July 23, 2006
Tim Eyman: Your 15 Minutes Are Up

Observers of local politics know there's a bit of a dust-up occurring about Tim Eyman's efforts to qualify I-917 for the ballot. The PI has covered it here, as has David Postman here and here. Now Orbusmax covers a scheduled press conference tomorrow (Monday) by Eyman about the matter. I'm particularly interested to see how the discrepancy between the signature receipt Eyman claims to have received versus the receipt the Secretary of State's office claims to have given him is resolved. Beyond this latest twist though, I've been considering Eyman's role in transportation debates for a while.

Specifically, the headline of a column in the Everett Herald a few weeks back titled, "Eyman at center of roads debate" got me thinking. Tim Eyman did the public a service by slapping the political establishment upside the head on two issues that elected officials weren't addressing - car tabs and property taxes. I-695 and I-722/747 served their purposes, regardless of how they fared in court. Given that fact, it is questionable why Eyman's perpetual initiative machine is still running. Why should he be at the center of a debate about transportation solutions for the Puget Sound region?

It seems an annual ritual now to have some sort of Eyman-run initiative on the ballot. Why, however, is government by initiative a good thing? I'm all for lower taxes, but once government got the message for I-695 and the property tax initiatives, what is the purpose of electing public officials if we are going to try and make all the big decisions via initiative anyway? Such a regular process is hardly the occasional outlet for serious, popular discontent our state constituion envisions, and as I-695 actually represented.

Eyman's I-776 for example was a petulant initiative whose real tangible effect was to use a statewide vote to overturn locally approved transportation taxes in King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Grant Counties, plus the Sound Transit taxing district. If Eyman really cares about the "Voters Want More Choices" slogan he uses, one would think he wouldn't be so excited about writing state initiatives to overturn locally approved taxes that go straight to transportation projects (the $15 fee in each of the four counties went straight to roads). Indeed, part of the reason I-695 was so popular was because people knew their brutally high car tab fees were being spread across state government programs, rather than going directly to transportation.

Yet, the public mood has specifically been changing on taxes related to transportation. I-695 passed 56%-44% in 1999. Yet, I-776 passed only 51.5% - 48.5% in 2002 (and failed in the Sound Transit taxing district with a 56.6% "no" vote). Also in 2002, R-51 to raise taxes for transportation (mostly roads) failed 62%-38%. Yet in 2005, I-912 failed, with nearly a 55% vote to retain the gas tax package for transportation improvements.

Now this year we see the spectacle of Eyman failing to get an initiative unrelated to taxes on the ballot, despite a network of churches supporting his efforts, complete with an ugly spat between Eyman and other initiative supporters after that failure. That's not impressive. Nor is the specter of Eyman turning himself into a traveling carnival of various costumes in a spiraling attempt to garner media coverage. I suppose that makes him a new kind of Carny.

His latest initiative, I-917, would strike weight fees from last year's gas-tax package as well as launch a pre-emptive strike against a likely 2007 vote in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties to raise taxes for transportation projects just in that area. A higher MVET is one of the taxing options.

As liberals are fond of noting, however, Tim Eyman has had problems with the truth in the past. It seems that hasn't changed.

A few days after reading the Herald column noted above I happened to catch Eyman on the Dave Ross Show. In that interview, Eyman lied to Ross while answering a question about how I-917 strips the ability of that 2007 transportation measure to raise car tab fees, among other taxes, as part of a possible regional transportation package. Eyman said I-917 wouldn't stop that from happening, though that didn't jive with the descriptions of the initiative I've seen so I checked the initiative text. Sure enough, Sections 4 and 5 specifically strike the authorizing authority granted by the Legislature to the Regional Transportation Investment District to raise car tab fees. To boot, Eyman then proceeded to tell Ross that concerns about the loss of transportation funding from I-917 were not a problem since the state could just spend the new surplus that has been in the news. That would be the same surplus Republicans and the state's economist have said we should be cautious with - assuming the Democratic Legislature doesn't try to spend it first - since it is based largely on temporary booms in construction and home sales.

