The effort by STCA and the Council’s action never emerged into the public domain, it was revealed at the Save Sammamish meeting last night.
The revelation came after Sammamish Comment revealed the plans in a post Monday morning. The issue quickly became a hot topic on Facebook in various activist pages.
Council member Ramiro Valderrama, in a posting on The Comment, responded that, “I know of no current discussions for upcoming the Town Center.” But he did not reveal the Council had shut the effort down last fall, at a time when the City was preparing to accept “Docket Requests” to the Comprehensive Plan.
One Valderrama critic noted the parsing of words: there are no “current” discussions.
Out of public view
Deputy Mayor Tom Hornish revealed last night that the Council shut down the STCA plans in what are internally known as two-three meetings. These meetings involve two or three council members that are below the quorum of four, which trigger notice for public meetings—which then become open to the public.
The two-three meetings are legal and common and useful to deal with day-to-day issues arising between staff and council.
They can also be used to circumvent public meeting requirements if so desired. A series of two-three meetings can effectively canvass the council while staying out of the public domain.
It was through a series of two-three meetings that it became clear STCA’s hopes would not receive council support to be placed on the Docket for a Comp Plan change, and the efforts were dropped.
“The system worked,” Hornish told The Comment.
Public Records Request
None of the STCA plans or the council sentiment became public until now. A Public Records Request produced the plans STCA proposed to the city—but nothing about the two-three meetings. These came to light only after The Comment posted its story and Hornish revealed them last night at the Save Sammamish meeting.
Access to Public Records daylights government activity and stands in stark contrast to the action Friday by the state Legislature to exempt itself from compliance with the Public Records Act. Sammamish Comment urges readers to email Gov. Inslee to veto the legislation, even though it was passed with enough votes to override the veto. Last night, Inslee said on MSNBC he “can’t” veto it because of the super-majority, but he can.
Doing so gives the Legislature a second bite at the apple to either override the veto or reverse themselves and sustain the veto in the face of public pressure.