Editor’s Note: This column was drafted the week before last. The plan was to publish once the final traffic concurrency and building moratorium votes were taken, anticipated in November. But this weekend, Council Member Pam Stuart launched a highly personal, accusatory attack on Mayor Christie Malchow on Facebook. Stuart brought into the attack indirect reference to Malchow’s children, a political verboten that goes to the presidency of the United states. Thus, I made the decision to publish this column today.
The Sammamish city council badly needs an intervention. Residents have serious cause for concern with the dysfunctional, bitterly split ruling body.
The divisions and in-fighting are the worst seen since before incorporation.
Initially, the council split into two factions: The “new V-3” (Ramiro Valderrama, Jason Ritchie and Pam Stuart, odd bedfellows if there ever were any) and the “M-4” (Christie Malchow, Tom Hornish, Chris Ross and Karen Moran).
Ritchie coined the terms. (The old V-3 were Valderrama, Malchow and Hornish. The latter two split with Valderrama over his 180 degree flip-flops on environmental and development issues and his persistent distortion of facts and outright falsehoods he makes to advance his positions.)
For a while, even this split broke down. It became 2-2-3. Malchow and Hornish remained staunch allies. Moran and Ross became unpredictable votes, flip-flopping on the same issue between the M-2 and the V-3. The V-3 by-and-large remain a solid voting bloc.
The Sammamish City Council faces a complex set of issues interconnecting the Town Center and efforts to revise its traffic concurrency policies.
At stake is whether the Town Center proceeds per the 2009 plan adopted by the Planning Commission and City Council or, as some desire, the plan is reopened with the goal of down-sizing it.
Reopening the plan also allows the possibility of some advocating an up—zoning of the TC.
The city is under a building moratorium adopted last October. The council and staff want to lift the moratorium in July, but controversy over how to proceed with revisions for concurrency casts doubt over whether revisions may be ready by then.
Lost in all the hoopla over the Legislature’s vote to exempt itself from the Public Records
Act and the drama over its repeal, State Rep. Jay Rodne (R-5th) announced Feb. 28 he won’t run for reelection.
Rodne vote for the exemption. He was nearly defeated in 2016 by Jason Ritchie, a Democrat who lives in the Klahanie neighborhood in Sammamish. Ritchie led Rodne on election night but the tide turned as votes were counted, and Rodne won reelection narrowly.
Ritchie ran the next year for Sammamish City Council and won.
The certified vote by precinct was released by King County Elections last week. Sammamish has 61 precincts and the November election was the first including the greater Klahanie area as part of Sammamish’s City Council elections.
Beginning tomorrow through Friday, Sammamish Comment published a race-by-race analysis of the precinct vote for City Council Positions 1, 3, 5 and 7; and King County Council District 3 with the 45th Legislative District State Senate race.