Library proponents plan rally at City Hall, hire attorney to help initiative case

UPDATE SUNDAY: The rally by the citizens group is at City Hall at 6 p.m. Monday.

The citizens group that supports keeping the downtown Renton library over the Cedar River has retained a lawyer and plans for a rally before Monday's City Council meeting.

Stuart Avery, spokesperson for Citizens for the Preservation of Renton's Cedar River Library, issued a statement Thursday morning following notification from Renton City Clerk Bonnie Walton that the group's initiative had been validated by the King County Elections Office.
Early Wednesday evening, the King County Elections Office announced the initiative has 6,383 signatures, eight more than the 6,375 needed to meet the validation requirement.
The initiative asks that library improvements for a downtown library occur at the existing location and not at any other location unless the alternate location is approved by a majority of Renton voters.

Now the future of the initiative rests with the City Council, which will consider it at its meeting 7 p.m. Monday in its City Hall chambers.

In the statement, Avery calls public comments he's seen in the media about his signature-gathering process "baseless and irresponsible."

The group has hired a Bellevue law office to review City Attorney Larry Warren's memorandum, in which he calls the initiative illegal, to determine if Warren's conclusions can be argued.

"Although I find it concerning the city waited until early March to request the city attorney to formulate his own opinion on the petition given the high level of attention the issue has generated over that time, the lack of attention echoes some of the frustrations expressed to me by residents throughout the signature campaign, concerning the deaf ear they feel the city has provided," Avery said in a email statement.
The citizens group has retained the law firm Groen Stephens & Klinge LLP and plans to register with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission to be able to accept donations to pay for those services.
Also in the works, Avery said, is a public rally for 6 p.m. Monday, April 2, to rally support behind the initiative at the downtown library.
Supporters are asked to make their way from the library to City Hall to attend and participate in the council meeting at 7 p.m.

"It's time for city leadership to listen, embrace and work from a position of goodwill," wrote Avery.


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