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 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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Sammamish unprepared for disaster, says city consultant

City_of_SammamishWhen it comes to disaster preparedness, Sammamish is unprepared.

This is the conclusion of a consultant hired by the City to assess its emergency management planning.

The results, first revealed to the City’s Public Safety Committee June 22, paints an alarming picture of just how unprepared City government is to handle a major disaster like an earthquake. The City also failed to comply with federal and state law to prepare plans. The City failed to join a King County regional planning effort in 2014—and still hasn’t.

The consultant, Gail Harris of GCH Disaster Solutions, painted a grim picture to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee. The committee consists of Deputy Mayor Ramiro Valderrama Council Members Tom Hornish and Christie Malchow, Deputy City Manager Jessi Bon and other City staff members. The police and fire departments are also members.

Among the findings:

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Sammamish disaster planning “not enough,” says City Manager

June 23, 2016: Sammamish participation in the Cascadia Rising earthquake drill this month was labeled a success, but City Manager Lyman Howard acknowledged the level and scope of participation wasn’t enough.

Lyman made his remarks in an interview last week with Sammamish Comment.

Sammamish wasn’t going to participate at all until The Comment began making inquiries last fall about failure to sign up for the multi-state, multi-jurisdictional, international drill. The drill, assuming an earthquake from then Cascadia fault line off the West Coast, encompassed British Columbia to Northern California.

The drill’s parameters assumed Sammamish telephone and cell phone communications were disrupted and damage on major arterials leading in and out of the City occurred.

Howard told The Comment that Sammamish focused on its inter-agency and emergency communications with local citizen groups, such as the Info Hubs operated by the Sammamish Citizen Corp and CERTs; and Sammamish Plateau Water. City Hall was evacuated. But links to the County and State weren’t tested, nor were there actual drills in the City.

“It’s not enough [what the City did], I’ll be honest,” Howard said. “We’re talking with CERT about annual drills.”

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Top 10 stories of 2015 in Sammamish

Sammamish Comment LogoHere are the Top 10 stories in Sammamish for 2015, as measured by readership on Sammamish Comment:

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Forgetting who you’re serving at the Sammamish City Council

All too often, elected officials forget who they were elected to serve. This unfortunately is the case with some on the Sammamish City Council.

Artwork via Google images.

During the course of this year, Sammamish Comment chronicled a number of important issues in which the Council and the City Administration practiced benign neglect. In many cases, individual Council Members have pursued personal agenda, played follow the leader or blamed citizens for being whiners or misunderstanding what they are supposed to understand.

These attitudes are why Washington D.C. and Olympia (WA) are so dysfunctional and failing to serve the peoples’ interest in pursuit of their own. It’s why Sammamish citizens voted to incorporate in 1998: to get out from under an unresponsive King County government that ignored our wishes and needs.

Certainly being our own City proved far more beneficial than being under the King County Council. We have roads and parks we weren’t going to get under the County rule. We have community events, notably our Fourth of July, Sammamish Nights and similar activities we’d never get under King County.

But the City is letting citizens down in a number of areas due to the benign neglect and personal agendas referenced above. For example:

Skipping the Cascadia Rising earthquake drill

There are a lot of things in government that fall within the category of “What were you thinking?”

Skipping the Cascadia Rising earthquake drill tops the list.

The Sammamish Comment revealed October 5 that the City skipped the sign-up deadline last year to participate in a regional Cascadia Rising earthquake preparedness drill that outlines a scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hitting Sammamish. (The scenario’s epicenter is the Cascadia Subduction Fault off the Washington coastline, with a 9.0 epicenter magnitude.)

Sammamish had no plans to participate. Until after The Comment began making inquiries.

This is a huge public safety issue. This is the worst example of benign neglect yet by our City and City Council. Read the details here.

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