Citizens want the Initiative; Sammamish City Council doesn’t want Town Hall meetings

As November fades to December and the last City Council meetings in Sammamish of the year, Members are going to be considering whether to grant citizens the right to Initiative.

The City Council has to allow this right—it didn’t come as part of incorporation.

The request for the right to Initiative comes from long-simmering frustration with the City and a perception that neither the Council nor the employees listen to Citizens.

As with most things, the reality is more a shade of gray than black and white. But there is certainly enough evidence over the course of the City’s 13 year history to understand the pent-up frustration.

Continue reading “Citizens want the Initiative; Sammamish City Council doesn’t want Town Hall meetings”

Polls slam City Council, Staff, Manager

Opinion polls gave failing grades to six of seven City Council Members, the work of the City Council as a whole, the City Staff and the City Manager.

The polls, conducted on this blog, are, to be sure, unscientific. But an unscientific poll conducted to gauge support for the Community Center proved to come within 2.5 percentage points of the final result.

Graphs of the Opinion polling about the City appear below the jump.

Except for Council Member Ramiro Valderrama, whose Favorable score was 78%, each council member’s favorables-unfavorables fell below any passing grade metric anywhere in any school.

Approve-disapprove polling for the City Council as a while, the City Staff and the City Manager also were failing scores.

And Don Gerend, who has been a council member since the formation of the City in 1999 and who has told people he intends to run for another term next year (after 14 years in office), should retire, respondents voted. Gerend, Mayor Tom Odell, Deputy Mayor John James and John Curley are up for election next year. Curley said when he was campaigning in 2009 he planned to serve only one term. If he follows through, this guarantees one open seat in the 2013 election.

My analysis of each poll results follows the graphs.

Continue reading “Polls slam City Council, Staff, Manager”

Poll: Do you approve or disapprove of the Sammamish City Council?

This is a long post: be sure to scroll down.

Following the election and the controversial advisory vote for the Community Center, I thought a poll about the job the City Council is doing might be worthwhile.

Although unscientific, my Go Daddy poll about the advisory center is turning out to be pretty close to the mark: 55.7% of the respondents favored the Community Center and through Nov. 13, actually ballot results give the Yes vote 53%, well within standard margins of error of scientific polls. (The Sammamish Review’s unscientific poll wasn’t so good; it gave the Center a 62% Yes vote.)

A recent Citizens for Sammamish meeting turned into a massive venting session about frustrations with the City. The Council, the staff and the manager all came under fire. So I’m polling on this, too, as well as the Favorables-Unfavorables of each Council Member.

Feel free to comment in the Comment section. BUT: keep it clean, no swearing, no insults. Concisely state your opinions and the reasons for it in a clean and respectful way. I’ll delete comments that resort to name-calling and obscenities.

Question #1

Question #2

Question #3

I know this election is barely over but in 2013, four City Council seats are up for election. Mayor Tom Odell, Deputy Mayor John James, and Council Members John Curley and Don Gerend are up for election. Let’s get some favorable-unfavorable ratings.

Question #4

Question #5

Question #6

Question #7

Council Member Don Gerend has been on the council since the city elected its first council in 1999-13 years. I’m told he plans to run for another term next November, his 14th year on the Council. If elected, he would serve 17 years by the end of his term.

Question #8

The other three Councl Members, Nancy Whitten, Tom Vance and Ramiro Valderrama, were elected in 2011 and won’t be up for reelection until 2015. What is your opinion about them?

Question #9

Question #10

Question #11

Misleading on the Town Center, again

My post below on the Town Center, with a link to a Sammamish Review story, prompted a long response from John Galvin.

There you go again, Johnny, misstating facts throughout your tirade. There are so many errors and omissions that it’s hard to know where to begin. I’ll suffice it to the following.

Continue reading “Misleading on the Town Center, again”

Analyzing the Sammamish Community Center


Common Sense Sammamish, a “No” Vote website.

YSoHigh, another “No” Vote website.

YesSammCAC, a “Yes” Vote website.

My Previous Posts:

Risks for the Community Center-YMCA deal

Why the Advisory Vote is a Bad Idea, Part 2

Why the Advisory Vote is a Bad Idea, part 1

Two Hour Long Community Forum.

Ballots arrived last week for the Nov. 6 election and one of the issues is Sammamish Proposition 1, an advisory vote on the proposed public-private partnership between Sammamish and the YMCA for a 40,000+ sf community center with aquatic features.

I’ve previously written that I think an advisory vote is a dumb idea and detailed why in two posts (see above). I still think it’s dumb, but you can’t un-ring this bell, so it’s time to get down and really analyze the issues.

I met Friday and Monday with opponents and supporters of the Proposition. I’ve read the web sites, the newspaper articles and I’ve followed the debate. I participated in one of the public meetings. When it is all said and done, here are the issues as I see them. Continue reading “Analyzing the Sammamish Community Center”

Update on Ace Hardware

Regency continues to ignore Ace Hardware and efforts to extend its lease, according to reliable information.

Meantime, other tenants in the Sammamish Highlands (Safeway) complex fear that they are next on the Regency hit list. Tenants in the Pine Lake Center (QFC complex) ought to be worried, too.

Ace’s owner, Tim Koch, continues to seek a solution, including buying land and building, but with a lease termination in September 2012, doing a new-build means almost certainly Ace will close unless Regency extends the lease for at least a year.

City Staff is trying to find a solution for Ace as well.

Koch faces a greater challenge: if he wants to buy-and-build, the cost of doing so may be tough. However, I think that if other Regency tenants, with solid reason to fear for their future, combine with Koch, maybe there is a business case to present to Sammamish citizens to invest in a commercial structure that can lease space to the “Regency refugees.”

Residents in Pt Townsend did something similar when the city’s only general store closed. Residents invested in a new business (I do not know the business structure) to reopen a general store.

It is time for creative thinking and solutions.

Insulting the staff, by councilman-wannabe

John Galvin wants to be a city councilman, with oversight of the city staff via the city manager. Yet for years, Galvin has regularly abused the staff with verbal and written insults and intimidation.

Two recent examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

In an email (March 31, 2011, 8:09 am), Galvin wrote Eric La France on the staff in which he said, in part:

“If you and Ms. Currey [another staff member] are prepared to put your so called professional judgement (sic) to a practical, real life test, then you will make an appearance. We will have video cameras to record your visit and comments.” He goes on to write, “so-called scientists like you” and “Personally, I have lost respect for your professional judgement (sic).”

In an email (June 15, 2011, 9:26am), to council member John Curley, titled “Pull the other leg,” Galvin wrote about the community center process:

“[Consultant] Herbet’s presentation on a 12 person focus group was a complete con job.” And: “The entire process is a con job. The Kellman property was the desired outcome….No talk about funding means this is a fake plan….”

Galvin likes to brag he has a PhD in psychology. Even a first-year psychology student knows that insulting, berating and intimidating people is poor psychology. Galvin deserves a refund of his degree.