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Friday, May 2, 2008

Tim Eyman Wants You to Feel Sorry For Him

posted by on May 2 at 12:13 PM

Mukilteo watch salesman-cum-Republican activist Tim Eyman—fresh from mortgaging his house to pay for his latest ballot measure—has been barraging supporters with emails begging for donations. Yesterday’s plea, subject-lined “$250,000 loan will ensure I-985’s success — PLEASE help retire this debt ASAP,” asked supporters to kick in a total of $290,000, an amount that would bring Eyman’s total initiative war chest to $612,000. “I’m jumping off a big cliff —please help catch me,” Eyman wrote. “As you can imagine, this is scary stuff — but failure is simply not an option.”

Today, Eyman followed up on his initial plea, asking supporters to “let opponents’ comments inspire you” to open their checkbooks. “Donating to I-985 not only gets the initiative qualified for the ballot and helps me out of this huge financial challenge, but you will drive these opponents absolutely bonkers. It’s win-win-win.:)”

Why does Eyman need so much money, anyway? Because under Washington State’s hopelessly flawed initiative process, the only way to get an initiative on the ballot statewide—especially an initiative that’s unpopular in densely populated urban areas like Seattle, where gathering signatures is less difficult—is to hire a firm to gather signatures for you, paying signature gatherers as much as a dollar a name. Paid signature-gathering efforts are the single biggest reason so many bad ideas make it onto the ballot in Washington State. Ban the signature gatherers, you’ll ban most of the dumb ideas.

And speaking of bad ideas, I-985 is one of Eyman’s worst yet. The measure would open up all carpool lanes to all drivers during “off-peak” hours—that is, all hours except between 6 and 9 am, and between 3 and 6 pm—and on weekends. Given that many roads in the Puget Sound region are now experiencing “rush hours” that last allday with congestion starting in the early morning and not letting up until well into the evening, Eyman’s proposal would effectively render HOV lanes useless. With no incentive to carpool (because the HOV lanes will be just as clogged as the general-purpose ones), the number of people driving alone during “off-peak” hours will go up… making traffic congestion even worse. (The initiative would also make conditions worse for people riding on Metro and regional buses—again, eliminating the incentive to take transit instead of driving to work alone).

Eyman’s proposal would promote congestion in other ways, as well:

It would restrict the use of funds from high-occupancy toll lanes (carpool lanes that solo drivers can access for a fee) to building and operating those lanes; all other revenues from HOT lanes would go into a special “Reduce Traffic Congestion Account,” which would pay, in part, for “expanding road capacity and general purpose use to improve traffic flow for all vehicles.” In other words, Eyman would siphon money from transit, carpool, vanpool, and trip reduction services and pour it into more general-purpose roads.

It would also redirect all proceeds from traffic tickets obtained through red-light cameras toward Eyman’s road-building account, siphoning money away from cities’ general funds; and he would end all transportation-related funding for public art, directing that money to roads as well.

Finally, Eyman would prohibit tolls on I-90 (and require that all tolls on 520 be spent exclusively on 520, rather than going, say, to HOV lanes and transit)—an idiotic proposal that would have exactly the opposite effect of what Eyman’s “congestion relief” proposal promises. State transportation planners generally agree that if 520 is tolled, I-90 will have to be, also, to prevent people from clogging up the “free” cross-lake bridge and making congestion even worse.

Eyman’s proposal, like Dino Rossi’s single-solution road-building plan, would worsen traffic congestion and reduce transportation alternatives in the guise of improving the roads for all. Let’s hope that this time, Washington State voters won’t let him get away with it.

RSS icon Comments


Please help catch me? WTF?!?!?!

Let him crash his brains out on the jagged rocks below! Let him loose his home and become homeless!! HA HA HA HA HA !!!!!!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | May 2, 2008 12:33 PM

Eyman's "$30 tab fee" initiative sure worked out great. The state managed to find a way around that to knock the tab costs back up to insane levels again.

