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.
Having spent weeks doorbelling against annexation of Klahanie by my city, Issaquah. I can tell you that both Ramiro and Tom Vance worked hard to oppose annexation by Issaquah. To suggest that Tom Vance wouldn’t be strongly supported by Klahanie voters has no basis in fact. Also, the effort did not fail by 32 votes. It was 32 votes short of 50%, but Issaquah expected Klahanie to pick up their share of the city’s bonded indebtedness which would have required 60%.
Since Sammamish has no bonded indebtedness they would have only needed one more vote than 50% for annexation, but ended up getting around 86%.
Funny…when I wrote during the campaign that four Sammamish City Council members were active in the campaign against Issaquah, Gerend (spokesman for Klahanie Choice) denied it, pointing only to himself and Ramiro….
As the Chair of Klahanie Choice, I can say that most of the Council Members were sitting back and waiting to get a sense of what the Klahanie PAA wanted to do. Rejecting Issaquah was (at the time) a long shot. Of all of them, Don Gerend helped the most. Ramiro was a friendly supporter, but Gerend put in elbow grease. Toward the end, we saw more of Ramiro. Tom Vance was also a friendly, but he wasn’t waving signs or anything (as Don and I did).
I appreciate your need to make this more exciting than it is, but not so much saying that Sammamish is breaking a promise about the annexation date. We new ages ago that August 1st was possible if all parties involved could make it work. The County was in no hurry to lose a tax base, and Sammamish ultimately would not have gotten enough taxes in 2015 to adequately serve the area. The RESIDENTS of this area are mostly concerned with lowered taxes and awesome services. We will get both. Doesn’t seem like a promise broken at all.
FYI: Annexation will be official upon approval of an ordinance scheduled for July 7th, effective January 1st. We’ll have lots to celebrate after many years of effort!
Thanks for your inside perspective, Kristen.
The larger point to the article, which appears not to have come through very well, is that Sammamish was making promises and representations to Klahanie, obviously to influence the Issaquah vote, of which August was one of them. And then after the rejection of Issaquah, Sammamish rushed head-long into the new vote with more representations, including August.
If Sammamish had been up front that August simply wasn’t feasible, then I wouldn’t be bitching. But this city council has been mismanaging transparency and responsiveness to its legacy citizens and it misrepresented at least the probably effective date to Klahanie.
I was all for Klahanie rejecting Issaquah–their council demonstrated over and over that Klahanie couldn’t trust them. But Sammamish’s skirts are hardly pristine, either.