The water wars between the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District and Issaquah were entertaining. Despite the City of Sammamish watching this war, and becoming involved as an interested party, Sammamish city officials couldn’t resist approaching the Northeast Sammamish Sewer and Water District to invite a “discussion” about assuming the district.
To keep the players straight, here are the references we’ll use going forward:
Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District: “Plateau”.
City of Issaquah: “Issaquah”.
City of Sammamish: “City”.
Northeast Sammamish Sewer and Water District: “Northeast”.
Citizens for Sammamish: “C4S”.
Northeast went tilt over the City’s overture. Obviously having watched what was going on between Plateau and Issaquah, and the latter’s hostile takeover attempt of part of the Plateau’s assets and district, Northeast was paranoid. Not only did officials reject any call for “friendly” discussions, they fired up their customers, who flooded the City with emails and protests. Furthermore, Northeast budgeted $600,000 to defend the district against any attempt by the City to take over the district.
City officials seemed bewildered by Northeast’s reaction. We aren’t planning any move to assume Northeast, City officials protested. We just wanted to sit down and discuss the possibilities. A couple of City newsletters devoted a great deal of space to injured innocence.
Having watched the Plateau-Issaquah water wars (and participated in some of the negotiations to bring the wars to an end), I find it astounding that the City was so ham-handed in its timing to approach Northeast and even raise the issue when Plateau and Issaquah seemed headed for armageddon. Repeating, having become involved in talks as a neutral participant, so-to-speak, to resolve the dispute between Plateau and Issaquah, how could the City not understand the sensitivities of even raising the topic at that time with Northeast? It’s mind-boggling.
City officials, as I noted, seemed shocked by Northeast’s reaction. They protested they had and have no intentions to pursue Northeast. But at a Citizens for Sammamish meeting Monday that I attended, two Northeast officials were there, and so was City Councilman Ramiro Valderamma.
It became abundantly clear that Northeast doesn’t believe the City for one instant that this is over. The officials are plotting a strategy to aggressively push back at the City, and this effort is going to become public very soon.
It’s equally clear that the City has no credibility with Northeast (nor, for that matter, with C4S members). This bungled and ill-timed approach by the City to Northeast is almost a stupid as Issaquah’s cybersquatting the Plateau’s websites. The cybersquatting became the gift that kept on giving in that water war. The City’s ambitions about water district assumptions will become the same thing.