Sometimes right does triumph

October 14th, 2019 by Ken

Every once in awhile, the ant does move the rubber tree plant, the ram does punch a hole in the dam, and Lenny Greenstein wins a battle in the Lacey City Council.

Last week the Lacey council decided not to adopt a resolution opposed to Initiative 976, Tim Eyman’s latest move to limit car tab taxes to $30.  City council after city council, around the entire western portion of Washington, had been coming out in opposition to the initiative.  Even the Olympia City Council opted to join the fray and oppose the state measure.

Lacey was all set to follow suit.  It had been adopting resolutions in favor or opposed to state initiatives for decades.  Former councilmember Ann Burgman, had opposed the city doing such a thing.  “We shouldn’t be telling the residents of Lacey how to vote, on a measure they will be voting on,” Burgman had said.  She went on to say that individually councilmembers could support or oppose a state initiative, but they shouldn’t speak for all residents of Lacey.  That’s up to the voters to decide.  Burgman always voted no.

When Lenny Greenstein joined the city council about eight years ago.  He took up the battle.  He too was opposed to the city endorsing or opposing state initiatives. And he has held that position, even on initiatives he supported.  He was always on the losing side. So, when the Lacey council put the item on its agenda, Greenstein held out little hope.  Andy Ryder, the city’s mayor, had four votes in his pocket and could push through any item he wanted.  Ryder wanted to oppose Eyman’s initiative.

After public testimony, (which is required if the council is to take a vote), the mayor called for the question.   Greenstein abstained, so did Jason Hearn, who usually agreed that the council shouldn’t take a position.  But, joining them this time was Lynda Zeman, the newest member of the council and who is seeking her first elective office.

Ryder slammed down his gavel, said the motion passed and started to move on.  Greenstein called his attention to the fact that only three votes were in favor.  It takes four.  One of Ryder’s votes, was not in attendance.  Michael Steadman was not present for the meeting.

The motion failed.  The City of Lacey would not be in opposition to Initiative 976.

Greenstein’s actions were so unusual that he was interviewed on KIRO radio.

Sometimes it pays to keep beating your head on the wall until someone listens.

Posted in History, Local Politics


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