Numerous pictures show harassment of Danielle M.
(secret internal memo confirms it was all a coordinated effort)
Democrat legislators who are sponsoring anti-initiative bills (HB 1668 and HB 5297) clearly want people to stop collecting voter signatures for initiatives. They've been ordered by the public employee unions (who paid for their legislative services) to pass these bills. But these politicians never thought their benefactors would be caught in the act of harassing people gathering signatures. That's been true up to now.
With pictures documenting her ordeal, here's the formally filed declaration of Danielle M. (last name not included to protect her safety) in King County Superior Court in May, 2004:
On Saturday, May 8th, I was working in front of the Wal-Mart in Renton. I was collecting signatures for Initiative 884, Initiative 864, Initiative 892, Initiative 891 and Initiative 872. I was also collecting signatures for Initiative 861 regarding child molestation, but I was volunteering and not expecting to be paid for my work in regard to that petition. While collecting signatures that day and on every day that I collect signatures, I register people to vote if they are not currently registered. I do not get paid for registering people to vote.
On Saturday, May 8th, while I was in front of Wal-Mart, I was approached by three people. One was a Caucasian male carried a sign approximately 5 feet by 5 feet which said something to the effect "Don't Sign Initiative 864 Please." I do not know his name.
The second was a woman carrying a similar sign which said "864 Cuts Librarians & Firefighters." I do not know her name.
The third was Leslie E. Nichols. He was over 6 foot, 2 inches tall and approximately 280 lbs. The three of them spoke to each other and appeared to be working together.
On several occasions, Mr. Nichols and the other two people repeatedly boxed me into a corner using their signs or shopping carts and their presence to keep people interested in signing petitions or registering to vote away from me.
The man with a sign forced himself in between me and people who, after reading the petition for Initiative 891, asked me for a pen.
An elderly customer of Wal-Mart was shaking as the three harassers yelled and she asked me if I was scared. She told me she was going to make a complaint to Wal-Mart. Shortly later, the manager of Wal-Mart came out to the front.
The woman repeatedly shouted at me and shoppers, yelling that I was a thief and was going to steal the identity of anyone who signed anything. She said "it was all lies" and she offered a black marker to those who were signing petitions so they could strike their signatures.
On several occasions, Mr. Nichols followed me around the front of the Wal-Mart in a harassing manner. I tried to stay away from him, but he and the other two repeatedly followed me. He screamed at me and people who were interested in signing petitions or registering to vote. He yelled that I was responsible for firing librarians and firefighters and that all the initiatives were the same.
He also stood so close to me I could feel his breath on the back of my neck. He would grit his teeth and flail his arms or hold his hands behind his back and then suddenly reach out in a manner that was threatening to me.
On another occasion, a Hispanic gentleman who spoke only Spanish to me was excited about the opportunity to register to vote because he had been recently naturalized. He was in the process of pulling out his identification when Mr. Nichols reached across me and slapped his large hand over the clipboard which I was holding and which contained the blank voter registration card. His reach was toward the Hispanic man's wallet which he was in the process of opening. The Hispanic man said to me in Spanish "I'm sorry, but I can't stay," and immediately ran away to his car.
Then, the police came as Mr. Nichols was following me across the front of the store. Then the large man went to a car to get a sign. The police took his name and spoke to me as well. The police also told him that he could not talk to people at the same time I or someone else was talking to them. Shortly thereafter it started to rain and I left.
Because of these harassing incidents, I have not been out collecting signatures since, and therefore my opportunity to work has been severely limited. I am afraid of meeting Mr. Nichols or his associates again. I have suffered significant emotional distress as a result of the Defendants' conduct.
Mr. Nichols has been seen in front of the same Wal-Mart in Renton on several days.
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of Washington that the foregoing is true and correct and was executed by me this 21st day of May, 2004.
-- END --
Was this part of a coordinated effort? Yes, according to the secret internal memos of the Washington State Council of County and City Employees (AFSCME - AFL-CIO) :
Council 2 helps defeat Eyman initiative - Summer 2004
TIM EYMAN'S Initiative 864 was defeated at 11 a.m. on July 2 when he and cohorts Mike and Jack Fagan arrived in Olympia with a claimed 156,000 signatures - well below the 250,000 needed to assure a spot on the November ballot.
I-864 proposed a radical 25 percent local property tax cut-the most severe attack on local government ever proposed by Eyman-and would have come just as hundreds of cities, counties, and local taxing districts are reeling from the impacts of I-747, Eyman’s successful 2001 initiative that placed an arbitrary 1 percent cap on the growth of local property taxes.
