By Miki Mullor
Four Sammamish City Council candidates participated in a first candidate forum out of a few planned this election season.
The forum, held at the Sammamish Library on Sunday, August 11, was organized and moderated by the South Asian American Together (SAAT-WA) organization. The forum also included Issaquah candidates.
Two candidates did not participate. SAAT told the Sammamish Comment that Kent Treen couldn’t attend due a funeral and Ken Gamblin did not respond.
The candidates were asked five questions (each of is linked to a video):
- Opening statement
- ST3 Park and Ride location, express buses
- Immigration: protecting residents vs cooperating with federal agents
- Prioritizing Mobility, Affordable Housing and Schools
- Vision for 2025
Sammamish city council candidate statements and responses are below. Issaquah candidates are not included in this report.
Rituja Indapure, running for the Position 6 seat now held by retiring Tom Hornish, said the schools, the green space and the sense of community brought her family to Sammamish 17 years ago. She said her first priority would be to complete and implement the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) and to want to bring more people together.
Karen Howe, running for the Position 4 seat held by retiring Ramiro Valderrama, spoke about commissions and how to get citizens involved. Howe called to focus on public transit and to invest more in parks ad to raise the tree canopy coverage from 48% to 60% because “it is entire doable.”
Karen McKnight, running for the Position 2 seat held by incumbent Christie Malchow, said the city needs leaders who are willing to listen because “we see citizens’ concerns discounted too often. I promise to respect your voice… I pledge to protect our way of life, our environment, tree canopy, open spaces water quality and parks. The best way to do this is to use zoning to direct most of our growth to the center of town.”
Mayor Christie Malchow, who is seeking reelection, said that her number
one priority is public safety. “That’s the government number one job.” Her other priorities are fiscal responsibility, trees and the environment and clear communications. “The more we all know, the better we are all together.” She emphasized maintaining quality of life through policies, including traffic, environment and aesthetics.
ST3 Park n Ride
The moderator asked about the candidates’ preferred location for the 200 stalls Sound Transit 3 north end Park and Ride.
Malchow, Howe and Indapure favor Central Washington University campus on 228th Ave as a location for the Park and Ride. McKnight favors the Town Center as a location for it.
Vision for 2025
The candidates were asked what is their vision for the region for 2025:
Indapure said: “Traffic flowing smoothly, a lot of transit options, we have mixed community, I can walk anywhere and eat at wonderful restaurants here in Sammamish… I see more community activities.”
Howe’s vision is that: “we are all happy, healthy, safe and thriving.”
McKnight said: “My vision is of a smart town, which means mixed use with transit options, housing choices, services for our citizens so we don’t have to leave the plateau to go to buy bolts, and is walkable and welcoming.”
Malchow’s said: “We invested in our infrastructure, that we provided multi-modal ways for our residents about the city. That our residents feel heard and are civically engaged. Our tree canopy would have increased… that our Kokanee salmon has started to spawn again and that we don’t lose that specie.”
A video of the forum is below (Sammamish candidates only):
A complete video of the forum, including Issaquah candidates, is available here: https://www.facebook.com/southasianamericanstogether/posts/442875052974706
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