The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal

Informed but opinionated commentary and analysis on urban transportation topics from the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

Our Mission: Monkeywrench the Anti-Transit Forces

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Monday, November 18, 2002

Tim Eyman of Washington State, a New SAEP(tm) Member

"It is the unfortunate destiny of the ridiculous to be subject to ridicule."
James Howard Kunstler

"Truth passes through three phases: 1) It is ridiculed. 2) It is violently opposed. 3) It is accepted as self-evident." Albert Schopenhouer

From the Cabalmaster:



Now: back to our newly-inducted SAP™ (we'll return to I-776 in a moment):

Three years in the public eye have provided Tim Eyman with ample opportunity to demonstrate his true character. He's done so. Connect the dots, and spell "S-H-A-M-E-L-E-S-S C-O-N A-R-T-I-S-T-E." It amazes us that more people haven't caught on -- must be that "something in the water." (All kidding aside, the problem stems as much from the . . . dare we say, "laziness" . . . of the Seattle media as from Eyman. There are exceptions; see, but too bad that this type of writing is totally "un-Seattle.")

After I-695 passed, Eyman created "Permanent Offense," a political action committee and therefore subject to Washington State's strict public-disclosure laws. However, at the same time, Eyman also created "Permanent Offense, Inc.," a for-profit political consulting firm. The long-standing relationship between the two is documented by the PDC ( ; use internal search engine).

At the height of the scandal mentioned above, Eyman was quoted as saying that he hoped to get rich from his initiatives (he's still trying, but more on that below). We'll give him the benefit of the doubt and speculate that he set up "P.O., Inc." as a legitimate way to receive compensation for time dedicated to his initiative projects -- a "personal foundation," if you will. Within strictly-defined limits, there is absolutely nothing illegal about doing this. (We do suggest that you keep contributions to your PAC strictly separate from those to your "personal foundation.") However, Eyman evidently got greedy and skimmed PAC donations for his own personal use.

We Opinionated Ones think that we can convince you that Eyman is still trying to get rich with initiatives. He's even come up with an apparent new strategy: bogus initiatives!

No, no, no, a thousand times no, we are not making this up! Read on:

P.O. (renamed "Voters Want More Choices" after the financial debacle mentioned above) has submitted I-800, which would require a 75 percent legislative "supermajority" for any tax or fee increases. Your Favorite Transit Pundits have not been able to find the text of this scheme, so we can't confirm the media reports that this would also apply to county and city councils.

There's only one problem: the Washington State constitution specifies that all bills require only a simple majority in both houses of the legislature to pass, except for bond issues and expansion of gambling, which require 60 percent. Phil Talmadge, a former state senator and state Supreme Court Justice who is currently running for governor, explained this recently < a href="" target="_blank">, and added that any changes would require amending the constitution. This cannot be done through the initiative process in Washington So there you have it: a bogus initiative!

Whether or not Eyman knows about this is beside the point: it's of no concern to him. Not convinced? Okay, then think of 1.) the amount of money that will pour in over the next year, in the form of campaign contributions, and 2.) the percentage that will go to Eyman (he's said that he will accept a "salary" from the campaign). So what if it gets struck down after the election?

If you'd like to peruse other Eyman projects, check out this link: These are proposed initiatives to the legislature. If the required number of signatures is gathered by the deadline, they would go first to the legislature, then to the voters if the legislature does not act. (We wonder who will help pay to gather signatures to qualify that initiative to wipe out the state's ergonomics legislation . . .) This include Initiative 267, which would require that state sales taxes on motor vehicles be used for state and local highway purposes, rather than going to the general fund (about $750 million per year). It would also mandate the opening of HOV lanes to all traffic during non-peak hours.

Back to I-776. State and federal constitutions prohibit governments from taking actions that interfere with a contract, such as bond covenants. Sound Transit has issued $350 million in bonds, backed by its MVET revenues. Contrary to what the polls predicted, I-776 was approved, but (as we've reported previously), it received a 58 percent "no" vote in King County.

Prior to the election, the state Department of Licensing said, in effect, that it agreed with opinions by King County attorneys that I-776 was unconstitutional. DOL officials said they would continue collecting the tax on behalf of Sound Transit, unless and until ordered to do otherwise by a court.

That will not happen anytime soon. Washington state Attorney General Christine Gregoire advised the legislature that the taxes which back bond issues by Sound Transit and King County must remain until the bonds are retired The "well-established" constitutional principle cited by Gregoire dates back to the time of Thomas Jefferson, and so any court challenge would be doomed to failure. Eyman announced that he does not plan to try (he doesn’t have the money) He called on Gregoire to enforce "the law" (that is, I-776), and added that he expected a "public backlash" to fuel his I-800 campaign if Gregoire does not act.

Hey! More loot for "The TOT," in the form of campaign contributions!! Are you convinced yet???

If you'd like to see graphics-mode evidence that Eyman is an utterly shameless publicity seeker, check out

Don't take our word that Eyman is greedy and selfish! Get it from The Stranger!!

Then, read an interview in the Seattle Weekly; sadly, the graphic of him towering over the fair city of Seattle is no longer available -- nor is a variation, showing Eyman as Adolf (yes, THAT Adolf) in the following week's issue. But at least you can read the rants (and occasional rave)

Now check out the "Initiative Revolt Against Tim Eyman" site; the proposal is to bar Eyman from sponsoring any more initiatives . . . through the initiative process, of course! Check out this Eyman quote:

"I want to continue to advocate issues and I want to make a lot of money doing it."

Are you convinced yet??

If you're not all "Eymaned" out, check out

We'll conclude with the following quote from Phil Talmadge:

"Mr. Eyman is an acknowledged liar with respect to his personal financial dealings in initiative campaigns. He has shaded the truth, to say the least, as to the substance of his initiative measures."

Now imagine what an interesting place Washington State will be if Talmadge is elected governor in 2004 -- and Eyman chooses not to accept political asylum in some other state. It certainly will not be Oregon, where voters passed Ballot Measure 26, banning payment to initiative signature gatherers, by a 75% yes to 25% no margin. This measure was apparently at least partly aimed at Oregon's answer to Tim Eyman, Bill Sizemore, who is effectively now out of business thanks to Oregon voters.

Come to think of it--why can't Washington voters "Sizemore" Eyman, similar to what voters did to Bill Sizemore with Measure 26 in Oregon? ;-)

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