October 31, 2004
Endorsements: Ballot Initiatives
These are my endorsements for ballot initiatives (statewide, King County and Seattle) on Tuesday's ballot. These endorsements reflect only my personal opinions and not necessarily those of other Sound Politics contributors.
I-872: "Replace the party primary with a Lousiana-style 'Top Two' primary" NO. The "Top Two" primary would effectively turn every race into a non-partisan race. The existing parties would be gutted. The new primary would give an enormous boost to those who already have or can most easily purchase name recognition -- incumbents, celebrities, darlings of the media, moneyed interests. Unaffiliated citizens, for whom parties offer direct access to grassroots participatory democracy, would be hosed. This supremely idiotic idea was hatched by the Washington State Grange, one seriously weird agricultural organization. It is endorsed by former Gov. Dan Evans, who also thought that Evergreen State College was a good idea.
I-884: "Billion dollar a year increase in the state sales tax for an Education Slush Fund": NO. The public school system needs to be restructured to be more accountable to parents and to give teachers and administrators incentives for success and consequences for failure. The misguided I-884 proposal would only spend another billion dollars a year to perpetuate and expand failed programs. I-884 is endorsed by most of the public education monopoly, a bunch of rich folks who enjoy being generous with other people's money, and former Gov. Dan Evans, who also thought that Evergreen State College was a good idea.
I-892: "Lower property taxes by taxing non-Indian slot machines". YES. Just between you and me, I never gamble except for a few rounds of dreidl on Hanukkah. Of course gambling is a tax on stupidity. But it's a voluntary tax. And better a voluntary tax on stupid people than mandatory taxes on those who are too busy earning a living to fight off taxes on their productivity. Contrary to the scare tactics, this measure won't put slot machines in your child's nursery school. It permits only licensed gambling establishments to install slot machines. The new (non-tribal) slot machines would pay a 35% tax which reduces the state property tax levy, as opposed to the existing (tribal) slot machines which pay no state tax. I-892 is opposed by the tribal casinos who want to preserve their tax-free monopoly on slot machines, and by Democrats and hippie-dippie liberal journalists who think that Tim Eyman is the anti-Christ.
I-297 "Hanford clean-up" NO. The federal government is already cleaning up Hanford. This will only create an unnecessary "advisory board" that would entail payments to the radical environmentalists who put the initiative on the ballot. It would also make it easier for environmental trial lawyers to sue the government and collect big windfalls from taxpayers.
Referendum 55 "Charter schools" APPROVE. This measure would affirm a law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor that would permit the creation of a small number of independently managed non-sectarian public charter schools. Charter schools are exempt from many stifling regulations (including mandatory unionization) and have the flexibility to do a better job of serving their students. A no-brainer that gives parents more choices where to send their kids and teachers more choices for the kind of schools they want to work in. Supported by a bipartisan coalition of parents, educators, business leaders and elected officials. Opposed by the Axis of Evil of teacher unions and their store-bought allies in the Democratic party, who will do whatever it takes to shut down any challenge to their revenue stream of mandatory dues from public school teachers.
King County Measures
CHARTER AMENDMENTS 1A AND 1B: "Reduce the size of the King County Council from 13 to 9"
Honestly, I'm ambivalent. A 13 member council is not unreasonably large for a jurisdiction of 1.7 million people. Shrinking the size of the council would mean that the number of constituents per member goes from 130,000 to 190,000. The workload and number of constituent demands isn't going to decrease, only each councilmember's effectiveness at representation. The money saved by shrinking the council isn't huge compared to the county's total budget. On the other hand, the tradeoff is over $1 million a year in cost savings. A million here a million there, eventually it adds up.
ADVISORY MEASURE NO. 1 "Locally Funded Transportation Plan" NO. This is merely a non-binding "advisory measure". The advice is NO. Do NOT give the people who brought you Sound Transit any more chances to "fix" our transportation system. You'll only pay through the nose and get nothing worthwhile in return.
ADVISORY MEASURE NO. 2 "What kind of tax do you want to pay for the locally funded transportation plan that you just voted no on (see above)" You are offered five different types of taxes and "none of the above" is not an option. Craft your own "none of the above" option by leaving this one blank.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at October 31, 2004
11:15 PM | Email This
I-83 "Monorail Recall". YES. If you're not sick and tired of the useless Moronorail yet, you should be. As one of my blog commenters noted, it's nothing but a "bus on a stick". Contrary to the claims that the Monorail will "get people out of their cars", it will only cost car owners more than $1.6 billion and all it will do is take bus riders out of their buses and stick them in the air. SHUT THE THING DOWN ALREADY. I-83 is opposed by the people who work for the Monorail project, its construction contractors and bond underwriters, the P-I editorial board members from Kitsap Kounty and former Gov. Dan Evans, who also thought that Evergreen State College was a good idea.
SoundPolitics, I almost totally agree with you on these initiative positions - especially in re to 884 and 872. ALMOST, because R-55 gives the state a critical voice and endorsing I-892 I believe is a huge mistake.
a) Allow Corporate Canada to raid and pillage the nation's initiative process in TWENTY-SEVEN states!
b) Create a new horde of gambling addicts, which is going to increase gambling-related crime
c) Perpetuate Eymanism, or the belief that the broadsword of the initiative process can be used to cut taxes without regard for the consequences
d) Assail Native Americans trying to get ahead by cutting out from under them the only economic opportunity they've had... and telling President Ronald Reagan who in 1988 signed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to give them this opportunity that we say one thing, do another.
