The Washington Policy Center (WPC) is one of the most outspoken institutional opponents of Proposition 1, the mass-transit expansion measure.
The WPC calls itself "an independent, nonpartisan, research and education organization" that "improves lives of Washington citizens by providing accurate, high-quality research." At a recent meeting of the Bellevue Downtown Association, WPC analyst Michael Ennis called the WPC a "research group" that does not advocate for or against specific ballot measures.
If Ennis wants to say the WPC is nonpartisan, that's fine with me. I'm nonpartisan too! I mean, I've never taken money from or given to a political party.
But ask me who I'm voting for, and you'll find I'm as Democratic as they come.
The same goes for the WPC: They may call themselves "nonpartisan," but they vote with the antitransit party—that would be the Republicans—100 percent of the time. Given that their board is made up of guys whose Republican pedigree rivals the Bushes', that isn't surprising.
On the list: A former Republican state senator (Emilio Cantu); a demolition-company president and heavy Republican donor (John Hennessy); a developer and board member of the right-wing Evergreen Freedom Foundation who gave $10,000 to John McCain (William Conner); two Reichert and McCain supporters who cohosted a recent McCain fundraiser in Bellevue (John and Kathy Connors); and a wealthy Republican who's given to Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum and the National Right to Life Committee (Richard Alvord).
Nonpartisan? A meeting of The Stranger's editorial board is less partisan.
A similar pattern emerges when you look at the anti–Proposition 1 campaign's donor base. Of the $152,000 raised by NotoProp1 .org, the vast majority came from people and groups known for giving to Republican causes: Kemper Freeman, the Bellevue land magnate ($100,000); Fremont landowner Suzie Burke ($1,000); Belltown zillionaire Mark Baerwaldt ($18,000); cell-phone magnate Bruce McCaw ($10,000); and Rossi supporters H. Chaffey Investments and Oak Harbor Freight Lines ($500 and $5,000, respectively).
Those six "nonpartisan" donors are joined by longtime anti–light rail zealots John Niles and Donald Padelford, developer Matt Griffin, and the Washington Asphalt Pavement Association—bringing the total number of donors to the anti–light rail crusade to 10. So not only is Sound Transit's opposition hardly "nonpartisan"—it isn't "grassroots," either. In contrast, the Mass Transit Now campaign has more than 200 donors.
And remember: The Stranger Election Control Board—hey, we're an independent, nonpartisan research and education organization too!—says vote Yes on Proposition 1.