Initiative 6 |Charter Amendment 5

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Complete text of Tacoma Initiative 6 – 2016

The People’s Right to Water Protection Ordinance

4,700 signatures needed by June 15, 2016

WHEREAS, the Residents of Tacoma do not want to return to our polluted past; and

WHEREAS, since 1980, Tacoma has spent an immense amount of money, time and effort cleaning up the Superfund Sites left behind by the Asarco copper smelter, Occidental Chemical, Kaiser Aluminum and others; and

WHEREAS, City residents use almost half of the water produced by City-owned Tacoma Public Utilities; and

WHEREAS, the City of Tacoma is projecting, and preparing for, an increase in population of 127,000 more residents by 2040; and

WHEREAS, a 2009 state survey of public utilities shows that the Pierce County Large Water Users Sector is 13.7% while in King County the Large Water Users Sector is only 1.9%; and

WHEREAS, the City of Tacoma is responsible to the city’s residents and small businesses first and must use all caution when issuing water utility services to any potential water user that wants to use more than one million gallons of water per day; and

WHEREAS, the Tacoma Public Utility gets water from the Green River Watershed and the concerns for the environmental impacts of large water users are valid as more increasing demands for water for people and community development must take into account droughts that will become more frequent in the Pacific Northwest as the result of climate change; and

WHEREAS, the people want policies and contractual requirements to make industry secondary to the human needs of the citizens and households, schools, hospitals, and homes for the aged, for fresh potable water should take priority except in the case of emergency fire fighting needs or any other natural disaster that cannot be reasonably forecasted; and

WHEREAS, the sustained availability of affordable and potable water for the residents and businesses of Tacoma must be paramount over considerations such as potential tax revenues or investor profits; and

WHEREAS, industrial users that would require excessive amounts of water to operate will have potential long-term negative impacts on the local and regional environment and future community development in the City of Tacoma; and

WHEREAS, residents and businesses of Tacoma have been asked in the recent past and may be required in the future to conserve water; and

WHEREAS, large water users pay discounted rates while residents as ratepayers carry an extra financial burden for the conservation, maintenance, protection and development of potable water sources; and

WHEREAS, industries that use large amounts of water daily would place human, economic, environmental and homeland securities at risk; and

WHEREAS, the Citizens of Tacoma have recently shown a huge desire to be involved when our affordable fresh water is at risk; and

WHEREAS, the Citizens of Tacoma want to encourage clean and renewable energy industries operating in the City of Tacoma; and

WHEREAS, the Citizens of Tacoma find that a proposed methanol refinery does not meet the requirements of a clean, renewable and sustainable energy production facility; and

WHEREAS, the City of Tacoma Charter provides for Initiative and Referendum rights which provides the city’s citizens the right to place this ordinance before the voters; and

WHEREAS, the people of the City of Tacoma possess an inherent and inalienable right to govern our own community as secured by the Declaration of Independence’s affirmation of the right of people to alter or abolish their government if it renders self-government impossible, and this inherent right is reaffirmed in the Tacoma City Charter, the Washington State Constitution, and the United States Constitution;

Therefore be it ordained by the voters in the City of Tacoma:

That a new Ordinance is adopted and a new section of Tacoma Municipal Code Title 12 is hereby adopted, which deals with issuing water utility service to any applicant for one million gallons, or more, of water daily from the City of Tacoma, and is to be known as “The People’s Right to Water Protection Ordinance”:

A. People’s Vote on Large Water Use Applications. The people of the City of Tacoma find that there is a compelling need to carefully consider the consequences of providing water utility service to an applicant that intends to use large amounts of fresh water. Before providing water utility service to any applicant for 1336 CCF (one million gallons), or more, of water daily from the City, the City shall place the applicant’s request for water utility service before the voters on the next available General Election Ballot. The applicant shall pay for the costs of the vote of the people. Only if a majority of the voters approve the water utility service application and all other application requirements are met may the City provide the service. The vote by the people is binding, and not advisory. Any water users currently authorized to use 1336 CCF or more of water daily are grandfathered in, however, their water utility service is not transferable.

B. Limitations on Government Infringement of the People’s Inviolable Right of Sustainable Water Protection. The people of the City of Tacoma protect their right to water through their inherent and inalienable right of local community self-government, and in recognition that clean fresh water is essential to life, liberty, and happiness, and the City of Tacoma has a foundational duty to maintain a sustainable provision of water for the people. The People’s Right to Water Protection vote provides a democratic safeguard, on top of the City’s existing application process, to ensure that large new water users do not threaten the sustainability of the people’s water supply. To prevent subsequent denial of the People’s Right to Water Protection by state law preemption, all laws adopted by the legislature of the State of Washington, and rules adopted by any state agency, shall be the law of City of Tacoma only to the extent that they do not violate the rights or mandates of this Ordinance.

C. Water Protection supersedes Corporate Interests. As the People’s Right to Water Protection is foundational to the people’s health, safety, and welfare, and must be held inviolate, no government actor, including the courts, will recognize as valid any permit, license, privilege, charter, or other authorization, that would violate the rights or mandate of this Ordinance, issued for any corporation, by any state, federal, or international entity. In addition, corporations that violate, or seek to violate the rights and mandates of this Ordinance shall not be deemed “persons” to the extent that such treatment would interfere with the rights or mandates enumerated by this Ordinance, nor shall corporations possess any other legal rights, powers, privileges, immunities, or duties that would interfere with the rights or mandates enumerated by this Ordinance. “Rights, powers, privileges, immunities, and duties” shall include the power to assert international, federal, or state preemptive laws in an attempt to overturn this Ordinance, and the power to assert that the people of the City of Tacoma lacked the authority to adopt this Ordinance.

D. Enforcement. The City or any resident of the City may enforce this Ordinance through an action brought in any court possessing jurisdiction over activities occurring within the City of Tacoma, including, but not limited to, seeking an injunction to stop prohibited practices. In such an action, the City of Tacoma or the resident of the City of Tacoma shall be entitled to recover damages and all costs of litigation, including, without limitation, expert, and attorney’s fees.

E. Severability and Construction. The provisions of this Ordinance shall be liberally construed to achieve the defined intent of the voters. The provisions of this Ordinance are severable, and the petitioners intend that all valid provisions of the initiative be placed on the ballot and enacted into law even if some provisions are found invalid. We – the people of Tacoma – support each of the provisions of this Ordinance independently, and our support for this Ordinance would not be diminished if one or more of its provisions were to be held invalid, or if any of them were adopted by the City Council and the others sent to the voters for approval.

F. Effect. This Ordinance shall take effect fifteen (15) days after either adoption or election certification. The City shall not accept any applications for water utility service for 1336 CCF or more between the adoption or election and the effective date of this Ordinance.

-END-

Jeannie Laurie Signs Michael

 

Complete text of Tacoma Charter Amendment 5 – 2017

The People’s Right to Water Protection

9,000 signatures needed by June 15, 2016


WHEREAS
, the Residents of Tacoma do not want to return to our polluted past; and

WHEREAS, since 1980, Tacoma has spent an immense amount of money, time and effort cleaning up the Superfund Sites left behind by the Asarco copper smelter, Occidental Chemical, Kaiser Aluminum and others; and

WHEREAS, City residents use almost half of the water produced by City-owned Tacoma Public Utilities; and

WHEREAS, the City of Tacoma is projecting, and preparing for, an increase in population of 127,000 more residents by 2040; and

WHEREAS, a 2009 state survey of public utilities shows that the Pierce County Large Water Users Sector is 13.7% while in King County the Large Water Users Sector is only 1.9%; and

WHEREAS, the City of Tacoma is responsible to the city’s residents and small businesses first and must use all caution when issuing water utility services to any potential water user that wants to use more than one million gallons of water per day; and

WHEREAS, the Tacoma Public Utility gets water from the Green River Watershed and the concerns for the environmental impacts of large water users are valid as more increasing demands for water for people and community development must take into account droughts that will become more frequent in the Pacific Northwest as the result of climate change; and

WHEREAS, the people want policies and contractual requirements to make industry secondary to the human needs of the citizens and households, schools, hospitals, and homes for the aged, for fresh potable water should take priority except in the case of emergency fire fighting needs or any other natural disaster that cannot be reasonably forecasted; and

WHEREAS, the sustained availability of affordable and potable water for the residents and businesses of Tacoma must be paramount over considerations such as potential tax revenues or investor profits; and

WHEREAS, industrial users that would require excessive amounts of water to operate will have potential long-term negative impacts on the local and regional environment and future community development in the City of Tacoma; and

WHEREAS, residents and businesses of Tacoma have been asked in the recent past and may be required in the future to conserve water; and

WHEREAS, large water users pay discounted rates while residents as ratepayers carry an extra financial burden for the conservation, maintenance, protection and development of potable water sources; and

WHEREAS, industries that use large amounts of water daily would place human, economic, environmental and homeland securities at risk; and

