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June 13, 2006

Pastor questions Eyman's motives, says he broke agreement

Posted by David Postman at 7:54 PM

(See update below for Eyman's charge he is being blackmailed.)

Joseph Fuiten, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Network and the pastor who worked most closely with Tim Eyman on the anti-gay rights initiative, has new details and new criticisms of Eyman's role in the campaign.

In an e-mailed statement tonight Fuiten said Eyman broke his agreement with religious leaders and when questioned, essentially lawyered up and refused to talk to his partners in the Christian community. Fuiten also questions Eyman's motives for taking on a campaign to repeal the gay rights law.

"We printed up thousands of petitions with our return address on them. We wanted to promote the effort and keep tabs on the progress. Tim Eyman was very upset by our plans and communicated the same to many. He wanted all the petitions to bear only his name so all the forms would go to his office in Spokane. In exchange for Faith and Freedom Network stepping out of the role we had planned, Tim agreed to allow us access to the petitions as they came in. We withdrew our petitions and everything flowed through Tim's office. When we requested access to the information as he had agreed with me, Tim told us to have our lawyer contact his lawyer. He broke the agreement without even talking to me, and kept us in the dark thereafter as to the progress.

"We invested $53,000 in the effort. Tim said he spent $14,000. I can appreciate the effort that Tim made in this cause, although I am not sure of his motives. He never was involved in the gay rights issue in the years it was in the legislature so it makes me wonder if his interests were mercenary rather than in the actual issue."

Fuiten and others in his group have been critical of Eyman's role. But this is the most pointed, and most detailed, critique yet.

Eyman has been uncharacteristically defensive about the failure of R-65. He has been e-mailing reporters statements from other religious leaders with good things to say, but who were not as actively involved as Fuiten. He also sent a massive e-mail excerpting every piece of reporting and every quote that would explain the defeat on something other than what the pastors say were his own short-comings.

Eyman forwarded a message from Restore America, which defended Eyman and took a shot at Fuiten and his allies:

"No doubt, you are aware of the public lashing Tim Eyman has received over the failed R-65 campaign, and not only from the media, which was expected, but also from a couple of self-appointed spokespersons for the Washington State faith community. I can assure you these men and their organization speak only for themselves."

Restore America is an Oregon group. Another group, Sound the Alarm, blamed R-65's failure on a failure of faith:

"It would be easy to blame others at this time when the blame should fall squarely on us. I'm not talking about political missteps or lack of organization that brought us to where we are today. I'm talking about the condition of the Church of Jesus Christ in Washington State."

UPDATE: Eyman just sent an e-mail that includes what he says is a transcript of a phone message left earlier today on his cell phone by Fuiten:

"Tim, Joe Fuiten calling. I'm in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Hey, I would still like to get those names on the petitions. And I have a proposal for you: if you turn over to me the petitions, I will make sure that nothing more is said in public by Faith & Freedom, or in private for that matter by any of us or me or my employees or whoever, that would be negative of you. That's my suggestion to you. We agreed you'd turn those names over to us in our agreement and I would like for you to follow through on that even at this stage of the game. You've got my cell phone number 425-###-#### or an email, either one. Thank you, sir. Bye."

Eyman said in his e-mail to reporters and supporters:

We're not going to be intimidated or blackmailed into allowing these citizens who signed these petitions to have their names and addresses used by Faith & Freedom and anyone else to do anything other than seeking a public vote on HB 2661.

Was Fuiten blackmailing Eyman or was he giving Eyman one more chance to turn over the petitions as he had promised? Certainly Fuiten is playing hardball.

Eyman is well used to being criticized and even demonized by opponents, from the Legislature, local governments, Democrats, mass transit advocates, David Goldstein and editorial writers and columnists across the state. But Fuiten was an ally, not an opponent. He had an inside view of how Eyman operates. He clearly has gotten under Eyman's skin.

Here's the full text of Fuiten's statement:

Dr. Fuiten's Response to Washington Referendum 65

The failure of the Referendum on gay rights is a disappointment to us all. This issue is one that Faith and Freedom Network has worked on for the past 13 years. We fought it every year in Olympia under the able leadership of our lobbyist, Bob Higley. We put our heart and soul into the referendum effort for these last months. For me, to believe in biblical righteousness is to take a stand on this issue. We will continue to work through the various processes to stand for righteousness until the Lord comes.

Since I am still on an extended trip, I have not commented on the failure except as reported by others. Let me tell you in my own words of concerns that I have. When the Legislature passed the bill that we fought so strongly, we determined to do what we could to win. We planned a full-scale effort of multiple facets. We printed up thousands of petitions with our return address on them. We wanted to promote the effort and keep tabs on the progress. Tim Eyman was very upset by our plans and communicated the same to many. He wanted all the petitions to bear only his name so all the forms would go to his office in Spokane. In exchange for Faith and Freedom Network stepping out of the role we had planned, Tim agreed to allow us access to the petitions as they came in. We withdrew our petitions and everything flowed through Tim's office. When we requested access to the information as he had agreed with me, Tim told us to have our lawyer contact his lawyer. He broke the agreement without even talking to me, and kept us in the dark thereafter as to the progress.

We invested $53,000 in the effort. Tim said he spent $14,000. I can appreciate the effort that Tim made in this cause, although I am not sure of his motives. He never was involved in the gay rights issue in the years it was in the legislature so it makes me wonder if his interests were mercenary rather than in the actual issue. Tim was the quarterback of this team but the running backs and ends did not know where we were on the field. We knew there was a goal line but as the weeks wore on, we never knew if we were close or distant. Tim kept that to himself. It was not a victory formula.

Faith and Freedom Network has been in this and other spiritual battles for years. We intend to remain faithful through all the ups and downs as we have in the past. We hope that you will do the same.

I am uncertain as to the full extent of how the Lord intends to use this in our lives. Certainly part of the message is that the bible-believing church must awaken and take responsibility to present all God's message to this generation. The apostate church has no shame in promoting their message. Another part is to remind us that all that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. We have had way too much of doing nothing.

I am guessing now that the court may kick the gay marriage issue back into the legislature. If so, we will have opportunity to revisit some of these issues then. If the court imposes gay marriage then we will have the chance to vote on them in November. Either way there is plenty to do in the days ahead.

God Bless You,
Dr. Joseph B. Fuiten
Faith and Freedom Network

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Eyman loses another

Posted by David Postman at 3:27 PM

King County Superior Court Judge Mary Roberts has struck down Tim Eyman's 2001 property tax initiative because the ballot title was misleading. AP has the story:

"The voters were incorrectly led to believe they were voting to amend I-722," Roberts said. "The voters were misled as to the nature and content of the law to be amended, and the effect of the amendment upon it. The (state) constitution forbids this."

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Dean Logan resigns

Posted by David Postman at 7:41 AM

The resignation of elections director Dean Logan means King County may not be able to make its 2007 deadline for countywide mail-in voting. But County Executive Ron Sims has not yet given up trying to implement the plan in time for next year's primary election, Sims spokesman Sandeep Kaushik said this morning.

Kaushik said Sims expects a difficult time finding a replacement for Logan "because of what Ron has described as this toxic political environment surrounding King County Elections. ... King County elections has essentially turned into a partisan issue in a way that really undermines our ability to restore public trust and confidence in the election system."

At horsesass, David Goldstein says Logan has "been incessantly vilified by the GOP and their surrogates."

"A colorless bureaucrat in the best sense of the word, Logan has simply had enough of the abuse."
And when Goldstein says surrogates, he includes blogger Stefan Sharkansky, who has written more about Logan than anyone, and none of it nice. He's restrained so far this morning at Sound Politics.

Republicans have definitely made Logan a target. In the 2005 trial on the governor's election, the GOP legal strategy hinged on trying to show corruption in the elections division to steal the election from Dino Rossi. They showed some bumbling to be sure. But Chelan County Superior Court Judge John. Bridges found no corruption.

More recently there has been growing discontent from the left about King County elections and the plan by Sims and Logan to convert to countywide vote-by-mail. As one commenter put it on the liberal washblog site:

"On this issue, there are no Democrats and Republicans and there are no liberals and conservatives. There are only those who value the convenience of elections officials uber alles and those who have a fecking clue what is at stake when we don't have election transparency with checks and balances and public oversight at every step. "

Not all on the left have been open to criticism of the Democrats who run county elections. Washblog's resident vote-by-mail critic has been called on the site the "Right's Useful Idiot," a "paranoid weirdo," a "LaRouchian," and a "flat-earther."

Logan is taking a job in Los Angeles as deputy elections registrar. His new boss is Conny McCormack, who has been a long-time fan of Logan's, dating back to the height of the 2004 election controversy:

When Logan's most acerbic critics likened King County's election conduct to abuses in Ukraine and Chicago, auditors from other counties offered support. Los Angeles County Auditor Conny McCormack conducted media interviews and offered to fly to Seattle.

UPDATE: Here's Logan's statement:

UPDATE: Sims just released a statement expressing his sadness at losing Logan to L.A. Sims has some tough words for what he said was A "barrage of harsh personal attacks" on Logan "by some partisan extremists and elected officials," some of whom he refers to as "unscrupulous people" and "unhinged partisan critics."

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