Initiative 517 is a Tim Eyman initiative that is on the November 2013 ballot in Washington State. It is a measure to promote Tim Eyman’s business – which is making a living off of putting conservative libertarian measures on the ballot. In this case Eyman wants to create a 25 foot signature gathering zone around petitioners where people can not speak out and oppose his business. It is a direct infringement on the free speech rights of citizens, violating the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution.
Jason Mercier of the conservative “free market” Washington Policy Center writes about Initiative 517 in today’s Thedailyworld.com under a headline of “Heavy hitters line up against I-517“. Mercier in his opinion piece brushes aside some of the concerns about Eyman’s self serving initiative as non-controversial. That is not the reality.
This measure is not as uncontroversial as Jason Mercier suggests. One of Eyman’s provisions is to create a 25 foot no harassment zone around signature gatherers. There are already penalties for harassment that work just fine. I-517 tries to go much further by shutting down free speech activities around petition gatherers.
Eyman’s measure infringes on 1st amendment rights by setting up a 25 zone around petitioners saying that certain activity can result in disorderly conduct charges including activity that is “…intimidating, or maintaining an intimidating presence within twenty-five feet of any person gathering signatures”. To most petitioners someone standing 5 feet away and carrying a sign saying “do not sign this measure” or merely saying out loud that citizens should read the measure before signing it causes petitioners to say they are being harassed.
This measure is an attempt to shut down public discourse and dialogue in public places and silence those opposing Eyman’s measures. This violates 1st amendment free speech rights and goes too far. Eyman wants a free pass to collect signatures without anyone questioning him. Trying to silence those that dissent peacefully with others is what you would expect in a totalitarian society, but not in America.
We will publish more of our concerns about Initiative 517 over the next few months but believe it goes too far. The public strongly supply the initiative process in Washington State and it has been used by both right and left leaning groups in pushing Washington policy and law. But there is a balancing act necessary to protect rights of both supporters and opponents of specific initiative measures in the public arena.
Initiative 517 is a “solution” looking for a problem and there isn’t one in this case. Eyman has not had a problem getting initiatives on the ballot and neither have others, especially if they have money. This measure would make it easier for Eyman to get more of his measures on the ballot and that is why he is pushing it.
For progressives thinking this will make it easier for them to get measures on the ballot, the downside is that they will also have to spend more time fighting more conservative measures put on the ballot by Eyman, including those at the local level. It’s already hard enough to fight an Eyman measure year after year. Think what it will be like with two or three Eyman measures on the ballot each year and 4 or 5 others at the same time at the local level.
We elect a Legislature to do the people’s business after public hearings and review. While initiatives are a healthy outlet for the public to act when the legislature doesn’t, running our state more and more by initiative puts the process of making our state laws up for sale to the highest bidder.
Unfortunately the highest bidder is usually corporate and special interests that can afford to spend millions to get their message out to the voting public.
Tim Eyman’s political philosophy for Washington State is libertarian at heart. The problem is that the libertarian vision is no vision at all. Libertarians argue for a minimalist government and this is Tim Eyman’s approach on his initiatives. If one asks who is Tim Eyman most like in his ideas, both Grover Norquist and Ayn Rand come to mind. There is seemingly no end point in how small government should be or how minimal taxes should be.
As E J Dionne wrote recently in the Washington Post Libertarianism’s Achilles’ heel is that there is currently no country in the world that is libertarian run. That in itself should give voters pause as they blindly follow Eyman. It is a dead end for our state as education funding and other vital state functions get reduced and reduced until it’s only everyone for themselves.
Thinking about what Eyman’s approach leads to comes to mind because of an article I came across written by Andy Garber of the Seattle Times right before last year’s elections. Eyman’s two thirds vote requirement for the Washington State Legislature had not yet been overturned by the Washington State Supreme Court as unconstitutional. The article was entitled “State ballots’ new twist: tax advisory votes“.
