by Goldy, 06/30/2004, 12:54 PM

For months now Tim Eyman has been touting the “statistic” that property taxes in WA state have increased from $1 billion in 1980 to $6.25 billion in 2003, a figure he calls “obscene.” He even used a chart based on this stat as the backdrop for his lonely press conference on Monday.

What is really obscene is that this misleading piece of propaganda is repeated in the media without any context or analysis. So I want to give you a preview of some research I plan to post later this week to, that examines Tim’s chart and dispassionately explains why it is a meaningless piece of crap.

Take a look at this alternative chart from the state Dept. of Revenue:

State & Local taxes per $1000 of income

Apart from the fact that state and local taxes as a percentage of personal income have actually been declining steadily for years, one thing really jumps out from this chart… that Tim’s start date of 1980 is intentional misleading, as it represents an anomalous twenty-year low in tax rates. Indeed, if you start one year earlier, in 1979, tax burden has clearly and dramatically decreased.

Tim’s figures are taken out of both historical and economic context to present the false impression that government growth is exploding out of control. It fails to consider, population growth, inflation, loss of federal funds, and shifts of revenues from one tax source to another. And oh what a difference a year makes.

According to the Washington State Tax Structure Committee (chaired by Bill Gates Sr.) and every other reputable source, the economic figure that most close tracks growth in demand for public services is growth in personal income. Personal income is also the only number which permits a true measure of tax burden, for obvious reasons.

It is not surprising that the entire premise of Tim’s tax revolt is built on lies, but it is disappointing that nobody has bothered to expose it sooner.

by Goldy, 06/30/2004, 1:25 AM

I don’t get many comments on my blog entries, but I sure do get a lot of email, often of the angry, misinformed persuasion. Many of these epistles have common themes, so I thought I’d share a few of my responses in the hope of encouraging a bit more originality. All names have been changed to protect the guilty.

To John, who demanded I reveal my Tribal connections, I replied that I was a Levite.

To Margaret I wrote that yes, I do indeed have the right to write the things I do, but that I appreciate her offer to visit me in prison.

To Adolph I apologized if he perceived an anti-German bias when I jokingly referred to the author of an anti-semitic email as “Klaus,” but hoped he would excuse me if I’m still a little sore over the fact that they did kill six million of my people.

To Steve I wrote to agree with him that I would not want the government telling me what I can or cannot do in the privacy of my own bedroom, although I could probably use an occasional reminder to flip my mattress.

And finally, to Kevin I thanked him for writing, but regretted that I was not limber enough to honor his request.

Please keep your comments coming.

by Goldy, 06/29/2004, 1:17 AM

By now you’ve likely seen the TV news clips or read in the papers that Tim Eyman delivered enough signatures to the Secretary of State to qualify I-892 (Slots for Tots) for the ballot. I was present for the festivities, so I thought I’d just pass along a few first hand observations.

Apparently, nothing says widespread public support like spending half a million dollars of gambling industry money on paid signature gatherers. But the most telling indication of I-892′s popularity was the fact that Tim showed up alone.

The image of Tim in his tailored suit, lugging boxes of signatures all on his lonely, was actually rather comical. You’d think for $3100 a week Tim could at least afford a $30 hand truck, if not a friend. When he was done, he wiped his brow exclaiming “that’s something you don’t want to do more than once a year,” a comment that doesn’t bode well for I-864 (and elicits a number of inappropriate jokes regarding his marital relations.)

Tim then stood before the cameras to briefly spout lies. He even brought a chart as a visual aid — or as it is technically known in the public relations business, more lies.

Finally, he took questions from the media — a rather one-sided exchange considering he wouldn’t actually give any answers in return — before sprouting horns and wings and flying back to his fortress of evil.

Just kidding about the horns.

Anyway, it really wasn’t much of a press conference, the most interesting part being what he omitted. You know, words like “slot machines” and “gambling” and “I’m a lying, thieving, blowhard.”

In the end, the battle over I-892 will be a battle over the truth. Tim is going to try to sell this as a tax cut initiative, whereas anybody with a shred of honesty is going to explain that it is about the most massive expansion of gambling in state history.

If the truth wins, I-892 loses.

by Goldy, 06/27/2004, 9:38 PM

As you’ll surely read in Monday’s paper, initiative entrepreneur Tim Eyman has collected over 230,000 signatures, more than enough to qualify I-892 (Slots for Tots) for the ballot.

That sucks.

