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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

I‑1125 campaign site admits that 1125 was bought and paid for by Kemper Freeman

Not long ago, Tim Eyman began pro­mot­ing a new “Yes on 1125” web­site that appears to have been com­mis­sioned by his No. 2 all-time wealthy bene­fac­tor Kem­per Free­man, Jr., the man respon­si­ble for more than eighty per­cent of the mon­ey behind Ini­tia­tive 1125. I say appears to have been com­mis­sioned by because its text bears all the hall­marks of some­thing writ­ten by Kem­per and his oper­a­tives. Their pro­duc­tions have a dis­tinc­tive style… as do Eyman’s.

Hav­ing worked against Eyman for much of his career, we’re pret­ty famil­iar with his writ­ing, and how he choos­es to por­tray him­self. Eyman has long been in the habit of false­ly imply­ing or claim­ing that his ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry is grass­roots, when in fact it is not. We have repeat­ed­ly point­ed out that Eyman’s mill would grind to a halt were it not for his wealthy bene­fac­tors. His oper­a­tion is whol­ly depen­dent on big mon­ey. And he knows it. But he pre­tends otherwise.

Kem­per Free­man, Jr., on the oth­er hand, appears to be more of a straight-shoot­er, at least in terms of dis­clos­ing his involve­ment. Have a look at these two para­graphs from the “Myths vs. Facts” page on the “Yes on 1125” website.

Ini­tia­tive 1125 was filed by Tim Eyman on behalf of Belle­vue Busi­ness­man, Kem­per Free­man. Mr. Free­man and oth­ers want vot­ers to be aware of very seri­ous pol­i­cy changes com­ing out of Olympia.  These new poli­cies will have a tremen­dous­ly neg­a­tive impact on auto­mo­bile dri­vers total­ly chang­ing the way we live and less­en­ing our qual­i­ty of life. Mr. Free­man believes that vot­ers are being kept in the dark on these changes and that they deserve an oppor­tu­ni­ty to reaf­firm or reject these ideas.

Kem­per Free­man paid for the ini­tia­tive 1125 sig­na­ture dri­ve to give vot­ers an oppor­tu­ni­ty to reaf­firm long-stand­ing prin­ci­ples of tolling and gas tax­es, or to reject them, as they wish. He did so, too, so that the 97% who dri­ve their cars every­day will under­stand the com­ing pol­i­cy of “sys­tem wide” tolling all roads.

This has to be the first time that I can remem­ber that an Eyman bene­fac­tor has admit­ted, upfront, to hav­ing paid for the sig­na­ture dri­ve for an Eyman ini­tia­tive on the cam­paign web­site for said ini­tia­tive. It’s too bad that almost noth­ing else on the web­site is accu­rate. In addi­tion to putting dozens of apos­tro­phes in the wrong place, the per­son who authored the “Myths vs. Facts” page some­how man­aged to fig­ure out how to unfair­ly slam tran­sit in pret­ty much every passage.

Free­man may not real­ize it, but every time he talks or pub­lish­es some­thing, he pro­vides fur­ther evi­dence for the view that all he seems to care about is destroy­ing and defund­ing tran­sit — and widen­ing high­ways. Free­man likes to dis­miss tran­sit activists as zealots, but he’s the real ide­o­logue… an uncom­pro­mis­ing road war­rior from decades past who believes that if we just pave over more ter­rain, we’ll all be able to hap­pi­ly dri­ve our cars wher­ev­er and when­ev­er we want.

In real­i­ty, grid­lock can only be solved by get­ting peo­ple out of their cars and pro­vid­ing trans­porta­tion choic­es. True free­dom of mobil­i­ty means being able to get around with­out a car. If Free­man under­stood this, he’d be an enthu­si­as­tic sup­port­er of tran­sit, rather than an unre­lent­ing critic.

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8 Comments

  1. Andrew, you wrote:

    “In real­i­ty, grid­lock can only be solved by get­ting peo­ple out of their cars and pro­vid­ing trans­porta­tion choic­es. True free­dom of mobil­i­ty means being able to get around with­out a car. If Free­man under­stood this, he’d be an enthu­si­as­tic sup­port­er of tran­sit, rather than an unre­lent­ing critic.”