“We should all breathe a sigh of relief that I-864 is dead,” says Chris Dugovich, President and Executive Director of Council 2. “We extend our thanks to members across Washington who volunteered their time and energy to tracking signature gatherers and educating voters about the dangers this initiative poses.”
In particular, Dugovich points to Council 2-led programs that educated voters about both the devastating potential impacts of I-864, as well as the corruption of the initiative process itself through the use of paid signature gatherers.
“Council 2 members went the extra mile in support of their communities, their families, and their jobs,” says Dugovich. “The rejection of I-864 is a victory for essential services, for local government and for our members.”
Among those who worked tirelessly over six weeks to counter the efforts of the signature gatherers was librarian Cameron Johnson, a member of Local 113.
“Library members played an active role, but hundreds of government workers-and their supporters-from all over the state contributed to the campaign’s success.” Johnson says.
They cruised Puget Sound looking for signature gatherers, held up signs next to them and persuaded store managers to ban them from their premises.
“We raised the consciousness of a lot of people in the state about signature gathering,” Johnson adds. “We went in like David against Goliath, but we learned fast and had a big impact.” He thanks Council 2 staff for all the effort they put into helping defeat the measure.
Next on the horizon are continued efforts to reform the signature gathering process in the Washington Legislature, including bills that would change the way signature gatherers are paid and adding accountability by making petitioners sign to verify the signatures they collect.
“The goal is to reduce fraud and protect the initiative process from further abuse,” says Council 2 Deputy Director Pat Thompson, who is leading lobbying efforts for the legislation.
Thompson points to efforts of the Voter Education Committee, led by Council 2, that included automated calls, aggressive earned media, and radio ads featuring King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng - all warning voters to pay attention to the details and ask questions before signing a petition carried by a paid signature gatherer.
“These programs were a success, and give us momentum for the future,” says Thompson.
Yet another battle looms in the future with Eyman, who has pledged to return in 2005 with another local tax cutting initiative. “We’re ready for him,” says Dugovich. “Unless he is bankrolled by a wealthy special interest, Eyman has now failed two years in a row to qualify an initiative. He can keep pushing these bad ideas, and we will continue to fight - and win.”
-- END --
"Keep an eye out. The best way to beat this is at the signature gathering stage. Please let us know if you see those paid signature hunters in your area and let them know in no uncertain terms what their job will do to your job! Every signature we stop is one more Eyman has to pay for." -- Washington State Council of County and City Employees (AFSCME - AFL-CIO)
"If you see a signature gatherer, call us. We want to do all we can to stop them." -- Washington State Council of County and City Employees (AFSCME - AFL-CIO)
"Keep an eye out for signature gatherers. Mr. Eyman wouldn't have been able to qualify his initiatives if it wasn't for the paid signature gatherers. We need your help to track these mercenaries." -- Washington State Council of County and City Employees (AFSCME - AFL-CIO)
"If you see a signature gatherer, we suggest you ask signature gatherers if they are being paid, find out their names and take their pictures (alone). 'We would like to identify as many as possible.'" -- Washington State Council of County and City Employees (AFSCME - AFL-CIO)
House Bill 1668 and Senate Bill 5297 requires anyone who gathers voter signatures for an initiative to publicly identify themselves and where they live. House Bill 1668 and Senate Bill 5297 requires anyone who is compensated for gathering signatures to register with the government, obtain a license, provide a photo and home mailing address, and have this information publicly available throughout the signature gathering stage. These bills are being pushed by the most union-funded Democrat legislators, prodded by the most powerful special interest groups in our state including the Washington State Council of County and City Employees (AFSCME - AFL-CIO).
Now we know why.
Call Speaker Chopp today -- 360-786-7920. Tell him or whoever answers the phone that you want him to stop all anti-initiative bills, including HB 1668 and SB 5297. If he/they dodge and say "we don't care what you say if you don't live in the 43rd district" tell them that these bills take away the First Amendment rights of EVERYONE, not just people in the 43rd. If he/they dodge and say "don't bother us, contact the bill's sponsors" tell them that the bill sponsors are bought-and-paid-for by the unions and they won't listen -- HE'S THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE -- HIS JOB IS TO KILL OFF BAD BILLS -- don't let him or his staff blow you off. His email address is here.
If Democrats insist on making it their top legislative priority and making it their legislative legacy to gut the initiative process and squelch free speech, let's make sure it doesn't happen without a fight.
Best Regards, Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, Mike Fagan, & Mike Dunmire, ph: 425-493-9127, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.VotersWantMoreChoices.com
Voters Want More Choices
PO Box 18250 Spokane, WA 99228