This morn­ing, Tim Eyman and his cohorts from Spokane, the Fagans, showed up in Olympia at the Sec­re­tary of State’s Elec­tions Annex to deliv­er box­es of peti­tions for Eyman’s lat­est scheme to wreck gov­ern­ment — Ini­tia­tive 1125, which would inter­fere with WSDOT’s abil­i­ty to suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete the new Ever­green Point Float­ing Bridge over Lake Wash­ing­ton and with Sound Tran­sit’s abil­i­ty to bring East Link light rail to Mer­cer Island, Belle­vue, and Redmond.

Tim Eyman in front of his prized whiteboard
Tim Eyman and the Fagans stand in front of their prized white­board at the Sec­re­tary of State’s Elec­tions Annex in Olympia (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

After haul­ing in their box­es of peti­tions, Eyman and the Fagans propped up a white­board in the room where the Sec­re­tary of State was pro­cess­ing the peti­tions and pro­ceed­ed to hold a press con­fer­ence. (Iron­i­cal­ly, by doing so, Eyman dis­rupt­ed the pro­cess­ing of his own peti­tions, because the Sec­re­tary of State’s vis­i­bly annoyed elec­tions staff even­tu­al­ly told him they could­n’t count while he was talk­ing in front of a half-dozen tele­vi­sion and still cameras.)

Eyman began by attack­ing Gov­er­nor Chris Gre­goire and state law­mak­ers for del­e­gat­ing author­i­ty for rais­ing fees to agen­cies, com­mis­sions, and uni­ver­si­ties, ignor­ing the fact that his own ini­tia­tive has, in many cas­es, neces­si­tat­ed such del­e­ga­tion in the first place.

Ini­tia­tive 1053, like its pre­de­ces­sor Ini­tia­tive 960, uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pre­vents the House and Sen­ate from demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly vot­ing to raise rev­enue to fund vital ser­vices. Con­se­quent­ly, law­mak­ers can’t decide whether to make cuts or not.

Instead, they can only decide where to make cuts. Since our uni­ver­si­ties would­n’t be able to func­tion if they could­n’t hire fac­ul­ty and sched­ule class­es, the Leg­is­la­ture reluc­tant­ly decid­ed to grant tuition set­ting author­i­ty to uni­ver­si­ty regents.

I‑1053 put them in a bind, and they attempt­ed to make the best of a bad sit­u­a­tion. How iron­ic that Eyman is now attack­ing them for strug­gling to deal with the con­se­quences of his own ille­git­i­mate initiative.

To Eyman, we say: This is what hap­pens when you mess with rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­ra­cy and stop it from work­ing like it is sup­posed to. Our founders gave us a plan of gov­ern­ment built on major­i­ty rule with minor­i­ty rights; I‑1053 has tak­en away major­i­ty rule and sab­o­taged the sys­tem our Con­sti­tu­tion created.

Iron­i­cal­ly, Eyman him­self is more unac­count­able than any of the peo­ple he crit­i­cizes. He’s in a posi­tion where, backed by his wealthy bene­fac­tors, he can throw mon­key wrench­es into the gears of our democ­ra­cy, then sit back and yell, “You’re doing it wrong!” He has nev­er had to deal with the con­se­quences of his ini­tia­tives. He’s nev­er had to write a bud­get. And when he is asked by reporters what he would do if he were in charge, he nev­er answers. He is in the busi­ness of putting oth­er peo­ple in impos­si­ble posi­tions and then fol­low­ing up by tight­en­ing the screws.

Eyman often says we should debate his ideas, and not him. He claims to just be a mes­sen­ger. He said it again today at his press con­fer­ence. But whose mes­sen­ger is he? BP’s? Michael Dun­mire’s? Kem­per Free­man Jr.‘s?

The truth is, Eyman is no peo­ple’s ombuds­man. He serves the inter­ests of his wealthy bene­fac­tors, not the pub­lic inter­est. And he injects him­self into the debate over his ini­tia­tives. Observe that he does­n’t just force pub­lic votes on bad ideas. He uses his gift for media manip­u­la­tion to dis­tort the debate so it will be his fram­ing that gets pre­sent­ed. His objec­tive is to try to dupe voters.

He has no ground to stand upon, there­fore, when he wrong­ly says that we are only crit­i­ciz­ing him because there’s noth­ing in his schemes that is wor­thy of crit­i­cism. We’re crit­i­ciz­ing him because he’s try­ing to con the peo­ple of this state, and every time he suc­ceeds, our qual­i­ty of life takes a hit.

