Supporters of a ballot initiative to force City Hall to focus more on getting people off the street can begin collecting signatures Thursday, after clearing a hurdle in King County Superior Court.
“Compassion Seattle,” the campaign to change Seattle’s city charter temporarily and require city leaders to spend more on homelessness and human services, open more housing or shelter spaces for people and then make an effort to keep public spaces clear of encampments, needs more than 33,000 signatures from Seattle voters to get on the November ballot.
The measure, sponsored by leaders in the business community, has garnered some support from major homelessness nonprofits.
But earlier this month, before Compassion Seattle could begin gathering signatures, a small group of grassroots organizers and nonprofits filed a petition to change the wording that would appear on voters’ ballots this November. They also launched a campaign last week called “House Our Neighbors” to persuade Seattleites to vote “no” on the charter amendment, arguing it doesn’t provide new funding sources and could give whoever is elected mayor in November an excuse to push homeless campers out of sight.
On Tuesday, King County Superior Court Judge Brian McDonald made only a few minor edits to the ballot language, and allowed the campaign to go forward with signature gathering. Campaign leaders have until June 25 to get enough signatures.