A lawsuit recently filed by Tim Eyman against NPI’s hometown over the city’s decision not to forward petitions seeking a vote on the issue of red light cameras was dismissed today by King County Superior Court Judge Laura Inveen, who held that the measure, “exceeds the lawful scope of local initiative power.”
The ruling means that the initiative, orchestrated by red light camera critic Scott Harlan, will not be placed on the ballot for a public vote. At least not anytime soon (Eyman could appeal the decision).
Tim Eyman wasted no time in blasting both the court and the city after his loss.
“It’s an appalling ruling… I’m disgusted by it, and I think the City of Redmond just kicked a hornet’s nest,” he told reporters outside of the courtroom.
Funny, that’s about what Eyman says every time he loses in court. (Another stock Eyman retort we’ve heard over the years: “This will just pour gasoline on the fire of our latest initiative”).
In her ruling, Inveen cited a recent case decided by an appellate court regarding a similar measure in Bellingham. “[The] Bellingham case couldn’t have said it clearer when it held that an initiative almost identical to the proposed Redmond initiative exceeds the lawful scope of local initiative power and is not a valid ballot initiative,” Inveen wrote. “By state statute, the authority for approving traffic cameras is with the Redmond City Council and the mayor.”
Redmond Mayor John Marchione praised the decision.
“Today’s court ruling is a strong affirmation of the City of Redmond’s action to fulfill its responsibilities and not abdicate its role to ‘government-by-initiative’. The City’s actions are guided by law that the decision to use traffic camera enforcement is reserved for the City Council only,” Marchione said in a statement.
“While repeated court rulings on Eyman initiatives have made this clear, some continue to create a false expectation. Instead of perpetuating this myth, the City Council and I chose to state the truth. This decision is reserved for the City Council and not subject to the initiative process.”
Unlike other cities with red light cameras, Redmond’s traffic safety program is limited to just three intersections and a key arterial in front of a school. The cameras were installed several months ago on a trial basis; the city is currently in the process of deciding whether to extend or end its pilot project. There’s actually a study session on the matter scheduled for tonight at Redmond City Hall.