COMMENT: Martin, The Death of Democracy is alive and well here in Seattle. A statewide initiative I-976 to limit Washington car tabs to $30 has just passed with a large majority. In less than 24 hours Seattle’s mayor Jenny Durkan has already announced a lawsuit against it with support from King County Executive Dow Constantine. Washington governor and former presidential candidate Jay Inslee has also chimed in and halted all statewide transportation projects not underway. Amazing how an initiative that limits the government’s tax revenue is resisted by the government in full force within 24 hours.
The impetus of this initiative was the discovery that our local transportation agency Sound Transit has been illegally collecting excessive taxes through a vehicle valuation depreciation schedule that was more conservative than the one that was listed on the initiative which passed in 1996. In other words, they have been collecting “extra” taxes for more than 20 years and a recent lawsuit against the agency finally brought this fact to light.
I guess if the government steals money from us that’s ok, but when the people pass an initiative to simply stop the crime it is resisted with every resource government has available
REPLY: This is the problem with career politicians. This is what has to change. We really need term limits, for ONLY then will we achieve a true government for and by the people. Virtually every Republic has mired and drowned to death in their own corruption. The only form of a republic that seemed to work for a while was that of the Republic of Genoa, which was one of the Italian Maritime Republics. The Doge (President) rotated among the top rich families for a period of one year following the ancient Roman tradition of an annual consul. There was no class warfare and they ran the government more like a corporation to compete with Venice and Florence as well as the Republic of Pisa and Amalfi in the south. During the late Middle Ages, Genoa was one of the major commercial powers of the time and it became a center for merchant banking during the 16th and 17th centuries, which also made it a major financial center in Europe until the Spanish defaults. Christopher Columbus was from Genoa. He donated one-tenth of his income from the discovery of the Americas to Spain to the Bank of Saint George in Genoa for the relief of taxation on foods. There is a splendid monument to Columbus in Genoa even though they refused to fund his voyage.
When the presidency rotated annually, nobody would ever pass a law that would punish themselves when they left the office and returned to private life the following year. This is what we so desperately need to restore. Only because the Doge rotated annually did Genoa truly prosper. Venice also had a Doge but he was appointed for life and the city owned all the ships.