Letter: City officials wrong about petition
Thursday, February 14, 2013
The light-rail initiative in Vancouver fell short by 32 signatures; 608 voters inadvertently signed the petition more than once and had all signatures rejected. Our group's lawsuit asks the judge to count those 608 valid signatures and certify the initiative. After that, state law says the city council "shall either:
"(1) Pass the proposed ordinance without alteration within twenty days …; or
"(2) Immediately cause to be called a special election to be held on the next election date … that occurs not less than forty-five days thereafter, for submission of the proposed ordinance to a vote of the people."
This was avoidable. For years, city officials could have initiated a public vote on light rail but didn't. They could have put an ordinance mirroring the initiative's language on the ballot but didn't. They could have filed a lawsuit, like we did, defending these 608 Vancouver voters' rights but didn't.
They could intervene in our case and ask the judge to count their constituents' valid signatures but won't. Initiatives and lawsuits are only needed when elected officials refuse to listen. Having a public debate and public vote on this initiative will give Vancouver's mayor and city council another chance to do the right thing and listen to the people.