Initiative activist Tim Eyman appears in Thurston County Superior Court in February. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Initiative activist Tim Eyman appears in Thurston County Superior Court in February. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

In tough month, an ally becomes a competitor for Eyman

After getting signatures for a measure that didn’t qualify, Restore Washington wants to do its own.

OLYMPIA — Contrary to the customary exuberance expressed in his emails, Tim Eyman isn’t having a very good month.

Washington’s pioneering initiative barker — whose financing creativity is a subject of an ongoing state probefailed July 5 to turn in signatures needed to get a far-reaching, constitution-bending, tax hike-erasing measure in front of voters this year.

Two days later, the indomitable Eyman was on the hunt again for signers of petitions to put essentially the same term limits on tax initiative on the ballot in 2020.

He had momentum and didn’t want to lose it.

But in those 48 hours he did lose a chunk of it. Leaders of a new affiliation of conservative-minded folks which energized signature-gathering for the failed measure told Eyman they weren’t mobilizing for Round 2.

Cary Condotta, of Wenatchee who served 16 years in the state House, and Mike McKee, owner of a meat market in Quincy, made clear they didn’t think the new venture, Initiative 1082, had any better chance to pass constitutional muster than the original, Initiative 1648.

They asked him to pause for a few weeks to draft something different, something more likely to survive a legal challenge, and they’d be on board. They said they were pursuing what they believed to be such an alternative and needed time to parse it out.

“He said ‘No’. I said, ‘Tim, I guess you’re on your own,’” Condotta recounted. “We didn’t believe in 1082. Tim will be Tim. We’ll see how it goes.”

Condotta and McKee are guides for the group, Restore Washington whose motto is “Legislation By The People, For The People.”

It’s an outgrowth from an Eastern Washington-spawned movement to split off a chunk of Washington into a 51st state known as Liberty State. McKee embraces that vision but said Restore Washington is a separate vehicle to deal with the here-and-now of what emerges from the Legislature and governor’s office.

“The mission is to create a large organized network of folks to keep Olympia in check through the initiative and referendum process,” according to the group’s Facebook page which claimed 10,876 followers as of Wednesday.

Eyman was one but isn’t now. He got kicked off and blocked from commenting, McKee said, because he wouldn’t stop trying to use it as a platform for raising money for the new initiative and legal defense.

No surprise there as Andrew Villeneuve, founder of the Northwest Progressive Institute, adeptly noted online this week.

“Because initiatives are Eyman’s business, he must always have a scheme to sell… it keeps the hustle going,” he wrote Monday.

So it looks like one can now add Condotta and McKee to a crowd of recognizeable conservatives in the state who upon experiencing Eyman up close wish it came with a surgeon general’s warning of its potential impact on their health, well-being and wallet.

Eyman seems to realize his base of support is shrinking. This week he used email and Facebook to respond, arguing that he’s got a record with initiatives and the newbies — whom he artfully wishes well — don’t.

“We face a threat: disunity,” he emailed and posted on Facebook Monday. “Here’s what’s happening: there is a competition to earn your support. I welcome it. I take tremendous pride in what we’ve accomplished and are accomplishing. This new group is indicating they want to do it too. I welcome them.”

Eyman said the “heroic foot soldiers” in his camp “dislike disunity and chafe at infighting. They shake their heads at the idiocy of a circular firing squad. None of them believe that the best way to gain support is to try to drain support from others.”

“I have faith. I have hope. How ‘bout you,” he concluded with far less than his usual exuberance.

It’s been a tough month.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

The Snohomish County Jail is pictured on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Woman, 43, dies inside Snohomish County Jail, sixth death since September

Corrections staff found the inmate, 43, unresponsive in her single-occupancy cell Wednesday. It was unclear how she died.

Port officials and future tenants shovel some earth while participating in a groundbreaking ceremony for Restaurant Row at the Port of Everett on Tuesday, July 23, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Here’s the scoop on sweet additions to Everett waterfront

Two new buildings at Port of Everett will house new froyo shop, breakfast cafe, fish market, taproom and wine bar.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Gold Bar in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
US 2 reopened near Gold Bar after crash

The crash Wednesday afternoon at Reiter Road east of Gold Bar caused minor injuries. Traffic was backed up a half-mile.

A transit rider steps onto a Community Transit bus on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
What route should new Smokey Point bus route take through Marysville?

By 2029, the Gold Line will connect Everett Station to Smokey Point. Community Transit wants your input on the exact path.

Everett
Suspected impaired driver strikes patrol car on I-5 near Everett

No injuries were reported in the crash on northbound I-5 between Everett and Marysville early Wednesday morning.

Public Works Senior Engineer Randy Loveless looks out over Everett’s 101-year-old reservoir at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Reservoir 3 Replacement Project on Tuesday, July 23, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
With looming earthquake threat, Everett breaks ground on $80M reservoirs

Contractors will replace a 100-year-old reservoir east of Evergreen Way with two smaller ones.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.