I don’t normally reprint emails forwarded my way without asking permission, but since this email from Attorney Sandy Levy to Rep. Mark Ericks was CC’d to a number of journalists, I think it’s pretty much fair game.
Dear Rep. Ericks:
Boy, was I a sucker. I believed you were an interested, impartial and objective task force chairman, appointed by Speaker Chopp to investigate problems in the homebuilding industry and to report to the Speaker with recommendations. You told me when we met in August of last year that you would convene your committee, bring me in to speak, and bring in homeowners to hear first hand the problems they were having. Instead, you never convened that group, at least not with any homeowners or their representatives.
Now I find out the following article, published today:
While some accounts explain that Chopp (who killed Sen. Weinstein’s bill late last week at the behest of the Building Industry Association of Washington) crafted his alternative proposal (a study!!) with Democratic Rep. Mark Ericks (D-1, Bothell), they fail to report that Rep. Ericks was the guest of honor at last Tuesday’s BIAW fund raiser at the BIAW’s offices in Olympia.
Mark, it’s not as though there were no homeowner groups with real complaints, with visible problems you could have visited yourself. One of them is just a few minutes away from the Capitol, such as the 130 unit Cooper Crest subdivision in Olympia. Yet you and the Speaker misinformed the public that you were leading an independent task force and you were meeting with stakeholders. I don’t know who the stakeholders were, other than BIAW. I know your committee didn’t meet with me, as you had promised. I guess money talks doesn’t it? Homeowners just don’t have the fat wallet that BIAW does to line legislative pockets. From the same article as above comes this illuminating piece of information:
Killing Sen. Weinstein’s bill—which would have guaranteed a warranty for consumers when they buy a new home (allowing consumers to sue contractors for faulty or shoddy work)—was the BIAW’s top legislative priority this year. The powerful conservative lobby—which bankrolls the GOP—also maxed out to Democratic Rep. Ericks last election cycle.
Misleading the public and trying to manipulate public opinion should be grounds for dismissal as a public official. What you have done is a disgrace to democracy. And, my representatives have abetted this trampling of citizen rights. Where is the guiding principle that you disclose any appearance of impropriety, any appearance of a conflict of interest. How do you take money from BIAW, then say you are an independent fact finder on a task force charged with analysis of a problem? Doesn’t that strike you as shocking?
The emphasis is Mr. Levy’s.
My personal outrage has never focused solely on the bill itself; there isn’t a session that goes by in which I’m not disappointed by the death of bills that didn’t even get a hearing, let alone a floor vote. Rather, my outrage, like that expressed by Levy, stems from the manner in which this bill has been consistently blocked by the militia-funding orca-killers at the BIAW, without anybody on the Democratic side having the balls to acknowledge the truth. I expect to be disappointed by the Democratic majority either because they genuinely disagree with me on issues of policy or on political strategy; I just don’t expect them to be shills for the enemy. I’ve got nothing against builders or contractors or their industry, but the organization that represents them is viciously anti-Democratic, and politically amoral at best. The BIAW is an organization dedicated to legislating the labor movement out of existence, and opposing all and every environmental regulation. And they have given every indication that they will stop at nothing to achieve their agenda.
If Rep. Ericks has a reply to Mr. Levy, in which amongst other things, he can defend his appearance as a “guest of honor” at a BIAW fundraiser, I’d be happy to post it here. But for the life of me, I can’t imagine what that defense might be.