Kelley Unger introduces The Washington Policy Center

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The Washington Policy Center 

special to SJCRP 

by Kelley Unger

Director of Development Operations, Discovery Institute 

Washington Policy Center

Washington Policy Center (WPC) is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) research and educational organization that promotes sound public policy based on free-market solutions. They are a statewide organization with offices in Seattle, Olympia, Spokane and the Tri-Cities.

WPC improves lives of Washington state’s citizens by providing accurate, high-quality research for policymakers, the media and the general public. Headquartered in Seattle, WPC publishes studies, sponsors events and conferences and educates citizens on the vital public policy issues facing our region. Broadcast, print, and online media throughout Washington and across the nation cover WPC’s work regularly and seek out its policy experts for analysis and commentary. In addition, lawmakers routinely invite WPC to testify before legislative committees.

Through its research centers, Washington Policy Center focuses on seven core areas of public policy:

  • Education: The Center for Education conducts research and makes recommendations to improve Washington state’s ability to educate every child by giving parents, principals and teachers more control over the spending of public education dollars.
  • The Environment: The Center for the Environment brings balance to the environmental debate by promoting the idea that human progress and prosperity work in a free economy to protect the environment.
  • Government Reform: The Center for Government Reform’s mission is to partner with stakeholders and citizens to work toward a government focused on its core functions while improving its transparency, accountability, performance, and effectiveness for taxpayers.
  • Health Care: The Center for Health Care develops patient-centered solutions to reduce costs and improve the availability and quality of health care for businesses and individuals, providing the only detailed, independent critique of health care issues available in the Northwest.
  • Small Business: The Center for Small Business focuses on improving Washington’s small business climate by working closely with business owners and policymakers. The Center provides accurate information and analysis on the state’s regulatory climate, tax structure, health insurance systems, and more.
  • Transportation: The Center for Transportation researches and analyzes the best practices for relieving traffic congestion by recapturing a vision of a system based on freedom of movement.
  • Agriculture: WPC’s Initiative on Agriculture puts the knowledge and experience of those who work the land at the center of agriculture policy by using free-market incentives and local solutions. This new Initiative encourages policymakers to reduce the burden of excessive and unproductive regulation on family farmers and taxpayers.

Finally, though WPC operates the premier website for tracking bills in Olympia, finding objective, plain-English summaries of legislation, and offering quick access to your legislators’ voting records. This is a great resource throughout the year, but is especially useful in the elections season when evaluating the past performance of current legislators.

WPC believes ideas, supported by sound research and promoted through publications, conferences and the media, over time, create an environment in which policymakers and citizens make sound public policy decisions. For more information and to subscribe to newsletters from the Washington Policy Center go to their website at

AG Ferguson loses another legal skirmish with Tim Eyman — strangely, no AG press release.

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We received this excellent email, which we want to repost. It is from if you would like to read it there.

AG Ferguson loses another legal skirmish with Tim Eyman – strangely, no AG press release

On Friday, in Thurston County Superior Court, Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office failed in yet another attempt to charge Eyman massive fines, and charge him with contempt over another dispute about discovery documents.  Thurston Superior Court Judge Dixon slapped down the state and ruled from the bench against the State and in Eyman’s favor.  Once again, as many have begun to notice, the AG’s office didn’t put out a press release or even a Twitter post to highlight their failure.  See original Motion of Contempt against Eyman (linked here).  See Defendant Eyman’s response (linked here).

The Attorney General was represented in the courtroom by Jeffrey Sprung.  Sprung is a former failed Democratic candidate for the Washington State Auditor’s office in 2016, when his election efforts were cut short with a poor showing in the primary (23%).  Sprung has been a vocal political critic of Eyman for years, so in the increasingly politicized AG department created by Ferguson, it makes sense that Ferguson would hire hyper partisan politicians with law degrees.

It should be noted that Sprung is also a serial violator of Washington State’s campaign finance laws himself (see this complaint filed against Sprung by this author).  However, there is no requirement that the people working at the AG’s office in the campaign finance unit be free from violating those same laws themselves.  Perhaps the AG policy now is that it is best to hire people who break the law in order to prosecute others who might have broken them.

