Campaign News

Hello carbon tax friends: It’s been quite an end to the year! Here’s the scoop on signature turn-in this week, a look ahead to next week, and some thoughts on last week.


This week

Please send in all remaining signature pages! Our mailing address is PO Box 85565, Seattle WA 98145-1565 (at this point you need to do overnight delivery because we need to receive them by Tuesday), or if you want to visit the office in person we’re at 1914 N 34th St, Suite 407, near Gas Works Park in Seattle. We can also use your help in the office today and tomorrow (Monday and Tuesday); best to call first (office phone 206-632-1805), but you can also just stop by!

Join us in Olympia! We will be doing our final signature turn-in at the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia mid-day on W Dec 30. Email [email protected] or [email protected] or me ([email protected]) if you’re interested in joining the celebration, which will also include some food and maybe an after-party (and/or a tour of the Capitol building ?

Next week

After we turn in our signatures we will turn our focus to the legislative session, which begins on M Jan 11. The conventional wisdom is that we have little to no chance in the legislature, so keep your expectations modest, but also remember that the conventional wisdom was that we had little to no chance of gathering 320,000 signatures… and we gathered more than 350,000! We will have more details on the legislative front next week, but two important notes for now:

1) We promise not to waste your time, i.e., if we are convinced that there is no path forward in the legislature then we will come out and say it and turn our attention to the Nov 2016 ballot campaign. The flip side, of course, is that if and when we ask for your help (and we will, starting next week if not earlier!) we really do want and need your help.

2) The legislative campaign will be led by yours truly, with assistance from Executive Committee member Greg Rock and others. If you have comments/suggestions/questions about the legislative campaign that can’t wait until next week please send them to me ([email protected]).

Last week

Last week was a difficult week all around, and I for one am looking forward to moving on. But I do want to offer up a few (hopefully final) thoughts, and I also want to say that if you’ve made a significant contribution to the Carbon Washington campaign then I invite you to call me 206-351-5719 to discuss this more. (You can define “significant” however you want, but in my mind it definitely includes folks who have collected 100 or more signatures or donated $100+ to the campaign.)

Coming to the table: We want to thank The Nature Conservancy, Washington Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, and others for their sincere efforts over the last few weeks. Everyone worked in good faith and put in long hours right up to the holidays trying to come to consensus. We all want to beat climate change, and that was in evidence throughout the conversations. To everyone we worked with: Thank you.

Process: Grassroots groups like Carbon Washington have many strengths, but we also face some challenges, and among the challenges are making major decisions and making time-sensitive decisions. We had to do both of those things, and we did the best we could. Here’s the process we established and followed (and if you have a better idea of how we should have done it then let us know): We wanted at least a week to hear from and communicate with our supporters, so that meant making a preliminary decision on the weekend of Dec 19 about whether the alternative proposal was strong enough to warrant a conversation with our supporters, and then making a final signature turn-in decision no later than the weekend of Dec 26 because of New Years travel &c. Those weekend meetings were scheduled in addition to our regular Wednesday afternoon meetings, and on W Dec 23 we reached a final decision after having received additional details about the alternative proposal, feedback from our supporters, etc. After our preliminary decision (on Sat Dec 19) it took a couple of days to draft the email that went out on M Dec 21, and after our final decision (on W Dec 23) it took a couple of hours to draft the email that went out that evening. The only other important part of the process was that staff spent Sunday evening Dec 20 and all of Monday Dec 21 phoning members of the 250 Club and other key supporters to give them a heads-up about what was going on and to begin to hear their thoughts.

Feedback from our supporters: In addition to listening during those phone conversations (and also during the two-and-a-half hour conference call that 160 of you participated in on T Dec 22!) we paid attention to the comments on our two blog posts, the comments on the two articles in the Seattle Times, and the hundreds of emails that came to me and to others in the campaign. (If you want to get a sense of the experience then you can read on our blog—here and here—anonymized versions of all the emails that I received; names and other identifying information have been removed.) Bottom line: We did the best we could (given the stress and time constraints) to listen and communicate, and we are grateful for all of your thoughts.

