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, December 29th, 2019

Tim Eyman is apparently unaware that Thurston County’s Intercity Transit is also a plaintiff suing to invalidate Initiative 976

On Fri­day, Tim Eyman announced his lat­est legal shenani­gan: a law­suit to be filed in Thurston Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court tomor­row morn­ing which will pre­sum­ably request that the courts there side with Eyman in try­ing to move the legal chal­lenge against Eyman’s I‑976 out of King Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court, where it was orig­i­nal­ly filed and where it remains an action in progress today.

I haven’t yet seen a copy of what­ev­er com­plaint Eyman is lodg­ing with the court, so I don’t know what relief he and who­ev­er made the mis­take of agree­ing to rep­re­sent him are going for, but based on Eyman’s post­ings to social media, it sounds like a rather lame attempt to secure a change of venue.

Here’s Eyman (the below is from a Face­book screed):

AG [Attor­ney Gen­er­al] Bob Fer­gu­son pur­pose­ly sab­o­taged I‑976 by refus­ing to file change of venue motion, leav­ing it stuck with a King Coun­ty judge in King Coun­ty which is the plain­tiff! I told [Solic­i­tor Gen­er­al Noah Pur­cell] that day in court: “You blew it. You absolute­ly blew it.” He replied “You should be thank­ing us.”

For what? For tak­ing away our democ­ra­cy? For block­ing our $30 tabs? For under­min­ing people’s faith that their vote counts?

I stood up in court that day and addressed the judge: “Your Hon­or, the AG has done a hor­ri­ble job defend­ing I‑976. You had ques­tions that the AG didn’t answer. Let me answer them.”

Judge wouldn’t lis­ten.

Let’s see if a judge in a non-plain­tiff coun­ty will lis­ten.

If Tim is seri­ous about want­i­ng a judge in a “non-plain­tiff coun­ty” to lis­ten to him, then he should not have picked Thurston Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court as a venue for this law­suit he has planned, because Thurston Coun­ty’s Inter­ci­ty Tran­sit is among the plain­tiffs suing to inval­i­date Ini­tia­tive 976. 

See for your­self. Here’s a cur­rent list of all the par­ties in the case that is pend­ing in King Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court, as of Fri­day, Decem­ber 13th.

GARFIELD COUNTY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY; KING COUNTY; CITY OF SEATTLE; WASHINGTON STATE TRANSIT ASSOCIATION; ASSOCIATION  OF WASHINGTON CITIES; PORT OF SEATTLE; INTERCITY TRANSIT; AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL OF WASHINGTON; and MICHAEL ROGERS,

Plain­tiffs,

and

WASHINGTON ADAPT,

Inter­venor-Plain­tiff,

v.

STATE OF WASHINGTON,

Defen­dant,

and

CLINT DIDIER; PERMANENT OFFENSE, TIMOTHY D. EYMAN, MICHAEL FAGAN; JACK FAGAN; and PIERCE COUNTY,

Inter­venor-Defen­­dants.

Inter­ci­ty Tran­sit is a munic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion which is con­trolled by Thurston Coun­ty and its largest cities. Thurston Coun­ty is thus indi­rect­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing in the law­suit against Tim Eyman’s Ini­tia­tive 976. And by Eyman’s log­ic, that means Thurston Coun­ty is not an appro­pri­ate venue for I‑976’s con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty to be decid­ed.

From Inter­ci­ty Tran­sit’s web­site:

Who Gov­erns Inter­ci­ty Tran­sit?

Inter­ci­ty Tran­sit is gov­erned by a nine-mem­ber Board of Direc­tors, the Inter­ci­ty Tran­sit Author­i­ty. The Author­i­ty con­sists of five elect­ed offi­cials who rep­re­sent the Thurston Coun­ty Board of Com­mis­sion­ers and the Cities of Lacey, Tumwa­ter, Olympia, and Yelm.

Three mem­bers are Cit­i­zen Rep­re­sen­ta­tives appoint­ed by the Board, and one mem­ber is a labor rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

Except for the labor rep­re­sen­ta­tive, board mem­bers rep­re­sent, and must live in, the pub­lic trans­porta­tion ben­e­fit area. A Cit­i­zen Rep­re­sen­ta­tive’s term is three years, and the elect­ed offi­cials serve at the plea­sure of their respec­tive may­ors and Com­mis­sion­ers.

The Author­i­ty sets pol­i­cy and direc­tion for the agency.

