Issaquah City Council sends plastic bag ban to February vote

October 22, 2013

By Peter Clark

NEW — 2:45 p.m. Oct. 22, 2013

Voters will ultimately decide the fate of Issaquah’s plastic bag ban.

In a unanimous decision, the City Council approved a resolution to hold a special election Feb. 11 to ask voters whether a ban on plastic bags should continue.

“Over 60 percent of the citizens that contacted me were in favor of that ordinance,” Councilman Paul Winterstein said, defending his vote in favor of the original ban. “And I followed that duly and I take that very seriously. But we’re also a city of laws. I’m in favor of putting it in front of a vote, and I can accept whatever outcome that comes.”

The motion was in response to a King County petition submitted to the council by Save Our Choice, a West Seattle-based volunteer organization. The petition left the council with two options: the council could adopt the petition calling for a reversal of the bag ban or the petition could be directed to a vote of the people.

State law mandates 15 percent of registered voters, or 2,549, are needed for a valid petition. Save Our Choice collected 4,258 signatures on the petition; 2,626 were validated by King County Elections as registered voters in Issaquah.

The cost for a special election remains undetermined.

“King County Elections has indicated the estimated cost for the special election to be $43,000 to $47,000, plus $2,100 to $2,800 including voter’s pamphlet costs, which are optional,” according to an agenda bill attached to the resolution.

While all council members voted for the measure, some voiced consternation at the initiative process and the intervention from an organization outside the city.

“I fully support public involvement,” Councilman Joshua Schaer said. “But it strikes me as disproportionate that a petition led by interests outside our community can gather signatures from just 7 percent of our total population, causing us to spend $50,000 on a ballot measure. This experience might make us reflect whether the use of an initiative code is reasonable.”

Councilwoman Stacy Goodman concurred.

“I, too, was instrumental in delaying the vote because I felt it hadn’t had enough time to be out there in the public,” she said about the initial ordinance. “During those two months, I kept track and it was about 60 percent who supported the ban here in our community and not from other cities far away.”

A February vote would not overlap with a Klahanie annexation vote as only residents in that area would vote on the annexation and only Issaquah residents would vote on whether to continue the bag ban.

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5 Responses to “Issaquah City Council sends plastic bag ban to February vote”

  1. Ronald Keyser Jr. on October 23rd, 2013 1:31 am

    I still remember when we were told to please use plastic bags as using paper bags was killing trees and worse yet was putting pressure on the good old spotted owl . Of course now we know the spotted owl thing was a complete and total fiasco brought about by the environmental movement like global warming is now days.Still I find it funny that we were told using a paper bag was the worst thing you could possibly do for the world and the environment so we start to use the dreaded plastic bag then they tell us the plastic bag is no good and we are to go back to the paper bag which by the way is now twice as thick as it used to be and has now got a thick as all get up paper handle on both sides so what is it with people these days .It makes me want to go outside and build a big fire in my fire pit started with some lawn mower gas and burn some Styrofoam and think about this new bunch of hooey the powers that be are laying on us .

  2. Ganriel Dorta on October 23rd, 2013 8:30 am

    ‘disproportionate’? – You should never have enforced this upon us. Why didn’t Issaquah residents get to vote on it to begin with?

  3. Half Man Half Biscuit on October 23rd, 2013 11:33 am

    What’s with the fixation on Save Our Choice being in West Seattle? Is Issaquah not part of the greater Seattle community?

  4. Doug on October 24th, 2013 10:42 pm

    First of all the city did not have to vote for a special election. They could have repealed the ban if they had chose to. Instead they steal another 50k from the lowly taxpayer because they didn’t have any nads.

    Complaining about an outside group starting a petition is also a laugh.. Wasn’t it a resident of Sammamish that got this ban enacted to begin with? Can you say hypocrite? I can.

  5. Smoley on October 25th, 2013 10:06 am

    So this is going to cost the city (i.e. all of the taxpayers) up to $50,000 for an election?

    With $50,000 the city could have bought every man, woman, and child in Issaquah a reusable shopping bag to encourage alternatives to plastic and paper shopping bags and would have had money left over!

    I hope that our city government realizes that before it passes future “nanny” ordinances that a carrot usually works better than a stick to change human behavior and in the long run would very likely cost less money.

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