Writ of Mandamus filed Monday over alleged Home Rule Charter violations
Ken Vance, editor
Today marked a crucial step in the pursuit of justice as a Writ of Mandamus was filed against Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Golik in the Superior Court of the State of Washington, Skamania County. The move was initiated by Rob Anderson with Reform Clark County, the sponsor of the proposed “Initiative To Restore Election Confidence.”
At the heart of the legal action is the alleged abuse of power by the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Without providing detailed clarification, the prosecuting attorney declared the proposed “Restore Election Confidence” initiative (filed Dec. 19) prohibited from the ballot, sidestepping the explicit provisions of the Home Rule Charter according to Anderson.
“This action raises concerns about the arbitrary insertion from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to stifle citizens’ rights granted by the Charter, and the State Constitution, to propose initiatives,’’ read a statement Anderson provided to Clark County Today Monday (Jan. 8).
What began as a claim that the initiative would “amend state or federal law” transformed into a prohibition based on an alleged violation of the “one subject” requirement.
“The lack of specificity in their reasons has fueled skepticism about the true motivations behind prohibiting the initiative,’’ Anderson’s statement read. “The original explanation from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on December 21st included a statement that indicated that, even though they improperly determined a legal review on the initiative, they weren’t sure what was being submitted with ‘although it’s not entirely clear what you are requesting.’’’
According to Anderson, the Prosecuting Attorney’s office cited unrelated firearm RCWs (9.41.290) as justification for preemption and refused to give clarifying examples of why they viewed the proposed initiative to be disqualified from the ballot, creating confusion and contributing to the perceived arbitrary nature of their decision. For example, when shifting arguments in the second letter issued on Jan. 2 stating that they believed the initiative had more than one subject they wrote, “Your documents contain at least three different subjects” without stating what those differing subjects could be or the legal justification of such an opinion.
“At the crux of the matter is the glaring absence of any consideration for the Clark County Home Rule Charter in the Prosecuting Attorney’s responses,’’ Anderson said in his statement. “The Charter grants a degree of autonomy and explicitly grants citizens of Clark County the power to propose initiatives, and the refusal to abide by its procedures underscores a potential abuse of power.’’
Anderson believes his decision to file a Writ of Mandamus emphasizes the need for legal intervention to ensure adherence to the Home Rule Charter. The writ aims to compel Golik to follow the established procedures and provide detailed justifications for prohibiting the proposed initiative.
“The Home Rule Charter and people’s right for direct government action is what’s at stake,’’ Anderson said. “The Charter precisely spells out the legal review process and what they can review, only the subject of the proposed initiative. Yet knowing this, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office just made up new powers for themselves and ignored the Charter altogether.”
As the legal proceedings unfold, Anderson remains committed to holding the Prosecuting Attorney’s office accountable for what he perceives as an overreach of power. The Writ of Mandamus seeks to restore faith in the process and ensure that citizens are not deprived of their rightful voice in shaping local governance.
Reform Clark County is a group of over 3,000 people who want reforms that bring local government and agencies more in line with how our Constitutional Republic ought to function here in Clark County. To learn more and join this effort go to www.reformclarkcounty.com
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