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In re Ballot Title Appeal of City of Seattle Initiatives 107-110

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1

September 2, 2014

In the Matter of the Ballot Title Appeal of City of Seattle Initiatives 107-110. In the Matter of the Ballot Title Appeal of City of Seattle Proposition No. 1B (Ordinance 124509). Yes for Early Success et al., Appellants ,
v.
The City of Seattle et al., Respondents

Oral Argument August 29, 2014

Reconsideration denied October 1, 2014.

Appeal fro King County Superior Court. Docket No: 14-2-08551-6. Date filed: 08/15/2014. Judge signing: Honorable Helen L Halpert.

Affirmed.

Eric D. " Knoll" Lowney and Claire E. Tonry (of Smith & Lowney PLLC ), for appellants.

Paul J. Lawrence, Gregory J. Wong, and Taki V. Flevaris (of Pacifica Law Group LLP ); Peter S. Holmes, City Attorney, and Gary T. Smith and John Benjamin Kerr Schochet, Assistants ; and Daniel T. Satterberg, Prosecuting Attorney for King County, and Janine E. Joly, Deputy, for respondents.

AUTHOR: Mary Kay Becker, J. WE CONCUR: Michael J. Trickey, J., Marlin Appelwick, J.

OPINION

[183 Wn.App. 381] Becker, J.

¶ 1 Yes for Early Success and Seattle voters Laura Chandler and Barbara Flye (collectively Yes for Early Success) appeal

Page 60

the trial court's August 15, 2014 order directing that the city of Seattle (City) and King County use a joint ballot title for two alternative measures concerning early childhood education.

¶ 2 Although Yes for Early Success designated its initiating document as a notice for discretionary review, it concedes that the challenged order " disposes of every appealable matter in the three consolidated cases, reserving ... only a statutory appeal of the ballot title for Ordinance 124509." We conclude that the challenged trial court order is a " Decision Determining Action" and therefore appealable under RAP 2.2(a)(3). See also RAP 5.1(c) (appellate court will treat notice for discretionary review of appealable order as a notice of appeal). Yes for Early Success has acknowledged that it has had a sufficient opportunity to submit briefing addressing the merits of an appeal.

[183 Wn.App. 382] ¶ 3 We agree with the trial court that RCW 29A.72.050(3) specifies the mandatory ballot title for the measures under the circumstances present here and controls over any conflicting provisions of the Seattle City Charter. Yes for Early Success's remaining claims do not establish reversible error. We therefore affirm.

FACTS

¶ 4 In March 2014, Yes for Early Success filed a petition for City of Seattle Initiative Measure 107 (I-107), " An Act relating to early learning and child care." Among other things, the initiative would establish a $15 minimum wage for child care teachers and staff, establish a city policy limiting child care costs to no more than 10 percent of income, prohibit violent felons from providing professional child care, and require enhanced training for child care teachers and staff. Sponsors eventually submitted sufficient signatures to present I-107 to the Seattle City Council (Council) in accordance with the city charter.

¶ 5 Following a session on June 23, 2014, including public comment, the Council rejected I-107 and adopted Seattle Ordinance 124509, submitting to voters what the Council referred to as an " alternative measure dealing with the same subject." Ordinance 124509 proposed a preschool plan that addressed, among other things, early learning funding, teacher compensation, teacher certification and training, affordability, and an oversight committee.

¶ 6 The city charter does not provide for initiatives directly to the people. All initiatives must be presented first to the council. Seattle City Charter art. IV, § 1(B). Under article IV, section 1(C) of the city charter, the Council

may enact, or reject, any initiative bill or measure, but shall not amend or modify the same. It may, however, after rejection of any initiative bill or measure, propose and pass ...

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