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

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Executive Director goes on assignment, Tim Eyman admits defeat

Our Executive Director, Andrew Villeneuve, is beginning a one week vacation this morning to focus on a couple of important self-assigned projects as well as take some time off to rest and relax. He'll still post to the Official Blog while he's gone - just not very often.

As a result, other Northwest Progressive Institute staff members, including myself, will be posting more frequently in his absence.

Andrew will be spending part of his time in Olympia representing NPI and Permanent Defense as an observer, watching the Initiative 917 signature verification process. (I-917 is Tim Eyman's initiative to eliminate nearly $3 billion in statewide transportation funding for ferries, railways, the State Patrol, Sound Transit, etc.)

The Secretary of State is conducting a full count of all the signatures submitted for I-917 because Eyman submitted too few extra signatures and failed the random sample check at the end of last month.

The full count could take until the end of September, though it will likely end sooner if the courts rule that I-917's petitions are not valid unless their declarations are signed by the respective signature gatherers who circulated them.

The Secretary of State says there are 3,000 such unsigned petitions representing 60,000 signatures. Since Eyman only submitted about 266,000 signatures, the loss of those petitions would put I-917 well below the 224,880 minimum number needed to qualify - and thus put an end to I-917.

But not necessarily Eyman's shenanigans this year.

Eyman, who has apparently decided that I-917 will ultimately fail to qualify for the ballot, has hatched a new gambit to keep him in the spotlight. By doing so, he is tacitly admitting his defeat. I have to say it will be very satisfying to add I-917 to our failure chart as another in a long list of Tim's dismal FAILURES.

Back to Eyman's latest gag. Surprise, surprise - it involves Tim sticking his nose in King County's business again. Actually, more specifically, Seattle's business.

I'll let reporter Angela Galloway explain.
Professional initiative sponsor Tim Eyman has launched an effort to defeat a fall ballot measure that would increase Seattle property taxes to fund road, bridge and sidewalk improvements.

Eyman, who has never before led a Seattle-centric political campaign, said he doesn't know yet whether his group will sponsor a full-fledged campaign or simply seek to play counterpoint in debates, voter guides and the media.

At the very least, Eyman said, he wants to shine the limelight that follows him on the unusually designed measure.

"We're very concerned that the (debate over how to replace the ailing Alaskan Way Viaduct) seems to be gobbling up all the attention," Eyman said. "Say what you want about us but when we get involved there seems to be a lot of attention brought to the issue. And I think that that is critically important to something like this."
When Tim says "when we get involved", he really means "I", because Tim Eyman's circus only has room for one act, and that's Tim Eyman, the dancing, lying, manipulative, crackpot media monkey.

In all seriousness, though, Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis is right:
Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis predicted that Eyman is so unpopular in the city his campaign would backfire. "Tim Eyman's going to help us," Ceis said.

"I don't think people in Seattle want a watch dealer in Mukilteo telling them what to do," Ceis added, referring to Eyman's second job. "He comes out against things in order to make money. He's a mercenary and I don't think Seattle voters like him at all."
They certainly don't. With the exception of I-900, (an initiative which increased funding for performance audits and gave the state auditor huge powers - instead of cutting taxes) it seems there has not been a single Eyman sponsored initiative that has passed Seattle - or King County for that matter.

Eyman's meddling in Seattle's business is par for the course (of course). It comes as no surprise that his statewide initiatives have historically been written with language that strips local communities of the ability to make decisions about their future. Take Initiative 917, which can't yet be counted out.

I-917 modifies or eliminates specified taxing authority related to Transportation Benefit Districts (TBDs), Public Transportation Benefit Areas (PTBAs) authorized to implement passenger-only ferry service, Regional Transportation Investment Districts (RTIDs), Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs), and certain county level transportation taxing authorities.

In non-bureaucrat, what the previous paragraph means is that Evergreen State voters lose the power to vote on whether to increase revenue to pay for transportation investments specifically in their communities. It's an all out assault on home rule.

And it's aimed at the Puget Sound region and Seattle in particular. Voters and elected officials in the Greater Metro area have approved the creation of several special districts in recent years to raise money for tranportation improvements and services. We've got the RTA (better known as Sound Transit), RTID (for road improvements), PTBAs (for ferry service) and so on.

Besides I-900, I can't think of a single Eyman initiative that hasn't had disastrous consequences for the City of Seattle. That would certainly explain why Emerald City residents harbor such disgust for Tim. Now the Mukilteo profiteer is butting into their affairs again, uninvited.

But wait...hasn't Tim Eyman opened his mouth before, opining that he doesn't care what Seattle does, so long as it doesn't affect him? Oh yeah...that's right. From the time capsule that is the World Wide Web (and thanks, Seattle Weekly):
"If Seattle voters want a tax increase for the monorail, hey, knock yourselves out. We've always contended that any tax increase that any taxing district wants to support is fine, as long as it goes to the voters."

- TIM EYMAN, February 6, 2002
"Knock yourselves out", eh?

Well, it has already been well established that Tim Eyman is a liar and hypocrite. And it's perfectly obvious why he's now positioning himself to campaign against Greg Nickels' package of transportation improvements.

As I noted earlier, Tim Eyman needs some kind of pony to ride to keep media attention focused on him. Otherwise he would become irrelevant.

Tim has successfully manipulated the media even as he's lost battle after battle. But Eyman's ship may have just run out of fuel.

Turnout at his most recent press conferences for I-917 was lackluster and Eyman has taken a beating on conservative talk radio for claiming the Secretary of State's office stole signatures for I-917.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. I think Deputy Mayor Ceis is right - Eyman's move could very well backfire and help the Mayor convince Seattle voters to support his city transportation improvement package.

And keep a close watch on the Official Blog this week as our Executive Director reports from Olympia with news on Initiative 917.

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