Government should listen to results of I-976

I was brought up believing that I lived in a democracy, that the people voted on things, and that the person or issue that received the most votes would be elected or adopted. But after nearly 60 years living in Washington state, it seems I have been misinformed. It seems that if the government, whether local, regional, state or even national, doesn’t like the outcome of an election, the issue is brought up again, and again and again until it finally turns out how the government wants it.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way for citizens. Citizens vote for an issue time after time, and if the government doesn’t like it, they ignore it, work around it, or pass a contrary regulation or law, and do whatever they wanted to do in the first place.

Case in point: Initiative 976. 53 percent of voters statewide voted for it, and it was not the first time voters approved car tab limits; I-695 in 1999, I-776 in 2003. Now with I-976, cities, state agencies and who knows who else is screaming bloody murder because one of their cherished cash cows got gored. Those opposing I-976 flooded TV with ads bemoaning their inability to repair 160-some unsafe bridges across the state if the $30 limit passed, ignoring that the state collects the fourth highest gas tax. Instead of haranguing Tim Eyman and undoing voter-approved funding initiatives, lawmakers need to hold the state Department of Transportation accountable for handling funds and providing adequate infrastructure maintenance.

Some day, maybe elected officials and unelected bureaucrats will realize that it is the citizens who are supposed to decide elections. If they don’t, then we will in fact become some sort of dictatorship. If we aren’t already.

Stewart Pickford


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