Local voters support liquor, homecare measures; reject tolling

January 3, 2012

In November, voters endorsed better care for senior citizens, halted a measure to change highway tolling, and turned liquor distribution and sales from state government to businesses.

The results in the Issaquah area mirrored the outcome statewide, though the margins differed depending on the legislative district. The information comes from district-level data released by state elections officials Dec. 21.

By the numbers

Issaquah is divided among the 5th, 41st and 48th legislative districts. Local voters’ choices matched the statewide results in the Nov. 8 election.

5th Legislative District

  • Initiative 1125 — 23,775 yes;
  • 26,919 no
  • Initiative 1163 — 31,757 yes;
  • 18,721 no
  • Initiative 1183 — 36,120 yes;
  • 15,916 no
  • Senate Joint Resolution 8205 —
  • 38,162 yes; 10,336 no
  • Senate Joint Resolution 8206 —
  • 33,476 yes; 13,346 no

41st Legislative District

  • I-1125 — 18,280 yes; 27,725 no
  • I-1163 — 25,282 yes; 20,329 no
  • I-1183 — 31,333 yes; 15,505 no
  • SJR 8205 — 36,049 yes; 7,860 no
  • SJR 8206 — 31,729 yes;
  • 10,846 no

48th Legislative District

  • I-1125 — 13,352 yes; 21,674 no
  • I-1163 — 19,015 yes; 15,679 no
  • I-1183 — 23,583 yes; 12,032 no
  • SJR 8205 — 27,925 yes; 5,616 no
  • SJR 8206 — 24,513 yes; 8,010 no

(Issaquah sprawls across the 5th, 41st and 48th legislative districts.)

Initiative 1183 called for state-run liquor stores to close and for the state to get out of the liquor business. The measure also requires the state to license private enterprises to sell and distribute hard liquor, set license fees based on sales and regulate licensees.

Opponents said safety concerns remain about efforts to privatize the system and sell booze at more locations.

Issaquah-based Costco, the largest employer in the city, spent $19 million to promote the initiative.

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1125 — a measure to require the Legislature to approve tolls rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission — came up short on Election Day.

The electorate approved Initiative 1163 — a measure sponsored by the Service Employees International Union to address homecare workers’ certification and training. Supporters said the measure means better care for senior citizens, although funding the requirements outlined in the initiative poses a challenge for the cash-strapped state.

The electorate also approved the noncontroversial constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Senate Joint Resolution 8205 addressed a residency requirement for presidential voting outlined in the state Constitution. The measure brings state law into synch with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Senate Joint Resolution 8206 called for the state “rainy day” reserve fund to require contribution of a portion of “extraordinary” revenue in the future.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

Voters toast liquor initiative, shut down tolling measure

November 15, 2011

Statewide ballot initiatives garnered the most attention in a campaign season dominated by local races.

Costco-backed Initiative 1183, a ballot measure to loosen state liquor rules, passed Nov. 8, and liquor sales should start at the Issaquah-based warehouse giant and other retailers in June.

I-1183 calls for state-run liquor stores to close and for the state to get out of the liquor business. The measure also requires the state to license private enterprises to sell and distribute hard liquor, set license fees based on sales and regulate licensees.

Opponents said safety concerns remain about efforts to privatize the system and sell booze at more locations.

Costco, the largest employer in Issaquah, spent more than $20 million to promote the initiative.

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King County Executive Dow Constantine declares victory on tolling measure

November 8, 2011

NEW — 9:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine declared victory against Initiative 1125, Tim Eyman’s tolling initiative, as the measure led by a narrow margin statewide Tuesday night.

“I-1125 was a stealth effort to stop light rail on I-90 and delay replacement of the 520 bridge,” Constantine said in a statement. “I am grateful that so many voters saw through it and rejected it, and by an overwhelming margin in King County. Our voters, once again, said no to Tim Eyman.”

I-1125 called for the Legislature to approve tolls rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission. The initiative also aimed to prohibit different toll rates for peak commute times and to require toll revenues to be put toward projects on the road being tolled.

“King County voters are giving the green light to East Link, 520, I-405 and transportation improvements across our region,” Constantine said. “It took a broad coalition to defeat this measure, and I’m proud that King County, once again, is leading the way.”

King County voters rejected the measure, but I-1125 picked up support elsewhere in Washington.

Deadline to postmark, return ballots is hours away

November 6, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 6, 2011

The deadline is approaching to postmark or return ballots.

Tuesday is the last chance for voters to cast ballots in local races — City Council and Issaquah School Board — and statewide ballot measures — including liquor privatization and tolling initiatives. Ballots must postmarked by Tuesday or slipped into a ballot drop box by 8 p.m.

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed forecast 47 percent statewide for the election. In King County, turnout is expected to crest 50 percent, although the low expectations reflect the lack of major races on the ballot.

County Elections Director Sherril Huff predicts 52 percent turnout countywide — 53 percent in Seattle and 51 percent elsewhere.

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King County Elections projects 52 percent turnout Nov. 8

November 1, 2011

Despite inescapable advertisements for the forces behind and against a liquor initiative, and important local races on ballots throughout the state, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed predicts less than 50 percent turnout for the November election.

Reed forecast 47 percent statewide for the election. In King County, turnout is expected to crest 50 percent, although the low expectations reflect the lack of major races on the ballot. County Elections Director Sherril Huff predicts 52 percent turnout countywide — 53 percent in Seattle and 51 percent elsewhere.

