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Eyman Cites Renton As 'Poster Child' For Initiative-517

Eyman sent similar letters to City Officials in Mukilteo, Monroe, Bellingham, Wenatchee, Longview and Redmond.

Eyman Cites Renton As 'Poster Child' For Initiative-517

The man behind the "Initiative on Initiatives," sent an "aggressive" letter to City of Renton officials Monday. In it he named Stuart Avery and Beth Asher, both of whom worked to rally supporters for Renton's Initiative No. 2 (The Library Initiative), which passed with 76 percent of the vote last August. However, Eyman did not get Avery's permission to name him in the correspondence.

Below is a copy of Tim Eyman's email:

Subject: Renton officials: I-517 is a direct rebuke to the anti-initiative arrogance of Renton's Mayor and City Council.

Monday, January 14, 2013

City of Renton:
Mayor Denis Law and City Council Members Randy Corman, Terri Briere, Rich Zwicker, Ed Prince, Don Persson, Marcie Palmer, and Greg Taylor

bcc:   Our thousands of supporters throughout the state (cc'd to the media, house & senate members, and Governor)

Dear Mr. Mayor and City Council members:

      Last year, Renton's mayor and city council did everything possible to stop Renton Initiative #2 "The Library Initiative", including your vote to block Renton voters from voting on a local initiative that got enough signatures in the required amount of time:   http://www.rentonreporter.com/news/145877785.html.

      Despite the city of Renton's charter guaranteeing the people's right to local initiative, the mayor and city council refused to respect the citizens' right to participate.  You actually tried to rob Renton's citizens of their right to vote.

      Renton's mayor and city council forced local citizens to go through a nightmare just to let the voters decide on Renton's library initiative THAT TURNED IN THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF SIGNATURES IN THE REQUIRED PERIOD OF TIME ( http://www.rentonreporter.com/news/162382526.html).  We were forced to go this same nightmare when we did local initiatives letting local voters decide on those obnoxious red-light cameras -- 6 cities, 6 initiatives, 6 lawsuits ( http://heraldnet.com/article/20110622/NEWS01/706229801).  What a waste:  the city of Longview has spent (so far) over $100,000 for Seattle lawyers to sue their own citizens in what turned out to be an unsuccessful effort to prevent Longview voters from voting on that local initiative.

      We want to make sure that the nightmare you inflicted on Renton residents Beth Asher and Stuart Avery never happens to another Renton citizen who tries to let Renton voters decide a Renton issue with a Renton initiative.

      We were specifically thinking of officials like Renton's Mayor and City Council when we drafted Initiative 517's section 4 ( http://sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/initiatives/FinalText_269.pdf).  Section 4's heading captures its intent "GUARANTEEING THE PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO VOTE ON INITIATIVES THAT SUBMIT SUFFICIENT VALID VOTER SIGNATURES" while its text makes clear this new state law (if voters approve the initiative in November):  "Any state or local initiative for which sufficient valid voter signatures are submitted within the time period required must be submitted to a vote of the people at the next general election ballot.  The people are guaranteed the right to vote on any initiative that obtains the required number of valid voter signatures in the required time frame."

      I-517 is a direct rebuke to the anti-initiative arrogance of Renton's Mayor and City Council.  You were its inspiration.  I-517 would not have been conceived, drafted, filed, and qualified without officials like Renton's Mayor and City Council.  And now all of you are the poster-child for our campaign.  I-517 allows us to put the brightest spotlight on your arrogance, your obstinance, and your disrespect of the people you claim to represent.

      You might even call this provision in section 4 the Briere/Swicker/Parker/Persson/Law provision: "Government officials, both elected and unelected, must facilitate and cannot obstruct the processing of any initiative petition and must facilitate and cannot obstruct the public vote of any initiative." (RENTON REPORTER, April 3, 2012:  "Briere, Zwicker, Parker and Persson indicated in comments that they did not see the need to get additional feedback from the community" ( http://www.rentonreporter.com/news/145877785.html).

      Isn't it insulting that such a new state law is needed?  Shouldn't this be done without a new state law requiring it?  Because of Renton's mayor and city council and their arrogance, it is clearly necessary.  To this day, you defend your indefensible anti-voter-participation actions.  To this day, you believe that citizens participating in the citizen initiative process shouldn't be allowed.  To this day, you believe that citizens are not entitled to their constitutional right to petition and right to vote at the local level.

      Renton's voters deserve to know how each and every member of the Renton City Council and Mayor Denis Law feel about I-517's section 4.  I-517 requires that local initiatives that turn in the required number of signatures in the required amount of time be put on the ballot for a public vote - you got a problem with that?

      But answering that question, you also answer these:  do you support or oppose the people's right to initiative?  Do you support or oppose the people's right to have their signature count?  Do you support or oppose the people's right to vote? 

      These are simple, straightforward questions that each you should have the guts to answer.  Your constituents have a right to know where you stand.

Sincerely, Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, Mike Fagan, Eddie Agazarm, and Paul Jacob, co-sponsors of Initiative 517 (our official committee name is "PROTECT YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE ON INITIATIVES")

Are Eyman's assertions fair? Do you agree or disagree that there's a need to improve the initiative process? Tell us in the comment section below.

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