Posted by Peter F | May 2, 2008 12:38 PM

Don't a bunch of HOV lanes do this anyways?

Posted by Mr. Joshua | May 2, 2008 12:42 PM

@2... yes, and by a much more regressive method. tim both got his way (less $$$ for his vehicles) and was able to use it to demonstrate how the state doesn't listen to the people (via initiatives).

Posted by infrequent | May 2, 2008 12:47 PM

not only is it worse the HOV concept, but it is contradictory:

in order to prove you should open the HOV lanes you'd first have to prove there was no congestion.

if there is no congestion, why open the lanes?

Posted by infrequent | May 2, 2008 12:54 PM

#2: It still managed to cripple kc metro.

I take the bus across 520 every day after 9am and 6pm and the traffic is horrendous. If the carpool lanes were opened up, there's no way I could continue this commute. Why does Eyman want me to lose my job?

Posted by poppy | May 2, 2008 12:58 PM

This would basically turn our HOV system into California's, which is crap.

Posted by Greg | May 2, 2008 12:58 PM

Time to get our the Tim Eyman voo-doo doll again. Always a hit with the co-workers, who are horrified by it until they find out who it is representing, and then they can't grab a pin fast enough....

Posted by scharrera | May 2, 2008 1:08 PM

I know you haven't been around that long, but there was an attempt long ago to ban paid signature gatherers for initiatives/referenda, and it was struck down as unconstitutional.

Posted by Toe Tag | May 2, 2008 1:09 PM

Your car tabs are cheap. Quit your whining.

I do feel sorry for Tim Eyman. He's physically the ugliest human being I've ever seen, and his soul is black. And now, he's going to ruin himself financially just so he can get his name in the paper. That's pathetic. He's a sorry individual.

Posted by Fnarf | May 2, 2008 1:11 PM

One other thing: The initiative process is totally fucked up. We have a representative democracy NOT a direct democracy for the specific reason to avoid destructive, poorly thought out initiatives like dear old Tim likes to push on the state.

Initiatives are a great way to get out the angry voter while not encouraging them to hold their elected representatives accountable. Hell, most don't even know who their state representatives are! And then people complain that the state legistlature does not do anything. The reality is they don't do anything in part out of fear that some initiative will come along (fuel by passion instead of reason) and undercut what the legistlature can do.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | May 2, 2008 1:18 PM

Actually, having met the man multiple times, I disagree about his personal appearance, Fnarf.

That said, I hope he loses his house. But I doubt he will ... there are far too many fools taken in by his lies and fake promises.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 2, 2008 1:23 PM

I thought HOV lanes were the reward for carpooling?

Posted by jestr707 | May 2, 2008 1:30 PM

@10 "car tabs are cheap" wasn't my point. my point is that the new tax structure is more regressive. aside from the question of how regressive they are, i'm not sure they should be cheap anyway.

when i "whine" about the tabs initiative, i'm not complaining because i pay too much or too little. i don't like that such a clunky mechanism was used (had to be used according to tim) to make the change. i'm upset at the effect it had (loss of funding and replaced with a more regressive tax). and i'm upset that the gov has tried to get around them (proving one of tim's primary points: that the gov doesn't listen to the will of the people).

this new initiative has some of the same appeal as his tabs initiative. just like rossi making promises that cannot be kept, opening carpool lanes perks many ears.

Posted by infrequent | May 2, 2008 1:32 PM

Somebody asked traffic engineers to come up with a way to maximize the throughput of a fixed number of lanes. The solution they arrived at was HOV lanes.

They're not a reward. They're not an incentive. They're not social engineering. They're a politically-neutral way to move the most people with the lanes you have.

I wonder why Clinton and Rossi are both trying to attack responsible, practical Democrats with impossible free-ride transportation proposals. Something they both have in common?