    Well, I con­sid­er myself a pro­gres­sive who will vote YES on 1125. And, I dri­ve, bike, hike, and walk. I am tired of traf­fic con­ges­tion. So in my view, true free­dom of mobil­i­ty involves the per­son­al automobile. 

    How­ev­er, did you know that Kem­per actu­al­ly sup­ports bike lanes, bus rapid tran­sit, and free tran­sit rid­er­ship? See this: http://navigatekingcounty.com/blog/light-rail-off-track/76/

    So why do I sup­port 1125? For sev­er­al rea­sons. First, vot­ers approved the 18th Amend­ment to the State Con­sti­tu­tion in 1944. This hap­pened after the Leg­is­la­ture start­ed using the gas tax for non-high­way pur­pos­es. The 18th amend­ments was on the bal­lot to pro­tect gas tax­es for high­ways only, and it passed by 70%. 

    How­ev­er, today, Sound Tran­sit wants to vio­late the State Con­sti­tu­tion and use gas tax­es for non-high­way pur­pos­es. I can­not sup­port a state agency who advo­cates some­thing that’s ille­gal. For the same rea­son I sup­port Rob McKen­na suing over Oba­ma’s health care plan. Nev­er­the­less, as a pro­gres­sive, I sup­port uni­ver­sal health care, if it was legal, and we had the mon­ey to pay for it. 

    Sec­ond, I am a fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tive in addi­tion to being a pro­gres­sive (i.e. favor­ing progress and reform), so I want the most tran­sit for the mon­ey. That’s what you get with the very pro­gres­sive approach­es of bus rapid tran­sit, bike lanes, and bike trails. We have so much open land in the sub­urbs; we need to widen our 4 lane boule­vards to accom­mo­date bus rapid tran­sit and bike lanes all over the east­side. Search John Niles, Richard Hark­ness, and Jim MacIsaac, all of Seat­tle; three bus rapid tran­sit engineers. 

    Andrew, you continue:

    “Mr. Free­man and oth­ers want vot­ers to be aware of very seri­ous pol­i­cy changes com­ing out of Olympia. These new poli­cies will have a tremen­dous­ly neg­a­tive impact on auto­mo­bile dri­vers total­ly chang­ing the way we live and less­en­ing our qual­i­ty of life. Mr. Free­man believes that vot­ers are being kept in the dark on these changes and that they deserve an oppor­tu­ni­ty to reaf­firm or reject these ideas. Kem­per Free­man paid for the ini­tia­tive 1125 sig­na­ture dri­ve to give vot­ers an oppor­tu­ni­ty to reaf­firm long-stand­ing prin­ci­ples of tolling and gas tax­es, or to reject them, as they wish.

    I don’t have a prob­lem with rich phil­an­thropists such as Mr. Free­man pay­ing for ini­tia­tives. He also gives his mon­ey to Over­lake Hos­pi­tal. Indeed, I am grate­ful for Mr. Free­man advo­cat­ing to pro­tect our gas tax­es to build more free­way lanes. And, Mr. Free­man wants to ban vari­able peak time tolls, i.e. con­ges­tion pricing. 

    Peak time tolls are unfair to the poor, since they have to pay more to dri­ve than the rich. And, a Los Ange­les study from Dr. Peter Gor­don found that peo­ple don’t dri­ve on free­ways dur­ing peak com­mute hours, and dri­ve on the city streets instead — wast­ing gas mileage in stop and go traffic. 

    Is it real­ly fair for the poor to have a longer com­mute on city streets so they don’t have to pay tolls? Cars get hor­ri­ble gas mileage in stop and go traf­fic, com­pared to 60mph on free­ways. Cars also emit more CO2 and oth­er pol­lu­tants in grid­lock speeds under 30mph, com­pared to 60mph, as stud­ied by Dr. Matthew Barth at UC-Riverside. 