Putting the transportation component of this discussion into perspective, the Legislature approved the gas tax package, and the public solidly supported it in a statewide vote. Now Eyman, wants to revisit part of that decision and limit the future ability of local voters to decide on their own taxes that would go straight to the transportation improvements this region desperately needs. Again, if the idea is really "Give the Voters More Choices" then Eyman would be better served actually letting the voters of those three counties do that when they get the chance next year, rather than using a statewide vote to limit that region's options in advance.

If I-917 doesn't make the ballot, especially after the Referendum 65 failure earlier this year, Tim Eyman will have lost a lot of credibility, even with his supporters. Despite that, I realize Tim Eyman really wants car tabs to be $30. I'm half convinced he won't rest until he receives a car tab notice from the state that reads $30.00. It seems voters, particularly in the Puget Sound region, increasingly disagree, and probably tend to agree instead that the whims of one publicity-hungry individual are not the basis for sound public policy.

Posted by Eric Earling at July 23, 2006 11:25 PM | Email This
1. I disagree with a lot of your specific points in this post, but I still found plenty I could agree with. Seems Timmy is growing really unpopular these days.

Posted by: mountolympus on July 23, 2006 11:34 PM
2. Aren't they going to put a $4 or $5 billion measure on the ballot in 2007 to build Sound Transit light rail across Lake Washington?

Does I-917 stop that type of measure from being put on the ballot?

Posted by: Richard Pope on July 24, 2006 01:11 AM
3. Great article, although I liked it better when I read it here first a week ago:


Or back in June here:

To further cast doubt on Eyman's June 5th claim of only 142,000 signatures is the fact that reported sitings of I-917 had already trickled to virtually nil by that date. Indeed for much of June, while signature gatherers were out in full force pushing I-920, I-933 and other petitions, virtually none were carrying I-917. And yet now Eyman claims he'll turn in 300,000 signatures by the deadline.

How could that possibly be? Well here's a novel theory: Tim Eyman lied.


Posted by: JDB on July 24, 2006 01:26 AM
4. mixed feelings on this one; first, i did not like him--seemed a gadfly; then, watching Olympia & legislators, I loved him for being the burr in the saddle; now, I'm neutral--depends on issue;

i hate to legislate by referendum, but the populace is also becoming hardened to his messages & is still apathetic in general about what politicians do to them; we still need watchdogs, but constant barkers lessen the scare--like car theft alarms--who really looks these days?

Posted by: Jimmie-howya-doin on July 24, 2006 06:06 AM
5. I know this is only a small part of your topic, but no, the legislature and governments did not get the memo.

With our property taxes exploding higher year to year in this boom time, government officials are spending it like "drunken sailors" (to quote an overused term people use to criticize Bush). With 20-25% increase in property tax revenues per year, all I have heard about is raising wages of the elite staffers and adding more programs. There seems to be no courage out there to give the money back. The best I have heard is to save it, which doesn't do a whole lot to reduce the size of government, but at least it is collecting interest.

And yet with the license tabs, I seem to be getting higher and higher taxes on my car.

So, your main thesis about the need for a "Iman type) is false.

Posted by: swatter on July 24, 2006 06:44 AM
6. The idea of someone in Eastern Washington telling me I can't vote to increase my car tabs(ant other things) to pay for roads, transit, or what ever the hell I want is undemocratic to say the least. Love it or hate it ST, ST@, and STID are all voter decided issues. If you don't like them, ST exclude as it was already decided, then work to defeat them, or better yet work in the process to make them something you can support.

the big problem with Eyman is that he goes to far. Car tabs were an unfair tax that overvalued vehicles. They should have been reformed. Now they have, but that does not mean they need to be 30 bucks for ever, voters should be able to raise them if they choose. Same with property taxes. However 1% is way to low, as it is lower then inflation. That means that government revenues will, in real dollar, shrink each year. Peg it to inflation, COLA, or some similar measure and I would not really have a problem with it. The best thing for government is constant and stable revenue that grows with inflation. This makes long term planning much easier.

