Last night we had a big victory! The Mukilteo city council voted 5-1 to put Mukilteo initiative # 2 on the ballot this November!
While 5-1 seems like it was a pretty slam dunk, easy decision, it was anything but easy for the council.
We worked very hard and collected many more signatures than were required (over 1,000 more) to place this initiative on the ballot, the only thing left was that the city council needed to vote to place it on the ballot or adopt it.
The discussion started off with the city manager, Joe Hannan, telling the council that they didn’t have to legally do anything with the initiative, since he and the city attorney agreed that some obscure case law says they don’t have to.
Then about a half dozen people got up to speak in opposition of the cameras and to urge the council to let the people have their vote on this issue. (You can read the comments that BanCams.com co-founder, Nick Sherwood made last night at the end of this post.)
After the comments from the people, Council member Jennifer Gregerson put forth the motion to place the initiative (as is) on the ballot, which she voted yes on.
Council member Kevin Stoltz also said a that he was in favor of putting the initiative on the ballot and was against the cameras for a number of reasons, one of which was that he didn’t want the city to become reliant on the funds from the cameras like Lynnwood has.
Council member Tony Tinsley was in favor of putting it on the ballot, but was not really against the cameras. He seemed to be quite misinformed on a number of issues regarding the cameras.
Council member Linda Grafer voted NO, and therefore voted not to follow the law because she was said she didn’t like the initiative’s effect on school zones (she wrongly stated that it would ban cameras in school zones).
Council member Emily Vanderwielen voiced strong opposition to the initiative and sounded like she was going to vote against the people, but when the vote came she said “Ahhh, I’m with Lord on this one.” (meaning Randy Lord, the council president).
Council president Randy Lord made some comments about his dislike for the initiative and said that he didn’t think that people really knew what they were signing and he thought they signed it because they are misinformed and scared of the unknown (Really? 2,900 citizens of Mukilteo are that gullible and naive?). Randy Lord also stated that he thought that the initiative was worded in a way that would ban them forever (not true, but it would require a LOT of accountability) and he didn’t like that. But he then said that he would vote yes to put it on the ballot, but he would campaign against it.
All the while Mayor Joe Marine was periodically putting his 2 cents in with comments like: “The city of Mukilteo wouldn’t be shortening any yellows. We couldn’t if we wanted, it’s a state highway, and we wouldn’t want to do that anyway, we have no control over the lights, the timing of the yellow.”
Eventually after much dilatory discussion that had nothing to do with what they were actually voting on (whether or not to follow the law and put the initiative on the ballot) they finally voted 5-1 (Linda Grafer was the sole NO vote) in favor of placing the initiative on the ballot this November.
You can watch the video of the council meeting here. Fast forward to about 48 minutes.
Below is the text of the comments that Nick Sherwood, co-founder of BanCams.com, made at the council meeting:
When my wife Tiffany and I started BanCams.com it wasn’t just because:
- So many people despise traffic cameras
- or because the safety arguments provided by traffic camera proponents are bogus
- or because traffic camera programs disincentivise solving traffic engineering problems
- or even the Big Brother aspect
We started BanCams.com because nobody was sticking up for the little guy, the everyday commuter was totally cut out of the process. His voice was drown out by the corporate lobbyists promising easy money and the cash strapped local government entities trying to find ways to fill budget gaps.
We came to the conclusion that the only reason shady traffic camera programs were allowed to exist was because there was no organized effort to expose the camera systems for the fraud that they are, and there was no mechanism for the citizens to voice their discontent.
The citizens of Mukilteo have worked hard to make the council aware of their desire to be heard on this issue. The citizens of Mukilteo and their allies at BanCams.com , Washington Campaign for Liberty & Tim Eyman have navigated the political, bureaucratic & legal maze necessary to make their voice heard through the initiative process. A failure to put Mukilteo initiative #2 on the ballot would be a shame and a demonstration of political elitism.
So I respectfully request that this city council would unanimously vote to put Mukilteo initiative #2 on the ballot, as written, and let the voters of Mukilteo have their day.
On behalf of BanCams.com and the citizens of Mukilteo, thank you very much for your time and your support of the democratic process.
WHAT MUKILTEO INITIATIVE NO. 2 DOES:
- Reverses the decision by the Mukilteo City Council to install red-light cameras and speed cameras (they unanimously reversed their decision last Monday)
- Requires 2/3rds of the council and a majority vote of the people if they ever try again
- Removes the profit-motive for cameras by limiting the fines to the cost of the least expensive parking ticket in Mukilteo (Everett Herald reports that’d be $20)
- Mandates an advisory vote any time cameras are proposed.