July 24, 2006
Proper Perspective

I think David Postman is jumping to some overly-ambitious conclusions in today's entry about Eric Earling's recent critical post about Tim Eyman. Postman: "The conservative critique of Tim Eyman"

it is of note, and should be reason for concern for Eyman, that the area's most prominent conservative blog leads this morning with this headline: TIM EYMAN YOUR 15 MINUTES ARE UP ... Eyman will have a hard time dismissing Earling as part of the establishment that has served so well as a foil for Eyman's campaigns.
First of all, the disclaimer on the right hand sidebar of the Sound Politics home page should be taken at face value:
The opinions expressed here represent only their respective authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any of the other contributors to this website.
As with every other post that appears here, whether written by me or anybody else, Eric was speaking only for himself. I can't say I agree with all of his analysis in that post and I'm not sure how many of our readers, who are largely skeptical of the transportation status quo, would agree with all of it either.

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.

(And yes, Eric and I probably disagree on transportation issues a fair amount of the time, but agreeing with me 100% of the time is not a qualification for writing for Sound Politics. Eric's a fine writer and researcher and he's been doing some terrific blogging here, most notably on the McGavick v. Cantwell race).

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at July 24, 2006 10:33 AM | Email This
1. And your comment is exactly why this site is a valuable resource and nearly always a good read. Sure, everybody approaches issues from basically a right of center point of view, but by no means is this a lock step operation. It is the better for the variety of opinion.

Posted by: David J. on July 24, 2006 10:59 AM
2. It sort of makes me wonder why Postman even bothers to blog under his own name, all he ever does is defer to Goldstein. Bash Bush, get a quote from Goldstein. Bash McGavick, quote Goldstein on why Cantwells not REALLY bribing an opponent to get them out of the race. Bash Reichert, get Goldy to tell you what Burner's position is (Because she is apparently not allowed to talk for herself yet.) It must be tough for Postman not to smirk when collecting his paycheck, since all he has to do is check with his in-house Horses A$$ to see what his position will be.

Posted by: Smokie on July 24, 2006 11:02 AM
3. why trust Postman? He seems a nice guy, but his ideology is all lefty, w/ a veneer of objectivity at times.

too bad he's not a jerk (would make getting to the meat of the issue easier, not clouded by us liking the way he talks)

Posted by: righton on July 24, 2006 11:04 AM
4. Eric is terrific. I disagree with him on about 90% of the transportation issue and how to pay for it. But still, he is articulate, reasoned and factual; you can't ask for more.

If I am a foal for Eyman, so be it. Government needs to be responsive to the citizens.

Postman's comments seem to suggest he is proBigGovernment, while I am so smaller government. That by itself is the reason I relate to the Iman issues more than Postman.

Posted by: swatter on July 24, 2006 11:16 AM
5. Take heart. It appears that Postman is spending a considerable amount of his time keeping up with SoundPolitics. If a person's beliefs are part genetic and principally environment, maybe Postman isn't a completely lost cause. With enough exposure - and willingness - to follow conservative viewpoints, maybe even he can be broken out of his devotion to generally irrational liberal viewpoints and positions.

You never know who may surprise you.

Posted by: MJC on July 24, 2006 11:29 AM
6. Eyman has his moments, but frankly, he's been the only one fighting tooth and nail to keep the govt. 'masters' from taking more money from us all than they otherwise would have.
That's worth something, alright.

Posted by: Misty on July 24, 2006 11:52 AM
7. I think Eric Earling is jumping to some overly-ambitious conclusions in today's entry on Eyman, as large a pile of trash as I've ever seen on a blog.

Posted by: Hinton on July 24, 2006 12:00 PM
8. I agree with Stefan on his main point. Each of the contributors speaks for themselves and themselves only. The post in question is certainly a critique by me of Tim Eyman, particularly his work this year, and despite the protestations of some (such as the Reagan Wing), I most definitely fall into the conservative camp.

I do disagree a bit with the degree of relevance of my dad's previous work with Sound Transit. I certainly am more pro-transit than most readers here, though I hardly agree entirely with what Sound Transit has done. For example, I believe they should have scrapped the Everett-to-Seattle portion of the Sounder given the problems that arose in implementing that component of the system. I would also prefer part of the Sound Transit Board to be directly elected, or better yet have one unified regional transportation agency (not the current alphabet soup of multiple, uncoordinated agencies in the Puget Sound area) that would include Sound Transit and have at least part of the board of that new body be directly elected. On top of all that, Sound Transit will certainly have a lot to explain to the voters about any package on the ballot next year given events since the initial approval of the agency in 1996.

