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

  • This is a very long post.

By Scott Hamilton

Guest Contributor


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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Sammamish Chamber VP calls for denser development, taller buildings

By Miki Mullor

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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Sammamish Chamber of Commerce presses on with a controversial candidate forum, ignores candidates’ concerns over impartiality

By Miki Mullor

  • Three candidates voice concern over apparent bias
  • Chamber’s President is a candidate opposing Mayor Malchow
  • The proposed moderator contributed funds to a candidate’s campaign, heard saying that city council needs to change
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Valderrama endorsers pressured, intimidated

Ramiro Valderrama, Sammamish City Council Member.

At least a half dozen supporters of Sammamish Council Member Ramiro Valderrama who lent their names to his Endorsements page on his campaign website have been pressured and intimidated to remove their names, eliminate references to their titles and affiliations and in some cases, drop their endorsement of Valderrama and endorse his opponent, Hank Klein, a Sammamish Comment investigation has shown.

In addition, efforts are underway by Valderrama’s opponents to dig up “dirt” to make allegations of impropriety in the closing weeks of the campaign, it has been learned.

The pressure and intimidation have been traced to some members of the so-called Gang of 4, the ruling majority of the Sammamish City Council, according to interviews.

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Rotary, Chamber still say “no” to videotaping and broadcasting Sammamish City Council candidate forum; Mayor Vance, seeking reelection, objected

Update, Sept. 23: Deb Sogge, executive director of the Sammamish Chamber, responded today to the emails sent Sunday about the objections Sammamish Comment reported coming from Mayor Tom Vance about videotaping the October 7 candidates’ forum.

Sogge was one of four people to make the decision to not tape; the other three were Bob Toomey, president of the Chamber; CJ Kahler, treasurer of Rotary and Bill Shaw, publisher of the Issaquah-Sammamish Reporter, who will moderate the event. Shaw could not be reached when any of The Comment’s articles were written because he was on vacation.

Kahler told The Comment that “a couple of candidates” objected to videotaping. The Comment verified that Ramiro Valderrama, Christie Malchow and Tom Hornish favor taping. Valderrama said he encountered Mark Cross at the Farmer’s Market last week, who said he also favored taping. Cross did not respond to an email from The Comment. That elft Vance, who also did not respond to an email asking if he objected and why.

In a later interview with Toomey, he said Vance objected and provided detail surrounding the issue. He said Sogge spoke with Vance and told him that a commitment made to Vance not to tape should be honored.

In today’s response, Sogge denied all of this. She said Vance agreed to taping. Vance continues to stonewall The Comment. As noted in the report below, Kahler is, appears, the key holdout.

Original Post

The Sammamish Rotary and Sammamish Chamber of Commerce have stuck to their

Tom Vance, seeking reelection to the Sammamish City Council, objected to videotaping the October 7 candidates forum.

decision to not videotape the Sammamish City Council candidates forum, which will be at 7pm October 7 at the Boys and Girls Club, Inglewood Hill Road and NE 8th St.

A Chamber official confirmed the decision Friday to Sammamish Comment.

Sammamish Comment also confirmed that Mayor Tom Vance, who is running for reelection, objected to videotaping and the groups agreed to forego taping. The four other active candidates favor videotaping. Vance did not respond to a request for comment for the original story last Thursday when it first appeared he had objected.

“I think this shows a lack of transparency in our government leadership,” said Tom Hornish, Vance’s opponent in the November 3 election.

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Politics kills plans to video Sammamish candidates forum for broadcast on City’s TV station

  • Sammamish Chamber of Commerce, Rotary cite politics in banning videotaping for later broadcast of candidates forum.
  • Sammamish Kiwanis Club beset by political concerns.
  • Candidates object to videotaping, says Rotary official.
  • Discussions continue, says Chamber, cites Rotary opposition.
  • Four of five candidates favor taping and broadcasting.
  • Mayor/Candidate Tom Vance silent on the issue.

There will be a Sammamish City Council candidates forum the evening of October 7 at the Boys and Girls Club (Inglewood Hill Road at 228th Ave. NE), but it won’t be videotaped for later broadcast on the City’s government TV (Channel 21, Comcast).

Objections by a “couple” of candidates to videotaping and concerns to do so would politicize the event led the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce and the Sammamish Rotary to ban videotaping, CJ Kahler, treasurer of the Rotary, told Sammamish Comment.

The candidates are:

  • Christie Malchow vs Mark Cross of Position 2. Neither is an incumbent. They are running for the seat now held by the retiring Nancy Whitten.
  • Ramiro Valderrama vs. Hank Klein, Position 4. Valderrama is running for a second term. Klein filed to oppose him, but dropped out of the race two months later, too late to remove his name from the ballot. Klein reconfirmed to Sammamish Comment Wednesday he is not a candidate, won’t be at the forum and he won’t reenter the race at any time.
  • Tom Hornish vs Tom Vance, Position 6. Vance, currently the mayor, is running for a second term.

Kahler said he didn’t talk to the candidates and doesn’t know who objected. Malchow, Valderrama and Hornish say it wasn’t them. Cross reportedly favors taping. Vance’s position in unknown.

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