Alex Hays recently submitted signatures for a ballot measure which will change the city government. The ballot measure proposes a strong mayor form of government. But he made a mistake.
But there was one mistake. In an effort to redraft the city charter, there was mix up and Hays accidentally removed a section of the charter that gives people the power to create initiatives and referendums. If passed, this initiative would take that power away from people in Tacoma.
“We reacted to the city’s request that we put together a different version. They wanted the entire charter reproduced. That made it a little harder to get right and unfortunately that created a chance for this mistake to occur,” said Hays.
Now the city is claiming nothing can be done.
Citizens signed this petition and the measure should appear as signed by citizens. However, if the city council sincerely wants to retain the initiative and referendum portion of the charter (and offer that choice to voters,) they can craft a ballot question that will do the same changes as the petition submitted by Hays, but include the initiative section of the charter. Then the ballot title should make clear what each charter amendment includes:
- Strong mayor, tighter term limits, and no initiative and referendum.
- Strong mayor, tighter term limits, and keep initiative and referendum.
The issue getting the highest number of votes would be approved, unless neither ballot question gets over 50% and no changes would be made. I hope the city council acts quickly to ensure voters have this option.