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.

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Sammamish hires full-time emergency management director

Sammamish has hired its first emergency preparedness director.

Andrew Stevens, the emergency manager of Downey (CA), starts work April 17. He holds

Andrew Stevens, Sammamish’s first full-time emergency management director.

the same position in Downey (CA).

“I’m very pleased that we were able to attract and hire Andrew Stevens to the position of Emergency Manager,” Sammamish City Manager Lyman Howard wrote in an email to The Sammamish Comment..
The folks on the interview panel were impressed and delighted as well.  I’ve also heard positive comments from the regional Emergency Management community, that we made a good choice.  Andrew starts April 17th.”

The appointment comes nearly two years after The Comment revealed Sammamish was going skip a multi-state, multi-jurisdictional, Canadian-US earthquake disaster drill called Cascadia Rising. Sammamish scrambled to join after the revelation.

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Sammamish electeds have history of using private email accounts

Special Report: (10 pages when printed.)

  • Council Members routinely used private email accounts for City-related business.
  • Expansive Public Records Request during 2015 Council elections brought issue to fore.
  • One Council Member, acting as a private citizen, demanded emails on private account from another Council Member.
  • The City Attorney, paid for by tax dollars, became de facto attorney for the “private citizen” Council Member.
  • Two Council Members subsequently failed to produce emails from their private accounts.
  • One of the two Council Members failed to produce emails from her private account again in 2016 pursuant to a PRR.

Hillary Clinton’s email was a story that wouldn’t die in the presidential campaign, dogging her right through the Nov. 8 election.

The City of Sammamish has its own problems over emails. Council members routinely used private emails for city business and when it comes to complying with the Washington State law for Public Records Requests (PRR), some members aren’t always forthcoming with documents.

One City Council Member was explicit that a controversial topic should be discussed using private emails to avoid public disclosures through City emails.

The City Attorney’s position on compliance in responding to Public Records Requests appears inconsistent.

The issue is about transparency in government and complying with the law.

Requirements to hand over emails from personal accounts is well established in Washington State. A Bainbridge Island case is illustrative. See here and here.

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Sammamish Disaster Preparedness Fair Oct. 15

City_of_SammamishSammamish will hold its annual Disaster Preparedness Fair Saturday, October 15, at City Hall from 9am to 3pm.

Details can be found here: Sammamish Disaster Preparedness Fair.

Several private and civic organizations will have displays in the Council Chambers and in the Courtyard, providing information residents need to survive disasters.

The principal focus is on earthquake preparedness, but other emergencies—such as downed power lines that can be dangerous—have been addressed in the past.

The City is the host but didn’t participate last year with a table of its own. It will this year.

Sammamish also was slow to participate in the Cascadia Rising emergency disaster drill last June, finally signing up after Sammamish Comment began asking questions about the City’s preparedness.

Since then, the new City Council (effective Jan. 1) and new City Manager (effective March 1) have undertaken numerous steps to bring the City to a state of preparedness.

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Drinking water contamination traced to EF&R, Issaquah says

A legal battle may be brewing between Issaquah and Eastside Fire & Rescue over damages to Issaquah drinking wells from highly toxic chemicals the city’s consultants say originated with the EF&R.

Issaquah has a conflict of interest and the City of Sammamish may also if Issaquah seeks damages from EF&R.

Two wells that provide drinking water for Issaquah residents were shut down briefly this summer from contamination of PFOS and PFOA, two toxic chemicals detected in the wells. The levels of toxicity were above Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Issaquah rushed to spend at least $1m to lease a filtering system to cleanse the water. The wells have been reactivated. Additional costs for consulting services continue.

Sammamish Plateau Water detected the chemicals at levels well below the EPA standards in nearby wells after conducting its own tests and hiring a consultant to assist.

Issaquah issued a press release yesterday in which it said the city and EF&R are working together to “further investigate potential sources of these PFCs.”

The city is cash-strapped and will likely make a claim against EF&R, Sammamish Comment is told.

Two members of the Issaquah City Council are on the board of EF&R, establishing a conflict of interest if Issaquah makes a claim for damages.

Two Sammamish city council members are on the EF&R board and a third is on the EF&R finance committee. Sammamish gets its fire service from EF&R, with taxpayers paying for this service. Sammamish City Council members thus could also be put into a position of a conflict of interest.

With two members of the EF&R board in a clear conflict of interest and two more in a potential conflict, the seven member fire board could be deprived of a quorum to decide how to settle any claim.

The Issaquah Press release:

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