits is now at risk along with the other public services that the sales tax funds.

“Tim Eyman has never been concerned with the harmful, messy consequences of his initiatives,” Villeneuve noted. “In his rush to imitate the militant tactics of Ted Cruz and U.S. House Republicans, he thoughtlessly put funding for his own initiative from ten years ago in jeopardy along with funding for education, public safety assistance to local governments, and countless other vital public services.”

“As the old adage goes, Any fool can burn down a barn, but it takes a real carpenter to build one. Tim Eyman has demonstrated he knows how to start fires, but in the span of fifteen years, he has not helped put any out, nor has he contributed to the building of a better Washington. I-1366 represents a new low for his initiative factory.”

Washingtonians have decisively rejected some pretty bad Tim Eyman initiatives in the past, but only when the case to vote no has been effectively made by people and organizations that do care about building a better Washington.

That’s why, since February, the team at NPI has been working to organize and empower Washingtonians from across the political spectrum to fight I-1366.

“We encourage everyone who wants to uphold our Constitution, protect our common wealth, and defend Washington’s values to step up and help us kick the effort to beat I-1366 into high gear,” said Villeneuve. “There’s a lot of work that needs doing between now and when ballots drop. We urge people to get involved in this campaign.”

The growing coalition against I-1366 includes the Washington Association of School Principals, League of Women Voters of Washington, the League of Education Voters, Statewide Poverty Action Network, Washington Environmental Council, Washington State Democratic Party, and many more. An evolving list of organizations opposed to I-1366 is available on the NO on I-1366 website.

NO on I-1366 Committee forms; will respond to Tim Eyman’s signature turn-in tomorrow

From the Campaign TrailStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Efforts to build a broad coalition to stop Tim Eyman’s I-1366 received a major boost today with NPI and Permanent Defense founder Andrew Villeneuve’s announcement of the formation of a statewide campaign committee to oppose the initiative.

I-1366 would slash the state sales tax by about $1 billion a year in April of 2016 if the Legislature fails by that time to adopt a constitutional amendment permanently sabotaging the Constitution’s requirement that bills receive a majority vote.

“Over the last few months, the team at NPI has worked to assemble a broad coalition to stand up for Washington’s kids against the bad politics of blackmail,” said Villeneuve. “Today, we and our partners are shifting our efforts into higher gear with the formation of NO on Tim Eyman’s I-1366, a statewide campaign committee that will ensure our growing coalition is well served by a capable, bipartisan leadership team.”

NO on Tim Eyman’s I-1366 has five initial officers: Villeneuve, former Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed, former Democratic State Senator Randy Gordon, former Democratic State Representative Phyllis Gutiérrez Kenney, and NW Media Allies owner Sue Evans.

Microsoft alum and veteran activist Matt Loschen serves as the committee’s treasurer.

The committee’s C1-PC has been submitted to the Public Disclosure Commission and will soon be available online following processing of the accompanying signature card.

“We are committed to building a campaign that honors and defends the values that Washington was founded upon,” said Villeneuve. “Everyone who believes in upholding majority rule and protecting our state from the destructive politics of hostage taking will be welcome to join our cause, no matter what party they belong to, and no matter what underlying values system they subscribe to.”

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with Matt, Sue, Sam, Phyllis, and Randy on this effort. And I want to thank the many organizations that have already pledged to help defeat I-1366, from the League of Women Voters of Washington and the Statewide Poverty Action Network to the Washington Environmental Council and the Washington State Democratic Party.”

“We are still in the beginning stages of this organizing effort, and we expect to have an even longer roster as we get closer to autumn.”

Tim Eyman has a 3 PM appointment to turn in signatures tomorrow (Thursday), July 2nd, 2015 with the Secretary of State. Following Eyman’s submission of signatures, the committee will outline why it is imperative that voters reject I-1366 and give the media an opportunity to learn more about the coalition’s next steps.

Eyman’s I-1366 aims to lock in Washington’s broken tax code… permanently

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

With Washington State’s regular legislative session now disappearing into the rearview mirror, initiative promoter Tim Eyman has once again turned his attention to aggressively hawking his latest and most destructive scheme yet: Initiative 1366, which he is attempting to qualify to the November ballot with the help of Vancouver developer Clyde Holland’s deep pockets.

I-1366 would wipe out around $1 billion a year in funding for our schools, universities, and other vital public services unless, by next April, the Washington State Legislature overturns the Supreme Court’s League of Education Voters decision by passing a constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds vote to raise revenue. It’s Ted Cruz-style blackmail.

Either outcome of I-1366 would be disastrous for Washington State.

