Valderrama cites fake facts in Town Center moratorium flip-flop

Ramiro Valderrama

Sammamish City Council Member Ramiro Valderrama, citing what turns out to be a series of unsubstantiated claims, executed a pirouette on his previous vote supporting a moratorium including the Town Center—and went splat.

The Town Center was exempted from the moratorium at the Nov. 21 meeting by a 4-3 vote, with Valderrama, Mayor Bob Keller and Council Members Don Gerend and Kathy Huckabay voting to lift it.

Valderrama said his vote always was about storm water management for the Town Center. In voting to exempt the Town Center, Valderrama claimed the emergency moratorium was not about traffic concurrency.

This simply wasn’t true.

Continue reading “Valderrama cites fake facts in Town Center moratorium flip-flop”

Ask not what Issaquah can do for Klahanie, ask what Issaquah can do to Klahanie: annexation considerations

The opinions expressed here are my own.

Issaquah wants Klahanie to annex to the city. A July 9, 2013, memo from the City Administrator, Bob Harrison, to the City Council tells why, and it is all about the benefit to the City it will get from Klahanie. But what are the benefits Klahanie will get from annexing to Issaquah?

That’s a good question.

  • Klahanie residents will be subject to a utility tax.
  • Police service may or may not be improved over that provided to King County. When the police chief was asked at the first public meeting if this would be the case, he equivocated.
  • The so-called Klahanie fire station may close. It’s owned by Sammamish and the station answers more calls to Issaquah than to Sammamish, so Sammamish is thinking about relocating it to better serve its residents.
  • Klahanie gets to assume part of Issaquah’s existing debt.
  • Klahanie will give the city more debt-borrowing capacity, and any new debt will be assumed by Klahanie on a pro rata basis.

Do you have doubts? Read Harrison’s letter for yourself. It’s public record. I’ve reproduced it below. Click image to enlarge.

IssKlahanie Pg1

IssKlah Page 2

The Boundary Review Board holds its public hearing Wednesday, September 18, 2013, at 7pm at the Holiday Inn in Issaquah.

Why Issaquah can’t be trusted, Part 2: Klahanie annexation

The opinions expressed are my own.

Why Issaquah can’t be trusted, Part 1: Mayor admits to cybersquatting.

After summer doldrums, events are picking up with the prospective annexation of Klahanie into Issaquah.

While this is known as the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area (PAA), in reality there are several adjacent neighborhoods to Klahanie that are also subject to the February vote the Issaquah City Council has set. The Issaquah Reporter has a very good story outlining the issues facing Klahanie voters. The map below is from this story and shows the adjacent neighborhoods.

But there are other issues voters need to consider, and top of the list is whether Issaquah, its city council and city administration are the best choices to become their new leaders. And this is quite questionable.

Map Source: Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter, Sept. 12, 2013.

Continue reading “Why Issaquah can’t be trusted, Part 2: Klahanie annexation”

Why Issaquah Can’t be Trusted, Part 1 Update

KIRO TV did this news report Friday evening about the cybersquatting by Issaquah of the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District.

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What is especially incredible about this whole affair is this: Mayor Ava Frisinger says Issaquah created the typosquatting URLs to counter what she claims is misinformation coming from the Water District. Even if one believed the “misinformation” charge, the fact that Issaquah undertook a practice universally considered internationally to be unethical and in some circumstances illegal is astonishing. It’s even more so that the chief executive officer of the city, Mayor Frisinger, and its spokeswoman are defending this.

Why Issaquah can’t be trusted, Part 1: Mayor admits cybersquatting Water District to redirect customers to City websites

The opinions expressed here are my own.

The mayor of Issaquah, Ava Frisinger, has admitted that the City Administration directed one of its staffers to “reserve” two Internet domain names that are virtually identical to two held by the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District. These differed only in the dot extensions from the Districts home address, www.sammplat.wa.org and www.letstalkaboutourwater.org.

(The same story linked above also is in the Issaquah Press.)

Frisinger dodged admitting that more than “reserving” the virtually identical URLs, they were activated and directed people to City of Issaquah websites. People who mistyped the Water District’s domain names were sent to the City’s website.

The practice is called cybersquatting, and it is considered in Internet circles to be unethical and under certain circumstances to be illegal.

Issaquah and the Water District are engaged in a protracted dispute over water quality and the City’s plan to resume injecting stormwater into what’s known as the Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery (LRIG), which collects stormwater runoff from Issaquah Highlands. LRIG was ordered shut down by the state Department of Ecology in 2008 when fecal coliform (bird poop and other pollutants) was found to have infiltrated a nearby drinking water aquifer.

Frisinger has accused the Water District of misleading the public and that “customer confusion” exists within Issaquah over which agency, the City or the District, provides water and sewer service to the small portion of the District that lies within the City limits.

Frisinger wrote the District after the District discovered the bogus URLs and cybersquatting that the city “Administration” told an employee to obtain the bogus URLs.