The cur­rent Inter­ci­ty Tran­sit board­mem­bers are:

  • Yelm Coun­cilmem­ber Mol­ly Car­mody
  • Lacey Coun­cilmem­ber Car­olyn Cox
  • Olympia Coun­cilmem­ber Clark Gilman
  • Thurston Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er Tye Menser
  • Tumwa­ter Coun­cilmem­ber Deb­bie Sul­li­van
  • Cit­i­zen Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ryan Warn­er
  • Cit­i­zen Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Karen Mess­mer
  • Cit­i­zen Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Don Mel­nick
  • Labor Rep­re­sen­ta­tive David Claus-Shar­wark

As you can see, one of the three Thurston Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­ers even sits on the board of Inter­ci­ty Tran­sit. I.T. is arguably just an exten­sion of the gov­ern­ment of Thurston Coun­ty, which hilar­i­ous­ly, is where Eyman claims that he wants this case moved to in order to get a judge in a “non-plain­tiff coun­ty” to lis­ten to him.

These facts rein­force just how ridicu­lous and absurd Tim Eyman’s argu­ments are.

As I’ve pre­vi­ous­ly explained here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, if you go by Eyman’s log­ic, then no court in the state is a suit­able venue for the I‑976 legal chal­lenge because all the judges draw salaries from one or more of the par­ties.

The State is a defen­dant in this case and it pays the Supreme Court jus­tices and half of the salaries of the judges of the King Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court. The judges in Pierce Coun­ty, mean­while, draw all of their pay from the defen­dants, just like the jus­tices, because Pierce Coun­ty has inter­vened in the case as a defen­dant.

It actu­al­ly does not mat­ter which tax­pay­ers are pay­ing which judges because the judi­cia­ry is a sep­a­rate and equal branch of our gov­ern­ment. There is no con­flict of inter­est in the Ini­tia­tive 976 case. Judges swear an oath to uphold the Con­sti­tu­tion, not a loy­al­ty oath to the gov­er­nor who may have appoint­ed them.

(Judge­ships in Wash­ing­ton are elect­ed posi­tions, but the respon­si­bil­i­ty of fill­ing vacan­cies falls to the Gov­er­nor, cur­rent­ly Jay Inslee, who Eyman despis­es.)

Eyman’s choice of Thurston Coun­ty seems even more strange con­sid­er­ing that not only is Thurston Coun­ty’s Inter­ci­ty Tran­sit a plain­tiff in the legal chal­lenge to I‑976, but Thurston Coun­ty vot­ers reject­ed Ini­tia­tive 976 last month.

Plus… Thurston Coun­ty is where Eyman is defend­ing him­self against a long-run­ning cam­paign finance enforce­ment law­suit filed by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, which alleges that Eyman com­mit­ted egre­gious vio­la­tions of Wash­ing­ton State’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws. Eyman has repeat­ed­ly been held in con­tempt of court by a Thurston Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court judge (James Dixon) for fail­ing to com­ply with court-approved dis­cov­ery orders in that case.

Giv­en all that, why file this action — or stunt — in Thurston Coun­ty? Why not, say, Fer­ry Coun­ty, or Stevens Coun­ty, where I‑976 over­whelm­ing­ly passed?

I think it’s because Eyman’s real goal here is not go judge shop­ping for a legal action that he expects to suc­ceed, but rather to score more media cov­er­age.

The Thurston Coun­ty Cour­t­house, which offers a panoram­ic view of Budd Inlet, is an easy dri­ve for what remains of Wash­ing­ton’s cap­i­tal press corps and the South Sound bureau reporters who work for Seat­tle’s four broad­cast tele­vi­sion sta­tions. The towns of Repub­lic and Colville, on the oth­er hand, would not be.

Eyman knows this. He has an insa­tiable appetite for atten­tion. When he’s not hold­ing forth in front of the cam­eras, he is plan­ning his next press event.

No news will be made tomor­row at the “ral­ly” that Eyman has planned; there is no rea­son for any reporter to both­er attend­ing, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing that Eyman will prob­a­bly livestream the whole thing to his Face­book page. It will thus be pos­si­ble to watch the spec­ta­cle with­out being there in per­son.

I imag­ine that what­ev­er is being filed tomor­row will be dis­missed fair­ly quick­ly, like the ridicu­lous law­suit Eyman pal Stephen Pid­geon filed with the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court ear­ly this month, which was laughed out of court.

The case against I‑976 was prop­er­ly brought in King Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court. I can’t see any Thurston Coun­ty judge agree­ing to ignore the laws and the Con­sti­tu­tion of the State of Wash­ing­ton just to pla­cate a lying con artist who is mad that his lat­est con (Ini­tia­tive 976) isn’t hold­ing up to judi­cial scruti­ny.

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One Comment

  1. Eyman’s just not the bright­est bulb, is he?

    # by Robert A. Senko :: January 2nd, 2020 at 9:53 PM

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