Posted by: Giffy on July 24, 2006 07:17 AM
7. A month or so ago, Eyman was on the John Carlson show explaining away the lack of support for his so-called anti-gay rights initiative.
One of the most telling parts of the conversation occured when Carlson had to explain what "Jump the Shark" meant.
Had nothing to do with Stefan, by the way.

Posted by: Reporterward on July 24, 2006 07:31 AM
8. "The idea that someone in Eastern Washington telling me I can't vote to increase my car tabs (and other things) to pay for roads, transit, or whatever the hell I want is undemocratic to say the least." Giffy ...Funny, I felt the same way when Ron Sims and the King County Council took away my right to use my land as it had been zoned for he previous 40 years AND THEN SUED to make sure I COULD NOT VOTE ON IT. The major difference being Ronnie was using the power of the Government to enforce his dictatorial rule.

Your advocacy for the income tax is marred by the obvious old questions. Why would I trust someone like Ron Sims and Larry Phillips not to abuse the taxpayers when given the additonal tool of an income tax? Will they elimnate the property tax?(NO) Will they agree to a hard cap on all county taxation?(NO) Would the State agree to a hard cap on total taxation?(NO)

Posted by: Huh? on July 24, 2006 07:42 AM
9. Richard -

It doesn't stop the joint package between RTID and Sound Transit from going on the ballot, but it would throw out one of the taxing options they can ask the public for to pay for those projects. Currently they can ask for an increase in sales tax, car tabs (MVET and license fee), and tolls I believe. I-917 throws out the car tab increase as as an option, which hamstrings the idea of the package since the resulting increase in sales tax and/or tolls is likely to result in serious sticker shock.

Posted by: Eric Earling on July 24, 2006 07:45 AM
10. Giffy. Why is there less tax money to do road repairs. In the 90's they built no new roads instead moved all the revenue to mass transit
Now we pay for the traffic issues. When the first vote on tabs where made. What were the arguments. Not road work but emergency services would not be funded. Car tabs that everyone thought were for road work did everthing but. The state voted to give pay raises for teachers and the Governor gave it to all state employees. Then because the teachers dont all vote democrat well Pay raises for good union members but not enough money for teachers. Interesting how the democrats will divert all the money to their special interests. Eventually nothing gets done. Why Democrats run the system. Just like the tunnel in Seattle. They claim one price(Hint think of the light rail project) Well we started the project it doesnt matter that we lied on the true cost we are going to keep taking the money until the project is done. So what if it is 3 to 4 times the original cost. Oh yea and it has less capacity. So traffic gets worse after billions spent. That is the Democratic way of fixing roads. Why do you think there are questions being asked. Government is run by a bunch of people who want more and more money eventually you get less and less as people and business move out. Look at boeing. How many jobs have been lost to unions because of government greed.

Posted by: David Anfinrud on July 24, 2006 07:46 AM
11. Blaming Eyman for the voters growing apathy and ignorance (fostered by the Democrats and RINOs) is unfair and inaccurate. For all his faults, Eyman has gone further challenging and impacting the politically corrupt in Washington than anyone else outside of the system.

It's always easy for critics to target people like Eyman, and he's certainly got his share of critics from both sides of the political isle, but one thing is certain; if their were a couple hundred more Eymans in this state, we'd be witnessing far more action to fight the corruption that has enabled Democrats and RINOs to herd us like the sheep we are.

Eyman has done far more than just write about issues, but he's put his feet and daily life into action for all of us. He's made his presense known to everyone, and not just like-minded bloggers and their critics. I'm not waiting for the perfect person to fight for us, just people willing to step into the political cesspool and take on the political corrupt and their actions.

Thanks Tim for everything you've done and continue to do.

Posted by: MJC on July 24, 2006 08:18 AM
12. Lawmaking by initiative is crude but necessary.

Ideally, the use of initiative would be self-limited to those significant changes that are extremely unlikely if not possible for elected lawmakers to enact.

For example, it is always going to be in the short term interest of a lawmaker who relies on an energized few activists and contributors to spend tax money. The fact that the cost is born by a diffused citizenry makes the immediate payoff for all elected officials.

