Radical Right Illinois Group = Single Largest I-933 Contributor

Americans for Limited Government (ALG)  declares:  "We do not seek power.  We are not partisan.  We do not seek access or friendship with politicians.  We are the place to go for focused political action that promotes liberty--with no hidden or personal agendas."

LIARS! They're lying through their radical-right pearly whites. This Illinois group, affiliated with the Cato Institute, The Federalist Society, and Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform,  has sent  the single biggest check yet, $50,000, in support of I-933, AKA Washington Farm Bureau's Developer's Loophole Initiative. [UPDATE: Thanks to Citizen Steve of Washington Outsiders for calling attention to the new donation, as of 5/19 -- another $50,000. That makes $100,000 from this radical Illinois group to overturn our laws.] [Second update, 6/13/06: NPI's piece on the Right-wing initiatives alerted me to recheck the PDC database. ALG has now donated $200,000.] [Third update, 3/10/07 -- that ended up being $360,000.]

Washington State: Target of the Radical Right
If ALG has its way with our initiative system,  its developer buddies will have their way with our land and waterways -- including our farmland.    I-933 opens up farmland to sprawling development which, American Farmland Trust tells us, is losing us our best farmland in Washington.   Brilliant one-two punch, there, drowning Washington's government in the bathtub and raping the land!  Plus, after years of whipping up neighbor-against-neighbor and citizen-against-government hatred, the funders of the Reckless Right are counting on this initiative to spur more anti-government folk, oh irony, to take part in the government-constituting act of voting so they can.... unconstitute government.

Washington's not the only state in the sights of the radical right this year.  ALG's very busy nationwide with its well-funded national agenda.  Here's a complaint from the Oklahoma Education Association that ALG gave $350,000 "to drastically reduce Oklahoma's state government."    Here's a complaint by American Library Association that ALG is working to restrict government spending " in ways that have proved damaging to library and other public services".

Americans for Limited Government: Affiiliations
Who funds these guys?  Gosh!  Well, I can't find it in a hour of searching on the Internet.   Here's what I've tried:

Pretty darn shadowy for a group that declares no hidden agenda.   Well, we know where the funding for their friends, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) comes from, Norquist & Co.  ATR apparently was a conduit for laundering Preston Gates funds in the illegal Abramoff Native American scheme .  The ATR offices were the weekly meeting place for Tom DeLay's K Street Project. Cozy.  

Why is Washington State Farm Bureau (WSFB) teaming up with these shadowy radical groups that are reaching out from the national - and transnational - level to interfere in our state's laws?   Why is a farm group supporting the very thing that's making our farmland disappear?  And why are the farmers not up in arms over this?  

First, it's worth noting that some Washington farmers are publicly opposing I-933.   This PI article quotes one of them (and also uncritically repeats the Farm Bureau's misrepresentation  on non-farmer Bruce Ritter.)

Second, it's worth noting that individual Washington farmers have personal reasons to support this initiative.  They see other property owners around them getting rich from development but they are prohibited from developing their own. That wouldn't be a problem if farming hadn't lost so much of its profitability. While production costs for farming have been rising, the farmers' share of the "food dollar" has been ever-shrinking.  Here,  here, and here are estimates of just how much this dollar share has diminished.

It's understandable that many people who own farmland would want to sell out to developers. I-933 would help these individuals and if it passes and they get their money, I wish them well. But the results for the public will be heartbreaking. Unless Washington can pay many millions of dollars to protect private properties - land all around the state in urban as well as rural areas will get littered with inappropriate development.   Wetlands and streams on private property will lose their protections.  It'll be a land gang-rape.   There are better -- and less expensive -- ways to help farmers. WSFB support for this monstrosity is a betrayal of American farming and of the public good.

Mr. Dan Wood Strikes Twice
I-933 is not the first Developer's Loophole Initiative in Washington State. Dan Wood, Director of Government Relations for WSFB and I-933's sponsor, was also the sponsor in 1995 for I-164, a very similar initiative.

Mr. Wood, according to old press accounts, is a former miniature-golf manager. Somehow, by the early 1990s, he found his way into the position of Executive Director and lobbyist for The Umbrella Group, an anti-environment Wise Use organization funded by WSFB, the Building Industry Association of Washington State, the Hecla Mining Company, Washington Contract Loggers Association, and the Atlantic Richfield Company.

I-164 was a little different from our current initiative.   It was filed because an earlier attempt to get enough signatures for an initiative to the people failed.   So Wood and his Wise Use cronies raised over $250,000 to bring an initiative to the legislature.  It worked.  I-164 passed. But the voters, bless their hearts, armed with information that I-164 could cost them over $1 billion,  came back and repealed I-164 through Referendum 48.
Reference: Combating Developer-Led Attacks on Smart Growth and Environmental Protection... Lessons From Oregon, Arizona and Washington, Community Rights Counsel.

What a history!  The voters reject it.   The right-wing funders pay legislators to pass it.  The voters overturn it again.  Then, 10 years later, the same guy, Dan Wood, comes back with funding by out-of-state radical right wingers and files it again. Gosh, this sounds like the stadium business.

Evidently, Washington State's Farm Bureau has been taken over by forces inimical to the interests of its members.  This time, the BIAW and the other developer and mining interests have not joined in as backers of the Developer's Loophole Initiative.  Polling has shown them that they'll lose if voters really know who is behind their plans.

Fooling the voters

If I-933 passes, it's going to be hard times for Washington's communities, farms, and environment.   In Oregon, where the very similar Measure 37 recently passed, over 3,000 claims against State and Local jurisdictions have been filed - affecting 65,000 acres.  Here's what 1,000 Friends of Oregon says just about one county:

"By May 2005, only five months after the passage of Measure 37, the steadily growing mass of claims in Yamhill County topped the 10,000 acre mark.  Totaling more than 16 square miles, about 75% of the affected land is zoned for farm or forest use, and most is prime farmland.  That's more land than the county - the heart of state's internationally known wine industry - has lost to development in several decades."

It seems to me that defeat of I-933 has got to be a priority for us here in Washington. This is a nationally-coordinated attack on the government of Washington State by the reckless Right. What do you think, dear hearts?

< Urgency about death, dying, political failure and why suddenly I feel sheepish ... | Community Conversation on Sustainable Farming, Peak Oil, and Local Markets >
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have earned a paycheck or donation that will ...

probably not go to you ;)

I wonder ...

Should we PCOs be leaning on our Washington State Central Committee members to require the WA Dems to hire YOU ;)?

lots of money will get spent in the next 6 months on the same 'ol tired 'ol t.v. commercial makers and same 'ol tired 'ol stratergerizers ...



by rmdSeaBos on Sun May 21, 2006 at 07:24:56 PM PST

* 1 5.00 1 *

Quickly, I just googled the people on the board of ALG. Most did not come up with any upfront site, but two did:
Howard Rich is a contributor on DrudgeReport our favorite conservative news bank.

Edward Crane is the founder and president of the Cato Institute.

These two people, of the five on the Board, demonstrate precisely where this organization stands.

by JesseNelson on Mon May 22, 2006 at 06:57:54 PM PST

* 4 none 0 *

I just looked at the PDA website and it looks to me like AMERICANS FOR LIMITED GOVERNMENT of GLENVIEW, IL. has donated $100k - 50k on 03/23/2006 and another $50k on 05/19/2006.

by citizensteve on Tue May 23, 2006 at 06:07:05 PM PST

* 6 none 0 *

  • You're right! by noemie maxwell, 05/23/2006 10:22:21 PM PST (none / 0)
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