New elections will be held for all seven Yakima City Council seats this year regardless of whether the city appeals a federal judge’s order requiring a new election system, council members said Monday. And the council will see at least two new faces. Councilmen Rick Ensey and Dave Ettl said Monday that they won’t seek re-election. With Friday looming as the deadline for appealing the judge’s ruling in the voting rights case with the American Civil Liberties Union, the City Council has scheduled a special meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday to decide on an appeal. If the city does appeal, the new system could eventually be thrown out, but council members said the city won’t stop the judge-ordered election.
Council members interviewed Monday said there has been no discussion of a request for a stay of the judge’s order. “I expect the system to be implemented this year,” said Ettl, an advocate for an appeal of the ruling. “There has never been any talk of a stay.”
Ensey and Councilwoman Maureen Adkison concurred with Ettl’s assessment. Adkison said the council had “reached an understanding” in executive session April 3 that an attempt to delay the new system was off the table. “The wheels are in motion,” Adkison said.