Andrew Villeneuve – Eyman Groupee and Critic

Groupees in the Courtroom

The courtroom audience on Friday was also filled with a cast of characters who seem to be orbiting around Eyman’s solar system of travails.  Of note was the presence of Walter Smith, a former AG employee who quit late last year once he decided it was unfair for the AG’s office to sue Democrats (he believed the AG’s office should only sue Republicans and people like

Walter Smith

Eyman).  Smith’s presence in the audience was logical because he had done a lot of legwork investigating Eyman when he worked at the AG’s office.  Additionally, long-time Eyman critic Andrew Villeneuve  sat in the audience.  Mr. Villeneuve appears to have an unusually obsessive fixation on Tim Eyman and Eyman’s initiative efforts to cut taxes in Washington State.  Villeneuve has clearly dedicated his life to Eyman as a permanent critic  and groupee of sorts (this was a long drive for him to come down from King County for such disappointing results).  According to an older Seattle Met article – he may run his website Northwest Progressive Institute from his parent’s basement, which is a very frugal platform from which to demand higher taxes from everyone else.

The AG had also issued a Tweet bragging about this motion for contempt filed against Eyman, which inspired this article in the Seattle PI.  This is in addition to the nine Eyman press releases linked below. The fact that the AG’s Communications Director – Brionna Aho was attending the hearing along with KOMO news in the lobby implied the AG had great expectations that Eyman was going to get slapped with a contempt charge.

Alas, the expectations were dashed in a few short minutes by Judge Dixon, and it isn’t clear if these expectations were ever warranted in the first place.  The AG spent months arguing with Eyman’s attorney, Mark Lamb, over various aspects of the discovery process.  As a result, the AG pushed the court to appoint a special “Discovery Master” who is former Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor to fill this role.  The theory of this appointment is that the court can save itself the costs and expense related to arguments over discovery documents and have an appropriate judge sort out those details for the main show in the courtroom.

“It is somewhat ironic that the Plaintiff (AG) complains loudly of the Defendants (Eyman) not following court orders in a motion that directly contradicts an order of this Court” (Eyman response to AG contempt motion p2 – Wa State vs. Eyman)
Retired Thurston County Superior Court Judge Tabor is the “Discovery Master” in the State vs. Eyman lawsuit

The weirdness of this recent motion filed by the AG against Eyman is that the AG complains throughout the document (linked here) that Eyman was not following the law or the rules of the court.  Yet, the very contempt motion filed by the AG’s office was an attempt to circumvent the very “Discovery Master” judge system that they had so eloquently demanded just a few weeks before.  In short, the AG breaks their own court rules while complaining that the other guy is breaking the rules.

Usually we want to believe that law, practiced at this level, is actually an intellectual chess match of sorts with dueling sides presenting facts, evidence, and points of law hoping to prevail.  While perfect justice is a bit utopian and naive, we still wish to believe at this level of the legal system that these guys are professionals – skilled in their craft and capable in their skill set.  However, as Friday’s AG fumble in the courtroom demonstrates – some of these guys don’t know what is going on either.

“In response, the Plaintiff (AG) seeks to distract from this cold reality with colorful diagrams, breathless press releases and pleadings that paint the Defendants (Eyman) (who have undergone five sworn interviews in the past four years – including just last month – and turned over thousands of pages of highly sensitive documents) as recalcitrant scofflaws.  The Plaintiff resorts to this hyperbole because its case is weak and, unless it can distract the Court with conspiracy theories and conjecture, it will lose at trial on the facts that have been established and known by both sides for four years…” (Eyman response to AG contempt motion p2 – Wa State vs. Eyman)

Friday’s courtroom drama should be embarrassing to the AG’s office.  It certainly was a waste of time for Mr. Villeneuve to drive all that way from King County.  However, this legal decision was really just a skirmish in a fairly major court battle between AG Ferguson and Tim Eyman.  Friday went well for Eyman, and if the AG’s office was capable of being embarrassed, they would go back and rethink their ways.  Unfortunately, it isn’t their own money they are wasting (it’s ours), so this behavior will probably be repeated in the future.