“I-1366 is a mean-spirited, incredibly destructive initiative that represents an all-out attack on the values that Washington was founded on,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder Andrew Villeneuve.

“Eyman’s aim is to force lawmakers to permanently sabotage Article II, Section 22 of our state Constitution, to transfer power over key budgeting decisions from the many to the few. Were that to happen, our state’s broken tax code – which is ranked as the nation’s most regressive – would be permanently locked into place. The fate of any tax reform proposal could be perpetually dictated by just one faction of one political party on one side of the Dome, resulting in gridlock and paralysis.”

“And if lawmakers refuse to do as Eyman demands, then his initiative would blow a huge hole in the state’s operating budget, wiping out around $1 billion a year in funding for vital public services like our schools,” Villeneuve added.

“School funding in Washington State is already so low that lawmakers are under a court order to raise it. Eyman’s I-1366 would destroy all the progress that’s been made to date towards complying with McCleary, and then do much more damage on top of that. I-1366 is unconscionable as well as unconstitutional.”

Counting $250,000 in loans he has taken out against his home, Eyman has raised nearly $900,000 for I-1366 to date, according to reports filed with the PDC.

A third of that sum has been provided by Clyde Holland ($300,000). Another $100,000 was donated by longtime Eyman patron Kemper Freeman Jr. of Bellevue, who owns the Bellevue Collection (Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place, Lincoln Square) and ranks behind only Michael Dunmire as Eyman’s top benefactor.

Petitioners are out collecting signatures for I-1366 now. Reports submitted by activists to NPI’s Permanent Defense following their encounters with petitioners document that petitioners – like Eyman – are falsely advertising I-1366 as a revote on the two-thirds vote requirement struck down by the Supreme Court in League of Education Voters (2013).

I-1366 is really a hostage-taking scheme conceived by Eyman to force Democratic lawmakers to vote to overturn the LEV decision.

Eyman needs their cooperation because, contrary to what he says in his emails and on his petitions, he doesn’t have the power to put a constitutional amendment before the voters. Only the Legislature has that power.

Unlike in other states, Washington’s Constitution cannot be amended by ballot initiative, only by a properly-submitted constitutional amendment. The Constitution explicitly states that all amendments must originate in the Legislature. And ironically, before they can be placed on the ballot for consideration by the people, they must receive a two-thirds vote of each house to pass.

Eyman doesn’t have the votes, which is why he’s resorting to blackmail. Getting two-thirds of the Legislature to agree on anything, even small matters, is often difficult to do, particularly in the polarized times we live in.

Eyman knows that I-1366 would fail if he was truthful about his intentions, which is why he is falsely advertising it, as he did with I-1366’s predecessor I-1325 last year.

Eyman’s emails, whether about I-1366 or another subject, are frequently chock full of misinformation and fudged numbers, while lacking in context.

Reporters, editors, producers, and editorial writers are advised to avoid using any Eyman email to source information for a story, column, or editorial.

A debunked version of the email that Eyman sent Monday is available from Permanent Defense’s website.

Thirteen Years: Statement from the Founder

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its thirteenth anniversary, marking one hundred and fifty-six months of continuous operation. Since going live on February 15th, 2002, PD has steadfastly provided the Union’s Forty-Second State with badly needed, year-round opposition to destructive right wing initiatives – chiefly those sponsored by Tim Eyman.

As its name implies, it has a simple, vital protective mission: Maintain a first line of defense against threats to the common wealth and Constitution of Washington.

Permanent Defense: Thirteen YearsOver the span of its thirteen-year existence, PD has organized opposition to over two dozen right wing initiatives, working cooperatively with other citizens and organizations to build strong and diverse ballot coalitions capable of connecting with voters. It hasn’t been easy work; not every effort has been successful.

Happily, though, most of the campaigns Permanent Defense has been a part of have ended in victory. That’s something to be very proud of.

Prior to PD’s founding, as we first noted three years ago when PD was celebrating its tenth anniversary, Tim Eyman was getting an initiative past the voters every year. Since PD was founded, however, Eyman has had no consecutive victories at the ballot. His record since 2002 has been marked by consecutive defeats instead.

We’ve made this point on past anniversaries, but it’s always worth emphasizing.

Diving a little deeper, we can quantity Permanent Defense’s successes with some numbers. Over the course of thirteen years, Permanent Defense and NPI have opposed twenty-eight right wing initiatives, including sixteen sponsored by Tim Eyman. Six of those twenty-eight did not make the ballot; fourteen more were defeated by voters.

NPI and Permanent Defense have also been involved in several referendum campaigns. Most of those have also ended in success, notably R-55 (2004), R-67 (2007), R-71 (2009), and R-74 (2012). A couple others have not.