This brazen, deliberate action to hijack the public who sought to go to the Water District’s web sites is astounding, and Frisinger’s response to the Water District is equally appalling.

I spent eight years in Sammamish City government on committees and commissions and 12 years working on political campaigns and I thought I had seen everything. This takes the cake. For the Issaquah city government to not only condone but to initiate this is beyond belief.

Frisinger, the Chief Executive Officer of the city, chose not to seek reelection this year. Is this the legacy of her years of public service that she wants to have? Pursuing a plan to allow inadequately treated stormwater to threaten drinking water? Pursuing a hostile takeover of a sliver of the Water District that could cost taxpayers $12 million? Keeping information from its taxpayers until “outed” by the Water District? And finally condoning and initiating cybersquatting?

Apparently the answer is Yes.

Water District vs Issaquah: video presentations tell the story

The debate is contentious. The Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District says Issaquah wants to inject contaminated water into an area where fecal coliform can infiltrate into an aquifer that provides up to 50% of the drinking water for the District, which serves 54,000 residents in Issaquah (including part of the Issaquah Highlands, all of Providence Point and Overdale), all of Klahanie and other parts of unincorporated King County and roughly three quarters of Sammamish.

Issaquah officials charge the Water District is resorting to scare tactics and its real “agenda” is “self-preservation” and to block the potential annexation by Issaquah of Klahanie. What’s noteworthy of Mayor Ava Frisinger’s approach on this is that by making allegations that the District has an “agenda” and personally attacking the president of the District, she’s avoiding the issues and the City is repeating tactics from 2008 when the Washington Department of Ecology forced (repeat, forced) Issaquah to shut down the so-called LRIG (Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery) in the first place.

Then, according to the press report at the time, Issaquah told Ecology:

They stated that the DOE relied on information supplied by the Sammamish Plateau Water & Sewer District, and said it was “riddled with factual errors,” and contains “inflammatory, incorrect and prejudicial statements masquerading as science and technical analysis.” They also call the monitoring program required by the DOE order “extensive, expensive, excessive, unreasonable and arbitrary.

Frisinger and her administration are following the same line of attack today.

Fortunately, you can see for yourself. Issaquah and the Water District each made presentations to the Sammamish City Council on the issue. Sammamish is trying to sort out facts and has heard from both sides. Issaquah heard the presentation from its own consultant, who also presented to Sammamish, but has so far not wanted to hear from the Water District. It’s clear Issaquah doesn’t give a damn about public opinion or scientific questions over the dispute and it’s equally clear it doesn’t want to hear from the Water District, which is why the District felt compelled to “go public” in the first place.

But you can watch the following videos:

Issaquah Presentation to Issaquah City Council (this was the same presentation given to the Sammamish City Council the same evening). This is 31 minutes.

Water District Presentation to Sammamish City Council on June 4. (Issaquah hasn’t invited the Water District to present to the City Council). Advance to 46:30 minutes for the hour-long presentation.

I think you will find a great deal of useful information that you can compare about who is more factual and more complete.

With respect to the allegation of “self-preservation,” Issaquah is attempting a hostile takeover of a small portion of the District that includes three wells (the ones using the aquifer at risk) in such a way that will dismember the infrastructure to the detriment of Sammamish residents, and those in unincorporated King County. 93% of the District lies outside Issaquah (using Issaquah’s own number) and Issaquah refuses to talk with the District or Sammamish in a way to resolve these issues and concerns. Instead, officials have made it clear that they are only interested in themselves, no matter the consequences to anyone else.

The threat to the water quality is why the Water District is putting up such a fight.

Issaquah takes the cheap route on storm water–except it doesn’t; the non-response response

Events moved quickly about the fight between Issaquah and the Sammamish Plateau Water District.

KING5 TV had a report on its 5:30 pm news May 6 about the water war between Issaquah and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District.

Most revealing was Gary Chittim’s summary in the video: “Supporters say it’s a good, cheap way to treat water and get rid of storm runoff.”

Except Issaquah hasn’t chosen the “cheap” way. It chose a $1.5 million option that has already run up huge legal bills for Issaquah and the water district, with more to come if the state Department of Ecology grants the infiltration permit, as it is gearing up to do.

The Water District three times offered to co-fund a water infiltration system to protect the aquifer, but Issaquah refused each offer. Instead it has moved toward a hostile takeover of part of the District.

The Seattle Times has this news story about the Issaquah plan and the Water District’s effort to protect the aquifer. Within the article, Issaquah Ava Frisinger and Ecology said they are “anxious” to end dumping polluted storm water into Issaquah Creek.

If Issaquah had agreed with the Water District’s plan to treat the water, this wouldn’t have been an issue in the first place. I’ve added numbers to the paragraphs for some reaction below.

Meantime, Issaquah issued a non-response response to the Water District’s highly detailed information provided to the media.

Here’s a press release from Issaquah:

Continue reading “Issaquah takes the cheap route on storm water–except it doesn’t; the non-response response”