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July 24, 2006

The conservative critique of Tim Eyman

Posted by David Postman at 7:58 AM

It is not difficult to find critics of Tim Eyman, particularly among local liberal bloggers. One even got his start dogging Eyman. But it is of note, and should be reason for concern for Eyman, that the area's most prominent conservative blog leads this morning with this headline:

TIM EYMAN YOUR 15 MINUTES ARE UP

At Sound Politics, Eric Earling, though, doesn't just write that Eyman is running out of gas and has turned "himself into a traveling carnival of various costumes in a spiraling attempt to garner media coverage. I suppose that makes him a new kind of Carny."

Earling says Eyman is also a liar. Earling says Eyman recently lied to 710 KIRO host Dave Ross about how I-917 would mess with regional transportation votes and denied what the language of the initiative makes clear: It would take power away from local voters.

Putting the transportation component of this discussion into perspective, the Legislature approved the gas tax package, and the public solidly supported it in a statewide vote. Now Eyman, wants to revisit part of that decision and limit the future ability of local voters to decide on their own taxes that would go straight to the transportation improvements this region desperately needs. Again, if the idea is really "Give the Voters More Choices" then Eyman would be better served actually letting the voters of those three counties do that when they get the chance next year, rather than using a statewide vote to limit that region's options in advance.

If I-917 doesn't make the ballot, especially after the Referendum 65 failure earlier this year, Tim Eyman will have lost a lot of credibility, even with his supporters. Despite that, I realize Tim Eyman really wants car tabs to be $30. I'm half convinced he won't rest until he receives a car tab notice from the state that reads $30.00. It seems voters, particularly in the Puget Sound region, increasingly disagree, and probably tend to agree instead that the whims of one publicity-hungry individual are not the basis for sound public policy.

Eyman will have a hard time dismissing Earling as part of the establishment that has served so well as a foil for Eyman's campaigns. But I don't doubt he'll try.

UPDATE: Also at Sound Politics today, Stefan Sharkansky digs in to what Eyman claims is his smoking gun to prove the Secretary of State's office lost thousands of his petitions: a receipt showing he turned in, as he claimed, 300,353, signatures. But as I figured, the receipt was something Eyman asked for, it is unofficial in any meaningful way, and based only on Eyman's assertion that he was turning in that many signatures. From an e-mail Sharkansky got from Elections Director Nick Handy on how Eyman got his receipt:

At the front desk, he asked our receptionist to date stamp his letter as received. After she did this, he turned to the press and announced that the Office of Secretary of State had just acknowledged receipt of 300,353 signatures. Of course, we were just acknowledging receipt of a letter written by Tim Eyman claiming he was submitting 300,353 signatures. We had not counted teh (sic) pages or the signatures on his petitions at that time.

So, to be clear: Eyman brought in a pile of petitions, told the receptionist they included 303,353 signatures and asked for a piece of paper saying that; the Secretary of State's office counted the signatures and found far fewer, leading Eyman to wave his receipt as proof that someone had pilfered his petitions.

Also, as David Goldstein graciously points out in the comments, he's not the only blogger who got started by dogging Tim Eyman, so did Andrew Villeneuve.

UPDATE: And even more Sound Politics? Stefan has posted a response to what I said above about Earling on Eyman, pointing out that Earling's father is David Earling, the former Sound Transit board chairman. (My guess is any Eyman response leads with that fact.) He points out that Earling only writes for himself, not some official voice of Sound Politics, and otherwise tries to downplay any significance to, as I said, the area's most prominent conservative blog taking Eyman on so squarely. OK Stefan, it's not important, but it sure is interesting. Whether you or a majority of your readers agree with Earling, the post jumped out at me because it was different from what we hear from the usual sources.

UPDATE: You can see the smoking gun here, and read the latest on Eyman from the Spokesman Review's Rich Roesler.

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