Thursday, June 7, 2018 | Tim Eyman
Attorney Joel Ard
I ask you to send an email to attorney Joel Ard (firstname.lastname@example.org) and thank him. The man deserves much more than our collective thank you, but let’s at least give him that: hundreds of emails that say thank you.
He’s truly amazing.
I am in awe of his intellect, his legal acumen, his courage, the battles he’s chosen, and his humility. He’s not a bomb-thrower or prone to hyperbole. He’s incredibly understated, funny, and personable. And he’s a man who clearly loves what he does.
The media is trying to ignore him because they can’t figure him out. The press is instead glomming on to politicians or to the individual citizen plaintiffs in the case. Because that’s the normal game and it’s the only one they understand. But through it all, Joel doesn’t care that he’s not getting the spotlight, because he isn’t playing the normal game.
When I launched my lawsuit (Eyman v Wyman) against the Democrat-controlled Legislature for violating the Constitution regarding Initiative 940 (changing it, passing it, then blocking the voters from voting on it), I was ready to do it on my own pro se. About a week later and completely out of the blue, I’m contacted by Joel Ard and he offers to handle the case for me without charge. Of course I accept his generous offer. He brilliantly briefs the case and wins an amazing victory in Thurston County Superior Court. But the next day’s headlines were “Eyman wins in court” or “Judge rules against Legislature’s actions”. Joel’s name was barely mentioned, his face wasn’t on TV, his voice wasn’t heard on the radio. He didn’t care, because what mattered was the Constitution and the fact that he had successfully defended it.As announced yesterday, Joel will argue the 940 case before the state supreme court on June 28 at 1:30 pm. The briefing he’s already submitted is truly brilliant because he breaks it down so simply and so understandably that even a layman gets it.
Two days ago, without a press conference or press release, Joel filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of a handful of regular taxpayers against ST3’s car tab tax legislation. He’s doing all the work, taking all the risks, and deserves all the credit for doing it. If there was no Joel Ard, there would be no lawsuit. Unlike a lot of us, he doesn’t “despise” Sound Transit, he’s not “furious about skyrocketing car tab taxes”, he’s not even remotely concerned with which political party is right or wrong on car tabs. He’s driven by the fact that the Legislature in 2015 passed a law that violated the Constitution. He’s not saying they did it maliciously, that’s not relevant to his lawsuit. He’s not attacking Peter Rogoff or anyone at Sound Transit. He’s focused exclusively on Article 2, section 37 of the Constitution that says legislation needs to be drafted so legislators and voters know what the heck the legislation does. That’s it. For him, it is their failure to follow the Constitution that drove him to file his lawsuit.
I’m not saying he’s a saint.
He’s an attorney doing a class action lawsuit which means if he wins, he stands to do very well for himself (for all the risk and effort he’s putting in and for all the good he’ll do, I hope he does). But that’s only if he wins. For the foreseeable future, he’s gonna be putting in hundreds of hours of unrecognized effort against the Sound Transit Industrial Complex, Sound Transit apologist Bob Ferguson, and the entire array of special interests who are suckling at a government teet which is fat with unconstitutionally passed, artificially inflated car tab taxes.
Our $30 car tabs initiative I-976 removes the authority for Sound Transit and other governments from imposing car tab taxes and fees above the $30 base charge. Our initiative goes further than his lawsuit does: it gets rid of the entire 1.1% car tab tax imposed by Sound Transit, eliminates weight fees and other taxes imposed on vehicles by state government, and repeals sky-high per vehicle fees imposed by cities.
But our initiative isn’t retroactive, it’s prospective.
That means your vehicle tab charge will be $30 per year only after the voters approve it (and only after we collect 350K signatures by December 31).
Joel’s class action lawsuit targets just the 0.8% car tab tax imposed by ST3. But the remedy he seeks is to fully reimburse the taxpayers for the 0.8% tax they’ve been paying since ST3 passed in November, 2016. His lawsuit essentially retroactively repeals the 0.8% tax and refunds the taxpayers. Why does his lawsuit do that? Because since the authorizing legislation was unconstitutional, then the government was not entitled to impose it and needs to issue refunds to make the taxpayers whole.
Attorney Joel Ard is a man singularly focused on important fights (940 litigation, ST3 class action). He’s doing it for reasons and in a way the media and the political establishment are not accustomed to. His legal briefs are brilliantly written and his oral arguments are perfectly calibrated to illustrate the clear violations of the Constitution. We are all very lucky to have him on our side.
Again, I urge everyone to take a minute and send him an email that says: “Thank you, Joel. I appreciate what you’re doing and wish you God-speed in your efforts to defend the Constitution.” Again, his address is: email@example.com
Let’s let him know how grateful we are.