Midday Scan: Liquor and Big Oil join Tim Eyman as bedfellows

Eyman's latest initiative, I-1185, has a colorful array of backers; Democrats rally around McKenna; and violent crime is (surprise!) up.
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Rob McKenna

Eyman's latest initiative, I-1185, has a colorful array of backers; Democrats rally around McKenna; and violent crime is (surprise!) up.

The only way to ameliorate righteous anger over initiative kingpin Tim Eyman is to revisit the wisdom of Woodward and Bernstein (even if that wisdom is an apocryphal exchange tailored to a film audience.) 

"Follow the money," Hal Holbrook says (Or, more accurately, Hal Holbrook playing Deep Throat in 1976's All the President's Men.) "What do you mean, where?" Robert Redford (Bob Woodward) asks. "Oh, I can't tell you that," says Deep Throat. "But you could tell me that," says Woodward. 

The Seattlepi.com's Joel Connelly does tell you that, and the colorful array of oil and booze interests underwriting Eyman's I-1185 sounds like it was cribbed from Christopher Buckley's Thank you for Smoking.

"Tim Eyman is turning into big corporations’ favorite populist in Washington state, and the Mukilteo-based initiative promoter is eagerly embracing their embrace," Connelly writes. "Liquor interests have joined Big Oil in fueling the paid signature campaign for Initiative 1185, the latest in Eyman’s longtime campaign to require a two-thirds vote of both houses in the Washington Legislature to enact new new revenue measures or close tax loopholes." 

Is there a plausible explanation for Seattle's spike in violent crime? Seattle statistics run counter to the national average, with the country experiencing a 4 percent drop in violent offenses. Ideally, it would soon become evident that the bump is just an aberration (as stat professors say) and does not signify a broader Northwest trend.  

"Violent crime in Seattle increased but property crime decreased in 2011 compared with the previous year, according to statistics released today by the FBI," the Seattle Times' John de Leon writes. "Violent crime — homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — went from 3,515 incidents in 2010 to 3,664 last year. Meanwhile, property crime — burglary, larceny/theft and car theft — dropped from 33,186 in 2010 to 31,792 in 2011. According to the statistics, there were 19 homicides in Seattle in 2010, compared with 20 last year. Already this year there have been 21 homicides in the city."  

The benefit of a cross-party endorsement is it gives partisans proactive absolution. You can vote for someone from the other party and not feel (too) sinful. With one-third of Washingtonians identifying as independents, cross-the-aisle endorsements can be an additional feather. Nevertheless, the endorsers need to be big fish. Democratic State Auditor Brian Sonntag, who is heading "Democrats for McKenna," is a key political figure, but he also tipped his hat to Republican Susan Hutchison in the race for King County Executive in 2009. 

"Sonntag is retiring after five terms as state auditor. Before that he served two terms each as Pierce County Auditor and Pierce County Clerk," the News Tribune's Peter Callaghan writes. "The other Democrats who appeared at the announcement were Jim BoldtThi HuynhPaul CarkeekMarie MentorRon ChowTim SheldonMark DoumitKirke SieversMaggie FimiaMorrie TrautmanLarry Finegold and Judy Yu. Few are familiar statewide. Sheldon is a longtime legislator, Boldt, a retired lobbyist, served a single term in the Legislature from the Tri-Cities and now publishes the on-line state news site called Washington Wire. Doumit too was a legislator who now runs the Washington Forest Protection Association. Fimia is a former King County councilwoman."  

Et tu, Mike Seely? The Seattle Weekly editor-in-chief and consummate Sonics fan has decided to root for the apostate Oklahoma City Thunder. His reasoning, however cogent and persuasive, may not resonate with the lesser angels of Seattle's sports' fan nature.  

As Seely writes, "Understandably, most basketball fans in Seattle hate the Oklahoma City Thunder, nee 'the Seattle Supersonics.'" To a degree, I'm no different: If I saw Thunder owner/Sonic hijacker Clayton Bennett approaching on foot, I would cold-cock him, consequences be damned. But now that Bennett's Thunder have reached the NBA Finals, I'll be rooting for them to beat the (Miami) Heat, and any serious basketball fan should feel obligated to do the same." 

Crosscut's Greg Shaw concurs.

Lastly, TVW will broadcast the first McKenna-Inslee gubernatorial debate at 3:30 PM today. Simon and Garfunkel-style existentialists will dismiss it, figuring they can laugh about it/shout about it/when you've got to choose/every way you look at it you lose. But Washingtonians have a lot of stake in the outcome, and it merits tuning in.

Read more here: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/politics/2012/06/11/state-auditor-brian-…

Link Summary

Seattlepi.com"A gusher of Big Oil, booze bucks to Eyman"

Seattle Times,  "FBI report: Violent crime increased in Seattle in 2011" 

The News Tribune, "State Auditor Brian Sonntag is chairman of Democrats for McKenna"

Seattle Weekly, "True NBA fans should root for the Thunder to beat the Heat"

The Herald, "McKenna, Inslee to debate in Spokane" 




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About the Authors & Contributors

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson is the former editorial-page editor of the Everett Herald. Follow him on Twitter @phardinjackson