Letters to the Editor

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RECALL: Donation limit restricts our rights

Letter by Bill H. Baarsma, Tacoma on June 10, 2011 at 11:54 am with 4 Comments »
June 10, 2011 12:09 pm

Re: “Right of recall shouldn’t be limited to the wealthy” (editorial, 6-10).

Your editorial is spot on. Under the current state statute and public disclosure interpretations, the successful recall of five Tacoma City Council members in September 1970 could not have happened.

The five were removed by the citizens by a landslide two-to-one vote. The recall committee of the time had to litigate with the city all the way to the state Supreme Court to get the recall measure on the ballot. Attorneys Ronald Thompson and the late Bradford Gierke donated hundreds of hours of their professional time to the effort – far beyond the current unreasonable $800 limit.

Today, of course, recall measures are required to be litigated and the charges reviewed by the courts before petitions can be circulated. The end effect is this tool of direct democracy – and the fundamental right to petition – becomes just about impossible for the lay person acting on his or her own. The law needs to be changed or struck down.

(Baarsma is the former mayor of Tacoma.)

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  1. Rollo_Tomassi says:

    If campaign donation limits on recall petitions restrict our rights, why wouldn’t it follow that campaign donation limits to candidates and initiatives also restrict our rights? Is some political speech protected, but other speech not worthy?

    Or is it just the requirement to litigate that you would like to see protected? In which case then all campaign activity that requires attorneys would have to be exempt from campaign donation limits?

    Welcome to the slippery slope your Honor. Where do you want to go from here?

  2. Repeal all limits on donations and let the sugar pimps buy every election.

  3. Bill, you can be this naive, or lacking in the intelligence dept. What you are saying is that a couple well positioned people should be able to bankroll a recall? That is shouldn’t be up to the actual voters to get behind the action? That these goofballs can’t find 50 people in Pierce County that believe in their cause enough to make an 800.00 donation? That would be 40,000.00, more than enough to bankroll this. C’mon, please tell us you were drunk late at night at your computer when you typed this letter.

  4. Dear_John says:

    ROFL… Bill, it seems you may have stepped on Mr. Johnson.

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