NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

A frustrated Tim Eyman unleashes his e‑fury on Republican State Senator Hans Zeiger

This past Wednes­day, the Sen­ate State Gov­ern­ment & Trib­al Rela­tions Com­mit­tee vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly to advance Pat­ty Kud­er­er’s Sen­ate Bill 5224, which would per­ma­nent­ly abol­ish Tim Eyman’s advi­so­ry votes push polls.

The bill is sim­ple and straight­for­ward: it elim­i­nates the RCWs that require an “advi­so­ry vote” mea­sure to appear on the bal­lot every time the Leg­is­la­ture pass­es a bill that rais­es rev­enue. We would no longer have to put up with the stu­pid things.

These RCWs date back to 2007, when Eyman’s I‑960 nar­row­ly passed. It was­n’t until sev­er­al years lat­er, in 2012, that the “advi­so­ry votes” began appear­ing on our bal­lots, because no one remem­bered they exist­ed… not even Tim Eyman.

A total of nine­teen “advi­so­ry vote” mea­sures have now appeared on Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ bal­lots, going back to 2012. We call them push polls because they are intend­ed to influ­ence rather than mea­sure pub­lic opin­ion, just like the faux tele­phone sur­veys they appear to be mod­eled after.

NPI Advi­so­ry Coun­cilmem­ber Steve Zemke and I tes­ti­fied in sup­port of Sen­ate Bill 5224 on Feb­ru­ary 1st before the Sen­ate State Gov­ern­ment Com­mit­tee, along with King Coun­ty Elec­tions Direc­tor Julie Wise, Kathy Saka­hara of the League of Women Vot­ers of Wash­ing­ton, and Car­ol Butterfield.

Eyman was the only speak­er in oppo­si­tion to the bill.

On Wednes­day of this week, the com­mit­tee vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly to give the bill a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion and send it to the Rules Committee.

To say that Tim Eyman was not pleased would be an under­state­ment. With­in hours, Eyman had flipped out. Lost it. Entered Total Melt­down Mode.

How­ev­er, unlike on Feb­ru­ary 1st, when he trained his ire on Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er, this time his fury was direct­ed at a more unusu­al tar­get… Repub­li­can Hans Zeiger.

Zeiger (who in his younger years was a paid peti­tion­er), vot­ed with all four of the com­mit­tee’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors to move the bill forward.

That left Eyman spit­ting mad.

In an email to his band of fol­low­ers (many of whom are also active Repub­li­can PCOs), Eyman declared a cam­paign of elec­tron­ic harass­ment against Zeiger.

(It’s his go-to tac­ti­cal response when a Repub­li­can offi­cial cross­es him.)

He exhort­ed his fol­low­ers to email, call, and text Zeiger, sup­ply­ing them and every­one else on his list with not only the Sen­a­tor’s offi­cial con­tact infor­ma­tion, but his per­son­al cell­phone num­ber and non-leg­isla­tive email address.

“One turn­coat Repub­li­can,” Eyman fumed on Wednes­day, appar­ent­ly unaware that the com­mit­tee’s vote in sup­port of SB 5224 includ­ed all three of its Repub­li­can mem­bers, not just Zeiger. “That’s what Democ­rats want: just one.”

“Turn­coat Repub­li­cans make a cal­cu­la­tion,” Eyman con­tin­ued: “the crumbs they might get from the Democ­rats are worth more than the blow­back they’ll get from the peo­ple who sup­port­ed their cam­paign and their party.”

“Zeiger thinks you won’t care that he sold you out or you won’t find out. Tell Zeiger what you think about him join­ing with Democ­rats on this.”

By the time this morn­ing rolled around, Eyman was still angry.

And so he lashed out again.

“Zeiger thinks play­ing pat­ty-cake with lib­er­als and vot­ing for their bills will shield him from Demo­c­rat [sic] attacks at elec­tion time. How’d that work out for the last Repub­li­can who tried that?” Eyman sneered above a pic­ture of Joe Fain.

“Tell Zeiger what you think about his turn­coat treach­ery,” Eyman thundered.

