On the trail

 

In July, Arizona's growth-control initiative looked unstoppable: A poll by KUET, the Phoenix public television station, showed Proposition 202 winning, 68 percent to 17 percent. But the opposition, heavily supported by the development industry, has used its $4.1 million in contributions to mount a no-holds-barred media campaign (HCN, 10/23/00: Arizona's 202 takes aim at sprawl). The most recent KUET poll shows the initiative losing, 50 percent to 24 percent.

Washington state businessman Tim Eyman successfully championed the anti-tax Initiative 695 last year (HCN, 12/20/99: Clean-air program may suffocate), but his crusade suffered a defeat in late October. The measure, which would have required voter approval of all state tax and fee increases, was ruled unconstitutional by the Washington Supreme Court.

Eyman is back with two new measures on the state ballot this year: Initiative 722, which would limit property taxes, and Initiative 745, which would force the legislature to spend 90 percent of its transportation money on roads. Environmentalists say I-745 would effectively kill the state's public-transit program.

The recently published Oregon voters' guide is 376 pages long, covers 26 ballot measures and includes 607 arguments for and against the measures. Secretary of State Bill Bradbury acknowledged in a cover letter that "it looks more like a telephone directory" than the usual voters' guide. "Although this pamphlet looks different, it is just as recyclable as previous voters' pamphlets," he added. "I encourage you to recycle it."

Washington Republican Sen. Slade Gorton is in a close race for re-election (HCN, 10/23/00: Stalking Slade), and his staff say the media is hurting Gorton's cause. The Washington Post reports that Gorton campaign head Tony Williams sent a critical memo to Seattle journalists, saying that the media "treats Slade differently than Democrat politicians." Joel Connelly of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer responded, "I think he gets a fair shake from the media. I'm not sure we're critical enough."

Copyright 2000 HCN and Tony Davis

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