    So the pro­gres­sive and envi­ron­men­tal thing to do is to build more free­way lanes, so that our traf­fic runs at 60mph all the time, to reduce air pol­lu­tants includ­ing green­house gases. 

    You con­tin­ue:

    “This has to be the first time that I can remem­ber that an Eyman bene­fac­tor has admit­ted, upfront, to hav­ing paid for the sig­na­ture dri­ve for an Eyman ini­tia­tive on the cam­paign web­site for said ini­tia­tive. It’s too bad that almost noth­ing else on the web­site is accurate.”

    Well, that’s not fair. Please be spe­cif­ic as to what else isn’t accu­rate on the web site. In fact, if all of us for 1125 are not accu­rate, then please let us know imme­di­ate­ly before the elec­tion. You can tell me what’s not accu­rate about mine, if any­thing — you can post com­ments on my Kem­per Free­man You Tube Video Page — “If You Dri­ve, Vote Yes on 1125.”

    http://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/kemper-freeman-going-green-bellevue-square-electric-cars-charging-stations-initiative-i-1125-i-90-eyman-light-rail-sound-transit-constitution-18th-amendment-washington-seattle-court/

    Enjoy the videos — Mike Ennis, Bruce Nurse, Tim Eyman, Kem­per Free­man, Doug Mac­Don­ald, John Niles, etc. — they’re all there — Very good peo­ple try­ing to make a dif­fer­ence, eas­i­er for the Work­ing peo­ple who have to dri­ve on clogged high­ways. And, folks like Niles advo­cate bus rapid tran­sit, such as the Rapid Ride. If you dri­ve, vote YES on 1125. ‑Tom Lane

    # by Tom Lane :: October 10th, 2011 at 5:53 AM
    • Tom, you’ve got a case of mis­tak­en iden­ti­ty. Say­ing you are a pro­gres­sive does not make you a pro­gres­sive, no more than my say­ing I am a con­ser­v­a­tive would make me so.

      No pro­gres­sive would ever claim that widen­ing high­ways is good for the envi­ron­ment. That’s actu­al­ly a false state­ment, peri­od. Adding lanes encour­ages peo­ple to take more trips, which makes grid­lock worse, not bet­ter. What’s more, more trips and more traf­fic means not only an increase in car­bon diox­ide emis­sions, but oth­er air pol­lu­tants as well, lead­ing to a huge decrease in region­al air qual­i­ty. When peo­ple dri­ve less, air qual­i­ty improves. 

      Wider high­ways also per­pet­u­ate sprawl. We need to return to tra­di­tion­al town plan­ning and build liv­able neigh­bor­hoods with prop­er street grids. We need com­mu­ni­ties where peo­ple can live close to where they work. And we need choic­es for peo­ple who still need to com­mute some dis­tance to get to work. That’s where rail tran­sit comes in.

      Tran­sit for all, includ­ing rail tran­sit for all, is a key pro­gres­sive pol­i­cy direc­tion. As George Lakoff and the Rock­ridge Insti­tute wrote in Think­ing Points:

      Tran­sit-for-all means expand­ing and improv­ing pub­lic trans­porta­tion at the local, region­al, and fed­er­al lev­els. It means invest­ing in bus and light rail in urban areas to cre­ate clean, con­ve­nient, reli­able, and acces­si­ble webs of trans­porta­tion. It means mak­ing our city cores more bike and pedes­tri­an friend­ly. It means expand­ing com­muter rail to con­nect urban and sub­ur­ban cen­ters typ­i­cal­ly served by car trans­porta­tion. It means invest­ing in high-speed rail, to move peo­ple, goods and ser­vices from city to city. Mov­ing with­in urban cores and con­nect­ing urban and sub­ur­ban hubs, these webs would extend to all auto-dense areas.

