Olympia income tax initiative likely to remain on November ballot

The Olympian – SEPTEMBER 2, 2016

A group called Opportunity for Olympia collected thousands of signatures in support of a 1.5 percent tax on all household income above $200,000 within city limits to create a college tuition fund for Olympia high school graduates.

Once again Judge Jack Nevin interceded to remove a citizens’ initiative from the ballot.


Court of Appeals Commissioner Aurora Bearse ruled Friday to stay — a legal term for “halt” — a portion of a decision by Pierce County Superior Court Judge Jack Nevin last month that would have kept the initiative off the ballot.

Equal Time Radio on KLAY 1180 AM with Frank Blair and Traci Kelly

Michael Lafreniere, Official spokesman for Save our Water joins us for an update on the initiatives to save Tacoma Public Utilities from using this precious resource from the Port of Tacoma, AND the lawsuit challenging their right to do so. What a mess.  Listen here:

August 22, 2016 – Port needs open process, not blanket prohibition

Port Commissioner Connie Bacon proposed a future precedent for considering projects that revolve around natural resources or fossil fuels: The port would host at least three public meetings, and before any project advances, the public would be privy to timelines, financial impacts, and details about safety and facility operations.

August 16, 2016 – “In Tacoma, Washington, The People Attempt to Exercise Their Ballot Initiative Rights to Protect Their Water & Are Blocked by the Courts”

Paul Cienfuegos’ August 16th, 2016 Commentary on KBOO Evening News.  Posted on Community Rights PDX.
Today I’m going to read some excerpts from a recent news story titled, “What happens in Tacoma when the people exercise their inalienable right to protect their water, and their democratic right to initiative?” The short answer to that question is – the corporate state strips those voting rights from The People. Here’s the story….

Thank you to Sightline Institute for listing us in the Sightline Daily for August 17th.


Aug 15 201

OLYMPIA — The Attorney General’s Office today announced the filing of a complaint in Pierce County Superior Court alleging campaign finance violations by Port of Tacoma officials, the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County (“the EDB”), and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce (“the Chamber”).

The complaint alleges that Port officials violated RCW 42.17A.555 by using public funds and facilities to litigate against two ballot propositions promoted by the group “Save Tacoma Water.” The AGO alleges that the EDB and the Chamber violated RCW 42.17A.255 by failing to disclose independent expenditures they made opposing the propositions in the same lawsuit.   Read more here.

Attorney General Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against Port, Chamber

State attorney general Bob Ferguson’s office filed a campaign-finance complaint Monday against Port of Tacoma officials, the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.

The complaint contends that port officials violated campaign-finance laws by spending public money — $45,000 in legal fees — to oppose the validity of a pair of ballot measures filed by activist group Save Tacoma Water. The Chamber and the EDB spent roughly $10,000 apiece for the same purpose; the complaint contends that those expenses, while not drawn from public coffers, should have been reported as campaign expenditures.

Read more here:

Save Tacoma Water files appeal for initiatives
Published by the Tacoma Weekly
August 01, 2016 @ 7:51 am

The grassroots effort Save Tacoma Water has filed a notice of appeal in hopes of changing Pierce County Superior Court Judge Jack Nevin’s decision that haulted their efforts to put ballot measures up for a vote that would require a vote on high-water using projects.

In filing this appeal, Save Tacoma Water seeks a hearing on its argument that the lower court’s decision was a violation of the people’s democratic rights including that of free speech, political speech, and a direct violation of the people’s fundamental right to local community self-government.

“The courts would never even consider such an action to censure the lawmaking process of the state legislature, or a local government council. Yet somehow, citizen initiatives have become second-class lawmaking, compared to the lawmaking of the people’s representatives,” according to the filing. “The people, as principals, must have at least as much authority as their representatives. The courts’ interference with the people’s lawmaking process is just as illegitimate as the courts’ interference with their agents’ lawmaking process.” Click here to read more.

Our view: What a tangled web about water

Published in the Tacoma Weekly Thursday, 9 June 2016 In print on Page A4

Let’s get this straight.
The Port of Tacoma, Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber filed a lawsuit in Pierce County Superior Court on June 6 to stop Save Tacoma Water from gathering signatures for two initiatives that would call for public votes on projects that would use more than a million gallons of water a day.
That’s a lot of water.
Click here to read more.


There was little sign of that chilling at the Citizens’ Forum at Tacoma City Council meeting on Tuesday, where about 40 people spoke out against the lawsuit filed against the effort of gathering signatures for the water-voting initiatives.
“We believe the citizens of Tacoma should have a decision-making voice whenever it comes to such vital utilities as water, especially in an era of worsening drought conditions caused by climate change,” Save Tacoma Water organizer Michael Lafreniere read from a letter signed by 21 supporters. “It should be noted that in 1930, the first citizen’s initiative in the state created the public utility districts to conserve the water and power resources of the State of Washington for the benefit of the people. Now, however, the City Council has joined a lawsuit by the Port of Tacoma and business groups against the voters of this city to challenge these initiatives and to block access to the ballot. … To join the port’s lawsuit condones a legal challenge that will empower the courts – most likely a single judge – to decide a legislative matter that is meant to be settled in an up or down vote at the ballot box. … Regardless of what position one takes on these citizen initiatives, threatening to stop them from going to the voters for their decision is undemocratic in the extreme.”

Click here to read more

April 19, 2016 6:01 AM

Tacoma methanol project canceled

A proposal to build the world’s largest methanol plant at the Port of Tacoma is dead.

Amid widespread public criticism of the project and several port commissioners’ signals it had lost their support, the China-backed company behind the $3.6 billion project on the former Kaiser smelter site said Tuesday it had canceled the proposal, just days ahead of a key port vote on its lease.

Washington State Senator Jeannie Darneille (27th Legislative District, Ruston and Tacoma) speaks out against the construction of a $3.4 billion gas-to-methanol production plant at the Port of Tacoma.