I enjoy The Seattle Weekly. And I really like frequent contributor Geov Parrish. But his current piece, “Eyman’s Good Idea“… um… oy.
Geov writes, well… glowingly about Tim Eyman’s latest products, I-905 (the “Hands Off Tim’s Business” initiative) and I-900 (which would finally enact performance audits… six months after they’re enacted by the Legislature.)
Suspicious as I am of Eyman’s intentions, I cannot for the life of me think of a reason this would be a bad thing.
You’ve got my phone number, Geov… I wish you would have asked me.
I could have told you that by automatically requiring a referendum on legislation that alters the initiative process, I-905 is blatantly unconstitutional. And I could have explained how I-900 would quadruple the auditor’s staff, add $90 million to the budget, and take as long as 12 years to implement. I could have also explained the realpolitik of Timmy’s flagging initiative prowess.
After a lackluster 2004, during which he backed a failed gambling measure that was far afield from his usual turf, Eyman will in all likelihood have two initiatives on the ballot in 2005.
Not a snowball’s chance.
In his absolute, best-case, fundraising scenario, Timmy struggles to get one initiative on the ballot, let alone two. In mentioning the gambling measure, which cost $600,000 of industry money to buy the signatures, Geov forgets Eyman’s last two “grassroots” petition drive failures: I-807 and I-864. Indeed, Tim hasn’t qualified one of his own initiatives for the ballot since 2002.
If I-864’s 25% property tax cut couldn’t excite his base, I wonder how the wonkish (and redundant) I-900 can break his two-year drought? As to I-905, I stand by my original analysis: it’s just a publicity stunt. Tim knows he can’t run two simultaneous signature drives without a sugar daddy, and he’s already financially committed to I-900. (He even paid for a gorilla graphic.)
And finally Geov, don’t take it personally, but your closer really hits a sore spot:
But if this initiative came from anyone else, it would be seen as a good government reform. Instead, because it’s Eyman, politicians and editorial boards have been suspicious. But I-900 is what it is