The liquor measure, Initiative 1183, and Tim Eyman’s tolling measure, Initiative 1125, dominate most discussions about the Nov. 8 election.

Issaquah-based Costco is the major supporter behind I-1183, a push to remove the state from the liquor business. I-1125 aims to change rules to allow state lawmakers, rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission, to set tolls.

No statewide offices appear on the ballot in November.

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King County Elections projects 52 percent turnout for November ballot

October 28, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 28, 2011

Despite inescapable advertisements for the forces behind and against a liquor initiative, and important local races on ballots throughout the state, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed predicts less than 50 percent in the November election.

Reed forecast 47 percent statewide in the election. In King County, turnout is expected to crest 50 percent, although the low expectations reflect the lack of major races on the ballot. County Elections Director Sherril Huff predicts 52 percent turnout countywide — 53 percent in Seattle and 51 percent elsewhere.

The liquor measure, Initiative 1183, and Tim Eyman’s tolling measure, Initiative 1125, dominate most discussions about the Nov. 8 election.

Issaquah-based Costco is the major supporter behind I-1183, a push to remove the state from the liquor business. I-1125 aims to change rules to allow state lawmakers, rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission, to set tolls.

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Eastside transportation leaders oppose tolling initiative

October 25, 2011

Local elected officials on the Eastside Transportation Partnership agreed to oppose Initiative 1125, Tim Eyman’s tolling initiative, days before ballots started to reach voters.

I-1125 calls for the Legislature to approve tolls rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission. The initiative also aims to prohibit different toll rates for peak commute times and to require toll revenues to be put toward projects on the road being tolled.

On Oct. 14, less than a month before Election Day, Eastside Transportation Partnership members heard from Bellevue developer and I-1125 supporter Kemper Freeman and I-1125 opponents, former state Secretary of Transportation Doug MacDonald and Deputy King County Executive Fred Jarrett.

Then, members discussed the presentations and voted to oppose the initiative.

The partnership includes elected city and King County officials representing communities east of Lake Washington. The organization is focused on advocacy for regional transportation issues.

Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger and Councilman Joshua Schaer serve on the partnership. Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler, a Sound Transit board member, is the partnership’s Sound Transit representative.

Issaquah’s representative on the King County Council, Kathy Lambert, is another member. So, too, is King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Press Editorial

October 25, 2011

I-1125 is not the right answer for tolls

Initiative 1125 is one of those ballot measures that does so much more than put limits on what can and cannot be done with gas taxes and toll revenues. It’s one more initiative that screams, “We don’t trust our elected representatives to run the state!”

We get that sentiment, and encourage voters to hold their representatives accountable.

Tim Eyman’s I-1125 ballot measure is supposedly about reinforcing laws already on the books. It makes assumptions that the Legislature has run amok, bending rules on road tolls and taxes. It covers state bids and contracts for vessel dry-docks and goes on to specify that there will be no tollbooths. And then it slips in a little wiggle that stops light rail from expanding across Lake Washington via Interstate 90.

I-1125 limits road tolls to funding of a project — only.

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Guest Column

October 18, 2011

I-1125 ensures accountability, transparency in Olympia

Olympia still doesn’t get it. Four times the voters have approved initiatives requiring a two-thirds vote to raise taxes and a majority vote to increase fees. Four times. Yet despite 1053’s 64 percent yes vote last year, Olympia repeatedly violated it. Initiative 1125 closes loopholes that were put in 1053. I-1125 requires, again, that fee increases be decided by elected representatives of the people, not unelected bureaucrats at state agencies.

I-1125 ensures accountability and transparency.

I-1125 requires transportation taxes only be used for transportation. Our state imposes one of the highest gas taxes in the nation, collecting billions every year. Before the government double-taxes us with burdensome tolls — forcing us to pay twice — I-1125 stops transportation revenue from being diverted to nontransportation purposes.

In the entire history of our state, tolls have always expired after a project is paid for. Whether it was the original Interstate 90 bridge, the 520 bridge or the Hood Canal Bridge, there was no such thing as never-ending tolls — for nearly 100 years, once a project was paid for, the toll was taken off.

But in 2008, Olympia repealed that protection, creating for the first time tolls that will continue forever — once a toll is imposed, it will never go away.

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Measure calls for tighter rules on highway tolls

September 20, 2011

Under I-1125, lawmakers could set toll amounts

Tim Eyman said that for him, Initiative 1125 isn’t so much about highway tolling as it is a continuation of the same idea he has been promoting with his various ballot issues for 18 years.

I-1125 would change the way state conducts highway tolling in several ways. Among other provisions, I-1125 would require the Legislature to set toll amounts — rather than the appointed Washington State Transportation Commission — and mandate that tolls end when the state finishes paying off projects funded by tolling.

Voters will decide on the initiative in November.

The basic idea behind I-1125 is that all new taxes or fees must be approved by the Legislature or put on a public ballot, Eyman said. Voters approved just those provisions last year when they passed Initiative 1053 with 64 percent in favor, he added.

I-1053 was Eyman’s primary 2010 initiative effort. The measure requires any state tax increase to receive a two-thirds majority in the Legislature.

He argues that Olympia politicians bypassed I-1053 when they let the Washington State Transportation Commission set the cost of tolls on the state Route 520 bridge.

But I-1125 opponents say there are several big problems with having the Legislature set tolling amounts.

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