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.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tim Eyman got May boost from Conoco Phillips, Tesoro, industry associations

For many years, Tim Eyman has derided the state's business community — "Big Business" — as one of his enemies. But this year, with his sugar daddy Michael Dunmire apparently unwilling to cover the cost of hiring mercenaries to collect signatures for Eyman's schemes, the Mukilteo profiteer has turned to some new corporate friends to fill his coffers with cash.

Eyman's new pals include Cononco Phillips and Tesoro and two trade associations: the Washington Bankers Association and the Washington Restaurants Association. The former three donated $25,000 and the latter donated $20,000, all in May. Each contribution was made during a different week last month.

Eyman didn't waste time transferring the money to Roy Ruffino's Citizen Solutions to pay petitioners. Eyman wrote half a dozen five figure checks to Citizen Solutions in May alone. If Citizen Solutions was paying its mercenaries fifty cents a signature, then Eyman would have gained hundreds of thousands of signatures.

Progressives hardly need another reason to dislike either Conoco Phillips or Tesoro (which are part of the dirty fossil fuels industry), but now we've got one. The bankers' association's support of Tim Eyman is especially ironic and badly timed considering that America's common wealth is the only reason our banking system didn't collapse when the Great Recession hit home in 2008.

Seeing that contribution on the PDC's website this morning also makes me glad that NPI does not bank with a bank. Instead, we belong to a credit union, and like every other member, we are a part owner of our credit union. It's our financial institution, always looking out for our economic security.

If you haven't moved your money to a credit union yet, let the bankers' support of Initiative 1053 serve as an inspiration. Officers from the following banks are currently serving on the Banker's Association board in some capacity:
  • U.S. Bank (Byron L. Richards, Chairman)
  • Fortune Bank (Dave Straus, Chairman-Elect)
  • Viking Bank (Patrick Redmond, Immediate Past Chairman)
  • Bank of America (Kerry Biddle, Treasurer)
  • Cashmere Valley Bank (Ken Martin, Government Relations Committee Rep)
  • Northwest Commercial Bank (Kurt Graff, WBA PROS Chairman)
  • Columbia Bank (Melanie Dressel, Director)
  • Washington Trust Bank (Jack Heath, Director)
  • The Bank of the Pacific (Dennis Long, Director)
  • Cascade Bank (Carol Nelson, Director)
  • Community 1st Bank (Eric Pearson, Director)
  • Sound Community Bank (Laurie Stewart, Director)
  • Wells Fargo (Patrick Yalung, Director)
According to the WBA's website, the above named individuals are " responsible for the prudent stewardship of the fiscal resources of the association." That means they are the ones who approved the $25,000 contribution to Tim Eyman's latest attempt to wreck representative government in Washington.

Shame on them.

How fitting that the WBA's current treasurer is from Bank of America, one of the most corrupt, greedy, and powerful banks in the world, and one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, otherwise known as the bank bailout. Have you no shame, Kerry Biddle? You and your cohorts? Benefiting from our common wealth while simultaneously working to undermine it?

No doubt you're afraid the Legislature is going to revoke some of the special tax breaks you currently enjoy when it convenes again and faces another big budget deficit. So you prudently decided to write a check to Washington's most shameless politician, who represents the antithesis of everything that is good about our state, and who once took hundreds of thousands of dollars of his supporters' money and pocketed it for his own personal profit while lying about it.

Nice move.

As for the Restaurants Association, their board of directors is comprised of people from the following establishments:
  • S & S Hospitality, Inc. (Steve Simmons, Chair)
  • CenterTwist, Inc. (Vice Chair, Co-Chair of Government Affairs Committee)
  • Consolidated Restaurants (Jim Rowe, Sec/Treasurer and Jeremy Anderson)
  • Schwartz Brothers Restaurants (Michael Carr, Immediate Past Chair)
  • Grady's Consulting (Christopher Grady)
  • Señor Froggy of Spokane (Dave and Lisa Hooke)
  • McDonald's, Bellevue (Ernesto Simas)
  • Anheuser Busch Companies (Jim Anderson)
  • The Hostess House (Julie Morley, Southwest Chapter Chair)
  • Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro (Janet Lightner)
  • Twinco, Inc., doing business as Wendy's in Seattle (Jas Sangha)
  • Occasions Catering & Special Events (Jennie Hannah)
  • Spazzo Italian Grill (Naja Hogander)
  • Chalet Bowl (Reggie Frederick)
  • Washington Athletic Club (Robert Bonina)
  • Dickinson Northwest, Inc. (Scott Dickinson and Steve Stoddard)
  • Hilton of Vancouver, Washington (Gerry Link)
  • RAM International (Jeff Iverson)
There aren't any businesses noted here that I regularly patronize, but I'll be printing this list out to put in my car to make sure that I do not dine or do business with any of these places for the foreseeable future.

I'm actually not surprised to see the Restaurant Association supporting I-1053, however, because they have long been a right wing industry trade group. They endorsed Dino Rossi for governor in 2008. They seem to often be in cahoots with the odious National Federation of Independent Business, which is one of the most noxious right wing lobbies in America.

It's nice to know who they're run by, however. Boycotting an entire industry because of the actions of one trade group is silly and impractical. Conversely, having a very specific list of places not to patronize is useful.

(I already avoid shopping at Bellevue Square as a general rule because it is owned by Eyman contributor and Sound Transit foe Kemper Freeman, Jr. who would happily pave over paradise if he could.)

The Restaurant Association, incidentally, issued a press release a week ago touting its support for Intiative 1053. The release lied about the level of support for Initiative 1053's previous incarnation:
During the 2010 Legislative session, the Legislature temporarily repealed the two-thirds majority requirement, despite Washington voters having overwhelmingly favored this mandate, as recently as 2007 with the passage of I-960.
This is erroneous. Fifty one percent (that was the I-960 yes vote) is not overwhelming, let alone a mandate. A mandate is significant. Big. A mandate is something like sixty six percent. That's the level of support that Initiative 688 — which automatically adjusts the state's minimum wage to protect workers — received in 1998. Guess who was against Initiative 688?

That's right. The Washington Restaurant Association. The state voters' pamphlet actually listed Russ Goodman of the WRA as one of the people responsible for submitting arguments against the initiative.

We don't know at this point exactly how well Eyman's signature drive has been going. A recent memo from Association of Washington business president Don Brunell, who has been trying to drum up support for Initiative 1053, stated the initiative only had 160,000 signatures (Eyman needs around 300,000).

I can't think of a reason why Brunell would lowball the number, and yet we're hearing that the paid signature drive for Initiative 1053 is ending today. Why else would it stop unless Eyman had the requisite signatures?

We've been expecting that Eyman would be able to buy his way onto the ballot, and we're still operating under that assumption. NPI will be at the forefront of the fight against Initiative 1053, all through the summer and into the autumn.

It's going to be tough to beat, but with a smart, well executed and imaginative campaign, we can defeat Tim Eyman for the third year in a row.


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