Dirty tricks: 1000 signatures stolen from anti-smoking initiative

Here’s an interesting tidbit from today’s Seattle P-I:

Organizers of an anti-smoking initiative said yesterday that about 1,000 signatures were stolen from the campaign’s Green Lake office over the weekend.

Someone apparently climbed onto an adjacent roof and smashed out a second-story window to get into the YES! On Initiative 901 offices, said campaign director Megan Sather.

Nothing else in the office, which had computers and a small amount of cash, was disturbed.

“I’m surprised that any break-in of our office would focus on signatures, and just plain disappointed that anything like this would happen to stop us from getting on the ballot,” Sather said.

While I share Megan’s disappointment, I don’t share her surprise. I-901′s main opponent is the Recreational Gaming Association, the same lying bastards whose members bankrolled last year’s I-892, Tim Eyman’s stupidly cynical slot machine initiative. In an effort to confuse voters, they filed their own “anti-smoking” initiative, I-911. The initiative’s sponsor is Gary Murrey, an RGA board member, and a Vice President at Great American Casinos, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canadian corporation that was I-892′s largest financial backer. So once again we have the incredibly crooked and corrupt Great Canadian Gaming Corporation meddling in Washington’s initiative process.

Now I’m not saying that it was Great Canadian or any other RGA member who broke into I-901 HQ to steal signatures… but it wouldn’t surprise me. When you have an industry whose profits are based on loansharking, prostitution and addiction, a little Watergate-style break-in seems almost innocent. I’m just saying.

In any case, it’s all moot because I-901 has already collected more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, and the campaign wasn’t stupid enough to leave the petitions lying around where Great Canadian could send one if its pals in the Chinese mob to come steal it. Not that this was the work of Great Canadian, the RGA or the Chinese mob.

I’m just saying….

Comments

  1. 1

    Goldy spews:

    And of course, a big thank you to Stefan for letting me borrow his “I’m just saying” rhetorical device.

  2. 2

    pbj spews:

    The anti-smoking intiative will make the ballot and will become law. And when it does, I will celebrate.

  3. 3

    spews:

    Wow, there’s absolutely nothing I agree with PBJ on, ever. If this initiative makes the November ballot, I will be actively opposing it. I hope that the liberals here who truly care about personal freedom join me.

  4. 6

    Mark D spews:

    Gotta love an initiative that is solely intended to limit personal freedoms, property rights. You really have to go out of your way to find a place that allows smoking anymore. I like how the backers of this initiative use the health of employees as one of the main reasons to ban smoking. I don’t know about you, but I’d say at least 80-90% of the people I know who work where smoking is allowed, smoke themselves. (I have many friends in the bar industry) And did so before getting the job. They also knew smoking was allowed before taking the job.

    The other thing that drives me crazy about the proponents of this initiative is the ads that say “only 20 percent of the population smokes, so why are there places that allow smoking?” What a joke. If you want to start limiting behavior of people because “only 20% of people” partake in it you are crusing down a very slippery slope. i.e., let’s close down “gay bars.” Afterall, maybe people will get a bit drunk there and engage in risky behavior, creating a health problem. After all, even less than 20% of the population is gay!!

    I know people find smoke offensive, so don’t go into a place that allows it. I find some legal behavior offensive. You know what? I don’t go to places where that behavior is practiced. If I’m offended by Pornography, do you think I’d head down to Ricks? No. But I’m not going to tell you not to go there.

    By the way. I’m an ex-smoker.

  5. 7

    Felix Fermin spews:

    If a smoking ban works in NYC, I don’t see why we can’t make it work here. I for one have several friends I haven’t seen in years because I refuse to follow them into the bars they frequent.

  6. 8

    marks spews:

    Felix Fermin @6

    I refuse to follow them into the bars they frequent

    That is the number one reason why I agree with thehim @3. I have read many reasons pro and con vis-a-vis smoking bans, but ultimately it comes down to your statement. It is up to you to decide. In voting for the ban, why do you insist on making the choice for them?

  7. 9

    spews:

    Marks, exactly.

    And Felix, it doesn’t matter if it “works.” It’s a matter of whether it violates people’s freedom. The real people who are victimized by this are the people who work in bars that cater to a smoking crowd and smoke as well. There are many of those people, and they prefer to work in that environment so that they can smoke as they work. Telling a business owner that he is no longer allowed to provide a work environment that suits their employee’s lifestyle is about an non-liberal as you can possibly get.

  8. 11

    Goldy spews:

    Mark D @6,

    Oh boo-hoo. You don’t like the initiative process, get rid of it. Smoking is a health hazard, and it is just as much a game subject for an initiative, as any of the pro-business, anti-government initiatives that have come down the pike.

