Friday, March 5, 2010
A citizen task force asked to review the city’s process for getting initiatives on the ballot remained deeply split over City Council suggestions to change the process.
Presently, groups seeking to place an initiative up for vote can write their own title and ballot summary. Changes to have city attorneys write these up were suggested in the wake of last year’s Proposition 4, which called for a citizen’s bill of rights and was seen as disingenuous in its summary and cost analysis. Councilman Jon Snyder says the new ordinance was proposed by former city councilman Al French, Envision Spokane’s Thomas Linzey, assistant city attorney Mike Piccolo and councilman Richard Rush.
Did the task force reach consensus between the old and new?
“No,” says Ann Murphy of the League of Women Voters, tasked with running the task force. “Basically, the group wanted less control by the council.” But by working under a consensus arrangement and not taking votes, the task force basically presented the City Council with a split decision on who writes the title, when are appeals allowed and whether initiatives must have financial analysis.Council president Joe Shogan says the task force recommendations will be discussed at a briefing session on March 18.