Eyman extolls the virtues of “direct democracy” but there is nothing direct or democratic about Canadian and Nevadan gambling conglomerates spending half a million dollars to buy their way onto the WA ballot with lies.

I saw half a dozen I-892 signature gatherers this weekend, and they all used a variation on the same sales pitch: “Sign a petition to cut your property taxes.”

I-892 puts 18,255 slot machines into our neighborhoods, and if voters understand this in November, it will fail.

by Goldy, 06/26/2004, 11:08 PM

While Tim Eyman tries to characterize I-892 (Slots for Tots) as equal treatment for mom & pop bowling alleys [Bowling for dollars] its largest contributors are a handful of gambling conglomerates, mostly foreign and out-of-state corporations. Indeed, according to a recent article in the Seattle P-I, I-892′s biggest backer is the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which has sunk at least $62,500 into the effort through the end of May… possibly in violation of federal election laws.

But those aren’t the only laws of which Great Canadian may have run afoul. In addition to allegations of harassment, profit skimming, investment fraud, and prostitution, an investigative report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has uncovered accusations of loansharking in its B.C. casinos: “Loansharking alleged at B.C. casinos.” [Watch video clip]

The allegations came under oath in sworn depositions from two former long-time Great Canadian employees who were subpoenaed to testify as part of a lawsuit from a Texas corporation. Allegiance Capital claims that a joint venture with Great Canadian went sour due to profit skimming and prostitution onboard a Hong Kong based floating casino.

Proka Avramovic, one of the former employees subpoened to give evidence in Texas says the B.C. casinos banned certain loan sharks but allowed others to stay. “Obviously the company wanted to keep them there because they bring lots of money into the casino.”

With hundreds of paid signature gatherers hawking I-892 in the final week before the deadline, voters deserve to know what kind of company is paying them. This is a company accused of profit skimming and fraud, of promoting prostitution, and knowingly allowing loansharking in its casinos. It is a publicly traded corporation that hires a private investigator to harass the estranged wife of its chairman.

But most of all, this is a foreign corporation attempting to influence a Washington state election. And if they can’t be trusted to obey the laws in their home country, they certainly can’t be trusted to obey the laws in ours.

If I-892 were to be judged by the company it keeps, it would likely be convicted of several felonies.

by Goldy, 06/25/2004, 12:12 PM

One week before the July 2 deadline, our petition elves tell us that only one initiative campaign is confident they’ve collected the 200,000 signatures required: the Grange’s I-872 (top-two primary.)

Reports are that Tim Eyman’s I-892 (Slots for Tots) is struggling to gather enough signatures. Tim’s I-864 (cruelly vindictive tax cuts) however, is not… much in the same way the motionless rat outside my back door has ceased its struggle with my cat.

Tim’s latest email to supporters hints at the fragile state of both campaigns. After months of focusing his emails exclusively on I-864, Tim recently started speaking of both initiatives in the same breath, apparently laying the ground to claim a partial victory if only I-892 qualifies. (“We’re batting .500!”)

Today’s email doesn’t even mention the initiatives by name, characterizing them as a single effort.

More interesting is how he suddenly attempts to shift “credit” for these initiatives to his supporters: “We’re really counting on you…” “You can make this happen…”

“You are the leaders of this effort and you will ensure the success of our property tax reduction initiatives.”

The logical conclusion of which is, if the initiatives fail, it’s “your” fault.

Talk about a captain jumping a sinking ship. Yeah, nothing says “leadership” like denying you’re the leader once things go bad.

And one final comment. Tim also writes:

“The pace of donations and signatures has increased dramatically since the privacy shattering phone calls, deceptive radio ads, anonymous mailers,
and public employee unions’ thuggish tactics began a few weeks ago.”

Okay, forget the fact that he’s lying about donations increasing dramatically; as pointed out previously (“Free campaign advice to Tim Eyman“) they’ve been remarkably flat throughout the campaign.

And I don’t even want to get into the phone calls and radio campaign. (Norm Maleng informing voters that most signature gatherers are paid, is not exactly what I call “deceptive.”)

What offends me is his mention of “anonymous mailers.”

I’m on his email list, and there have been three mailings from opponents. One of them was from Jennifer McCausland, and the other two were from me! Each email came from valid email accounts, clearly identified the senders, and included contact information.

Tim can say a lot of things about me, but one thing I am not, is “anonymous.”

by Goldy, 06/24/2004, 12:54 PM

There are two things we can learn from Collin Levey’s column in today’s Seattle Times: “Don’t underestimate the Ralph Nader flutter effect.”

