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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

May 14, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Park District ballot title challenged

An affordable housing group will file suit tomorrow over the ballot title for creation of a new parks district. The group argues that the ballot title drafted by the City Attorney’s Office for the August primary  doesn’t tell voters they are deciding whether to create a new, permanent taxing authority.

“Unlike a parks levy lasting 6 to 8 years that voters can review and vote to renew or not, once the parks district is created, citizens give up their right to vote on future tax hikes. No where in the title is this even hinted at,” said John Fox, director of the Seattle Displacement Coalition.

Fox said said the ballot title description makes creation of an independent, municipal corporation with broad power to raise taxes sound like “a trivial administrative change.”

An affordable housing group will file suit tomorrow over the ballot title for creation of a new parks district. The group argues that the ballot title drafted by the City Attorney’s Office for the August primary doesn’t tell voters they are deciding whether to create a new, permanent taxing authority.

“Unlike a parks levy lasting 6 to 8 years that voters can review and vote to renew or not, once the parks district is created, citizens give up their right to vote on future tax hikes. No where in the title is this even hinted at,” said John Fox, director of the Seattle Displacement Coalition.

Fox said said the ballot title description makes creation of an independent, municipal corporation with broad power to raise taxes sound like “a trivial administrative change.”

City leaders say the current levy didn’t raise enough money to address about $270 million in maintenance backlog or  fully fund community center hours and programs. The money would also go to develop and maintain some new parks.

Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: Displacement Coalition, seattle city council, Seattle Parks District

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