When Sammamish was running along the sidelines of the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area (PAA) vote for Issaquah in the weeks and months leading up to the February 2014 vote, city officials said over and over and over again that if the PAA voted against annexing to Issaquah, Sammamish would fast-track its efforts to transfer the PAA from Issaquah to Sammamish and work with King County to accelerate annexation to Sammamish.
Throughout, Sammamish officials said they would try to set a vote in the spring of 2015 and complete annexation by the following August.
When Issaquah was rejected (by a mere 32 votes), Sammamish quickly went through the processes to set a vote in April 2015. The PAA voted with more than 80% approval to annex to Sammamish. In the weeks and months–more than a full year, in fact, Sammamish continued to say it would hope to complete the annexation by August.
In the immortal words of Rick Perry, “oops.”
Now Sammamish says it won’t complete the annexation until January 1. Logistics, officials claim. They can’t hire more police in time to complete the annexation by August. Garbage pick-up contracts have to be sorted out. Other logistical issues have to be completed, and King County has to do whatever it has to do to transfer the PAA to incorporated Sammamish.
All this is true–but officials knew this when they were working to defeat to Issaquah vote.
Here’s the kicker.
If Klahanie isn’t annexed until January, the PAA residents can’t vote in the November Sammamish City Council elections until 2017. They will miss the November 3 election this year.
Who’s among those running for election?
Ramiro Valderrama, an early and strong proponent for annexation and highly visible in Klahanie during the effort.
Tom Vance, currently the Mayor, is also up for reelection. He’s come under criticism for his leadership and votes on a variety of issues.
Valderrama’s squeaky wheel approach to issues has been a thorn in the side of Vance and Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay, who also opposes Valderrama’s reelection. So does Council Member Tom Odell. These three form the core of the so-called Gang of Four who control the Council and often isolate Valderrama.
If Klahanie were annexed in August, and able to vote in November, this could help Valderrama’s reelection, which is opposed by Vance. It could also hurt Vance.
Far be it from me to suggest this is the true motivation for delaying annexation. But it’s certainly something to think about.