The article noted that Eyman’s Initiative 960 and and I-1185 on that November’s ballot not only required a 2/3 vote by the legislature to pass taxes but also added a” nonbinding public advisory vote” when lawmakers approved any tax increase no matter by what margin of votes or whose taxes were affected.
By Eyman’s definition repealing a tax loophole was a tax increase, even if the loophole provided no public benefit and transferred tax obligations to others. In reality tax loopholes are tax expenditures – off budget spending of tax revenue to benefit a special interest or business but without the regular in depth scrutiny other state expenditures get during the regular biennial budget process. And with Eyman all taxes need to be opposed as runaway spending regardless of who pays or for what purpose.
Looking at the two advisory votes on the November 2012 ballot placed there as a result of Eyman’s I-960 and the response by Eyman as to what these votes meant points out the absurdity of Eyman’s libertarian slash taxes in all cases approach to dealing with public issues.
Here is the wording of advisory vote No 2 as set up by Tim Eyman’s language in Initiative 960.
The legislature extended, without a vote of the people, expiration of a tax on possession of petroleum products and reduced the tax rate, costing $24,000,000 in its first ten years, for government spending.
This tax increase should be:
[ ] Repealed
[ ] Maintained
The voting public got no further explanation than the ballot title in the voter’s pamphlet, unlike initiatives and referendum which have an explanatory statement, a fiscal impact statement (not a 10 year cost projection) and no arguments for or against.
In addition the attorney general had no real ability to explain the issue in the ballot title since Eyman’s initiative 960 required that the ballot tile be written as:
The legislature imposed, without a vote of the people, (identification of tax and description of increase), costing (most up-to-date ten-year cost projection, expressed in dollars and rounded to the nearest million) in its first ten years, for government spending. This tax increase should be:
Repealed . . .[ ]
Maintained . . .[ ]‰
I have made bold the mandatory wording required which by themselves are intended to encourage people to vote to repeal any “tax increase”.
In the advisory vote No 2, voters voted “to repeal” this “tax increase” by a vote of 55% to 45%. No campaign was run to urge voters to maintain the “tax increase” because it was only an advisory vote. If one had been run voters might have gotten more information on what this bill really did. The bill SHB 2590 passed the House by 93 yeas, 1 nay and 4 excused. It passed the Senate by 40 yeas, 0 nays and 9 excused. It was supported by the Washington Oil Marketers Association and the Western States Petroleum Association.
In reality the “petroleum tax” was really an insurance program that particularly benefited all homeowners with underground oil storage tanks from liability caused by oil leaking from a tank. Cleanup fees from leaking oil pollution could easily exceed $10,000 to $20,000 in liability plus contaminated water problems. This was not a controversial bill and easily exceeded the then 2/3 vote requirement imposed by Eyman to raise taxes.
Yet Eyman’s myopic libertarian philosophy says all taxes are bad and should be opposed. His push poll style ballot title wording contributed to voters voting against “tax increases” even when those increases benefited taxpayers. That’s because for Eyman the issue isn’t about good government or responsible government. It’s about the least government possible.
Eyman’s response before the election according to Andrew Garber’s article was:
“Eyman said that if voters reject the taxes approved by lawmakers, he hopes the Legislature would repeal them.”
The second advisory vote on the ballot was to repeal a tax break originally passed to help home state bank Washington Mutual, which went out of business. It now only benefited large out of state banks by eliminating B&O taxes they would otherwise have had to pay on interest on residential loans on 1st mortgages.
Again using Eyman’s push poll style ballot title the ballot title read:
The legislature eliminated, without a vote of the people, a business and occupation tax deduction for certain financial institutions’ interest on residential loans, costing $170,000,000 in its first ten years, for government spending.
This tax increase should be:
[ ] Repealed
[ ] Maintained
Again the public responded to the anti-tax bias in the ballot title and with no campaign supporting the measure and no further explanation, the public in their advisory vote mode voted 56.9% to 43.1% to repeal ending this tax break that didn’t benefit state taxpayers but did give a tax break to big out of state banks.
