Winners and Losers in Sammamish’s David v Goliath city council election

  • This is a very long post.

By Scott Hamilton

Guest Contributor

Analysis

The 2019 Sammamish City Council election turned out to be the classic David vs Goliath fight.

The supporters of Karen McKnight, Rituja Indapure and Karen Howe (the McK3) amassed a record amount of money to defeat incumbent Christie Malchow and her allies, Ken Gamblin and Kent Treen (the M3).

Supporters of the McK3 were determined to defeat Malchow in particular, as well as the two “Ks”. They wanted to take over the city council with a 5-2 majority, or at the very least, a 4-3 majority, to push forward with the Town Center—potentially up zoning it and removing height restrictions. They wanted to weaken traffic concurrency standards, which would have the effect of loosening development potential in the rest of the city.

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Continuing election coverage

By Scott Hamilton

Guest Contributor

Sammamish Comment will provide continuing election coverage over the rest of this month.

King County will post result updates daily around 4:15pm. A direct link should be here. The general landing page is here; then click the View Results icon.

With the lopsided, landslide results posted last night, The Comment won’t be posting return updates as in previous elections. We will update the numbers today and then once a week thereafter.

Christie Malchow won reelection by a 2-1 margin over Karen McKnight. Ken Gamblin defeated Rituja Indapure, also by a 2-1 margin. Kent Treen defeated Karen Howe by a 60%-40% margin.

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Three candidates to skip a Chamber of Commerce’s candidate forum; two cite bias

By Miki Mullor
Editor 

Three candidates for the Sammamish City Council have withdrawn from the Oct. 7 Chamber of Commerce forum.

One has to attend to a gravely ill family member and two cite bias by the Chamber for withdrawing.

This morning, Ken Gamblin and Kent Treen announced they will not participate in an Oct. 7 forum organized by the Chamber. Mayor Christie Malchow will be out of town on that day, caring for her gravely ill mother in Colorado. 

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City-YMCA deal was sole-source, no-bid contract, no Requests for Proposals issued

By Scott Hamilton

Analysis

Sept. 16, 2019: The agreement between Sammamish and the YMCA for the latter to run the community center was the result of a sole-source, no-bid contract.

No Request for Proposals was issued that would compete management of the center.

The contract between Sammamish and the YMCA was a sole-source, no-bid arrangement. No Requests for Proposals were issued. A Sammamish businessman wanted to bid. City of Sammamish photo.

An offer by a Sammamish health club owner to submit a bid that would return 15% of the gross receipts to the city didn’t even get a hearing.

One of the leading advocates throughout the years for the YMCA was a city council member who also sat on the YMCA board, a clear conflict of interest that was ignore by the city administration and a successive series of city councils. (This member was off the council in 2012-13, when the votes were held.)

The YMCA was fundamentally the only entity supported by the city for nearly a decade before a contract was negotiated.

These lie at the roots of the current controversial examination of the city’s management contract with the YMCA that sees the agency siphoning off $1.4m a year to the Greater Seattle YMCA rather than keeping the money in Sammamish or sharing the profits with the city’s general fund.

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Sammamish Chamber VP calls for denser development, taller buildings

By Miki Mullor
Editor

A Sammamish Chamber of Commerce vice president this week called for denser development and taller buildings in a piece containing scathing criticism of the city council published on the chamber’s website.

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Staff confirms Klahanie annexation’s adverse affects on other road projects

Aug. 26, 2019: The Klahanie area annexation to Sammamish in 2015 caused road projects in the legacy parts of the city to be delayed, despite promises from then-Mayor Tom Vance and then-City Manager Ben Yazici there would be no adverse impacts.

Then-Mayor Tom Vance and then-City Manager promised no ill affects on legacy Sammamish from Klahanie annexation.

Acting public works director Cheryl Paston confirmed at the City Council’s Aug. 20 meeting what Sammamish Comment feared and reported in 2015: the Klahanie annexation would divert money from key projects to fulfill a Christmas list of promises made by Vance, Yazici, council members Don Gerend and Ramiro Valderrama to entice Klahanie residents to vote to annex to Sammamish.

As the current city council debates over projects listings on the Transportation Improvement Plan—notably the Sahalee Way project—the 2015 council led by Vance and Yazici’s administration manipulated the TIP then to claim sharply reduced costs for a major Klahanie road project while simultaneously shifting monies from other road projects in legacy Sammamish.

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How the Town Center plan happened

By Scott Hamilton

Commentary

Aug. 22, 2019: There is a lack of knowledge about how the Sammamish Town Center Plan unfolded and what it is today.

Here is how it happened.

Sammamish became a city in 1999. One of the first orders of business was to create the Comprehensive Plan. The first city council appointed 17 citizens to what was called the Planning Advisory Board (PAB) to draft a plan.

The PAB had a cross-section of Sammamish residents: environmentalists, developers, real estate agents, business people and people simply interested in serving. I was on the PAB.

The PAB worked over 18 months on all elements except one: the area that became the Town Center.

The PAB was directed by that first city council to wrap up its work just as we got to the center of town. Whereas nearly all new cities took three years to complete its first Comp Plan, that city council and the city manager at the time, Ben Yazici, wanted it done in record time.

The center of town was set aside for its own process—which took from 2001 to the end of 2009.

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