1) Initiative hawker Tim Eyman announced today that he's suing the state because it authorized the sale of bonds backed by tolls on the new SR-520 bridge before voters have a say on Eyman's Initiative 1125, which would dramatically restrict how, when, and where tolls can be levied. (The legislature delegated that authority to the appointed state transportation commission, which has traditionally set tolls). The lawsuit accuses state treasurer Jim McIntire of circumventing both 1053 and this year's proposed Initiative 1125, on the ballot in November, by issuing bonds backed by tolls before the November 8 election.
"The people of the State of Washington are now voting on Initiative 1125 which institutes some basic protections with regard to tolling policy," Eyman attorney Dick Stephens said in a statement. "Knowing this, the State Finance Committee, composed of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and the State Treasurer, held a last minute special meeting with less than two days public notice to authorize the sale of bonds. These bonds pledge tolls from the 520 bridge, based on a variable tolling scheme which will be prohibited if the initiative is approved by voters."
1125 would prohibit variable tolling (tolls that change based on time of day and congestion level), require the legislature to set tolls, bar tolls from paying for projects other than the one the tolls are levied on, retire tolls as soon as a project is paid for, and prohibit voter-approved light rail across I-90.
2) Earlier this month, we wrote about a letter from Rosemary Quesenberry, a frequent candidate in Renton who is supporting Renton City Council candidate Robin Jones.
Quesenberry's letter accused Jones' opponent, Ed Prince, of "personal irresponsibility, lack of integrity, as well as poor judgment, characteristics unbecoming to a city council member.”
His alleged crimes: He was unable to pay his mortgage (in Quesenberry’s terms, “the ‘default’ incident"); he received an overpayment from unemployment security (“the ‘employment fraud’ incident”), and he had his paycheck garnished by a creditor (“the ‘Bank of America’ incident.”)
Today, Prince---who also responded to Quesenberry's letter in detail in PubliCola---wrote a lengthy letter to the editor of the Renton Patch web site, which reads in part:
I am absolutely heartsick that I have to dredge my family and father's memory through the mud, least of all to defend myself against a desperate and despicable attack on my character. The fact that Robin Jones would force all this into the open absolutely disgusts me. For anyone who has had a family member with an addiction, or who has known poverty, you know how devastating these choices can be, and I simply did not want to discuss this further. I intended to ignore these attacks, but I've had enough of this garbage, and here is the truth: [...]
I did NOT knowingly and intentionally accept unemployment that I wasn't due. I accepted unemployment that I thought I was allowed, and when it was contested, I fought back because I thought I was in the right. It turns out, I was wrong. It was unfortunate, and made things harder, but there was NEVER any intent to do wrong. I stand by my integrity 100%.
Since absolutely nothing in my life appears to be considered private, I will tell the full story. My father and I shared a name (I am Jr., he was Sr.). He had a substance abuse problem, and in the course of his abuse, my father contracted HIV. When things got bad enough, he used my name and SS# to create debt. When he couldn't pay his bills, the creditors came after me. I could have disputed these charges, because it was identity fraud, but he was my father, and he was sick. A debt to the AIDS Foundation (which Robin originally attacked me on before Dean Radford refused to allow it) was also his. There is only so much you can do in these situations, and I knew he was hurting so I simply chose to pay the debts that I knew he couldn't pay. These debts, his addiction, and his illness were hard on my family and created a constant financial burden. But we were family. So sometimes that's just what you do.
Read the whole heartbreaking letter---which clarifies that Prince lost his home after he lost his job, returned the unemployment payments as soon as he lost his case against his former employer, didn't realize that he had a suspended license when he was pulled over more than 10 years ago, and much more, here.
3) Chelsea Clinton for Congress? Yes, please.