The Klahanie Potential Annexation Area and its voting precincts. Click on image to enlarge.
Residents in the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area will be receiving ballots this week to vote whether to annex to Sammamish. If approved, city officials hope to make the annexation effective in August.
Several Sammamish City Council members actively opposed the Issaquah vote, and Council Member Don Gerend served as a spokesman for Klahanie Choice, the anti-Issaquah group that instead support annexation to Sammamish. Council Member Ramio Valderrama led the Sammamish council in several votes to send messages to Klahanie residents that Sammamish welcomed the PAA with open arms.
Sammamish has wanted to annex the Klahanie area since incorporation and in 2002 entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Issaquah mayor to transfer the PAA from Issaquah to Sammamish after an annexation vote failed. The Issaquah City Council refused to approve the transfer.
Annexation to Sammamish will add between 10,000-11,000 residents to our city’s population of around 45,000. The area, in aggregate, will also have one of the largest voting blocs, which could tip future elections.
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.