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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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April 30, 2008 11:42 AM

Suicide initiative leads spending

Posted by David Postman

An initiative campaign to legalize assisted suicide in Washington has raised and spent far more than any other ballot campaign this year. The Yes on 1000 committee has raised more than $800,000 and already spent $590,256, according to records filed with the Public Disclosure Commission. That’s a big chunk of the $854,000 spent so far by active ballot campaigns.

Of course, there aren’t many active campaigns at this point. There has been money spent by three campaigns: assisted-suicide Initiative 1000, its opposition campaign and Tim Eyman’s I-985. The major expenses so far for what backers of I-1000 call the death with dignity initiative have been for signature gathering to qualify the measure for the November ballot, postage, fundraising, commercial time on KIRO radio and consultants.

The opposition campaign has raised $32,000 and spent about $12,000

Rich Roesler has a story at the Spokesman about fundraising for I-1000.

With months left to go before Election Day, Washington’s Initiative 1000 has drawn cash contributions from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Among them: more than 400 contributions from California, nearly 150 from New York and $215,000 from the Oregon group Death With Dignity.

Roesler has links to fundraising letters from former Gov. Booth Gardner, sponsor of I-1000, and the opposition, too.

On I-985, Eyman's transportation initiative, has raised about $315,000. and spent about $250,000. Eyman said yesterday he’s getting a $250,000 line of credit on his house and will loan that full amount to his campaign. He is asking supporters to donate money to pay back his loan.

I don’t see any money raised by an opposition committee to Eyman’s initiative. Has anyone heard of any effort to organize against 985? Or will Eyman get a free pass on this one?

The initiative would require the state to use general fund money for transportation improvements, including synchronizing traffic lights and increasing the budget for tow trucks to clear out accidents.

The freeway-hero approach to traffic congestion was part of former Gov. Gary Locke’s transportation plan in 1998. I remember thinking then that touting tow trucks in a transportation plan was classic Locke-ian micro-managing. That was one year before Eyman swept in with Initiative 695, which eliminated a major source of transportation funding for the state.

This year’s initiative would move existing tax money to pay for work on traffic lights, tow trucks and car pool lanes. That sort of fine-tuning could lead one to think our transportation problems must not be so bad. But we know otherwise.

What I-985 tells me is that almost 10 years after Eyman crowned himself the voice of the people, he is left to dabble in the minutia of state government. He’s fiddling and thinking small just like the politicians that paved the way for his ascendancy as the can-do citizen politician.

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