The Washington State Democratic Party voted at it’s February 2, 2013 statewide meeting in Olympia to oppose Tim Eyman’s Initiative 517. Initiative 517 is an initiative to the Washington State Legislature. The Washington Secretary of State has certified that I-517 received sufficient signatures. As such it goes to the Washington State Legislature for consideration. They have 3 options – ignore in in which case it goes onto the Nov. 2013 ballot, pass it in which case it becomes law, or pass an alternative in which case both I-517 and the alternative go on the Nov. 2013 ballot.
The following is a copy of the resolution the Washington State Democrats passed to oppose Initiative 517.
A Resolution Opposing Initiative Measure No. 517
WHEREAS perennial initiative promoter Tim Eyman of Mukilteo has sponsored and submitted signatures for Initiative 517, a measure to the 2013 Legislature that has purposely been written to make it easier and cheaper for Eyman to operate his profit- generating initiative factory under the guise of protecting the initiative process;
WHEREAS that after admitting in February 2002 that he stole more than $157,000 of his own supporters’ money for his personal use and lied about it, Tim Eyman told the Associated Press, “I want to continue to advocate issues and I want to make a lot of money doing it”;
WHEREAS in that same interview with the Associated Press, Tim Eyman said, “This entire charade was set up so I could maintain a moral superiority over our opposition, so I could say our opponents make money from politics and I don’t”;
WHEREAS Public Disclosure Commission data shows that since 1999 and except for 2003 and 2006, Tim Eyman has promoted and qualified an initiative for the November ballot every single year with the backing of powerful special interests like Great Canadian Gaming, Bellevue developer and light rail opponent Kemper Freeman, Jr., Woodinville investment banker Michael Dunmire, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, plus big oil companies such as BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips, and Tesoro;
WHEREAS each summer and autumn since 2003, Tim Eyman and his associates Mike and Jack Fagan of Spokane have asked their followers and wealthy benefactors to contribute to their “Help Us Help Taxpayers” compensation fund, which they divide up for their own personal use;
WHEREAS Tim Eyman’s history of sponsoring and profiting from unconstitutional and destructive initiatives demonstrates that he is primarily interested in making money while wrecking the plan of government that our founders gave us, not improving the lives of Washington’s people or strengthening Washington’s many diverse communities;
WHEREAS Initiative 517 would extend from six to twelve months the period of time permitted for signature gathering for an initiative to the people, allowing Tim Eyman and his associates, Jack Fagan, Mike Fagan, Edward Agazarm and Roy Ruffino to make collecting signatures for initiatives to the people a more profitable and lucrative year- round business;
WHEREAS Initiative 517 attempts to prevent Washingtonians from exercising their First Amendment freedoms of speech and assembly in a “Decline to Sign” campaign by making it a misdemeanor to maintain an “intimidating presence” within “twenty-five feet of any person gathering signatures or any person trying to sign any initiative or referendum petition”; and
WHEREAS Initiative 517 dubiously requires leaders of cities, counties, and other local jurisdictions that provide for their own initiative process to place any initiative with sufficient voter signatures on the ballot for a public vote at public expense, even if the initiative in question concerns a matter that exceeds the lawful scope of the local initiative power;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Washington State Democrats take a position opposing I-517 before the Washington State Legislature and on the November 2013 ballot; and
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Washington State Democrats encourage all Washingtonians to join the coalition opposing I-517 and campaign actively for the defeat of I-517.