Tim Eyman has thrown in the tow­el on his most recent attempt to defund Sound Tran­sit and Amtrak Cas­cades, even if he isn’t ready to overt­ly say so yet.

The infa­mous ini­tia­tive prof­i­teer, who fan­cies him­self a road war­rior, announced back in June that he would seek to qual­i­fy an ini­tia­tive to the 2017 Leg­is­la­ture to wipe out bil­lions of dol­lars in fund­ing for tran­sit at the state and local level.

Eyman cre­at­ed a cam­paign com­mit­tee for the ini­tia­tive (I‑869) and print­ed up peti­tions, but nev­er did much of any­thing else… evi­dent­ly because he was unable to con­vince his wealthy bene­fac­tors to bankroll a sig­na­ture drive.

Sig­na­tures for ini­tia­tives to the 2017 Leg­is­la­ture are due this Fri­day, Decem­ber 30th, by the close of busi­ness, but Eyman won’t be show­ing up to sub­mit any I‑869 sig­na­tures to the Sec­re­tary of State’s Elec­tions Divi­sion because he was unable to buy the labor he need­ed to get I‑869 off the ground.

Eyman has all but admit­ted I‑869 is doomed. For the past six months, his fundrais­ing appeals have con­tained his oblig­a­tory ref­er­ence to I‑869:

Peti­tions for “We Love Our Cars” I‑869 have been sent out (if you need more, just email or call).  Our polling shows it’s anoth­er big win­ner.  Please help us make it a reality.

But that para­graph was omit­ted from today’s fundrais­ing email, which made no men­tion of I‑869. Instead of ask­ing for con­tri­bu­tions to qual­i­fy I‑869, Eyman asked for mon­ey for him­self (some­thing he’s become real­ly good at):

If you like and appre­ci­ate our past, cur­rent, and future efforts on behalf of tax­pay­ers, please send us a dona­tion for $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, $2500, $5000 or more (there are no lim­its on how much can be giv­en). You can go to our web­site right now and make a secure on-line con­tri­bu­tion by Pay­Pal or VISA or M/C. OR, you can print this form, fill it out, and return it with a check or cred­it card information.

If Eyman’s past behav­ior is any indi­ca­tion, he’s not going to say any­thing open­ly about the demise of I‑869 until he is ready to begin sell­ing some­thing else.

(As a sales­man of bad ideas, Eyman must always have some­thing to sell.)

When Eyman unveiled I‑869 at the begin­ning of June 2016, it marked the third time in the span of six months that he had unveiled plans for a new ini­tia­tive, with the pre­vi­ous two announce­ments hav­ing amount­ed to false starts.

In Novem­ber of 2015, Eyman called a press con­fer­ence in the state­house to announce his intent to qual­i­fy a “Son of 1366” to the 2016 bal­lot. Eyman and his asso­ciates cre­at­ed a cam­paign com­mit­tee to pro­mote the new ini­tia­tive that looked pow­er­ful on paper (the com­mit­tee was loaded with over $1 mil­lion in loans), pre­sum­ably to intim­i­date Democ­rats in the Leg­is­la­ture into com­ply­ing with Eyman’s demand to sab­o­tage Arti­cle II, Sec­tion 22 of the State Constitution.

How­ev­er, Democ­rats were unit­ed in their refusal to capit­u­late, and the Son of 1366 com­mit­tee ulti­mate­ly became a lia­bil­i­ty for Eyman when NPI’s friends with Keep Wash­ing­ton Rolling launched a cit­i­zen’s action against him and the com­mit­tee for fail­ure to prop­er­ly com­ply with Wash­ing­ton’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws.

In Feb­ru­ary, Eyman returned to the state cap­i­tal (this time with­out his side­kicks in tow) to announce a new scheme to defund Sound Tran­sit and Amtrak Cas­cades — I‑1421. Again, Eyman made a big show of intro­duc­ing the ini­tia­tive, even sym­bol­i­cal­ly becom­ing the first to sign it in front of the tele­vi­sion cameras.

Tim Eyman signs I-1421
Tim Eyman becomes the first sign­er of Ini­tia­tive 1421 (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

But though he did print peti­tions for I‑1421, it turned out to be no more real than the “Son of 1366” he had announced in Novem­ber. By June, Eyman had admit­ted to The Her­ald’s Jer­ry Corn­field that I‑1421 was doomed and would not qualify.

Six ini­tia­tives ulti­mate­ly appeared on the 2016 bal­lot… none of them Eyman’s, for only the fourth time in six­teen years. Bereft of an ini­tia­tive to sell, Eyman tried to make him­self a play­er in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in oth­er ways.

Eyman suc­cess­ful­ly lob­bied the Sound Tran­sit board of direc­tors to get him­self appoint­ed to the com­mit­tees tasked with writ­ing the con state­ments for the voter’s pam­phlet (a deci­sion we strong­ly crit­i­cized here), and backed Rod­ney Tom’s attack cam­paigns against Jus­tices Bar­bara Mad­sen and Char­lie Wig­gins, which were fail­ures. Mean­while, his ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry sat idle, with I‑869 stalled inside.

Last month, with all evi­dence sug­gest­ing I‑869 would meet the same fate as I‑1421, we declared I‑869 dead. Eyman did not dis­pute our assessment.

This Fri­day, we will offi­cial­ly add I‑869 to Tim Eyman’s Fail­ure Chart as its newest entry. We have no doubt I‑869 will soon be scrubbed from Eyman’s web­site and replaced with some­thing else, as if it nev­er existed.

But we will cel­e­brat­ing I‑869’s fail­ure for many weeks. It is vital that we invest in mass tran­sit to secure our state’s eco­nom­ic future, reduce pol­lu­tion, and improve mobil­i­ty. I‑869’s demise means anoth­er threat to Sound Tran­sit and Amtrak Cas­cades has fiz­zled out. Sound Tran­sit, the pub­lic agency Eyman loathes above all oth­ers, is fly­ing high, hav­ing had a stel­lar 2016, while Eyman is crash­ing and burn­ing. That is a very good out­come for the state and region we love.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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2 replies on “Tim Eyman quietly abandons I‑869 and resumes explicitly fundraising for himself”

  1. A great win for the good guys. I remem­ber when Eyman went on Todd E Her­mite’s show 3:45 into http://kiroradio.com/listen/10006841/ and said how Sound Tran­sit was “the worst gov­ern­ment we have in all of state history”. 

    What hog­wash, Sound Tran­sit ROCKS! Karen Kit­sis is the Rus­sell Wil­son of the tran­sit com­mu­ni­ty! Peter Rogoff could do a bet­ter job than Dar­rell Bev­ell on Sea­hawks game days! ST3 has as Eyman would say, “con­sent of the governed”!

    Bow down to Dow!

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