Sammamish voters are fortunate to have two well-qualified candidates for City Council Position 5. Sammamish Comment’s endorsement decision was a close call. Rituja Inadpure is the best choice to elect to the Council this time.
Indapure really leaned into the challenge of educating herself. Tapping into many resources, she has quickly come up to speed on the City budget, the traffic improvement plan, the Pro Plan (parks).
More importantly, and what separates her from her opponent, Chris Ross, is she’s able to augment this knowledge with specific examples of how the larger City issues impact citizens in everyday life, such as pointing out a spot where planting the wrong trees is ruining sidewalks, or how increasing retail in the City will increase law enforcement needs, or pointing out the specific roads where kids can’t walk to their elementary school because there are no sidewalks. She could only know this by listening to a lot of citizens throughout her campaign.
Indapure was one of the first candidates to raise awareness of the opportunities we have in the 3,000-to-4,000 home-based businesses in Sammamish that don’t have any services or resources in town, and her idea of co-workspace or a hub is new and interesting.
Indapure said that in the case of raising revenue to meet infrastructure needs or new services, the City should “take it to the people.” This can be seen as giving more power to the voice of the citizens when it comes to spending their money. It can also be an easy out on making hard decisions, something that Indapure will have to do being a proponent of more services which will require new revenue.
In her closing statement at the candidate forum, Indapure said she believes the City needs to ensure transparency at all levels, a statement that really gets to the heart of our big issues: how we manage.
Finance is Indapure’s weak point. She supports a lot of new programs and projects and thinks the money can be found by moving it around in the budget, through new revenues from the Town Center and through other rather ambiguous hopes.
This position is naïve. But Indapure is a fast study and if elected, we believe it won’t be long before she’s disabused of this notion.
On other issues, be it human services to traffic to the environment, Indapure has attended committee meetings—a level of self-education that is rare because this is where a lot of the knowledge-base comes from for the Council.
Although not the deciding factor by any means, Indapure lives in Klahanie. The area was annexed to Sammamish in 2015 and having a resident on the City Council will be beneficial.
Long-term, Capital and Operating budgets
Her opponent, Ross, is the only candidate with laser focus on City finances and the 10-year horizon. (Other candidates in other races are certainly mindful of finances but with near-term outlooks.)
We believe this is a key issue facing the City. While City Manager Lyman Howard, his predecessor Ben Yazici, and a successive series of City Councils like to point only to the operating budget and its “cross-over point” to potential deficit spending, perhaps five years out, Ross marries the operating budget to the capital budget (as do some other candidates) but in the 10-year horizon.
This sort of long-term planning has been absent since Lee Fellinge went of the Council many years ago.
Beyond finance, however, Ross needs more seasoning.
Ross’ positions on Thrive Sammamish, the Urban Tree Canopy proposal, and reassessing the Town Center plan, have haunting similarities to the positions espoused by Council Member Ramiro Valderrama.
Ross is any ally of Valderrama and received input from him on at the very least the tree canopy plan. Ross says he came to his position on this, and all others, on his own. But the words and reasoning are all too familiar.
His position on reassessing the Town Center plan, which Valderrama advocated a year ago in proposing a building moratorium and the inclusion of which won his vote the for moratorium approved Oct. 4, comes straight out of the Valderrama play book.
(Disclosure: The Comment’s editor, Scott Hamilton, was on the planning commission that wrote the Town Center development plan.)
Ross points to reported poor sales at the Metropolitan Market (which opened last spring) and the need for more residences in the Town Center to support it. There are 2,200 units in the plan, plus more coming from Transfer Development Rights. He claims businesses “are not unhappy” with the moratorium to give time to reassess the plan–a statement we found odd.
Even after further questioning, we are unable to see how businesses will benefit from a moratorium. Reopening the Town Center plan requires a Comprehensive Plan amendment, public process and a minimum of two years, if not three or more, to work through all this. If Met Market has poor sales (something we’ve heard elsewhere), completing the Town Center as quickly as possible is the path, not another delay of three years or more.
We find Ross’ position on the Town Center to be…confused.
On other issues, Ross’ positions seem high-level.
Ross will be a credible Council Member if elected, but two years of seasoning on the Planning Commission would be very beneficial. If he is not elected, he should apply for appointment to the Commission, serve and then run again.
By Scott Hamilton and Jen Baisch.
The Town Center was improperly approved – it will need to be reassessed. The traffic impact model knowingly and blatantly ignored AM traffic – even though AM was the controlling policy in effect then (2007). It’s the most egregious example of city staff ignoring City Council policy then burying it deep inside a report so Council could be blamed for approving it.
Even the PM traffic model shows the town center reaches full capacity – in the current, made-up, not-measuring-congestion, “unique to Sammamish” volume-to-capacity model.
The approval of the Town Center was clearly flawed and needs to be retested with a REALISTIC traffic model… it will likely show that Sammamish cannot handle the expected 4000 extra cars on the roads the Town Center will add…
I don’t understand the reasoning here….
you say: “[Finances] We believe this is a key issue facing the City.”
Yet you recommend one candidate who you state that: “Finance is Indapure’s weak point. She supports a lot of new programs and projects and thinks the money can be found by moving it around in the budget…. This position is naïve.”
Over the other candidate who you state: “Her opponent, Ross, is the only candidate with laser focus on City finances and the 10-year horizon.”
Then you suggest “But Indapure is a fast study” on finances, as oppose to recommend Ross who has been a finance professional throughout his career at a VERY large company.
We need people who can bring professional expertise, not “learn on the job”… that’s how we got to this mess to begin with…
We are fortunate to have a solid cross section of Sammamish residents running for office. I urge all qualified voters to let their ballots decide the next council, we live here let’s vote here.
Financial acumen is not an easy on the job qualification , but rather one accrued from years of experience. For me a major turn off in the last election was the joining together of three candidates on one advertisement as if they were a “team”. One thought, three votes is not good government. We need each council member thinking as one, learning as one and voting their conscience for the proper path the city needs for solid response to the issues. Keep the clicks out of city hall, just a good honest council governing for our future.
If Ms. Indapure is weak dealing with finances , she is not qualified. More parks and other frivolous
offers bring no real value. Sammamish has enough experience with Council members who had a hay day spending tax payers money in the past. It is high time we pick the better candidates this time around. It is high time to be more serious about selecting the best candidates for our City with no post office.
I worked with Patty Murray’s PO representative several years ago when we had land on 228th for a PO. While there was an initial thought that the PO could be an extension of the Redmond regional PO instead the final plan was to close Redmond and move it to the current site on 185th where there is room for PO trucks as well as parking for PO customers. The PO is consolidating and closing offices all over the country as Congress will not allow them to expand into services similar to those one sees in European PO such as banks, printing and mailing business bills etc.
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