Tom Hornish for Sammamish City Council Position 6

Position 6: Tom Vance (Incumbent) vs Tom Hornish

Tom Hornish, candidate for Position 6 on City Council.

Tom Hornish, a newcomer to Sammamish politics, deserves your vote.

Hornish is a lawyer, entrepreneur, former chief executive officer in private enterprise and a veteran of the US Air Force and USAF reserve with 33 combat missions during the 1991 Gulf War, Desert Storm, in fighter aircraft.

He is president of the Sammamish Home Owners, a group that represents property owners who lives along Lake Sammamish.

Hornish is challenging Mayor Tom Vance, who is finishing his first term on the Sammamish City Council. Vance also ran for Council in 2009 but was defeated in his first attempt.

Here’s why Hornish deserves your vote:

Hornish is a new resident to Sammamish; he’s lived here two years. He didn’t waste any time getting involved in local issues. As president of SHO, Hornish challenged King County over its development of the East Lake Sammamish Trail. Hornish supports development of the Trail, but in a fashion that protects the environment and respects property owners along the trail. The County’s approach to trees was to cut them down, hundreds of them (thousands by one claim), including high-quality, “significant” trees.

New storm water runoff created by the impervious surfaces of the trail–wide enough to accommodate one-and-a-half lanes of East Lake Sammamish Parkway–created hazards for sensitive Lake Sammamish.

The County smashed raw sewage lines but blamed homeowners. After the Trail was constructed, some homeowners couldn’t even get into their own garages.

Complaints to the County fell on deaf ears. For a year, so did complaints to the City.

Hornish persevered. With help from Council Member Ramiro Valderrama, who serves as the Citizens’ Advocate on the Council, the City finally stepped up to help solve issues on the North end of the Trail, but it was too little, too late.

Hornish won’t turn a blind eye to citizens as a City Council Member. His legal training will replace that of retiring Council Member Nancy Whitten. Her legal background often was key to writing ordinances and more recently, the rewrite of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Expect Hornish’s legal background to be important in future law-making.

His legal background should also help provide a new eye, not a blind eye, to oversight of the City Manager’s office and the City Staff when it comes to following our own City Codes when it comes to approving development. It’s become increasingly apparent that the City has become known as Variances-R-Us when it comes to approving developments, leading to appeals that have been upheld in key respects by the City Hearing Examiner. One case, Chestnut Estates West, was so mangled by Staff that the Examiner rejected the plat approval outright and several sub-elements in three appeals. The developer, believing the Examiner erred, appealed the case to King County Court. It also filed a lawsuit against the City for damages, not only for specifics relating to the case but over the length of time it took the Staff to process the application.

In another case, the Kampp Property (that big development on 228th Ave. SE at SE 20th), the City Engineer testified staff routinely ignored code and often followed unwritten policies. The Examiner threw out a key element of this development approval that was appealed by citizens.

The City Council can’t involve itself in project approval, but it can set the tone and policies for the City Manager to follow. A successive series of Councils have turned a blind eye to these issues. Hornish, and fellow candidate Christie Malchow, won’t.

Incumbent Tom Vance has been Mayor for the last two years.

A blind eye to citizen and code concerns has been a hallmark of Vance’s leadership. But that’s not all.

During his two years as chairman of Planning Commission, Vance routinely failed to reach out to commissioners, failed to build consensus, failed to keep members informed and failed to build a cohesive unit. Little has changed during his tenure as Mayor.

Vance routinely ignored Valderrama’s quest for greater responsiveness and transparency. He ignored Council Member Nancy Whitten as well, who is retiring after three terms on the Council. Each proved to be stubborn minority members who challenged Vance’s leadership of the ruling majority on the Council, the so-called Gang of 4. As long as this group remained cohesive, the irritants of Valderrama and Whitten could be and were ignored.

It’s important to bust up the Gang, not just for its own sake but with someone who will be another Citizens Advocate. Hornish fills this bill.

Vote for Hornish.

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