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What does the late Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson have to do with the two-thirds majority and I-1185? Plenty, says sponsor Tim Eyman

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Oct. 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
October 5, 2012 2:56 pm

It was something of a stretch even for a politician considered a master of political theater. But according to Tim Eyman, the recent reversal of opinion by The Herald of Everett on the two-thirds tax-vote initiative can be blamed on a guy who died almost 30 years ago.

Here’s how he gets there…The Herald has endorsed his past two-thirds vote initiatives…the Everett-based newspaper recently hired a new editorial page editor and has a new publisher…that editorial page editor is the son of the late Sen. Henry Jackson…it has now reversed its position on the latest version of the tax limit, Eyman’s Initiative 1185.

Therefore, “Scoop Jackson’s son (not surprisingly) comes out against making it tougher to raise taxes.”

I’m not sure why it isn’t a surprise since I’m not sure I ever heard the longtime U.S. senator express an opinion on the two-thirds tax issue before he died in 1983. Given that he held a complex set of opinions – liberal on issues of the environment and labor, conservative on defense and foreign affairs – it might even be hard to guess what his fiscal views might be today.

And Peter is hardly an ingenue, having been involved in various fields from screenplay writing to speech writing for decades, all without his dad’s advice.

For Eyman, however, that’s not enough to separate the two.

“Of course it’s now their editorial board and they can have any opinion they want without listening to both sides — it’s still a free country,” Eyman wrote. “But it’s quite doubtful that Scoop Jackson’s son previously supported I-1053 but now opposes I-1185. It’s more likely that one of the no voters on I-1053 simply has a louder megaphone this time.”

The odd reference to the legendary senator was too much for a Seattle House member who knew him well. Rep. Reuven Carlyle issued his own statement Thursday.

“There comes a time when public officials have a moral responsibility to stand up for civic dialogue. Today is one of those days and this is one of those times.

A young Rueven Carlyle with his mother and Sen. Henry Jackson and his mother

Tim Eyman’s unbelievable, nasty personal insult to Everett Herald Editorial page editor Peter Jackson, a treasured friend and son of one of our state’s legendary public officials in the late Scoop Jackson, went a step too far outside the dignity of Washington’s history of integrity in politics.
Merely because the Everett Herald objectively reconsidered its previous support for Mr. Eyman’s supermajority initiative, a patronizing personal attack on the paper, Mr. Jackson and the memory of Senator Jackson (whom I had the honor of serving as a page for in the United States Senate) was uncalled for. We are better than this as a state and Mr. Eyman demeans us all in demeaning Sen. Jackson’s memory.”

 

Here is Eyman’s whole statement:

 

RE:  Scoop Jackson’s son (not surprisingly) comes out against making it tougher to raise taxes

The Everett Herald editorial board got a makeover recently.  Editorial page editor Bob Bolerjack out, Peter Jackson in.  Publisher Allen Funk out, David Dadisman in.  As a result, their political views have shifted as well.  In 2010, the Everett Herald (Bolerjack/Funk) endorsed I-1053′s 2/3.  Here’s what they said then:

We think lawmakers must finally face up to some very hard decisions they’ve put off in recent years.  They need to reprioritize state government, deciding what’s most important (education at all levels and public safety would be at the top of our list) and finding ways either to privatize or do less of the rest.  Not having taxes as an option is an important element of that, a point voters have made three times in the past.  If the cuts necessary to balance the budget are truly heinous, lawmakers would still have an option other than the two-thirds vote.  By a simple majority, they can send a tax-hike proposal to voters.  In the current economy, of course, that would be a tough sell.  Which is why Olympia’s focus needs to be on reprioritizing spending.

That opinion matched 64% of the voting public who one month after that editorial was published approved I-1053 — it passed everywhere outside Seattle (44 of 49 legislative districts approved I-1053, only the 5 in Seattle rejected it).

Today, Scoop Jackson’s son wrote: We were wrong.” – http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20121004/OPINION01/710049968/-1/opinion#

Be careful taking at face value the word “we” in that sentence because the new “we” isn’t the old “we.”  I’m reasonably sure that Peter Jackson was against I-1053 also — he was simply one of the 36% who voted against it.  So it seems quite likely that no one at the Everett Herald changed their minds on this issue, even though it was presented that way today.

Besides shifting their newspaper’s editorial position, they have also apparently shifted their endorsement procedures.  Allen Funk and Bob Bolerjack followed a common, respectful protocol of asking both sides to come in and discuss and debate I-1053 before their editorial board so they could listen to both sides before writing their editorial.  Since I-1185 qualified, I’ve repeatedly contacted Peter Jackson and asked when the editorial board would have us in to discuss I-1185 – he kept saying “we haven’t decided yet.”  There was no endorsement discussion; their shift in editorial position was taken without one.  Given their new position and how they handled it, it seems unlikely we could have swayed them, but we would have appreciated the chance to try.

Of course it’s now their editorial board and they can have any opinion they want without listening to both sides — it’s still a free country.  But it’s quite doubtful that Scoop Jackson’s son previously supported I-1053 but now opposes I-1185.  It’s more likely that one of the no voters on I-1053 simply has a louder megaphone this time.

 


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