Pasco peppered with signs backing ballot propositions

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldSeptember 15, 2013 

citizens lifestyle prevention sign pasco vote election voting

Karl Walterskirchen, left, and Jan Tomlinson put up signs in west Pasco to raise support for two propositions by Citizens for Lifestyle Preservation. They hope to undo the recent annexation of so-called "donut hole" county areas in Pasco and change the city's government to one with a strong elected mayor.

KAI-HUEI YAU — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

PASCO -- It didn't take long for signs to go up for the November general election once the primary was over last month. But it's not a sign for a city council or school board position that's turning heads in Pasco.

Blue and white signs asking voters to support two city government propositions are popping up around the town. They read: "Protect Pasco Voting Rights: Vote Yes."

Jan Tomlinson, a member of the Citizens for Lifestyle Preservation group who lives on Road 60, said the signs are a reminder that 1,400 residents were annexed into Pasco on Jan. 1 without being allowed to vote on the move.

She said many residents of the unincorporated area known as the "doughnut hole" gave up their rights to oppose being annexed when they signed up to receive city utilities.

"If they want to have water, they have to sign away power of attorney giving them the right to vote on annexation," said Tomlinson, who is a resident of the recently annexed area. "A lot of people didn't know about that. They just went downtown to get city water."

The city council voted 5-2 last year to annex the area generally south of Argent Road between Road 100 to the west and Road 44 to the east and Sylvester and Court streets to the south. The move left the unincorporated area without enough people to form their own city to stop the annexation.

Annexation supporters say it's fair to ask people who are receiving city services to pay city taxes. And Pasco officials have said the annexed residents can keep their rural lifestyles.

Proposition 1 would do away with the annexation of 608 acres from earlier this year, as well as an annexation of 48 acres in 2009. Organizers turned in petitions in June with 1,842 signatures calling for the proposition.

Karl Walterskirchen, who designed the signs, said they also refer to Proposition 2, which would require Pasco to set up a system in which a mayor would lead the city government. Under the current system, an elected city council hires a city manager to manage the city's daily operations.

"The city treats the citizens really second class," said Walterskirchen, who believes the person running the city should be an elected position in order to make the person more responsive to the public.

The change in the form of government proposition was placed on the ballot after the lifestyle preservation group turned in 1,767 signatures on petitions.

All city voters will be able to vote on the two issues Nov. 5.

The group has ordered 100 signs and had placed 30 as of Thursday. Anyone interested in getting one of the signs can call 942-9357.

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