I rest my case. If you want more, visit www.permanentdefense.org or read my letter to voters here at (http://www.permanentdefense.org/ReleaseCenter/VotertoVoter.html)
Josef is right re 892. While it's true that "only licensed gambling establishments" can install slots, what's to stop a restaurant or a grocery store from becoming a licensed gambling establishment? Very, very little.
Add to that the fact that any economic stimulus that would normally come from a reduction in property taxes will be completely offset by the fact that all that money will come from lots of poor people dumping their money into slot machines instead of buying goods and services.
And you left out a very important group who is opposed to 892: Christians. My pastor specifically prayed that it would fail yesterday. Evangelicals like myself consider gambling--especially slot machines, which, unlike po*ker or other card games, involve no skill whatsoever--to be dangerous, addictive and destructive. I would prefer to roll back gambling, not increase it.
Timothy, good to hear from you.
As far as, "While it's true that "only licensed gambling establishments" can install slots, what's to stop a restaurant or a grocery store from becoming a licensed gambling establishment? Very, very little." - I totally agree. And besides, with Washington State Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Part (c) that says to alter any initiative simply requires a majority of both state legislative houses two years after enactment and before that a 2/3 supermajority, you have to wonder: How long???
I think people are going to draw a line tomorrow of a myriad of reasons... but maybe in the end, Chris Matthews said it best in this quote from why we vote on "The Chris Matthews Show" yesterday:
"It's also an act of hope, like paying tuition bills. It's saying to the world, to hell with the cynics and the pessimists, I think we can make things better. I believe in the future. And, yes, it's an act of charity. I'm not voting for myself alone, I'm voting for all Americans because I want this to be a better country and I think my vote just might help."
4. Right now, 892 is the only one I remain undecided on. On one hand, the expansion of gambling is never a good thing, for the reasons stated above. On the other hand, the taxes in this state are already ridiculous, and if I-884 passes we'll be easily in the top 5 for higest sales tax in the nation (in addition to something like second highest gas tax) and at this rate, by the time I'm ready to buy a house I'm worried that I'll find that I cannot afford to live in this state any longer. Again, I'm still undecided, but leaning (slightly) toward yes.
I hate to tell you this but I-892, because of the increased gambling, WILL increase your taxes eventually in increased bills for law enforcement. It has commonly been said that for every dollar of gambling revenue to the community, the community must throw 3 dollars in to get that.
I-892 is NOT tax relief, it's a disaster waiting to happen. VOTE NO ON I-892...
6. While we're on the subject of Dan Evans, why-the-heck hasn't today's Republican Party officially disowned him???
I will throw my voice in to vote No on I-892.
In Texas we did NOT have a lottery. Then we decided to vote for gambling "for the schools" -- Guess what. The schools STILL need more money. But Texas now has a gambling problem as well, having to deal with addicts, etc. The last thing we need is an expansion of gambling. I understand we are overtaxed -- but I don't believe the tax relief from this measure is anything close to long term. MAYBE 2 years. Instead, we will take on the additional costs of those who want more money to gamble with and don't take care of their families, etc.
As for the number of council members for King County -- 13 is really ridiculous. It was not THAT long ago we were at 9. and I have not seen the county being more effective at 13 than it was at 9. And there are other large counties that have even fewer than 9. So I'm voting to take it down to 9.
Abount the Monorail: We were in Washington D.C. earlier. They have the Metro, which is a rail system (Maybe closer to our light rail? Not sure) This is an effective system. It is STUFFED full of people almost all of the time. it actually moves people from one place to another and not between nothing and nothing -- and it costs twice as much to ride as our bus system (almost $4.00 in peak, each way, AND it actually costs $4.00 to park at their park & rides!). AND they had information in the newspapers they were passing out that, even at these rates, that they needed to raise taxes to get more money for the system because it was "going broke"
I honestly feel that Washingtonians are going to be disappointed by how expensive these rail systems are.
Oh and the Washington D.c. Rail has their stops in urban areas -- NOT where people live. But where they shop, etc. So there are reasons to go everywhere it goes.
Nice to hear from you all rejects of 892... here's more fuel for your fire:
Ever hear of the Silver Dollar, that had to register $3,500 in lobbying by Tim Iszely of the Iszely brothers? As Little Nevada II, Inc. they've donated $10,000 to the pro-892 effort. Problem is, they owe the state $196,044.47.
Ever hear of The Crazy Moose, who donated no less than $3,000 to the pro-892 "Just Treat Us the Same" PAC under "Crazy Moose Cas INO II"?
Ever hear of Parkers Cas INO, next to Shorewood High?
You probably didn't unless you are a gambling watchdog or state gov't watchdog or you visited Second Chance Washington. But all of them are guilty of providing alcohol & gambling services to minors and were cited by the State Liquor Control Board and Gambling Commission in a sting operation.
So here's my last argument for voting NO on I-892 and it goes something like this: These guys have VLTs, the "crack cocaine" of gambling... it's only going to get worse.
VOTE NO ON I-892...