      Now, it is true that not every pro­gres­sive embraces every pro­gres­sive pol­i­cy direc­tion. But it’s clear from your com­ment that you are not a pro­gres­sive. You call your­self a “fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tive” — no true pro­gres­sive activist would say they are con­ser­v­a­tive on any issue. In fact, pro­gres­sives believe there is no such thing as “fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tivism”. Real­i­ty sup­ports this view. When con­ser­v­a­tives have been in pow­er, they have run up Amer­i­ca’s debt. They have made gov­ern­ment (specif­i­cal­ly, the police state) big­ger. They have enact­ed tax cuts for the wealthy and launched immoral occu­pa­tions of oth­er coun­tries paid for with our nation’s cred­it card. Their irre­spon­si­ble deci­sions have giv­en us a high­er debt and a low­er qual­i­ty of life. 

      You may agree with some of what I’ve just said. But again, that does­n’t make you a pro­gres­sive. If you agree with some pro­gres­sive pol­i­cy direc­tions, but not oth­ers, and if you agree with some con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy direc­tions, but not oth­ers, then you are a bicon­cep­tu­al… some­body who uses both the pro­gres­sive and con­ser­v­a­tive val­ue sys­tems in dif­fer­ent areas of their polit­i­cal think­ing. A great many Amer­i­cans are actu­al­ly bicon­cep­tu­als, so you’re in pret­ty good company.

      Most of what Kem­per Free­man, Jr.‘s peo­ple pub­lished on the Yes on 1125 web­site is inac­cu­rate infor­ma­tion. To thor­ough­ly debunk all of it would take hours, and prob­a­bly would­n’t sat­is­fy you any­way, but there’s a spe­cif­ic point you want to dis­cuss, feel free to raise it.

      # by Andrew :: October 10th, 2011 at 10:40 AM
  2. What Andrew wrote above in the final para­graph of his post, “In real­i­ty, grid­lock can only be solved by get­ting peo­ple out of their cars and pro­vid­ing trans­porta­tion choic­es. True free­dom of mobil­i­ty means being able to get around with­out a car,” is bedrock faith of many polit­i­cal progressives.

    But going back to the plain Eng­lish mean­ing of words, how­ev­er, it’s an incred­i­bly con­ser­v­a­tive thing to write, because urban cit­i­zens uni­ver­sal­ly get­ting around with­out a car mim­ics a throw­back to pre-auto­mo­bile times in Amer­i­can cities a cen­tu­ry ago.

    Andrew is not alone. So far as I can tell, there is a wide yearn­ing for a future Seat­tle laced with street­car and interur­ban elec­tric rail lines, the region­al envi­ron­ment of 100 years ago. For ref­er­ence, I have post­ed a map of Seat­tle’s street rail­road net­work as of 1916 at http://www.bettertransport.info/pitf/SeattleStreetRailwayMap1916.pdf . This net­work is what many polit­i­cal pro­gres­sives in Seat­tle would like to see again, if the mon­ey could be found. 

    There is lit­tle recog­ni­tion in this view­point of the ongo­ing, mas­sive world­wide effort to change rad­i­cal­ly the shape of point-to-point per­son­al mobil­i­ty with small­er, lighter, clean­er, effi­cient, col­li­sion-proof vehi­cles run­ning on the exist­ing, ubiq­ui­tous, and nec­es­sary road net­work that also sup­ports police, fire, ambu­lances, and refuse pickup.

    Note the pro­gres­sive (plain Eng­lish) futures described in “Automak­ers Debate Visions of the Future of Clean Urban Trans­port” from GreenBiz.com at http://grn.bz/pJCDi1. This report cov­ers car-shar­ing and elec­tric bus­es as well as small­er per­son­al vehicles.

    Get­ting tran­sit pri­or­i­ty for the next 100 years by turn­ing per­fect­ly good road­way lanes into train tracks (like Sound Tran­sit’s plan for I‑90) is a very con­ser­v­a­tive (plain Eng­lish) and ulti­mate­ly rad­i­cal (plain Eng­lish) idea. 

    Fast-devel­op­ing tech­nol­o­gy in vehi­cles and traf­fic man­age­ment will pro­vide mobil­i­ty for the mass­es soon­er, bet­ter, and less expen­sive­ly than Sound Tran­sit’s East Link plan to spend three bil­lion dol­lars for 50,000 dai­ly tran­sit rid­ers, only 10,000 of whom would be new tran­sit rid­ers who parked their cars in favor of the new train, accord­ing to the Envi­ron­men­tal Impact State­ment (EIS).

