It’s a lazy Sunday, so I was just going to pile on Collin Levey [The less you know, the Moore you blame,] this time for her extraneous reference to “the flailing Democratic talk-radio station Air America.” (I suppose if the WSJ published a dictionary, she might look up the word “flailing” and see that beating Rush Limbaugh’s ratings head-to-head in the NY market, doesn’t quite fit the definition.)
But then, we all know she’s just following orders from her leaders at Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, Inc. They’re scared liberal talk-radio might have a market, so the echo chamber has been doing its darndest to convince potential advertisers, listeners and imitators otherwise.
My guess is that Ms. Levey has spent more than a few hours trembling with uncertainty, listening to the very entertaining O’Franken Factor streaming over the internet. And if she hasn’t, it’s probably because she’s too busy writing a review of the show to actually bother listening to it.
Of course, if writing a blog were as simple as lampooning Collin Levey’s columns, everybody would be doing it. (In fact, a quick Google search turns up no less than 9 blogs devoted exactly to that, plus one celebrity fanzine with a photo gallery of Collin hanging on the arms of various Hollywood hunks.)
But my readers demand a little more effort than Ms. Levey’s, and so I’d like to direct all several of you to an editorial in today’s Olympian: “Library system would be hit hard by I-864.”
Reading this editorial was like watching Smarty Jones run the Belmont Stakes. From the headline, it looked unbeatable. It established position out of the gate, set a strong pace, and came out of the final turn looking like a champion. Unfortunately, it was edged out by misinformation in the final furlong… uh, paragraphs.
Eyman and other initiative supporters will say the lost revenue due to the 25 percent property tax reduction will be made up for with taxes on expanded gambling opportunities.
Perhaps, but as library supporters correctly point out, there is nothing in Initiative 864 that requires that library, fire or cemetery districts, cities and counties be made whole for the tax dollars they lose with a 25 percent property tax reduction. How those additional gambling tax dollars are spent will be up to state lawmakers. Library district funding isn’t even on the radar screen for most legislators, given the demands of paying for schools, colleges and social services.
I believe I may have previously mentioned that Tim Eyman is a lying, thieving, blowhard. But even Tim has never attempted to suggest that local revenue losses from I-864 might be offset by revenues from the 19,000 slot machines legalized by I-892.
And even if he had, The Olympian’s editors would have quickly discerned that I-864 and I-892 have absolutely nothing to do with each other… if only they had read the initiatives.
I-864 cuts regular local levies by 25%, and The Olympian performs a great service for its readers by so clearly explaining its devastating impact on libraries.
I-892 legalizes slot machines in neighborhood bars, restaurants, and bowling alleys, dramatically expanding gambling in our communities. It further mandates that all tax revenues generated by the estimated $23 billion in new wagering, be used to reduce the state property tax, dollar for dollar.
The initiatives leave the Legislature absolutely no discretion to offset the impact of one, with revenues from the other, and to suggest otherwise is to give the something-for-nothing crowd a glimmer of hope they do not deserve. If I-864 passes, local governments will not do “more with less.” They will do “less with less,” and it is a shame The Olympian dilutes this message with such a clearly erroneous aside at the end of an otherwise excellent editorial.
I know it sometimes sounds like I’m nitpicking, and I’ll be the first to admit that the media is doing a much better job educating the public about Eyman’s initiatives than they have in years past.
But it’s little misstatements like this that get picked up and repeated by others, that can be twisted to shape the public debate. Sometimes it happens through innocent water cooler conversation. And sometimes it happens through a columnist with an agenda.