In Eyman’s world it is all black and white. Taxes are bad. Government is bad. And those that follow blindly after him are hurting their own self interest and the state’s ability to fund program that benefit the public. Fortunately the advisory votes were only “advisory”. But knee jerk public reaction to be anti tax in Eyman’s libertarian world only leads to people blindly followed his pied piper like lead over the cliff as they respond without thinking.
Eyman this year continues his assault on state government by proposing a new initiative to the legislature to limit all tax increases to one year until the state puts on the ballot a constitutional amendment to require a 2/3 vote to raise any revenue or repeal any tax exemption. This would turn over to a 1/3 minority faction of legislators veto power over a majority of legislators. It seems Eyman’s libertarian views are not held by the majority of Legislators elected so he needs to try to change the rules to let a minority of legislators run the state. Voters need to reject Eyman’s libertarian government takeover proposal by not signing his initiative and vigorously opposing it if it makes it onto next year’s ballot.
Unless Congress acts by July 1, 2013 student loan rates will double from 3.4% to 6.8%. Meanwhile banks borrow money from the US Government at only .75%. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has filed a bill to give students the same loan rate as banks for a year. Why should taxpayers be supporting banks – a private interest over a public interest – helping students to complete college.
In a Huffington Post article entitled Elizabeth Warren: Student Loans Should Have Same Rate Big Banks Get and in an article by Joan McCarter on Daily Kos entitled Elizabeth Warren: Students should get the same loan rate as big banks a video is included of Warren’s statement before the US Senate:
“Some people say that we can’t afford to help our kids through school by keeping student loan interest rates low,” said Senator Warren. “But right now, as I speak, the federal government offers far lower interest rates on loans, every single day–they just don’t do it for everyone. Right now, a big bank can get a loan through the Federal Reserve discount window at a rate of about 0.75%. But this summer a student who is trying to get a loan to go to college will pay almost 7%. In other words, the federal government is going to charge students interest rates that are nine times higher than the rates for the biggest banks–the same banks that destroyed millions of jobs and nearly broke this economy. That isn’t right. And that is why I’m introducing legislation today to give students the same deal that we give to the big banks.”
“Big banks get a great deal when they borrow money from the Fed,” Senator Warren continued. “In effect, the American taxpayer is investing in those banks. We should make the same kind of investment in our young people who are trying to get an education. Lend them the money and make them to pay it back, but give our kids a break on the interest they pay. Let’s Bank on Students… Unlike the big banks, students don’t have armies of lobbyists and lawyers. They have only their voices. And they call on us to do what is right.”
Daily Kos, joined by the Center for American Progress goes a step beyond just reporting the story and posting the video by including a link to urge people help push this legislation by urging their Senators to co-sponsor this legislation. Click on this link to tell the Senate to give students the same low interest rates the big banks get
Please help build support for this bill by joining in this effort.
King County Councilmember Larry Phillips recently sent out the following e-mail:
King County Parks Levy on August Ballot
I am pleased to announce that today the Metropolitan King County Council approved sending to the voters—on the August 2013 ballot—a six-year property tax levy lid lift proposal to raise revenue for the maintenance and operations of the County’s regional park system, as well as funding for local city parks and the Woodland Park Zoo. If approved by voters, the proposed levy would replace two voter approved measures set to expire at the end of 2013.
The King County Parks system has evolved from 150 acres in 1938 to more than 26,000 acres today, including regional county parks and trails such as Marymoor Park, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center and the Sammamish River Trail.
The adopted legislation sends to voters a six-year property tax levy lid lift of 18.77 cents per $1,000 of assessed value – an estimated $56 per year for the owner of a home valued at $300,000. If approved by voters, the proceeds from the levy would go toward funding the maintenance and operation of King County’s 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, and 26,000 acres of open space. Levy funds would also be used to expand the regional trails system – including developing the Lake to Sound Trail – and to expand the Community Partnership and Grant program, as well as to support local city parks and the Woodland Park Zoo.