What didn’t happen: There are lots of rumors and stories about what happened, but I want to point out two things that didn’t happen. First, we didn’t stage-manage this whole process or any part of it. When we were on the fence it was because we hadn’t yet made a final decision, and as soon as we did make a final decision we announced it. Second, we didn’t make our decision solely because of feedback from our supporters. (Please don’t take offense!) It is absolutely true that Carbon Washington would be nothing without our grassroots base, and I honestly don’t know what would have happened if our Executive Committee had found itself completely at odds with our base, but I can tell you for sure that we wouldn’t have made an early decision on W Dec 23. In addition, I think it’s reasonable to say that the feedback we did receive had nearly as much “we trust you to make the right decision” sentiment as it did “turn the signatures in dammit” sentiment.

What did happen: While everyone on both sides made an incredible effort at the eleventh hour to find a way forward together, there were still lots of unknowns about the proposed new policy and we ran out of time to get to a concrete alternative… plus it’s also fair to say that lots of folks love our policy and our campaign! As noted above I am happy to have a phone conversation (206-351-5719) with any significant contributors to the campaign who still have questions.

Happy New Year!

Stay tuned for more next week, and hope to see you in Olympia on Wednesday! And please send in all remaining signature pages! Just to repeat: Our mailing address is PO Box 85565, Seattle WA 98145-1565 (you now need to overnight any remaining signature pages), or if you want to visit the office in person we’re at 1914 N 34th St, Suite 407, near Gas Works Park in Seattle, office phone 206-632-1805. We need to receive all signatures by Tuesday because we’re heading down to Olympia on Wednesday morning!

Comments ( 7 )

  • Baxter the Actor says:

    What’s this significant contribution crap? If I can only afford to give $5 I don’t get to talk to you?

    [YB: As I said above: “You can define ‘significant’ however you want.” I’m at 206-351-5719 if you want to talk.]

    And don’t waste my time asking for help in November either. This initiative is not going to pass the legislature and voters are going to reject it in November. You yourself said 732 polls badly. Are you really an economist? You don’t seem good at crunching numbers

    • heather ayres says:

      I would only agree that turning in the signatures is less effective and political, in my opinion, than not turning them in as a strong statement to back up the next campaign effort. That failing is actually succeeding, because it’s not failing, it’s relying on the numbers themselves. But that’s based on your own numbers and statistically, for campaigns, I think going by the numbers offers the highest likelihood of success. Still, that said, best of luck and thank you for all you are doing!

  • Alan Hardcastle says:

    Great work Yorum and All, I’m happy to see this is moving forward and not being compromised by half-baked alternatives. I appreciate all you did to try to find a single solution that attends to all interests.

    Happy holidays.

  • Steve Price says:

    Strong work! Looking forward to the campaign. Delivering the signatures will get politicos to take 732 much more seriously.

  • Lee James says:

    I see a lot of good publicity resulting from our recent discussion about whether to ally with the Alliance. That we have carbon pricing advocacy groups (plural) helps to define what it means to put a price on carbon. We all agree that pricing carbon is essential; it’s just how to do it. Now maybe citizens will be more informed and in a better position to know how to personally commit to pricing carbon!

  • Melinda says:

    I haven’t been involved in the discussions between the Alliance and CarbonWA, so I can only guess at the root of the current disagreement. From what I’ve read, it sounds like part of the disagreement is about who we should be talking to. For example, Republicans.

    George Marshall, founder of the Wales-based climate change NGO Climate Outreach (, has some thoughts. He wrote Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change. I highly recommend this book for ideas about how to think about and talk about climate change.

    His blog post “Get Radical-Engaging Conservatives About Climate Change” talks about how to include “everyone” in the discussion:

  • Ralph Woodall says:

    Maybe be pro active and lower Carbon Dioxide and lower fuel consumption with an additive the government has been using for more than 30 years. Unless you people are making a living off these taxes, you may want to take a minute and look at this. Fell free to ask me any questions you want.