King County nears adoption of “unlawful,” “secret” tax

  • Fees on utilities will be passed on to consumers
  • Affects only those in unincorporated King County
  • Adds up to $300 per year to utility bills.
  • County Council, staff action done “below the radar.”
  • Final public hearing Dec. 7, followed by vote to adopt.
  • Kathy Lambert, Council representative including Sammamish, Issaquah, co-sponsored.

Kathy Lambert, co-sponsor of a bill labeled “unlawful” that would impose a new tax on unincorporated King County households. Photo via Google images.

The King County Council is poised to adopt an ordinance intended to “coerce” utility companies and water and sewer districts into franchise fees to use street rights-of-way in order to raise millions of dollars in fees for the County’s general fund.

The problem—and there are many—is that the ordinance and use of funds is unlawful under state statutes, says a coalition of water districts that issued a press release today.

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County, State, water district elections for Sammamish

Filings for candidates for the November election ended Friday. There are races other than those for Sammamish City Council of local interest.

King County Council

Kathy Lambert

As expected, incumbent Kathy Lambert filed for reelection to the District 3 seat of the King County Council. Sammamish is part of District 3.

Former Sammamish Mayor Tom Vance in March filed the necessary paperwork with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) to challenge Lambert, but in the end, he did not file the required documents to become a candidate.

Instead, John Murphy of North Bend filed to challenge Lambert. Continue reading

New taxes, debt appear inevitable in Sammamish



Sammamish cash coffers will decline by 73% during the next two years, from $62m to $17m, as expenditures exceed revenues in the 2017-18 budget.

With major road projects being considered, and even without them, new taxes and/or debt seems to be inevitable.

The City Council last year approved the budget without any new taxes or debt, going into this year’s Council elections in November.

But forgoing new revenue means a burst of new taxes seems likely to stave off the so-called cross-over point when the City looks at a cash deficit. The current projection is that the crossover point will occur in 2020, according to the finance section in the Council packet, which may be found here.

Finances will be a part of the Council’s annual retreat, which begins Thursday night and continues through noon Saturday at the Murano Hotel in Tacoma. Finances are slated for discussion Saturday morning.

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Looking ahead in Sammamish for 2017, Part 2

City_of_SammamishThe Sammamish City Council faces several key issues ahead this year.

Many will be discussed at the annual retreat Jan. 19-21 at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma. It’s open to the public.

Here, in alphabetical order, is a list of the major issues facing the Sammamish City Council this year. It probably isn’t a comprehensive list and events may cause new issues to emerge and some of these to drop off.

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Oh woe is us, election season is just beginning again

Sammamish: the year ahead, Part 1

And you thought the election season was over.

This is a new year and a new election season.


Four City Council seats are up for election in November.

City_of_SammamishIt’s widely assumed that at least one and possibly two residents of the greater Klahanie area will file for City Council. One Klahanie resident who’s publicly acknowledged his possible interest in Tom Harman, currently a commissioner for Sammamish Plateau Water.

The area was annexed for services to Sammamish in January 2015 but the political annexation didn’t take place until July, thus rendering some 3,000 voters ineligible to vote in the November 2015 City Council election. Council Member Ramiro Valderrama advocated an earlier political annexation but was out-voted 6-1, including by the four Members up for election this year.

These are:

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What’s next for Sammamish: balance of 2015 and in 2016

Although votes are still being counted and the election results won’t be certified until Nov. 24, Christie Malchow and Tom Hornish have been elected to the Sammamish City Council; their Election Night margins were too great for Mark Cross and Tom Vance to overcome. Their vote tallies have only increased each day additional votes have been tabulated.

So the questions become, What’s next? What’s next for the balance of 2015 in what is now a lame duck period of the City Council, and What’s next in 2016?

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(Update, May 15) Mark Cross seeks return to Sammamish City Council; candidates for other local offices

Update, May 15 in Green: Arul Menezes withdrew, returning Position 6 into a two-way contest between Vance and Hornish. No primary contest.

A surprise entry is Hank Klein, challenging Ramiro Valderrama in Position 4. Klein, a long-time Park Commissioner, had been asked through several successive elections to run for City Council and declined each time. Klein is a well respected, thoughtful commissioner.

Thus, with just two candidates per position, there won’t be any of these positions on the August primary–all go straight to the general election in November.

At 3pm Friday (there remains a final update at 5pm), no candidates had filed to run in any of the water commissioner seats.

Update May 14: From the County website update at 3pm, there were no additional filings today.

Update, May 13 in Blue.

It looks like we will have a primary for Sammamish City Council, with two residents of the East Lake Sammamish Trail filing against Mayor Tom Vance: Tom Hornish and Arul Menezes. Both have spoken before the City Council over King County’s design and execution of the Lake Trail.

Menezes, a Microsoftie, has the start of a website here.

Hornish is president of Sammamish Home Owners (SHO). He is a contracts attorney. SHO has sued King County over the design and implementation of the North end of ELST and over the County’s refusal to heed property owner concerns. Hornish and Menezes are among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Updates May 12 in Red.

Original Post:

Candidate filings the first day (May 11) of filing week:

City of Sammamish:

Mark Cross, Position 2

Christie Malchow, Position 2

(Incumbent) Ramiro Valderrama, Position 4

Hank Klein, Position 4

(Incumbent) Tom Vance, Position 6

Tom Hornish, Position 6

Arul Menezes, Position 6 Withdrawn

As of 4:30pm on May 11, no other candidates had filed for Position 2, nor for 4 or 6.

Northeast Sammamish Water and Sewer District:

(Incumbent) Paul Robinett, Position 1

(Incumbent) Paul Sentena, Position 3

At 4:30pm on May 11, no other candidates have filed for Positions 1 and 3.

Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District

(Incumbent) Karen Moran (Position 2)

(Incumbent) Mahbubul Islam, Position 3

(Incumbent) Mary Shustov, Position 5

At 4:30pm on May 11, no other candidates have filed for Positions 3 and 5; and none has filed for Position 2.

 Mark Cross seeks return to City Council after four year absence

Mark Cross, who served two terms on the Sammamish City Council from 2004 to 2012,

Mark Cross

seeks to return to the Council. He filed to run for election this November for Position 2, the seat being vacated by retiring Member Nancy Whitten.

Cross, a strong environmentalist, is a close ally of Mayor Tom Vance, Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay and Council Member Bob Keller. These three, along with Member Tom Odell, make up the majority power base of the City Council. Cross can be expected to join this power base if elected.

Cross, who works for the City of Bellevue, is a recognized expert in planning and transportation issues. He holds little empathy for homeowners along the East Lake Sammamish Trail and was elected in November 2003 largely by supporters of development of the Trail. During the recent controversies surrounding King County’s development of the Trail and rough-shod treatment of the property owners, Cross testified before the Sammamish City Council that no deviation from the 18-ft wide trail design should be approved to accommodate physical constraints or environmental issues. Continue reading