Huckabay professed neutrality on Initiative while working against it, emails show; misrepresents City Attorney opinion, too

Sammamish Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay wrote a planning commission on February 4 that she felt an obligation to remain neutral on the Initiative and Referendum once the City Council approved placing the April 28 ballot as an Advisory Vote. The Council approved doing so February 3.

Within days, Huckabay was surreptitiously  engaged in a campaign to defeat the measure and to deny the Citizens for Sammamish (CFS), the sponsoring organization, places to meet.

New emails released by the Sammamish City Clerk’s office reveal the extent of Huckabay’s activities, which I first revealed April 20 in an investigative report. Continue reading

Favorables/Unfavorables of incumbents going into November Sammamish City Council election

Council Time

Click in image to enlarge.

Three Sammamish City Council Members are up for election this November: Tom Vance, Ramiro Valderrama and Nancy Whitten. Whitten has been on the Council since 2003. Vance served on the Planning Commission and other council-appointed committees before being elected four years ago. Valderrama is completing his first term.

None has announced if he/she will seek reelection. Whitten has alternately indicated she may not seek reelection or she may switch seats and challenge Vance. It’s expected Vance will seek reelection, according to City Council Members I’ve talked to.

Only one candidate, Christie Malchow, a newcomer to the local political scene, has announced. She hasn’t announced which seat she will be running for.

So how do the favorables/unfavorables stack up for the three incumbents? The last time I polled the entire City Council ratings was in November 2012. I’ve run a new poll during April. Here are the results and the comparisons: Continue reading

Initiative/Klahanie votes today: Unscientific poll shows ~80% support for Initiative

The Sammamish-led votes for the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area (PAA) and the Initiative/Referendum finish up today. Ballots must be postmarked today or dropped off at the Sammamish City Hall.

Initiative/Referendum

I’ve been running an unscientific poll whether the Sammamish City Council should give citizens the right to Initiative and Referendum. The vote today is an Advisory Vote, not a binding one. The result of the unscientific poll: support for the Initiative/Referendum has been running around 80%, give or take a point or two at any given time.

Previous polls I’ve done, while also unscientific, have correctly predicted trends in final votes. The first results will be posted by King County tonight about 8:15pm.

Controversial to begin with, the topic became even more so when Council Members refused to say they will abide by the outcome of today’s election.

Controversy heightened when it was revealed by Sammamish Comment that the City engaged in a stealth campaign to silence critics, the Citizens for Sammamish, supporters of the Initiative, discussion at community groups and to deny CFS a place to meet. Continue reading

The City’s stealth campaign against Citizens for Sammamish, leader Shedd

Hary Shedd 2

Harry Shedd, chairman of Citizens for Sammamish and the driver behind the vote to give Sammamish citizens the right of Initiative and Referendum.

  • Vote in our poll on whether Sammamish residents should have the right to Initiative and Referendum. Click here to go to the post.
  • Vote in our first pre-general election poll on the Favorability/Unfavorability ratings of the incumbents, Tom Vance, Ramiro Valderrama and Nancy Whitten. Click here to go to the post.

This investigative report is more than 4,400 words and is best read when printed out.

The City of Sammamish is quietly engaged in a stealth campaign against the Citizens of Sammamish (CFS), attempting to deny the group locations for meetings, persuade groups to oppose the Initiative, stifle discussions at community groups, and limit information about the Initiative in the City’s newsletter, an investigation reveals.

Long considered an irritant and a “complainers” group, which was nonetheless tolerated and largely ignored by the City, the stealth campaign to deny CFS a meeting place began this year after its chairman Harry Shedd, was successful in backing the City Council into a corner to put an Advisory Vote on the April 28 ballot for City voters to tell the City Council if the right to Initiative and Referendum should be adopted for the City.

Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay is quietly driving the effort. Huckabay has been trying to deny CFS use of the Boys & Girls Club (B&GC)   from future meetings. The B&GC building is at Ingelwood Hill Road and 228th Ave. Northeast, is owned by the City, leased to B&GC. Huckabay met with the firefighters union to evict CFS from the Eastside Fire & Rescue Station #82 at 1851 228th Ave. NE, Sammamish, WA 98075. CFS typically meets at Station 82 on the first Monday of the month. It rented a room at the B&GC in February to kick off its campaign for a Yes vote for the Advisory ballot. It was shortly after this meeting that efforts began its efforts to bar CFS at B&GC and Station 82.

Council Member Tom Odell filed a complaint against Shedd and CFS with the State and the County over required filings and financial disclosures and raised the prospect of removing a planning commissioner for participating in a Girl Scout event that discussed the Initiative.

Summary

  • Council members faces off against each other.
  • Boys & Girls Club, Eastside Firefighters, Presbyterian Church, the Rotary Club and even the Girl Scouts caught up in the disputes.
  • Silencing critics.
  • Using City resources to work against the Initiative.
  • Freedom Foundation becomes a target used against the Initiative. Continue reading

Council election filing just around the corner: May 11

The opening date for filing for the Sammamish City Council election is just around the corner: May 11 is the first day.

Three Council Members are up for election: Tom Vance, who also currently serves as Mayor; Ramiro Valderrama; and Nancy Whitten. None has announced if they will seek reelection, although word-on-the-street is that Vance intends to. Valderrama and Whitten should announce soon whether they will or won’t in order to give potential opponents notice or those interested in running for an open seat notice.

Christie Malchow, who has lived in Sammamish for four years and who is a newcomer to politics here, announced she will run but hasn’t said which position she will seek.

With this as backdrop, let’s take unscientific polls about Vance, Valderrama and Whitten. Continue reading

Initiative/Referendum: Whom do you trust? Council waffles on Retreat consensus it would respect citizen vote

Sammamish City Council members have declined to reaffirm statements at January retreat they made indicating they would honor citizen vote in the Advisory Ballot April 28 on whether to grant voters here the right to Initiative and Referendum.

By a 5-2 majority, members of the Sammamish City Council currently oppose giving the right of Initiative and Referendum to the voters of our City. It was a split vote to even put the issue to an Advisory vote on the April 28 ballot. Council Member Tom Odell voted against putting the issue to the voters.

With only Members Nancy Whitten and Ramiro Valderrama on record in favor of granting the right, other Members informally said at the City’s January retreat they would honor the citizen outcome on the Advisory ballot. But last week, only Whitten and Valderrama responded in the affirmative to an email inquiry I sent to each council member asking whether they will honor an approval vote from citizens. Odell and Don Gerend declined to state their position “for the record” in advance of the vote. Bob Keller said he is reserving his decision until the result. Mayor Tom Vance and Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay did not respond to the inquiry.

  • See my post from the January retreat. At this retreat, Council members told me that if voters for Yes for the initiative, the council will adopt the ordinance. If they vote No, they won’t
  • See a Sammamish Review article on the topic. The paper reported, “While the April vote will be a nonbinding advisory vote and Mayor Tom Vance made no promises, he did say he believes the council will go along with whatever voters decide. He added he just couldn’t see any member of the council going against voter wishes.”

This ambiguity now raises the obvious question of whether a majority of the Council will endorse an affirmative vote of citizens, even if the outcome is a narrow 50% plus one or an overwhelming majority.

Fundamentally, the issue comes down to trust. Opposing Council Members have been clear they don’t trust the initiative process or our citizens to handle this right, which is provided under the 1912 State Constitution.

Continue reading

Klahanie could lose Initiative right in Sammamish annexation

The Klahanie Potential Annexation Area could lose its right to Initiative and Referendum if it annexes to Sammamish.

As part of unincorporated King County, the 10,000-plus residents in the PAA currently have the right. Sammamish residents do not.

The Klahanie PAA will vote April 28 whether to annex to Sammamish. If approved, the City Council hopes to make the annexation effective in August.

Sammamish residents vote April 28 in an Advisory vote (which means the City Council can affirm or reject the advice) whether the City should adopt the right of Initiative/Referendum. But the vote has no force of law.

So Klahanie PAA residents could very well come into Sammamish without this right.