Sunday, July 10, 2005

And Now, Time for Something Completely Different

Now that Independence Day is over, I can finally take some time to relax. I was running a fireworks stand, which is a 24/7 job from the time the fireworks are delivered until the early morning of the 5th. Skyway is a tiny island in the middle of King County (which the governor is trying to have renamed for Martin Luther King Jr.) that still allows people to carry out the sacred, American tradition of lighting cheap, Chinese explosives in celebration of their country. Skyway is also considered to be the ghetto and where I lived for the week at my fireworks tent. For nighttime security, I brought my digital projector and watched movies on the side of the tent all night.

My dad just got back from his business trip to China, and brought a bunch of stuff home with him. He brought me back a new Rolex watch and DVDs of Revenge of the Sith and Batman Begins. Unfortunately Batman is in Chinese so I’ll have to put a new audio track on it before I can watch it. Owning a region free DVD player really comes in handy in these situations.

A friend of my grandma died a few weeks ago and I was hired to haul a bunch of her old furniture out of her apartment with my truck. I got a new couch and antique cabinet out of the deal as well as some old clocks painted with UnDark paint (which is radium based). My mom took a few random things that she liked and I’m going to haul the rest of the stuff to the Good Will in Seattle sometime later this week.

Finally, we have enough signatures to put the newly imposed 9.5¢ gas tax onto the ballot in November. This is the fastest Initiative to ever qualify in Washington, in 30 days, and gathered the 4th highest number of signatures ever for an Initiative with 420,518. The opponents to this Initiative say: “This initiative's signature-gathering campaign will exhibit the worst aspects of direct versus rep resentative democracy. It will urge a yes or no straw vote in place of the months of negotiation, compromise and balancing of diverse state interests that went into the lawmakers' package” because “Citizens shouldn't override well thought out legislative decisions.” These “interests” mainly include the unions who would benefit the greatest from some of the projects that would be paid for with the new tax money; and a dozen of the larger businesses in the state. The two largest multi-billion dollar projects that this money is allocated for haven’t even been designed yet; there is no estimates as to the actual costs involved, nor an estimated completion date for either of them, only that they will require further tax increases to fund and none of the other projects will be started until these two are completed.

Of the 200+ projects that would eventually be funded by this tax increase, the only one that I can see as urgent is the widening of I-405 between Renton and Kirkland. This project is ready to go at the moment, and about 5 years overdue, but it will not be started until 2013, assuming that all of the other projects are completed on time and on budget (a very rare thing). This is why I will be voting to repeal this new tax in November; no one knows exactly what they are getting for the money or when they’ll get it, they don’t know how much any of it is going to cost, and I’m just pissed off at the state right now; all good reasons for me to vote down the new tax that I’ll hopefully avoid paying before it gets repealed.