Posted by elenchos | May 2, 2008 1:38 PM

I'm savoring the idea of Eyman losing his home on the same day that his initiative fails to get enough signatures. Then, destitute and homeless, he's forced to beg for money outside of the new light rail stations.

Posted by Cascadian | May 2, 2008 1:54 PM

Screw you, Tim Eyman.

Posted by laterite | May 2, 2008 2:00 PM

#16 - ha ha ha. Sketch that up in a single panel, and it's better than anything Horsey's done in... ever.

Posted by Dougsf | May 2, 2008 2:13 PM

@6, if your commute on 520 sucks, just move to the Eastside.

Posted by joykiller | May 2, 2008 2:26 PM

@15 Elenchos it's too bad we leave it all up to traffic engineers.

I personally love Tim's latest ideas. I'm tired of being penalized because I'm single, don't have any "carpooling" options, and have a need to get my ass around. I pay taxes too, and I don't want any social engineering Liberals figuring out how to force me to do their bidding.

The problem Tim is trying to address comes down to idiots that don't stay in the far right hand lanes to do the speed limit.

If you really want efficient traffic flow you should also combine it with variable lane speed limits during non peak hours. This means 60 in the right lane, 65 in the middle lane, and 71 in left lane. yes I said 71. This would be modeled just like Germany where they have signs over the road that automatically increase/decrease speed via overhead signs placed every 2-4 miles or as needed. Mandate that those limits are minimum expectations, and failing to travel them while in the left hand lane is a $1000 fine. The idea is to keep traffic staggered and slow traffic to the right. It does work effectively. Half of the problem we have with traffic, is slow moving vehicles in the left hand lanes. We should also implement California's law whereby any commercial vehicle is limited to the right lane only. If we did this for all vehicles over 10,000 lbs and included a no rush hour travel rule for those types of transports, we would greatly reduce our congestion.

Problem is noone has the foresight or balls to actually try doing it.

That is why I am STRONGLY in favor of Tim's plan. Currently during off peak hours the HOV lanes are extremely under utilized.

I think some of you here blowing smoke, need to own a vehicle to lend a competent opinion. You know who I'm referring to with this comment.

Posted by Reality Check | May 2, 2008 2:34 PM

My god, Reality Check, if only you could spend one day in Germany and find out what it really feels like to do the bidding of do-gooding liberals.

Houston is the shit hole you need to be talking about if you want to show us what Tim Eyeman's perfect world looks like.

Posted by elenchos | May 2, 2008 2:49 PM

it is too bad we leave it up to people who know! more crazy ideas! The problem Tim is trying to address comes down to idiots that don't stay in the far right hand lanes to do the speed limit. we should pass laws to dictate how people drive, and what lanes they can use!

Posted by infrequent | May 2, 2008 2:49 PM

Reality Check is right. Slow people in the left lanes who refuse to move over and yield to faster vehicles is a major cause of our gridlock. It isn't simply too many vehicles for most of the commute.

It is a cumulative effect of slower drivers clogging up the efficiency of our current system.

People in this god forsaken state need to obey the law and yield to the right for faster people behind them.

Western Washington residents are notorious for their passive agressive lessons they want to instill on their ignorant law breaking neighbors. They would rather it stick it to them and feign ignorance than help us all out and get their asses over to the right.

Posted by Take a moment to learn something yourself | May 2, 2008 3:00 PM

People doing the speed limit in any lane but the far right lane should be executed on the spot as people that wish to speed should be given all the other lanes.

Posted by bob | May 2, 2008 3:10 PM

Tim Eyman is an ignorant dick, and causes more problems than just about anyone else in the state. Half his initiatives never see the ballot. Most that do get on the ballot get voted down. Of the few that pass, half of them get ruled unconstitutional. Even viewed with rose colored glasses, his track record is abysmal.