The levy proposal is consistent with King County’s practice to end the use of county General Fund monies on regional parks, trails and open spaces, and on local facilities in the rural unincorporated areas, so the primary source of funding for the parks system is the voter-approved levy. King County also continues its regional business plan for parks with support from non-profit, corporate and community partners.
The beauty of King County and our great natural resources are only surpassed by the energy and creativity of the people who live here, and the community support for our parks system is the perfect example of this fact. Voters will decide in August whether to continue supporting a parks levy that provides funding to operate and maintain parks like Marymoor and Cougar Mountain, and to expand the regional trail system.
Thank you for the opportunity to share this important news with you.
Larry Phillips, Councilmember
Metropolitan King County Council, District Four
King County Courthouse
516 Third Avenue, Room 1200
Seattle, WA 98104-3272
The Seattle City Council has unanimously passed it’s updated Street Tree Ordinance. There were no amendments – if changes are desired in legislation it’s necessary to get them done in Committee before they come to the full Council for a vote. Thank you to everyone who took time to write or contact the Seattle City Council on this issue.
You can view the adopted Ordinance # 117745 by clicking on this link.
The gist of the bill is that permits will be required to remove or do major trimming to street trees and tree replacement is required for trees removed “if site conditions permit”.
Applying for a permit to remove a street tree does not mean it will be removed.
A tree can only be removed if it is a hazardous tree, poses a public safety hazard, is in a condition of poor health or poor vigor or cannot be successfully retained due to public or private construction or development conflicts.
Notice of an application to remove a tree must be publicly posted at the site for 14 days and public comment will be accepted before the Director makes a decision.
Any person violating the act shall be subject to a fine of up to $500 per day.
In addition any person who destroys, injures or mutilates a street tree may be subject to a fine equal to the appraised value of the tree and if the violation is willful or malicious, the penalty may be trebled.
All tree service providers engaged in pruning, removing or otherwise treating street trees shall register annually with the Department of Transportation.
Any major pruning, removal or treatment of street trees by a Tree Service provider shall be certified by an ISA certified arborist or ISA certified worker.
You can read the full ordinance to get more details. If you have concerns about specific language or its interpretation you should let Nolan Rundquist at the SDOT know as they will be preparing CAMS or Client Assistance Memos to explain details to the public to clarify issues which may be confusing.
Nolan Rundquist, the City Arborist at SDOT has been working many years to get this ordinance drafted and passed and should be thanked for sticking with it. Also the Seattle Urban Forest Commission helped in reviewing the proposal as well as members of the public. And Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin deserves special recognition for leading the Council effort to enact this update.
Next up in the next few months will be the 5 year update of the Urban Forest Management Plan which is being renamed the Urban Forest Stewardship Plan.
The third component of the urban forest updates is the private property tree ordinance proposal. DPD (Seattle Department of Planning and Development) has said they will release a new draft sometime in June and we can expect the issue will be before the Seattle City Council for a vote early next year.
So far this has been the hardest component of the urban forest updates to reach agreement on because of DPD’s bias toward development as its mission rather than the protection of trees. This is why efforts need to be continued to move oversight of trees to the Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE). DPD’s prime mission is to help developers build projects, not protect trees. To get maximum protection, tree oversight needs to be in a department where they have an advocate to speak for them and OSE’s mission is most consistent with that.
Keep updated on Seattle tree and urban forestry issues by following Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest
Dear Friends of Trees,
The Seattle City Council is going to vote on a new Street Tree Ordinance on Monday April 29, 2013. The last time they updated the ordinance was 1961 – over 50 years ago. The new ordinance is much improved. It has been floating around for about 10 years in various drafts. The current draft that is being voted on is Council Bill 117745. We need people to let the Seattle City Council that it’s time to pass this legislation.
Council Bill 117745 would continue the requirement that people get permits to remove street trees and for major pruning. It would require 2 week posting of permits. Tree service providers must register with the City. Penalties are accessed for illegally removing a tree based on its assessed value and treble damages if it is a willful or malicious act. There is no charge for a permit and trees must be replaced “if site conditions permits”. This is one weakness in the bill because it could require that the tree be planted elsewhere if site conditions do not permit. Tree replacement is necessary if we are to have no net loss of canopy as a result of tree removal. Also there is no requirement that the replacement tree be comparable in canopy coverage even if the site allows for that.