    This EIS also reveals via its ener­gy data that the car­bon emis­sions to build this line are not going to be com­pen­sat­ed by the car­bon emis­sions saved by those new tran­sit riders.

    I think Kem­per Free­man is very sen­si­ble to throw har­poons at East Link light rail (para­phras­ing Joel Con­nel­ly), even though I‑1125 is in a bun­dle of har­poons I won’t vote for.

    # by John Niles :: October 10th, 2011 at 3:46 PM
  3. Hey Andrew,
    No mis­tak­en iden­ti­ty. I am anti-war, pro-nation­al health care (although not Oba­ma care), pro-gay rights, pro-wom­ens’ rights, pro-rais­ing the min­i­mum wage, stricter reg­u­la­tions on air pol­lu­tion, etc.

    How­ev­er, some pro­gres­sives are also fis­cal­ly con­ser­v­a­tive, for small­er gov­ern­ment in gen­er­al, and per­son­al mobil­i­ty with the auto­mo­bile. We can agree to dis­agree about the size of gov­ern­ment along with 1125 and still agree on many oth­er things.

    Pro­gres­sive sim­ply means favor­ing Progress and Reform, in any direc­tion. There are pro­gres­sive Repub­li­cans, and pro­gres­sive Democ­rats, and pro­gres­sive Moderates.
    I’m prob­a­bly a “rad­i­cal pro­gres­sive centerist.”

    We have too many reg­u­la­tions on pri­vate prop­er­ty rights, and our plan­ners have not built enough free­way lanes or bus rapid tran­sit, since they’ve spent too much on street­cars and light rail (As John Niles has said).

    And, widen­ing roads to increase capac­i­ty decrease air pol­lu­tion since vehi­cle speeds increase. See this info on air pol­lu­tion lev­els with my pho­tos of seat­tle area smog — These pho­tos are hor­ri­ble, com­par­ing Clear Days under high pres­sure to smog­gy days -

    http://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/vote-for-initiative-i-1125–2011-tim-eyman-kemper-freeman-light-rail-i-90-seattle-bellevue-gas-tax-washington-constitution-18th-sound-transit/

    Also in terms of Con­ser­v­a­tives, you say they enact­ed tax cuts for the wealthy. That is not 100% cor­rect. Both JFK and Ronald Rea­gan both were fis­cal­ly con­ser­v­a­tive. They cut tax RATES, not TAXES. They cut tax *RATES* on all incomes, includ­ing the poor. With Rea­gan, many poor peo­ple stopped pay­ing tax­es. Rea­gan had a fair, pro­gres­sive tax struc­ture com­pared to Oba­ma. You can hear Mark Levin and Mike Rosen talk about Rea­gan and JFK cut­ting tax *RATES.* Levin is more of a Pro­gres­sive than the Pelosi and Har­ry Reed types.

    May I sug­gest that you do de-con­struct the YESON1125.org web site, or my mul­ti­ple posts cov­er­ing light rail and I‑1125. Oth­er­wise, by not doing so, I don’t know what spe­cif­ic objec­tions you have to I‑1125.

    Tom

    # by Tom Lane :: October 11th, 2011 at 1:43 AM
    • The posi­tions you’ve just out­lined con­firm what I pre­vi­ous­ly said: You a bicon­cep­tu­al. You are pro­gres­sive in some areas, and con­ser­v­a­tive in others.

      There is noth­ing wrong with being a bicon­cep­tu­al — many Amer­i­cans are. But you can’t claim to be a pro­gres­sive when you’re not. That word has a mean­ing. It refers to a shared world­view, a moral sys­tem. You do not con­sis­tent­ly use the pro­gres­sive moral sys­tem in all areas of your think­ing. So again, you are not a progressive.

      # by Andrew :: October 11th, 2011 at 1:03 PM
  4. Andrew: You also men­tioned City design; con­sid­er that most Amer­i­cans, when sur­veyed, pre­fer large lots even if it means a longer commute. 

