Steal This Story

Local Media Needs to Explain Where R-71 Came From

On September 1, the Seattle Times published an opinion piece encouraging voters to approve Referendum 71, thereby upholding the state's domestic-partnership law and offering a fuller measure of legal equality to "loving couples and parents raising children who eagerly seek the rights and responsibilities that go with such elemental relationships." Bravo! On this, we completely agree with the city's sole surviving daily. But enough with the kisses. Polite editorials aren't enough from the Times—or any mainstream news outlet. This referendum came from somewhere. And that somewhere matters.

R-71 backers insist that they're protecting families. But that's a canard. This petition was the product of Gary Randall, a carpet­bagging Oregonian who makes money running hate-mongering campaigns and, according to the Clackamas County recorder's office, owes $36,012 in unpaid federal back taxes. Also behind the measure is Larry Stickney, a thrice-married Christian extremist who allegedly beat his wife and refused to pay for his daughter's college education until a judge made him, according to records in Kitsap County Superior Court. The two lied every step of the way to get this on the ballot, claiming in television ads and on the petition that the measure was about gay "marriage" and that "public schools K–12 will be forced to teach that same-sex marriage and homosexuality are normal." They also tricked some supporters of gay marriage into signing the petition by claiming it would grant marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The Stranger has reported all of this in detail. Re-report it, Seattle Times—and SeattlePI.­com and television stations and news radio. Don't cite us if you like; we don't care. Steal this story. Just don't be complicit in an attempt to fool voters into thinking this is about family. It never has been.

You've already shown that you believe in exposing who is behind a ballot measue in your coverage of Tim Eyman. Gone are the days when Eyman could get away with something like Initiative 200, which tricked scores of progressive Washington voters into voting for what appeared to be an anti­discrimination initiative when in fact they were repealing a law meant to provide racial minorities with fair opportunities to get a college education. Now when an Eyman initiative appears on the ballot, the Times warns us. As a result, the phrase "Eyman initiative" has become shorthand for "watch out, con in progress."

Eyman's latest effort, Initiative 1033, is getting exactly this kind of vetting. So why the kid gloves with Randall and Stickney?

Reporters, every time R-71 spokesman Randall gets quoted, be fair: Give him the Eyman treatment. Note that he's an Oregonian with a history of running anti-gay campaigns, taking home a bunch of money, and then refusing to pay taxes. Mention that his henchman, Stickney, wasn't committed to his first two marriages. Tell readers that these two can't explain what damage domestic partnerships would do to their marriages. And, lastly, tell people that their campaign lied all the way to the ballot and the bank.

As you know from your Eyman coverage, it's an important public service. recommended


Comments (11) RSS

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Steve Zemke 1
Good points. The message also includes the messenger. If the messenger isn't credible, then there's strong reason to suspect the message as also not being credible.

People understand this with Tim Eyman. He says whatever he thinks will rally his supporters and many times it has no truth behind it.

He is doing this again with I-1033. He is running it as a measure to reduce property taxes, yet it freezes government at it's current recession level of spending, would change budget making of 281 cities and 39 counties and the state from one of representative government to budget making by referendum and its taxes working families and seniors and renters to help pay property taxes for the wealthy.

This guy lied to the public and told them he wasn't getting paid for his work while he was secretly collecting thousands of dollars. Why- because he thought he would be more credible to the voters if they thought he wasn't getting paid.

So yes look at the messengers oppoed to R-71. Some of them are, like Eyman, are in it to make money and will say whatever they think the public will buy. Truth is something else.
Posted by Steve Zemke on September 9, 2009 at 4:03 PM · Report this
perhaps it's in the bankers trust fund for the seven year stitch.

chinese dictionary says there is a long journey ahead.

Posted by dan k. on September 10, 2009 at 10:42 AM · Report this
The Seattle Times recently reported on how this Referendum will affect older, unmarried heterosexual couples, as well, and I think that's something that really needs to be hammered home to those who oppose it ... and to those who feel it is the equivalent of gay marriage.

In fact, I would personally prefer that the media would focus on the ultimate purpose of Ref. 71: increased rights and responsibilities for registered domestic partners; leaving sexuality out of it completely. Not only because it clouds the language and intent of the bill, but because, in my mind, it actually diminishes the struggle for gay marriage.