    I’m pretty sure The Him is consistent on this issue, but I’ll tell you what… I’ll put up with smoking in bars and restaurants, as long as what people are smoking is not at issue. (And no, I don’t smoke either tobacco or pot.)

    There are a lot of people on the right who are all for the freedom to smoke cigarettes in public, but opposed to the freedom to smoke pot at home. Now that’s hypocritical. Essentially what it comes down to is, the Republican party supports regulating individuals, but not businesses.

  9. 12

    marks spews:

    Goldy,

    Essentially what it comes down to is, the Republican party supports regulating individuals, but not businesses.

    I thought the four most conservative justices on the SCOTUS were in favor of medical marijuana. Granted, is was not a repeal of anti-marijuana laws, but it does say something about how freedom is viewed from that lofty bench…

  10. 13

    spews:

    Goldy, I think the only argument to support this kind of all-out ban that carries any weight is the public health issue (which is also what makes it a slightly different issue from conservative Republicans’ hugely hypocritical stance on pot). Although, I’m just not convinced that there’s any substantial number of people who work in smoky bars in Seattle who feel that the government needs to protect them from their work environment and that their eventual health care bills are significant enough to be the state’s concern. And the whole “I want to be able to go into any bar in the state and not be bothered by smoke” argument carries no weight at all and truly discredits most of the people who support these bans.

    Many bars around Seattle are either smoke free or (like the Montlake) have few smokers and good ventilation. An employee of what Righton would call a “common man” bar complaining about working in one of those places would be like a Hooters waitress complaining that the customers are staring at her chest all the time. You can go work somewhere else. You don’t need government protection.

    As for pot, yes, the Republicans (and admittedly, some Democrats) are so ridiculously hypocritical when it comes to pot, it’s sad. But Democrats, many of whom support these smoking bans but don’t have a problem with pot, are starting to exhibit some hypocrisy as well. Usually, it’s fleshed out when I ask them if I think it would be fair, once pot is legal and there are places where you can smoke pot without being hassled (like Vancouver), for an initiative to ban smoking in those places to protect the people who work there. It forces people to deal with the real issue, and that’s the fact that we shouldn’t be protecting bartenders and other bar workers who smoke from their own lifestyle.

  11. 14

    spews:

    Marks,

    The Raich decision was actually 6-3, but it was Thomas, Rehnquist, and O’Connor dissenting. They did not pass judgement at all on whether or not marijuana should be banned, or even whether it should be considered medicine. They simply ruled that the government can consider any pot plants (no matter how few) grown within the United States as “interstate commerce” and therefore the federal government has the ability to intervene, even if the particular state sanctions the behavior. I personally think it was an atrocious decision, and along with Kelo, it’s a good indication of how big of a gap there is between younger liberals like myself and much older liberals like the ones on the Supreme Court.

    Although Scalia voted with the majority on that one, and I’m terribly worried that any new justice that Bush nominates will be ideologically closest to him.

  12. 15

    marks spews:

    Goldy,

    While you’re correct that many on the right seem to enjoy regulating some aspects of individuals, until marijuana laws are repealed, pot smoking will continue to be against the law.

    I don’t care if you are smoking pot at home. I don’t care if you come into the smoking section and light a joint. I certainly don’t care if you are in a bar smoking, as I can choose to go elsewhere.

    What you are saying @11 is effectively “They do it, so I will, too.”

    With that said, the ban will pass by a very wide margin.

  13. 16

    pbj spews:

    I could care less what people smoke in their home or their car. When they go out in public and smoke, then that is the problem I have. For over 200 years in this country smokers have told nonsmokers to go somewhere else or get another job. Now the shoe is on the other foot and I AM LOVING IT!!!!!

    As for property rights, if a business rents their space (as many do) then they don’t own any property now do they? So the property rights argument is bogus. Government has the right to regulate when it concerns health and safety. Businesses have no “right” to be in business. That is why you must get a “business license” from the local municpality where you plan to conduct your business. And if they require you to paint pink elephants on the ceilings, they have the legal right to do so.

  14. 17

    marks spews:

    thehim,

    I knew I screwed up on the number, but decided to let somebody else correct it… :)

  15. 18

    pbj spews:

    Reply@6,

    Mark, I DO stay out of places that allow it. The problem is the places that DO NOT allow it- the damn smokers still smoke. On the ferries, every trip the ships mate must announce over the intercomn for some smoker to put it out because they are smoking where it is CLEARLY posted not smoking.

    Politely ask the smoker stop by pointing out the sign and you will get a “fuck You”. Payback is a bitch ain’t it?

  16. 19

    Erik spews:

    At this point, Washington state lags Montana, Florida, Idaho and even Georgia in eliminating carcinogenic cancer causing smoke from indoors. Not to mention about 6 other states. What gives?

