The retreat, which will be Jan. 18-20 at the Plateau Club, is where the City Council and staff set policy for the year and talk about long-term objectives.
The 2017 retreat was webcast for the first time; it’s not been announced if the 2018 retreat will be webcast.
Throughout the history of Sammamish, retreats mostly have been well out of town. For many years, the retreat was at Suncadia Lodge in Roslyn, east of Snoqualmie Pass. The last two years, it was in Tacoma.
The distance, and in the case of Suncadia, discouraged citizens from attending and the need for hotel accommodations. Snow conditions over Snoqualmie Pass occasionally made driving difficult if not impossible.
Council Members claimed being far away made it difficult for Council Members to leave (the “captive audience” theory). In reality, some Council Members admitted the locations were intended to discourage citizen attendance so they could speak freely.
When Tom Hornish and Christie Malchow were elected in 2015, they joined with Ramiro Valderrama to advocate for a location on this side of the Cascades. While Tacoma’s distance was not that much closer than Suncadia and, in rush hour, the drive was daunting, the prospect of becoming snow-bound was eliminated.
Malchow advocated for last year’s webcasting.
Sammamish Comment was the only media attending the retreat in 2015-2017. The Comment in 2015 pointed out the Suncadia location was an end-run around the state Open Meetings Act because it was intended to discourage public participation. Tacoma was subsequently chosen in 2016.
With an in-city location for the 2018 retreat, citizens will conveniently be able to attend the retreat.
Details about the agenda and whether this will be webcast will come in January.