You can help in two ways.
Send an e-mail to the Seattle City Council members and urge them to pass the Updated street Tree Ordinance – Council Bill 117745 to help protect Seattle’s trees and urban forest! Tell them why this is important to you. Here are their e-mails:
Attend the City Council meeting - There will be 15 minutes at the beginning of the Council meeting for public testimony, a maximum of 2 minutes per person. It would really help to show support for the ordinance by having people testify for it or just being present in the audience showing support and maybe giving a cheer after they vote. You can also sign in support of the bill and not testify.
Seattle City Council meeting, Monday, April 29, 2013, 2 PM
600 4th Ave, Council Chamber, Seattle City Hall, Floor 2
Thanks everyone for helping get this legislation passed.
Chair – Save the Trees-Seattle
PS – Check out our facebook page at Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest We try to keep folks updated on what’s happening with trees and our urban forest on this page.
The Center for American Progress has put out a list of some of the things that President George Bush did while President. It’s entitled “13 Reasons to be Glad George W Bush is no Longer President“. I’m summarizing the list below based on their list but it is pretty obvious that there are a lot of reasons not to miss Bush as President. Most of the things he did are still causing us problems today, like increasing income inequality and deregulating business and investment activity and politicizing the issue of climate change. It seems some people are already forgetting, so I think it’s a great idea to review his” legacy”. It reminds us that there is a world of difference between how President Obama and President Bush and their respective Parties view the future of America and the priorities they chose.
Here’s the list from the Center for American Progress. Go to their original post to see more details.
- Authorized the use of torture
- Politicized climate science
- Ignored Afghanistan to launch a war in Iraq
- Botched the response to Hurricane Katrina
- Defunded stem cell research
- Required Muslim men to register with the government
- Reinstated the global gag rule
- Supported anti-gay discrimination
- Further deregulated Wall Street
- Widened income inequality
- Undermined worker protections
- Ideological court appointments
- Presided over a dysfunctional executive branch
Tim Eyman’s latest proposed initiative continues his right wing libertarian approach to try to shut down state government. He is proposing to limit tax increases to one year and push for repeated votes at tax payer expense for minority rule that would let a 1/3 minority of Legislators run our state government by taking over the Washington State Legislature. It is a recipe for disaster.
Our current problem in the legislature is not one of over taxation but of out of control tax expenditures given by Legislators to special interests. The state has a revenue problem – giving away tax exemptions instead of collecting revenue. See http://dor.wa.gov/docs/reports/2012/Exemption_study_2012/Intro_and_Summary_of_findings.pdf
Take B&O taxes listed in the 2012 State Tax Exemption Report -on B&O taxes on business – the state gave out 176 tax breaks totaling some $7.5 billion while collecting only $6.5 billion in revenue. The exemptions were 54% of the potential tax base.
The 2012 Tax Exemption Study also stated that in the 2011 – 2013 budget some $21 billion was collected in B&O taxes and sales/use taxes. At the same time some $20 billion in these same taxes was not collected and was essentially an expenditure of state funds to support those that got the exemption.
The state currently has some 640 tax exemptions in place. Under a 2/3 Constitution Amendment tax expenditures could be put in place by a majority vote but would require a 2/3 vote to repeal.
A 2/3 vote constitutional amendment would lock in all these exemptions that are forcing higher taxes on those that pay and don’t get an exemption. It is a recipe for disaster.
Eyman’s anti-tax hysteria borders on the ludicrous. It serves no purpose but to push a radical philosophy exposed by those like Grover Norquist and Tea Party fanatics to shut down government. It is irresponsible and harmful to the state government and Washington State’s residents. It would prevent significant tax reform and benefit special interests and corporations while hurting those who need state help. It would prevent adequate funding of education and other essential state services.
People need to say NO to Eyman’s continued anti-tax monologue. Enough is enough.
