Politicians Try To Dodge Controversy Over I-695
With 12 days until Election Day, the campaign surrounding Initiative 695 is not bringing out the best in Washington's political leaders.
Many legislators won't say anything at all about the car-tab-tax cut out of misguided fear they will cross an ethical line. Gov. Gary Locke waited about 10 months after the first signatures were collected for the proposal to say he, too, thinks the car tax is too high and would support a deep cut; but he had no details.
Meanwhile, a possible Republican challenger for Locke's re-election next year, state GOP chairman Dale Foreman, is comparing Boeing, which opposes the measure, to gangsters who ran booze and killed cops, and he is forced to explain how the party can support I-695 this November after supporting Referendum 49 last November, which pays for road construction with the very money I-695 would eliminate.
And the Democrats are coming to the defense of Referendum 49 in the face of I-695's onslaught, despite their vehement opposition to it last year.
It's enough to put a voter on edge, witness this e-mail sent to The Seattle Times yesterday:
"I do not associate myself with the social agenda of many of the groups that support I-695. In fact, I feel like I will need to go home and take a shower after voting for it. The lawmakers have put me in this awkward position by being too greedy with the excise tax."
Forbes Supports Flat Tax! GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes - who ran four years ago as the flat-tax candidate and is now the flat-tax candidate who is also a social conservative - endorsed Initiative 695 this week. A statement from the Virginia headquarters of the millionaire publisher's campaign quotes Forbes as urging Washington voters to approve the initiative. "The Establishment is afraid of I-695 because it places the control of tax policy in the hands of the people," Forbes said.
Steamed fish. There was one familiar face in the crowds surrounding the school of presidential candidates that swam through Washington last week.
Amid the protesters greeting Vice President Al Gore at Benaroya Hall Wednesday was a guy in a fish costume, protesting the lack of money to put a tug in the Strait of Juan de Fuca to protect against oil spills. The same fish - with a different person inside - showed up two days later in Yakima, at an event staged by Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
This time, the message was tailored to Bush. Why, the fish wondered, didn't he support the partial removal of dams to protect salmon? The next day, the fish was back outside a Slade Gorton fund-raiser at Safeco Field.
We've heard politicians say they speak for salmon before. It's nice to see the fish talking back.
A move to the right. Cathy Mickels, one of the state's most outspoken advocates of Christian conservative issues, has left her political base in Lynden, Whatcom County, and moved east.
The Bellingham Herald reports that Mickels has moved to Yakima, where her husband has a new job. She remains president of the state chapter of the Eagle Forum, founded by conservative Phyllis Schlafly.
Mickels has long been active in anti-abortion and anti-gay-rights issues. Some fellow Republicans are urging her to consider a run for public office.
"My main concern right now is to get blinds for the new house," she told The Herald. Inside Politics is written by The Times politics staff. This week, it was compiled by Olympia bureau reporter David Postman. His phone message number is 360-943-9882. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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