By Scott Hamilton
If residents wonder why the Sammamish City Council is mired in acrimony, one need look no farther than the June 18 meeting.
Sammamish Council Member Jason Ritchie isn’t wrong when he cites frustration about the divisions in the city council.
Nor is he wrong when he fingers members of the majority of the council for their contributions to the split.
But Ritchie needs to look in the mirror and accept responsibility for his own actions.
This was demonstrated again for his remark toward Mayor Christie Malchow at the June 18 meeting that not only was uncalled for and snide but a sexist put down as well.
The council’s self-appointed decorum cop not that long ago accused Council Member Chris Ross of (among other things) sexism. Ritchie, however, engaged once again in his own form of sexism. This demonstrates a lack of self-awareness and even common courtesy and respect.
Amazingly, his ally, Council Member Pam Stuart, who sees sexism behind every lamppost, found Ritchie’s barb toward Malchow to be funny.
Shame on them both.
Four hours into the June 18 council meeting (at 4:02 hrs), during another of the endless discussions about traffic concurrency, Ritchie engaged in a discussion with the city manager while Council Member Ramiro Valderrama was making a motion.
When it came time to vote, Ritchie asked to hear the motion again because his discussion distracted him from hearing Valderrama.
As a result, Malchow politely asked that no “sidebar” discussions take place during the meeting because these were distracting.
Ritchie responded, “Okay, Mom.” Stuart could be seen and heard laughing.
Malchow understandably was not happy.
Ritchie has a long history of lipping off to other council members during meetings, with Ross a frequent target.
It’s not the first time
It wasn’t that long ago that Ritchie accused Ross of making sexist (and racist) remarks, without evidence or proof, that Ross had made sexist and racially-tinged remarks to him on two occasions (one at an open meeting).
He claimed, without evidence or proof, that Ross had maligned fellow Council Member Stuart.
Ross categorically denies these charges.
Despite repeated demands by readers of his Facebook post that he provide proof, he never did.
Ritchie first claimed Ross made the statements at an open meeting. After repeated challenges to present proof, Ritchie changed his story to say Ross made the comments privately to him at an open meeting.
Sammamish Comment then obtained, through a public records request looking for something else, a series of messages series of text messages between his and Ross in which Ritchie included sexist and racist remarks and a political threat.
“Animosity in the council has been building since I joined [in January 2018],” Ritchie wrote in the Ross controversy, in one Facebook post, since deleted.
In a word, Bingo! Ritchie has hit the nail on the head.
The 2016-2017 council, which did not include Ritchie, had its differences but they were amicable. The animosity developed on the current council, after Ritchie came on board. Perhaps there is a cause-and-effect, and it lands at his feet.
Ritchie and Stuart owe Malchow a public apology for the sexist remark and laughter at the remark. Tuesday’s council meeting (July 2) is the first meeting after the June 18 meeting to do so.
But don’t hold your breath.
THANK YOU for calling out this behavior.
Started to read it, hoping there might be something “juicy” here, but, NOOOOO
No mention of the ongoing speeders on 220th in Pine Lake Heights, other than somebody – presumably from the city, showed up with a spray can and marked a spot, ostensibly, to install a sign that says something like “Stop Ahead”. Yet another low-cost option by the city not fully understanding vehicle dynamics and driver behavior in certain conditons. Might as well erect a “caution” sign near the entrance to turn 3 at Talledega.
The city (presumably) stationed an officer close by our intersection last week and he was a very busy officer. And much appreciated. I wonder if it ever ocurred to him as he watched the offenders that the problem is n ot the stop signs, but the design of the intersection which was never meant to have stop signs.
I say, remove the stop signs, as it used to be. Post (or repost as the case may be) a no outlet sign like we used to have some years ago and spend the savings on sidewalks along 2220th for the kids walking to Pine Lake Middle School.
Does the city council ever get out of their “thrones” long enough to understand that there are a few neighborhoods up here in Plateaupia that have been residents for many years (our neighborhood dates back to the 1970’s.
I’m sure the city council has a lot on their respective plates. Might be a good idea to pack a picnic lunch and come over to the early settlements, west of 228th and perhaps understand we are people who moved out here because it was peaceful, had great schools, reasonable taxes and safe.
Just sayin’ Just does our Mayor and City Council really do to make our community safer?
I have no idea at all what this has to do with the sexist issue that is the subject of this commentary.
Well, sexist remarks notwithstanding, Greg, I’d really like to hear reports and commentary about the council’s activities, progress and decisions. I’m not really interested in who said what to whom and would much prefer to hear about issues in our community. As far as I’m concerned, the sexist issue such as it was is for the council members to deal with as part of decorum and procedures.
We have a serious and potentially dangerous with traffic and control in Pine Lake Heights. I couldn’t care less about sexist remarks between council members.
I know, let’s have cage matches (2 council members enter, one council member leaves) we could call in BlunderDome! …Or some members can start acting like adults: think both options have about the same odds of success.
Although Mr. Ritchie has had well-documented issues with sexism, this is more about an indefensible sense of entitlement, arrogance, and just plain rudeness. Had he retorted, “Okay, Dad” to a male Mayor, I’m not sure we’d necessarily consider it sexist.
But it speaks to a much larger problem about the kind of people seeking political office, at every level of government. They conflate the concept of a public servant with that of a spoiled aristocrat, and the last thing on their agenda is doing the people’s business. Clearly unfit to serve, you have to wonder what kind of constituency people like Ritchie and Stewart really “represent.”
To answer your last sentence Otto – the 1% elitists. “Too much is not enough.”
The comment was unprofessional and uncalled for and the Mayor is owed an apology….it saddens me that the city council members have such disrespect and acrimony toward each other. This undoubtedly has affected the ability for them to move forward in whatever positive vision they have for our city and its residents.