Anyone who is not able to energize a few to volunteer and donate is disqualified for office in a democratically elected legislature.

Initiatives were envisioned by the "good government" folks of a century ago as a workaround for the kinds of policies that were almost intrinsically impossible for an elected body to adopt.

Good examples of the kinds of policies that serve everyone, make sense objectively and are not going to be the fruit of an elected legislature would include:
- spending limitations,
- removing government barriers to free markets and fair competition (health care, education, etc)
- curbing special interests which might have captured a majority (trial lawyers, public employee groups, etc)

Even when the laws adopted by people are crude, they signal the will of those chiseled incrementally by whatever racket is perpetuated.

However, I would agree that initiatives are abused when they become the tools of narrow interests (Seahawk stadium, alternative energy, etc)

Posted by: Anon on July 24, 2006 08:37 AM
13. As I snarked elsewhere: Man bites dog, that's news. Eyman bites dog, that's not news.

Posted by: RonK, Seattle on July 24, 2006 08:39 AM
14. Giffy. You haven't read the memo either.

The minor increases in tax rates are the rate of the levies against the property. It does not protect against the huge increase in revenues from inflated property values. You still pay the same rate but if the value has increased, you pay that same rate on the higher values. Ergo, moolah galore in government. And you know what government likes to do with more moolah? Spend, spend and spend some more.

And Giffy, do you or do you not think that the transit folks should have to go back to the people when their projections and costs double and triple? When I voted light rail the second time it was presented, I was told that cost overruns were added into the costs. Now, I am told that the original dollars I approved will only cover a tiny portion of what I was promised by transit people.

Posted by: swatter on July 24, 2006 08:41 AM
15. I for one can't fathom how Tim Eyeman failed to get this one on the ballot. What's not to like? Lower car tabs! This thing practically sells itself! Again, it boggles the mind that Tim couldn't find enough people to sign. I can think of only two good reasons that the petition signtiture gatherers failes and one bad reason.

The first good reason that the effort could have failed is that there are so many petitions on so many issues that people's eyes glaze over. I've been accosted by so many petitions lately (do you want clean energy? Do you want to get rid of radioacitve waste? Do you want free candy?) that I have personally resolved to not sign any of them in the hopes that they will GO AWAY.

The second good reason is that people may feel the roads are dreadful and retain the wistful hope that paying more on car tabs may somehow make them better.

The bad reason is fraud. Tim took money and didn't finance an adequate campaign. I would hope, for all of his unorthodox style, that Tim is not a snake oil salesman.

Posted by: Sstarr on July 24, 2006 08:53 AM
16. Like or not, initiatives are a part of our state constitution, and seem to be the only method of citizen involvement and oversight, since our elections clearly are not working. Yes, Tim Eyeman sometimes makes mistakes, and sometimes is downright goofy, but he has worked hard to keep issues in front of the public and to send signals to our "elected officials" that they actually work for us, not for the state. Regarding car tabs, I have never paid $30 to register a car. As soon as the first $30 initiative passed, all the counties upped their fees so we were right back where we started. As soon as the property taxes initiatives passed, the counties began to blanket increase valuations on homes, and we are not just back where we started, the amount we pay increases every year. And what do we get for it? Deficits, and if it's a surplus, then it takes no time at all to spend it and create another deficit. Our "elected" officials would NEVER consider cutting back on their spending. It's time we cut back on their terms in office. Thank you, Tim Eyeman, for making us pay attention.

Posted by: katomar on July 24, 2006 08:56 AM
17. Ahh yes, the Earling family, never one to give up support for transportation boondoggles such as Sound Transit. Maybe the Earling family should listen to the voters, STOP WASTING OUR TAX DOLLARS ON TRANSPORTATION MESSES THAT DONT WORK.

Posted by: Fark on July 24, 2006 08:56 AM
18. Who is this "Tim Eyman" you speak of?

Posted by: Daniel K on July 24, 2006 10:06 AM
19. With all due respect: Huh?! Normally, I find Sound Politics a reliably sound source of reporting and commentary on Puget Sound political issues. This article, however, belongs on a blog entitled Unsound Reasoning. I love Sound Politics' meet-the-contributors bio: "Eric Earling is an outside-the-box conservative thinker..."

