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.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Holding out hope for an unbelievable victory

Every area of trouble gives out a ray of hope; and the one unchangeable certanity is that nothing is certain or unchangeable.

- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

To many people, especially proponents, it may have seemed certain that voters would pass Initiative 912 and repeal a significant part of the 2005 transportation package. But voters are sending a different message: they're putting their seal of approval on the 2005 transportation package.

We vowed to fight Initiative 912 and drive it into the ground. We worked hard to explain to voters the consequences of passing Initiative 912. We talked about how important public safety is. We asked voters to "put safety first".

Finally, we held out hope. Hope that this year, people would take their eyes off their pocketbooks and look beyond into their community.

The one unchangeable certanity is that nothing is certain or unchangeable.

Last summer, when I-912 proponents turned in their truckload of signatures in record time, they boasted about how popular their initiative was. How it was going to pass overwhelmingly despite whatever opponents said or did. They made its passage seem a certainty.

They were wrong.

It's not just voters in King County that are voting Initiative 912 down. Snohomish is voting it down too, as are voters in Kitsap, Thurston, Jefferson, San Juan, Island, Clark, and Walla Walla counties. In other counties, such as Pierce and Whatcom, it's evenly split.

Our strategy worked - and it's still working. We won big in our strongholds - King and San Juan counties - and won over critical swing counties like Snohomish, Thurston, and Kitsap.

And we managed to avoid staggering margins in practically all of Eastern Washington counties. I just looked at the chart, and no county was approving I-912 by over 70%. It's all under that critical threshold.

Finally, we got a few surprises...Walla Walla voters coming out in opposition to 912, and the even splits in counties like Clark and Whatcom.

The NO vote continues to grow larger - it's even closer to 53% now. There are many absentees left to count, but many of them will be from counties that have obliterated Initiative 912 (such as King and Thurston).

There is little doubt at this point: we have won a huge victory. This is incredible. It's unbelievable.

I expect to hear proponents of 912 falling back on the excuse that they were outspent. Yes, they were. But they've claimed in the past that being outspent doesn't mean anything. Now, because they lost, it suddenly does?

Voters didn't defeat Initiative 912 because they saw an advertisement. This year, after a disaster of epic proportions on the Gulf Coast and heightened awareness of our crumbling infrastructure, a majority of voters decided they'd rather invest in the future of the state then buy an extra latte every month.

Taxpayers voted with their hearts and minds instead of thinking about dollar signs.

This vote speaks volumes. It is a crushing, devastating defeat for those who gleefully proclaimed that Olympia was going to pay for being bold and courageous.

Now, the joke is on them.

This victory would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of hundreds and thousands of volunteers who took it upon themselves to educate their fellow voters about the dangers of I-912.

We all worked hard to defeat I-912 because we had hope. Every area of trouble gives out a ray of hope. We turned a significant challenge into a significant victory.

Governor Christine Gregoire and state legislators are vindicated. The people have spoken, and are still speaking. They have delivered a message: Safety First.

We can now breathe a sigh of relief, smile, and celebrate. It's good to be a Washingtonian today.

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