The pub­li­ca­tion of peo­ple’s per­son­al, non-offi­cial or non-busi­ness con­tact infor­ma­tion is explic­it­ly against the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s Code of Ethics and is a prac­tice that we con­sid­er abu­sive and unacceptable.

Eyman, on the oth­er hand, is hap­py to use any con­tact infor­ma­tion he can get his hands on for the pur­pose of insti­gat­ing cam­paigns of harass­ment. He has been try­ing to intim­i­date peo­ple in Wash­ing­ton pol­i­tics with such cam­paigns for years.

I have first­hand expe­ri­ence. In 2011, Eyman tried going after me.

If his goal was to deter me from orga­niz­ing oppo­si­tion to his destruc­tive ini­tia­tives, then he failed mis­er­ably. His cam­paign cer­tain­ly gave me a chance to count the num­ber of dif­fer­ent ways that his fol­low­ers spell his name (Eiman, Iman, Eman… I saw a num­ber of dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions from the delight­ful folks I got emails from.)

But aside from enter­tain­ing me, the rude, obnox­ious, and occa­sion­al­ly pro­fane emails Eyman prompt­ed his fol­low­ers to send me achieved nothing.

If Eyman sim­ply want­ed to use some­thing I’d writ­ten as a foil for his fundrais­ing appeals, then he could have done that with­out ask­ing peo­ple to both­er me.

It is a dif­fer­ent sto­ry with Repub­li­can elect­ed offi­cials, who run in the same cir­cles as Eyman does as opposed to run­ning pro­gres­sive non­prof­its. At least some of their con­stituents and even their friends are Eyman fans who Eyman can mobi­lize to engage in his cam­paigns of harass­ment. (Eyman has his­tor­i­cal­ly waged these cam­paigns using mass emails, but he’s also on Face­book now, so watch out.)

The thing is, by sup­port­ing the abol­ish­ment of “advi­so­ry votes”, Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Hans Zeiger, Bar­bara Bai­ley, and Brad Hawkins are actu­al­ly adher­ing to con­ser­v­a­tive prin­ci­ples. Elim­i­nat­ing waste­ful gov­ern­ment spend­ing is a core tenet of right wing beliefs. How many times have we heard Repub­li­cans call for elim­i­nat­ing red tape, or tack­ling waste, fraud, and abuse in gov­ern­ment? I’ve lost track.

“Advi­so­ry votes” are not just use­less, they’re harm­ful. They were craft­ed with mali­cious intent. When Eyman says their abol­ish­ment would mean less democ­ra­cy, what he real­ly means is that their demise would harm his self-serv­ing efforts to under­mine Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ trust and con­fi­dence in their own government.

“Advi­so­ry votes” are actu­al­ly push polls. They don’t mea­sure any­thing, so they can’t be used for advi­so­ry pur­pos­es. And since the results are not bind­ing and do not affect pub­lic pol­i­cy, they are not votes. Rather, they are just anoth­er Eyman scam.

A scam that costs tax­pay­ers each and every elec­tion cycle.

Of course Eyman wants to keep his con going. But that does­n’t mean the Repub­li­can Par­ty or Repub­li­can elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives should want to. Hon­est con­ser­v­a­tives and right wing intel­lec­tu­als should be appalled by Eyman’s behavior.

If  Repub­li­cans are seri­ous about get­ting rid of waste­ful spend­ing like they say they are on the stump, then they must join Democ­rats in vot­ing to get rid of Eyman’s push polls. This is a per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ty to save the tax­pay­ers some money.

Sen­a­tor Zeiger, if you get around to read­ing this post, then know that we’re sor­ry you have been sub­ject­ed to this cam­paign of harass­ment by Tim Eyman.

From our van­tage point, you are not betray­ing con­ser­v­a­tive prin­ci­ples or the Repub­li­can Par­ty by sup­port­ing Sen­ate Bill 5224. Rather, you are sup­port­ing sen­si­ble leg­is­la­tion that we should all (well, except for Eyman and his fans) be able to agree on. Thank you for your vote in sup­port of this bill, and don’t let Eyman’s nas­ti­ness get to you. Unlike him, you were elect­ed to serve our state. You’ve got a job to do. We appre­ci­ate your ser­vice even if we don’t always agree on the issues.

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