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By Roger Harnack
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Rally, hearing set on I-976

Eyman calls for Attorney General to be removed from case

 

Last updated 12/12/2019 at 8:51pm



SEATTLE – The judge who issued an injunction on Initiative 976 will hear a motion from measure sponsor Tim Eyman to have State Attorney's Office attorneys removed from the case.

Eyman is organizing a pro-I-976 and anti-Attorney General Bob Ferguson rally at 8:45 a.m. outside the King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson's courtroom, E-713, in the county courthouse, 516 Third Ave.

The hearing will take place after the rally.

The measure was approved by 52.99% of voters statewide on Nov. 5. It generally caps vehicle license taxes and fees at $30 for non-commercial vehicles.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson has a conflict of interest, Eyman says, claiming he's also tried to sabotage the measure.

Eyman wants an outside, independent council to represent the people.

“We need to send a powerful message before he (Judge Marshall Ferguson) rules on our motion to appoint outside counsel,” Eyman said Thursday. “Wherever you live, get here. If Judge Ferguson OKs AG Ferguson, then the AG’s intentional sabotage of I-976 will have succeeded.”

In addition to have Attorney General Ferguson removed from the case, Franklin County Commissioner Clint Didier of Eltopia wants Judge Marshall Ferguson replaced.

Didier and a few other supporters personally intervened in the case calling for a change of venue.

According to Didier, Judge Ferguson has a conflict of interest and should have recused himself.

Didier has challenged the venue, noting that King County and Seattle are leading the effort to block I-976. As a King County judge, Judge Ferguson is beholden to King County and Seattle for his wages.

Eyman agrees with Didier.

“There are legions of conflicts here: the judge was appointed by Jay Inslee, is employed by and gets paid by plaintiff King County, lives in Seattle, is listed as a “soft Democrat” on the voter rolls, and is Facebook friends with Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, another plaintiff in the case,” Eyman said.

Eyman also has the support of Sen. Steven O'Ban, R-University Place, who penned a letter to Attorney General Ferguson asking his office to voluntarily step down.

In addition, Eyman's efforts are also backed by the Pierce County Council, which on Tuesday joined Didier, voting, 4-3, to intervene on behalf of county voters, who voted 65.75%in support of I-976.

Didier tried to get his colleagues on the Franklin County Commission to be the first to intervene last month. Dozens of county voters turned out to support his move after 72.21% of voters supported the cap on license tab fees and taxes.

But Didier was stymied by Commissioners Robert Koch and Brad Peck, who refused to second his motion to intervene.

Didier plans to bring another motion to intervene to his colleagues during a commission meeting next week.

I-976 was overwhelmingly supported by all 20 Eastern Washington counties and 33-of-39 counties statewide.

In Spokane County, I-976 was backed by 54.27% of voters, the second-lowest percentage east of the Cascades.

Whiteman County voters had the lowest support at 50.91%.

Meanwhile, six counties in Eastern Washington -- Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry, Yakima, Grant, Franklin and Adams -- all had voter support of I-976 exceeding 70%.

 

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