NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Initiative filed to officially name I‑5 Skagit River span the “Tim Eyman Memorial Bridge”

Yes­ter­day, the Tim Eyman Memo­r­i­al Bridge meme — which we had some fun pro­mot­ing back in May — got a new lease on life when Nico­las San­tos of Both­ell filed an ini­tia­tive to the Leg­is­la­ture to offi­cial­ly rename the now-repaired Inter­state 5 Skag­it Riv­er span after the relent­less Muk­il­teo ini­tia­tive profiteer.

The fil­ing has already been cov­ered by The Olympian, Taco­ma News Tri­bune, and KING5. Hilar­i­ous­ly, it also drew this response from a clear­ly not amused Tim Eyman:

—–Orig­i­nal Message—–
From: Tim Eyman
Sent: Thurs­day, July 25, 2013 1:38 PM
Sub­ject: Eyman’s response to the bridge initiative

It’s always so sil­ly when oppo­nents of our ini­tia­tives attack me per­son­al­ly, as if I have tremen­dous power.

I don’t. I have a great team who works super hard each year to give vot­ers a greater voice in their government.

Regard­ing our ini­tia­tives, some pass, some don’t, but all of them give the aver­age tax­pay­er an equal voice in the process and that’s some­thing I’m very proud of.

Regards, Tim Eyman

I had a good laugh when I read this email. It’s always enter­tain­ing to watch Tim Eyman (a gut­ter dweller if there ever was one) try to claim the moral high ground. Tim knows all about attack­ing peo­ple per­son­al­ly… he does it every week, or near­ly every week. There’s almost noth­ing he won’t do to get atten­tion, as he proved back in the spring when he called Govenor Jay Inslee “a lying whore”.

Seat­tle Post-Intel­li­gencer colum­nist Joel Con­nel­ly likes to say that the most dan­ger­ous place in Wash­ing­ton State is between Tim Eyman and a tele­vi­sion cam­era — and giv­en Eyman’s propen­si­ty for crash­ing oth­ers’ press con­fer­ences, that joke actu­al­ly has some lit­er­al truth to it in addi­tion to being fig­u­ra­tive­ly true.

If Tim wants cred­it for the schemes that come of out of his ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry to go to oth­ers, then per­haps he ought to name names more often. His four sen­tence email con­tains six first per­son ref­er­ences, but does­n’t men­tion any­one else. That invites the ques­tion: Just who does he con­sid­er his team to be?

Tim is cor­rect that he him­self does­n’t have tremen­dous pow­er. He’s no deity or super­man. But through his wealthy bene­fac­tors, he has pow­er that oth­er Wash­ing­to­ni­ans don’t have, because their cash allows him to force pub­lic votes on schemes pur­pose­ly intend­ed to wreck gov­ern­ment and drain our com­mon wealth.

The con­se­quences of these schemes often do not man­i­fest them­selves right away, and that’s the point we’ve been mak­ing (in a light­heart­ed way) with the “Tim Eyman Memo­r­i­al Bridge” meme. As I explained back in May:

Four­teen years lat­er have gone by since the 1999 cam­paign [when Eyman ran I‑695]. In that time Tim Eyman has spon­sored over a dozen ini­tia­tives that have wors­ened our infra­struc­ture deficit. Vot­ers have reject­ed some of them, but not all of them.

The ones they haven’t reject­ed have neg­a­tive­ly impact­ed our qual­i­ty of life and wors­ened our infra­struc­ture deficit. That’s the link. Pas­sage of Tim Eyman ini­tia­tives hurts Washington’s com­mon wealth, which in turn results in a bur­geon­ing infra­struc­ture deficit (because there aren’t enough funds to fix or replace aging bridges, water mains, or pow­er lines). The unad­dressed infra­struc­ture deficit results in pre­ventable dis­as­ters and tragedies like we saw last week.

That’s sys­temic causation.

The “Tim Eyman Memo­r­i­al Bridge” meme made sense when the bridge was unus­able, for Eyman’s ini­tia­tives helped cre­ate and pro­mul­gate the infra­struc­ture deficit that has pre­vent­ed old bridges from being retro­fit­ted and replaced.

Giv­en that the bridge is now oper­a­tional and due to be per­ma­nent­ly repaired and strength­ened by the end of the year, it deserves a prop­er name­sake, and we think it should be named in mem­o­ry of Wash­ing­ton State Troop­er Sean O’Con­nell.

Read­ers may remem­ber that Sean was trag­i­cal­ly killed while try­ing to help motorists detour around the closed por­tion of I‑5 in the hours imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the bridge col­lapse. His death was a great loss to the State of Wash­ing­ton; he was known as an exem­plary police offi­cer and a devot­ed pub­lic servant.

If we are going to name I‑5’s Skag­it Riv­er span after some­one, it should be Sean, because he died while try­ing to do his job in the wake of the bridge col­lapse. The “Tim Eyman Memo­r­i­al Bridge” meme was fun, but if the bridge is to have a per­ma­nent name, it ought to be the Sean O’Con­nell Memo­r­i­al Bridge.

(Oh, and Tim… if you get around to read­ing this post, keep in mind: He who lives in a glass house should­n’t throw stones at others!)

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