Global Neighborhood v. Respect Wash.

Decision Date29 January 2019
Docket NumberNo. 35528-4-III,35528-4-III
Citation434 P.3d 1024
CourtWashington Court of Appeals
Parties GLOBAL NEIGHBORHOOD; Refugee Connections of Spokane; Spokane Chinese Association ; Asian Pacific Islander Coalition – Spokane; Spokane Chinese American Progressives; and the Spokane Area Chapter of the National Organization of Women, Respondents, v. RESPECT WASHINGTON, Appellant, Vicky Dalton, Spokane County Auditor, in Her Official Capacity; and the City of Spokane, Respondents.

Richard M. Stephens, Stephens & Klinge LLP, 601 108th Ave. Ne Ste. 1900, Bellevue, WA, 98004-4376, for Appellant.

Richard Kirk Eichstaedt, Gonzaga University School of Law, 721 N Cincinnati St., Spokane, WA, 99202-2021, Dan L. Catt, Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, 1100 W Mallon Ave., Spokane, WA, 99260-2043, Nathaniel Odle, Office of the Spokane City Attorney, 808 W Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane, WA, 99201-3333, for Respondents.

PUBLISHED OPINION

Fearing, J.

¶ 1 In this well briefed and astutely argued appeal by both sides, we face the intimidating and humbling task of classifying, as either administrative or legislative, a city initiative that authorizes without restriction city employees to question individuals as to immigration status. This classification determines the eligibility of the initiative for vote by the people of Spokane. The appeal raises other issues, including the mootness of the suit after the city council amended a city ordinance referenced in the initiative, the standing of challengers to obtain an injunction removing the initiative from the ballot, the imposition of a statute of limitations to a suit challenging a proposed initiative, the application of laches to preclude a suit challenging an initiative, the legality of the initiative in light of state and federal law, and the implication of the initiative backers’ First Amendment rights. Because the proposed initiative arises from an administrative framework, because the initiative entails directions to city employees, because the initiative meddles in the administration of the city’s police force and may interfere in effective law enforcement, and because the initiative runs contrary to state, if not, federal law, we declare the initiative administrative in nature. We affirm the trial court’s grant of an order enjoining placement of the initiative on the ballot.

FACTS

¶ 2 This appeal concerns the validity of "Proposition 1," a proposed City of Spokane initiative originally scheduled for placement on the November 2017 ballot. The gist of the initiative would allow Spokane city employees, including law enforcement officers, to question without any restriction individuals about their immigration status and citizenship status, permit employees to assemble information on residents’ immigration status, and share the information with others. The background to the lawsuit precedes the filing of the initiative and begins with state law and continues with Spokane Police Department internal policy and Spokane ordinances adopted by the Spokane City Council. We review, but heavily redact for purposes of shortening an already lengthy opinion, state law, police department policy, and city ordinances before identifying the history and content of Proposition 1.

¶ 3 We begin with some background to the challengers of Proposition 1, which challengers initiated this declaratory suit to declare Proposition 1 invalid. Plaintiff Global Neighborhood, a nonprofit organization, operates under the mission statement to " ‘provide former refugees with opportunities for holistic development.’ " Clerk’s Papers (CP) at 7. Global Neighborhood serves former refugees living in the city of Spokane by engaging in activities aimed at improving quality of life, such as providing employment at a thrift shop it owns and operates.

¶ 4 Plaintiff Refugee Connections of Spokane, also a nonprofit organization, develops projects, programs, and resources that benefit refugees and immigrants and their communities in Spokane. In support of the suit, Amina Abdul-Fields, Chair of the Board of Directors of Refugee Connections, submitted a declaration. Abdul-Fields averred that Refugee Connections’ many services to refugees and immigrants include the Harvest Project, Patient Passports, and Interpreter Training. The organization promotes civic engagement through police potlucks, law and justice workshops, and the World Refugee Day Celebration. Refugee Connections understands that many immigrants arrive from nations wherein authority symbolizes a threat. The law and justice workshop seeks to foster a positive view of the United States legal system, explain how the American criminal justice system functions, identify key civil liberties, and provide written information on where to seek assistance in protecting those rights.

¶ 5 Amina Abdul-Fields declared that members of the immigrant and refugee community served by Refugee Connections will become targeted and injured by changes to law enforcement profiling resulting from the passage of Proposition 1. The immigrant community will be subjected to additional stops by Spokane police officers solely on the basis of the person’s appearance, accent, or mannerisms. Increased contact with law enforcement based solely on immigration status will increase fear and reluctance on the part of refugees to contact police or seek protections from the legal system. Abdul-Fields concluded that adoption of Proposition 1 will challenge Refugee Connections’ ability to serve the immigrant and refugee community.

