In an election where voters have become fed up with what they feel is out of control government spending, it is hardly any surprise that I-1053 - a measure to reinstate a two-thirds majority requirement in the state legislature for raising taxes - is winning. This latest Tim Eyman victory - at 65 percent - is his biggest win in over a decade of Initiative mongering. None of his earlier efforts have ever received over 60 percent of the vote.
"Voters see a bloated government riding in the wagon constantly bitching that the people aren't pulling hard enough," Eyman proclaimed to a cadre of television cameras and nearby supporters. "Governments need to stop taxing-and-spending and start reforming-and-prioritizing using existing revenue."
Eyman's political obituary has been written so many times that it's has become almost a form letter with pundits and columnists proclaiming his demise after each ballot box failure. His initiatives in 2008 and 2009 both failed, as did his quixotic campaign in 2006 for R-65 (repealing anti-gay discrimination laws) which probably nearly cost him his career when it failed to make the ballot.
Like fighting Godzilla with nuclear weapons, Olympia lawmakers basically ensured the success of Mukilteo's prodigal son when they overturned I-960 which was approved by voters in 2007. And with Republican pickups in both the State House and Senate, it can be argued that Democrats who supported the repeal paid the price politically as well.
Perhaps the biggest surprise this election was just how darn respectable Eyman appeared in the eyes of the local media. He received the endorsement of nearly every single major newspaper in the state. This from a guy who, until a few years ago, used to brag that he never received the support from a single editorial board.
"It was just creepy," Eyman replied.
Stop and Go: There was one other Eyman measure on the ballot, at least if you were a voter in Mukilteo. With 70 percent of the vote, Eyman's hometown supported Prop 1 which outlaws the use of so-called "red light" cameras.
The proposition will likely have larger ramifications statewide for cities that use red light cameras to help pad their general fund. Eyman said that he expects greater legislation action in Olympia in the next session to reform the practice. Barring that, he did not say no when asked whether he'd put an initiative on the ballot if the legislature failed. About 20 cities in Washington state use red light cameras, including Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Federal Way and the region's top speed trap Fife.