Pierce Transit board names new statement writers
Robert “The Traveller” Hill won’t be helping write the official statement opposing Pierce Transit’s proposed sales tax increase.
The transit board has named a new three-member committee to write the statement, and the controversial Tacoma gadfly isn’t on it.
He withdrew his name from consideration Monday, before board members officially reconsidered their selection.
Hill, who is set to spend more than two years behind bars after a recent conviction for intimidating a judge and causing a scene at a local bar, was named to the committee earlier this month, along with Ken Paulson of Tacoma.
They were the only two people who applied. Paulson said he wouldn’t work with Hill.
The transit board decided to reconsider its picks after several more people expressed interest in joining the committee.
During a special meeting Monday, board members selected Paulson, Nick Sherwood of the Puyallup area and Ken Kady of Spanaway.
They were chosen based on the order in which they submitted their names. Six other people also asked to be considered.
The committee’s “against” statement will appear in the voters pamphlet for the November election. Pierce Transit is seeking a 0.3 percent sales tax increase. The agency says it would maintain bus service for those who depend on it and increase schedules on the busiest routes.
State law limits to three the number of people who can serve on committees writing the “for” and “against” statements. But it doesn’t provide other guidance, including what qualifies or disqualifies a writer.
Some board members indicated Monday that this puts them in a bind.
“The law is very vague here,” said Pat McCarthy, a transit board member and Pierce County’s executive, noting that she feels it should be changed.
McCarthy previously said the board “erred on the side of freedom of speech” when it originally selected Hill to help write the ballot statement.
“What we have learned is that the state statute that guides this is flawed,” said fellow board member Rick Talbert, who sits on the Pierce County Council.