Tim Eyman uses Renton library initiative to support his new initiative
By DEAN RADFORD
Renton Reporter Editor
January 14, 2013 · Updated 4:52 PM
Initiative promoter Tim Eyman maintained in an email Monday to Mayor Denis Law and members of Renton City Council that they are the "poster child" for his newly submitted Initiative 517.
Initiative 517 would give supporters one year, rather than six months, to gather signatures for initiatives and make sure signature gatherers and signers aren't harassed. He submitted about 345,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's Office earlier this month; the state will determine whether he gathered enough valid signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.
Eyman sent out a similar email to different cities across the state as he campaigns for the statewide initiative. In many cases, he said, he used local initiatives opposing red-light cameras to make his point.
However, there has never been a red-light camera initiative in Renton, although the city has such traffic-safety measures. But he indicated the rejection of the citizens initiative by the Renton City Council to let the voters decide where to build a new library also concerned him.
The city issued the following statement addressing Eyman's statements:
"The City of Renton fully supports the public's right to vote and the initiative process. Regarding the library initiative, the administration was moving forward to build the new library based on the direction of City Council. When Renton citizens approached the Council and requested that the issue be once again voted on by the public, Council debated and decided to place it on the ballot. Once the public voted the Council accepted the outcome, the administration worked with the King County Library System to amend the interlocal agreement that was in place and we are now implementing the people's decision."
The City Council initially voted 4-3 in April 2012 against placing the initiative on the ballot, but after weeks of talks voted unanimously to put an initiative on the ballot allowing voters to choose the library location. In November, Renton's voters overwhelmingly decided to keep the Cedar River library, rather than build a new one at the Piazza.
Several months earlier, the City of Renton and the King County Library System had signed an agreement to build the new library at the Piazza.
But Eyman said he can't give the City Council an "ounce of credit" for ultimately placing the initiative on the ballot because the council should have permitted the vote after the signatures were gathered and verified by King County.
"Anything short of that is just the height of arrogance," he said.Contact Renton Reporter Editor Dean Radford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-255-3484 (ext 5050).