Final countdown to Election Day; unscientific poll gives Rec Center 56% Yes vote

Update, Nov. 5: The Sammamish Review has an unscientific poll that gives the Community Center a 72% passing vote as of 8am today.

Original Post:

There are just a few days left before the Nov. 6 election and for Sammamish, the big issue is the Community Center.

Here’s how I see it:

Our totally unscientific poll gives Proposition 1 a passing vote with a 55.73% margin. If this reflects the final vote tally, the City will be able to fairly consider this not only an endorsement of the Community Center but also of the plans to partner with the YMCA.

Remember, despite all the hand-wringing, the City owns the building and it’s a management contract that is awarded to the Y. The contract still has to be negotiated and citizens unhappy with the project can still attempt to pressure the City to craft a contract that rewards (ie, a profit share) the City for putting up 83% of the risk (ie, construction funds). The Y is putting up $5m in construction funds, another $1m for equipment and personnel services and it is leasing to the city a seven acre parcel for $1 a year for 50 years. The parcel is valued at $1.375m. So it’s not as if the Y won’t have some skin in the game.

If the final vote of Proposition 1 is closer, within 1%-2%, but approved, the City will have to decide if citizens are saying this deal is flawed and whether to put it to a Request for Proposals (which in my view should have been done to begin with). The Y deal may well be the best deal, but without an RFP, we’ll never know.

If the vote hands a loss to the City, within 1% or 2%, then it’s pretty clear that to move forward an RFP process should be followed. If the Council should elect to move forward with the Y anyway on this close vote, well, next year is a City Council election year and four Council Members are up for election: Tom Odell, John James, John Curley and Don Gerend. Curley said when he was elected three years ago he would only serve one term, and his attendance record and participation record in committees (both not exactly sterling) suggest this is still his plan. According to two council members, Gerend already has decided to run for reelection to a fourth term. James and Odell are also likely to seek reelection.

There has already been some talk of seeking a recall if the Council proceeds against the wishes of a negative vote, but with the Council elections in November 2013, this seems to be a superfluous exercise.

Initial vote results will be issued by King County around 8:15 pm on election night. This represents only the ballots received before Tuesday, and initially will indicate what many will consider a low turnout. In reality by the time the final vote is tallied in two weeks, the election night turnout figure will typically double.

In presidential election years, Sammamish typically has a turnout of 80%-85%. This year, with a hot governor’s race and several high-profile state ballot issues, I expect this number to be easily reached.

King County will update the vote totals daily (except weekends) beginning Wednesday around 4pm. The process takes about two weeks to allow for military ballots to arrive from overseas. Ballot mailings must be postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 6.

I’ll be posting the Tuesday night returns and returns for the balance of the week, and then final returns. Most votes will be in by Friday and the trend will be obvious by then.

However, having followed every Sammamish, state and national election since incorporation in 1998, I can tell you that election night results typically don’t change more than 1%-2% to the final tally. Unless the election night result is less than 1% between Y and N votes, we should know the outcome election night despite having only half the vote reported.

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