My lawsuit against Bob Ferguson is being heard tomorrow Tues @ 9 am – he wrote a biased ballot title for a liberal initiative – I’m asking judge to write a neutral description
I hope I’ve watched enough Perry Mason, L.A. Law, Boston Legal (Denny Crane!) and Law & Order to be ready for tomorrow.
I have a business degree from Washington State University with a minor in Economics. I’m not an attorney. Nonetheless, over the past 20 years of political activism, I’ve done several lawsuits myself. Doing these cases “pro se” (which means “for oneself”) is incredibly fun but very challenging.
So why don’t I just hire someone to handle these cases?
Because attorneys are expensive. Right now, I am asking supporters to donate to my legal defense fund (www.timdefense.com) and to getting our $30 Tabs Initiative (www.30tabs.com) on the ballot — there’s no “extra money” for these legal challenges.
But it’s really necessary.
So much of what the government does deserves extra scrutiny, second-guessing, a bright spotlight. Politicians assume they’ll get away with what they do because they know that few have the wherewithal to challenge them.
In this case, it’s Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson who’s in need of judicial oversight. During his tenure, he’s completely corrupted the ballot title process for initiatives. He sabotages conservative initiatives by putting his thumb on the scale against them while liberal initiatives get rainbowy descriptions meant to help them.
Tomorrow Tues @ 9 am in Judge Christine Schaller’s courtroom, I’m going to ask the court to discard Ferguson’s flowery description of a liberal initiative and rewrite it and issue instead a neutral, unbiased ballot title.
BACKGROUND: Initiative 1000 is the “bring back affirmative action” initiative that explicitly seeks to overturn Initiative 200 which was the first statewide initiative I ever co-sponsored (sponsors’ website read: REVERSE TIM EYMAN’S I-200). Thanks to the 58% of voters who approved it in 1998, for the past 20 years, I-200 has prohibited state and local governments from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, any individual or group based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, public education, or public contracting. It didn’t and doesn’t affect the private sector, only government. It didn’t and hasn’t abolished “affirmative action”, only those government practices that step over the line and discriminate and give preferential treatment based on the immutable characteristics listed in the 1964 civil rights act.
Here’s how the AG’s describes it: “Initiative Measure No. 1000 concerns remedying discrimination and affirmative action.”
Remedying discrimination? Isn’t that the most loaded, biased, unobjective description you can imagine?
As I wrote in my opening brief (https://tinyurl.com/y9qr3pe3): The AG’s description “is hopelessly skewed and clearly intended to create bias for the measure.”
But Ferguson’s office responds: “The phrase comes from the measure. It cannot be true that using a phrase directly from the measure puts a ‘thumb on the scale’.” They repeat that claim later: “Using the phrase directly from the measure neither creates bias, nor is it inaccurate.”
From my brief: “Imagine Petitioner (Eyman) sponsoring an initiative to reset vehicle license tab fees back down to $30 pear year. And throughout the language of the initiative’s text, Petitioner included the term ‘remedying overtaxation’ alongside the policy change of $30 tabs. There is simply no way that the Attorney General or this Court would include such a term in the Statement of Subject (Initiative Measure No. ### concerns remedying overtaxation by reducing annual vehicle license fees to $30). It wouldn’t be done because it would be absurd exactly as absurd as including the term ‘remedying discrimination’ in the Statement of Subject for Initiative Measure No. 1000. It is self-serving, biased phrase and should be stricken.”
I-1000 is a liberal initiative. Bob Ferguson is a socialist liberal and so he supports it. So the official description favors it. And the argument he makes is that using the language from the initiative itself cannot create bias.
But there’s also a conservative initiative on the ballot this year: Initiative 1634. The initiative begins: AN ACT Relating to the taxation of groceries.
What’s the Statement of Subject for this conservative initiative?
Initiative Measure No. 1634 concerns taxation of certain items intended for human consumption.
The word “groceries” appears no where in it. Why?
Liberals challenged the initiative and told the court that including the word “groceries” would create bias in favor of the initiative. Initiative sponsors responded that the word “groceries” appears throughout the initiative. Ferguson sided with the liberal Petitioners. “The Attorney General agrees that the statement of subject proposed by Petitioners is an improvement over the current wording … the Attorney General supports a statement of subject of, “This measure concerns taxation of certain items intended for human consumption.”
So using the language in the initiative is OK when it’s a liberal initiative but biased when it’s a conservative initiative.
For me, the challenging part tomorrow will be standing in front of the judge and verbally making the arguments. There’s not enough anti-perspirant on my bathroom counter to really do the job. This is nerve-racking stuff.
Let’s hope that Judge Christine Schaller gives more weight to the merits of the arguments rather than the legal skills of the participants. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
We still got a ways to go to get enough signatures for the $30 Tabs Initiative. I know IF EVERYONE DOES THEIR PART with donations and signatures we can make it.
Top 5 Contributors: Suzanne Burke, Puget Sound Chapter NECA PAC, Andrew Skotdal, Tim Eyman, Thomas O’Brien