Klahanie PAA dodges Issaquah bullet; and the gift that keeps on giving

The Klahanie Potential Annexation Area dodged the bullet from Issaquah, it turns out, as the city reveals its budget proposal.

One of the points the city promoted when seeking an affirmative vote from the PAA to annex to Issaquah was lower taxes.

The 2015 budget, just released, proposes raising property taxes 1% and nearly doubling most Business & Occupation taxes immediately and marginally in the following year.

Sammamish, which is now pursuing annexation of the PAA, hasn’t raised property taxes since incorporation in 1999 and it doesn’t have a B&O tax.

Issaquah needs to raise taxes because it’s essentially broke. The new budget projects an $8m surplus, which is really “nothing” for a government and city the size of Issaquah. There are little or no reserves for replacing aging water and sewer infrastructure, for example, or for doing many of the things the Klahanie PAA needs in terms of road improvements, maintenance and park upgrades. Sammamish, on the other hand, has a large cash balance and untapped bonding power of more than $400m, should it choose to use it.

Klahanie PAA voters were wise to reject annexation to Issaquah.

The gift that keeps on giving

Remember the City of Issaquah’s cybersquatting on the website domains of the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District? I wrote several columns about this in September and October last year, beginning with this one. The Issaquah Press and Issaquah Reporter then named this event as the Top Story of 2013 in their January 2014 year-end recaps (just before the Klahanie PAA vote to annex to Issaquah, as it turned out).

On Oct. 6 this year, the Issaquah Press won first place in a national contest judged by the Arizona Newspaper Assn., which reviewed more than 2,300 entries for editorials.

The winner was The Press’ editorial condemning the city for the cybersquatting. Here’s the link to the story. Here’s the link to the editorial, which also ran in the sister paper, The Sammamish Review.

This bonehead move by Issaquah continues to haunt the government. Nobody was held accountable, and no elected official condemned the action until the mayoral campaign was well underway. This speaks volumes.

This is another reason the Klahanie PAA dodged a bullet.


“Against Annexation” lead holding; How Issaquah lost Klahanie

Today is Thursday, Feb. 20. A mere seven more votes were counted in the Klahanie annexation vote: two more “For Annexation” and five more “Against Annexation.” The spread is now 31, up from 28 yesterday.

I can now provide this analysis of How Issaquah lost Klahanie.

It had to come as a shock to Issaquah government officials: residents of the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area sent them packing in February 11’s annexation vote.

It wasn’t just that residents rejected the prospect of assuming a portion of Issaquah’s current debt load—that happened in 2005, despite overwhelmingly approving annexation itself. This time, the election night results presented a shocking six vote margin in favor of annexation. The results from the next day narrowed this to one vote. The next day, the vote counting swung in favor of “Against Annexation” with a 34 vote margin. And it got worse from there.

How did Issaquah lose Klahanie?

Arrogance. A sense of entitlement. A sense of what Klahanie could do for Issaquah, not what Issaquah could offer Klahanie. Past statements making it clear improved roads and parks for the area weren’t in the cards. An aggressive Sammamish offering an alternative. A history that demonstrated Issaquah had trust and integrity issues. A nasty fight with the Sammamish Water and Sewer District that revealed the worst of Issaquah government. And an effective citizens uprising in the form of Klahanie Choice.

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Issaquah Press rebukes Fred Butler, endorses Forkner for mayor

In yet another rebuke to Issaquah’s old guard politicians, the Issaquah Press endorsed Joe Forkner over Fred Butler for mayor in next Tuesday’s election.

It is the only contested race in the city’s council/mayoral races.

The Press cited poor employee morale and declining city ethics–specifically pointing to the cyber squatting undertaken by the administration of retiring Mayor Ava Frisinger as an example. Butler, who has been president of the City Council, refused to condemn the cyber squatting until long after the fact, when asked directly on candidate questionnaires.

Forkner also was slow, taking about a month before he stated such practice would not be acceptable in a Forkner administration. I previously noted that I know Butler and expressed disappointment that he refused to take a position on the cybersquatting. No other council members have condemned the practice.

With the Council members refusing to take a position and the Mayor and City Administrator defending the cybersquatting, no wonder there are morale problems in City Hall.

Unfortunately, Butler has the name recognition, the money and the endorsements that will likely propel him into the mayor’s seat. Forkner was appointed to the council to fill a vacancy. His run for mayor meant he’d be giving up his council seat. A loss to Butler means he’ll be out of city government.

Issaquah Reporter slams City’s cybersquatting–but not one word of condemnation from elected officials

The Issaquah Reporter, in an editorial, joined the Issaquah Press and Sammamish Review in slamming the City of Issaquah for cybersquatting the website of the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District.

But there still has not been one word of condemnation from the elected officials of the City of Issaquah. Instead, Mayor Ava Frisinger and City Administrator Bob Harrison defended the action.

In the only contested race in the city elections this year, Councilmen Fred Butler and Joe Forkner dodged. Both said they had no concurrent or advance knowledge of the cybersquatting. Butler expressed frustration at the volume of emails received from people concerned about Issaquah’s plans to inject water into the Lower Reid Infiltration Galley, uphill from an aquifer supplying drinking water to 40%-50% of the Water District, but he didn’t make any statement concerning the city’s action. Forkner declined comment, according to the Sammamish Review.

None of the other council members has made any public statement that we are aware of.

The namby-pambyism of Butler, Forkner and the city council–especially in the face of universal condemnation–is incredulous. Frisinger’s and Harrison’s defense of the action is downright appalling.

No wonder the City of Sammamish has trouble dealing with Issaquah.

No wonder Issaquah can’t be trusted, on a variety of issues, including annexation of Klahanie.

As the newspapers said, Issaquah is lacking ethics and good government.