UPDATED: Audit Validates Library Petitioner's Signatures

The group submitted 6,383 valid signatures, eight more valid signatures than the required 6,375.

It appears that the “Super Saturday” push by the   has paid off in terms of valid signature collection.

King County Elections Spokesperson Kim Van Ekstrom confirmed that the collected more than the necessary amount of valid signatures for its petition drive.

The group submitted a total of 9,399 signatures in total (6,383 of which were validated by King County Elections), and eight more valid signatures than the required 6,375.

King County Elections has communicated the validation with the city, but has “not yet officially transferred the information,” Van Ekstrom said. “The City will be getting a formal letter of sufficiency later today (Thursday).”

On March 15 the City released a memo calling the petition, “illegal,” or otherwise invalid due to a number of conflicts outlined in the document.

City Communications Director Preeti Shirdhar said the administration will make a recommendation to Council after they've received the letter of sufficiency from the County.

From City Clerk Bonnie Walton:

“...late afternoon yesterday the City did receive word from King County Elections indicating that the Initiative Petition has been found sufficient by a narrow margin.  The City will not, however, receive the actual official Certificate of Sufficiency for a few days.
The petition proponent was notified of the status via email earlier this morning.  As explained to the proponent, the Initiative petition matter will be placed on the City Council meeting agenda for April 2nd.  That agenda will be published later this afternoon and can be accessed through the City web site (www.rentonwa.gov) or you can go directly to http://renton.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspxunder where the agenda packet will be found under the category  Published Agendas/2012/April 2, 2012.”

Patch will update this article as more information becomes available.

Jenny Manning March 29, 2012 at 09:39 PM
The elections board has verified the signatures and sent them to the City. It is now up to the city to decide the outcome. The library petition is on the council agenda for Monday, April 2. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. on the 7th floor of Renton City Hall in the council chambers.
Robert Nelson April 03, 2012 at 09:45 PM
I agree with Richard, the Renton City council should remove themselves from any decision and let the voters vote.
@rcwant2be April 03, 2012 at 10:55 PM
@Jenny So no one at any level dictates whether the petition language is legal unless the petitioners sue & then a judge will decide? It seems the city will be sued either way. If they accepted the petition & a ballot measure passed preventing them from follow thru with existing contracts, they'd get sued by the holders of those contracts. Since the city did not accept the petition, they may(will?) be sued by the petitioners.
Jenny Manning April 03, 2012 at 11:52 PM
@rcwant2be, This is how I understand the process: Regardless of how the petition is written, council has four options. 1. Adopt the petition (also called 'initiative') as written; 2. Request a special election and place the initiative, as written, on the ballot; 3. Write their own initiative/ordinance to place on the special election ballot; or 4. Deny the initiative. Your statement that "It seems the city will be sued either way," was a big part of the discussion last night. In a letter to the City, KCLS's lawyers says putting the initiative on the ballot would be a breach of contract between the City and the Library System (they didn't exactly use the word lawsuit, but from the wording it appears that that could be a likely outcome). Following last night's meeting, members of the Citizens for the preservation of the Cedar River Library said their next step was to consult with their lawyers and discuss the potential for a lawsuit “on a couple of different levels.” If the two parties (petitioners and City government) are unable to reach an agreement, a legal battle looks likely. I hope that answers your question & let me know if I can better explain the process or any other aspect of what's going on with the downtown Renton library. Thanks!
Dave Beedon April 04, 2012 at 04:50 AM
If state law says that the only entity that can decide the legality or validity of a certified petition is the courts (in response to a lawsuit challenging the petition), then why did the city attorney, the mayor, and a majority of the city council take on that responsibility? If the petition is flawed, invalid, ill-timed, inappropriate, or "illegal" (gasp!), that is properly decided in court, not in the mayor's office, the city attorney's office, or in the chambers of the city council. The city administration could have easily avoided this problem if it had seen fit long ago to put the matter of library siting to a vote of the people before making commitments with anybody. But of course that only applies if the voters are due any respect other than at election time


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