by Jack Mayne
A King County Superior Court judge has agreed to consider a motion by the “Yes! For SeaTac” group that the 248 additional signatures should be checked for accuracy so that the proposition to increase the minimum wage for selected transportation and restaurant workers can be reinstated on the November general election ballot.
Judge Andrea Darvas earlier this week ordered the city to remove the issue because she found that initiative “is not supported by the required number of valid signatures of registered voters.”
But the “Yes! For SeaTac” group’s lawyers are now adding another point to their argument. They claim the city’s Review Board was not legally qualified to remove signature that were accepted by the King County auditor.
“Under State Law, the King County Auditor is given the exclusive ‘duty to determine the sufficiency of the petition,” lawyers for the initiative proponents write. “To date, no party has brought an action against King County to challenge its finding that Prop One is sufficient … . On these facts alone the Court must require King County and the City of SeaTac to place Prop One, the so-called ‘Good Jobs Initiative’ on the ballot.”
Judge Darvas has told the initiative proponents that she will make a decision by Tuesday, Sept. 3. The deadline for printing the voter’s guide for the November election is Friday, Sept. 6. If that deadline is missed, the issue is effectively off the ballot for that election.
Attorneys for the initiative proponents say that after the county validated the initiative the City of SeaTac “facilitated a wholly illegal process” by creating a review board consisting of the mayor, the city manager and the police chief. That board threw out 201 signatures that the county had validated.
The lawyers say, “Judge Darvas overturned one decision of the Review Board and subtracted 61 votes from the Review Board’s tally of valid signatures. The combined loss of these 262 County-validated signatures rendered the petition insufficient.”
So, the initiative proponents say the new signatures should be check and added.
Judge Darvas must decide whether to reject the arguments or accept them and drop her orders to the city to keep the initiative off the ballot.
Also, the spokesperson for the initiative proponents said SeaTac small business owner Patricia (PJ) Seidenstricker filed a lawsuit today to keep the proposition on the November ballot. Seidenstricker is joined on the lawsuit by Brian White, a SeaTac voter from the McMicken Heights neighborhood, whose signature was thrown out for the lack of a date.