NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

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.

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