Please Tim, jump off a cliff. Literally, not figuratively.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | May 2, 2008 3:12 PM

@23 i'm not sure reality check is right.

first, i'd like to see some proof that Slow people in the left lanes who refuse to move over and yield to faster vehicles is a major cause of our gridlock.

second, if that is true, how do any of tim's initiatives deal with that?

third, if it is true, and an initiative does deal with it, how is that not mandating behavior (but having a carpool lane is)?

by the end of your mail i really lost track of what you were advocating, and how it relates to tim's latest initiative.

Posted by infrequent | May 2, 2008 3:17 PM

At least a salesman-cum-Republican is better than a Republican-cum-salesman...

Posted by dr0q | May 2, 2008 4:48 PM

I just love the idea of Tim Eyman mortgaging his house to squeeze out one more golden turd for the ballot... then when it fails, he'll really be down and out. That's poetic justice.

Posted by Greg | May 2, 2008 10:58 PM

And #20: If we can't trust traffic engineers, who can we trust? I'm more wary of politicians who ignore the experts. Exhibit A: this guy.

Posted by Greg | May 2, 2008 11:09 PM

to: all

Jack, Mike, and I co-sponsored I-985 because we support State Auditor Brian Sonntag's efforts.

The policies in I-985 are exceptionally good. I-985's policies include: illustrating the public's support for making reducing traffic congestion a top transportation priority, opening up carpool lanes to everyone during non-peak hours, requiring local governments to synchronize traffic lights on heavily-traveled arterials and streets, clearing out accidents faster with expanded emergency roadside assistance, using a portion of vehicle sales tax revenue for these policies, removing the profit motive for red light cameras, replacing the percentage spent on public art to instead go toward reducing congestion, instituting critical taxpayer protections on future tolls, and empowering the State Auditor to monitor the implementation of the initiative's policies to ensure compliance.

We think each and every one of these policies is extremely positive and helpful for our state, our economy, and the taxpayers.

But the major reason we did this initiative this year is to strengthen the impact of I-900, the Performance Audit Initiative approved by voters in 2005. We firmly believe that I-900 has the potential to fundamentally change the culture of state and local governments for all time. State Auditor Brian Sonntag has been taking full advantage of the tools this initiative provided to him and his team of auditors. The criminal investigation at the Port of Seattle spurred by their top-to-bottom performance audit of the Port is just the tip of the iceberg of its potential.

So far, he and his team have completed nine performance audits, made 434 recommendations, totalling $3.2 billion in potential tax savings. With a modest investment of existing taxes (1/100th of 1% of existing sales tax revenues), Auditor Sonntag is providing Olympia with a spoon-fed roadmap to fundamentally reform government.

Olympia needs a swift kick in the butt to get them to begin adopting Sonntag's audit reports' recommendations. They need pressure from the public.

So we picked the highest profile audit so far -- the one on the Department of Transportation -- to serve as an effective catalyst. I-985 incorporates its common sense recommendations, funds them with existing revenues, and provides us with the most effective way to push Olympia to start adopting Sonntag's growing list of audit recommendations. Either they do it, or the people are going to do it for them.

The January 15th editorial in the Olympian newspaper said it very well: Lawmakers must respond to audit findings -- If legislators won't lead government reforms, the public will.

So not only do we get all the extremely beneficial policies listed in paragraph 1 above, but we also reinforce I-900, and pressure Olympia to implement the many, many performance audit recommendations being put forth by the State Auditor.

We can't just pass initiatives and hope Olympia will follow them -- we must constantly follow-up and keep the pressure on. That's what we're doing with I-985 "".

Posted by Tim Eyman, I-985 co-sponsor, | May 3, 2008 10:24 AM

to: Erica
From: Tim Eyman

I-985 doesn't prohibit tolls on I-90. I-985 simply requires that tolls on a project must be sent on that project and cannot be diverted to the state's general fund or other projects or other spending. In other words, I-985 keeps tolls as tolls and doesn't allow them to be converted into de facto taxes (which can be imposed on anyone and spent on anything).

as to the other policies in I-985, your disagreement isn't with me/us, it's with State Auditor Brian Sonntag and his recent performance audit of DOT. I-985's policies are based on Sonntag's audit recommendations.

