Eyman cites Longview petition battle in justifying latest initiative

2013-01-16T20:30:00Z 2013-11-14T08:04:13Z Eyman cites Longview petition battle in justifying latest initiativeBy Amy M.E. Fischer / The Daily News Longview Daily News
January 16, 2013 8:30 pm  • 

To drum up support for his new initiative, Tim Eyman says he wants to spotlight the Longview City Council’s “arrogance,” “obstinance” and disrespect of citizens for refusing to put a traffic camera initiative before local voters in 2011.

If it passes, Initiative 517 would guarantee the public’s right to vote on local or state initiatives if enough valid voter signatures are submitted.

In 2011, the Longview council blocked a citizens’ initiative petition to recall the city’s red-light cameras and school zone speed cameras. The city attorney said the petition was invalid on the grounds that the City Council’s authority to approve traffic cameras is exempt under state law from a challenge by citizens’ initiative.

Last March, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that city laws allowing for red-light traffic cameras are not subject to repeal by local initiatives.

Eyman’s email Tuesday to the Longview council called I-517 a “direct rebuke to the anti-initiative arrogance of Longview’s mayor and City Council.”

“You were its inspiration. I-517 would not have been conceived, drafted, filed and qualified without Longview’s mayor and City Council,” he wrote. “And now you are the poster-child for our campaign.”

Longview’s voters deserve to know how each council member feels about the initiative, Eyman wrote, asking each council member to reply to a list of questions, such as, “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?”

Eyman also sent the same email to five other cities involved in anti-initiative legal battles: Wenatchee, Mukilteo, Bellingham, Renton, Monroe and Redmond, informing them they were the campaign’s poster child and inspiration.

In Longview, only Councilman Mike Wallin — who started the anti-traffic camera initiative petition before he was elected to council — responded to Eyman’s email.

“Some governments have tried to bully and usurp the rights of the people,” Wallin wrote. Eyman’s initiative was important because it “puts into law that the people are a legitimate local legislative authority, a reminder and acknowledgment that government exists by consent of the people,” he stated in an email Tuesday. The initiative also ensures that governments “do not waylay and obstruct the process of placing an issue on the ballot,” he said.

Wallin also urged his council peers to answer Eyman’s questions, writing, “Each of us has an obligation to let our beliefs be known and speak up.”

Longview Councilman Chet Makinster told a reporter Wednesday he didn’t even read Eyman’s email.

“I deleted it. I don’t have any interest in anything he has to say,” he said of Eyman, a Mukilteo resident known statewide as an initiative hawk for the many measures he has steered onto the ballot.

Wednesday, Councilman Ken Botero said he hadn’t read the email, either. A few minutes later, he called The Daily News back and said, “I answer to the community, not to Mr. Eyman. He demands my answer? He doesn’t even live here.”

Two other council members said the city attorney had advised the council not to comment because Longview is still involved in a lawsuit regarding its traffic camera initiative petition.

Wednesday afternoon, Eyman send out another mass email to the Longview Council asking, “Why are you all being so gutless? ... Leaders respond, cowards hide. ... Stop being so gutless, hit ‘reply all,’ answer the question.”

No one rose to the bait.

I-517 also would give people a year to collect signatures for initiative petitions rather than six months, and would make harassment of a signature gatherer a criminal act.

Copyright 2015 Longview Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(6) Comments

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    IN MY OPINION - January 17, 2013 7:25 am
    To the remaining council members who have not responded......I live in Longview and would like for you to answer these questions. You DO answer to me. Chet, maybe you can get a copy of the E-mail from Ken. Thank you in advance for your participation in answer my request! Thank you Mike Wallin for having the courage to do your elected position to the best of your ability and I am sure this will be remembered come next election time!!
  2. RedHal
    Report Abuse
    RedHal - January 17, 2013 9:27 am
    I Like Chet's answer, I don't want to hear anything he has to say. Translate that to mean, he doesn't care what even his constituents have to say, my mind is closed.
  3. sparta
    Report Abuse
    sparta - January 17, 2013 12:45 pm
    I seldom agree with Eyman about any of his petitions. But this one is different. Any action by a governing body, or any law passed, be it council, board or legislature should be subject to a vote of the people after the proper number of signatures are submitted. . I was very disappointed in our council over the red light spy cameras, when they refused to allow a vote. Remember it wasnt Eyman whos signatures appeared on the petitions that our council rejected. It was ours.
  4. local4life
    Report Abuse
    local4life - January 17, 2013 1:38 pm
    Tim is like the struggling actor trying to stay in the spotlight. Because of his general nature to be rude, i don;"t blame anybody for deleting his e-mails. i would probably do the same.
  5. Diane Dick
    Report Abuse
    Diane Dick - January 17, 2013 4:30 pm
    Eyman is the one who should be answering questions. What is his ultimate goal for government? Is it no government? Is it tyng up governance in process to the point there is no effective governance? Is it making elected leadership look stupid so no one will trust the government? Is it making sure there is no money to fund effective government? Eyman's track record should cause us all to be questioning HIS motives.
  6. ArtH
    Report Abuse
    ArtH - January 20, 2013 6:32 am
    Diane: your allegiance to unresponsive government is astounding. Yes, we all want effective government, although I would love to see your examples of such governance; perhaps Wahkiakum County, where limits to revenues are actually being met with limits to spending. As for Eyman's initiative, if this was about local govt banning the sale of contraceptives, I presume your opinion would differ as to the people's right to place it on a ballot. Initiatives are open to all.
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