Pine Lake Club, Columbia Fitness CEO gives $45,000 to “Common Sense Sammamish”

The CEO of the Pine Lake Club and Columbia Athletic Club, Cy Oskoui, has given a total of $45,000 to the Political Action Committee Common Sense Sammamish, according to the latest filing with the Public Disclosure Commission. Columbia has given $900 in-kind for designing the mail piece.

Another $40 was reported contributed from Jim Aries.

This essentially makes Oskoui a one-man PAC opposing the Community Center, though several other citizens have spoken out against it at the City Council meetings and in letters to the newspaper.

Voters have a right to know who is behind Common Sense Sammamish and the vested interest involved. I’m not at all suggesting this is wrong–just saying full disclosure is warranted, just as the undisclosed risk factors in the public-private partnership between the City and the YMCA should be revealed by the City.


“Common Sense Sammamish” omits vital information

I’ve been critical of the City of Sammamish for omitting risk information from the data provided the public over the proposed public-private Community Center with the YMCA.

My household received a mailer October 15 from Common Sense Sammamish. The mailer is a campaign against the Community Center and while it identifies the website, there is no information about who is behind the mailer, or who is funding it.

There is a phone number on the website that answers with Columbia Fitness Center. Cy Oskoui is the CEO of the two Columbia Fitness Centers in Sammamish and he, along with two others, wrote the opposition statement in the Voters Guide.

We believe voters have a right to know this connection to the mailer, just as they have a right to know the risk factors that the City should have disclosed.

It is unclear whether the mailer violates election laws for disclosure and whether financial and registration filings with the State are required. We couldn’t find any when we searched the Public Disclosure Commission website. We have inquired of the PDC about this.

Update: Hank and The Frame Guy (see Comments) were able to find the PDC filings. From experience, the search engine is sort of hit-and-miss, and thanks to both for finding the information.

The mailer does not reveal the Top 5 contributors (or in this case, the only one) as required by law, but since Oskoui is not a professional, this error and omission may be considered “technical.”

Nonetheless, I think it important that voters know the connection between “Common Sense Sammamish” and Oskoui, the CEO of the two Sammamish fitness centers, who will be directly impacted by the Y-Sammamish center.

Columbia Fitness in Issaquah closed some time ago and the lease for the one in Saffron (across from the Safeway complex) expires in 2015. I recently rejoined this one (at a monthly individual cost that is $4 less than the price proposed by the Y, by the way) and it’s not well populated when I go. This, of course, raises the question of just how well it’s doing anyway and whether the Y might be an excuse to close it when the lease expires. (“Enquiring minds want to know.”)

As for the flier’s claim jobs will be lost: well, yes and no. Columbia (and perhaps Pine Lake Fitness Center) jobs might be lost. But one presumes these may be offset by the Y, so it could be a wash.