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.

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Keep Washington Rolling goes up on the air with its first NO on I-976 television ads

Keep Washington Rolling, the coalition fighting Tim Eyman’s I-976, has gone up on the air with its first television ads, focusing on the threat that I-976 represents to public safety. The Office of Financial Management has analyzed that I-976 would gut $4.2 billion in state and local transportation funding over the next six years, including money for the Washington State Patrol and road safety projects.

The initial television spot features professional engineer Tom Wilson, and notes that the Skagit River Bridge collapse was a rude awakening that reminds us how many bridges and overpasses we have that are in poor condition.

Watch the ad:

The second ad features Washington State Patrol trooper Courtney Stewart, and makes the same points as the ad featuring starring Tom Wilson.

Watch the ad:

The third ad stars Regina Dove, and explains how I-976 would hurt transit in the Emerald City by rolling back voter-approved funding for Metro bus service:

Keep Washington Rolling has a long and distinguished history of defending Washington State’s bipartisan, voter-approved transportation investments.

In 2005, KWR successfully defeated Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson’s I-912, a measure that sought to repeal the fuel tax increases at the heart of the 2005 Transportation Package. At the outset of that campaign, many pundits didn’t think the measure could be stopped, but KWR ran a brilliant campaign that persuaded voters the investments were worth keeping.

I-912 failed with a 54.62% NO vote.

In 2011, KWR was reactivated to fight Tim Eyman’s I-1125, an attempt to block Sound Transit’s East Link project and prohibit the state from using variable tolling to raise funds for critical corridors like State Route 520. Once again, the coalition appealed to voters to turn down a bad right wing initiative that would prevent vital projects from moving forward. Voters listened.

I-1125 failed with a 53.21% NO vote.

Now Keep Washington Rolling is fighting Tim Eyman’s I-976.

The NO on I-976 campaign began more than a year ago when NPI’s Permanent Defense project began gearing up to ensure that I-976 would get the vigorous opposition that it truly deserves. For instance, our team at NPI built and hosts KWR’s NO on I-976 website, which viewers of the television ads are urged to visit to learn more about the impacts of Initiative 976.

We’re very happy to be able to oppose I-976 alongside so many other organizations, from Transportation Choices Coalition and El Centro de la Raza to the League of Women Voters of Washington State and the Washington State Labor Council to Microsoft and Vulcan. You can see a complete roster of coalition members over at the NO on I-976 website. It’s pretty long.

Microsoft, Vulcan, Amazon, Expedia, Alaska Airlines, Puget Sound Energy, and other major firms in our region have stepped up in a big way to ensure Keep Washington Rolling has the resources needed to tell the story of why I-976 must be rejected to the state’s more than four million voters.

Washington’s labor community is also stepping up big. Unions like the Laborers, Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters and SEIU have committed resources to ensure that Eyman’s I-976 goes down to defeat this November.

So far, the coalition has reported raising over a million dollars.

If you’d like to help with a contribution, you can do so online if you’d like.

Tim Eyman likes to sneer that his opposition consists of “Big Business, Big Labor, politicians, and the press,” who he claims are out of touch. But that’s just another Eyman lie. I-976 is broadly opposed by a large number of civic organizations, activist leaders, and grassroots groups in addition to Eyman’s favorite foils.

Among the organizations that took an early position against I-976 were NPI, All Aboard Washington, The Urbanist, North Seattle Progressives, the Transit Riders Union, Seattle Subway, and Transportation Choices Coalition.

Eyman conveniently omits all of us when he trashes his opposition.

Organizations like ours have done a lot of work to build this coalition and empower it to be successful. We know the reason Tim Eyman doesn’t want to acknowledge that work is that it doesn’t fit into the false narrative he’s trying to peddle, framing this fight as him and a citizen army versus a bunch of powerful interests.

The truth is, it’s Eyman and a few Eyman fans versus everybody else.

Businesses large and small, unions that represent working people, environmental groups, civic organizations, and a huge number of individual activists all oppose I-976. Eyman has a few adoring fans who are cheering him on from Facebook and email, and there are Republican Party groups in his corner.

Eyman himself is pretty much the extent of the Yes campaign. There isn’t a proper campaign committee working to pass the measure. It’s just Eyman. And that’s the way Tim likes it, because he gets to go on camera over and over and over again.

Eyman’s big advantage is that he has a ballot title that does not say anything about the cost and consequences of Initiative 976, or even imply that the measure has a downside. (The ballot title is all that voters will see on their ballots.)

You wouldn’t know from reading the I-976 ballot title that the measure imperils Amtrak Cascades, Link light rail expansion, essential bus service, vanpools, transit grants, the Washington State Patrol, construction of new ferryboats, the replacement of unsafe bridges and overpasses, vital freight mobility projects, and crucial road maintenance in more than sixty cities.

That’s why Keep Washington Rolling is going up on television: to make sure that voters understand the impacts before they mark an oval on their ballot.

In the past, ineffective opposition campaigns to Eyman measures have resulted in bad outcomes for Washington State. Fortunately, this time, this year, there’s a strong campaign in place working to defeat I-976. That significantly increases the chances of a good outcome when the ballots are all counted.

There’s much work still to do to secure victory, but we’re on the road to success, and it’s wonderful to see the coalition growing in strength every day.

Join us in voting NO on Tim Eyman’s I-976 by November 5th. Share these ads with your friends. Make sure your friends and family know what’s at stake. It’s critical that Washingtonians join forces this year to reject this destructive initiative.

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  1. A couple of my friends refuse to believe Courtney Stewart is a real WSP [Washington State Patrol] trooper. Wrong Shield, no Sergeant Stripes. No tie or hat. I say she is. Why the ambiguous uniform? I’m promoting the “No Vote”, but now it’s all about the uniform not being credible. I’d appreciate your answer. Thank you.

    # by Jan Fuller :: September 27th, 2019 at 7:26 PM
  2. Courtney isn’t wearing her official uniform, badge, or hat in the ad because that would constitute the use of state resources in opposition to a ballot measure, which is not allowed. Courtney is a real Washington State Patrol trooper, though!

    # by Andrew Villeneuve :: September 28th, 2019 at 4:21 PM
  3. This ad is misleading. It suggests that Ms. Stewart is a spokesperson for WSP and that WSP endorses this campaign.

    # by Gordon Lee :: October 4th, 2019 at 7:49 PM
  4. I disagree. In the second spot, Trooper Stewart is speaking for herself and other troopers who feel the same as she does; she is not speaking for the agency that she works for. The Washington State Patrol’s name is never spoken and never appears onscreen. The agency’s insignia never appears. Public servants have the same freedom of speech rights as the rest of us and ought to be free to exercise them.

    # by Andrew Villeneuve :: October 5th, 2019 at 11:15 AM

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