Sunday, May 28, 2006

I-933 - Don't Buy Into The Rhetoric — Read It And Make Up Your Own Mind.

One hot button issue that already has the intentional disinformation machine running at full tilt is I-933 — the "Property Fairness" initiative sponsored by the Washington Farm Bureau, and supported by most property rights advocates, construction organizations and real estate interests. The usual cadre of local opponents — the ones I refer to as the CAVE People (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) — are demonizing “special interests” they refuse to name specifically, as well as major unnamed corporations they claim control the Farm Bureau. They say backers are only looking out for "big agribusiness" and "irresponsible developers."

As far as these folks are concerned, I just have to ask, in their minds has there ever been any developer that isn’t irresponsible and/or greedy, and who isn’t making “obscene profits” by destroying the environment?

The basic premise of I-933 is that if regulations passed after January 1, 1996 prevent you from using your property as you could when you originally purchased it, or if those regulations devalue it, the governing jurisdiction has to allow the original use, or compensate you for denying it.

It doesn’t roll back any environmental protections in place before then, and doesn’t increase its intensity of use from what was allowed prior to January 1, 1996. It simply preserves your right to that existing use while mandating the same level of environmental protection in place at that time.

Read I-933 for yourself and don’t be swayed by the outright lies and scare tactics. This one’s going to get real ugly, with big money being spent to capture your heart, mind and vote.

But in the end, I-933 is about everyday people — many whose life savings are invested in their property. They’ve watched their retirement nest eggs be relentlessly regulated away by ideologically driven, unelected bureaucrats, and they’re finally saying, “Enough!” Personally, I believe it will pass by a comfortable margin.

A Split Among Local Democrats — Elitist Enviromentalists vs. the Rank-and-File Working Class?

After a slow start, 9/11 survivor Earl C. Johnson appears to be picking up some momentum against Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) in the race for the 23rd District House seat. Many union voters are unhappy with Appleton over her toxic stance against NASCAR. Unions are among Appleton’s biggest supporters and contributors, and helped elect her with their “Labor to Neighbor” program. However, local organized labor, specifically the Olympic Peninsula Building and Construction Trades Council, have steadfastly refused to endorse Appleton for re-election, but have stopped short of endorsing Johnson, a Republican, even though he's in favor of the project.

Although she has been among the most vocally venomous against NASCAR, the Washington State Labor Council, one of Appleton’s strongest political allies, has now come out in favor of the project. Other union groups strongly backing the project include the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, the Kitsap County Central Labor Council, and the Puget Sound Metal Trades Council — which is all the shipyard unions, including the ones at PSNS — along with the building trades councils. While a total of 17 labor organizations in Kitsap, King and Pierce Counties have enforsed the project, the local 23rd District, 26th District and 35th District Democratic organizations have all come out against it.

Labor is one of the more powerful interest groups that traditionally support Democratic candidates and principles. While the environmental factions within the local organizations have long had the upper hand in determining policy, they appear to be completely out of touch with the regular rank and file, working class, Democratic union members on this issue.

The unions have stated they will not endorse, financially support, or work for Democratic candidates who don't support the track. Meanwhile, the party is putting its candidates in the untenable position of either refusing to support the track and risk alienating organized labor and all those union voters — along with their campaign help and contribitions, or refusing to toe the party line and pissing off the greenies in control of party money and campaign help.

It's going to be interesting to watch as this little soap opera plays itself out.