Klahanie area annex to Issaquah too close to call: Yes leads by six votes on election night

Residents of the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area are evenly split whether to annex to Issaquah; the Yes vote leads by only six votes on election night, making the election too close to call and creates the possibility of a recount.

For Annexation: 1,168, or 50.13%

Against Annexation: 1,162, or 49.87%

Based on my history of participating in elections from 1998-2011 in campaigns and watching voting trends, election night results haven’t varied by more than 1% from the final results, posted about two weeks later. This vote will likely be too close to call for days to come and may require a recount.

The vote is a cliff-hanger for Issaquah and the City of Sammamish. Issaquah is counting on the annexation to give it greater bonding indebtedness and to spread its current debt across the PAA. Issaquah was damaged in its fight with the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, when public documents and a highly public dispute revealed Issaquah’s government wanted to inject storm water into a treatment area near a drinking aquifer that the District believed would be inadequately filtered. Issaquah was caught cyber-squatting the District’s websites. Further, Issaquah’s history of demonstrating it couldn’t be trusted with respect to Klahanie was revealed, including a signed Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Issaquah Mayor to turn over the PAA to Sammamish, only to renege a short time later.

For Sammamish, the City Council salivates over the prospect of annexing Klahanie and City Council members campaigned actively to kill the annexation.

Sammamish city officials promised the 10,000-resident Klahanie area tens of millions of dollars in road and parks improvements and pledges of a more sensitive and representative government, better police protection and other services.

On the surface, Sammamish may have had the better case. But hardball tactics threatening to close the fire station 82, more commonly known as the Klahanie fire station, during its bitter negotiations with the Eastide Fire and Rescue District, and a ham-handed last minute effort in the State Legislature to deny annexation transition funds to Issaquah, offended PAA residents. The outcome of the election may well hinge on this last minute tactic and how last minute voters react to it.

Sammamish Councilman Don Gerend objected to our post over the weekend that included a report that four Sammamish city council members were doorbelling in Klahanie against the annexation; he says only one was doorbelling, which is contrary to what we were told by another city council member.

Gerend, a member of the Klahanie Choice anti-annexation group, also objected to our criticism of the city’s tactic supporting a bill in the Legislature seeking to deny funding to Issaquah to ease the transition of the annexation. The Seattle Times has this story, noting that Gerend and Sammamish Mayor Tom Vance testified in favor of the bill.

The Vance-Gerend testimony, and Sammamish’s hand in the bill, will no doubt futher sour already testy relations with Issaquah, and it is an inauspicious start to Vance’s term as mayor.

The King County Elections division will update voting daily in the late afternoon. Election results are scheduled to be certified February 25 if a recount proves unneeded.

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