Yes. Three reasons.
Reason #1: Lakewood’s rental inspection program does not appear to be included in the list of exceptions.
Reason #2: The underlying action of RIP is legislative, not administrative, given (a) RIP addresses a subject of “permanent and general character” (legislative) not “temporary or special character” (administrative); and (b) RIP “prescribes a new policy or plan” (legislative), not merely pursuing a plan already adopted (administrative).
Administrative actions are not subject to the power of initiative or referendum.
Reason #3: Addressing RIP via referendum (reviewing previously adopted legislation, as opposed to initiative which proposes new legislation) is a power that has been granted by the legislature to the voters.
One example, of many, of topics subject to referendum:
Regulating and licensing bicycles (p.34). “Every city and town by ordinance may establish and collect reasonable license fees from all persons riding a bicycle or other similar vehicle within its respective corporate limits, and may enforce the payment thereof by reasonable fines and penalties” (RCW 35.75.010).
An initiative, with the intent to place before the voters the opportunity to overturn the Lakewood City Council’s August 1 decision (6-1) to institute a Rental Inspection Program, would require obtaining 4,198 valid signatures (15 percent of the total number of registered voters within the city as of the date of the last preceding city general election – RCW 35A.11.100, p.13-1, which, in Lakewood’s case was 24,985 as of November, 2015.
Not gonna happen. No one cares other than the over theatrical team of J&D.
Let me get this straight. You just witnessed British voters decide to implode their economy. You just witnessed conservative voters elect a buffoon for their presidential candidate. And so you trust that Lakewood’s voters will side with a few privileged landlords over the rights of tenants? Wow. I think an alternate referendum promising free housing for all could be in your future instead. And ice cream, yeah, throw that in!
Joseph Boyle says
Ray and Tim speak behind the protective cloak of anonymity. I too will share my opinion with you, but have the courage to identify myself to you and readers of The Suburban Times.
If it is legal to do so, your idea for a referendum is a solid alternative for helping Lakewood avoid the folly they are heading towards.
We are not talking about privileged landlords, lording it over the rights of tenants. We are talking about hard working property owner / investors who provide rental housing for those who choose or are not able to purchase their own home.
The city’s Rental Registration & Safety Inspection Program will victimize both property owners and tenants.
Anonymous Ray may be right. Not enough people may choose to care. That was the key point of my Adolf Hitler analogy.
Perhaps Lakewood property managers, property owners and tenants should join forces to acquire the signatures necessary for a referendum. One of our Lakewood property managers represents 4,000 rentals. I am confident none of those 4000 suffer from the slumlord conditions our city wishes to and should eradicate.
I am willing to sign your petition.
P.S. Anonymous Ray suggests that the two of us are a theatrical team. We are not. We have never had a single meeting or phone call to develop any kind of team strategy. We are two individuals who happen to think somewhat alike on this particular subject and are speaking out publicly using our full names while doing so. It is actually refreshing to be on the same side Mr. Anderson, but we are not a team.
When this is over, we can go back to disagreeing on almost everything.
John Arbeeny says
OK Tim……..let me get this straight. I just witnessed British voters decide to take control of their own economy instead of letting bureaucrats run it for them without representation. I just witnessed conservative voters nominate a successful businessman instead of insider politicians (from a field of 17) or a “progressive” lying felon for their presidential candidate. And so I trust that Lakewood’s voters, perhaps as much as half its population, will side with tenants, landlords, property managers over the attempt by bureaucrats to expand government at the expense of their privacy and property rights. Wow. I think an alternate initiative (not referendum Tim…..learn the difference) promising free housing for all would be as wrong as the proposed rental inspection program. Indeed further erosion of property rights is just another Lakewood staff proposal away if this Council fails again to represent Lakewood citizens.
Chris Anderson says
You might remind this “Tim” that they have free housing in Communist North Korea should he care to relocate 🙂
Betsy Tainer says
I take issue with this:
“And so you trust that Lakewood’s voters will side with a few privileged landlords over the rights of tenants”
1. “privileged landlords” – hardly. Just like any number of other really silly and not thinking people you assume that just because I collect rent on my very hard earned investment property that you imagine I’m awash in money and don’t take into account the stack of bills that I pay with that rent money: mortgage, insurance, property taxes, water, sewer, garbage, repairs and maintenance, as well as improvements. Paint ain’t cheap. I am fortunate to be skilled in performing most of my own maintenance, so only have to hire out about $1,000-5,000 annually to skilled trades. People move, when I have vacancies those bills don’t just go away… in fact that’s when they get bigger… because that’s the time to make repairs, freshen the unit and fix things. I don’t go on vacations. I don’t eat out. I heat with wood. I can’t afford cable. Three months out of every year, even with full occupancy I have negative income to the tune of thousands of dollars. I worry about those months every day, all year long. That would be October, April when property taxes are due and February, when the insurance is due. Does that sound like “privilege” to you?
2. One of my tenants has been with me since 2010. Six years ago he was gainfully employed. He has since suffered an injury and is on disability. He’s worried about keeping up with the increases in his rent purely because of increases in my costs. His apartment is well below market at this time… but he has to keep up the with increased costs, ie, property taxes, water, sewer, garbage, and now a rental housing inspection program. He’s worried about winding up in one of those substandard housing units that Lakewood is trying to eliminate if this trend continues. JUST purely to keep up with increased costs his rent has come up nearly 10% in the last few years.
My very nice and nearly fully updated duplex in Lakewood in lower middle class neighborhood with moderately priced homes filled with families, a mix of owned and rented properties, was built in the early 1960s. It has old wiring, old plumbing. It’s old. But it has new cabinets, new flooring, new bathtubs, toilets, sinks, windows, doors, trim, appliances, etc. Still my todo list is longer then my arm. And, no matter how much I work or how much I invest that todo list never seems to go away.
Next chapter: Bring in one power-crazed city employee with clipboard and a check list. Watch that person determine that I need new wiring, new plumbing, new this, new that. Thousands of dollars that I just flat don’t have. Follow that with a letter stating that I will be fined every day that these matters are not addressed or city action displacing my tenants, why?, because they can. Yes, it certainly could come to this.
Imagine you are one of the thousands of home owners who has a home built in the 1960s. Imagine some city inspector coming around with a clipboard and demanding that you bring your home up to current code or face penalty. It’s not a stretch. I doubt there isn’t a single homeowner anywhere who doesn’t have a list of items they’d like very much to address in their older homes that they simply can’t afford to take care of.
Do you imagine such a program will have a positive impact on decent affordable housing? You are a much more optimistic person then I am.
Plus, I respect my tenants privacy and rights. Under no circumstances is it acceptable for the city to demand entry into a residence, rented or owned, to inspect those premises.
Yes, I’d sign and distribute such a petition. I’d have no difficulty filling pages with signatures of registered voters. By my count 15% is just about 3,750 signatures. I don’t think we’d have any trouble with that.
Twyla Eddins-Worthy says
I TOTALLY agree with you, Betsy, also being a property owner you described with a 1960s house I rent out. The tenants seem very happy,. but yes, if thanks to the City of Lakewood, they start requesting I upgrade this and that, which i can’t afford, but which the tenants are currently very happy with ………….now just how much sense does that make anyway???
Yes, I will be elated to sign petitions or whatever is necessary to get a referendum together to fight this. 9 out of 10 comments have been highly critical of this proposal, so I am sure we could easily come up with enough property owners, managers and tenants to GET IT TO A VOTE !! …..KEEP ME IN THE LOOP!!!