The citizens of Vancouver who wanted to be able to vote on expensive light rail have just had their hopes dashed by a judge’s decision today.
Judge John F. Nichols ruled that the effort to force a vote on light rail coming to Clark County could not go forward because,
The proposed initiative exceeds the scope of the local initiative power because it impermissibly interferes with City Council budget functions.
Stephen Pidgeon, attorney for vocal light rail opponent Larry Patella and several others, said,
“The only silver lining here is that the CRC unceremoniously has expired during the course of this litigation and I am sure my clients are happy with that outcome.”
Even so, Washington state initiative activist Tim Eyman said tonight,
“Sadly, it has become the rule and not the exception for citizen initiatives to be blocked from the ballot. The Vancouver initiative is the latest example. If local citizens collect the required number of signatures in the required amount of time, the politicians should not be able to stop the people from voting on the initiative. The citizens of Vancouver are lucky to have heroic activists like Larry Patella and his team, who put forward tremendous effort to let the voters decide this critical issue.”
Patella and others brought the lawsuit against the City of Vancouver to fight for the right to vote on light rail. The attorney who who represented the effort, Stephen Pidgeon, said tonight,
“I am grieved for my clients who worked so hard to overcome the many obstacles before them in their effort to allow the voters in Vancouver to express their opinion on this issue. I believe they earned the right to vote on their initiative. It is extremely unfortunate that they will not be able to. The only silver lining here is that the CRC unceremoniously has expired during the course of this litigation and I am sure my clients are happy with that outcome. Larry Patella and his team have done a valiant job and a public service in pushing for the right of the people to vote. I admire them greatly.”
Both sides are poring over the decision to see what the final fall out on the initiative process will be. The judge bought the City Attorneys interpretation that the initiative was too vague and subject to multiple interpretations and was unconstitutional.