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Ignore the Seattle Times editorial board and vote YES on I-1631 for a clean energy future

Editor’s Note: This morning, The Seattle Times announced its opposition to Initiative 1631, the groundbreaking measure to put a price on pollution and use the proceeds to fund a just and responsible transition to a clean energy economy. Founding NPI boardmember Gael Tarleton had this to say in response.

The Seattle Times has reporters who are some of the nation’s best journalists investigating the scale and impacts of climate change.

I wish that the editorial board had weighed the exceptional work of their own independent journalists to make their endorsement recommendation on Initiative 1631. Instead, the board recommends a “no” vote. It argues that the measure fails the “accountability” test because an “un-elected board appointed by the Governor would propose” how to spend the $1 billion+/year in pollution fees.

Here’s the deal: this nation, state, and our local governments changed the rules forty plus years ago about giving public money to unelected boards to spend.

It’s how we run government today. Elected officials in Congress, state legislatures, and city and county councils and commissions send billions of dollars to nonprofit organizations. Those nonprofits have unelected boards. They spend public money on health, housing, education, and other public services that used to be provided exclusively by the public sector, specifically by public agencies.

The Seattle Times makes a really lame argument that our ballot measure to combat climate change has an “unelected board” spending the public’s money.

No, it doesn’t. The board that I-1631 would create proposes projects to the governor. The state legislature appropriates the money. Just like always.

The power of the purse rests with the elected Legislature.

Don’t fall for this false argument that “unelected boards” shouldn’t be spending your money. Nonprofit organizations with unelected boards have been spending your money for decades with very minimal accountability to any elected body.

This argument is specious – the editorial board raises an issue that is peripheral to the real impact of this ballot measure.

The entire editorial reads like a “business as usual is good enough” treatise. It implies there is no urgency to tackle the climate crisis and its many ramifications.

It makes me wish I had spent my entire endorsement interview making the case for the editorial board to recommend a “Yes on I-1631.”

Instead, I am making my case to the voters.

Please vote YES on I-1631 to help our state urgently tackle climate change to protect our people and every community, rural and urban, farms and forests, fish and orcas, as we confront the greatest threat to our economy and way of life.

Please vote yes to doing what we can, right now, for the next decade, to protect future generations. It’s time to sprint.