A big crowd filled the Yakima City Council chambers Tuesday as the council talked about and voted 4-3 to continue the discussion about a mayor-strong form of government. The council voted to have another discussion at the next meeting set for November 19.

If the council does ultimately support the change of a city charter it could appear on the February 2020 ballot. That's the first step toward creating a mayor-strong or mayor-council form of government. Voters rejected such a change in government in 2011.
The change of government is being proposed by Yakima Business Times Publisher Bruce Smith, Yakima County Commissioner Mike Leita and Pastor Dave Edler. Those in favor of the change say it would give voters throughout the city a voice in local politics through the strong mayor who would represent the entire city not just individual districts.
Opponents say the city is likely to face legal challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union which has vowed to defend the current voting system.

Council members Kathy Coffey, Jason White, Brad Hill and Holly Cousens voted in favor of continuing the discussion. Dulce Gutierrez, Kay Funk and Carmen Mendez voted no.