Not only did he fail to demonstrate any "conservative thinking", this line is laughably oxymoronic on its face.

For all of Eyman's faults, there is hardly any cult of personality on the right as there is on the left - which, inexorably, it uses to demonize the one man who strives to give The People the choice to smack Olympia upside the head as specifically enshrined in our constitution.

I won't waste time easily refuting the myriad illogical and hypocritical and non-conservative points which riddle Mr. Earling's article.

I simply ask this: would you root for a guy who dons goofy costumes in order to draw attention to referendums whereby citizens merely have a CHOICE to admonish out-of-control politicians, or would you simply rather continue to take your chances (and lumps) with the real clowns down in Olympia??

Posted by: Jefferson Paine on July 24, 2006 10:36 AM
20. Eric -- why can't the vehicle value for MVET be calculated fairly?

That is one reason why they tossed the statewide MVET in I-695. You buy a 2006 vehicle in 2005, and you pay the MVET on 100% of the MSRP in 2005, on 100% of the MSRP in 2006, and still something over 90% of MSRP in 2007. This "depreciation" schedule was mandated by state law -- and still applies to the 0.3% Sound Transit MVET (and the recent Seattle Monorail MVET).

In reality, you usually buy the vehicle for less than the MSRP. And it certainly depreciates after 1 year and a lot more after 2 years. This is true even if you look at the retail replacement cost of a used car, as opposed to what you could get rid of the car for.

Perhaps Eyman's replacement depreciation schedule is too rapid. But at least it doesn't overvalue the vehicle. It would be worth voting for I-917 just to restore HONESTY to MVET vehicle valuations.

The state legislators have known for many years that people think the MVET vehicle values are dishonestly high. Why have they never changed the "depreciation" schedule? Or at the very minimum, change the law to use commercial published value (Kelley's, NADA, etc) for MVET used car valuations?

Posted by: Richard Pope on July 24, 2006 10:57 AM
21. Don't fall prey to the lefts anti-Eyman campaign. Tim E. is a flawed charator, I don't deny that. But, for heaven's sake people, wake up! Your buying the line and gulping the koolade. Remember this just puts the initiative on the ballot. If you don't agree with it, don't vote for it.

I think we can all agree that our legislators are NOT listening to us nor are they catching a clue. Until then, we all must stay vigilant.

Posted by: Jeffro on July 24, 2006 11:12 AM
22. Jeffro, maybe Goldy should try to put his "Tim Eyman is a Horse's Ass" initiative back on the ballot then.

After all, it just puts the initiative on the ballot. If you don't agree with it, don't vote for it.

Posted by: Daniel K on July 24, 2006 11:18 AM
23. Richard - I agree on changing the MVET formula, if for no other reason then as an act of good faith to the voters. The Legislature rightly deserves to be criticized for not addressing this aspect of the debate, which I recall dates back to I-695 itself. But, I still think I-917 as a whole is bad policy since reform of the MVET formula is a comparatively small component of the initiative's impact.

Posted by: Eric Earling on July 24, 2006 11:48 AM
24. Earling, is it true that Goldy's offered you a spot on his blog?

At the end of the day, if you don't like Tim's initiatives, don't sign them. If they make the ballot and you donít like them, then don't vote for them.

In the end, Tim has done far more FOR us then he has TO us... a rarity in any politician. And what I don't need and will no longer read is a socialist bashing someone who, no matter how he achieved it, forced the clowns in Olympia to contend with the will of the people.

Today, you officially made my ignore list. Congrats.

Posted by: Hinton on July 24, 2006 11:55 AM
25. Daniel K-

Maybe Goldy should - but then we both know your arguement is rediculous. Please enjoy our state government as they refuse to represent anyone but the unions and their own special interests. Let them keep taking more and more of your hard earned money and provide pennies on the dollar in return. Keep drinking!