I believe in the right of homosexuals to marry (e.g. to choose a spiritual and/or religious union) ... and I believe equally in the right of individuals to choose not to marry, per se, but to be in a committed relationship, and be allowed the same benefits as those offered to married folk (e.g. a civil union).

I think of it as the manifestation of the separation of church and state.

Posted by ChickenThigh on September 10, 2009 at 7:28 PM · Report this
TylTay 4
Oh Dominic, what makes you think anything you write for The Stranger would be of noticed by the Seattle Times? Do you really think your work is THAT note worthy?

You are employed by a paper that no one will pay for so the owners give it away and make their money from advertising (a large chunk of ads from the sex industry). What you try to portray, as news is really only rants, rhetoric and blather written on something people use to drip coffee upon, wrap fish and line birdcages.

Honestly, I’ve followed your work over the past few months and have found you have only two writing modes:

Praise mode: You agree with the person or group you are writing about therefore they are wonderful and what they do will help the human race for the rest of time.

Curse mode: You disagree with the person or group you are writing about therefore they are evil beyond imagination. They must be destroyed so their opinion in this nation of free speech will not be allowed to pollute future generations.

You don’t look at every aspect of your subject, and present a thoughtful analysis of the arguments so the reader may draw conclusions. You instead base your work on your opinion as an avid pot-smoking, homosexual male who uses the Internet as a vending machine to find sexual partners. No one (except angry pot smoking multigamos homosexuals) should ever take what you write seriously without researching the issue, thoroughly.

As much as it dampens your reefer, the success of the effort of the people behind the R-71 campaign was extraordinary. Against all odds including little money, an unfriendly media, and a 20-day delay by governor Gregoire (which disgraced herself and her office), they got enough valid signatures to place it on the ballot in just 70 days. The rejection rate of signatures normally around 30% was unbelievably below 12% a state record. All court challenges were defeated and now R-71 is on the ballot this November. (That is a story worthy of the Seattle Times.)

Thanks to the efforts of the folks behind R-71, the citizens not the legislators will decide if the definition of husband and wife will be male and female respectively throughout the RCW. (The same definition that has been in use for over 130 years in Washington State.) This is the definition that will be taught to children in Washington State public schools funded by tax dollars from the very citizens who will now get to vote on this issue.

This is a big enough question (the basic definition of husband and wife in the RCW) that the people, not their legislators who work for them, should choose. IT IS GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE. This is what our founding fathers dreamed for us, we honor them by voting YES or NO this November on R-71.
Posted by TylTay on September 11, 2009 at 3:39 AM · Report this
Baconcat 5
@4: Wait, what? This isn't about marriage and does nothing to change the statutory definition of the same.

And the average rejection rate is about 15-18%, not 30%. And this was the third lowest, not a record.

If you're going to criticize someone you claim is wrong, don't be far more wrong than you claim they are. :)
Posted by Baconcat on September 11, 2009 at 4:17 PM · Report this
It is very disturbing what PMW is being allowed to get away with. They have been exempted from key portions of the state's public disclosure laws they are scared the big, bad faggots might annoy them. Procedures to guarantee an open, fair process do not apply to them. The Secretary of State bends over backwards to get as many signatures approved as he possibly can.

What will be next? Or perhaps more relevant, who will be the next target of this kind of hate-mongering campaign, and how far will they push the boundaries that Protect Marriage Washington has already extended?
Posted by TechBear on September 12, 2009 at 9:26 AM · Report this
TylTay 7

I did not say, R-71 / SB5688 was about the definition of marriage; in fact, the word was not even written in my comments.

I said it redefined husband and wife in the entire RCW. Read through the actual text:… Passed Legislature/5688-S2.PL.pdf

Your number of 15-18% rejection rate is due to paid professionals taking signatures. Non-professionals rejection rate is about 30%.
R-71 signatures were gathered by non-processionals and that would be a state record.

You failed to mention the hostel media as well as the partisan governor cheating Pro-R-71 folks out of a full 20 days.

Since the Pro-R-71 folks averaged about 2000 signatures a day, this would have added another 35,000 signatures, making it very likely to pass.

The governor actions were despicable for ANY elected official. She is governor for the entire state, not just her partisans.

I didn’t criticize Holden on just this issue; I criticize his writing style and his arrogance that the Seattle Times would actually steal his article. Talk about pipe dream.

