Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Observations On The Fate Of The Initiatives

I-933… I thought in the beginning this would pass by an overwhelming majority due to the frustration of citizens being steamrollered by government where land use and property rights are concerned. But the anti-933 campaign was effective in neutralizing it, and I believe that was a good thing. It simply went too far. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing a modified, less extreme version come around again sometime soon.

The anti-933 folks unfairly and unscrupulously painted developers as the bad guys — because everyone hates those greedy bastards anyway and knows they’re just here to profit from raping the land. Never mind that if wasn’t for developers, most us would be living in tents.

The truth is, Realtors and developers for the most part opposed I-933. The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), a major player in state politics, was lukewarm about it at best, grudgingly contributing a minor amount of money to one of its strategic partners, the Farm Bureau, which sponsored the initiative. I sit on BIAW’s Legislative Policy Committee, and the debate wasn’t even close on 933. Opposition was almost unanimous. The small contribution was a courtesy to a friend rather than a show of support. Realtors opposed it as well.

What’s going to be interesting is seeing how the newly elected Democratic legislature deals with the Growth Management Act. During the campaign Democratic candidates across the board acknowledged it wasn’t working and its flaws were what inspired 933. They all pledged to work on retooling it. Will they? When pigs fly maybe.

I-920… The education establishment was successful in using class warfare to divide and conquer to defeat this measure, calling it, “A tax break for multi-millionaires.” That was a load of crap. Anyone who operates a successful family business knows they have to fear the state’s death tax when it comes to succession planning. Anyone who works for a family business should be concerned as well, because their jobs are on the line. In many cases the business must be sold or liquidated to pay the tax. When that happens, those jobs disappear. Remember, we can’t ALL work for the government.

Personally, I have already instructed my accountant to explore the options for moving our corporation to another state while still being able to do business here. If you own a family business, you may want to think about this as well.

I-937… This is just a bad idea. It sounded great, and I would have supported it had it included hydropower as “renewable” energy. But it didn’t.

The problem is going be that windmills aren’t zoned for the land where the wind actually blows, and the GMA won’t allow for it to be for a variety of reasons. And then there are the NIMBY’s… I can't wait to see the very same environmentalists who supported this, oppose a windmill or solar panel farm when it's proposed next to them.

Meanwhile, our electric utilities are going to be fined for not achieving the mandates called for in this bad law, and the ratepayer — you and I — are going to pay those fines in the form of higher electric rates, while our cheap hydro-power, which powers our aluminum and other industries — and the family wage jobs they generate — are shipped to California. Yeah, passing that was real smart…


  1. Anonymous12:23 PM

    I must take issue with your comment:"If it wasn't for developers, most of us would be living in tents." Developers don't build anything. They speculate on land, manipulate legislative bodies,rules and regulations to insure their profits. Independent builders buy the lots created by the big boys and THEY build your house on Spec. in most cases. I come from a time (yes - I'm old)when most people built, or at least subbed their own house. Every now and then, a contractor would build 5 or 10 houses on a piece of acquired land, but that is no comparison to the mega-developers of today.

    R. D.

    (Living on a small farm soon to be forced into sale by residential zoning.)

  2. Obviously, you don't know anything about the development business - or how it works.

    And that statement, "They speculate on land, manipulate legislative bodies,rules and regulations to insure their profits. Independent builders buy the lots created by the big boys and THEY build your house on Spec. in most cases," is about as misinformed as ity gets.

    When you look at Kitsap County, the majority of lots are devleoped by the very same builders that build the homes.

    The "Mega Developers" you refer to don't, as a rule, work here. I will grant you that Quadrant, which is a division of Weyerhauser, is building at McCormick Woods. However, the only reason Weyerhauser is even in the development and construction business is because it can no longer make a profit in the lumber business - as witnessed by the number of mills it has shut down. Meanwhile, it has all this land it is still paying taxes on that it can't do anything else with.

    This is one of the untended consequences of environmentalism. It tends to force people like you as well as large companies to do things they would prefer not to, because we have limited their choices.