Hinton - agree 100%

Posted by: Jeffro on July 24, 2006 12:17 PM
26. Dear Mr. Early,

Since you're following these comments closely and seem to respond when suffiently challenged, here's one more for you if you'd like to retain some credibility:

1) Define what constitutes a "Conservative" (cogently and succinctly, please).
2) Define an "out-of-the-box" conservative thinker.
3) Lastly, describe exactly how you fit into either of your objective definitions above. (50 bonus points)

Best regards (holding my breath),
-Jefferson Paine

Posted by: Jefferson Paine on July 24, 2006 12:28 PM
27. Sound Transit is a black hole which no amount of hard earned tax money may ever possibly fill. It ranks right up there with government schools. Sound Transit is nothing more than an expensive transportation subsidy for commuters that rather read a book on an expensive train trip then pay their way to the office. Given an opportunity and the facts Sound Transit will lose an election held now or into the future.

Eric proves once again that the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

This is why I support any initiative that throws a monkey wrench into the Sound Transit and furthermore I don't care who is responsible for the initiative. It could be Tim or anyone else.

I believe that I made myself clear.

Posted by: Snuffy on July 24, 2006 12:57 PM
28. Eric,

The term is "jibe", not "jive".

Now, is my nit-picking any more petty and incidental than your? I think not...

Posted by: alphabet soup on July 24, 2006 01:40 PM
29. Eric,

I enjoy many of your posts. However, I have to challenge you on your assestion that Eyman claimed that his initiative would still allow voters to raise the car tabs for Sound Transit. On my show this afternoon, I was going to confront Eyman with the "lie" that you cite in your post. So I found the tape of Dave Ross' show on the day in question.

Dave asked if voters could still raise car tab fees for the RTID. You claim that Eyman said "yes". In fact, Eyman said they could not. I played that clip on my show today. I did not find an instance of where he lied to Dave on that point.

Dori Monson
710 KIRO

Posted by: Dori Monson on July 24, 2006 03:32 PM
30. Eric, I see you're working hard for "party unity" today, as you and "reporterward" are always preaching to the conservatives. Nice double standard: Bash the conservatives all you want, but NEVER call anyone a "RINO" just because they part with party principles! But calling a conservative a "RINO" for saying "none of the above" when faced with a choice between a liberal D or a liberal R...well...that's just par for the course!

Stefan, Thanks for the disclaimer, that should be posted here as well.

I think it's fair to mention that Eric's father is David Earling, former Sound Transit board chairman. My own dad will be the first to tell you that fathers and sons don't always agree on politics, but Eric's comments here have also been generally favorable towards Sound Transit and the recently instituted and proposed transportation taxes. So I don't think Eric is really coming from an outside-the-establishment position on this issue. Nor is it particularly surprising that he would criticize Eyman for his campaigns against the transportation establishment.

BINGO! Eric is also an employee of BIG Government, it must be noted.

Reporterward: Who is "WhoIs...", by the way? Was that a shameless plug on the other thread? As with all shameless plugs, there OK, as long as you state them with great fanfare and give credit where credit is due!

Posted by: Michelle on July 24, 2006 05:23 PM
31. Michelle wrote, "BINGO! Eric is also an employee of BIG Government, it must be noted."

Employee? Shark simply wrote that Eric is the son of David Earling.

Posted by: Daniel K on July 24, 2006 07:20 PM
32. Dori -

Thanks for your interest and for joining the discussion. I'm glad you were able to listen to the tape, and will do my best to respond accordingly.

First, I want to make sure we're talking about the same conversation Eyman had with Ross. I recall it occurred with Eyman calling in after a segment with Doug MacDonald earlier on Rossí show that day. I presume tha5'w what you listened to, but do want to make sure.

With that in mind, I'm open to be corrected on whether or not Eyman actually "lied," though the whole situation gets complicated because it revolves around some very fine, specific points as well as choices of words that people can disagree about. I'm obviously at a disadvantage absent the tape and either way, I would want to listen to the whole conversation since as you know, interviews with Eyman tend to turn into circular exercises where journalists donít feel like their questions are getting answered, ask the question again or in different way, and then Eyman gives a slightly different answer, etc., etc.