I’m going to a separate post more on the broader topic of transportation a bit later since that may shed some light to some readers on where I’m coming from on these issues, but it’s worth noting I would put myself squarely in between the “transportation establishment” and the Tim Eyman/no new transportation taxes crowd. The former is too quick to advocate for projects without adequate efficiency or accountability, accountability that Republicans in the Legislature have done a good job of fighting for in the 2003 and 2005 gas tax packages. The later is too quick to say “no” without offering up alternative transportation solutions, which I would argue is both bad public policy and is creating problems for Republican candidates in suburban communities.

Posted by: Eric Earling on July 24, 2006 12:13 PM
9. Yeah, I agree with both Stefan and Eric, and it is very interesting to note how closely Postman is following SP.

The issue is complicated. Clearly, mass transit in the Puget Sound has been grossly mismanged and never properly planned at all. There has been near zero attempt to implement a long range, fiscally sound plan, which is the only way that mass transit can ever really get built. I lean slightly toward transit in that in the long term, it would be good to have a nice transit system. But, it must be implemented over time. And it must be financed and built with respect and priroity towards the existing transit infrastcuture. Otherwise, it will harm commerce, and / or levy considerable taxes and create huge debt now for the sake of some vague and poorly planend future system.

On the other hand, I do agree that Eyeman seems to be pushing the issue over and over. Frankly, after so many $30 car tab issues, and incumbent Democrat abuse, it's hard to really know where anything stands. It appears to be largely a showy tug-o-war between Eyeman and the establishment. And Eyeman has made a career out of this behavior. He views himself as the voice of the people, and he has done some good. But even as much as out elected officials are totally incompetent boobs, we do live in a Representative Republic and not a Democracy. The initiative process is a good escape valve, but it's not going to work when used over and over again because the populace is simply not well informed enough, or in control of revenue and legislation to the point that it can effectivel guide long term policy.

Tim is right that government has done an awful job of managing transit. But the best way for us to cure this problem is to elect new leadership all over the state to eliminate the stagnant, incumbent, entitlement, progressive, Democrat mindset.

Posted by: Jeff B. on July 24, 2006 12:41 PM
10. Eric writes

…The later is too quick to say “no” without offering up alternative transportation solutions, which I would argue is both bad public policy…

Unfortunately, if an Eyman initiative were to also provide a solution, it would violate the multi-subject rule. What it does do is give us a voice in so many matters that we would otherwise have no voice in. A no vote by the people doesn't always mean never, it often means- go back to the drawing board and give us a better plan. As for bad public policy - as if any good public policy has come out of Olympia. C'mon Eric!

Posted by: Jeffro on July 24, 2006 12:45 PM
11. In response to Jethro:

Tim Eyman could offer up a complete transportation plan, with funding, that supercedes all previous laws. Bills like the "Nickel Package" did this.

Kemper Freeman did this with his transportation inititative.

Legislative Republicans tried this in the mid 1990's with a referendum. Liberal interests killed it.

Posted by: Alex Hays on July 24, 2006 01:04 PM
12. Thank you, Alex, for pointing out some very key points that libs would like people to forget. I was especially sorry that Kemper's ideas were thrown to the wind. They were good. The mass transit elites will not allow anything through that they don't want. Period. Doesn't seem to matter what anyone else wants. Sorry, that's just what I've noticed.

Posted by: Misty on July 24, 2006 01:34 PM
13. I'm waiting for Eyman's $30 Bar Tab initiative. I'd save tons of money with that.

Posted by: Far Far Right on July 24, 2006 01:41 PM
14. I concur with David J's comments above and am pleased to see public disagreement on a group blog handled so well.

Posted by: I. Shawn McElhinney on July 24, 2006 02:00 PM
15. I concur with David J's comments above and am pleased to see public disagreement on a group blog handled so well.