¶ 6 Spokane Chinese Association, a nonprofit association, was formed by people of Chinese cultural heritage residing in the Spokane area. The organization strives to advance communication and friendship among its members and to enrich their lives and local culture by organizing activities related to Chinese culture or common interests. The plaintiff Asian Pacific Islander Coalition—Spokane promotes equitable access to culturally competent and linguistically accessible health and human services, economic development for small businesses, civil and human rights, and equal access to education for Asian Pacific Americans, including immigrants, refugees, and citizens.

¶ 7 Each plaintiff organization contends it serves members of the community that will be adversely targeted by changes to law enforcement profiling resulting from the passage of Proposition 1. We refer to the plaintiffs collectively as "Global Neighborhood."

¶ 8 The parties agree that this appeal poses no direct question as to whether city employees’ seeking and sharing of the immigration status of individual constitutes racial profiling. Nevertheless, this appeal in part embodies the relationship between racial profiling and enforcing immigration law. Global Neighborhood claims that Proposition 1 promotes racial profiling. RCW 43.101.410, enacted in 2002, directs local law enforcement agencies to address racial profiling. The statute declares, in part:

(1) Local law enforcement agencies shall comply with the recommendations of the Washington association of sheriffs and police chiefs regarding racial profiling, as set forth under (a) through (f) of this subsection. Local law enforcement agencies shall:
(a) Adopt a written policy designed to condemn and prevent racial profiling;
(b) Review and audit their existing procedures, practices, and training to ensure that they do not enable or foster the practice of racial profiling;
(c) Continue training to address the issues related to racial profiling. Officers should be trained in how to better interact with persons they stop so that legitimate police actions are not misperceived as racial profiling;
(d) Ensure that they have in place a citizen complaint review process that can adequately address instances of racial profiling. The process must be accessible to citizens and must be fair. Officers found to be engaged in racial profiling must be held accountable through the appropriate disciplinary procedures within each department;
(e) Work with the minority groups in their community to appropriately address the issue of racial profiling; and
(f) Within fiscal constraints, collect demographic data on traffic stops and analyze that data to ensure that racial profiling is not occurring.

In explaining the 2002 law, the legislature declared:

[R]acial profiling is the illegal use of race or ethnicity as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle with or without a legal basis under the United States Constitution or Washington [S]tate Constitution.

LAWS OF 2002 ch. 14, § 1(1) (emphasis added).

The legislature recognizes that the president of the United States has issued an executive order stating that stopping or searching individuals on the basis of race is not an effective law enforcement policy, that it is inconsistent with democratic ideals, especially the commitment to equal protection under the law for all persons, and that it is neither legitimate nor defensible as a strategy for public protection.

LAWS OF 2002 ch. 14, § 1(2).

¶ 9 We move to policies and ordinances of the city of Spokane, Washington State’s second city with a 2017 estimated population of 217,300. The Spokane City Council delegated the authority to adopt police department policy to the city police department and its chief. Spokane Municipal Code (SMC) 3.10.010(B)(1) provides:

The chief of police administers the Spokane police department and the police reserve force and has the authority to make rules and issue orders for the proper functioning of the division, consistent with law, council policy, and the rules of civil service commission.

¶ 10 Presumably to comply with RCW 43.101.410, the Spokane Police Department adopted policies 402 and 428. Policy 402 reads, in part:

Bias-Based Policing
402.1 PURPOSE AND SCOPE
This policy provides guidance to department members and establishes appropriate controls to ensure that employees of the Spokane Police Department do not engage
...

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    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • November 14, 2022
    ...and whether the initiative prescribes a new policy or merely pursues or implements a plan already adopted. Glob. Neigh. v. Respect Wash. , 7 Wash. App. 2d 354, 394 434 P.3d 1024, rev. denied , 193 Wash.2d 1019, 448 P.3d 69 (2019). ¶35 RHA challenges parts six through eight on the basis that......
  • State v. Britt
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • April 13, 2020
    ...253, 692 P.2d 793 (1984). Generally, we will not review a moot question. Global Neighborhood v. Respect Wash., 7 Wn.App. 2d 354, 375, 434 P.3d 1024 (citing Citizens for Financially Responsible Gov't v. City of Spokane, 99 Wn.2d 339, 350, 662 P.2d 845 (1983)), review denied, 193 Wn.2d 1019; ......
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    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • April 13, 2020
    ...253, 692 P.2d 793 (1984). Generally, we will not review a moot question. Global Neighborhood v. Respect Wash., 7 Wn. App. 2d 354, 375, 434 P.3d 1024 (citing Citizens for Financially Responsible Gov't v. City of Spokane, 99 Wn.2d 339, 350, 662 P.2d 845 (1983)), review denied, 193 Wn.2d 1019;......
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    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • September 9, 2019
    ...RCW 29A.72.180. This court recently considered an identical argument in Global Neighborhood v. Respect Washington, 7 Wn. App. 2d 354, 434 P.3d 1024 (2019). There, on February 22, 2016, the Spokane City Council placed Proposition 1 on the November 2017 ballot. Id. at 369. Global Neighborhood......
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