    You can go to the top of my web site and click the two smart growth sur­veys, from the City of LaCrosse, Wis­con­sin, and also from the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Realtors.

    Large tow­er­ing con­dos are not sell­ing in the var­i­ous region­al growth cen­ters in the Seat­tle area (i.e. some but not all of these are des­ig­nat­ed as “tran­sit ori­ent­ed developments.”)

    Many politi­cians in cities such as Rich­mond Beach, Nor­mandy Park, and Black Dia­mond, are fight­ing these Puget Sound Region­al Coun­cil smart growth projects.

    While you may favor high­er den­si­ty, I am a mod­ernist favor­ing spread­ing out with 1 acre lots, with nat­ur­al veg­e­ta­tion instead of con­crete and grav­el, in the lega­cy of Frank Lloyd Wright … where every­one has their own gar­den and schools have class sizes of 10 or less …

    Did you see that Cor­val­lis is #1 for cycling and bicyling com­muters nation­wide? That’s proof that your idea of more bike lanes works. 

    But on the oth­er hand, the US Cen­sus found that the only towns (except one) that had high cycling and walk­ing per­cent­ages were small col­lege towns, with lots of young peo­ple. I’m still young but if I was 70 I would­n’t be bik­ing around Cor­val­lis! So, it only works for small cities like Cor­val­lis, Boul­der, and Itha­ca, NY.

    That’s why we need Bus Rapid Tran­sit and more fuel effi­cient vehi­cles. Smart cars, elec­tric cars, and bus rapid tran­sit can all allow the cur­rent sub­ur­ban struc­ture, that peo­ple pre­fer in these polls, to con­tin­ue to exist sus­tain­ably. See Cor­val­lis and pho­tos of oth­er Ore­gon cities and their bike lanes and trails:

    http://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/corvallis-oregon-smart-growth-commuting-in-united-states-2009/

    # by Tom Lane :: October 11th, 2011 at 1:52 AM
  5. Hi Andrew,

    A pro­gres­sive refers to some­one who does not favor the sta­tus quo. For 20 years in Seat­tle, the sta­tus quo has been an urban growth bound­ary, tiny yards, high den­si­ty, with a focus on mass tran­sit con­nect­ing so-called “tran­sit ori­ent­ed devel­op­ments.” (TOD’s)

    How­ev­er, most Amer­i­cans when sur­veyed pre­fer sin­gle fam­i­ly hous­ing with pri­vate yards. You can find these stud­ies at the top of my web site, along with arti­cles from Dr. Peter How­ley from the Pro­fes­sors’ Page on my site, who found the same thing when sur­vey­ing those who lived in high den­si­ty envi­ron­ments in Dublin, Ireland.

    There­fore, a pro­gres­sive would look for meth­ods of “Sus­tain­able sprawl.” Our visions may dif­fer on “smart growth” and “TOD’s,” since I envi­sion a future of our cur­rent sub­ur­ban struc­ture, con­nect­ed with bus rapid tran­sit, bike lanes, bike paths, and using alter­na­tive fuel sources instead of for­eign oil for the pri­vate car.

    If you think about it, the sub­urbs are not going away. What is going away is Oil — Peak oil is immi­nent. We need alter­na­tive fuel sources for pri­vate cars, and that is a pro­gres­sive approach. Light rail is too expen­sive, com­pared to nat­ur­al gas pow­ered cars and bus rapid transit. 

    I think we can agree to dis­agree. Thank you for your respons­es. Tom Lane

    # by Tom Lane :: October 12th, 2011 at 10:33 PM
  6. Hon­esty from the right wing, for a change…

    # by Serina Baranick :: October 27th, 2011 at 2:37 AM

One Ping

  1. […] I‑1125 wouldn’t even be on our bal­lots except for Kem­per Free­man Jr.’s mon­ey. Even the Yes on 1125 web­site, writ­ten by Kemper’s oper­a­tives, admits that Kem­per paid for the .… […]

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