The Ballot Questions: Our Recommendations for Voters

After checking in with our island’s own Senator Christine Rolfes, and gathering background information from the Progressive Voters Guide  for our state, here’s our Quality Bainbridge Steering Committee consensus on the Bainbridge Island voter ballot questions. Progressive Voters Guide is hosted by about two dozen groups, from Cascade Bicycle Club to the Council of Firefighters, and from the Sierra Club to Planned Parenthood, and more.

thumbsdown-orangeInitiative Measure 517 Vote NO on Tim Eyman’s Latest Self-Serving Initiative.

Bainbridge Island voters have been smart enough to vote against many of Tim Eyman's initiatives in the past – like the one in 2001 that (because it prevailed statewide) resulted in vastly reducing the annual amount of State funds coming to our City for road maintenance (and therefore contributing to the decline in the condition of island roads). That 2001 Eyman initiative also reduced the funds available  for Washington State Ferries, resulting in fares increasing 80% in ensuing years.

The Progressive Voter Guide says:

“Initiative 517 is Tim Eyman's most self-serving initiative yet. Eyman, the sponsor of over a dozen misguided and unconstitutional initiatives, wrote I-517 to make signature gathering easier and more profitable. I-517 would prevent business owners from being able to stop aggressive petitioners from blocking or harassing customers, and it would allow out-of-state petitioners to solicit signatures inside public buildings, including libraries and sports stadiums year round.”

“I-517 has broad progressive opposition, but the coalition also includes retailers like Metropolitan Markets and sports teams like the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC. Many Republicans, including past Secretary of State Sam Reed, have joined progressives in urging a "no" vote.”

thumbsup-blueInitiative Measure 522 Vote YES for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

Our favorite foods are grown locally – on Bainbridge or nearby – and grown naturally (ideally organically) without GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

Yes! Magazine, published here on Bainbridge Island, has an excellent article on this GMO labeling measure.

And we’re offended at the big expensive glossy advertising we’ve been receiving here on Bainbridge telling us to vote NO. The greyed-out small print on the last page discloses (as State law requires) that the five biggest contributors to that glossy include Monsanto and the like. Monsanto has a very special interest in this vote because they make billions of dollars on GMO seeds and foods around the world.  It’s reported that Monsanto is spending $4.5 million to stop this GMO labeling measure in our State, and other special interests have added their money.

Here’s what the Progressive Voters Guide says about this measure:

"Initiative 522 would give Washington shoppers more information about what's in our food and more control over shopping decisions. The initiative would require all genetically engineered foods to include a note on the label. American companies are already required to label genetically engineered food in 64 other countries. If passed, Washington would be ahead of the curve in the U.S. to give consumers the right to know, though we expect other states will be close behind."

"The No on 522 campaign is funded by big chemical and pesticide corporations, including Monsanto and Dow Chemical. It has also received more than $7 million from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a DC-based lobbying firm representing big junk food companies. Attorney General Bob Ferguson has sued the Grocery Manufacturers for concealing campaign donations to No on 522."

Endorsements and Supporters include: Washington Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Fuse Washington, Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO; Washington State Council of Firefighters, Washington Toxics Coalition, WashPIRG, United Farm Workers, Whole Foods, PCC Natural Markets.

thumbsup-blueAdvisory Votes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Vote “MAINTAINED” On All Five

Thanks to a Tim Eyman initiative, the state legislature is required to submit to a non-binding advisory vote any bill it passes that closes tax loopholes or raises revenues. When you read the advisory ballot wording, it seems that heavily biased ballot language is also required.

These votes are about closing special-interest tax loopholes in order to provide more adequate funding for our public schools. We recommend that the Legislature's actions closing those special-interest tax loopholes be “Maintained” because that creates some revenue to more adequately fund public education.

Our State’s Constitution makes adequate funding of public education a prime mandate. Recently, a state court has found state funding to be inadequate under that Constitutional standards, and has ordered the legislature to take action for public education funding consistent with that mandate.  So, a vote to “maintain” the legislature’s elimination of special interest tax loopholes will show our support for our state’s public schools, and will help to fund our Bainbridge Island public schools.