Wenatchee did it. By convincing a court to shield it from those annoying petition-hawking citizens wanting to second-guess the City Council, Wenatchee has become a model for municipalities facing an inconvenient wave of public opinion. Wenatchee showed them the way.
Made it look easy, as a matter of fact. With an approving vote of the City Council, Wenatchee installed red-light cameras and signed a contract with an Arizona traffic-camera company to issue automated citations to red-light runners. Incensed citizen Matt Erickson filed Initiative No. 1, the first in the city’s history, to overturn the decision. The city, with an assist from the red-light camera company lawyers (this is not about the money!), went to Chelan County Superior Court asking that pesky Erickson be ordered to cease and desist and stick his petitions in some dark hole, never to be seen again. All this came before signatures had been collected or submitted. Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges agreed that Initiative No. 1 was beyond the scope of the people’s power, as it interfered with an act of the state Legislature, which vested the power to decide on red-light cameras with local legislative authority, the City Council in this case.