Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

RECALL: Donation limit restricts our rights

Letter by Bill H. Baarsma, Tacoma on June 10, 2011 at 11:54 am | 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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