As regular readers may remember, two weeks ago, NPI urged the City of Redmond — which we proudly call home — to join us in taking a stand against Tim Eyman’s latest scheme to paralyze our communities and wreck government, Initiative 1125.
(I‑1125 made the ballot back in July thanks to a boatload of money from Eyman’s No. 2 all-time wealthy benefactor, Kemper Freeman. Washingtonians will begin voting on the measure in just a few weeks, along with two other initiatives).
Tonight, Redmond Mayor John Marchione and the Redmond City Council acted on our request, voting to adopt a resolution that declares the City to be opposed to Eyman’s Initiative 1125, which would endanger vital transportation projects important to Redmond’s economy and quality of life.
The vote to take a position against I‑1125 was five to two.
The two councilmembers who dissented, David Carson and Hank Myers, stressed during the debate over the resolution that they do not support I‑1125, but were nevertheless uncomfortable with the idea of putting the City on record as opposing a statewide initiative, even though there was and is precedent for doing so.
The other councilmembers, however, all spoke enthusiastically in favor of taking a stand, noting that I‑1125 threatens Redmond’s future.
Redmond has actually been a leader in opposing harmful Tim Eyman initiatives; the City has consistently gone on record against Eyman’s measures, beginning with I‑695 in 1999. Redmond also opposed I‑722 in 2000, I‑745 in 2000, I‑747 in 2001, I‑776 in 2002, I‑985 in 2008, and I‑1033 in 2009.
We at NPI are very proud of our hometown for repeatedly leading the way in calling for the rejection of counterproductive, thoughtless Tim Eyman initiatives.
Tonight, the City of Redmond has done so again, and for that, we thank Mayor John Marchione and the five councilmembers who voted to adopt Resolution No. 11–199 (Kim Allen, Richard Cole, Pat Vache, Hank Margeson, and John Stilin).
The best part of the debate tonight was City Councilmember John Stilin’s speech for the resolution (and against I‑1125). Here’s what Stilin said:
CITY COUNCILMEMBER JOHN STILIN: Well, I’ve struggled with the issue that Mr. Carson struggles with — telling voters what to do, or telling them how to vote. But I think we’ve made it pretty clear in this resolution how bad this is for Redmond. And I’m not sure my principles are as important as having [State Route] 520 done the way it should be done… I wholeheartedly support this.
I’ll even take a jab at the people that put it out there: Why don’t you tell us how to fund it instead of telling us not how to do something? I’m really impressed with people that can always tell you what you can’t do, but never have solutions for how to do it. I think we know how to get it done — we’ve put a plan forward, and I’m not letting anything stop us from getting that road done. So I’ll be voting to support this.
We concur with Councilmember Stilin’s sentiments.
For more than a decade, Tim Eyman has made it his business to make messes that our elected leaders have to clean up. Eyman claims it’s not his job to figure out how to fund vital public services that the people of Washington need and demand.
But while he may not be an elected lawmaker, he has turned himself into a full-time citizen lawmaker who actually makes more money than our state legislators.
Since he has chosen lawmaking as his profession, it’s time we started holding him to the same standards we hold our other lawmakers to. When he tries to dodge or evade questions about the consequences of his sinister schemes, he should be held to account. When he tries to fall back on his recycled talking points and prerehearsed sound bites, he should be interrupted and asked, “So, what services should be cut? By how much? What is your solution?”
Since Permanent Defense was founded in February 2002 (PD will be celebrating its tenth anniversary in just four months!), Eyman has gone from being able to get a destructive, slickly-packaged initiative past voters every year to only being able to get a destructive initiative past voters every few years. It’s not good when one of his schemes passes, but at least it’s not happening as often — and we consider that to be a huge improvement over the previous situation.
We are confident that the people of this state will reject I‑1125 if they understand its true ramifications. Here is the text of the resolution adopted tonight by the City of Redmond, which spells out some of those ramifications:
CITY OF REDMOND RESOLUTION NO. 11–199
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF REDMOND, WASHINGTON, OPPOSING INITIATIVE 1125, CONCERNING TRANSPORTATION.
WHEREAS, Initiative Measure 1125 (1–1125) places restrictions on the use of tolling revenues, requires that all toll rates be flat rates, and establishes new requirements on who sets tolling rates; and
WHEREAS, 1–1125 would restrict the use of revenue generated from tolling on Interstate 90 and would prohibit this revenue from being used for replacement of the SR-520 bridge, making it harder for the State to fund this critical safety project; and
WHEREAS, 1–1125 would also prohibit the use of variable tolling or “congestion pricing” and would require one flat rate for tolled facilities, which means all motorists traveling across the SR-520 bridge pay the same toll regardless of the time of day of travel; and
WHEREAS, one flat toll rate will generate less toll revenue than variable tolling to help fund the SR-520 bridge replacement project; and
WHEREAS, the State of Washington and local agencies have received federal grant funding conditioned on implementing variable tolling on the SR-520 bridge as a congestion management tool, and the State Office of Financial Management has forecasted that up to $128 million in federal funding would be at jeopardy if variable tolling is not implemented; and
WHEREAS, 1–1125 requires that toll rates be set by the State Legislature rather than by an independent commission; and
WHEREAS, the State Treasurer has said that having the Legislature set toll rates instead of an independent commission would significantly increase the cost of financing the SR-520 bridge replacement project, adding $300 million or more to the cost of the project; and
WHEREAS, 1–1125 would jeopardize the State’s ability to fund the SR-520 bridge replacement project and other critical transportation projects on Interstate 405, State Route 167 and the State Route 99 Alaska Way Viaduct replacement project that rely on toll revenue for funding; and
WHEREAS, SR-520 is the transportation link for services, businesses, employers and employees and the movement of goods and people to and from the City of Redmond, and replacement of the SR-520 bridge and corridor improvements are critical for the safe operations of SR-520 and mobility on this corridor; and
WHEREAS, the City of Redmond supports tolling of the SR-520 and 1–90 corridors to help pay for the SR-520 bridge replacement project and to manage congestion on these highways; and
WHEREAS, the City of Redmond has opposed past efforts to restrict the use of tolling and toll proceeds due to their negative impacts on funding highway capacity improvements, mobility and the economic health of the city and region; and
WHEREAS, the damaging cost and economic implications from 1–1125 have led the Microsoft Corporation, The Boeing Company, and an array of business, labor, and environmental organizations to oppose 1–1125; and
WHEREAS, 1–1125 is not in the best interest of Redmond due to the increased costs that would result for replacement of the SR-520 bridge and the threat to mobility on SR-520 and the economic health of the City.
NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF REDMOND, WASHINGTON, HEREBY RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1.The Redmond City Council takes an official position opposing 1–1125 concerning transportation.
Section 2. The Redmond City Council encourages voters to oppose 1–1125 concerning transportation, due to the increased costs that would result for replacement of the SR-520 bridge and other major transportation projects and the threat to mobility on SR-520 and other highways and the economic health of the City and region.
ADOPTED by the Redmond City Council thisday of October 4th, 2011.
NPI and the broad, diverse coalition that has formed to fight Tim Eyman’s I‑1125 strongly urge you to keep vital transportation projects like SR 520 and East Link on track by voting NO on I‑1125 this autumn.