By Jack Mayne Although the Burien City Council failed on Monday to repeal the city sanctuary law or place it on the November ballot – apparently violating state law – there still may be a chance for the Council to do the right thing. City Manager Brian Wilson said on Wednesday (Aug. 2) that King County Elections likely would be able to place the issue on the ballot, adding that there are a number of confusing and conflicting problems with the current law that would permit adding the issue after the Aug. 1 deadline. “Once Initiative No. 1 was certified by King County Elections, the city was required to take one of two actions; either adopt the legislation as set forth in the initiative petition, or adopt a resolution requesting that it be placed on the general election ballot for November 7, 2017,” Wilson said in an email to this writer. Wilson said the “option to do nothing was considered by staff,” but it was rejected on advice of City Attorney Lisa Marshall and “the potential legal exposure to the city.” Wilson said state law “identifies the schedule and date by which the second option above must be taken, however there is a conflict in the governing statutes. The law that sets forth dates for the conduct of primaries and passage of resolutions placing measures on the general election ballot states that resolutions must be submitted to County Elections by August 1st. “However, in another area of the law, it states that the resolution must be submitted to county elections within 90 days of the general election, or no earlier than August 7th.” He said to “remove all doubt that the city acted in a timely manner, staff recommended options for the Council to consider; including passage of a resolution on July 31, 2017 to place Initiative 1 on the general election ballot.” City still exposed The city manager said that while King County Elections has indicated it will accept Resolution 395 if submitted on August 8, “the City is still exposed to legal risk and a potential legal challenge from a third party.” “If the Council does not take action on Initiative No. 1, a taxpayer may file a lawsuit against the city in Superior Court to obtain an order that an ‘election will take place for the purpose of voting upon the proposed ordinance if the court finds the petition to be sufficient.’” King County Elections certified the petition as having sufficient signatures on July 21. “As representatives of the Council, staff makes recommendations that minimize as much as possible the legal risk to the city,” Wilson said. “These recommendations were included in the agenda packet (Monday) evening.” He noted a motion “remains open on the Council floor to approve Resolution 395 at the August 7th Council meeting. “At this time, we are preparing for the meeting and providing additional information to Council for consideration prior to the August 7th Council meeting.”]]>

Senior Reporter Jack Mayne passed away in December, 2021. In his honor we have created the Jack Mayne Journalism Scholarship.

3 replies on “City Manager: Nov. election still possible to attempt sanctuary ordinance repeal”

  1. I really, really hope Burien votes on the ordinance in the November election, and not in February. In Feb, there will likely be some type of a school levy. The last levy for operations was three years ago, and the levy had a duration of three years. Given the uncertainty about whether the state budget actually meets McCleary guidelines, it is hard to know just what the levy will include. However, it will be vastly simpler if the school levy is not on the ballot at the same time as the sanctuary city ordinance.

  2. Dear Jack:
    Would you even admit the possibility that this statement, at the top of this article (caps mine):

    Although the Burien City Council failed on Monday to repeal the city sanctuary law or place it on the November ballot – apparently violating state law – there still may be a chance for the Council to DO THE RIGHT THING.

    crosses the line between reporting and editorializing? It’s clear that a substantial amount of people don’t think it IS the “right thing,” even though others do.
    Maybe a better choice of wording might be “there still may be a chance for the Council to comply with what one section of the law considers its legal requirement.”
    Otherwise, nice job in pointing out the apparent contradictions in the laws.

    1. Point well taken. It was not intended to be editorial, but I see now that it could “cross the line” and be considred a personal or editorial comment. I regret my use of that phrase.

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