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Red Light Rumblings

Posted on 26th May 2011 at 08:56

Longview’s Red Light Camera ordinance is going to a vote of the people in November, but the fur is still flying between backers of Longview Initiative Number 1 and city officials. By a vote of 4-3, the City Council voted to declare the initiative invalid, but did vote to put the issue on the November ballot for an advisory vote. I-1 organizer Mike Wallin says that the “advisory vote” is a slap in the face to the more than 3,600 people who signed the petition. Council member Dennis Weber, who actually helped to write and pass Longview’s initiative ordinance 30 years ago, says that November’s vote will be much more than just “advisory”. About 50 people came to this morning’s meeting, with nearly all expressing support for opportunity to allow people to vote. In the end, Mayor Kurt Anagnostou was joined by Council members Dennis Weber, Mary Jane Melink and Chuck Wallace in voting to declare the initiative invalid, and for the advisory vote in November. Don Jensen, Ken Botero and Chet Makinster voted against that motion. City Attorney Marilyn Nitteberg-Haan says that she’ll now start working on a resolution that best reflects the wishes of the City Council, then that resolution will be placed on a future Council agenda for discussion and citizen input. That work started a series of testy e-mails, also involving Mayor Anagnostou and Tim Eyman, Washington’s “Initiative King” and red light camera nemesis. Eyman says Anagnostou and the Council “royally screwed” Longview’s voters, while Anagnostou claims that Eyman and other initiative backers played fast and loose with the facts, not telling petition signers the full impact of a binding vote. Nitteberg-Haan says that to get a measure on the November ballot, it will need to be ready for the Auditor some time in August. She says that means a draft resolution will need to be in front of the Council some time late in June or early July.