    It’s about time Washington finally came up to speed. Even the opponents of I-901 and Eyman admit it will pass with flying colors.

  17. 20

    spews:

    As for property rights, if a business rents their space (as many do) then they don’t own any property now do they?

    Who cares, we’re not talking about who owns the property, we’re talking about whether or not the government can impose certain rules that would override the wishes of either party (even if they both agree).

    Government has the right to regulate when it concerns health and safety.

    So should the government ban bars altogether to prevent drunk driving?

    Businesses have no “right” to be in business.

    I can’t believe you wrote that. You really are an old Democrat.

    And if they require you to paint pink elephants on the ceilings, they have the legal right to do so.

    And if pot smoking is allowed, most would do it anyway.

    PBJ, I must admit, I’m thrilled that you’ve rediscovered your leftist roots on this issue. You go, girl.

  18. 21

    Chuck spews:

    As a non smoker I hope this law fails to ever become law. It is too interferin with the rights of the owner of a private establishment.

  19. 22

    pbj spews:

    TheHim,

    See you are one of the right wing herd that thinks that anyone has a thought not implanted by Rush Limbaugh is not a “true conservative” – whatever the hell that is.

    Sorry bub, I am an independant thinker. I don’t need you or Rush to tell mw what to think. And there is no right to own a business. That is the way it has been since the beginning of the country. Local municiplaities have always been granted authority over law regarding local regulation of businesses.

    Go back to quacking “ditto. ditto. ditto” for Rush Limbaugh.

  20. 24

    Erik spews:

    Wow Goldy, nice piece on the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation you linked to. And you only got two posts, one from a troll and the other from Joseph.

  21. 25

    Erik spews:

    Businesses have no “right” to be in business.

    Sure they do. But they don’t have the right to kill you with e coli in their burgers or cancer causing smoke both of which are reasonable health regulations.

  22. 26

    pbj spews:

    Erik,

    No they do not have a right to be in business. That is why there are local regulations that can ban certain kinds of businesses within the borders of municipalities.

  23. 27

    Marilyn spews:

    I agree with Chuck @ 21; let the business owner make the decision, or, given that there’s a health argument to be made re smoking, rahter than restricting it here and there, wouldn’t it make more sense for the government to ban cigarettes entirely? sure, there’d still be a black market, but banning cigarettes entirely would essentially erase smoking in indoor public places. Until cigarettes are declaresd illegal, however, I say let the business owner make the choice. There really aren’t that many places that still allow smoking anyway, are there? Or am I just not getting out enough? Marilyn

  24. 28

    spews:

    Marilyn,
    The health argument about smoking is not to protect smokers from themselves, it’s to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke. Banning smoking entirely would force smokers to have to hide their smoking, therefore they’d smoke inside, making the situation worse. Not to mention that driving the cigarette market underground would probably cause the number of young people smoking to go through the roof. Prohibitions on addictive substances don’t work. They never have, and they never will.

  25. 29

    Donnageddon spews:

    Hold on! You say voting for a ban on smoking will effect prostitution? Sorry, I gotta say no!

    And there are places in Vancouver B.C. where you can smoke pot without being hassled? Addresses please!

  26. 30

    marks spews:

    pbj @18

    Politely ask the smoker stop by pointing out the sign and you will get a “fuck You”. Payback is a bitch ain’t it?

    Was the “fuck You” said politely?

    Anyway, thehim is as rightwing as Rush is left…

  27. 31

    spews:

    Donnageddon,
    There are several coffeeshop-type places near Gastown in Vancouver where smoking pot is allowed within the premises. You can’t purchase, like Amsterdam, but you will not be hassled for smoking a bowl.

  28. 32

    spews:

    Marks,
    For most of us, an interest in politics is rooted in a desire to improve our lives. For PBJ, his interest in politics is a way to get back at people he doesn’t like.

  29. 34

    pbj spews:

    Cleaning the air IS improving our lives. Reducing the carcinogens in the indoor air IS improving our lives. The payback is just a fringe benefit.

    @30

    Well when the middle finger and spittle flew (from the smoker), I presumed it wasn’t meant politely. But hey. all you smokers can now just “go somewhere else if you don’t like it”. There is always your own home and your car.

  30. 35

    pbj spews:

    @28,

    Prohibitions on addictive substances don’t work. They never have, and they never will.

    Just curious about that statement. So you want heroin and crack to be legal too? Can that axiom be applied to addictive behavior as well?

  31. 36

    dj spews:

    pbj,

    It is pretty funny that you flagged TheHim as right-wing. It just goes to show that all issues are not left-wing versus right-wing. I am not right-wing either, but I agree with TheHim and Marks on this one. I have this little libertarian devil in me that kicks me in the kidneys on these types of issues. People can vote with their feet on bars and other optional public places, and at some point businesses will adapt their policy to the demands of the market.

