Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bader & Co. Launch Baseless Attacks Against WSDOT

There goes Brett Bader, the GOP political consultant for I-912, shooting off his mouth again:
The signs are popping up along highway projects all over the state: "It's Your Nickel, Watch It Work."

But when proponents of the initiative that would repeal Washington's new 9.5-cent-per-gallon gas-tax increase see the billboards, they say they're watching the Washington Department of Transportation use taxpayer money to work against their ballot measure.

"That violates the use of public funds for a political campaign," said Brett Bader, spokesman for Initiative 912, which is on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Bader is mad that WSDOT is putting up signs to stress how it's being accountable with the money that's being raised from the 2003 transportation package.

This is a baseless attack designed to generate press, which anti-tax proponents (especially Tim Eyman) seem to be very good at.
The department has been actively advocating the new tax in the guise of informational material, [Bader] said, "that includes signs and even a department Web page listing the 274 projects that the new gas-tax revenue is slated to pay for, he said.

"Listing a bunch of pie-in-the-sky projects (on the DOT Web site) with no balance in the commentary is clearly a statement in favor of the tax and opposition of I-912," Bader said.

Initiative 912 sponsors have not filed a formal complaint, but Bader said he is considering doing so.
So it's not just the signs - now the department's web page explaining what the package pays for is illegal?

According to Bader, WSDOT needs to entirely handicapped. It should be bound and gagged until the campaign is over. No communication with the public whatsoever.

Listen up, Brett. You don't know what the heck you're talking about. You don't seem to have a firm grasp of public disclosure law. You also don't have a very good understanding of transportation engineering or science (which unfortunately seems to be typical for many Republicans!) You think we can repair the Alaskan Way Viaduct for a few hundred million dollars!

Fortunately, WSDOT's chief had a strong answer for Bader that shows just how laughable his fake outrage is:
State Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald chuckled at the apparent irony he said he saw in Bader's protests.

"We are supposed to be accountable to the public and tell them what is happening to their dollars, but we are not supposed to spend the cost of a sheet of plywood to put up a sign saying this is the project that the money is building -- go figure," MacDonald said.

He said there is an entire campaign based on the notion that "WashDOT is not accountable, nobody knows where the money goes and it's probably all wasted and they don't tell us what they are doing with the money."

MacDonald said the timing belies Bader's argument.

"The signs were put up long before there was an initiative to repeal the gas tax," MacDonald said. "Obviously we didn't have the 912 initiative in mind when we started putting up those signs. ... It is true, now that we are starting more and more projects, we are putting up more and more signs."

MacDonald said he is not overly concerned about the potential of a Public Disclosure complaint.

"The law says, you can do what you ordinarily do in your business, in ways that might be thought are going to influence the outcome," he said.

MacDonald said that sending DOT representatives to events such as town hall meetings is also part of the normal duties of the department.

"It's absolutely fair game under public disclosure," MacDonald said.
Brett Bader has no protest. He's got nothing but baseless attacks, lies, and wildly misleading statements. Washington voters need to ignore proponents of Initiative 912. Don't listen to people who want you to throw away our region's future. Send them a strong signal that you want to invest in better transportation.

Vote NO on Initiative 912.

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