So much to blog… so little time. But first…
The Lie of the Week.
In an email to supporters and the media this evening, titled “Fundraising is up for two property tax reduction initiatives,” Tim Eyman continues his math-challenged ways by claiming I-892 has “reached $300,000, with an additional $90,000 brought in during the the month of May.”
That struck me as a little odd, considering I-892 ended April with over $235,000 in contributions, and $235,000 + $90,000 equals… uh… wait, there’s something wrong with my calculator.
Or maybe… Tim is lying?
Considering that just yesterday he refused to concede to Dori Monson that $400 million times 1% equals $4 million (not the $12 million he’s been claiming,) I thought I’d check out his C4 form and get to the heart of this. Sure enough, line 4 shows contributions of $89,775.
What Tim doesn’t tell you is that $25,000 of that was due to a double entry corrected two lines later on line 6. Subtract an additional $7,300 of “in kind” contributions, and what you get is roughly $57,000 in contributions, down signficantly from April’s $75,000 haul.
There can be only two explanations for Tim’s numbers games. Either he is incredibly dishonest (I believe I may have posited this thesis once or twice before.) Or he really doesn’t understand his own initiatives, he really doesn’t understand his own finances, and he really doesn’t understand basic math. In which case, he is just incredibly, well… stupid.
Anyway, the Lie of the Week notwithstanding, the big news about I-892 is that an initiative campaign that should have drawn easy money from an industry that stands to earn billions from its passage, is turning out to be a nail biter.
With his $3100 a week salary, his usual poor money management, and his seemingly inexplicable decision to add an extra layer of profiteering to his signature gathering costs by contracting through Roy Ruffino (I have my theories about this charade,) Eyman’s campaign has quite a bit of overhead.
The street price for I-892 is currently $0.75 per signature, which after being marked up twice, can’t possibly be costing him much less than $2 each, possibly more. He needs 200,000 valid signatures, which means he’d be nuts to turn in fewer than 220,000. I just can’t see how he brings this one home for less than $500,000, and even that would be cutting it close.
Of course, the gambling industry could easily pony up $200,000 in the final weeks of the campaign, but he still has over $100,000 in the bank, which tells me he hasn’t bought a lot of signatures to date, so I’m wondering if he might run out time before he runs out of money.
I-864 Death Watch
If I-864 is still alive, it’s barely twitching. Tim raised less than $40,000 in May, bringing him to a grand total of $218,000. That might seem like a lot of money, if he didn’t spend it like a drunken sailor (you know, booze, hookers, tattoos, pointless direct mail campaigns… stuff like that.)
On the most important expenditure, paid signature gathering, he’s only spent $40,000 total thus far, with a paltry $10,000 left in the bank. Signatures have got to be costing him at least $1.00 each… maybe a $1.50. So let’s say he has 40,000 signatures there.
The bulk of his funds have been spent on sending out petitions in three large direct mail pieces, which also double as his primary source of fundraising. Let’s just say, if getting signatures was as easy as renting a mailing list and sending out a bunch of petitions, I could get an initiative legalizing crack cocaine on the ballot with $150,000 and a catchy PAC name (Let’s Get Washington Cracking!) But let’s be gracious and give Eyman another 40,000 in volunteer signatures there.
That’s well short of the 200,000 he needs to qualify for the ballot, not even counting the 20% extra you want to shoot for to make up for disqualified signatures.
Tim has been taunting us for months in his emails by ending his fundraising appeals:
Don’t ever forget this quote from a critic: “We all know that if he raises $400,000, then it’s on the ballot.”
The quote was attributed to Steve Zemke, but I said it too, and it was based on the assumption that he would spend most of the money on paid signature gatherers, not junk mail.
In any case, he’s barely halfway there, and rather than pulling in $200,000 in the final month of the campaign, I’m going out on a limb here and predicting he raises about a tenth that.
If wishes were court decisions…
Before the PDC reports came in, I was going to blog on a Seattle Times editorial demanding the State Supreme Court to overturn Governor Locke’s veto of the “top two” primary, on the sound legal basis that the Seattle Times editorial board doesn’t like the veto. [Justices should rule for people’s primary]
This was reminiscent of a Times editorial last year saying the court should halt my horse’s ass initiative because they didn’t like being forced to print the word ass in a “family newspaper” … as if I was holding a fucking gun to their head.
(Note the intentionally ironic use of profanity.)
Now, I’m no lawyer (much to my mother’s chagrin,) but I’m pretty sure the Supreme Court is supposed to decide these things based on the law, not policy. A thesis I would delve into in more detail… if the P-I hadn’t already done so in an editorial. Which would have been a very timely commentary if not for the fact that it was printed after the court handed down a decision upholding the veto.
And finally… Collin Levey has stopped returning my emails
Wall Street Journal Seattle Times editorial columnist Collin Levey took a break from her usual grueling research to wax poetic on her fond memories of Ronald Reagan:
As somebody who was 5 when Reagan took office, I belong to a generation that already has to make an effort to recall the despair and pessimism that preceded him.
Hmmm. Considering she was only 5 when Reagan took office, I can only assume that the despair and pessimism she recalls has something to do with potty training.
Unless, of course, these recollections aren’t really hers, but rather those of, say… Wall Street Journal columnist Allan Murray!
Speaking of which… last week she attacked Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” as a “dishonest infomercial,” without actually having seen the film, a characterization she based on a pair of columns by Mr. Murray that supposedly refuted Mr. Moore’s claim that Saudi’s had been allowed to fly out of the country, through restricted airspace, in the days following the attack.
Well, today’s St. Petersburg Times reports that is exactly what happened. [TIA now verifies flight of Saudis]
I’m sure she’ll issue a correction in her next column.