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:
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!)