Although we’ve been successful in more than two-thirds of our defensive campaigns, the other side still has a batting average of over .280, to borrow a widely-understood metric from baseball.  That’s an average most baseball players would be happy with. (For those curious, the MLB league-wide batting average for 2014 was .250). Unless we take advantage of our own opportunities to go to the plate and drive in runs, we’ll always be behind. Defense is important, but offense is what wins games.

Politics may not be a sport – real lives are at stake, after all – but the same principle applies. Permanent Defense’s work is important, but going on offense is more important still. That is why, for almost all of its history, Permanent Defense has been part of something larger: the Northwest Progressive Institute. NPI is working to help progressives learn to go on offense, while ensuring that through PD, Tim Eyman’s initiative factory continues to get the year-round opposition it deserves.

And Permanent Defense has been thriving. Its thirteenth year went incredibly well.

At this time last year, Tim Eyman was trying to qualify a Ted Cruz-inspired scheme to blackmail the Legislature into passing a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote to raise revenue. Eyman was unable to find a wealthy benefactor to finance a signature drive for I-1325, and it thankfully didn’t make the ballot.

After I-1325 crashed and burned, Eyman tried to convince the business community (which he had betrayed in 2012) to give him money to front a new statewide initiative to prohibit cities like SeaTac and Seattle from setting their own minimum wages.

However, as with I-1325, Eyman could not find any wealthy benefactors willing to finance a signature drive. He did receive some seed money, in the form of two $50,000 contributions from Seattle Republicans Faye Garneau and Suzie Burke, plus a smaller contribution from Don Root, but his appeals for funds otherwise went unanswered.

The last time that two successive Eyman schemes failed to qualify for the ballot was 2006, eight years ago. That was also the last time that Washington enjoyed a general election ballot free of any Eyman initiatives.

The 2014 midterms may have yielded some awful results, particularly in other states, but Washington bucked the national trend with a progressive ballot sweep. Initiatives to lower class size and make background checks on gun sales universal were approved, while an initiative that attempted to thwart universal background checks was defeated.

And that wasn’t all. Voters also denied Eyman ammunition for additional attacks on legislators by voting “Maintained” on the two unconstitutional advisory votes that appeared on the ballot.

I-1325’s failure last year so disappointed Eyman that he has resolved to try to qualify a measure that is almost identical to the 2016 ballot: I-1366.

Like I-1325, I-1366 would wipe out a billion dollars a year in funding for schools and other vital public services if the Legislature does not pass a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote to raise revenue. It’s the worst scheme Eyman has ever come up with, and that’s saying something.

Eyman has still apparently not found a wealthy benefactor to put money behind this awful idea, so he’s decided to take out a mortgage on his house to fund a signature drive for the time being. Eyman is spending $150,000 in borrowed money to employ paid signature gatherers to collect signatures for I-1366 for the next few weeks.

In the past, Eyman has been able to find a wealthy benefactor to finance his initiative factory when he needed one. We are therefore assuming that I-1366 will be on the ballot. If it meets the same fate as I-1325, all well and good, but we can’t afford to wait and hope that Eyman falls short. I-1366 is incredibly destructive and it needs opposition now. We will provide that early opposition and ask other organizations to join us in building a strong coalition to defeat I-1366.  To do that, we need your help.

  • If you are not a member of the Northwest Progressive Institute, we urge you to become one. Members are the backbone of NPI’s supporter community, providing the time, talent, and treasure that makes NPI’s work possible.
  • If you see a petitioner collecting signatures for I-1366, we ask that you report your experience immediately so we can track Eyman’s signature drive.
  • And if you are free on the evening of April 10th, 2015, we encourage you to join us for NPI’s seventh Spring Fundraising Gala, where we will explain what we’re doing to mobilize opposition to I-1366.

Through perseverance and hard work, we have won many victories over these past thirteen years. Tim Eyman may be relentless, but so are we. We don’t give in and we don’t give up, because our Constitution and our commonwealth need safeguarding.

We need this fighting spirit to be contagious. Join us in helping make it so.

Here’s to a great fourteenth year for Permanent Defense.

NPI’s Permanent Defense ready to fight Eyman’s I-1366

Statements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

This morning, Tim Eyman announced that he will once again be attempting to qualify an initiative to the ballot that would wipe out around $1 billion per year in revenue for schools and other vital public services unless, by April 2016, the Legislature passes a constitutional amendment sabotaging Article II, Section 22 of the state Constitution, which requires that bills shall pass by majority vote.

NPI organized against last year’s incarnation of this awful, Ted Cruz-inspired scheme, and stands ready to do so again this year.

