Voters embrace a slew of new Eyman-style initiatives.
Congress recently passed a measure barring Ed McMahon-like sweepstakes con artists from using certain misleading marketing practices, such as putting "You've Just Won $10 Million" on envelope windows. I think this is a fine example for Washington state, which should move immediately to pass a law banning fraternity mug and watch salesmen who are hell-bent on duping voters into self-destruction.
Had that law been in place a year ago, we wouldn't have had to deal with con man Tim Eyman's I-695—or his latest proposal to scrap Sound Transit, do away with carpool lanes, and require the Department of Transportation to spend 90 percent of its budget on highway construction and maintenance. (Ever heard of wages and overhead, Tim?) Sure, I agree that $30 car tabs are pretty sexy—but at the expense of, well, EVERY public service? And requiring a citizens' vote on every tax hike? Who on God's green, government-fearing, militia-forming earth runs this state anyway? Bo Gritz?
Ah, citizens' initiatives. Love 'em or hate 'em, you'd better get used to 'em. I-695 has paved the way for other dubious doozies, ranging from misleading to downright wacked.
I-5: Backed by a curious partnership between the tobacco industry and Chevrolet, I-5 would abolish the speed limit on Interstate 5, giving the Northwest its very own autobahn. Fine print reveals that the initiative would also force every state resident to buy a '78 Camaro and would grant exclusive advertising rights on I-5's cement medians to the makers of Skoal Bandits.
I-40: Washingtonians find this boozy ballot measure harmless, as it purports to mandate that all liquorious establishments offer 40-oz bottles of malt liquor to their customers. What voters fail to notice is that I-40 outlaws all other forms of booze in the process. Washington's lucrative wine industry scrambles to retool by hiring the remaining living members of '80s gangsta rap group N.W.A. as product consultants, while schmoozy, expensive political fundraisers take on the comedic air of backyard barbecues in the 'hood.
I-90: Strapped by transportation budget cuts wrought by I-695, the legislature is forced to ask voters if they wouldn't mind charging wealthy Eastsiders a $10 crossing toll and turning the lush parks atop both of I-90's bridge lids into heavily taxed adult entertainment zones.
I-401(k): Eyman again, this time proposing an initiative that would redirect all money earmarked for public education to Tim Eyman's personal retirement fund. After Gary Locke denounces this maneuver as "the most selfish stunt in the history of Evergreen State politics," Eyman retorts, "What's education, anyway? Does it teach you how to draft initiatives? Sell watches? I think not. Sure, I mean, I went to Wazzu. That's kinda like college. But life should be our children's textbooks. Put 'em to work in the pulp mills to teach 'em the value of a buck. Besides, if the people of Washington want me to have their education dollars, I think I should damn well get 'em!"
I-420: In a cultural nod to stoner folklore and the two-hour segment of the afternoon when Spaniards take a nap, a couple of transplants from Humboldt State earn enough signatures to propose that the state make people stop whatever they're doing at 4:20 and smoke a giant bowl. Little do voters realize marijuana's uncanny ability to sap motivation, and they gaze (in a haze) in shock as the state's worker productivity tumbles to dead last in the nation. On the flip side, Washington's violent crime rate plummets and everyone just gets along, man.
I-666: Proposed by Bruce and Ellen Craswell, the patron saints of marriage between church and state, I-666 seeks to ban schoolteachers from teaching Satan worship to young tykes. When initial research reveals that exactly zero Washington schools teach Satanism, Bruce responds, "Look, the devil's everywhere. I saw him the other day at the Poulsbo Quick Mart, I saw him shooting rubber bands at the crucifix in church, and I saw him try to sneak under the covers when Ellen and I were cuddling in the sack last Saturday night. If he can sneak into our sacred bedroom, then, by George, he can sneak into our schools. We gotta do everything we can to keep his horny red ass in hell."
I-1999: A far better option than "Louie, Louie," that's for sure—as Washingtonians decide whether or not to change the official state song to Prince's millennium party anthem. Prince himself lends his support, declaring, "People of Washington, if you pass this initiative I'll skip my Y2K gig at the Egyptian pyramids to play the Ballard Firehouse!" A thorough reading, however, reveals that the initiative also forces each household to rent His Purpleness' cruddiest flick, Graffiti Bridge, on the first Friday of every month.
I-AMAJACKASSHUCKSTERWHOJUSTSUCKEREDWHITETRASHWASHINGTON: Dubbed "the numberless initiative." Also known as "Tim Eyman."