Eyman told the media last week he was going to turn in signatures to the Washington Secretary of State today for Referendum 65 – to overturn the state law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. He didn’t turn any in but did raise the ire of the media who felt they were lied to as Eyman tried to stage a pep rally with the press present to promote his initiative business, which seems to be faltering these days.
The Stranger’s blog, Slog, said it in their headline. “Eyman & Co. to Media: “Feel like you’ve been duped this morning – well, you have.
“Feel like you’ve been duped this morning — well, you have.” The reporters weren’t having it. When Eyman tried to use his camera time to stump for R-65 and a car tabs initiative he’s pushing this year, a radio reporter cut him off, telling Eyman that the media wasn’t there to air a commercial for him. A print reporter asked Eyman if he was even capable of running a successful referendum campaign without misleading people (as Eyman’s been doing with R-65), and without misleading the press. Eyman didn’t have a good answer for that one, except to say that he doesn’t care what reporters think of him, as long as they write about him”
Here’s KING TV’s take: “Reporter’s Angered by Eyman’s latest stunt.”
“Referendum 65 sponsor Tim Eyman on Monday staged a media stunt at the Secretary of State’s office that met with some heated words from some reporters who felt “duped.” … Some reporters accused him of intentionally misleading the media. Said one,” You’re duping the press in order to help promote your signature drive in the final days.” “I think it’s fair to say that we are willing to do whatever’s necessary in order to make sure our supporters know that we have the final days to get signatures in order to qualify for the ballot,” Eyman replied.”
NPI Blog Breaking – Eyman Uses News Again
Most major media outlets (including the three big Seattle TV stations) were there, and many reporters were disgusted to learn that Tim was once again just trying to use them. Seattle Times chief political reporter David Postman and Stranger reporter Eli Sanders were among the most angered, and peppered Tim with pointed questions about his motives and credibility
The Seattle Times Postman on Politics Eyman Dupes Press, Wastes Taxpayer Dollars
“Tim Eyman and his initiative partners duped the media and the secretary of state’s office this morning into thinking he was coming to Olympia to turn in signatures for his campaign to repeal the state’s gay rights bill. But Eyman and Jack and Mike Fagan had nothing to turn in, instead using the press gathered outside the secretary of state’s office to promote both Referendum 65 and a separate tax-cutting initiative he is pushing for the November ballot.
The secretary of state’s office had brought in two temporary workers in anticipation of processing petitions a day before the referendum deadline. Those workers were then sent home, though by state work rules, each were paid for two hours of work. A third worker was taken from other chores to stand by for the petitions that Eyman told the office he was bringing down.”
And then there is Rich Roessler of the Spokesman Review’s Eye on Olympia “Think you have been duped this morning? Well you have.
“Tim Eyman, who’d announced in an email last week that he’d be “bringing down petitions” to the Secretary of State’s office Monday, showed up Monday as promised. Reporters figured “bringing down” petitions meaned “turning in” petitions, as did the Secretary of State’s office, which had seven staffers on hand, ready to count the thousands of petitions they expected. (Two were temps, hired at $12-$14 an hour just for this.)”
So what is new. Eyman did the same thing with Initiative 864 in 2004, which would have cut funding for local government services like police, fire departments and libraries. He was then also far from getting the minimum number of required signatures but he still required that the Secretary of State pay for having extra workers there to process petitions based on his knowingly lying that he was going to turn signatures in so that the media would show up.
He likewise staged a press conference complete with a phony graph on property taxes that he later admitted to the Seattle PI was not correct. He later still used the graph in other presentations. He used the press conference to promte I-892 to increase gambling in Washington state. That initiative failed decisively at the ballot that fall.
Before I had read the Postman blog and also Rich Roessler’s I had also independently confirmed with Pam Floyd in the Elections Department of the Secretary of State’s Office that Eyman had not contacted them to let them know he was not turning in signatures today. She also confirmed that she had hired two temporary workers at approximately $12 to $14 an hour to come in to help. Because he has said he was turning in signatures tomorrow she will also have to pay these workers to come in tomorrow.
Floyd also said that there would be 5 or 6 other part time workers in tomorrow, the same as today, based on the expectation from Eyman setting up an appointment that there would have been petitions to process. They also make in the range of $14 to $14 an hour. I suggested to her that she they charge Eyman for the temporary workers they had to pay because Eyman falsely told them he was turning in signatures.
She said she was meeting with Sam Reed at 3:00 and I urged her to tell Sam Reed he also needed to send a letter to Eyman on his false representation to the Secretary of State’s Office that he was turning in signatures. Eyman did not tell the Secretary of State’s office he had no petitions to turn in because the Secretary of State’s Office would then notify the press and there would have been no Eyman pep rally.
The problem is that Eyman as a result knowingly used public resources to both support his business venture and a political campaign which is against the law. In essence he asked the state to do something that was both in violation of the law and the Washington State Constitution.