How Sammamish veterans lost their City Council races

  • Note: This is 11 pages when printed.
Nov 4 results

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How did two veterans of Sammamish public service lose their bids for election to the City Council in the Nov. 3 election to two unknown newcomers to the City?

They lost through a combination of miscalculation, arrogance, the split of traditional coalitions, angry opposition, tenacious newcomers and a one-term Council Member who wasn’t about to cower in the face of determined opposition.

They also had an unwitting helping hand from their own Deputy Mayor, whose obsessions galvanized the opposition to upset her allies.

This is the inside story of how Mayor Tom Vance lost to two-year resident Tom Hornish and how former Mayor and Council Member Mark Cross lost a comeback bid to a feisty young Mom in tennis shoes, Christie Malchow, invoking remembrances of another tennis shoe Mom campaign in Washington long before Malchow moved here.

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Whitten won’t run for reelection

Nancy Whitten

Nancy Whitten said today (May 6) she won’t run for reelection.

Whitten has been on the Sammamish City Council since 2003. She ran in 2001 but lost by a very narrow margin.

Whitten has been a thorn in the side of what she viewed as the power structure of successive City Council. She’s been vocal about what she perceived to be “rigged” votes for leadership and committee assignments. She’s been a particular thorn in the side of the current Council power structure that’s become known as the Gang of 4, consisting of Mayor Tom Vance, Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay, Tom Odell and Bob Keller, whom she often accused of colluding to agree on votes in advance of Council meetings. Several members of this group are known to have been attempting to recruit a candidate to run against her this year.

But for all her prickliness, Whitten has been a staunch protector of the environment. Continue reading

Four council members declare support for Initiative

Four of Sammamish’s seven city council members said they will support giving the right of Initiative and Referendum to voters following approval in the Advisory Ballot last Tuesday. The council has to adopt an ordinance before citizens obtain the right.

Members Valderrama and Whitten previously declared support for the I&R. Don Gerend and Bob Keller told Sammamish Comment Friday they will support the I&R now. The measure passed with about 55.4% of the vote. Ballots are still being counted and the election won’t be certified until May 12. Ballots continue to trickle in and the outcome won’t change materially from the election night on April 28.

Council Member Tom Odell could not be reached over the weekend. Mayor Tom Vance and Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay did not respond to an email asking their position. Continue reading

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