WHEREAS, the Citizens of Tacoma have recently shown a huge desire to be involved when our affordable fresh water is at risk; and

WHEREAS, the Citizens of Tacoma want to encourage clean and renewable energy industries operating in the City of Tacoma; and

WHEREAS, the Citizens of Tacoma find that a proposed methanol refinery does not meet the requirements of a clean, renewable and sustainable energy production facility; and

WHEREAS, the City of Tacoma Charter provides for Initiative and Referendum rights which provides the city’s citizens the right to place this Charter amendment before the voters; and

WHEREAS, the people of the City of Tacoma possess an inherent and inalienable right to govern our own community as secured by the Declaration of Independence’s affirmation of the right of people to alter or abolish their government if it renders self-government impossible, and this inherent right is reaffirmed in the Tacoma City Charter, the Washington State Constitution, and the United States Constitution;

Therefore be it ordained by the voters in the City of Tacoma that:

(1) The people of Tacoma adopt the following amendments to the Tacoma City Charter, Article IV (Public Utilities):

Section 4.24 – The People’s Right to Water Protection

(A) People’s Vote on Large Water Use Applications.

The people of the City of Tacoma find that there is a compelling need to carefully consider the consequences of providing water utility service to an applicant that intends to use large amounts of fresh water. Before providing water utility service to any applicant for 1336 CCF (one million gallons), or more, of water daily from the City, the City shall place the applicant’s request for water utility service before the voters on the next available General Election Ballot, in a manner substantially conforming to the rules for Section 2.22 of this Charter. The applicant shall pay for the costs of the vote of the people. Only if a majority of the voters approve the water utility service application and all other application requirements are met may the City provide the service. The vote by the people is binding, and not advisory. Any water users currently authorized to use 1336 CCF or more of water daily are grandfathered in, however, their water utility service is not transferable.

(B) Sustainable Water Protection is an Inviolable Right that Government Cannot Infringe.

The people of the City of Tacoma protect their right to water through their inherent and inalienable right of local community self-government, and in recognition that clean fresh water is essential to life, liberty, and happiness, and the City of Tacoma has a foundational duty to maintain a sustainable provision of water for the people. The People’s Right to Water Protection vote provides a democratic safeguard, on top of the City’s existing application process, to ensure that large new water users do not threaten the sustainability of the people’s water supply. To prevent subsequent denial of the People’s Right to Water Protection by state law preemption, all laws adopted by the legislature of the State of Washington, and rules adopted by any state agency, shall be the law of City of Tacoma only to the extent that they do not violate the rights or mandates of this Article.

(C) Water Protection supersedes Corporate Interests.

As the People’s Right to Water Protection is foundational to the people’s health, safety, and welfare, and must be held inviolate, no government actor, including the courts, will recognize as valid any permit, license, privilege, charter, or other authorization, that would violate the rights or mandate of this Article, issued for any corporation, by any state, federal, or international entity. In addition, corporations that violate, or seek to violate the rights and mandates of this Article shall not be deemed “persons” to the extent that such treatment would interfere with the rights or mandates enumerated by this Article, nor shall corporations possess any other legal rights, powers, privileges, immunities, or duties that would interfere with the rights or mandates enumerated by this Article. “Rights, powers, privileges, immunities, and duties” shall include the power to assert international, federal, or state preemptive laws in an attempt to overturn this Article, and the power to assert that the people of the City of Tacoma lacked the authority to adopt this Article.

(D) Enforcement.

The City or any resident of the City may enforce this section through an action brought in any court possessing jurisdiction over activities occurring within the City of Tacoma, including, but not limited to, seeking an injunction to stop prohibited practices. In such an action, the City of Tacoma or the resident of the City of Tacoma shall be entitled to recover damages and all costs of litigation, including, without limitation, expert, and attorney’s fees.

(2) In enacting this Charter Amendment through our Initiative Power, the people of Tacoma declare our intent that:

(A) The provisions of this Charter Amendment are severable, and the petitioners intend that all valid provisions of the initiative be placed on the ballot and enacted into law even if some provisions are found invalid.

(B) The provisions of this Charter Amendment be liberally construed to achieve the defined intent of the voters.

(C) We support each of the provisions of this section independently, and our support for this section would not be diminished if one or more of its provisions were to be held invalid, or if any of them were adopted by the City Council and the others sent to the voters for approval.

(D) This section shall take effect 15 (fifteen) days after election certification. The City shall not accept any applications for water utility service for 1336 CCF or more between the election and effective date.

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