To your specific point, I don't believe I said Eyman "claimed that his initiative would still allow voters to raise the car tabs for Sound Transit." I said, "Eyman said I-917 wouldn't stop that [voters having the car tab option in 2007] from happening." Eyman was specifically saying to Ross that this initiative didn't preclude government from acting to change car tabs in the future, assuming it gets on the ballot and passes this year. That isn't exactly true for the 2007 ballot, which Iíll get to in a minute. Obviously, Eyman is right to say that if I-917 passes, and state government does nothing, then Puget Sound area voters will not be able to vote on raising car tabs as part of a ballot measure for Sound Transit/RTID.

All that being said, if I'm flat wrong based on the tape, I'll be glad to post a correction. My sense is I'm not, particularly after hearing Eyman today on John Carlson's show. Eyman made essentially the same point, using finer language, about the impact on the 2007 ballot. Specifically, he said I-917 does not stop the Legislature, in 2007 for example, from taking further action on car tabs.

Here's where Eyman is walking a very fine line (which I thought he walked much better with Carlson than he did with Ross). His claim is technically correct, but he knows full well that within two years of passage, initiatives can only be amended by a 2/3 vote of the Legislature. That makes what heís talking about rather implausible. Does anyone really think that if I-917 is successful, and amends the authorizing authority for the RTID to exclude car tab fees, that the Legislature is going to pass by a 2/3 majority an amendment to put that option right back in? Moreover, does anyone think the RTID & Sound Transit - let alone the organizations that would fund the campaign for the joint-ballot - are going to want to proceed in 2007 while one of their major taxing options is in total limbo? Whether Eyman is willing to admit it or not, I-917 seeks to use a statewide vote to hamstring the joint 2007 joint-ballot measure that Puget Sound area voters are otherwise likely to vote on.

Like I said, if you think I'm wrong and it's worth posting a correction, I'll be happy to listen to the tape. However, I don't think this specific issue distracts from the core of my original post. At best, I still think Eyman is being wildly disingenuous in how he describes the impact of I-917 on the 2007 joint ballot. Indeed, his attack on the 2007 ballot through I-917, rather than letting Puget Sound area voters decide up or down themselves, is one of my core critiques of Eyman's activity this year.

Thanks again for your interest, I'm always happy to be challenged if people see the merit.

Posted by: Eric Earling on July 24, 2006 07:47 PM
33. Jefferson -

Interesting questions.

On the first, I consider a conservative to be someone who holds that man's state of nature is inherently flawed, not inherently good, but that man is capable of good things in a system of modest, restrained government that provides equal opportunity to succeed, rather than equal outcomes.

When I described myself as an "outside-the-box conservative thinker" it was, and is, because I hold firmly to a conservative philosophy but am not easily stereotyped in the policy or political positions I support. That is for example why you would see right below my controversial post on Eyman, a post skewering Democrats for their pathetic approach to Social Security.

As to proof, you'd really be better served reading more of my writing, but in the interest of brevity, I can refer you to comment #37 at the link below, where I responded to a question by explaining in brief some positions I hold on policy, politics, and philosophy - it's a short read.


Posted by: Eric Earling on July 24, 2006 08:05 PM
34. With all due respect, it is at the philosophical level that Eric is most consistently NOT a conservative.

And that is not just because he is consistently on the wrong side of issues, like his opinion on the most effective conservative political figure in Washington State in the last 50 years, Tim Eyman. I think that the incompatibility of Eric's thought with conservative thought can even be discerned by his sad definition of conservatism, above. Conservative politics are not rooted, as he suggests, in the level of one's belief in man's flaws, but in the proper role of government. And Eric sees that role as "providing equal opportunity."

No, Eric.
Government's limited role, in the conservative view, is protecting the innocent from aggression. It's equal justice, not "equal opportunity." Providing "alternative transportation" is entirely outside conservative limits. Eric is a case in point proving the unlikelihood of finding a social liberal that is a "fiscal conservative" as they always claim. If Eric was a fiscal conservative he would be defending Eyman. Instead he joins the liberal feeding frenzy. If Eric was a constitutional conservative he would be calling for the abolition of the unconstitutional Federal Department of Education. Instead, he works for it.