The first is that I was wrong to imply that The Wall Street Journal is the only thing Collin reads. She clearly has also read The Velveteen Rabbit. Sorry Collin.

The second thing we can learn is that her bosses at Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, Inc. are drooling over the prospect of a Ralph Nader candidacy.

Her thesis that anti-war Republicans (all several of them) are more likely to turn to Nader than anti-war Democrats is, well… nutty. And I suspect, disingenuous. As is her advice to Kerry:

The one thing Democrats haven’t done, and won’t do, is speak clearly enough on Iraq (and in favor of a rapid exit) to steal Nader’s thunder. That’s why Nader’s stronger-than-expected showing in the polls may be carried right through to the election.

Yeah, that’s exactly what Democrats should do, because we’re all stupid and heartless and irresponsible. Abdicating our nation’s obligation to clean up its own mess in Iraq is exactly the strategy for winning in November.

Thanks for the advice Collin.

by Goldy, 06/24/2004, 9:25 AM

One of the striking things about Tim Eyman’s I-892 (Slots for Tots) is the unanimous barrage of bad press it has generated. Part of it comes from the initiative’s cruel and arrogant stupidity. And part of it comes from its cruel backer’s stupid arrogance.

Today’s Seattle P-I offers two more reasons to oppose I-892. First, a well-researched piece of reporting by the always thorough Neil Modie, explores I-892′s Canadian sponsor’s possible violation of Federal election laws: “Canadian firm downplays links to I-892 backers.”

It’s probably even worse than Neil reports. The Great Canadian Gaming Corporation has also made direct and indirect contributions to the Entertainment Industry Coalition, which appears to be making independent expenditures on I-892 without properly reporting them to the PDC. But more on that later.

Also in the P-I is a guest column by Chi-Dooh Li, warning that slot machines could be a windfall for organized crime: “Gambling industry has itself a hired gun.”

In my opinion, I-892 is already a windfall for organized crime: Tim Eyman.

by Goldy, 06/23/2004, 7:36 PM

I just finished listening to Jennifer McCausland debate Tim Eyman on the John Carlson Show. As always, Tim was an arrogant, lying prick. Jennifer was well-informed, persuasive and polite. Maybe too polite.

Jennifer heads Second Chance Washington, an organization dedicated to securing permanent funding for treatment and prevention of problem gambling. Tim, of course, represents his own greedy self-interests… and these days, the greedy self-interest of Canadian and Nevadan gambling conglomerates.

I had to chuckle at Tim’s almost-clever claim that I-892 (Slots for Tots) provides “$8 million to $11 million biennially” to treat problem gambling. He’d been claiming $11.5 million annually since day one, and when Mark Sidran pointed out his math error on the Dori Monson show last week, Tim still refused to concede that $400 million times one percent equals $4 million. So now I suppose Tim is saying that he meant biennial all along.

But the ickyiest part was listening to Tim attempt to pander to John by saying I-892 was in the spirit of I-200, the anti-affirmative action initiative that Tim sponsored, but which John shepherded onto the ballot and past voters. Yeah it’s about time us white folk get the same breaks long given to the tribes.

As if listening to KVI didn’t make me feel dirty enough. I need to take a shower.

by Goldy, 06/23/2004, 1:20 PM

In a column in today’s Olympian, Dick Nichols sounds off on a number of issues, including the current state of the initiative process:

-Initiatives: Increasingly and alarmingly, the state of Washington is using initiatives as a substitute for enactment of law through deliberative legislation. Though a product of the state’s populist traditions, the initiative has exceeded its designed role as a citizen’s check and balance. I suggest we consider several reforms to lift the bar of eligibility before an initiative can qualify for the ballot: Increase the number of signatures required. Disallow paid signature gatherers or at least severely restrict their activities. Use explicit, simple ballot language so the consequence of passage is clearly understandable. Require that a fiscal note accompany every measure detailing the financial impact, and in case of a new or expanded program, require an identified revenue source.

All of these suggestions are reasonable enough that they should receive a fair debate, instead of being instantly squashed by the kind of political grandstanding that usually accompanies any suggestion of initiative reform.

Defenders of the current system extoll the virtues of “direct democracy,” but there is nothing especially direct or democratic about a process where citizens only get to vote on those initatives with the hundreds of thousands of dollars of special interest money necessary to buy enough signatures to get on the ballot.

by Goldy, 06/22/2004, 12:03 PM

I spend a lot of time criticizing the media for their factual errors. For example, I keep reading that I-892 (Slots for Tots) allows about 14,000 slot machines, when in fact, it allows exactly 18,255. So it’s only fair that I correct my own errors.

