Inside Opinion

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Tag: Tim Eyman


I-1185 voters: Don’t also expect more state services

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

If recent history is any guide, Washingtonians in November will elect a slew of liberal Democrats to the Legislature, most with hopes of spending more on education, health care and social services.

At the same time, voters will enact a measure – Initiative 1185 – that will effectively prevent those Democrats from raising more revenue to pay for those hopes. I-1185 would require a two-thirds majority in the Legislature for new taxes unless they are approved by a vote of the people.

Welcome to Washington, where a big schizoid chunk of the

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Court ruling aside, traffic camera foes still have options

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

The Washington Supreme Court has spoken, and opponents of red-light cameras don’t like what it had to say.

The court ruled last week that local initiatives can’t be used to block or remove traffic-enforcement cameras – such as the ones that photograph the license plates of red-light runners in several South Sound cities. State law gives only city councils authority over those cameras, the court said.

The response from camera opponents – most notably Tim “Mr. Initiative” Eyman – was fast and furious. The decision, he said, sounds “un-American.” Critics say they are disappointed and angry that the citizens have been muscled out of the decision-making process.

But they haven’t been really. Read more »


Ballot measures: Look who wants to buy your vote

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Ballot measures account for most of the action in this off-year election, including gargantuan media battles over a couple of them.

Voters beware: All three initiatives on the state ballot have something in common – each got nearly all of its funding from a single source. A summary of our past recommendations:

Initiative 1183

Commercial fortunes are at stake with I-1183, which would privatize the sale of hard liquor in Washington. It promises immense profits to Costco, which has broken state spending records promoting it.

On the other side, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America – representing business profiting from the status quo – is funding a ferocious opposition.

Also in the mix are unions out to protect the employees of state liquor stores who could lose their jobs if Costco has its way with the electorate.

Amid the flurry of confusing ads, it’s easy to overlook the fundamental issue: Should the sale of liquor be tightly controlled or greatly expanded under a profit-driven model? We’re swayed by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control, which has concluded that privatization increases the abuse of alcohol and the social problems it fuels.

Initiative 1163

This measure is the handiwork of a single union, the Service Employees International Union, which is again exploiting the plight of elderly and disabled to advance its interests.
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I-1125 puts taxpayers on hook for local toll projects

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Tim Eyman makes his living selling initiatives, which means he’s got to churn them out regularly to keep his paydays coming. Some have contained the germs of good ideas; others have been folly incarnate.

Initiative 1125, on this year’s ballot, falls under into the incarnate category. It sounds wonderful: a law to protect drivers from unreasonable highway tolls.

Scratch and sniff, though, and it turns out to be a monkey wrench aimed squarely at the state’s efforts to keep cars moving on overcrowded roads.
Its biggest defect is so stupendous that it’s hard to believe Eyman or anyone else in his shop anticipated the impact.

Tolls are commonly used to repay bonds that finance big transportation projects, such as the state Route 520 bridge across Lake Washington. The Legislature – like other legislatures throughout the country – delegates toll-setting authority to panels responsible for making sure the bondholders get the interest and principal they’ve been promised.

If highway projects in Washington started looking like bad loans, private financing for future projects would dry up. Like it or lump it, that’s the way capitalism works.

I-1125 proposes to vest toll-setting authority in the Legislature; its supporters crow about making elected officials accountable for the fees.
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Bellevue billionaire buys himself an Eyman initiative

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Whatever voters think about Initiative 1125’s attack on highway and bridge tolls, they should know this: The measure might not exist but for the bankroll of a Bellevue developer who hopes to kill a voter-approved transit plan.

Kemper Freeman Jr., the force behind Bellevue Square and much of the rest of downtown Bellevue, has given more than $1 million to the campaign run by professional opportunist Tim Eyman.

A full 86 percent of the contributions to Eyman’s I-1125 coffers came from Freeman’s company, Kemper Holdings. Without that money, Eyman might not have been able to hire the paid signature gatherers who qualified the measure for the November ballot. Read more »


No doubt now: Those red light cameras save lives

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

When it comes to red light cameras, people tend to divide into two, diametrically opposite camps – motorist versions of the Sharks and the Jets

Some see the cameras as instruments of Big Brother and cash cows for local governments. They want them gone. Yesterday. And they have an ally in Tim Eyman, who is considering an initiative to cap fines and require voter approval before adding cameras.

Others view the cameras as a way to free up police for other work and deter drivers who run red lights, risking an exceptionally lethal crash: the T-bone. They want to keep the cameras. In fact, they’d like to have even more.

Although there’s been some indication that the cameras were making intersections safer, now the hard evidence is in. A new study of 62 cities by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that red light cameras have significantly reduced traffic deaths at intersections equipped with cameras – and even at ones that aren’t. Those unmonitored intersections get the benefit of a safety “halo effect” when drivers are aware that the city uses cameras. Read more »


No to Initiative 1053 and tying legislators’ hands

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Supporters of Initiative 1053 argue that time is of the essence. Voters must act now to save the supermajority requirement for tax increases or cede the fight.

We beg to differ: Timing is I-1053’s downfall, not its selling point.

The measure purports to resurrect Initiative 960, which voters narrowly approved in 2007. What I-1053 really does is merely buy supermajority backers another two years of insurance against legislative intervention.

The 15 other states that require a supermajority for tax increases have seen fit to include the requirement in their state constitutions. This state has not. But the framers of our constitution did give the Legislature the power to amend a citizens initiative with a simple majority vote after two years.

Tim Eyman, author of both I-960 and I-1053, has made good use of that two-year window of protection.

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Initiatives: Many are filed, but few are sane

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Initiatives. Pity the state that lacks the political entertainment.

A few of this year’s bumper crop of ballot measures have gotten all the media, including Tim Eyman’s anti-tax measures, and proposals to create an income tax and legalize marijuana.

Also Initiative 1069, the brainchild of Orting’s James E. Vaughn, which would “require the Seal of the State of Washington to be changed to depict a vignette of a tapeworm dressed in a three- piece suit attached to the lower intestine of a taxpayer shown as the central figure.”

But those are just the beginning. Dozens and dozens of initiatives – an all-time record – have been registered with the secretary of state’s office this year. Some of the high points (or low points, if you prefer):
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