Posted by: Doug Parris on July 25, 2006 12:49 AM
35. Eric, I was hoping you would stick to your guns a little more and not backtrack.

What you have gotten here is a "little heat in the kitchen". Stick to your true beliefs and people will respect you. These last posts by you answering criticisms seem to make you want to be loved by everyone. Talk to Shark. It ain't possible if you have firm views. Respect the other side (if they are reasoned folks) and continue your valuable work.

What I got out of the above is not an "emphatic Eyman lied", but more of a misspeak because several conversations and interviews were noted. Of course errors would be made in speaking as well as listening.

Posted by: swatter on July 25, 2006 07:03 AM
36. Swatter -

Thanks, though I'm not backing down. I just don't choose to take the tone of some commenters. I never really thought the Eyman lie, misspeak, whatever you want to call it on Ross' show was a huge part of the original post, though Postman gave it higher profile in his coverage. But Dori posed a serious question, so I answered it.

Also, I don't acutally think my response to Jefferson is going to convince him I'm a conservative, anymore than it's going to convince Doug. I'm well aware some people will never agree with me, and you won't see me responding to everyone, as I didn't respond to everyone in this thread. I responded to Jefferson's questions more for the benefit of other readers who might be new to my work and might not have a better feel for my idealogical perspective.

By virture of my other personal interests, I don't plan on posting a lot on Eyman, transporation, etc. But when I do, it will be what I think, period.

Posted by: Eric Earling on July 25, 2006 07:29 AM
37. While I may disagree with your analysis of the transportation issue, I think your analysis on the Cantwell v. McGavick race is spot on, Eric. Keep up the good work!

Besides, one of the things I love about the Republican Party is that we have room to disagree with each other. We actually disagree from time to time about things like abortion. In the Democratic Party, there's no room for disagreement. Follow the party line or be ditched like Lieberman. Kind of ironic given the name of the party. Ha ha ha.

Posted by: ferrous on July 25, 2006 07:43 AM
38. "Indeed, his attack on the 2007 ballot through I-917, rather than letting Puget Sound area voters decide up or down themselves, is one of my core critiques of Eyman's activity this year."

Speaking of disingenuity! The product of Eyman's efforts is "letting Puget Sound area voters decide up or down themselves" - way more than the state legislature.

Maybe you can "break" the "news" that Tim is mean to his mama...

Posted by: alphabet soup on July 25, 2006 11:31 AM
39. Doug -

I have zero interest in debating you further on my conservatism, but do need to correct you.

You chided me for saying "equal opportunity" rather than "equal outcomes" was to be preferred. I should hardly need to explain to you that Jefferson asked for a succinct response, which I provided. I actually agree with your comment about "equal justice," and consider it part of the "equal opportunity" I was discussing.

Moreover, you of all people know the conservative belief that the state of man is flawed is a fundamental starting point in viewing how government may or may not have a role in man's life - since man should be protected from his fellow man through a system of equal justice, but not unduly hindered from chance to prosper in society. In contrast, liberals tend to think man's state of nature is inherently good. Thus, when man has flaws, liberals assume they are correctable through less poverty, more money for education, transfers of wealth, political correctness, etc...essentially more government. So please, don't insult me with your claim that "conservative politics are not rooted...in the level of one's belief in man's flaws."

Posted by: Eric Earling on July 25, 2006 08:12 PM
40. Eric

Although I disagree with you on transportation issues, as I believe the private sector will take a more responsible approach if allowed to do as accomplished in NYC during the turn of the last century. It was the private sector that built and operated the subways and buses. And paid the city for the honor of doing so by leasing the property and rights.

Back to my main point, we disagree on the transportation issue(s), however I appreciate your writing style and given the opportunity would enjoy meeting you for some interesting conversation. Suggest you rethink the transportation issues and the failure of the Republican Party to maintain the grassroots.

Posted by: Snuffy on July 25, 2006 10:42 PM
41. What is the status of I-933 THE REGULATORY TAKING?

Posted by: Ron Moss on July 30, 2006 08:11 PM
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