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King Co., Wash., to vote on smaller council

The Seattle Times reports: Brushing aside warnings that it could be courting a legal challenge, the Metropolitan King County Council voted yesterday to delay the effective date of a citizen initiative that would reduce the size of the council from 13 members to nine.

The changes, described by proponents as "technical" corrections to Initiative 18, will change language on the Nov. 2 ballot. If the initiative passes, the changes would push back the election of a smaller council from 2005 to 2007 and would restructure three regional committees.

Critics of the changes said they are substantive, not technical, and could leave the initiative vulnerable to legal claims that it improperly deals with more than one issue.

County Council President Larry Phillips, D-Seattle, defended the council action, saying, "The fundamental proposition is before the voters unchanged."

Phillips said there wouldn't be enough time to redistrict the council between the November vote on I-18 and the original redistricting deadline of the end of the year. -- Vote alters initiative on council size (Seattle Times)