You didn’t address the only two modes of writing Holden has that I outlined.

All you did was try to spin, and very poorly. Baconcat; to quote you, about you:

If you're going to criticize someone you claim is wrong, don't be far more wrong than you claim they are. :)

Posted by TylTay on September 14, 2009 at 2:07 AM · Report this
TylTay 8
You are introducing more partisan spin in your comments than a washing machine finish cycle. The exemption PMW has is temporary. It will most likely be overturned. The only reason it was granted was the nasty threats received by the spiteful anti-R-71 crowd in an attempt to intimidate people from not signing. (This scheme apparently really backfired. No one should be intimidated into signing or not signing any petition or referendum. Shame on the Ant-R-71 crowd for attempting this thug tactic)

The Secretary of State Sam Reed hardly bent over backwards to get these signatures approved. HOW COULD HE POSSIBLY DO THAT? If he had done ANYTHING even remotely non-kosher favoring the pro-R-71 side, he would have been eaten alive by the observers and the very Anti R-71 media.

The Anti-R-71 had every advantage and still lost; a story untouched by the media.

As for your line ‘who will be the next targets of this kind of hate mongering campaign’ I have to sincerely ask; what are you talking about?

All R-71 did is bring to the voters the right to choose to see if SB5688 becomes the law of the land. SB5688 redefines husband and wife through out the entire RCW; the very same definitions that have been in use for over a 120 years.

The voters should have the right to decide on major legislation that will effect such basic definitions as husband and wife.

From you comments it seems to me that you are a victim of rhetoric versus fact. Don’t believe everything you hear without first checking it out for yourself. Search for the truth on every issue, if you have the courage. You might find that others will play you less the fool and write better-informed commentary.

Posted by TylTay on September 14, 2009 at 2:46 AM · Report this
My pet theory is that the R-71 backers don't want the signatures released because the Secretary of State let them get away with fraud, and they don't want to be found out. They were "working the refs" from the start, claiming the Secretary of State was biased against them. I think the Secretary of State cut them extra slack to "prove" they weren't biased.
Posted by Orv on September 15, 2009 at 4:33 PM · Report this
TylTay 10
Where do you get your info Orv? Were you there at Reed's office when they did the count? If you turn out to be correct I will condemn Reed along with you. Any group trying to illegally intimidate and manipulate our political system is always wrong and should be denounced and exposed no matter who does it. (This is why the Anti-R-71 crowd threatening to harass people who signed the referendum should have been slammed a lot harder than they were if the media had any veracity.)

This is also why Governor Gregoire’s actions of using the power of her office and delaying the signature gathering 20 of the 90 days was so heinous. She is the governor of everyone in Washington State, not just her partisans.

If the roles were reversed and Gregoire delayed for 20 of the 90 days a referendum that would put to the voter the question to legalize pot as a recreational drug, (otherwise pot would remain illegal) I’m sure Holden would vent his column’s venom and vilify her; and I would join him. Not because I support legalization of pot, (I don’t) I’m repulsed by the abuse of power on the part of the Governor.

When elected officials behave in a partisan manner they need to be replaced. If Reed favored one side or the other on any vote, HE NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. Even if the action helps the side you are supporting this time, the next time the elected official maybe on the opposite side of your issue. If you start screaming then, you are a hypocrite.

Any injustice to one by our elected officials is an injustice to all.

Integrity is the glue that holds our representative democracy together. If it fails, everything falls apart very quickly. Whether you agree with the issue or not, fair is fair; what Gregoire did should be front page news if ANY PAPER IN THIS STATE had ANY integrity.

I would like to see The Stranger steal this idea.
Posted by TylTay on September 16, 2009 at 4:53 AM · Report this
honestly tyltay everyone knows holden is biased, but so is like every reporter on fox news. ok there pundits for a reason, they get paid money to appeal to the people who read that paper. and your barking up the wrong tree, if you honestly think, but sitting here and personally responding to every hurrah people throw at the writer of this article, your going to change any minds, then my advice to you is this: sit tight bud, middle school is only three years long.

so i mean i see where your coming from and all, but the fact remains that 71 isnt even a debatable issue. its human rights dude. regardless of how "ethical" you claim the other side is.
Posted by Kenny on November 18, 2009 at 6:37 PM · Report this

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