Opportunities for civic participation in Sammamish

City_of_SammamishIt’s a new year and a new opportunity for citizen involvement in Sammamish.

Typically, this is thought of as the City asking for volunteers on various commissions and committees appointed by the City Council

But there are several organizations independent of those under the City auspices.

Here is a list, which is hoped all-inclusive. The trouble with lists is that usually someone or something gets left off inadvertently. Apologies if this is the case.

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So long, Sammamish—sort of

Personal message from Scott Hamilton, Editor of Sammamish Comment.

Hamilton KING5_2
Scott Hamilton

After 20 years, two months and 10 days, I have moved from Sammamish.

For my wife, Gail Twelves, it’s been one month short of 16 years.

We’ve moved to Bainbridge Island, where we will build a home. For the first time in decades, we’re renters—for the time being.

Sammamish Comment will continue through next year, at which time this community service to Sammamish will close. The Comment was formed in 2003, so at the end of next year, this will have been a 14 year run.

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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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Precinct-by-precinct analysis of Sammamish City Council election

A precinct-by-precinct analysis of the Nov. 3 Sammamish City Council election demonstrates that development concerns and a muffed plan for the Sahalee Way road projects helped lead the way to victory for Christie Malchow and Tom Hornish over Mark Cross and Tom Vance.

Ramiro Valderrama faced only token opposition, and therefore Sammamish Comment hasn’t spent a lot of time analyzing his race against Hank Klein. Klein dropped out of the race too late to take his name off the ballot. He didn’t campaign or raise money.

Here’s what The Comment’s analysis found:

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How Sammamish veterans lost their City Council races

  • Note: This is 11 pages when printed.
Nov 4 results
Click on image to enlarge.

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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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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Sammamish Initiative and Referendum effective

  • 37 of 47 precincts approve the Initiative and Referendum.
  • All precincts where Council Members and Candidates for Council live approved I&R.
  • City and certain Council Members engaged in secret campaign against the vote and to undermine information.

The power of Initiative and Referendum became effective in Sammamish yesterday.

Hary Shedd 2
Harry Shedd, chairman of Citizens for Sammamish, led the charge to get the Sammamish City Council to adopt the Initiative and Referendum.

When the City was incorporated in 1999, the power of I&R wasn’t included in the City charter. Omission was claimed by City officials a decade and a half later to have been an oversight, but Karen Moran and Di Irons, two citizens involved in the incorporation at the time, said City officials deliberately left the power out.

Regardless, Citizens for Sammamish, a grass roots group chaired by Harry Shedd, pressed the current City Council last year to adopt an ordinance granting the power. The Council refused, with a majority simply opposed to giving Sammamish voters the right to I&R. Shedd continued his crusade and in January this year, the Council agreed at its retreat to put the issue to a non-binding Advisory vote. It later set April 28 as the election date.

Although a majority of the Council informally said at the retreat they would honor the outcome of the Advisory vote, and later officially said they would remain neutral, in fact the City and several Council members engaged in a stealth campaign to defeat the I&R, sow confusion, disseminate misinformation and suppress information and ultimately voting.

Related Stories

Two Council Members voted against advancing the I&R to an enabling ordinance after the Advisory vote passed by a 55.5%-44.5% margin: Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay and Member Tom Odell.

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