    I do, however, support smoking restrictions in places like airports, were people don’t have a serious choice. . . .

    The other reason I will vote against the smoking ban initiative is that I hate the initiative process. I’ve seen little good come out of the process since coming to Washington.

  32. 37

    Marilyn spews:

    thehim@28: If we’re talking about banning smoking in privately operated,public gathering places such as bars and restaurants, banning tobacco entirely would work in making those places smoke free, if “smoke free” is the result you’re after. I agree it wouldn’t change individual behaviours, but it would change those behaviours as to where they take place. If the intent is to protect other people from routine, second hand smoke, making tobacco products illegal would help. Yes people would have to “hide” their smoking. They would have to smoke somewhere else. So what? Why do you care? All you want is to go into a smoke free- gathering place, right? Yes, tobaacco would then be just another illegal drug that people would use anyway. SO? What’s one more? There isn’t a legal mechanism made that will keep people from doing what they’re going to do, you can’t stop those behaviours, but you can inhibit them to the degree that it will impact others less. I just think half measures are pointless. tobacco is either legal or it isn’t. If it is legal, let the business owner decide which customers to accommodate. Marilyn

  33. 38

    spews:

    Cleaning the air IS improving our lives. Reducing the carcinogens in the indoor air IS improving our lives.

    Not all lives, just some. Some people prefer to be in an environment where they can smoke. You can’t just say that those people’s desires are invalid because they may be unhealthy. If that were the case, we could make people stop eating bacon cheeseburgers.

    Just curious about that statement. So you want heroin and crack to be legal too? Can that axiom be applied to addictive behavior as well?

    Absolutely. Heroin and crack should both be legal and strongly regulated. Addiction is not criminal behavior, it is a health problem. Criminalization does not make the problem go away, it pushes it into the dark where it spawns other problems, such as gang violence, increased abuse by children, and ultimately a way to funnel disproportionately more minorities into prison (as a side note, you mentioning crack there is interesting since it’s the same thing as cocaine, but has a reputation for being worse because so many black crack users have gone to jail as opposed to white cocaine users).

  34. 39

    spews:

    If the intent is to protect other people from routine, second hand smoke, making tobacco products illegal would help. Yes people would have to “hide” their smoking. They would have to smoke somewhere else. So what? Why do you care?

    Because they’ll start smoking inside around their children, that’s why. It makes the long-term health issue worse, not better.

    All you want is to go into a smoke free- gathering place, right?

    Actually, I don’t care that much about a smoke free gathering place. I occasionally bum cigarettes from friends myself.

    Yes, tobaacco would then be just another illegal drug that people would use anyway. SO? What’s one more?

    Considering that banning pot and most other drugs have been monumental failures that have created 10 problems for every one they’ve solved, I’d say we should be working towards one less (and perhaps more).

    I just think half measures are pointless.

    That’s beside the point. By banning smoking, you will make the health situation worse. You don’t ban everything because it’s too hard to draw the line in a way that’s fair for the most people.

  35. 40

    marks spews:

    dj @36,

    I do, however, support smoking restrictions in places like airports, were people don’t have a serious choice

    There are many places where a smoking ban is indeed good. I hope smoking is not allowed in refineries, for example.

    Most work environments are simply not places where smoking can be allowed due to the fact that many of the workers are non-smokers. The exceptions: I used to frequent bars and bowling alleys, and go figure, most of the employees there smoked.

    I would settle for a ban on smoking in restaurants, but the initiative is written in such a broad manner…

  36. 41

    Righton spews:

    see, socialism demands a total obedience; that is, once you socialize medicine, then you can decide smoking, drinking, fatness, etc

  37. 42

    pbj spews:

    @38,

    Criminalization does not make the problem go away, it pushes it into the dark where it spawns other problems, such as gang violence, increased abuse by children, and ultimately a way to funnel disproportionately more minorities into prison

    Interesting. So essentially nothing shoul dbe illegal, lest it it pushes it into the dark where it spawns other problems, such as gang violence, increased abuse by children, and ultimately a way to funnel disproportionately more minorities into prison. Wife beating, child beating etc. Don’t make it illegeal lest it pushes it into the dark where it spawns other problems, such as gang violence, increased abuse by children, and ultimately a way to funnel disproportionately more minorities into prison .

  38. 43

    thehim spews:

    So essentially nothing shoul dbe illegal, lest it it pushes it into the dark where it spawns other problems, such as gang violence, increased abuse by children, and ultimately a way to funnel disproportionately more minorities into prison.

    Not nothing, but addictive behavior. Most real criminal behavior is not addictive behavior.

    Another important distinction with drug use is that there is no victim, so there is no real sense of “justice” in locking someone up. When someone steals a car, there’s a very clear reason to put someone in jail, as that person is someone who has victimized another person. Human beings understand that there’s a difference between victimization and “self-destructive” behavior, even if many of them don’t understand the full effect it has on a society to treat both behaviors the same way.

    Also, many of the problems that stem from the criminality of drugs involve market forces. Some victim crimes, such as theft and fraud, can have an economic incentive, but much of the worst crime in our society involves personal interaction, and making it illegal does not produce a dangerous market for it. It just provides justice for the victims and a way to incarcerate dangerous people.

    Personally, I don’t believe that jail is a deterrent that keeps people from committing crimes, but that does not mean that I think that no one should go to jail. It is a necessary way for keeping the most dangerous people off the streets. Putting drug users there as well is just idiotic, unless they’ve also done something to show that they are capable of victimizing people.

  39. 44

    klake spews:

    Wow, there’s absolutely nothing I agree with PBJ on, ever. If this initiative makes the November ballot, I will be actively opposing it. I hope that the liberals here who truly care about personal freedom join me.

    Comment by thehim— 6/28/05 @ 2:48 pm

    Rush ditto’s from me, I will light up a great Cuba cigar, and smoke it in front of Ron Sim’s House to celebrate the defeat of this initative. God bless Tim you brought this upon all us smokers by abuseing the initiative system. BUT I have a soft spot for voting for every TAX cut put on the Ballot. Sorry folks you need some Reality Check. PS you Chap’s who disagree stay in Cannada and SMOKE that BC Bud and Mellow out.

  40. 45

    Chuck spews:

    dj@36
    “The other reason I will vote against the smoking ban initiative is that I hate the initiative process. I’ve seen little good come out of the process since coming to Washington.”

    I-695 in this state did absolute wonders for the poor and downtrodden citizens in this state!

  41. 46

    dj spews:

    Chuck @ 44

    “I-695 in this state did absolute wonders for the poor and downtrodden citizens in this state!”

    I know some people feel that they have gained by paying reduced car tabs. But, the poor (or those with older or less valuable cars) got almost nothing compared to rich folks (expensive or late model cars).

    The question is whether the funding cuts have, in turn, hurt the rural areas of the state. We almost certainly have a shittier transportation infrastructure–the only question is how long we will let it decay before doing something about it (of course this is precisely what the gas tax increase will fund).

    A big chunk of the car tab tax was returned to counties, cities and towns. There is some good evidence that rural areas are being seriously hurt by the cuts. Goldy provides some anecdotal evidence here (first two posts).

    So, Chuck, while I appreciate the point you are making, I must respectfully disagree with you. As someone who values good transportation infrastructure, I view I695 as a miserable failure overall.

  42. 47

    Chuck spews:

    dj@45
    The vehicles you are referring to are and were collector vehicles by and large, owned by the more affluent folks. The working poor sap that was busting his ass trying to feed a family on a lower paying job was usually making payments on a car 5-10 years old. Now in pre 695 dog years that is still a healthy $300.00 per year to tab (a half a beef at most meat shops at the time) now that is putting real food on the table!

  43. 48

    Chuck spews:

    dj@45
    Then you are one that thinks we should keep ghost towns from fading away with tax dollars, swimming pools and such? Perhaps we should go down to the Nevada desert and go into the old ghost towns, put swimming pools in and clean their city halls with our tax dollars…if you build it and clean it they will come…or stay, is that the idea?

  44. 49

    Chuck spews:

    dj@45
    By the way the affluent ones, the Gates, JZ knight, Frank Shrontz and the like, not only didnt care but didnt give a shit or even notice the advantage of 695 as it was mere pocket change to them, they blow that much at supper in a resteraunt. It was the working poor that wanted to kiss Eyemans ass for the tab fee. The good it did for these folks far outweighed any “harm” that was realised. Aditionally if the MVET fee was still on they would still be looking for 10 cents more tax on gas AND turn the MVET screws by another 1/3!

  45. 50

    zip spews:

    dj 36

    Unbelievable, we agree on something. Don’t go in the bar if you don’t like the smoke.

    My own objection to this initiative is the “do good” flavor of the whole thing. These I 901 people ate everywhere! They could help a lot more people, and avoid trampling on the rights of a lot of bar owners, if they found another cause.

  46. 51

    dj spews:

    Chuck @ 47

    “The working poor sap that was busting his ass trying to feed a family on a lower paying job was usually making payments on a car 5-10 years old.”

    But, what it all boils down to, Chuck, is that Washingtonians have a modest state tax burden (right in the middle of all states).

