By David Anderson
We’ve discovered we have more time to gather signatures in the effort to put an initiative on the ballot for a vote of the people on the most significant transportation issue the City of Lakewood is likely ever to face – as many as 12 high speed trains per day through a portion of the business district and along the neighborhoods of our city. Petitions and instructions are available here.
Even though the deadline noted on the petition is this past December 11, 2011, the effort to gather 5,500 signatures can continue until March 2, 2012. There have been 500 names collected to-date – which means that if each of those 500 each got 10 we’d be done.
Without going into the lengthy detail in the “Rational for Initiative” which was, and continues to be, the argument by which we undertook this signature drive (available upon request), the key matter to be addressed here is the date on which the Environmental Assessment (EA) – or whichever Environmental process they are utilizing – is completed by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The Environmental review, once completed, would be followed shortly by an anticipated signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), or an agreement or contract of some kind between WSDOT and the City of Lakewood.
Track improvements and high speed trains through Lakewood would then follow.
Once that MOU, etc. is signed, all bets are off for an initiative to ‘attack’ the project since an MOU, or contract, or agreement, per state law (as explained in the “Rational for Initiative”) places the issue into the “administrative category” – untouchable by initiative.
The EA is estimated to be finalized in the summer of 2012.
Given the sometime-in-the-summer signing and/or agreement, and the need to pre-empt that event by an election, we initially chose the last available Special Election date of May 15 (“third Tuesday of May”) – per the Municipal Research Services Center website – only to recently find out that the legislature has discontinued that date, now allowing only the dates in February and April, neither of which are now viable given the combined deadline criteria of the auditor and the city.
Bottom line, the good news is we can continue the petition drive and could use your help. While we now have until March 2, 2012, to gather 5,000 signatures is a sizeable task. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information on the case we’ve made for opposing this project, please refer to our website www.CommunityMattersWeb.com and a three-part series in the Suburban Times: Part I, Part II, Part III.