Tim Eyman, the state’s premier initiative entrepreneur, endorsed Spokane City Council Candidate Mike Fagan this week.
This should come as no huge surprise to anyone with the remotest knowledge of state politics, considering Fagan is Eyman’s longtime cohort in a dozen or so years of initiative pushes, including I-1033, which will share a few lines on the ballot with Spokane’s 1st District Council race in November. Fagan faces Amber Waldref for the seat being vacated by Al French; there’s only two of them, so there’s no primary in August.
But Eyman’s announcement is noteworthy in several respects.
It’s the first candidate Eyman has ever endorsed, he said. Not that other candidates haven’t asked, but up to this point, the standard response was “we do initiatives.”
It’s also a sign that the race could get pointed after the primary. Or as he puts it “raising the discourse level.”
Case in point: Eyman’s press release announcing his endorsement, in which he refers repeatedly to Waldref as “crazy-whacko-Seattle-greenie”. The worst slur in the string, Seattle, is odd considering Waldref was born and raised in Spokane. True, she lived in Seattle for several years, but her Lilac City bonafides — St. Patrick’s Grade School, G-Prep — are at least as good as Fagan’s, who came to Spokane from the one place most Spokanites dis more than Seattle.
As for the rest of it, Eyman says he hasn’t met Waldref, but said he made his judgment from her campaign Web site. Which is a bit strange because he calls her an “Envision Spokane-supporter” which is a bit different from her Web site that she finds most of the group’s aspirations “laudable” but doesn’t support their charter change.
“I’m just calling it as I see it,” Eyman said. “I’ve never been known to go with the blue suit and yellow tie and ‘I respectfully disagree with my opponent’ route.”
Nor does Eyman, who many years has to fight foes who want to keep his initiatives off the ballot with the argument that the voters should decide, see any problem with Fagan fighting to keep the Envision Spokane charter change off the Spokane ballot.
“I see initiatives that appear on the ballot that make my heart sink,” he said, and the Envision Spokane proposal is “just flat-out nuts.”
Which is probably a shade kinder than some of the things opponents have said about the initiatives Eyman and Fagan have shepherded onto the state ballot.