Posted by: I. Shawn McElhinney on July 24, 2006 02:00 PM
16. Alex-

Touché! All good examples of greaat plans that have failed due to the libs and transportation thugs. It is for this reason that NO! speaks the loudest to the democrats. There will never EVER be a good plan brought forth as long as the democrats are in full control. They will maintain control as long as KC keeps controling and throwing state elections.

Eyman is NOT the enemy. the ruling elitist that have saturated this states government are.

Posted by: Jeffro on July 24, 2006 02:02 PM
17. Jeffro Sez: "Eyman is NOT the enemy. the ruling elitist that have saturated this state's government are."

BINGO! Quote of the week! Give that man a see gar!!

Posted by: G Jiggy on July 24, 2006 02:18 PM
18. How many thousands of dollars does it take to run these initiative campaigns? How many thousands of man-hours are invested by well-meaning volunteers in gathering signatures?

You know, if these limited resources were invested in state legislative and judicial races, we wouldn't have this problem. I cannot emphasize the amount of traction you could get if just a fraction of these folks who waste thier time on initiatives would just invest it in doorbelling, identifying GOP voters, and assisting in these lesser known but far more important races.

As for Tim Eyman's current lack of success with I-917, you're not going to get a lot of support in reducing $55 dollar car tabs to $30 car tabs. This isn't like back in the day when folks were paying $400 for their used Honda Civics. Revolutions are not carried on the backs of $25 dollars in "savings".

We all know this is just an end-around by Tim to get rid of Sound Transit. Even if it passes, I-917 will get thrown out in court. But at least Eyman will be paid and get his face in all of the Western Washington papers.

Posted by: Reporterward on July 24, 2006 02:24 PM
19. As for the standard rebuttal of me unfairly bashing Tim Eyman, let me start by saying I actually like the guy. Sure, he stood me up on three seperate interviews (what were you thinking Tim) but the guy has a talent for what he does.
Which is why, as I've been saying for awhile, he should run for elected office. That way he can be part of the solution, working from within. Besides, we need more folks wearing Darth Vader costumes in debates on the State House floor.

Posted by: Reporterward on July 24, 2006 02:28 PM
20. Reporterward -

Work within the system? Me thinks the system in this state is broken, deaf, and agressively adversarial.

Instead of, "you folks have sent a message loud and clear and here is how we will work towards it", we get, we know what's better for you, you are all too ingnorant to know what you're voting for, law suits against the initiative, corrupt judges making illegal/unconstitutional rulings, land grabs without just compensation........


Posted by: Jeffro on July 24, 2006 02:37 PM
21. G Jiggy-

Thanks, I would have a see gar if this nanny state hadn't decided that I can't smoke them in public anymore.

See, I don't like all initiatives and I voted against that one - but it passed and that's the way it works.

Posted by: Jeffro on July 24, 2006 02:42 PM
22. No.
Losing initiatives and having them thrown out in court does not send any message other than the fact that you have no political power.
And the last time I checked, the "system" of representative democracy is a pretty darn good one.

The problem is with a handful of elected officials and elected judges. Guess what? We have the opportunity to throw them out every two to four years.
There are a handful of state legislative races that we need to win in the suburbs. We also have a pair of pretty good State Supreme Court candidates named Groen and Johnson who would pretty drastically change the court's makeup.
That is strength...that is power.

Posted by: Reporterward on July 24, 2006 04:03 PM
23. If the tripe that passes for legislation were subjected to 1/1000th of the scrutiny that initiatives routinely receive some of us would have some confidence in Washington State's version of the "system" of representative democracy.

The state legislature passes crappy legislation as if shoddiness were some sort of virtue, and much of that legislation flies directly in the face of "the will of the people".

I'll take Eyeman, warts & all over nearly any of this state's "representatives"...

Posted by: alphabet soup on July 25, 2006 06:53 AM
24. I hope that Eyman gets the number of signatures that he needs. I do believe that the SOS is doing damage control to an extent. Their numbers were different and there is a chance they misplaced the 30,000 signatures. Remember how King County R & E misplaced 10,000 ballots in the '04 Governors election ? I'd say it is even money that it is exactly what they did, but they don't want to look incompetent, so they have their talking points. Eyman's mistake is that the media whore thing went to his head too much, and he should have stayed mum on the topic until the verification count was completed - which will be later this week.

Posted by: KS on July 25, 2006 07:23 PM
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