“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.

Continue reading ““Against Annexation” lead holding; How Issaquah lost Klahanie”

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.

At long last, an Issaquah official says cybersquatting was wrong

Finally, someone in the Issaquah city government said its cybersquatting of the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District websites was wrong.

Councilman Joe Forkner, who is running for mayor against long-time councilman Fred Butler, who is also president of the council, took this stand in a candidate profile in the Issaquah Press. The Press wrote:

He did not pause when asked about strategies taken in the past year to defend Issaquah against perceived attacks from the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District. He said that an aggressive assumption plan and cybersquatting activities would have no place in a prospective Forkner administration.

“I’m a sit-down-and-talk-it-out kind of guy,” he said. “If we have a problem, let’s sit down, talk about it and just come up with a plan that will work.”

Butler has only said he didn’t know of the cybersquatting in advance. He’s declined to take a stand on the ethics of the practice.

I’ve known Butler for years, as well as another council member, Stacy Goodman. Both refused to take a stand on the ethics of the city’s cybersquatting the Water District’s website when I asked. Goodman, who covered the City of Sammamish as a reporter for the Sammamish Review when I was on city commissions and committees, would have been all over this story as a reporter. As an Issaquah City Council member, she’s gone into the bunker, along with Butler and the rest of the city government.

It is gratifying to see that someone over there decided the cybersquatting was wrong. But it sure took long enough.

As readers of Sammamish Comment (and the local newspapers) know, the Water District and Issaquah have been fighting over water treatment issues for years. After the District launched a campaign to advise its customers of the problem, Issaquah’s staff created to domain names virtually identical to those of the Water District to hijack District customers and those interested in the issues, redirecting them to city websites aimed at countering District information.

Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger and city administrator Bob Harrison defended the practice. Harrison said this was done to counter “misinformation” from the District.

This is an amazing excuse.

Issaquah has two full-time employees in its communications department, Warren Kagarise (who purchased the phoney domain names) and Autumn Monahan. Both were once reporters for the Issaquah Press. Monahan also was once employed by a professional public relations firm. Council member Goodman was also once a reporter for the Press. All are well-schooled in communication and information dissemination.

With all this newspaper experience, and the understanding of communicating messages and reporting facts that goes with being reporters and a public relations professional, Issaquah still resorted to cheating and trickery to try and get its message across. And this was their first action. Slick videos and presentations came later.

Every local newspaper condemned the city for its actions.

One can only roll your eyes and shake your head at the decision-making that went into this, the lack of ethics surrounding it, the defense of it, and the lack of outrage by the city council members.

Good for Forkner for finally being the one elected official with the courage to stand up and take a position that this was wrong. But he was awfully slow to do so.