When Josh Amato announced his candidacy for Sammamish City Council last spring, he posted a video on his campaign website disclosing an arrest at age 21 for a misdemeanor.
However, the police report from the Tacoma Police Department discloses that the circumstances surrounding his arrest were far more serious than Amato revealed – it was for intimidation, stalking and threats with a weapon – a felony.
In addition, Sammamish Comment uncovered political documents on the Internet that connect Amato, then campaign manager for Dick Muri, a Republican candidate for Congress, to groups with racist and white supremacist leanings.
Shortly after The Comment discovered the key document, Amato’s name was removed from the posting on the Internet.
Amato is currently a Sammamish planning commissioner.
A months-long investigation by Sammamish Comment that includes email interviews with staff and public records requests reveal city staff opposition to restoring a stringent stormwater standard in the Town Center area.
Staff opposes the former standard because the soil in the Town Center makes it “infeasible” to implement.
In public, staff said the standard or an equivalent to it, is in place.
In private meetings with council members, staff admitted it was eliminated and opposed restoring it.
STCA’s Phase I 400 homes permit’s stormwater section was approved although the developer said it is not implementing it because “it is not feasible”.
The City does not know the impact of the currently enacted and relaxed standards on the creeks and downstream homes.
City Manager David Rudat on The Comment’s investigation: “a take down”.
For the second time, staff from the City’s Public Works department promotes official statements that contradict the public record.
Back in August, the City was forced to issue a rare retraction after a traffic planner in the Public Works department said in an email that was widely published that “there was no manipulation of data to favor any type of development.” The City claimed the email was taken out of context.
Now, another Public Works staffer has publicly disputed Council Member Kent Treen’s bombshell conclusion, in his guest op-ed, that in 2013 the City relaxed a critical stormwater standard in the Town Center to ease development costs and that in 2016 that standard was dismantled altogether.
Treen’s effort to restore the old standard in a special legislation has been stalled by staff.
The public record shows that staff’s public dispute of Treen is inconsistent with City’s own past positions on the issue.
For two weeks,The Sammamish Comment attempted to interview staff on the issue to address the inconsistency. Staff, who were very quick to dispute Treen in public, now are unable to find time to answer questions by email on the issue.
Guest Op-Ed By Kent Treen Sammamish City Council Member
The debate about the negative impacts of development mostly focuses on what we all see and experience, like the pain of traffic, overcrowded schools, and the loss of trees and wildlife. But development triggers a more powerful force, that unless properly mitigated, can be the most destructive of all: stormwater.
When development does not handle its stormwater properly, its runoff will cause permanent damage to our creeks, our endangered kokanee salmon, our drinking water, our lakes and to our neighbors living downhill (just ask the residents in the Tamarack neighborhood).
To my shock and disbelief, I learned recently that in 2013 the City Council relaxed the strict storm water regulations that were in place for the Town Center development.
As the public record shows, they put the financial interests of development in the Town Center ahead of our environment, explicitly for the developers’ financial gain.
UPDATE: tonight’s City Council meeting has been cancelled.
The new majority on the Sammamish City Council will face its first major decision tonight on the Town Center – whether to revamp the Town Center plan, or focus on adjustments. This decision comes as new details on further phases of Town Center are revealed in an unsolicited proposal developer STCA made to Sound Transit to place a “transit center” on one of its properties.
STCA’s proposal details a total of 2,000 homes (6,000 residents), 2,000 employees and 11,000 daily customers in the area west of 228th Ave, above the Met Market complex.
Tonight’s meeting is closed to public attendance due to the coronavirus but will be broadcast live on Channel 21 and on Facebook, starting at 6:30pm: