“Find-the-Facts” Wendle

No kidding. Cindy Wendle is campaigning for City Council President on a platform of “We need to find the facts.” Ms, Wendle, you are running against Breean Beggs, a man with a full command of the facts. If you need to go looking for them, you need to do so before you run.

“Spokane City Council president race narrows to contest between two very different candidates” appeared in the August 7th Spokesman. It might better have read “Spokane City Council president race narrows to contest between a candidate who has studied the issues and one who still needs to study them.” Wendle restates questions and pretends they are answers. Beggs has a plan. He is already enmeshed in the governmental mechanics of addressing the issues based on facts, while Ms. Wendle is planning, in her own words “to go find out what really the heck is going on.”

On the front page of the Saturday, October 26th, Spokesman in “City Council president candidates Breean Beggs and Cindy Wendle on the record, on the issues.” Wendle does a repeat performance.

A selection of her responses from the article [the bold is mine]:

To a question on current rules for public comment at City Council meetings:

Wendle has not made a decision yet, but said the council needs to make sure that everybody is heard and that “there are people that seem really frustrated that they haven’t been able to have their voices heard.”

To a question on developer Larry Stone’s proposal to put the Spokane Transit downtown station underground:

Wendle said solutions for the city’s problems are “going to come from all over the board” but that she would be very “hesitant to say yes or no on something that expensive.” It would likely have to go to a public vote, she added.

On the current 20% on sewer, water, and trash service:

Wendle said she would have to further analyze the details before committing to a position.

On the voter approved tax levy that increased the number of police downtown and prevented some cuts to firefighting staffing:

Wendle didn’t say whether she supported the tax but criticized the levy for not fully funding equipment for new officers. If that equipment is not funded, it will reduce the number of new officers funded through the levy, Wendle said.  [Of course, a Republican cannot be on record supporting a tax. That is a no, no.]

On the redesign of North Monroe Street and East Sprague:

Wendle said the city may not know the redesigns’ full impact yet, and is looking forward to see what long-term data comes from the redesigns’ transformation. Moving forward, when the city considers such projects it should ensure “we’re looking at traffic impact on surrounding neighborhoods and work with them more.”

On tax incentives for housing development:

Wendle said the city is in need of housing supply, and needs to look at every tool available in its toolbox. “I’m in favor of looking at every option,” she said.

Please read the article for Breean Beggs’ detailed, reasoned answers.

Ms. Wendle demonstrates a glaring lack of preparation for the office she is seeking. Beggs has done his homework. Vote for Breean. Point out the Spokesman article to friends. Share on social media. Join the campaign to Get Out the Vote. See below.

Keep to the high ground,

Help Us Get Out The Vote!

         We know that this election is winnable, but we also know that it will take a sustained effort knocking on doors, waving signs, and making phone calls over the next 2 and a half weeks to defeat the tsunami of outside spending.

Canvassing is the single best way to increase voter turnout, and we need your help to combat the hundreds-of-hours of paid canvassing our opponent has received. Can you canvass with us at one of the following times to Get Out The Vote?

Tuesdays from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM.
Wednesdays from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM.
Thursdays from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM.
Saturday from 10 AM – 1 PM
Sunday from 3 PM – 5:30 PM

          We meet at 1912 N Division St. (inside the Teamsters Building) for training and assignments, and hope to see you there! If you are able to join, just email us at campaign@electbeggs.com, or sign up through the link below.


Last Word on Woodward

“Woodward works overtime to avoid GOP label in run for mayor” appeared Friday, October 26, in the Spokesman, Northwest Section. Shawn Vestal succinctly states all the arguments against Nadine Woodward as Mayor of Spokane. Even better, the next morning Mr. Vestal’s article made the top ten of “Yesterday’s Most Read.” Every Spokanite ought to read it before casting a ballot in this election. It is the perfect antidote for the “obscene amounts of money…a few wealthy heirs” have poured into this election in her support. I encourage you to share Vestal’s article widely in email and social media. Here it is:

Woodward works overtime to avoid GOP label in run for mayor

By Shawn Vestal

I just don’t get it.

She reflexively opposes new taxes. She’s passionately pro-police. She calls undocumented immigrants “illegals.” She thinks sustainable energy is nutso.

She casts a gimlet eye on the undeserving poor – campaigning almost entirely on a platform conflating homelessness and criminality, a fear-heavy and fact-light campaign against the overfed hungry.

Meanwhile, a few wealthy heirs in Spokane are spending obscene amounts of money to put her in office, donating furiously to their Jerry Lewis Telethon for the tragically beleaguered Spokane business owner.

I mean, she was endorsed by this newspaper’s editorial page, for heaven’s sake, and the company that owns the paper spent $10,000 to put wind in her sails.

What in the world else does Nadine Woodward have to do to earn the endorsement of the local Republican Party?

She sure seems to be checking all the boxes.

She believes she can scare up millions of dollars to spend on new cops by finding change in the couch cushions at City Hall. She wants to continue the Condon administration’s refusal to appoint a citizens panel to combat climate change despite a legally passed requirement that he do so. She wants to water down police oversight. Her favorite kind of homeless shelter is a jail.

She hates “road diets” that build neighborhoods, favoring city speedways to and from the fringes of town. She is reluctant to exercise oversight of the police department. She is endorsed by key prominent local Republicans, and she’s a quick draw playing the media victim in the face of criticism.

All those boxes checked – yet the county GOP endorsed no one in the mayor’s race. As if it just couldn’t decide between Woodward, the conservative establishment’s anointed candidate, and Ben Stuckart, the liberal City Council president who makes heads explode on the right.


It would be hard to imagine a more perfect candidate for that party in this alternative-facts moment than Woodward. She says things impulsively – like, maybe we should bar homeless people from the library – then tries to say she didn’t say them. She tells supposedly amusing stories about homeless people gaining 50 pounds off all our decadent, enabling free food. She talks about addicts passed out on the street as though they’re living the life of Reilly at taxpayer expense.

She demonstrates every form of factual abuse – cherry-picking and misstating statistics that support her vision, shrugging off those that do not, and sometimes seeming confused about which is which.

This week, for example, after campaigning clearly against low-barrier homeless shelters and the burden they put on city taxpayers, she spoke up in favor of the new Family Promise low-barrier shelter – which is currently among the most expensive outlays for shelter on the city books.

She then claimed on Facebook that the shelter is not low-barrier, leading one to wonder: Does she know what a low-barrier shelter is?

Doesn’t matter. Onward, sloganeering.

She blames everything she doesn’t like – from straight-up, inarguable mayoral decisions to matters of police staffing that are not legislative in any fashion – on City Council libs.

How in the world is there not a hallelujah chorus, draped in red-white-and-blue elephant T-shirts, singing behind her at every campaign appearance?

It’s no mystery, in truth. Woodward didn’t seek the endorsement because, she said, she wants to remain nonpartisan – nonpartisan like a fox. Because, while city politics are technically unaligned with the political parties, city politics in this light-blue town have evolved into a very clear, very distinct partisan divide: Democrats and “nonpartisans.”

The “nonpartisans” ain’t nonpartisan.

There’s nothing wrong with the fact that political candidates have beliefs and points of view, but when someone’s in the closet politically, it pays to wonder why. Stuckart and other Democrats tout their political alliances. It’s to their advantage. Republicans strenuously pretend to be unaffiliated and independent, to be neutral. Because it’s to their advantage.

What’s become abundantly clear is that it’s not experience, expertise or knowledge of city affairs that Woodward supporters are drawn to – it’s the reliable promise of partisan attitudes and beliefs that lies behind her cloak of nonpartisanship.

Woodward’s rope-a-dope with the public appearance of Republicanism has been a key feature of her campaign from before it even existed, when it was clear that she was among the candidates being drafted by the city’s right-wing establishment.

It’s been clearer with everything she’s said since announcing, and with every passing day in which a handful of wealthy Spokane individuals – literally about five people – are spending insane amounts of money to buy a best friend at City Hall. And while that money piles up, Woodward expresses concern about the negative influence of union campaign spending on Democrats.

Another box checked.

She told the downtown Rotary Club, in a speech and gotcha conversation recorded and released by the progressive group Fuse Washington: “I work extremely hard to keep partisanship and party out of this race. I know full well that someone who is right of center is going to have a hard race in the city election for mayor. Cathy McMorris Rodgers lost the city in her last election by 17 points.”

At a different event, she added: “I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton. Is that good enough?”

In other words, if you’re a Cathy McMorris Rodgers-style “Hell No, Hillary” candidate in a town that’s stacked plus-17 points against you, you run by pretending you’re not.

By pretending you’re nonpartisan.

Maybe I do get it after all.

Share widely then encourage people to vote. Get out with the Stuckart campaign, knock on doors, contact the stragglers who haven’t done their homework yet. Here’s the link. Questions & RSVP to Melissa (509) 530-9213 | teamstuckart@gmail.com  I’ve reproduced below the latest email from the Stuckart campaign below.

Keep to the high ground,

Hello Team Stuckart Volunteers,

We have [8 days] remaining in the campaign. NOW is a great time to join in, help out.  Volunteer activities this week:

Doorbelling (launch times flexible, we leave from & return to the office):

– Tuesday 4:00-5:00pm launch
– Wednesday 4:00-5:00pm launch
– Thursday 4:00-5:00pm launch
– Friday 4:00-5:00pm launch
– Saturday 10:00-noon

Phonebanking (drop-in hours listed, show-up at the office with your cell phone & charger):
– Tuesday 3:00-6:00pm
– Thursday 3:00-6:00pm
– Saturday 10:00am-Noon

Sign Waving (pick-up signs at the office the day before your shift):
– Wednesday from 7:30am -8:30am at Francis & Monroe
– Thursday from 7:30am -8:30am at 29th & SE Blvd
– Friday from 7:30am -8:30am at Thor/Freya Intersection
– Monday from 7:30am – 8:30am at Division & Ruby
– Tuesday from 7:30am -8:30am at 29th & Grand

Social Media: Please share our social media posts & comment!

Letter to the Editor: Write a letter and submit it to Spokesman-Review or The Inlander.

Questions & RSVP to Melissa (509) 530-9213 | teamstuckart@gmail.com

Better Spokane and City Propositions 1 & 2

Better Spokane, the local organization backing Props 1 and 2, is another political outlet for a group of wealthy business people. Better Spokane, like the Washington Policy Center, is  “a conservative political organization that identifies itself as a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) educational organization under tax guidelines in order to keep its donors secret and avoid paying taxes. is organized as a non-profit 501(c)(3).” (Quoting Shawn Vestal on WPC.) This is exactly the strategy of the rest of the web of conservative non-profits described in Jane Mayer’s book, Dark Money. A Journal of Business article from January, 2017, around the time of Better Spokane’s founding, provides some strong clues about its funding. The organization then had a single employee, Michael Cathcart, the executive director and a current conservative candidate for Spokane City Council in NE Spokane (District 1). Better Spokane has a Board of just six members. From the Journal of Business article:

Michael Senske, president and CEO of Pearson Packaging Systems, the West Plains-based maker of packaging equipment, is one of the board members. He says the organization is being funded through private donations.

“Several of us discussed creating an organization that would be engaged in creating an environment more conducive to income and job growth, as well as business expansion and retention,” says Senske.

The organization’s other board members are Ryan Gee, of Gee Automotive; Dave Clack, a retired Spokane businessman; business attorney Dennis McLaughlin, business attorney; and Fritz H. Wolff and his father Alvin J. Wolff, both of The Wolff Co. 

Senske says the three older members of the organization’s board, Clack, McLaughlin, and Alvin Wolff, act as mentors to its younger members. 

Fritz H. Wolff is CEO of the multibillion dollar real estate firm, The Wolfe Company. The Wolfe Company owns and operates 30,000 rental units nationwide. Mr. Wolfe, his company, and its history were featured on the front page of the Sunday Spokesman, October 20. in an article detailing the unprecedented intrusion of “independent” money backing Woodward, Wendle, Rathbun, and Cathcart. According to the Spokesman, in the last two years Fritz and Katie Wolff have contributed at least $211,000 to conservative groups and politicians, an amount that is likely comparative pocket change for them, money that could pay big dividends.

We cannot know the additional funds backing Better Spokane (that money is “dark”), but Wolfe, Senske (as R.A. Pearson), and Gee are prominent conservative donors to local Republican candidates and the PACs that are spending huge sums in independent expenditures in support of those candidates. The tax deductible donations to Better Spokane are above and beyond the overt political spending, additional money to buy influence in politics, money the Spokesman article doesn’t get around to discussing.

If passed, both Propositions 1 and 2 would, in the long term, offer a great return on investment for the members of Better Spokane’s Board. Prop 1 is meant as a blow to unions in contract negotiations. Prop. 2 is an attempt to buy income tax insurance, tax insurance mostly to shield the wealthy.

Proposition 1‘s title is “Charter Amendment Regarding Open Government and Transparency in City Government,” but the amendment only pertains to transparency in “collective bargaining.” Collective bargaining is code for unions. This is selective transparency. Any bargaining City officials might do with, for example, The Wolfe Company, would not be subject to this Amendment. “Transparency” has a nice ring, but when it is applied asymmetrically it is a tool. Consider the real purpose of this Proposition and vote NO.

Proposition 2 proposes a charter amendment prohibiting the City of Spokane from ever leveling a tax on income. Has anyone heard anyone propose such a tax? No. It would be political suicide, especially if the average wage earner in the City were made subject to an income tax. Michael Cathcart, in a radio interview on KPBX, admits there is no income tax on the City’s horizon. Proposition 2 is an advertisement to the wealthy: “Establish residence here. This is fertile ground to grow your wealth. See, the electorate here is so brainwashed they’ve declared they’ll never tax even the highest incomes! Moreover, they’ve made this declaration even without being provoked!” Vote NO.

Carefully consider the source and intent of these initiatives when you vote. While you’re at it consider that the developers and wealthy interests on Better Spokane Board pay Michael Cathcart’s salary. At least in 2017 Michael Cathcart was Better Spokane’s only employee. Who will he serve if he is elected to the Spokane City Council from northeast Spokane (District 1)? His opponent, Tim Benn, an ally of Mike Fagan and Matt Shea, is frightening, but probably less likely to be effective in pushing his agenda. I agree with the writers of the Progressive Voters Guide, “There are no good choices in [that] race…”

The members of the Board of Better Spokane have blown it’s cover with unprecedented Republican partisan political spending in this year’s Spokane municipal elections in support of deeply conservative candidates. The Journal of Business article quotes Michael Senske, “We’re a very nonpartisan organization…” What a joke.

Keep to the high ground,

Nadine, Trust, Reproductive Rights

The Spokesman headline reads,”…trust amassed over broadcast career.” It’s a long article about Nadine Woodward’s mayoral candidacy. It appears on the front page of the Sunday, October 13, edition. It is worth reading and contemplating, along with the companion article on Ben Stuckart‘s candidacy.

On what are we supposed to base this trust? The Spokesman article offers an answer, “trust she’s earned over more than 25 years beamed into the living rooms of Spokane families.” I don’t see that as trust, I see that as facial recognition.

In the same article Ms. Woodward is quoted, “It’s really hard to run nonpartisan and only discuss issues that affect the city,” I agree. The voters of the City of Spokane who rejected Cathy McMorris Rodgers by a 14 point margin in the 2018 General Election may be skeptical of candidate wearing a visible “R”. Ms. Woodward must make sure Republican voters understand her Republican bonafides while she dodges issues to which Independents and Democrats pay attention.

Observe her strategy with WeBelieveWeVote, the locally grown far right litmus test folk, with whom she only garners a rating of 60%. Click here to see her survey answers on which the rating is based. The litmus test questions for which they docked her 40 points were four questions, one each on guns, abortion, marriage, and discrimination. She declined to answer, writing instead, “As a candidate in the nonpartisan race for Spokane Mayor, I will only focus on local issues that pertain to city government and not national issues.” [1]

Sorry, Ms. Woodward, guns, abortion, marriage, and discrimination ARE local issues. You can have personal opinions about those issues, but what we need to know is whether you, as Mayor of Spokane, plan to enforce the law through your supervisory role over the police department.

Ms. Woodward is a candidate for the office of Mayor, the executive branch of Spokane City government, the branch that “executes” the laws through its control of the police department. Reproductive rights–and their protection–ARE a local issue.

Although it has been little reported in the media the Planned Parenthood Clinic on Indiana Ave. has been the site of increasingly raucous, intrusive protests from the “The Church at Planned Parenthood,” a group that claims it is “worshipping” rather than protesting as a defense of its tactics of intimidation and disruption. So would Ms. Woodward, as mayor, make any effort to enforce a frequently violated noise ordinance? In response to question on that is from the Spokesman she “declines to comment.” [2] We are asked to “trust” in the TV face while the person behind that face declines to discuss real issues.

Is Nadine sympathetic to the “worshipers” or to the patients and medical staff they harass with their megaphones? Does she respect the rule of law around a noise ordinance or does she defer to the “worshipers?” She’s not saying. All we can do is look for clues.

“The Church of Planned Parenthood” (TCAPP) is the brainchild of Pastor Ken Peters of the Covenant Church. On the list of other pastors fueling TCAPP is John Repsold (click here and look at the bottom left of the page), the principal pastor of Mosaic Spokane. Thanks to the marvels of google search, we can read a Repsold sermon one paragraph of which addresses Ms. Woodward’s background with reference to reproductive rights. [At that sermon, use CMD-F and key in “Nadine” to locate the paragraph]. The paragraph is a recounting of a story Ms. Woodward told at a “Life Services” dinner at which she spoke several years ago. Life Services Spokane is a “pregnancy resource center” designed to steer woman with unplanned pregnancies away from the “trauma” and “shame” of abortion. [Under “-For Churches” they write, “Half of all women, even Christian women, will experience at least one unintended pregnancy by the age of 45. Of those, 40% will choose abortion.” The trauma and shame we are to imagine come from not accepting one’s fate as God’s intent for women, regardless of life circumstances or the condition of the fetus.]

Certainly, Ms. Woodward holds strong views on the issue of abortion, having spoken of her own at a public dinner in support of Life Services. Clearly, she, as mayor of Spokane, would face the issue of enforcing the law around intrusive, megaphone magnified, frequent protests. She’s not saying. We’re supposed to “trust” her TV persona. I’m not ready to trust her and I don’t think the other voters of Spokane should, either.

Keep to the high ground,

[1] Ben Stuckart, Lori Kinnear, and Karen Stratton simply declined to participate in WeBelieveWeVote’s litmus test survey, Breean Beggs gamely waded in with lengthy, reasoned answers but refused to engage the litmus-test checklist–and got a zero rating for his effort.

[2] From Planned Parenthood has drawn protests. Are those protests protected by free speech, or a safety hazard that violates city noise ordinance?

Stuckart said, “We should be equally enforcing the law, and if they are violating noise ordinances, they should be cited.”

Woodward declined to comment.

Ref 88 and Eyman’s Footprints

It is time to revalue diversity in public institutions in the State of Washington by voting YES on Referendum Measure No. 88 on the November ballot. YES on R-88 allows public institutions to once again consider applicant characteristics [1] without using them as the “sole or deciding” factor and without using quotas. A YES vote on R-88 partly repudiates the initiative that was Tim Eyman’s start in 1998 (I-200). Let me explain.

R-88 is one part of an ongoing and mostly partisan argument over affirmative action, “…a set of laws, policies, guidelines and administrative practices ‘intended to end and correct the effects of a specific form of discrimination’.” The roots of the argument in favor of affirmative action go back to attempts starting in the 1940s, and, later, in the civil rights movement, to redress the glaring unevenness of the playing field between the races. Affirmative action has widened to include other groups sidelined in society by virtue of characteristics other than race.

In the last fifty years Republican/Libertarian think tanks have framed an argument that turns affirmative action on its head, making it a partisan issue. Any affirmative consideration of an individual of one group is cast as inevitably discriminating against members of another group (implying a zero-sum game). According to this framing, considering a prospective student or public employee who is black for admission or hire with any preference whatsoever inevitably discriminates against students of, for example, asian heritage. Using people of asian heritage in this framing conveniently takes the spotlight off of white conservatives, the folks mostly pushing the argument. (Notice, of course, that ridding the world of affirmative action is an issue that curries favor with the white supremacist wing of the Republican Party.)

Nine states have at some time banned affirmative action as part of this movement. It started with California (Prop 209) and Texas in 1996, followed by Washington (I-200) in 1998. I-200 was the first initiative put forward by Tim Eyman, a conservative activist known for pushing the Republican/Libertarian agenda in Washington State with a series of more than twenty initiatives and referenda.

In 1998 Eyman’s I-200 “prohibited public institutions from discriminating or granting preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the areas of public education, public employment, and public contracting.” For nearly twenty years that prohibition prevented Washington State public institutions from using any form of affirmative action in its admissions or hiring practices.

In early 2019 nearly four hundred thousand signatures were turned in for I-1000, an Initiative to the Legislature. (To be distinguished from an Initiative to the People.) I-1000 sought to adjust the details of Eyman’s I-200 to allow consideration of applicant characteristics [1] as factors in admissions, hiring, and contracting without using quotas and without using those characteristics as the “sole or deciding” factor in the decision making process. Tim Eyman, of course, filed a challenge to the ballot title of I-1000.

But here’s where things get a bit convoluted. As an initiative to the legislature in Washington State, I-1000 first went to the legislature, where, to the surprise of many, it passed the Washington State House and Senate on almost strictly party line votes (Democrats For, Republicans Against) on April 28, 2019. (Had I-1000 not passed the legislature it would have appeared as I-1000 on the 2019 November ballot as an initiative to the legislature that the legislature had ignored.)

Ordinarily, passage of I-1000 by the legislature would have been the end of it. Instead, and tellingly, a group called Washington Asians for Equality (and others) gathered signatures to effectively put I-1000 on the November ballot–but as R-88, an unusual demand “by the people” that a law passed by the legislature be submitted for a vote. (Such a referendum requires half the signatures to get on the ballot that either type of initiative [to the People or to the Legislature] requires.)

Bottom line, a YES vote for R-88 is a YES vote for allowing public institutions to take applicant characteristics and the community goal of diversity into consideration once again.

Jim Camden tried to explain the confusion around R-88 in a Spokesman article on September 27. He had some limited success. You might want to read Mr. Camden with what you’ve just read here as background.(The label on the heading photo for Camden’s article reads, “Referendum 200, on ballots in November,…” makes the confusion worse. They meant Referendum 88.)

All of which brings me back to Tim Eyman. Mr. Eyman’s hand is evident in every measure on the first page and two measures on the second page of every Washington State 2019 General Election ballot this November. See [2] below for details. Mr. Eyman is not building with his initiatives, he is tearing down. For his destructive efforts he is lauded by Republicans for whom shrinking government by successive woundings and hamstringings is a Party goal. Like Mr. Trump, when challenged for his practices, he poses as the victim. His political action committee is “Permanent Offense;” his manner is permanent offensiveness. It is remarkable the corrosive effect one man can produce with twenty years of encouraged, funded effort. For more detail on Eyman I recommend a visit to “Permanent Defense” at

Reject Eyman and his tactics. Vote YES on Referendum Measure No. 88 and NO on Initiative Measure No. 976.

Keep to the high ground,

[1] The whole list is: “an individual’s race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, age, sensory, mental or physical disability, or veteran or military status”
[2] Referendum Measure No. 88 is rooted in Eyman’s first Initiative, I-200, as explained above. Initiative 976 is Eyman’s most current insult. See my last post. All of the advisory votes that litter the first page of the ballot and spill over onto the second page are the result of Eyman’s I-960, passed in 2007 and declared partly unconstitutional by the Washington State Supreme Court in 2013.

Eymans’ I-976, “Permanent Offense”

I-976 is Tim Eyman’s latest destructive Initiative.

If you want to maintain and improve our transportation system in Washington State vote NO on Tim Eyman’s Initiative Measure No. 976. It’s the second item on November General Election ballot mailed out this week.

As always with an Eyman initiative, the framing is clever: “Rebel against registration fees imposed by that nasty, grasping government! They have no right!” This is the Republican anti-tax, anti-government orthodoxy best expressed by Grover Norquist, Republican/Libertarian lobbyist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform: “I’m not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” The Republican Party has promoted this line for decades: Taxes are bad. Taxes need “reform.” Let’s reduce taxes [especially on the wealthy, but don’t pay attention to that!]. Government is inefficient and corrupt and deserves to be defunded! (Psst! the wonderful private sector will do it better [and magically make a profit, too]!)

Auto registration fees are an integral part of how we currently fund a wide range of infrastructure and transportation in the State of Washington (See Voters’ Pamphlet). Eyman wants to take a wrecking ball to our complex but workable system solely for the purpose of messing with it–and using a visible fee as the excuse. He does so with no care for the cost of readjustment. Washington State has the most regressive tax system in the U.S. (see P.S. below). I could side with Mr. Eyman’s initiative if it were part of a comprehensive reform leading to a less regressive tax system, but Eyman is not a big picture, let’s-all-pull-together-and-make-government-work kind of guy. He is the initiative version of a soundbite, a quick poke at government for the purpose of inflicting damage. The state, counties, and cities need funds to build and maintain the roads we all drive on–and all the rest of the infrastructure of civilization upon which we depend. All I-976 would do is make the funding more problematic.

I-976 is one of twenty nasty but often deviously clever initiatives and one referendum sponsored over the last 20 years by Mr. Eyman. He is a conservative political bomb thrower from Yakima who now lives in Mukilteo, WA. I encourage my readers to review the history of this man’s efforts and legal problems assembled in Wikipedia. His bent and general demeanor is on display in the name of the Political Action Committee he founded: “Permanent Offense,” (Even more to Eyman’s real intent, the full name is PERMANENT OFFENSE — $30 TABS INITIATIVE — TERM LIMITS — GIVE THEM NOTHING, 2019.) Eyman’s first incarnation of I-976 (I-695, on the ballot in 1999) was later declared unconstitutional on multiple technical grounds by the WA State Supreme Court, but not before Eyman was recognized by the Conservative Political Action Committee in 2000 with the “Ronald Reagan Award” (Seattle Times), a sure sign of his destructive intent.

Eyman’s I-976 is purely meant to throw a monkey wrench into the way we struggle to fund transportation. Over six years it will rob the state and local governments of an estimated 4.2 billion dollars and over the 2019-21 biennium cost nearly 3 billion dollars to implement (Voters’ Pamphlet), never mind all the time and taxpayers’ money that was wasted on dealing with his 1999 initiative. Tell Tim Eyman we’re wise to him. Vote NO on I-976. Then let’s roll up our sleeves and deal with the broader tax structure issues of our state.

Keep to the high ground,

P.S. The non-partisan Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy rates Washington State as having the most regressive tax system in the country: Their data show the lowest 20 percent of income earners in Washington State, families making less than $24,000, contribute almost 18 percent of their annual earnings to state and local tax coffers, while the top 1 percent (those making over $545,900) pay just 3 percent of their income. Explore that here.

Ballots! Homework!

Do your homework and then talk it up. That’s what democracy is all about!

Ballots go into the mail today in Spokane County (and Washington State) for the 2019 General Election for municipal and school board candidates–and a confusing bunch of advisory votes and initiatives. The deadline to turn in your ballot is Tuesday, November 5 at 8PM. Don’t leave your homework until the last minute.

You can maximize your effect on this election by understanding what’s being voted on–and the best way to do that is to look at it ahead of time and informing yourself. For all Washington residents who are registered to vote, now is great time to visit MyVote.wa.gov and enter your name and birth date to see your voting particulars. On the first page that appears check to see if your Registration is “Active” and contact them if it is not. (This page should also show the address to which your ballot is/was mailed, an address that could be different from your address of Registration. When I checked this time the mailing address did not show. I have contacted Secretary of State’s office.)

To preview the ballot you should receive in the mail, click “Online Ballot.” Then you can either print a copy of your ballot to look at (click “Print and Mark”) or you can save as a pdf on your computer. (How you do that depends on your particular computer/printer setup.)

Inspect your ballot. Thanks to that pox on our governance, Mr. Tim Eyman, there are a dozen “Advisory Votes” that take up most of the first page and part of the second page. They are a waste of ink and everyone’s time. One must suspect that Eyman’s purpose was to discourage people from voting: homework overload. You can safely check all these “Advisory Votes” as “Maintained”–or you can just ignore them. They have no effect. Here’s what the Progressive Voters Guide has to say:

Because of a Tim Eyman initiative, the Legislature is required to submit any bill it passes that closes tax loopholes or raises revenue to a non-binding advisory vote. The Legislature had a historically productive 2019 session, resulting in a record number of advisory votes on the ballot. We hope the Legislature will change the law to remove these meaningless measures in the future. 

One useful thing you can do for your friends, neighbors, and acquaintances is to mention these advisory votes and the fact that they can be safely ignored. The votes made on a ballot are counted even if you only vote on one candidate or one measure. Don’t put off your homework because it looks daunting thanks to Mr. Eyman. That’s what some would like you to do. It’s a strategy…

In Washington the first two issues on the ballot statewide are Referendum Measure No. 88 (concerning discrimination and affirmative action) and Initiative Measure No. 976, an attack on infrastructure funding penned by Tim Eyman. I recommend YES on 88 and NO on 976. More on both of these in a later post.

The only other issue on the ballot statewide is Senate Joint Resolution No. 8200 (second page of the ballot after all the Eyman “Advisory Votes”). It asks us whether we support a Washington State Constitutional amendment that would make provisions for government continuity in the case of natural disasters. I recommend a YES vote. This is simple foresight in governance. For more detail click here.

Voters may be dismayed by this ballot’s daunting presentation–and put it off to another day. Do your homework early. Talk up your findings with your fellow citizens. This is your power as a citizen of this state.

Keep to the high ground,

Here’s the link:  https://www.facebook.com/events/910350509334324