Let the people decide

Jul 22, 2010
Tim Eyman, at least in his public rhetoric, is suspicious of every move government makes. As he does with all of his initiatives, he repeatedly voiced concerns that elected officials – in this case, Mukilteo city and/or staff – would find a legal loophole to try to block Mukilteo Initiative 2 from going on the ballot.

Cynical Eyman probably thought he was home free July 7 when the council voted unanimously to put the measure before the voters Nov. 2. Even councilmembers who support the cameras respected the initiative process, while saying they would exercise their right to campaign against the measure and educate the voters.

We were as dumbfounded as Eyman Monday night when an organization allegedly representing Mukilteo voters filed suit in Snohomish County Superior Court, claiming the decision to use traffic cameras is out of the legal scope of the initiative process.

Here at the Beacon, we're mixed on whether the cameras should be used in town. We stand strong, however, in support of the initiative process, and the public's right to vote.

This matter made it through considerable hurdles in the past few weeks. More than 400 of Eyman's originally gathered signatures were deemed invalid for various reasons. In typical Eyman fashion, he stepped up his efforts, gathering 1,000 additional names before his required deadline, more than twice the amount required to replace the invalid signatures.

While city staff and attorneys did find some technicalities where the city could contest the initiative, and did consider doing so, it heard the people loud and clear, and agreed not to further block I-2.

Eyman alleges that Mayor Joe Marine and city administrator Joe Hannan are working behind the scenes, and are the muscle behind Mukilteo Citizens for Simple Government, the group that filed the lawsuit.

Both men deny that allegation, and we don't have any reason to suspect wrongdoing.
How the city reacts to this latest move will be telling as to the Joes’ motives and their allegiance to the citizens they represent.  As Marine said Tuesday, the council can vote to put the spirit of I-2 on the ballot as a city-generated measure, effectively castrating this attack against the public's right to vote.

Regardless of how we feel about the cameras themselves, we don't agree with anyone – government or otherwise – interfering with our right to vote. We especially don't appreciate the waste of scarce tax dollars this mess represents, both at the city and county levels.

We never expected to see unelected registered voters taking us, and by definition, themselves, to court, contesting their own right to decide issues that impact our city. We suspect that if the initiative were to allow the cameras rather than to make their implementation difficult or impossible to bring to town, we wouldn't be facing this legal mess and monetary waste.

We encourage Mukilteo Citizens for Simple Government to do their part to keep government simple by not suing our city and county for simply letting the voters decide important issues. We hope the council exercises its power to put this before the voters regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit.

We're watching closely, and so is Eyman.

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