Plastic bag ban appeal gets enough signatures

September 10, 2013

By Peter Clark

An appeal to the Issaquah bag ban is now in King County’s hands.

Save Our Choice, a volunteer organization working throughout the Seattle metropolitan area in opposition to bans on plastic bags, submitted well over the requisite number of signatures to seek a citizen referendum on the six-month-old ordinance Aug. 30. An as-yet-unverified 3,400 signatures were given to the city, which then passed them to the county elections department.

Save Our Choice Co-founder Craig Keller, who has gone door to door since the inception of the effort March 1, said he was not celebrating yet. Although the organization turned in more than the 2,549 needed, he said he would still collect signatures in case the county invalidated any of the ones already collected.

“We’re still collecting signatures just in case we need any,” he said. “I’m not worried that we’re going to get enough. It’s a relief.”

He was positive about the message that sent to the city and citizens.

“Throughout this time of signature collections, I have found the voters of Issaquah to be courteous and discriminating,” Keller said. “They simply have been deprived the opportunity to vote their collective wisdom in judgment of an experimental regulation that continues to drive sales away from Issaquah. Our role is to empower that voice all the way to the ballot box.”

The circulated petition does not call for a reversal of the ordinance, but rather a chance for Issaquah residents to vote on the measure that passed the City Council on June 4, 2012. Keller believes citizens should decide on whether a ban remains in effect.

The ban exists for larger scale retailers, but would go into effect for all stores beginning March 1, 2014.

“It would have been ideal if we could have had it on the August ballot,” Keller said. “It would have saved the city money from holding a special election.”

King County received the signatures last week. Community Specialist Barbara Ramey said the department would begin validating the signatures Sept. 11. She expects the process to take a week and a half to complete. Should invalidated signatures drop the total below the stipulated threshold, Save Our Choice will have 10 days to submit additional petitions.

“The state law says the signature on the petitions sheet must match the signature on file on the Washington voter registration,” Ramey said. “There’s no state requirement that says how long we have to do it.”

State Sen. Mark Mullet (D-5th District) led the charge for the ordinance and restated his belief that the public was instrumental in the process for creating the ban.

“I think it went through the process,” he said. “And look at all the bags that have been saved.”

He maintained that it was a net positive gain for preserving the landscape and environment.

“I think that people should vote it based on the merits,” Mullet said, should it come to a vote. “I think it’s a big plus for the environment and that the benefits outweigh the costs.”

Should the county approve the signatures, Issaquah will hold a special election for the referendum, which might coincide with Klahanie-area residents voting on prospective annexation.

“Issaquah is hoping it could be on the February ballot,” Ramey said, referring to the Feb. 11 vote. She added the timetable for the signatures would fall in line with that date. “They are in plenty of time for that.”

“I have talked to literally hundreds of people who say that they have stopped shopping as much in Issaquah,” Keller said. “I have no stake in this other than wanting a county and a country that affords more freedom to the consumer.”





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10 Responses to “Plastic bag ban appeal gets enough signatures”

  1. Sally on September 12th, 2013 9:24 pm

    I think Issaquah took the high road on these plastic sacks but then okayed ten story buildings for Rowleyville. And therefore lost credibility. But when Craig Keller continues his claim that ” hundreds of people stop shopping in Issaquah”, I think he should give a fact or two. My gosh.

  2. Greg Duncan on September 13th, 2013 10:55 am

    Well I have stopped shopping Issaquah. I go to Matthews instead, explicitly because of the ban. And though I work in Seattle, I do not shop there, even if I need something, for the same reason. BTW. Where is the cost benefit study Mullet refers to?

  3. jimu on September 14th, 2013 7:17 am

    I’m glad this is going on the ballot. No matter how it ends up the people should have been able to vote on it originally. Now we’ll really be able to see what Issaquah thinks.

  4. Smoley on September 14th, 2013 6:01 pm

    I stopped shopping in Issaquah too. I now go to Sammamish, Klahanie, or stop off in Bellevue on the way home from work. No need to patronize the businesses that didn’t stand up and fight this nonsense when Mullet initially proposed it.

    “Rowleyville” is indeed a step in the wrong direction if one claims to care about the local environment in Issaquah. You only need to look at the polluted storm water problem this city allowed in the run off from the Highlands to know that our current city government has only one thing in mind – grabbing new tax revenue from adding thousands of more citizens in the proposed high rises in the Central district.

    Funny thing is that for a city government that wants more tax revenue, they continually do things that make people shop elsewhere, depriving the city of it’s share of the sales tax. Get rid of the ridiculous bag ban and do something about the traffic/parking problems and you’ll get more people coming here to spend money.

  5. Mark on September 15th, 2013 3:20 pm

    Greg nobody cares…go somewhere else…

  6. Mrs. Kravitz on September 15th, 2013 3:52 pm

    Our family has stopped shopping in Issaquah.

  7. Sally on September 16th, 2013 9:32 pm

    Those who have stopped shopping in Issaquah make me chuckle. I doubt they live in the downtown area anyway. Now the traffic might turn some away because it truly is horrid. But folks who can not adjust to the free paper bags, the five cent paper bags or the inexpensive fabric bags are cutting their noses to spite their faces. Use more gas, pollute more and pout. I truly hope nothing really serious comes your way where quick adjustments must be taken.

  8. Sally on September 16th, 2013 9:59 pm

    Smoley. I agree with your assessment of Rowleyville. But there are other reasons not to allow it. The city wants to go from 30,000 to 50,000 in order to get more fed money. And they try to sell itself as environmentally grand. The Safeway/target pave over was to not have to go anywhere else for anything. That area was a great wetlands. R-ville won’t help that shopping issue either whether or not we have plastic bags. And did anybody notice how the Bellevue smog is starting to come our way.

  9. Issaquah petition news items (Sept 2013) | Save Our Choice - ISSAQUAH & SHORELINE on September 18th, 2013 12:58 am

    […] Issaquah Press reports signature turn-in […]

  10. Terry C on October 1st, 2013 2:26 pm

    Yes. People should be given the right to VOTE on it, since this affects their daily lives and business community. It is about shopping or not and how to bring them home. It is about our trash bags and pet waste which we need daily and weekly.

    We can NOT appreciate City Government made the decision for us. They IMPOSE the law on us, and say “this is to MODIFY” your behavior, for “THE GREATER GOOD.”
    If this is the method, they should start making law for their FAMILY to begin with.

    Buy 1000 plastic bags from Amazon for $20. Never run out of shopping ban and trash bags.

    And come to: — I have articles and movies for you.

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