    The $100-$300 tab that the working poor had to shell out once a year is only one type of tax they pay. The car tab tax is bad psychology because people feel like they are getting hit hard by a big chunck of change. But, they don’t pay state income tax here. The nice thing about the tab tax is that richer people paid more, both because they had newer and more expensive cars and they tend to own more cars.

    Now we have a gas tax instead. This tax hits the working poor relatively harder than the tab tax. On average, under an increased gas tax, more of the income of these folks likely goes toward taxes and the rich pay relatively less.

    I am not rich, but I own 3 cars from the 1980s of modest value and my wife owns one 1996 car, our household would pay far more in tab tax each year than we will pay in gas tax. A bunch of lower-income folks are making up the loss in revenue to the state from our household under the gas tax system.

    And, don’t you believe that revoking the gas tax through initiative is going to accomplish anything in the way of lowering our (already modest) state tax burden. It will only temporarory lower revenues. People (not politicians) demand transportation infrastructure. The politicians are stuck raising the revenue for these projects, and they will have to find another way around another poorly thought out initiative. But the short term loss of revenue means that our infrastructure will decay even more and will cost far more to repair (a stitch in time. . . .). That is why I think I695 is a prime example of why initiatives are a shitty way to run a State.

  47. 52

    dj spews:

    Chuck @ 48

    “Then you are one that thinks we should keep ghost towns from fading away with tax dollars, swimming pools and such?”

    That is a straw-man argument. One major reason for taxes is to provide a standard level of services to people everywhere. Rural folks shouldn’t have to do without fire protection, police protection, water, sewers, schools, electricity, roads, environmental safety, public health, etc. City folks get some benefits of scale from this, so the State ends up redistributing tax dollars to provide the minimum level of services that society determines all people are entitled to.

    One of the things that makes the U.S. a great country is that we have high minimal standards for these things. And these high standards are, to a great extent, responsible for our success.

    Chuck, people sometimes jokingly suggest that you move to some undeveloped country because you seem to have minimal concept of a greater social good. I’ve been there—I lived for a year in a rural village of one of the poorest countries on earth. I experienced first hand what happens when a country cannot provide much of an infrastructure or services because they have no tax base. Frankly, it sucked having no sewers, no piped water, electricity that was sporadically on for about 1/2 of each day, disease all around, flooding that was largely uncontrolled, no garbage collection, mud roads, and minimal standards for businesses (every business transaction was a major ordeal with no guarantees whatsoever).

    I believe if you think about it deeply, or actually go and live in such an area, you will come to the realization that you are extremely fortunate in the system of government that you live under, and that you live under the minimum standards that our society has deemed necessary. I’m not saying that everything is perfect, but the net result is excellent. You and I enjoy a standard of life that is unimaginable and unattainable for most people on this earth.

  48. 53

    dj spews:

    zip @ 50

    “Unbelievable, we agree on something.”

    Yeah. . . cool. Everything in life cannot fall on a left-right divide, eh?

  49. 54

    Chuck spews:

    dj@51
    No dj, having a fairly intimate knoledge of government as well as schools in this state I think it is high time that WSDOT was put on a diet, in combonation with an elimination of prevailing wage laws. The mone for these projects is already there it just needs used more efficiently. And I stick to my opinion that I695 was the best thing that happened for the working poor in years.

  50. 55

    Chuck spews:

    dj@52
    “That is a straw-man argument. One major reason for taxes is to provide a standard level of services to people everywhere. Rural folks shouldn’t have to do without fire protection, police protection, water, sewers, schools, electricity, roads, environmental safety, public health, etc. City folks get some benefits of scale from this, so the State ends up redistributing tax dollars to provide the minimum level of services that society determines all people are entitled to.”>>>

    Well, I have said this before, but I AM rural folk, We have a voulanteer fire dept. (with a waiting list to voulanteer), minimum police protection (Pierce County Sheriffs idea of justice= just-us), so we pack heat, I have no sewer, but I installed a septic tank and drain field and I paid the entire cost (and no I dont want a $75.00 per month sewer/water bill), I get my water from a non clorinated, non florided private well (water testing at my expense as well), I pay the same property tax as someone on a sewer so I do support the schools, I have to maintain the road to my house, I pay taxes for bus service but get no bus service (now that does piss me off), but the point is I dont want nor do I need state intervention, and niether do most rural dwellers. The problem comes when city dwellers see the way we are (happily) living and decide we need their “help”. We usually dont.

  51. 56

    dj spews:

    Chuck @ 55

    “We have a voulanteer fire dept. (with a waiting list to voulanteer)”

    Glad it is working out for you. It doesn’t work as well everywhere.

    “minimum police protection (Pierce County Sheriffs idea of justice= just-us), so we pack heat”

    Ahhh, yes, the Third-world Police System–terrible social policy.

