Sammamish voters are beginning to mail their ballots for the November 3 City Council election. It’s a good time to review endorsements.
Christie Malchow is the recommended choice over Mark Cross.
Malchow is an energetic professional who got her baptism under fire in Sammamish as an appellant of a proposed project, Chestnut Estates West, that would have a material adverse impact on salmon-bearing Ebright Creek, traffic and a proposal to build on what had been designated as open space when the developer built Chestnut Estates (East). The City Hearing Examiner threw out the City Staff approval of West as improperly approved.
As with many who enter public service because of a passionate issue, Malchow came to understand there are bigger issues at stake than just a NIMBY issue. She learned that the City staff routinely waivers, ignores or grants variances to code to approve projects. City transparency and responsiveness is lacking. Malchow pledges to hold the staff’s feet to the fire, pry open the doors to transparency and to restore responsive government to Sammamish.
Malchow, if elected, will be the youngest member on the Council and the only one not eligible for membership to AARP. She’s 42 and has two small children, representative of the demographics of Sammamish.
Cross is a career government employee who served eight years on the Council, from 2004-2012. He seeks to return to Council after a four year break.
Cross, 65, served admirably on Council and is a faithful public servant. But his principal objective is to add staff to manage future road projects and to pave over the rest of the East Lake Sammamish Trail, though from his public statements, there is no evidence that environmental protection and property rights along the trail figure into his agenda. Cross will be a reliable member of the ruling majority, the so-called Gang of 4, all of whom have endorsed Cross for election. He also endorse Mayor Tom Vance, a member of the Gang, for reelection.
We need independent voices to challenge the Gang, not a reliable member to make it the Gang of 5.
Ramiro Valderrama faces only token opposition. Hank Klein, a member of the Parks Commission, filed to run against Valderrama, but dropped out two month later, too late to remove his name from the ballot.
Valderrama proved during his first term to be the Citizen’s Advocate, championing causes that the Gang of 4 chose to ignore until Valderrama’s fingernail-grating got too much to dismiss. For his efforts, the Gang made Valderrama a political outcast on the Council (as it also did with retiring member Nancy Whitten).
Certainly Valderrama’s style needs improvement but his willingness to challenge the Gang and the City Manager, and the results he often gets, make his return to the City Council a must.
Vote for Valerrama’s reelection.
Tom Hornish deserves your vote over incumbent Mayor Tom Vance.
Like Malchow, Hornish began his public persona as a NIMBY, in this case over abusive development by King County over the East Lake Sammamish Trail. While the City staff, and City Council,
closed its eyes to this abuse to the detriment of the environment and property rights, Hornish teamed with squeaky wheel Valderrama to pursue redress, ultimately forcing the City and Council to take notice.
Like Malchow, Hornish independently came to the same conclusions: there is something fundamentally wrong with the City and City Council in ignoring city development codes, a lack of transparency and clearly a lack of responsiveness.
More recently, Hornish learned Sammamish was going to forego participation in a major, multi-state, multi-jurisdictional earthquake disaster drill called Cascadia Rising. The issue, brought to public light by Squeaky Valderrama, was initially ignored by the City Council and dismissed by the City Manager as the responsibility of the water districts. After Sammamish Comment revealed the facts, the City Administration quickly reversed course and mounted an aggressive defense, citing all the infrastructure the City has built to prepare. Hornish’s career in the US Air Force as a fighter pilot (33 missions in the 1991 Gulf War) gives him a clear understanding of the need for preparation.
More to the point, Vance has been mayor for the two years where high-profile citizen issues were ignored, transparency trampled and responsiveness stalled.
Hornish pledges to reverse course. Vance pledges stay the course.
Vote for Hornish.