Ramiro’s law: Council member Valderrama distorts reality to gain legal support for his pro-development policies

By Miki Mullor
Deputy Editor

Sammamish Council Member Ramiro Valderrama distorted advice from an organization

Valderrama
Ramiro Valderrama

before the City Council August recess that misled fellow council members about key laws governing growth, traffic and development in Sammamish.

Emails obtained from Municipal Resource Service Center (MRSC), a non-profit legal advice organization, reveal Valderrama’s selective citing of laws and legal advice from MRSC painted a picture that support his strategy to continue over development in Sammamish.

In fact, the emails, when read in their entirety, paint a different picture.

Continue reading “Ramiro’s law: Council member Valderrama distorts reality to gain legal support for his pro-development policies”

Deputy City Manager resigns

Jessi Bon, Deputy City Manager, resigned today, as indicated in the email below sent to staff.

Bon gives family reasons for taking a job at Mercer Island as Director of Parks and Recreation.

The email ends with “Stay strong”.

Continue reading “Deputy City Manager resigns”

Writer wanted for Sammamish Comment

Sammamish Comment is looking for a writer to help cover this year’s City Council elections and other issues.

With four Council Members out of seven retiring, this year’s election is guaranteed to see a power shift in the Council that could have deep ramifications for the direction of the City beginning in 2018.

As I announced last August, and which is also discussed in the “About” section, I moved after 20 years in Sammamish to Bainbridge Island in August. While I’ve been covering many issues from Bainbridge, it won’t be feasible to me to be on-the-spot to cover the campaigns of those seeking a Council seat.

There are already six candidates announced for the four positions. More are expected. So a writer who lives in Sammamish is desired.

Continue reading “Writer wanted for Sammamish Comment”

Forgetting who you’re serving at the Sammamish City Council

All too often, elected officials forget who they were elected to serve. This unfortunately is the case with some on the Sammamish City Council.

Artwork via Google images.

During the course of this year, Sammamish Comment chronicled a number of important issues in which the Council and the City Administration practiced benign neglect. In many cases, individual Council Members have pursued personal agenda, played follow the leader or blamed citizens for being whiners or misunderstanding what they are supposed to understand.

These attitudes are why Washington D.C. and Olympia (WA) are so dysfunctional and failing to serve the peoples’ interest in pursuit of their own. It’s why Sammamish citizens voted to incorporate in 1998: to get out from under an unresponsive King County government that ignored our wishes and needs.

Certainly being our own City proved far more beneficial than being under the King County Council. We have roads and parks we weren’t going to get under the County rule. We have community events, notably our Fourth of July, Sammamish Nights and similar activities we’d never get under King County.

But the City is letting citizens down in a number of areas due to the benign neglect and personal agendas referenced above. For example:

Skipping the Cascadia Rising earthquake drill

There are a lot of things in government that fall within the category of “What were you thinking?”

Skipping the Cascadia Rising earthquake drill tops the list.

The Sammamish Comment revealed October 5 that the City skipped the sign-up deadline last year to participate in a regional Cascadia Rising earthquake preparedness drill that outlines a scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hitting Sammamish. (The scenario’s epicenter is the Cascadia Subduction Fault off the Washington coastline, with a 9.0 epicenter magnitude.)

Sammamish had no plans to participate. Until after The Comment began making inquiries.

This is a huge public safety issue. This is the worst example of benign neglect yet by our City and City Council. Read the details here.

Continue reading “Forgetting who you’re serving at the Sammamish City Council”

Standing up to government and for the citizens; or standing up for the status quo

The Sammamish City Council election this year has a number of issues before voters. One of the key issues is not about roads or trees or parks or finances. It’s about a philosophy of government. It’s about standing up to the government and for the citizens or standing up for the status quo.

Tom Vance

Mayor Tom Vance, seeking reelection, and Mark Cross, a former mayor and city councilman seeking to return to the Council after a four year absence, stand for the status quo. They have endorsed each other for election.

Christie Malchow

Council Member Ramiro Valderrama, seeking reelection to a second term, Christie Malchow (running opposite Cross) and Tom Hornish (opposite Vance), both newcomers, stand for standing up to government and for the citizens.

Continue reading “Standing up to government and for the citizens; or standing up for the status quo”

Election Night: Legislative Races of interest to Sammamish

Here are Election Night results for the 41st and 45th Legislative Districts. The 41st covers the south half of Sammamish and the 45th the north half.

The 5th LD used to cover all but eight Sammamish precincts, but redistricting removed Sammamish from the 5th entirely. It continues to cover Klahanie, however, so I’m including these results.

All state races, including initiatives, can be found on the State website here.

All King County election results may be found here.

Each state and county website updates daily except weekends and Thanksgiving near the end of the business day.

5th LD

Senator

Democrat Mark Mullet is leading with 53.8%; I’m calling this a win for Mullet. This means the Republicans almost certainly won’t take over the State Senate.

House Position 2:

Chad Magendanz is winning with 54.8% of the vote. I’m calling this his win.
Jay Rodne was unopposed for Position 1.

41st LD

Senator

Steve Litzow is leading with 53.5% of the vote. I’m calling this for Litzow.

House Seat #1

Marcia Maxwell has won with 58% of the vote. Judy Clibborn is unopposed for Position 2.

45th LD-House Representatives

Position 1

Roger Goodman has won reelection with 56% of the vote.

Position 2

Larry Springer has won reelection with 57% of the vote.

It’s all over; losers concede to winners

It’s done: the concessions have been given. Tom Vance, Ramiro Valderrama and Nancy Whitten are the winners (though there has been no doubt since Election Night). The Sammamish Patch has now weighed in and declared them winners.

So how does the voting bloc line up on the Council now?

Left-leaning

Nancy Whitten

Tom Vance

Right Leaning

John Curley

John James

Center-Left

Tom Odell

Ramiro Valderrama

Center-Right

Don Gerend

As with any label, however, it’s pretty tough to accurately portray someone. For example, none of the council members can be described as entirely property rights or environmentalists. Gerend is the most pro-development Council Member but he also has an environmental streak.

Curley, a Libertarian at heart, wants to increase tree retention requirements.

Whitten, perceived as the staunchest environmentalist on the Council before this election, has a contrarian property rights streak in her.

James, a solid Republican, surprised me with his pragmatic view from his real estate profession that the pave-it-over plans for the Town Center espoused by Gerend and others are feasible. In other words, he is no knee-jerk pro-development Council Member that many expected when he was elected.

Vance and Whitten will form the left wing of the Council.

Valderrama, whose base of support is the lakefront–a conservative wing–also drew solid support from environmentalists–the conservationists wing. He and Odell are fiscal conservatives but favor environmental issues.

In fact, the entire Council, except for Gerend, favor fiscal conservatism. (Gerend still favors doubling the real estate excise tax, or REET).

With that, we are done with our election coverage.

Watch this space periodically for updates on other issues affecting Sammamish.