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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
News / Opinion / Letters to the Editor

Letter: Seattle ruling is relevant here

The Columbian
Published: July 25, 2011, 5:00pm

Seattle ruling is relevant here

A King County Superior Court ruling July 18 will have far-reaching effects for those on both sides of the I-5 Columbia River Crossing issue. Judge Joan DuBuque sided with Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and the state in ruling that Initiative 101, which sought to prevent the state from using city streets or property to build the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel, wasn’t legal because it attempted to take away the state’s ability to build a state highway.

Holmes argued that a city initiative could not block a state project. The Washington state Department of Transportation joined the lawsuit, arguing that an initiative cannot impair a contract already negotiated and executed. DuBuque ruled that the power to negotiate with the state over a highway belongs to the Seattle mayor and city council and legally could not be subject to a citywide vote.

Now, if a city vote cannot legally override the authority of a city council to negotiate with a state over the placement of a state highway, what are the chances of a city or regional vote overriding the authority of two different states to negotiate with the federal government over the placement of a federal highway? It seems like the only winners here are the attorneys.

Robert and Diane Figley


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