Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Farm Bureau turns in signatures for I-933

As we expected, I-933 is headed for this November's ballot:
Backers of a controversial [snip] initiative [to end land use protections] today filed petitions bearing 315,000 signatures in support of the measure, almost guaranteeing it will appear on the November ballot.

To qualify, Initiative 933 needs the signatures of 224,880 registered voters by tomorrow. While the Secretary of State's office still must verify the petition signatures, the [snip] measure [to end land use protections] appears to have a much larger cushion than what's usually needed.
This is the last right wing initiative campaign to turn in signatures. It's time for progressives to beginpreparing for the fight ahead this fall. Defeating each of these initiatives is tough, but it's aboslutely necessary.

UPDATE [Andrew]: The Farm Bureau didn't get a free pass at the cameras when they arrived at the Capitol to turn in signatures. The Community Protection Coalition (of which NPI's Permanent Defense is a member) showed up in force to represent the opposition. In fact, our side outnumbered theirs!

Activists Gather to Oppose Initiative 933

And here's the coalition's united response to today's petition filing:
"It makes sense that an out-of-state real estate developer would back Initiative 933 - he won’t have to pay the extra taxes or sit in the traffic jams that will be caused by the irresponsible development from 933" said Barbara Seitle, with the League of Women Voters. "Voters have a right to know who is really behind this terrible idea."

Initiative 933 creates a "pay or waive" system that forces communities to decide whether to waive laws for certain people - or - force taxpayers to pay them to follow the same rules the rest of us do. By exempting certain people from the law, 933 would create gaping loopholes leading to irresponsible development and threatening Washington neighborhoods and farms.

"Initiative 933 will open up our neighborhoods and natural places to irresponsible development," said Len Barson from The Nature Conservancy. "Initiative 933 creates a loophole big enough to drive a bulldozer through." The Nature Conservancy has been helping to lead the effort to defeat Initiative 933 since March.

"Farming is a tough business and 933 will push the balance to impossible," said Steve Sakuma with Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland. "Initiative 933 places agriculture in Washington at a competitive disadvantage." Steve operates the Sakuma Brothers Farms which has been in business since 1937.

Before local communities are even forced to waive laws for special interests, it will cost hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars just to administer 933. That number quickly rises into the billions when you look at the potential costs of paying special interests to follow the same rules the rest of us do. 933 also mandates that taxpayers must pay for claimants' attorneys' fees.

Kelly Fox of the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters said, "Taxpayers are forced to pay a premium to get emergency services to unplanned, irresponsible developments. Increasing rural demand for emergency services where staffing and resources are already sparse will put a strain on mostly volunteer fire stations and reduce response times." The Washington State Council of Fire Fighters joined the coalition to defeat 933 last week.

Initiative 933 is so extreme and costly to taxpayers that a diverse group of organizations including the League of Women Voters, Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland, The Nature Conservancy, Washington Tax Fairness Coalition, Washington State Labor Council, Washington State Council of Fire Fighters and individuals across Washington state have created a coalition to stop 933.
Permanent Defense will be working alongside these groups (and many others) throughout the next few months to stop Initiative 933 and its right wing, special interest backers in their tracks.

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