As reported by Think Progress and others last month, the right wing Tea Party supporting billionaire Koch Brothers are exploring buying newspapers in an obvious attempt to use their fortune to get a mouthpiece to voters.
“Right-wing funders and business industrialists David and Charles Koch may purchase the Tribune Company newspapers, which include the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and the Los Angeles Times. The brothers are “interested in the clout they could gain through the Times’ editorial pages,” the Hollywood Reporter notes. Responding to the report, a spokesperson for Koch told the website that the brothers are “constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors”
Daily Kos and others have entered the fray by purchasing an ad in the LA Times, after initially being rejected. They did so by refiling the ad, linking their statements to articles printed in the LA Times that noted “the Koch Brothers bankrolled the Tea Party, denied global warming and bought politicians.”
The Los Angeles Times advertising department has reversed its earlier decision to reject an advertisement from Daily Kos and the Courage Campaign urging the Chicago-based Tribune Company not to sell the 132-year-old Times to the billionaire Koch brothers. The ad will run in the main news section of Wednesday’s edition of the Times….
Tribune, whose merger in 2000 with Times-Mirror Corp., the Times’s owner at the time, made it the second largest newspaper publisher in the nation, has been reported to be considering selling the Times, the nation’s fourth most widely read newspaper, to the ultra-right-wing Kochs.
The Hollywood Reporter first broke this story on March 13, 2013. The Tribune Company has recently emerged from bankruptcy proceedings and is looking for a buyer for their newspapers. As the Hollywood Reporter points out, the Koch Brothers represent right wing politics in the extreme. They are billionaires and own Koch Industries which is currently the second largest privately owned company in the US.
The Koch brothers have long dominated American industry; their holdings include Georgia Pacific paper products as well as major fertilizer, refinery and oil pipeline companies. More recently they have become known for their financial support of Republican candidates, especially those from the Tea Party, and the fight against regulations and legislation aimed at curbing climate change.
The Koch Brothers involvement in the Tea Party however goes far beyond just supporting them. As Brendan DeMille of the Huffington Post in February wrote in an article entitled, “Study Confirms Tea Party was Created by Big Tobacco and Billionaire Koch Brothers“:
A new academic study confirms that front groups with longstanding ties to the tobacco industry and the billionaire Koch brothers planned the formation of the Tea Party movement more than a decade before it exploded onto the U.S. political scene.
Far from a genuine grassroots uprising, this astroturf effort was curated by wealthy industrialists years in advance. Many of the anti-science operatives who defended cigarettes are currently deploying their tobacco-inspired playbook internationally to evade accountability for the fossil fuel industry’s role in driving climate disruption.
The Koch Brothers represent a threat to the free exchange of news and information and obviously have a history of trying to push their extreme right wing philosophy and politics at any cost and by any means. Their involvement and purchase in any newspaper or other media ownership poses a real threat to a free press, which we know is an ideal, yet special interests pushing their own extreme political biases over objectivity because they have the money and resources to own the media threatens our society and basic democratic values and principles in our country and the world.
It is with sadness that I learned of the passing of a friend and colleague a few days ago. Blair Butterworth was a prominent political consultant in the Northwest where he lived for over 40 years. Blair was an integral part of the Don’t Bankrupt Washington campaign to pass Initiative 394 in 1981. The voters passed the initiative with a 58% yes vote. It was the first loss for the Winner /Wagner Associates – the nuclear industry’s PR firm after they successfully beat back many attempts across the country to limit or stop nuclear power expansion.
Rather than running the campaign as a nuclear safety or environmental issue, the campaign was centered around the ever increasing financial costs of building nuclear power plants. In Washington State, the Washington Public Power Supply System, committed to trying to build 5 nuclear power plants. Two were slated for Satsop and three in the Tri-Cities in eastern Washington.