“The relief Plaintiff (AG) seeks in its motion is as extreme as its rhetoric and just as revealing of its true purpose.  Plaintiff only brought this motion after it was served with discovery requests by Defendant Eyman last month, responses to which are due 10 days after this hearing.  The State seeks in its contempt motion that which it cannot achieve through litigation on the merits of this case:  crippling fines against the Defendants and dismissal of the Defendants’ counterclaims which are focused on the Attorney General’s unlawful and self-serving conduct in this matter” (Eyman response to AG contempt motion p3- Wa State vs. Eyman) 

The Battles of Tim Eyman continue

Years ago, long before I ever met Tim Eyman, I was given a video called “the Battles of Tim Eyman.”  It was a well-produced documentary style video which covered the circus and saga that Eyman evoked every time he filed another initiative or dressed in a gorilla suit, or made the media’s head explode with some new initiative crusade against the relentless effort of government to absorb more and more of our tax dollars.  It was a sympathetic portrayal.  Eyman isn’t perfect.  Nobody is.  The documentary included many interviews with Eyman’s critics – mostly politicians.  I was surprised at how bitter and angry most of them seemed to be when they spoke of Eyman.  That personal bitterness and enmity shows no sign of abatement.

This recent AG lawsuit against Eyman should inspire someone to make another documentary to follow up the first.  It is clear that Ferguson’s office is attempting to make THIS battle against Eyman the last one, and based on Friday’s ruling, the AG’s office is just not doing a very good job of it.  Tim Eyman’s battles are far from over.



Kelley Unger on the Freedom Foundation

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Liberty in the Evergreen State:

The Freedom Foundation 

special to SJCRP 

by Kelley Unger

Director of Development Operations, Discovery Institute 


Washington is known as the Evergreen state, which for many elicits images of green farmlands and forests, and open spaces for hiking, hunting, and exploring. Originally settled by explorers, fur traders, miners and fishermen, Washington has been the home of free spirits and innovators from the time of its early settlement until the present time. But over time, expanded government, more invasive conservation and animal protection legislation, as well as organized unions, have robbed our state’s residents of their freedom and rights.

To combat this loss of freedom and rights, another local think tank was formed, now known as The Freedom Foundation, with offices in Washington and Oregon. Founded in 1991 by Bob Williams and Lynn Harsh as the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, today they are a national leader in winning the fight for freedom at the state and local level. They’ve even received acclaim nationally for their work.

As The Freedom Foundation’s mission states, their goal is to “advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government.” The organization has a vision of a day when opportunity, responsible self-governance, and free markets flourish in America because its citizens understand and defend the principles from which freedom is derived.

Currently, the primary focus of The Freedom Foundation is Labor Reform. They are working hard to educate the public, and more specifically union members, on the stronghold that public and private sector labor unions have on our citizens.

Most Americans don’t like being told what to do. Yet many government employees are forced, as a condition of working, to pay dues to private union organizations. These union monopolies overcharge workers and spend huge sums of money on political campaigns and lobbying. And, since union power comes from government, union lobbyists always push for bigger and more powerful government.

In fact, government unions are the biggest lobby in Washington State for bigger government. Their undue influence drowns out taxpayers, but taxpayers have had enough. Just like citizens in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan, Washington is ripe for change, for reforms that protect workers and taxpayers alike. The Freedom Foundation is the leading advocate for that change.

The Freedom Foundation has also been successful in several other areas of public policy that impact Washingtonians:

Education: Students and parents in Washington State are not getting their money’s worth, especially given how much the state spends per pupil. Stagnant test scores and embarrassing graduation rates are the results. They analyze reform efforts and recommend solutions to bring Washington students a World Class education system to meet 21st Century needs.

Property Rights: Property rights are intertwined with all other human rights. From works of art to loaves of bread, people produce the things because they are able to own and use resources. The Freedom Foundation stands up for property rights and property owners in Washington State. Most powerfully, they empower property owners themselves to build coalitions, confront local governments, and–often–win.

