Josh Sutinen is 17. He can’t vote yet. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t having an effect on the politics of his hometown of Longview, Washington.
After his father’s second valiant if unsuccessful attempt to get into the Evergreen State’s House of Representatives, Josh became fascinated with political change. Conveniently, an issue soon darkened his town: Red light cameras.
Josh organized an initiative campaign to remove the red light cameras. Indeed, visitors to the family business, Sutinen Consulting, will sometimes find Josh manning the front desk — and then bringing another employee up from the back room (where they fix computers and do other technical things beyond my understanding) while he fields calls from major newspapers around the state, even around the country.
The campaign has been difficult; the powers that be in Longview (“The Planned City”) fought back. First they balked at giving the collected signatures to the county, to be counted. Then they even sued the petitioners — Josh Sutinen and Mike Wallin — to prevent the initiative from appearing on the ballot.
So the petitioners are fighting back. Josh is now preparing to gather signatures for an Initiative 2, which would prevent the city from suing citizens who draw up initiatives that challenge city policies.
Joining Josh is initiative guru Tim Eyman. Eyman has worked against red light cameras up north, and is enthusiastic about Longview’s second initiative as well, saying it is “exceptionally good policy and something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
I’ll keep you posted.
This is CommonSense. I’m Paul Jacob.