Council befuddled over reacting to public; Planning Commission made recommendations in 2009


Kathy Huckabay

The Sammamish City Council tonight is getting an earful from property owners along the East Lake Sammamish Trail, who are complaining once again that King County is running roughshod over their rights.

Council Member Kathy Huckabay lamented the procedural inability to have a dialog with residents during public comment. How, she asked, could there be a better dialog?

The answer came from the Planning Commission in 2009 in the form of a unanimous recommendation to have regularly scheduled town hall meetings.

Huckabay and Mayor Don Gerend were on the Council when the recommendations were forwarded from the Commission. In fact, Gerend was the mayor at the time.

The PC, in a 7-0 vote, included this recommendation in a series of proposals to improve communications with citizens. The recommendations were ignored.

In the interests of full disclosure, this writer was on the Commission and the leader in crafting the recommendations and obtaining a unanimous vote.

Citizens even then complained about getting answers and responses from the Council. The Commission at the time had two public comment sessions, one at the beginning of the meeting and one after business of the night was conducted. The Commission also recommended that it hold its own Town Hall meetings. The City Administration killed this idea.

The Council and Administration killed the idea for them because they were afraid citizens would be out of control during the meetings. Never mind that many charets, which are essentially town hall meetings, had been held by the City up until then. Citizens behaved during these meetings.

The befuddlement the Council expresses today is laughable insofar as a solution was proposed seven years ago.


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