The vote was 5-2 with council members David Carson and Hank Myers voting no. Both council members said they are against the initiative, but do not support the concept of telling people how to vote.
While discussing the issue, Carson said Redmond citizens are intelligent and able to make their own decisions and he didn’t see the council’s taking a stance as a necessity.
“(It’s a) principle thing on my part,” he said, explaining his no vote.
Myers added that he feels by taking an official stance, they are stepping beyond their role as City Council.
While council member Hank Margeson agreed that Redmond voters are intelligent, he said they also look to the Council for guidance. He added that the initiative would destroy the State Route 520 bridge from being built any time soon and would delay light rail from coming to Redmond, if not stop it altogether. Margeson said he thinks it is the Council’s responsibility to step forward and make a statement.
If passed, I-1125 would hinder tolling on roadways, including SR-520. The measure, which is backed by Tim Eyman, would prohibit vehicle toll revenue and motor vehicle fund revenue from being used for non-transportation purposes. Additionally, I-1125 would require that road and bridge tolls be set by the Legislature, instead of the state Transportation Commission, and be project specific. And according to analysis by the state Office of Financial Management (OFM), I-1125 would break apart the state’s vision of using tolls to help build highways.
Council member Pat Vache said if passed, I-1125 would “strangle the Pacific Northwest slowly,” which was why he voted to oppose the initiative.
Council member Kimberly Allen added that the initiative would directly affect Redmond. She said she thinks citizens would be curious about what the Council thinks about the measure, which was why she whole-heartedly supported the resolution to oppose I-1125.
“This initiative will cut the funding to (the SR-520) bridge,” she said.
While the Redmond City Council is against the initiative, Eyman points out that polls show I-1125 is gaining support because of its “common sense” policies, such as:
“Transportation money must be used for transportation, tolls on a project must go to the project, tolls must end once a project is paid for, and tolls must be the same for everyone — uniform and consistent. For 100 years, these were the rules that built the I-90 bridge, the 520 bridge, and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. I-1125 simply keeps those tested, 100-year protections in effect. Tolls aren’t taxes and I-1125 keeps it that way.”
In other City Council news, members unanimously voted on Tuesday to continue the six-month moratorium on marijuana collective gardens in Redmond, after no one commented at Tuesday’s public hearing.
The state required the city to hold a public hearing within 60 days of setting the moratorium, which the Council passed in Aug. 16 to give the public an opportunity to comment on the issue — no one stepped up to comment.
State law allows marijuana collective gardens, where up to 10 qualifying medical patients to organize and form a collective cannabis garden containing up to 15 plants per person and a cap total of 45 plants.
City officials say the moratorium gives staff time to study the gray-area state law concerning marijuana collective gardens and the impacts they could have on the community before recommending any type of regulations.
City Council members also uninamously voted at Tuesday’s meeting to approve the Lake Washington School District‘s conditional-use permit and height variance for the new Rose Hill Middle School, which is scheduled to open fall 2013. Construction on the new building is scheduled to begin in April 2012.
The new building is part of the district’s modernization program, which was approved through a bond voters approved in 2006.