Update: The ongoing battle to get it on the ballot
by Anne Wagner for Citizen Review Online
Clallam County, WA - Sept. 3, 2001 - Citizens in Clallam
County gathered enough signatures to put Initiative 6 - Repeal
of the Critical Areas Code - on the ballot for the people to
vote upon, and the issue was thrown into the court by County
Commissioner Steve Tharinger (D), backed by Commissioner Mike
Doherty (D). Only Commissioner Mike Chapman (R) tried to have
the other two comply with what the county constitution called
for, only to be overruled.
Bob Forde, one of the signers - and the only individual named in
a lawsuit to have a "declaratory judgment" filed to
keep the matter off the ballot - is fighting to get it on the
ballot for November's election. The commissioners have
asked the court to determine that the "proposed initiative
to be beyond the scope of the initiative power of the
The initiative power of the people, according to the home rule
charter and the state constitution, only limits the people's
authority when it comes to "expenditure of funds for an
existing activity or of any funds for a new activity."
Initiative 6 does not fall within those parameters.
The state constitution, Amendment 7, Article 2.1, states that
"the people reserve to themselves the power to propose
bills, laws and to enact or reject the same at the polls,
independent of the legislature, and also reserve power, at their
own option, to approve or reject at the polls, any act, item,
section or part of any bill, act or law passed by the
Forde has most recently filed a "writ of mandamus"
with the court, which essentially asks the court to tell the
county commissioners and the county auditor to "do their
job". Their "job" in this case, is to
follow the Clallam County Home Rule Charter, and proceed with
getting Initiative 6 in front of the voters, for the people's
decision. That hearing will be heard on Sept. 14.
Meanwhile, on July 7, the court will be hearing several matters
on Initiative 6 at the Superior Court District 1 - Judge George
Wood presiding. They will include:
- Forde's initial request to the court to throw the entire
lawsuit out, on the grounds that he alone was served, rather
than the almost 3,800 individuals who signed the petition in
addition to him - and that this is a political issue, not a
- The request of two environmental organizations - one local,
one statewide - to be allowed into the court case on the side of
the county. Protect the Peninsula's Future (PPF), well-known for
instigating lawsuits, (the latest creating a loss of
approximately $75,000 to the taxpayers of Clallam County), and
1000 Friends of Washington.
- Originally, PPF and 1000 Friends were to be heard in court on
August 24 as to whether they would be allowed into the court
battle; however, at the hearing, Forde pointed out to the judge
(pro-tem Judge Gary Sund) that there was a possible conflict of
interest in that he (Sund) was a former business partner of the
prosecuting attorney, Chris O. Shea. Sund
immediately recused himself. It was a minor victory for
the voters, in that the motion Forde had filed called for the
two organizations to be held over until the regular hearing on
- The request of the Building Industry Association of Washington
(BIAW) to be allowed into the court case on the side of the
voters of the county.
Forde says the county should be allowing this matter to go to
the voters, according to the Home Rule Charter and the county
code. The county code states that a declaratory judgment
action can take place when a proposed ordinance is on the
ballot. "This proposed ordinance is not on the ballot
yet, since Commissioners Tharinger and Doherty stopped it from
going there," Forde said.