Budget & Taxes: The Freedom Foundation is a tireless voice for priority-based budgeting in state and local government. They work with responsible policymakers to craft sound, balanced budgets. They helped launch performance audits in Washington State as well as the model for health savings accounts eventually adopted into federal law. They work with elected officials and citizens to make government budget writing transparent and to focus it on real priorities, cutting spending on programs that are unnecessary, counterproductive or unconstitutional.

Constitutional Law: The Freedom Foundation’s Theodore L. Stiles Center for Liberty advances the rule of law and a legal climate where individuals can exercise their fundamental liberties and government is limited to its proper role. They seek to defend individuals against government encroachments upon their rights; unite lawyers who believe that the purpose of the law is to protect liberty; promote a judiciary that embraces its obligation to interpret the constitution; and expand the public’s understanding of the rule of law.

Principles & Voting: The Freedom Foundation anchors their policy work on the principles that made this nation great, and to offer educational programs and presentations on these “first principles.” The Freedom Foundation is also a leading voice for constitutional federalism and election integrity.

You can find lots of resources on all these topics, including blogs, daily radio show podcasts, and weekly video updates at The Freedom Foundation’s website at Sign-up for their email at the bottom of their homepage.

This article was submitted by Kelley Unger, Friday Harbor resident since 2015. Kelley is currently employed as the Director of Development Operations at Discovery Institute, where she has served since 2006.

Kelley Unger Introduces Seattle’s Discovery Institute

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Conservative Organizations in Washington… Who Knew?



Kelley Unger, Friday Harbor 

Kelley is currently employed as the Director of Development Operations at Discovery Institute, where she has served since 2006.


In an age of fake media, polarizing social media posts, and left-leaning academic institutions, where do conservatives turn for positive news and programming? Believe it or not, there are many reliable and trustworthy organizations who are promoting conservative values.

In fact, Seattle, Washington is home to one such organization. Discovery Institute is a nonpartisan, secular think that that promotes thoughtful analysis and effective action on local, regional, national and international issues. The Institute is home to an inter-disciplinary community of scholars and policy advocates dedicated to the reinvigoration of traditional Western principles and institutions and the worldview from which they issued.

Discovery Institute has a special concern for the role that science and technology play in our culture and how they can advance free markets, illuminate public policy and support the theistic foundations of the West. The Institute was founded by Bruce Chapman and George Gilder in 1991. Their board was at one time chaired by Congressman John R. Miller (RIP) and Michael Medved is one of their Senior Fellows.

Many may have heard about their largest program, the Center for Science & Culture (CSC), because since 2004 the intelligent design movement has gotten a lot of press (whether fair or unfair). The CSC is the institutional hub for scientists, educators, and inquiring minds who think that nature supplies compelling evidence of intelligent design. It supports research, sponsors educational programs, defends free speech, and produces articles, books, and multimedia content.

Discovery Institute also has a number of other programs that have made a significant impact both regionally and nationally, including:

Economics – The Center on Wealth, Poverty, and Morality connects the practical truths of economics with the perennial truths of ethics. It is building a sustained and accessible defense of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and stewardship in the moral categories consonant with most Americans.

Education – Discovery Institute’s American Center for Transforming Education works with state legislators, policymakers and parents to promote systemic change to our nation’s education system so that it well serves the families that utilize it.

Citizen Leadership – The Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership enables young leaders to consider the foundational ideas of leadership in a free society by connecting them with mentors and fellow young leaders through seminars, lectures, and fellowship programs. Their goal is to develop the next generation of public and private sector leaders, in the spirit of collegiality and non-partisan cooperation.

Human Exceptionalism – The Center on Human Exceptionalism is to affirm and uphold the intrinsic nature of human dignity, liberty, and equality. In resistance to a growing movement against unique human personhood, the program aims to revitalize a commitment to the traditional Western view of human rights and concomitant duties—both of which are summed up by the term “human exceptionalism.”

Regional Transportation and Development – Founded in 1993, as the Cascadia Project, Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Center for Regional Development is an important force in regional transportation and sustainable development issues. Cascadia is known for involvement in transportation and development issues in the Cascadia Corridor, Puget Sound and in the U.S.-Canadian cross-border realm.

Technology – The Technology and Democracy program advocates free market-oriented public policies for promoting investment and innovation in the information economy.

Discovery is headquartered in Seattle, Washington with scholars and fellows located around the country, and even internationally. The work of Discovery Institute is disseminated through books, papers and reports, conferences, lectures and seminars, through regular radio and television appearances by scholars and fellows, and through sponsorship of national and international colloquia, seminars and conferences. Many of their past events are available for online viewing.

Take a moment to peruse each of Discovery Institute’s program offerings and the vast number of resources linked through their webpage. If you are interested in receiving regular communication on any of their programs, subscribe at

As was noted at the beginning, there are other such organizations that provide valuable resources. Over the coming weeks and months, we hope to introduce San Juan County to some of these organizations and use their quality content to inform and engage our members.

Barry Cave on Rick Larsen’s Friday Harbor Visit 3/26/2017

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Editors Note: Barry Cave is among the friendliest people you will ever meet; cheerful, and colorful. Barry is one of those people who would cheerfully give the shirt off his back to anybody in need no matter their creed. We all know liberals with no sense of humor determined to believe the worst about anything that is said, so I want to point out that the “gun” is not aimed at anyone. I don’t want to see any paranoid letters to the editor in the paper over this. 

Representative Rick Larsen recently visited Friday Harbor on 3/26/2017, in this guest article Barry Cave gives us his personal impressions with lively prose — and poetry! 


“Woke up this morning with liberty at hand
Obama’s trying to take it away, but Trump’s got a plan.
Put people back to work, stop the violence in our land.
Grow a set of great big ones, It’s with Israel we stand.
Quit giving away all our God givin rights, yes that’s a gun in my hand.
Bring back national pride, now wouldn’t that be really grand.
Thank You Donald Trump, It’s with you that we all stand.”
-Barry Cave, 3/2017


American Healthcare : Legalized Extortion and Monopoly


I recently attended Rick Larsen’s town hall meeting at brickworks in Friday Harbor.  Walking in the door the first thing noticed were the stack of Resist Stickers and a pamphlet on how to protest, right next to the sigh in sheet. The funny thing is, I was under the impression that I was coming to a meeting about improving healthcare, NOT a Soros sponsored activist meeting. OOPS.

I have never seen so many scowling faces in one place before, smiles in this crowd were almost non-existent. I was looking at a whole herd of sheep waiting for more advice from their wolf leader. The whole group was waiting to hear about what the next free stuff will be.

Rick started his narrative by gloating about their recent victory in battle; Obamacare lite not passing. He moves in to mock and belittle President Donald Trump, stating “the basics of governing are lost on this President”

There were many instances where he pushed the narrative of the Russians hacking the election. I sat intently listening, hoping I would learn something or at least hear something true. Maybe I can understand how all these people rationalize this disaster that’s called Obamacare, but no; the more I hear the more it feels like I just entered a communist party meeting.

There was a Question and Answer session where most people were expressing concerns about losing over one overregulated issue or another, basically begging for more federal handouts on programs which cost taxpayers lots of money but brings in no revenue.

I raised the issue that we should control the cost of drugs, doctors pay, and insurance premiums before we all decide How to pay for all this. “The monopoly that Obamacare is and the cost of healthcare is nothing but legalized extortion,” I said. The crowd clapped and for the most part it appeared that even underneath all the indoctrination that these followers go through they still have a glimmer of common sense.

There was no glimmer of bipartisanship here, rather this was the Party of NO: If a conservative has a plan, “Just say NO.” All they care about is disruption and resistance to any narrative that is not their own.

They are impeding our efforts through deep rooted plants in government left there by our past administrations and mostly Obama himself. Through the deep state leaks and the shadow government we have been left with; we have been reduced to being ruled by leftist progressive liberal judges. These are the exact people that we need to drain from this swamp.

The Swamp is not draining fast enough for me yet!!


Sincerely and most completely,
American Patriot Barry Cave