The other day I poked fun at Kemper Freeman Jr. for spending over $190,000 on consultants while spending only $42,000 on paid signatures (“Why did God creat Kemper Freeman Jr.? Somebody’s got to pay retail.“) Well, I was wrong. The PDC posted the pages of the form out of order, so I didn’t see page 1, and thus missed another $50,000 in expenditures on signatures. (Plus another $7500 on consultants.)

And I wouldn’t have caught this error if not for a detailed article in today’s Seattle Times exploring initiative campaign expenditures: “School-initiative supporters lead in fund raising.” So kudos to the Times, and healthy serving of humble pie to me.

So I apologize if I implied Junior’s expenditures were REALLY stupid, when in fact they were just plain stupid.

by Goldy, 06/21/2004, 8:30 AM

The Tacoma News Tribune has led the charge in educating the public about the dangers of Tim Eyman’s I-892 (Slots for Tots,) and today’s editorial pretty much sums up the debate: “Voters should keep gambling initiative off November ballot.”

Increasing access to gambling increases addiction. In a national study, residents who lived within 50 miles of a casino were twice as likely to be problem gamblers than those who did not. I-892 would put 18,255 slot machines into over a thousand neighborhood bars, restaurants and bowling alleys across the state: nearly all of us will live within 50 miles of the most addictive form of gambling ever devised.

Tim Eyman and the foreign and out-of-state gambling conglomerates bankrolling his initiative, should not be rewarded for their callow disregard for public welfare. Kudos to the TNT for taking such a strong stand on this very important issue.

by Goldy, 06/20/2004, 3:36 PM

When it became apparent two weeks ago that Kemper Freeman Jr. was no longer paying for signatures on Initiative 883, I assumed it was because he had gathered all he needed. Thus it came as a pleasant surprise to learn that Junior had actually pulled the initiative: “Freeway initiative campaign takes exit.” (And kudos to the Seattle Times for not calling it a “car-pool initiative.”)

I-883 had been one of the season’s best financed initiative campaigns… most of it Junior’s money. With virtually unlimited personal funds, and a dishonest yet misleading quarter-truth of a sales pitch (“this initiative opens HOV lanes to everybody,”) I-883 seemed certain to reach the ballot.

But I should have been paying closer attention to the PDC filings. The I-883 campaign turns out to be so grossly inefficient that it makes Tim Eyman look like he’s giving the EIC a good deal for their money. (He’s not.)

Of the over $320,000 spent through the end of may, only $42,000 is listed as going to “voter signature gathering,” while a whopping $190,000 was pissed away on “management & consulting services.” The only conclusion is that either the campaign has hidden signature gathering efforts under the wrong expense category, or that Junior was royally reamed by his consultants.

If he had hired me as a consultant I could have saved him about $189,000 by advising him to fire me and SPEND ALL HIS DAMN MONEY ON SIGNATURES!

This calls into question the campaign’s claim that they had gathered half the 197,000 required signatures. With a street price of a buck each, the firms had to be charging at least $2.00… and with Junior’s penchant for paying retail, probably much, much more. So it is unlikely they collected more than a tenth the required number.

This also calls into question Junior’s business acumen, and begs the larger question of why we should trust this man to re-prioritize our state’s multi-billion dollar transportation budget when he can’t even prioritize a few hundred thousand dollars in campaign expenditures.

If our transportation spending were to follow Junior’s blueprint, for every $1 billion in new roads we’d spend $4.5 billion on management and consulting fees.

Tim Eyman likes to say that government never reforms itself when it is “fat and happy.” Looking at the campaign finances of Tim, Junior and their fellow initiative sponsors, it looks like there is plenty of cheerful corpulence to go around.

by Goldy, 06/19/2004, 2:16 PM

Proponents of our state’s for-profit initiative industry defend paid signature gathering as protected by our First Amendment right to free speech. Well, their speech may be free, but it certainly ain’t cheap.

An unscientific survey of paid signature gatherers yesterday showed that the street price of signatures has more than doubled in the final few weeks of the petition season, fetching between $1.75 and $2.50 a piece. We can only estimate the markup, but one can safely guess that the firms are charging between $3.00 and $5.00 a signature, possibly more. That adds up when you need 200,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Many voters have the impression that direct democracy is somehow more democratic than representative democracy, because the people get the final vote. But we only get to vote on those initiatives that have hundreds of thousands of dollars of special interest money to buy their way onto the ballot.

