John Cartmell of Redmond says he was a supporter of Tim Eyman until recently. But he said he thinks Eyman went too far in an exchange with state Rep. Ross Hunter.
Ironically, Hunter said he shared Eyman’s concerns about how other legislators are trying to make it harder for people to collect signatures on initiatives. But I’ve never known Eyman to welcome an ally, especially if that would-be ally is part of the establishment that Eyman routinely rails against. He’d rather take a dig at him.
I’ve reconstructed the exhange of e-mails (with Cartmell’s permission, I might add.) Not only do they illustrate the ease of forwarding e-mails, they’re also quite amusing.
UPDATE: I’ve also added a more recent e-mail: Eyman in defense of Eyman.
Rep. Hunter to Cartmell: “The introduction of these bills winds Tim up and gives him an opportunity to demagogue his email list. I can’t get off his list, so I wrote a rule for Outlook to delete his email unread.”
Eyman to Rep. Hunter: “Do you automatically erase emails from regular citizens?”
Cartmell to Eyman: (which he copied to the entire Olympia press corps)
“I forwarded Rep. Hunter’s comments to you in confidence as a courtesy to give you insight into Ross Hunter’s receptivity (or lack of) to your legislative agendas.
“Contacting Hunter directly in response his email to me was out of line and may have compromised the trust and respect I had from Rep. Hunter as his constituent The defensive tone of your emails suggest a lack of maturity and professionalism on your part, and has alienated both Hunter and me from your cause.
“This is neither productive nor smart. Your comment to Hunter, regarding his comment to me was accusatory and offensive in tone. This is unacceptable. Hunter is an honorable and reasonable man who takes his job seriously.
“Regardless of your differences of opinion with him, he disserves respect. Because you have abused the privilege of corresponding with Hunter (and probably other legislators) he’s blocked your emails so they’re deleted unread. After your email to Hunter, I too am blocking your emails so they are deleted unread.
“Additionally, it is not smart to reveal the emails of others you have copied this email to. This is one way to obtain email addresses for SPAM purposes. You should always send blind carbon copies (bcc) that will not reveal the addresses of other recipients.
“To make the point, I’m sending a bcc of this email to 157 people (voters) on my email list. Additionally, if you do something stupid, you probably don’t want someone be able to “reply to all” and make you look bad to the other recipients. To make the point, I have “replied to all” in this email.
“When you alienate our legislators or your supporters, you risk delegitimizing your cause and making yourself less effective and eventually irrelevant. You need to step back, take a breath, be more receptive to criticism and more willing to temper the tone (but not the substance) of your dialogue. Tact and diplomacy is what you need. Without these qualities you’re more likely to alienate more people than you persuade.
“Needless to say, you can’t address a problem if you don’t know, so I wanted to take the time to write you.
“Please take me off your list and don’t bother writing again.”
(AND HERE IS CARTMELL’S POST SCRIPT) “Separate email copies to all members of the WA Legislature (thanks to Tim Eyman for providing their email addresses).
Note to Legislators; To Block Email and Delete Without Opening Using Outlook Express.
1. Highlight the offending email you wish to block.
2. From the Menu Bar, click Message, then Block Sender.”
EYMAN IN DEFENSE OF EYMAN
John, you wrote: Tact and diplomacy is what you need.
Jack, Mike and I could have testified in 1999 in suits and ties and politely
asked: “Would the Legislature please lower vehicle tabs to $30?” They
would have responded “I’m sorry, gentlemen, although we admire your civility
and tone, we are disinclined to do so.” We would have replied “Well, thank
you for the kindness of your response, sorry to have taken your time but
thanks for listening, have a wonderful day.”
So, too, would have been the response to asking for performance audits, caps
on property tax increases, and I-960′s email alert system and its other
tougher to raise taxes provisions.
We’re obnoxious jerks with legislators, no doubt, but the goal of citizen
activists is not to be well-liked, but to highlight issues that are
otherwise being ignored. Legislators, in this case, all Democrats, are
pushing to endanger anyone who chooses to exercise their First Amendment
rights. Rep. Hunter seems confident they won’t pass. But here’s the rub:
he doesn’t know and neither do we. There are powerful, powerful special
interest groups, both business and labor, who want to shut down the
initiative process — it’s much easier for them to push their agendas in
Olympia and concern themselves with 147 legislators and the Governor than
having to justify their wants and desires to the taxpayers who pay the
This email is not meant as an apology – merely an explanation. Tact and
diplomacy is what legislators hear each and every day in Olympia – and as
long as everyone is nice and polite, they’ll bulldoze right over the
initiative process and not think twice about it.
The old saying “You get more bees with honey than with vinegar” works when
you’re dealing with legislators who are persuadable — this crowd in charge
of Olympia is not. The only thing stopping them is the increasing
recognition that the gutting of the initiative process with be an ugly,
stinky, publicly exposed execution with reporters, columnists, editorial
boards, and voters seeing it for the power-grab that it so clearly is — it
will never happen quietly.
Nice guys finish last in political arena – that’s just the reality.
Regards, Tim Eyman, ph: 425-493-9127, email: email@example.com
P.S. It’s a fair question to Rep. Hunter: does he erase emails from
regular citizens or just from us? Our supporters deserve to have their
voices heard by elected representatives. They are passionate, involved,
heroic people who, despite their legitimate fear of legislative retaliation,
are willing to express their opposition to these anti-initiative bills to a
very powerful government.
This kind of harassment will follow people home if these bills are approved: