Eyman, city attorney appear in court for traffic-camera hearing

Attorneys representing Tim Eyman and the City of Redmond presented oral arguments before the Division I Washington State Appeals Court last Friday during a hearing regarding traffic-enforcement cameras in Redmond.

A state-initiative advocate from Mukilteo, Eyman, along with Union Hill resident Scott Harlan, had co-sponsored Redmond Initiative No. 1, which would ban the use of traffic-enforcement cameras unless approved by the City Council and Redmond voters.

In October 2011, judge Laura C. Inveen of the King County Superior Court ruled in favor of the city when it chose not to forward a petition — containing more than 6,000 signatures and filed by Eyman and Harlan — to King County Elections for verification. If the signatures had been verified, the issue would have been put to a vote by residents.

It was reported earlier that Inveen had ruled that Redmond city clerk Michelle McGehee turning in the petition for verification would have been a “useless act” because the issue concerning traffic-enforcement cameras falls under the power of city legislature rather than the initiative process, based on a September 2011 appeals court ruling in Bellingham.

Eyman is challenging Inveen’s decision, saying it was not a useless act as every step of the initiative process is important.

Although there are no more traffic-enforcement cameras in Redmond after council voted to terminate its contract with camera vendor American Traffic Solutions, Eyman said having the signatures approved and the issue put to a vote would provide further protection if the city decides to bring in traffic-enforcement cameras in the future.

As the first of its kind in the city, Eyman called Redmond Initiative No. 1 the “Rosa Parks of initiatives” and the city’s refusal to turn over the signatures sets a “dangerous” and “horrible” precedent for the future if people wish to utilize the initiative process.

Following the hearing last week, a pleased Eyman said, “It just went really well for our side.”

City of Redmond attorney James Haney was just as confident.

“The appeals court judges asked tough but fair questions and we were able to provide answers to all of the questions asked,” he said. “The city remains confident that it has the correct legal position in this case and that the court should not require the certification of petition, which has been held to be invalid by both the Washington State Court of Appeals and the Washington Supreme Court. The city is confident that the court will ultimately see it the city’s way and that the city will be able to stop wasting time and resources dealing with a petition that Mr. Eyman knew was invalid when he filed it.”

A decision has not been made yet and there are no more hearings or court dates scheduled for this case. Haney said, given the court’s workload, it will probably take three to six months before a ruling will be made. Both parties will receive written notification of the court’s decision and the court will also post the decision on its website.


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