Save Our Water was issued the number 4 for the water permit initiative filed recently. This is great news for the voters in Tacoma. No longer will every issue we vote on be given the number 1 – from now on, each issue will have their own distinct number. Initiative 4 will always be known as the Large Fresh Water User Ordinance.
Tacoma City Clerk Doris Sorum confirmed that this policy of consecutively numbering initiatives began last year as there were three issues on the Tacoma ballot presented by citizens.
Looking at initiatives on the ballot for voters in the City of Tacoma since 1990 – every issue was labeled number 1. To show how confusing this has been for 25 years, consider this: in 1990 Proposition 1 was a yes vote if you were in favor of gay rights. In 1991 Proposition 1 was a no vote if you were in favor of gay rights. Without a consecutive numbering system it has been difficult to distinguish the different interest groups supporting various issues on the ballot.
As confusing as it has been for initiatives for the past quarter century by using the number 1 over and over again, the same confusion applies to charter changes. Since the City of Tacoma Charter was enacted there have been more than 50 proposed charter changes, but voters have no way of knowing that. In 2014 there were 12 proposed charter changes on the ballot consecutively numbered 1-12. Then the following year, in 2015 there was a charter change proposal on the ballot and it was numbered, wait for it, Number 1.
Save Tacoma Water will be submitting a charter change proposal in the next few days and we are ever hopeful that the consecutive numbering system of initiatives will extend to proposed charter changes as well. Hoping that is the case, we presented our petition form to the city attorney yesterday for her review which included numbering our proposed charter change as Amendment 2, based on the consecutive numbering which began last year with initiatives.