In that sense, money has become a freer sort of speech than speech itself… which only serves to cheapen our democracy even as it makes it more expensive.

by Goldy, 06/19/2004, 9:05 AM

For those keeping score, Tim Eyman sent two emails to supporters yesterday, and neither mentioned Jennifer McCausland um, borrowing Tim’s list to make a personal appeal not to support I-892 (Slots for Tots.) Not surprising… what was he going to say, problem gambling is good?

However he did mention David Horsey’s editorial cartoon
The crackpot hits the jackpot,” along with several others, but rather than asking supporters to bombard the authors with hate mail, he goes out of his way to thank them:

“share a laugh with me… ”
“greatest compliment…”
“all these cartoons are a riot…”
“I love them all…”
“my absolute favorite…”
“I’m extremely grateful..”
“keep ‘em comin’…”

Methinks the liar doest protest too much.

by Goldy, 06/18/2004, 10:02 AM

Speaking of emailing Eyman’s list… problem gambling advocate Jennifer McCausland did exactly that yesterday, making a personal appeal to Eyman supporters not to support I-892 (Slots for Tots.)

In a message sent to “all 3600 active names” on Tim’s email list, Ms. McCausland calls slot machines the “crack cocaine of gambling,” and warned that 18,255 slot machines will create a public health crisis.

Ms. McCausland’s organization, Second Chance Washington, is working to pass legislation to secure permanent funding for problem gambling treatment and prevention programs. I’ve had the opportunity to discuss these issues with Ms. McCausland, and trust me when I tell you she speaks with authority and experience on the causes of problem gambling, and its devastating toll in human misery.

It will be curious to see if Tim responds to Ms. McCausland’s emotional and well-reasoned appeal. He has little to gain by furthering the debate over the impact of problem gambling. And he is justifiably embarrassed that it was his own inexcusable negligence that put his most valuable asset — his email list — in the hands of so many of his opponents.

Perhaps he’ll just take all his frustration out on David Horsey?

by Goldy, 06/18/2004, 7:37 AM

Second guessing Tim Eyman is a dangerous pastime… because it only uses half my brain, and I’m afraid the other half might atrophy.

Still, I can’t help but wonder if Eyman is going to email his list, exhorting them to send nasty missives to David Horsey in response to his amusing editorial cartoon in today’s Seattle P-I: “The crackpot hits the jackpot.”

Two weeks ago I would have said “no,” as Tim seemed content to avoid mentioning I-892 to his core supporters, knowing that many of them opposed gambling expansion. But lately his emails have embraced I-892 in an apparent attempt to more strongly brand it an Eyman initiative, so that he can claim a partial victory July 2 when I-864 (myopic tax cut) fails to qualify for the ballot.

Tim seems to get particularly offended by editorial cartoons (perhaps its because he gets most of his news by looking at the pictures?) and has reacted strongly in the past. But either way, I don’t think Horsey needs to worry about hate mail flooding his inbox. Tim’s “grassroots” support has long since thinned to an empty threat, and besides, Horsey’s cartoon will ring true to Eyman supporters who have watched him all but abandon I-864 in favor of the more remunerative gambling initiative.

by Goldy, 06/17/2004, 11:24 AM

It’s Thursday, or as we like to call it here at “Collin Levey Day.” Her column is fresh off the press at The Seattle Times, stinking of ink and right-wing propaganda.

Years ago, I would watch the McLaughlin Group, looking forward to Pat Buchanan’s myopic predictions as an indicator of his conservative allies’ hopes and dreams — and Collin is proving to be just as accurate a political barometer. If there is one thing we can learn from today’s column, “Odd man out: Al Gore’s journey into irrelevance,” it’s that her bosses at Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, Inc. are obviously terrified of Al Gore.

The very fact that she chose to expend her precious column inches proclaiming Al Gore’s irrelevance is a testament to the opposite. The truth is, Mr. Gore’s spate of impassioned speeches is lighting a fire under the Democratic faithful, rubbing fresh salt into the still open wounds of a stolen election. And even a tiny blip in Democratic turnout could be enough to overwhelm the unprecedented election fraud being perpetrated by the GOP in battleground states like Florida.

Mr. Gore’s latest speech, a strongly worded critique of President Bush’s foreign policy, has elicited such illuminating comments from right-wing pundits as “crazy,” “insane,” and “totally nuts.” My guess is that Collin didn’t bother reading the transcript before adding her own voice to the chorus (though I suppose Alan Murray of The Wall Street Journal might have.) If she had, she might have tried refuting a few of the statements instead of just dismissing their author as irrelevant.