    “I have no sewer, but I installed a septic tank and drain field and I paid the entire cost (and no I dont want a $75.00 per month sewer/water bill)”

    Of course, you have gained an enormous public health benefit in past tax payers funding the research to develop safe septic systems and enforcing safe practices for you and your neighbors. Consider the rural S. Asia case: cholera and other diarrheal diseases are pandemic because there are no standards and simple latrines runnoff into the water supply.

    “I get my water from a non clorinated, non florided private well (water testing at my expense as well)”

    . . . which the state helps protect.

    “I pay the same property tax as someone on a sewer so I do support the schools”

    As we all do. Do you doubt that our society and your life is substantially improved by manditory K-12 education?

    “I have to maintain the road to my house”

    I remember your story. You chose to maintain the road to your house. But, you did not build it, nor did you build the other roads that connect to your road (and without which, your road is worthless).

    “I pay taxes for bus service but get no bus service (now that does piss me off)”

    Fair enough! I’d be pissed, too.

    “, but the point is I dont want nor do I need state intervention, and niether do most rural dwellers. The problem comes when city dwellers see the way we are (happily) living and decide we need their “help”. We usually dont.”

    You do, or you would not have your job and your rental properties. You would be busy making spears and building walls and fighting off other people with spears trying to take your property. . . .

  52. 57

    Chuck spews:

    “Of course, you have gained an enormous public health benefit in past tax payers funding the research to develop safe septic systems”>>>

    Show me where tax dollars were responsible for this reasearch versus private funding.

    “which the state helps protect.”>>>

    How is it the state protects my water well…enlighten me

    “I remember your story. You chose to maintain the road to your house. But, you did not build it”>>>

    Yes I did build it, and maintaining it is not a choice but a requirement (in other words not done by the government)

    “You do, or you would not have your job and your rental properties. You would be busy making spears and building walls and fighting off other people with spears trying to take your property”>>>

    To a point you are correct but that is no reason to allow a fat bloated wasteful government to just constantly take and take without improving itself. Some “towns” dry up as part of evolution (really) and it isnt good policy to prop them up. It isnt a good idea to require contractors to pay prevailing wage to employees while working government contracts…that is pissing taxpayer money away and people work to damned hard for their money to be slapped in the face like that.

  53. 59

    dj spews:

    Chuck,

    “Show me where tax dollars were responsible for this reasearch versus private funding.”

    Research funding from the National Institutes of Health is the single biggest source of finding for biomedical research in the U.S. Here is a report on it that dates to 2000: http://www.meduohio.edu/resear.....nefits.pdf
    This report was a product of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee chaired by Senator Connie Mack.

    At that time, 36 percent of all biomedical research in the U.S. was U.S. government funded. Between 2000 and 2003, however, Congress doubled the NIH budget so that the percent is much higher now (over 50%, I believe).

    “How is it the state protects my water well…enlighten me”

    It prevents you and your neighbors from contaminating your water sources via regulations, equipment standards and inspections for Septic systems; also, there are prohibitions of dumping some kinds of stuff into the ground.

    Yes I did build it, and maintaining it is not a choice but a requirement (in other words not done by the government)

    Ahhh. . . I must be confusing this with a maintenance horror story someone else posted. Sure, you built a private(?) road, but I don’t believe that is how it works for the vast majority of roads in this state.

    “To a point you are correct but that is no reason to allow a fat bloated wasteful government to just constantly take and take without improving itself. Some “towns” dry up as part of evolution (really) and it isnt good policy to prop them up.”

    I mostly agree with both of these points, Chuck. But, I just don’t believe most of the anecdotal evidence that Washington is bloated and wasteful. We have a modest tax burden, and our state is ranked one of the best managed in the country. That said, I completely agree with you that we should constantly be striving to make government less wasteful. Frequently, cutting funding is not the right answer—like underpaying state employees so that we end up hiring low-quality state employees.

    “It isnt a good idea to require contractors to pay prevailing wage to employees while working government contracts…that is pissing taxpayer money away and people work to damned hard for their money to be slapped in the face like that.”

    I’ve read pros and cons to the prevailing wage—I don’t feel I have good enough information to take a stand on this. I do (in part) understand and appreciate your argument, though.

    Oh. . . and Chuck, thanks for the discussion! Even if we don’t see eye to eye on many issues, I have enjoyed some of these exchanges, and they have been informative as well.

  54. 60

    Chuck spews:

    dj@59
    “Research funding from the National Institutes of Health is the single biggest source of finding for biomedical research in the U.S. Here is a report on it that dates to 2000″>>>

    Very cute but we knew how to build a septic tank with a drain field around the turn of the century…my drain fields as well as the septic tanks were built before 2000…as a matter of fact the best drain field available (thru private reasearch) is not acceptable by the state of Washington as a viable alternative…it is called the infiltrator.

  55. 61

    Chuck spews:

    j@59
    “It prevents you and your neighbors from contaminating your water sources via regulations, equipment standards and inspections for Septic systems; also, there are prohibitions of dumping some kinds of stuff into the ground.”>>>

    Here we go, my water originally was required for years to be tested by Pierce county at a substantial fee by a private tester, then our buddy Gary Lock moved in with an identicle set of tests from the state, by you guessed it a different private tester…1 year after that, Billy Bob Clinton comes in with another set of tests from the federal government, you guessed it, another private lab. So are they testing for anything different? No. Can the same stupid test be used for all three? No. Two out of three? No. Ok dj why am I doing this????

  56. 62

    Chuck spews:

    dj@59
    “Ahhh. . . I must be confusing this with a maintenance horror story someone else posted. Sure, you built a private(?) road, but I don’t believe that is how it works for the vast majority of roads in this state.”

    Not a vast majority of roads but a whole bunch of us live on private roads where we either pay a community (non government) fee to maintain the road, or in my case get a shovel (bobcat actually I havent done the shovel thing in a while) and fill in the ditch at my expence.

  57. 64

    David spews:

    Initiative 901 SEEMS like a good thing – ban smoking inside of bars to protect the health of bartenders and wait staff. I agree. I don’t smoke, don’t like that other people do, and believe the science that says second hand smoke kills. And while I think the government has reason to ban smoking inside, INITIATIVE 901 goes to far. It also bans smoking “within 25 feet from entrances, exits, windows that open, or ventilation intakes…”.

    So, bars like the War Room or Linda’s will not be allowed to let people smoke on their deck. If you want to smoke outside the Baltic Room, you will have to walk up or down the block to make sure you get 25′ away from any entrance or exit, window etc. That could mean across the street in the parking lot. If you work downtown and want to take a smoke break, better stand in the middle of the street because there is an entrance or exit about every 5′.

    It is sad that the people who wrote 901 would have to be such extremists and ruin an otherwise good initiative. I’m afraid these people don’t just want to do away with the annoying and unhealthy smoke inside bars and restaurants. They want to control every aspect of people’s health wherever they are. This is more of the politics of fanatics and zealots.

    The supporters of 901 should go back to the drawing board and craft this initiative without the 25′ foot rule in section 6. They should hold back on their desire to use the government to enforce their health standards on everyone everywhere and be happy with just banning smoking inside all public places. From Iraq to the Monorail, from Rush Limbaugh to Louis Farrakhan, from smoking bans to pharmacists refusing to fill birth control prescriptions, I am tired with the politics of zealots. Time for moderate, reasonable laws and politics!

    Please do not sign Initiative 901 and please vote against it. Make the Anti-Smoking folks present us with a law that is reasonable. I’ll support it if they do, but not UNTIL they do.

  58. 65

    David spews:

    Initiative 901 SEEMS like a good thing – ban smoking inside of bars to protect the health of bartenders and wait staff. I agree. I don’t smoke, don’t like that other people do, and believe the science that says second hand smoke kills. And while I think the government has reason to ban smoking inside, INITIATIVE 901 goes to far. It also bans smoking “within 25 feet from entrances, exits, windows that open, or ventilation intakes…”.

    So, bars like the War Room or Linda’s will not be allowed to let people smoke on their deck. If you want to smoke outside the Baltic Room, you will have to walk up or down the block to make sure you get 25′ away from any entrance or exit, window etc. That could mean across the street in the parking lot. If you work downtown and want to take a smoke break, better stand in the middle of the street because there is an entrance or exit about every 5′.

    It is sad that the people who wrote 901 would have to be such extremists and ruin an otherwise good initiative. I’m afraid these people don’t just want to do away with the annoying and unhealthy smoke inside bars and restaurants. They want to control every aspect of people’s health wherever they are. This is more of the politics of fanatics and zealots.

    The supporters of 901 should go back to the drawing board and craft this initiative without the 25′ foot rule in section 6. They should hold back on their desire to use the government to enforce their health standards on everyone everywhere and be happy with just banning smoking inside all public places. From Iraq to the Monorail, from Rush Limbaugh to Louis Farrakhan, from smoking bans to pharmacists refusing to fill birth control prescriptions, I am tired with the politics of zealots. Time for moderate, reasonable laws and politics!

    Please do not sign Initiative 901 and please vote against it. Make the Anti-Smoking folks present us with a law that is reasonable. I’ll support it if they do, but not UNTIL they do.

  59. 66

    DemonHunter spews:

    King Solomon had about 700 wives and 300 concubines..that’s really smokin’!

    :)

    Freedom for every American dick. (My personal vote)