Robo-calls going out this week are asking people to call Tacoma City Council members and urge them to ease up on marijuana.
Someone identifying themselves as “Kat from Nature’s Resource Center” tells recipients the council should bypass voters and enact Initiative 1, which would make marijuana the lowest priority of city law enforcement. (Listen to the call.)
The calls were organized not by the Initiative 1 committee, but by political gadfly and City Council candidate Robert “The Traveller” Hill, who has Facebook and Twitter pages dedicated to supporting Initiative 1. Hill said he also sent out a call using his own voice.
Hill said more than 20,000 calls went out Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and he’s trying to set up more today.
It’s not pleasing organizers of the Initiative 1 petition effort, even though they support the sentiment. They gathered thousands of signatures to make sure the measure will be on November’s ballot if the council doesn’t act by next week.
“Our way of doing business with the City Council is not to bombard them with phone calls from all around the state, which is what Robert Hill is doing,” organizer Sherry Bockwinkel said.
The committee is complaining about Hill’s shadow campaign in support of their measure. Bockwinkel will go before a Pierce County District Court judge Tuesday to ask for an anti-harassment protection order against Hill.
On its website, the group says Hill “hacked our website” and created a copy of it, and demands that Hill “returns the money he has been raising in the name of Tacoma Initiative 1.”
Hill has been been under a protection order before, sought by County Auditor Julie Anderson, and this year was convicted of stalking a porn star. But he said the Initiative 1 committee is spreading “falsehoods.”
“Sensible Tacoma committee has got an independent campaign to get (Initiative 1) passed now,” he said. Hill said he the websites he set up didn’t copy the Initiative 1 site, they just redirected viewers to the site.
The City Council has a week left to pass the initiative — no changes allowed — or it goes to voters. Mayor Marilyn Strickland said Tuesday she’s confident voters will approve it, so the council doesn’t need to act.
“With a topic that important, if the voters speak, it has more teeth and it has more effect,” she said.