The Yakima City Council on Tuesday formally abandoned its effort to stay this year’s elections under a new court-ordered system. However, the council did vote to file a limited appeal of the $1.8 million in legal costs awarded by the same court to the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, which sued to change city elections under the federal Voting Rights Act. The appeal only seeks to preserve Yakima’s right to challenge the award or seek its own costs if the city wins its appeal in the 9th Circuit Court. Both motions were passed unanimously.
Last month, the 9th Circuit Court remanded Yakima’s request for a stay of this year’s elections back to the Eastern District Court of Washington to determine which court had jurisdiction over such a request. That effectively dashed the city’s hopes of getting a stay as ballots for the election had gone to the printing press and are to be mailed a week from today. “Good or bad, the opportunity has moved on,” Councilman Dave Ettl said.
Council members Kathy Coffey and Rick Ensey have voted against previous motions related to appeals in the case, but both said they supported the limited appeal regarding legal costs as a housekeeping decision to protect the city’s interests. “It’s to protect our rights if some decision is made that would lower the bill,” Ensey said.