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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane Proposition 1, Community Bill of Rights

Election Results

Option Votes Pct
No 28,806 50.89%
Yes 27,793 49.11%

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.

About The Measure

This is the second version of the Community Bill of Rights to come before Spokane voters. The first was soundly rejected at the polls in 2009.

The proposal was brought to the ballot by Envision Spokane, a coalition of union, environmental and human rights activists.

The new list is significantly shorter than the first with only four items.

Part 1 would give neighborhood residents who are registered voters veto power over any rezoning of land in their neighborhood if the rezoning involved commercial or industrial development larger than 10,000 square feet or residential development with more than 20 units. Developers of such projects would have to collect signatures from a majority of registered voters of a neighborhood in order to move ahead with the project.

Part 2 declares that the Spokane River, its tributaries and the aquifer “possess inalienable rights to exist and flourish,” and the city or any citizen could sue any entity that violates that right.

Part 3 declares that workers “in unionized workplaces shall possess the right to collective bargaining.”

Part 4 stipulates that corporations would “not be deemed as ‘persons’ ” and could not interfere with the enforcement of the Community Bill of Rights.

The last part, supporters admit, contradicts rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court and is meant to challenge case law that gives protections to corporations.

Supporters say it would give neighborhoods power in choosing their destinies and argue that the extra requirement to get neighbor support is reserved only for the kind of development changes that would significantly change the quality of life of the surrounding area. They say current environmental regulations aren’t enough to protect the river and often are successfully challenged or watered down. Further, they say the Bill of Rights fights back against corporations, who have gained too much control over the political system.

Opponents, however, say the Community Bill of Rights is a recipe for expensive, budget-crushing lawsuits both against the city and against businesses, in part, because it doesn’t define what might be a violation of the river’s right to flourish and, more obviously, the proposal’s blatant contradiction with existing case law on corporations. They also say the rezoning rules would add needless bureaucracy to expanding businesses, which would simply move and create jobs somewhere else.

Once again, the proposal hasn’t gained the backing of any elected city leader, though it does have the endorsement of the Spokane Regional Labor Council.

Complete Coverage

Allen-Rush contest now within recount margin


Incumbents slide, try to explain shift

Many of those elected Tuesday to serve in Spokane City Hall were the most outspoken ahead of the election that Proposition 1 would doom the economy. But the same electorate that chose those candidates also decided to give Proposition 1 – the Community Bill of Rights – a fighting chance. The ballot measure is still too close to call, although it lost ground in counting on Wednesday.

Many candidates, issues familiar from past ballots

Washington voters checking their ballots this weekend for the first time may feel a sense of déjà vu. They voted last year on proposals to get the state out of the liquor business, and in 2008 to require more training for home health care workers. And while it isn’t immediately clear from the ballot language, the initiative on road and bridge tolls resurrects some of last year’s initiative requiring supermajorities in the Legislature.

Millions spent for initiatives in final push

OLYMPIA – Led by a multimillion dollar battle over liquor sales in Washington, initiatives and candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot have spent more than $18 million to sway voters in the past three weeks. This may not surprise state residents who can’t turn on the television without seeing firefighters argue whether voters’ lives will be better or worse if state-run liquor stores go away. Other state initiative campaigns have their own TV messages, and campaigns are filling mailboxes with mailers.

2011 elections: Who’s spending what


Scaled-back Bill of Rights still packs in issues

Much is different and much is the same in Envision Spokane’s second attempt to get voters to approve a version of its Community Bill of Rights. Its proposal on the November ballot is significantly scaled down. Instead of the nine rights the group floated in its failed 2009 citizen initiative, this list only includes four.

County edits shelter proposal

A proposal to build a new regional animal shelter will be a ballot “measure,” not a “proposition,” in the Nov. 8 general election. Spokane County commissioners approved a new designation Tuesday to distinguish their property tax levy from Spokane’s citizen-proposed Proposition 1.

Clark: Make Spokane Better ideas include the falls, police card

Maestro, may I have an eggroll, please. I’m in a festive mood today. That’s because it’s time to hand out prizes for the best pipe dreams submitted to my Make Spokane Better contest.

Editorial: Council fair in deciding not to add ballot items

The Spokane City Council made an equitable decision in deciding Monday night to forgo adding two ballot questions that relate to Envision Spokane’s proposal to enshrine a Community Bill of Rights in the charter. This is Envision Spokane’s second attempt, though it is scaled back from the 2009 ballot measure. This version would grant individuals rights to neighborhood protections against development, collective bargaining for laborers and a clean river and aquifer. It also precludes corporations from infringing on these rights.

City won’t add two ballot questions

Voters will have to make a decision on a proposed citizens initiative without the observations of elected city leaders on the same ballot. The Spokane City Council on Monday rejected a proposal to add two questions to the November ballot that City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin described as red flags about the initiative that also will be decided in the election.

Councilwoman wants Prop 1 advisories on November ballot

Spokane voters could get a hint from the Spokane City Council when deciding the fate of a citizens initiative on the November ballot. The City Council will consider on Monday the addition of two nonbinding questions for the November election. The two proposals would ask voters how the council should respond to Envision Spokane’s Community Bill of Rights if it’s approved: raise taxes or cut services.

Spin Control: Bill of Rights back, and fight awaits

Conspicuous by their absence last Monday were leaders of Greater Spokane Incorporated, when the City Council voted to place the latest version of a Community Bill of Rights before voters. That shouldn’t be taken as a sign the business community is okey-dokey with the ballot measure.

Third state initiative makes Nov. 8 ballot


‘Bill of Rights’ to be on ballot

Spokane voters will be asked again this fall whether they want to add a “Community Bill of Rights” to the City Charter. The Spokane City Council voted unanimously to place the initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot, although not before some council members said they disagree with its content.