Road warrior Tim Eyman has dubbed his latest volley the “Transportation Choices Initiative,” which is like slashing health care and calling it a “healthy lifestyle incentive plan.” But Peter Hurley-executive director of the defiantly anti-sprawl Transportation Choices Coalition-was amused by Eyman’s brazen co-option of the group’s pro-transit moniker. “I think he recognized that Transportation Choices was a great name,” Hurley says. “I think we can make a compelling case that what he’s doing is taking away choices.” Eyman’s initiative would repeal the car tax imposed by Referendum 51 (if voters approve it), divert tax dollars from education and social services to highways, and allow single-occupant cars in car-pool lanes.

If Tim Eyman hasn’t been foremost on enviros’ minds these days, it’s not for lack of trying. More likely, it’s because they’ve got bigger game in sight. First, there’s the anti-51 campaign, which got a boost last week when the Sierra Club joined Transportation Choices, WashPIRG, and 1000 Friends of Washington in the campaign to defeat the statewide gas tax proposal in November. Then there’s the estimated $12 billion regional transportation package, which King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties want voters to pay for by raising sales taxes by between .3 and .5 percent. Hurley says it’s a dumb idea. “It’s a regressive tax that does more harm than good,” Hurley says. Moreover, “why should buying clothing subsidize highway construction?” Espresso-tax boosters, take heed. . . .

City Council member and tenant advocate Judy Nicastro has always had a good relationship with her landlady, and it’s easy to see why: $480 for a one-bedroom in Fremont! Now her landlady wants to bump her rent to $600. Although Nicastro agrees the increase is entirely reasonable, she says she didn’t receive the 60 days’ notice required for increases over 10 percent. “She sent me a letter on July 17” saying the rent was going up as of Aug. 1, Nicastro says. So she is planning to write and set her landlady straight on the fine points of landlord-tenant law. “I always tell tenants to put it in writing,” says Nicastro. So she guesses she’ll have to do the same. . . .

Washington’s labor laws may be among the most liberal in the nation, but labor advocates say that doesn’t matter much if they aren’t being enforced. Last week, the state Supreme Court upheld Yellow Freight employees’ right to sue their employer for violating state labor laws by denying workers a 10-minute rest break every three hours. The company argued that workers, or their union, could “voluntarily” waive their right to take time off. “They said that this is a negotiable thing, but the Supreme Court said it’s like the minimum wage-you can’t give up your right to rest breaks,” says Dmitri Iglitzen, the attorney who argued the five-year-old case. The decision could open the door to similar worker-employer battles, which have been stymied in the past because employees’ only recourse was to complain to the state and hope they’d do something about it. In practice, they never did. “[State Attorney General] Christine Gregoire is not about to bring a lawsuit against some employer for not allowing rest breaks,” Iglitzen says. Now that workers have the right to take things into their own hands, perhaps more of them will.

Erica Barnett

Contributing this week: George Howland Jr.