With just four weeks until ballots begin to arrive in Mountlake Terrace mailboxes for the April 23 election, a group in opposition of Proposition 1, the $25 million bond measure to build a new civic center, is gearing up its MLT No Prop 1 campaign with doorbelling, more signs and a new website and new Facebook page.
While organizers describe the group as a loose-knit collection of local residents and taxpayers, members are taking their campaign seriously, registering with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission, recruiting volunteers and collecting donations.
Leonard French, one of the group’s founders, said he is finding plenty of opposition around town to Proposition 1, and that fundraising has been easier than he expected it to be. “It’s not hard when you walk around. I get money in five- and 10-dollar increments,” French said.
Others are supporting the MLT No Prop 1 in other ways. French used the example of the group’s volunteer web page designer: “He said, you know what, we’ve got five kids. I can’t afford to give you any money. But, I’ll tell you what, I will take four signs and plant them.” He then offered his website design services at no charge, French said.
The group is using 120 political signs left over from the No Prop 1 campaign last year, when the proposal appeared on the August 2012 ballot but failed to garner the necessary 60-percent approval. The group has another 400 signs on order.
While the word “NO” is prominent on the political signs, the group is pushing a message of opposition to the current $25 million bond proposal, but is not necessarily against building a new city hall. “We’re not just obstructionists, or against everything. What we want is something the city can afford that solves our problem,” French said. “And our problem right now is city hall fell down.”
Passage of Proposition 1 would authorize the city to sell $25 million is municipal bonds for the specific purpose of using the funds to build a new city hall to replace the one razed in 2008 after part of its ceiling collapsed. In addition, the measure would expand the current police station, add some upgrades to the library, and create a civic campus connecting it all at 232nd Street Southwest and 58th Avenue West.
The MLT No Prop 1 group is pushing for a defeat of the bond measure, then a restructured proposal that would cost Mountlake Terrace homeowners less. French said he believes a new city hall could be built at a lower cost than current city estimates. “We want a number that’s smaller,” he said.
City figures estimate passage of Proposition 1 would raise the average Mountlake Terrace homeowner’s property taxes $11.47/month after two years. “Twelve dollars a month; I”m telling you, there are young families who have three or four kids that live in your neighborhood, that live in my neighborhood; there are older people on fixed incomes; you tell them 12 dollars a month , $130, $140 dollars a year, you’re going to add to their mortgage payment or to what they have to pay to live there, it’s not insignificant money,” French emphasized.
“There might be wealthy people in this town, but I don’t run around with them,” he added.
The MLT No Prop 1 group has registered with the state’s Public Disclosure Committee as Citizens Against Prop. 1. The group’s Facebook page is here.