April 26, 2022: Some on the Sammamish City Council just don’t get it. Mayor Christie Malchow and Member Karen Moran sure don’t.
Members Amy Lam, Kali Clark, and Karen Howe get it, especially Howe. Howe provided an eloquent argument for why the Rudat ethics investigative reports should be made public. She is providing leadership that is, sadly, absent from Mayor Malchow, who now flip-flops her votes. She did so twice in last week’s meeting.
Sammamish Comment has written much about the Rudat probe and why the reports of his misdeeds should be made public. We won’t repeat these long details. Last Tuesday’s city council meeting brings up new issues in the debate over releasing the reports.
April 20, 2022: The Sammamish City Council deadlocked in two more votes this week on the release of the reports of the ethics investigation of former City Manager David Rudat.
Votes were taken Tuesday on two motions; each failed on a 3-3 deadlock.
Council Member Amy Lam moved to release the report with certain redactions. Mayor Christie Malchow offered an amendment to release the report, under attorney-client privilege, only to the council members. Malchow voted against this motion on April 5, which failed in a 3-3 vote. Offering the same motion this week represents a flip-flop by Malchow. The amendment failed on a 3-3 vote, with Malchow, Deputy Mayor Kali Clark and Council Member voting in favor. Lam voted with Members Kent Treen and Karen Moran in opposing this motion. Lam’s flip from the April 5th vote defeated Malchow’s amendment.
On Lam’s main motion, Lam, Howe and Clark voted in favor of releasing a redacted report. Malchow flipped again and once more sided with Treen and Moran against releasing the report, even in a redacted form. Treen and Moran were opposed to the ethics probe all along and continue to oppose any release of the reports to the public. Only an executive summary has been released.
Malchow under pressure
Malchow has been under pressure throughout the ethics probe, first as the leading proponent of initiating the probe while deputy mayor and when the vote came to fire or suspend Rudat. The council rejected the former on a 2-5 vote (only former Council Members Tom Odell and Pam Stuart supported firing him); and the on a vote to suspend him, which received a majority of the council votes.
Subsequently as mayor, Malchow provided the swing vote to block release of the reports. During Tuesday’s meeting, Malchow admitted she’s been under pressure and the strain was obvious. She said she was on the fence about releasing the reports, then split her votes in favor and then rejecting release. Malchow wants to “move on” from the controversy, but Howe said this won’t happen until the reports are released. Moran feared a lawsuit by result from release and said her role, among others, is to “protect the city.” Howe rejected this reasoning, saying if a lawsuit resulted, so be it.
Malchow questioned releasing the report detailed why Rudat was let go and all the dirty laundry surrounding the move.
The 15 minute discussion and debate with worth watching for the impassioned discussion and debate. The video is below.
After counting 95% of the ballots, Mayor Karen Moran won her re-election in a landslide, winning over 75% of the votes. Moran is also the only candidate in this election crossing the 10,000 vote count.
Also winning, in tight races, were Karen Howe, Kali Clark and Amy Lam.
Sammamish voters approved I-976, the $30 car tab fee, by a margin of 54%-46% in election night precinct tabluations.
King County Elections released the Nov. 5 election night precinct-by-precinct votes on Nov. 8. The Election Night percentages typically vary from the final tally by no more than 1%-2%. Between Tuesday and Friday, percentages in the city council races varied by fractions of a percent.
Sound Transit’s funding scheme, relying heavily on car tab fees, was the prime target of Tim Eyman’s initiative. Sound Transit car tab fees use an inflated, outdated car valuation schedule that results in hundreds or perhaps thousands of dollars more in fees than using a Kelly Blue Book value.
The Sammamish voters in the 5th Legislative District—the greater Klahanie area—approved the $30 tab fee by the narrow margin of 50.5% to 49.5%. The 5th is closest to the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride, where Sound Transit provides frequent service.
The Sammamish voters in the 41st Legislative District—basically the southern half of the city south of SE 8th St.—approved I-976 by a 55.8%-44.2% vote.
The Sammamish voters in the 45th Legislative District—north of SE 8th—approved I-975 53%-47%.
Final results may alter these percentages slightly.