Costs escalated from an initial estimate of $4 billion to over $24 billion before it all came tumbling down, resulting in the biggest municipal bond default in US history at the time. Unsuccessful attempts were made in the Washington State Legislature to control the costs but they were unsuccessful. In 1980 a group called SAVES – Support a Vote on Energy Spending attempted to get signatures to put an initiative on the ballot. At the same time those opposed to nuclear power almost were collecting signatures on an initiative to ban nuclear waste coming to Hanford. Grassroots support was stretched and in the end only the Don’t Waste Washington initiative got on the ballot. It was passed by voters.
In December I met with the people involved in the SAVES effort and informed them that I was going to refile the initiative and push it as Don’t Bankrupt Washington. Some changes were made in the drafting – the most significant long term being to add a requirement that cost effectiveness studies must be done on all large public power plants (over 250 MW) before they could issue bonds. This was in addition to receiving a public vote of support from the areas that the public utility districts in WPPSS served who would be purchasing the power.
The cost effectiveness study provision was added after I consulted with Jim Lazar – a consulting economist in Olympia. It turned out to represent a significant change in energy policy dynamics in our state, especially after studies were done on the WPPSS project that showed it was less expensive to generate new energy from other sources like energy efficiency and renewable energy than from huge costly centralized nuclear power plants.
Blair Butterworth became involved as the campaign moved forward by helping to raise needed funds and developing our campaign message. Thanks to Blair it eventually became a campaign of national significance. He helped recruit the polling firm of Dresner, Morris and Tortelli. Dick Morris was the main pollster we worked with. Morris subsequently went on to be a consultant for Bill Clinton before he became the right wing writer and adviser for conservative Republican campaigns.
When polling showed there was strong public support for our initiative, we were able to reach out with Blair’s connections and know how to raise national money. I went to New York and Washington DC with Blair to present our campaign to national funders. With Blair’s help we were able to raise over $65,000 on this trip, including a $45,000 donation from Alida Rockefeller Dayton.
Our stop in New York took us to a meeting with Tony Schwartz, who liked what we were doing, and agreed to do our ads for one third of his normal cost.. Tony Schwartz is best known for having produced the famous “daisy ad” during the Johnson/Goldwater Presidential campaign. The ad only aired once, never mentioned Goldwater, but the result was a precipitous 15 percentage point drop in Goldwater’s support immediately afterward. He authored several books, including “The Responsive Chord” in which he argued that ads didn’t really change voters views but tapped into what they already believed.
Blair’s campaign advice was invaluable throughout the campaign. Initiative 394 won by 58% of the vote on election day despite the nuclear industry setting a statewide spending record at the time by spending over $1.25 million dollars. We raised some $200,000 which at the time was also a record for grassroots initiative campaigns in our state.
The Don’t Bankrupt Washington campaign was written up in more detail in the book, “Citizen Lawmakers – The ballot Initiative Revolution” by David D Schmidt in 1989. The campaign was an exciting time for grassroots campaigns and Blair was a great associate and key to our success.
Blair was involved in many other campaigns. You can read more about Blair’s life at:
“Blair Butterworth, top political consultant is dead“, Strange Bedfellows, Seattle PI,March 29, 2013
“Obituary: Strategist Blair Butterworth helped Democrat win elections“, Seattle Times, March 29, 2013
“Prominent Political Consultant Blair Butterworth Has Died“, Seattle Weekly, March 29, 2013
Fond Memories of an Extraordinary Man, by Blair Butterworth, Seattle Times , March 22, 2005
- Tax Sanity Pushes for a Tax Expenditure Budget for Increased Accountability and Transparency
- Let’s fix our unfair tax system in Washington State
- Republicans in Congress Wage War on Poor by Opposing Raising the Minimum Wage
- Tell Your Legislators and Governor Inslee You Support Closing Tax Loopholes!
- Vote “Maintain” on Five Eyman “Tax Advisory Votes”
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- Steve Sarkisian abandons his players and Husky football for USC’s top coaching job
- Theft of Victoria Clipper IV demonstrates the need for stronger port security
- Happy Thanksgiving 2013!
- Pope Francis denounces income inequality and greed in new apostolic exhortation
- President Barack Obama rolls into town for another fundraising-only visit