Who’s who in the Sammamish City Council race in 2015

Filings for the Sammamish City Council closed at 5pm Friday. Three seats are up for election this year: Positions 2, 4 and 6: Nancy Whitten’s seat; and Ramiro Valderrama and Tom Vance, respectively. Whitten is not running for reelection. Valderrama and Vance are, and they have challengers.

City Council

Sammamish City Council and the candidates for the 2015 election. Back row, L-R: Ramiro Valderrama, who is being challenged by Hank Klein; Tom Vance (currently the Mayor), who is being challenged by Tom Hornish; Tom Odell; and Don Gerend. Front row, L-R: Kathy Huckabay, currently Deputy Mayor; Nancy Whitten, who decided not to seek a fourth term and is retiring; and Bob Keller. Christie Malchow and former city councilman Mark Cross are running for Whitten’s seat. Council photo: City of Sammamish. Superimpositions by Scott Hamilton. Click on image to enlarge.

Running for Whitten’s Position two is a former City Council man and a newcomer. Challenging Valderrama for Position 4 is a long-time park commissioner. Challenging Vance for Position 6 is the president of the Sammamish Home Owners group.

Position 2: Mark Cross v Christie Malchow

Mark Cross served two terms on the City Council and, after sitting out the last four years, seeks a comeback. In this he is following the path set by Kathy Huckabay, who was elected to the Council again in 2013 after serving two terms and then sitting out four years.

Cross works for the City of Bellevue and is a planner by profession.

Malchow is a newcomer to the City and politics. She’s lived here four years and has two small children. She briefly filed in 2013 to run against Don Gerend, but withdrew for family reasons. With her children a bit older, Malchow restarted her interest in service in a public role.

Position 4: Hank Klein v Ramiro Valderrama

Valderrama is finishing his first term, making his mark (along with the retiring Whitten and occasionally Don Gerend) as a thorn in the side of the so-called Gang of 4 (Vance, Huckabay, Tom Odell and Bob Keller) who control the Council. He’s been a particular thorn to Mayor Vance and Deputy Mayor Huckabay, whose efforts to recruit a candidate to run against Valderrama (and Whitten) were widely known in local political circles. It appears they succeeded in Hank Klein, a member of the Park Commission for years.

Klein has been approached in several recent elections to run for Council and he declined each time–until now, after initially turning down recruitment for this election, too. Klein did not return a phone call Sunday evening.

  • Klein got back to me Tuesday morning. He said, “I was approached by several people who encouraged me to toss my hat into the ring. Then I rearranged some of my responsibilities so that I would be able to devote the time and energy required to be an effective councilman. As you can see from my longterm involvement with the City, I care deeply about our community and its citizens. I believe that I can provide positive energy and reasonable thinking to the Council.”
  • UPDATE: Klein dropped out of the race for City Council in July, too late to withdraw his name from the ballot. He has raised no money, made no appearances, has not campaigned and will not participate in the October 7 candidate forum.

Valderrama has occasionally voted against Park development recommendations from the Commission and staff, questioning the scope of the plans and the budget. In this, he’s occasionally been joined by Odell in what has usually been on the losing end of the vote for what these two have criticized as too costly or grandiose.

Position 6: Tom Hornish v Tom Vance

Tom Vance is finishing his first term on the City Council and wrapping up two years as Mayor. His performance as Mayor has come under sometimes withering criticism from Valderrama and Whitten, often in open City Council sessions, and from the public–the latter over issues involving the East Lake Sammamish Trail and neighborhood barricades. This blog has detailed the issues relating to the ELST in an 18-page investigative report that demonstrated a failure on the part of the staff and Council to look out for the interests of property owners as they were run roughshod by King County.

This initially prompted two people to file to run against Vance, both property owners along the lake and both members of the Sammamish Home Owners. One withdrew in favor of Tom Hornish, president of SHO, a lawyer and entrepreneur. Hornish, with young children, is making his first run for political office here in Sammamish.





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