Ini­tia­tive 1125 does not have the far-reach­ing impli­ca­tions that Ini­tia­tive 1053 does. But that does­n’t mean it isn’t a threat. State Trea­sur­er Jim McIn­tire has warned that I‑1125 could jeop­ar­dize the com­ple­tion of the new Ever­green Point Float­ing Bridge and pos­si­bly oth­er projects as well.

Law­mak­ers have told NPI the same thing.

After Eyman was done denounc­ing Gre­goire and state law­mak­ers, reporters turned their atten­tion to for­mer state Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Doug Mac­Don­ald, who author­i­ta­tive­ly rebutted Eyman’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for many of the pro­vi­sions con­tained in his ini­tia­tive. For instance, when Mac­Don­ald was asked why it’s not a good idea to require that toll mon­ey col­lect­ed at a par­tic­u­lar facil­i­ty be spent only on the improve­ment of that facil­i­ty, he said:

Very few peo­ple dri­ve on one project. If you take 405, very few peo­ple drop on a heli­copter at one end of 405 and drop off at the oth­er. They start in Auburn on 167, or they get over on 522. And as we look at how roads work togeth­er, we have to fig­ure out how sys­tems for tolling… actu­al­ly work, so that both the mon­ey and the things that the mon­ey can build are spread intel­li­gent­ly around the whole system.

And, when asked whether tolling I‑90 in addi­tion to SR 520 would cause busi­ness­es in Belle­vue to lose cus­tomers, Mac­Don­ald reflect­ed, “Tolls have proven around the coun­try not to defeat the pur­pos­es of com­merce, but to build the facil­i­ties that allow peo­ple to shop, allow peo­ple to work.”

He’s absolute­ly cor­rect on this score. Busi­ness­es in Belle­vue would cer­tain­ly have few­er Seat­tle cus­tomers if the three float­ing bridges we’ve built over Lake Wash­ing­ton did­n’t exist at all. Peo­ple would have to dri­ve all the way around the lake — or take a fer­ry — to eas­i­ly move between the East­side and the west side.

Mac­Don­ald also promised reporters that they would see a vig­or­ous oppo­si­tion cam­paign come togeth­er in the ensu­ing weeks and months to defeat I‑1125.

We at NPI will do our part to ensure that NO on I‑1125 is suc­cess­ful. As we said in our state­ment in response to Eyman’s sub­mis­sion of sig­na­tures, this mea­sure is only on the bal­lot because one wealthy guy want­ed it to be. Peo­ple are hard­ly clam­or­ing for what Eyman is sell­ing. If vot­ers under­stand the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of this ill-con­ceived scheme, they’ll resound­ing­ly reject it.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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5 replies on “Tim Eyman turns in signatures for I‑1125 in Olympia; NPI and Doug MacDonald respond”

  1. Can vot­ers not see how much dam­age Eyman has done to this state with his ini­tia­tives? We do not have the mon­ey to run this state because of him. Tax­es are nec­es­sary in order to oper­ate a state so we can afford to main­tain roads, bridges, schools, etc. I think Eyman is a mega­ma­ni­ac who needs to be run-out of Wash­ing­ton state on a rail. At the very least, he should be made to live under the Alas­ka Way Viaduct dur­ing the next earthquake.

  2. I am going to vote for this for sure. I am tired of the way the state deals with trans­porta­tion by doing noth­ing. I have been wait­ing for the state to widen i405 from Ren­ton to Belleve for years and I hear we might get a worth­less toll lane. That is not accept­able. We want it widened by 2 lanes each way! As for I90, that is already paid for and tolls on that are not accept­able either. Now I hear they want to put a toll on the I5 express lanes which are also paid for. I might be ok with tolls if they used the mon­ey to build more capac­i­ty, but they did­n’t do that on Hwy 167. Tolls are not tax­es, they should be used to build a project and only used on that road to add capac­i­ty only.

  3. I am going to vote against this for sure, so I guess my vote will can­cel out Jef­f’s vote. I believe this ini­tia­tive will have the effect of jeop­ar­diz­ing crit­i­cal trans­porta­tion projects that we need to ensure we can move through our region. What hap­pens if we don’t replace the 520 bridge? What hap­pens if we can’t alle­vi­ate con­ges­tion by get­ting light rail across the lake?

    Roads aren’t free. Bus rid­ers have to pay fares to sup­port the tran­sit sys­tem. Why should­n’t dri­vers pay tolls to sup­port the road system?

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