We/I trust Sonntag and his team of transportation experts who did the DOT performance audit much more than the people who brought us the current strategy which promises more-of-the-same, business-as-usual transportation policies that have clearly failed over the past 30 years.

And I-985 doesn't require higher taxes -- just like the audit's philosophy, it simply provides a bigger bang for the buck from the taxes and governmental charges we already pay. In other words, it uses existing resources more effectively, something voters much prefer compared to higher taxes.

Posted by Tim Eyman, I-985 co-sponsor, | May 3, 2008 10:35 AM


1. why reduce funding for public art?

2. what is your plan for reducing congestion? it seems like more of the same failed approach: spend more on more lanes available single occupancy vehicles.

3. if they are off-peak hours (no traffic slowdowns) why is it necessary to open the HOV lanes? isn't better to keep them HOV, so *if* there is a slowdown the lanes still serve their intended purpose?


Posted by infrequent | May 3, 2008 1:19 PM

to: infrequent
from: Tim Eyman, co-sponsor of I-985

* We believe most people support dedicating 1/2% of transportation spending toward reducing traffic congestion; it's a higher priority than fish etchings on the side of offramps

* What's our plan? I-985's policies implement the recommendations made by Auditor Sonntag's recent performance audit of DOT. It's not our plan, it's his.

* Most states allow these lanes to be available to everyone during non-peak hours. Everyone is paying for those lanes, so everyone should be able to use them at least some of the time. Better utilization of HOV lanes will reduce traffic congestion.

thanks for the questions.

Posted by Tim Eyman, I-985 co-sponsor, | May 3, 2008 1:30 PM

@25 wins.

@30 needs to get a life - which @33 shows he sorely lacks.

A few years in Iraq might wise up this coward Tim.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 3, 2008 6:35 PM

thank you for replying at least, but i'm not sure you answered my questions, especially #3. i don't see any valid reason for opening HOV lanes, other than people just not liking them (under the guise of being taxed but not using the service, as if that actually applies, is a valid reason, or could be applied consistently to other issues).

Posted by infrequent | May 3, 2008 8:50 PM

to: infrequent

You wrote: "I don't see any valid reason for opening HOV lanes"

Response: We believe that it is a valid reason to open the lanes during off-peak hours if a majority of voters want that policy, especially if better utilization of carpool lanes and encouraging people to drive during off-peak hours, lessening traffic during peak times is recommended by the transportation experts hired by State Auditor Brian Sonntag.

Since most other states allow everyone to use these lanes during non-peak hours, it does beg the question: what's different about Washington state? Answer: nothing.

Allowing everyone to use these lanes during non-peak hours is reasonable public policy and we firmly believe the great majority of voters approve and support this policy. That's why it's included in I-985.

Posted by Tim Eyman, I-985 co-sponsor, | May 3, 2008 10:06 PM

Hey Tim, wasn't it your group that got I-900 on the ballot in the first place?

I guess now we know why. Instead of actually having to defend your crazy ideas, you can say they're Sonntags and leave it that. Don't have to defend it and you get "legitimacy" from the only part of the government you apparently like.

Brilliant move Tim!

Posted by Donolectic | May 4, 2008 5:43 PM

Sonntag is doing a great job, but the Legislature is not. They're not adopting the recommendations his audit reports are providing. Nine audits so far, making 434 recommendations, offering $3.2 billion in potential savings. it shouldn't take another initiative for Olympia to do the right thing and implement Sonntag's audit report recommendations. But that's what we feel is necessary to prod the Legislature to do the right thing and listen to Sonntag.

Posted by Tim Eyman, I-985 co-sponsor, | May 4, 2008 6:14 PM

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