“For thirteen years, NPI’s Permanent Defense has strived to provide Tim Eyman’s initiative factory with the vigorous opposition that it deserves,” said NPI founder Andrew Villeneuve. “We’re prepared to go to work building a strong coalition to defeat I-1366; we consider today to be the first day of the NO on I-1366 campaign.”

“Last year’s incarnation of I-1366, I-1325, did not make the ballot, but that doesn’t mean I-1366 won’t,” Villeneuve added.

“We know well from past experience that all Eyman needs is one wealthy benefactor to underwrite his scheme, and he’s in business.”

“But no one who cares about what happens to their money should give Eyman so much as a cent. He and his associates remain under investigation by the Public Disclosure Commission for alleged lawbreaking during the I-517 campaign in 2012.”

“During the spring, summer, and fall of 2012, Eyman ran a signature drive for I-517 in stealth mode, failing to report contributions and expenditures in a timely fashion. Evidence suggests Eyman used money from a different initiative, I-1185, to underwrite I-517 – without telling the corporations and trade groups that gave to I-1185 what he was doing. His actions then and now are part of a long pattern of deceptions dating back to his raiding of campaign funds for his own personal use around the turn of the century.”

Three things to know about I-1366

  • It’s basically a clone of last year’s I-1325, which the Spokesman-Review editorial board called “his worst ever – and that’s saying something”. They added: “This is not about protecting taxpayers. I-1325 is about keeping Eyman in business.”
  • It’s likely unconstitutional. If enacted, I-1366 would drastically cut state revenue (by slashing the sales tax) if the Legislature did not pass a constitutional amendment to require two-thirds votes for revenue increases by April 2016. The state Supreme Court has already held the Legislature in contempt for failing to fully fund our public schools in the wake of the McCleary decision. A new Eyman initiative which tries to blackmail lawmakers by wiping out $1 billion a year in funding for schools and other public services in the event they don’t do his bidding is unlikely to survive a court challenge.
  • Eyman is falsely advertising I-1366 as a “constitutional amendment” and a “constitutional amendment initiative”, like he did with I-1325. Initiatives are not constitutional amendments; furthermore, there is no such thing a constitutional amendment initiative. See our advisory about this from last year.

An annotated version of the text of I-1325 (again, last year’s version) is also available on Permanent Defense’s website which debunks each of its provisions. I-1366 has some new provisions that I-1325 does not have, but otherwise it appears to be the same destructive and mean-spirited initiative I-1325 was.

Senate adopts rules requiring a two-thirds vote for new revenue; NPI’s Permanent Defense responds

Legislation & TestimonyThreat Analysis

This afternoon, by a vote of twenty-six to twenty-three, the Washington State Senate adopted a set of procedural rules containing an unprecedented new provision specifying that bills that would create new sources of revenue to fund Washington’s common wealth must attain a two-thirds vote in order to advance.

The whole of the Senate Republican caucus voted for the rules, while the whole of the Democratic caucus voted against.

NPI is very disappointed in today’s undemocratic action by the Senate and particularly those senators who engineered it… Michael Baumgartner and Doug Ericksen.

“Less than two hours after taking their oaths of office, Senate Republicans stomped all over our state’s cherished tradition of majority rule by pushing through a change to Senate procedure that aims to give one-third of senators the ability to block bold new ideas that would strengthen our commonwealth,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder Andrew Villeneuve. “Ironically, they used a majority vote to to infringe on majority rule, because they cannot muster the two-thirds required to amend our state’s Constitution as Tim Eyman has demanded.”

“We are grateful to the twenty-three Democratic members of the Washington State Senate for rallying together to uphold our Constitution and defend the principle of majority rule with minority rights, which our state was founded on,” Villeneuve added. “We particularly wish to commend Senators David Frockt and Bob Hasegawa for their eloquent speeches on the Senate floor. They and their colleagues took a stand for democracy and republicanism, while the Republicans pushed through a rules change that dishonors the name of their party. They are behaving like enablers of plutocracy, and that’s what they deserve to be called.”

“The real purpose of today’s vote was to shield Senate Republicans’ powerful and wealthy friends – including companies like BP, ConocoPhillips, Tesoro, and Shell – from having to worry about paying their fair share in dues to our state anytime soon. It is well known among policymakers that our state’s tax obligations presently fall hardest on families with the least, and Republicans want to make sure it stays that way. Shame on them.”

“We look forward to the day when this rules change is overturned. We at the Northwest Progressive Institute will never stop fighting to protect our state’s cherished tradition of majority rule, which is also the law of our land, as set forth in our Constitution and affirmed by our Supreme Court.”

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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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