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Eyman on 976 lawsuit: Executive Constantine in ‘5 stages of grief’

Tim Eyman says he is not worried about legal challenges to 976. (Seattle Channel)

I-976 sponsor Tim Eyman is not concerned by King County Executive Constantine promising to sue the state over the $30 tabs initiative — which passed in Tuesday’s election — on the grounds that it is not constitutional.

“I think all politicians are going to have to go through those five stages of grief — they start with denial, they switch to anger, and then at some point there will be some depression, and then there will have to be some acceptance,” Eyman said. “Right now, Dow is in the ‘thrashing around mood’ of retaliating against voters, and wants to sue the voters because he doesn’t like how the vote went. We’re going to have to get through that for a little while.”

Ironically, it is Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson — the man who has led a lawsuit against Eyman personally over the past several years alleging embezzlement of campaign funds — whose job it will be to defend the initiative.

“It’s a clear conflict of interest that we have an attorney general whose sole purpose for the last seven years was to destroy me and make sure I could never do initiatives again, and he has the responsibility to defend this initiative,” Eyman told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

Tim Eyman: Vote for $30 tabs or set a dangerous precedent

He called for an outside law firm without ties to Sound Transit to represent the initiative instead of Ferguson.

Eyman’s confidence in the initiative stems from the energy of all the people who supported it. While opponents consistently referred to it as “Tim Eyman’s I-976,” Eyman said that it was really the people’s initiative.

To illustrate this, he explained how after celebrating during the 976 watch party with his daughter, who helped him gather signatures, she told him how glad she was that it passed.

“It became hers. She felt the same vested interest that you feel in the initiative, and I think every one of your listeners feels — that it was never Tim Eyman’s initiative,” he said. “Everyone who helped make it a reality are all feeling that vindication, that it was never one guy’s initiative, it was all of ours.”

The immediate move to a lawsuit on the part of Executive Constantine and other elected officials in the wake of the election, Eyman said, demonstrates the reason why voters passed 976 in the first place.

“‘We’ll sue the voters because we didn’t like the election’ — it is so obscene,” Eyman said, adding, “Clearly, he didn’t learn a thing from [the election]. You just have to look around and say, ‘These are the people who are supposed to be representing us — they’re acting like rulers, not representatives.'”

Once the dust settles and the “five stages of grief” pass, Eyman believes that all the politicians will give up the fight against 976 in order to get re-elected next year.

“They’re going to realize that it’s in their self-interest to do the right thing, and that is to back-fill the existing programs that are really critical with the surplus money that we’ve got, $3.5 billion, and in the long run, just adjust to a system where you can’t have a dishonest tax anymore,” he said.

Eyman has gained something of a notorious reputation in Washington for his full-time political activity, but he nonetheless feels that his initiative work has truly been his career calling.

“In my mid-30s, this political activism just kind of took over my life, and it’s the greatest joy that I have,” he said. “And last night, just being there among people who were supportive of it, and the voters validating it, all it did is it just told me that this is what I was meant to do.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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