Open Letter to the Mayor and City Council

May 14, 2013

On May 2nd, the Spokane County Elections office certified that there were enough valid signatures to qualify the Community Bill of Rights for the November 2013 ballot. This version of the Community Bill of Rights is substantively the same as 2011— where a 500 vote swing would have made it law in Spokane.

The Mayor and City Council have made it known that they are “seeking legal advice” about allowing the Community Bill of Rights on to the ballot; there is a real possibility that they will challenge the initiative in an attempt to deny voters their right to judge the Community Bill of Rights on its own merits.

This amounts to nothing less than a direct subversion of the democratic process, and blatant interference with the right of citizen initiative, which is constitutionally protected in Washington State, and has been for 100 years.

Regardless of what position one takes on the Community Bill of Rights, threatening to stop it from going to the voters for their decision is undemocratic in the extreme.

This threat cannot be allowed to go forward. The right of citizens to come together and propose new law is a right that must be zealously protected and maintained.


We, the undersigned organizations, and groups declare our support for the fundamentals of the democratic process, and our absolute opposition to any interference or legal challenge to a duly validated initiative.

Envision Spokane

Neighborhood Alliance of Spokane County

International Association of Firefighters Local 29

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1439

Community Building Foundation

Laborers Local 238

Upper Columbia River Group – Sierra Club

Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 44

Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane