NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Tim Eyman loses first round in lawsuit against the City of Redmond over traffic camera vote

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.

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One Comment

  1. Con­grat­u­la­tions to the peo­ple of Red­mond on beat­ing Tim Eyman! 🙂

    # by Donna Christensen :: October 21st, 2011 at 8:00 AM
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