Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, September 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 49° Partly Cloudy

Election Center

Spokane Proposition 1, Community Bill of Rights

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.

Election results

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

Related coverage

Allen-Rush contest now within recount margin

The race between incumbent Councilman Richard Rush and former Councilman Mike Allen for Rush’s south Spokane City Council seat was sent within recount margins by counting on Tuesday. Only 92 votes now separate the two, and if the race remains within a half percentage point,…

Allen and Rush headed for recount? Prop 1 headed for defeat

A race for Spokane City Council inched closer to an automatic recount on Monday in the fourth day of ballot counting from the Nov. 8 election. Former Councilman Mike Allen’s lead over incumbent Richard Rush for a seat representing south Spokane fell by 17 votes…

2011 elections: Who’s spending what

OLYMPIA – Led by a multi-million dollar battle for who controls liquor sales in Washington, initiatives and candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot have spent more than $18 million on trying to sway voters in the last three weeks. This may come as no surprise…

Council stance unchanged on Community Bill of Rights

The Spokane City Council took another chance on Monday to critique Proposition 1, the Community Bill of Rights. Council members voted 6-1 to formally oppose the initiative, which appears on the November ballot. The rejection is no surprise. All the members of City Council already…

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.

Council may add two more questions on ‘Community Bill of Rights’

Spokane voters could get a hint from the Spokane City Council when deciding the fate of a citizens’ initiative on the November ballot. The Spokane City Council will consider on Monday the addition of two nonbinding questions for the November election. The two proposals would…

City Council may add ballot measures against Bill of Rights

The Spokane City Council will consider next week adding a pair of ballot measures to the Nov. 8 ballot to ask voters whether they want the city to cut programs or “pursue additional funding sources” if the Community Bill of Rights passes. For those not…

Sunday Spin: Get ready for Round 2 on Bill of Rights

Conspicuous by their absence last Monday were leaders of Greater Spokane Inc., 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…

Spokane GOP to oppose Community Bill of Rights

The Spokane County Republican Party voted this week to oppose a Spokane City Charter amendment going on the ballot in November. On Monday, the City Council voted to place the Community Bill of Rights on the Nov. 8 general election ballot after Envision Spokane, a…

Third state initiative makes Nov. 8 ballot

The third and final initiative in the blocks for the Nov. 8 election cleared the signature stage Monday night. Initiative 1163, which requires training and background checks for home health care workers, turned in some 340,000 signatures, which was a cushion of almost 100,000 over…

Community Bill of Rights, Round 2

Envision Spokane’s second attempt at a Community Bill of Rights may be the highlight of tonight’s Spokane City Council meeting. The council has a hearing set near the end of its regular 6 p.m. session for the proposal, which can be found here. Envision Spokane…

Envision Spokane turns in signatures for new ‘Bill of Rights’

Spokane voters may get a chance to consider a new list of proposals from Envision Spokane on the November ballot. Kai Huschke, campaign coordinator of Envision Spokane, said the group turned in signatures on Friday and Monday for its new version of the “Community Bill…

Envision Spokane will make second run at ‘Community Bill of Rights’

Representatives from Envision Spokane on Wednesday moved forward on their plan to offer city voters a new version of its “Community Bill of Rights.” In order to make the November ballot, the group will need to collect an amount of signatures from registered voters in…