This past weekend, as many readers may already know, The Seattle Times and The News Tribune of Tacoma each provided space on their op-ed pages for a discussion of Tim Eyman’s I‑1366, which is appearing on this year’s general election ballot.
The Times ran an editorial and two columns — one for the initiative, signed by militant Senator Pam Roach, and one against the initiative, authored by yours truly.
The News Tribune ran one guest column in favor of the initiative, signed by Pierce County Councilmember Dan Roach, which will be counterbalanced by a guest column against the initiative on a forthcoming date.
Though the columns were signed by different Roaches, they do not appear to be original writing, as a sharp-eyed reader who follows both papers noticed.
“I know Pam Roach and son Dan are political clones, but are they also plagiarists?” asked Tacoma resident Joe Becker in a letter to The News Tribune, citing the almost identical wording of a paragraph in each of the guest columns.
“Can’t the proponents of this bad initiative come up with their own original arguments?” he wondered.
Good question, Joe.
We suspect that the reason the two columns are similarly worded is that Tim Eyman wrote them, and had the Roaches edit and submit them for publication.
Eyman has submitted a lot of op-eds over the years under his own name to newspapers (he often submits the same op-ed to different papers), but he’s been keeping a low profile since the PDC completed its investigation into his secret money manipulations from 2012. Eyman blew off two scheduled debates with KING5, ultimately arranging to have another extremist Republican (Doug Ericksen of Whatcom County) take his place on a third attempt.
Having read thousands of emails, communiques, and promotional pieces written by Tim Eyman over the years, I’m pretty familiar with his style and word choice, and his fingerprints are all over both of these columns.
Eyman’s name may not be on the byline, but it’s his writing and his arguments nonetheless. The Roaches are acting as surrogates for Eyman because he doesn’t want to remind voters that it’s his initiative by going on camera and signing op-eds. It’s the latest tacit admission from Eyman that he knows his name is toxic.
Eyman tried a similar approach with his initiative on initiatives two years ago, staying off the campaign trail and letting Mark Baerwaldt handle Yes on I‑517 in the hopes that voters wouldn’t realize he was the sponsor. It didn’t work. We let voters know I‑517 was a self-serving Eyman initiative, and it was overwhelmingly defeated.