Fellow citizens sue activist opposing new Pierce County admin building

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PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. -- Almost everyday for nearly three weeks, Jerry Gibbs and his supporters have been getting Pierce County voters to sign a referendum that could stop plans for a new $127 million county administration building.

Gibbs’ referendum was nearly stopped when Pierce County sued him earlier this month. That suit was later dropped after a 4-3 council vote, but now he’s being sued again by private citizens, listed as Leslie Young and Anthony Miller.

“This is a distraction, and I have to take attention away from our day-to-day activities, and now I have to go hire other attorneys and answer subpoenas,” said Gibbs.

The new suit asks Gibbs to stop gathering signatures and challenges his referendum, but it isn’t stopping him for getting voters like Ed Duncan on his side.

“We don’t need the Taj Mahal," said Duncan. "We just now need to get together and say enough is enough, and money just needs to grow on trees."

Jim Amet supports the county’s new building but signed the referendum because he still wants voters to decide, which is why Gibbs said he will continue gathering signature lawsuit or not.

“What I’m disturbed about is the repression of the vote; why are there powerful people trying to stop this from getting on the ballot?” he asked.

Young tells Q13 FOX via e-mail that she and Miller will refer all questions to their attorney. Calls to the attorney were not returned. Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said in a statement the county had nothing to do with the most recent lawsuit, but said she applauded the citizens.

Supporters of the new county building have said time and time again, the plans will save the county money by consolidating services, an estimated $4 million a year.

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  • Andrew

    I don’t understand. On what grounds could the county or fellow citizens sue to stop him from gathering signatures for a referendum?

    • Kerry Hooks

      Because these two are from the Lincoln district where the building is supposed to be built and they want it there, despite the problems and the costs that are NOT being told to us.

    • Betsy Tainer

      In the Pierce County Charter (rules of engagement) they protect themselves from action on administrative (normal, daily business) from referendum. Because they found a way to fund this huge build (63/20 funding source) without a bond measure, and then taking it one step further and calling it a ‘lease’ (it’s a stretch), they are trying to claim that a referendum doesn’t apply to their $230,000,000 capital improvement project. It’s really a stretch. They don’t want our input. It’s dirty business.

  • Derek

    He has a legal right to collect signatures.
    We need to gather outside the peoples homes who are suing him. We need to exercise our second ammendment right when we are outside their homes.
    First amendment protects his right to gather signatures.
    Lets exercise our first and second amendments peacefully.
    Who the hell do these people think they are stopping someone from collecting signatures.

  • dg54321

    Pierce County is just as dirty as any other government entity. No surprise here; no lie or subterfuge too big for them.

  • Karen Monson

    This is no longer just about a building or about the wasteful use of taxpayer funds. This is about the rights of a citizen, who does not agree with something the Council is doing, getting a referendum, getting signatures and getting a vote. Whether you support this building or not, I believe Ms. McCarthy and some on the Council, want this to go to court.
    If a judge decides that it is not legal for a citizen to get a referendum on how our tax dollars are spent, then the Council has carte blanche from now on to spend whatever they want, so long as they don’t raise taxes right now and the People would have NO right to a vote. In this day and age, our right to ask for a vote will be taken away. This is voter supression of the worst kind. Whether you agree with this particular decision on the building or not, how would you feel if it was a 235 BILLION dollar building, or something you disagree with??? If these “citizens” and Ms. McCarthy get their way, you won’t ever be able to gather signatures if YOU don’t agree with how they are spending OUR money.
    Let me throw this out there, what if this is decided by a friendly to Ms. McCarthy judge, then they start the building, spend the 135 million (actually 235 mil with interest), then run out of funds before it is completed? Then they will LEGALLY be allowed to ask for a bond, and we, the voters they suppressed, will be FORCED to vote to raise taxes to FINISH the building. This is a strategy. If it is decided that we can’t get a referendum for a vote, there is nothing stopping ANY Council from spending whatever they want and then raising taxes to pay for it later, when it’s too late to say no. Either way, it is abhorrent to me that the voters would be supressed.

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