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, October 21, 2009

Concern over harmful consequences of Initiative 1033 continues to mount

The steady drumbeat of opposition to Initiative 1033 that finally began a noticeable rhythm earlier this month continues to get louder.

In a thoughtful and assessive column published this morning, Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Joel Connelly once again takes us to another corner of the state, specifically Southwest Washington, where civic leaders in Longview and Kelso fear the disastrous impact that Tim Eyman's latest anti-government scheme would have on their ability to provide public services.
Jo Brewer, a retired businesswoman, chairs the Longview Housing Authority and runs the local domestic housing shelter.

She cites figures on how much the county would have lost had I-1033 been effective the last five years ($17.3 million) and how much the city of Longview would be short ($5 million).

What really worries Brewer, however, is how Cowlitz County can pull itself out of the drink if public services can't stay above water.

"We would like to offer quality of life, to say that not only is this area beautiful but it is a nice place to live," she said. "If you cannot offer that to businesses, things just spiral downward.
Meanwhile, up in Puget Sound, the King County Police Chiefs Association has released a statement outlining the harm Initiative 1033 would cause to public safety if it passes next month:
The financial analysis of Initiative 1033 presents the real possibility that police protection could be significantly impacted as cities and counties address significant cuts in the funds to provide basic services. We are already seeing a reduction in police officer hiring. The Washington Criminal Justice Training Center has had a 30% reduction in enrollment this year at the academy.

82% of the cities in King County have a population of fewer than 50,000. It is likely that they will be hit the hardest as these cities must carefully manage precious financial resources to provide all of the needed services.
Police protection has been deeply hurt in Colorado because of that state's Initiative 1033, enacted many years ago. The results are pretty ugly:
The Sheriff's Office [in El Paso County, which encompasses Colorado Springs] has the same number of patrol deputies it had in 1998, when there were 70,000 fewer residents. In some parts of the county, it takes deputies 22 minutes — more than double the ideal time — to arrive when someone calls 911.
When gas prices peaked last summer, Sheriff Terry Maketa ordered patrol cars parked. Deputies stopped cruising and instead waited for calls to come in. DUI arrests plummeted.
Yikes! But that's not all...
The coroner's office, where space is so cramped that human-tissue samples are stored in a garage behind the main building, has only four investigators. Two of them have to be on duty at all times.

This is just a taste of what our future will look like if we don't stop Tim Eyman's scheme. Years from now, we will not recognize Washington if I-1033 passes and goes into effect. It won't be the beautiful place that we know and love. It will be a dysfunctional failure that people in other states hear of and shake their heads about, like California and Colorado are today.

I-1033 is a recipe for death by a thousand cuts.

Governor Chris Gregoire hit the nail on the head when she wondered in disbelief a few weeks ago how anyone could think that services won't be hurt as a result of Initiative 1033. Sadly, Tim Eyman and his followers have proved that there are people out there who believe there's a free lunch waiting for them.

They, however, do not speak for the majority of Washingtonians.

The only way Eyman and his cohorts can win is if fifty plus one of the people that turn out to vote haven't heard about the consequences of Initiative 1033. There's a danger that could happen. Eyman has a great ballot title, handcrafted by Attorney General Rob McKenna's office. The ballot title says nothing about the tremendous harm I-1033 would inflict.

Only by getting the word out can we defeat ignorance and save our state from certain ruin. That means signing up to phonebank, volunteering to canvass this weekend, talking to neighbors, and of course, voting NO on Initiative 1033.


Blogger Adam said...

"The ballot title says nothing about the tremendous harm I-1033 would inflict."
You're right, 1033 is a bad idea, but the harm it will inflict is a political question that that the voters will decide. It doesn't belong in the ballot title, it belongs in the Con statement, op-eds, and TV ads. In other words, precisely what the opposition is already doing.

October 22, 2009 2:34 PM  

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