It’s not that Collin is a bad writer; indeed, she occasionally shows a keen gift for poison penmanship (a craft I truly appreciate.) But until she starts coming up with a few of her own theses instead of just serving as the Seattle stop on the WSJ’s rhetorical wagon train, Collin Levey Day is going to continue being my favorite day of the week.

by Goldy, 06/16/2004, 9:59 AM

What is this, compliment the media week?

It might not make for an entertaining blog entry, but I just have to point you towards Neil Modie’s excellent article in The Seattle P-I: “Gambling industry bankrolls Eyman.

(And by “excellent” I don’t just mean that I like the article, but that it truly is excellent. Even the headline.)

In addition to providing an update on the Canadian and Nevadan gambling conglomerates who are the biggest backers of I-892 (“Slots for Tots,”) the article also raises the question of whether Eyman might be subsidizing the gambling initiative with funds from I-864 (stupid tax cut initiative,) pointing out that I-864 has spent more than $147,000 on printing and postage, while I-892 has spent only $8,400.

For intrepid reporters looking to add their own angle to this story, I suggest you delve into Tim’s business relationship with Roy Ruffino, who claims to have the “exclusive contract” on both Eyman initiatives. Since Roy has been subcontracting signatures to other firms, (surely keeping a healthy cut for himself,) and certainly doesn’t have the track record of the more established firms, I have long wondered what was in this apparently lopsided business deal for Tim?

Is this a convenient means of mixing funds between the two campaigns, outside the purview of the Public Disclosure Commission? Is he merely trying to hide the fact that his Canadian dollars are primarily being spent on Californian signature gatherers? Or, perhaps… is Tim getting some kind of kickback in return for his business?

Tim will surely deny an impropriety, and attribute any such claims to the dirty tricks of partisan critics, but as I pointed out in a column last year [The boy who cried Legal Defense Fund,] Tim Eyman is an admitted liar with a documented history of breaking the public disclosure laws, so if he draws extra scrutiny it is because he has earned it.

One of the reasons Tim is struggling to qualify his initiatives for the ballot is that a growing number of voters no longer take his claims at face value. And neither should the media.

by Goldy, 06/15/2004, 7:06 PM

I’ve been known to say a few unkind words about The Seattle Times, particularly their Op/Ed pages. I’m not apologizing; after all, they are the largest and most influential paper in the state, so they are more than a fair target.

And let’s be honest, who could resist poking a little fun at Collin Levey and her slavish devotion to her masters at Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, Inc.? (In fact, if Collin wrote every day, I could happily devote this blog just to her.)

But fair is fair. Today they printed an excellent editorial on the need to provide funding to treat our state’s growing epidemic of problem gambling: “Tribes should ante up for addicted gamblers.”

Of course, by “excellent,” I mean that I generally agree with it, not that it necessarily excelled in any particular way. Truth is, I have some issues with its main premise, a few of the details, and some phrasing. Oh, and the headline sucks.

Great conclusion though.

Most of all, I just plain appreciate that they are so willing to use their paper as a forum for promoting this very important issue. Not to mention their continued opposition to I-892, Eyman’s “Slots for Tots” initiative.

Which brings me to a little nitpicking:

A truly shameful statewide initiative seeks to expand state-licensed gambling, allowing slot machines in bars, restaurants, taverns, cardrooms and bowling alleys.

As accurate a characterization of I-892 as I’ve ever heard. Unfortunately, they don’t actually mention I-892 by name (or number,) which will leave more than a few of its signers nodding their heads in agreement, not realizing they’ve already penned their support.

Listen to the sales pitch of a typical paid signature gatherer and you’d think I-892 was entirely about property taxes (with the side benefit of finally giving the oppressed white man equal rights with Native Americans.) Many signers have absolutely no idea what they’ve signed.

Petitioning should be a wonderfully democratic opportunity for supporters to meet their fellow citizens face-to-face and educate them on the issues, but the only education today’s for-profit initiative process offers voters is the harsh lesson that believing the promises of these paid professionals is an invitation to be screwed.

I expect The Times to be more subtle than me in criticizing I-892 (after all, they are a “family newspaper,”) but failing to mention it by name is a bit too subtle. I appreciate that The Times has been out in front, opposing this initiative from day one. I just wish they would oppose it a little louder.