65% of votes cast in Sammamish City Council races were for change

Sixty-five percent of the votes cast in the Sammamish City Council races were cast for Christie Malchow, Ramiro Valderrama and Tom Hornish, a clear message to remaining Council Members and the City Administration that a change is desired from current and past practices and policies.

Although Valderrama is an incumbent, he was isolated by the ruling majority of the Council and members worked hard to find a challenger to defeat his bid for reelection. His reelection is a blow to the ruling majority’s ambitions to maintain control and eliminate a challenger to the status quo.

The election of Malchow and Hornish, allies of Valderrama, cement voters’ message of change.

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Low ballot return so far in Sammamish City Council race

With six days to do to the November 3 election, in which three positions for the Sammamish City Council are on the ballot, City ballot returns through Oct. 26 are a dismal 7.8% of registered voters.

This is fractionally behind neighboring cities, Issaquah, Redmond and Kirkland, which are hovering around 8% ballot returns. Bellevue is slightly higher at 8.4%. All of King County, including Seattle where there are City Council races, is hovering around 8% ballot returns so far.

Off-year elections typically have dramatically lower voter turnout than presidential years or mid-term years in which the top of the ballot has a US Senator race. In Washington, the governor is elected in the same year as the president and mid-term elections have a US Senate seat at the top of the ballot.

City Council races are in the odd years, and don’t draw much in the way of turnout. Top top-of-the-ballot office races in King County are for Assessor and Director of Elections, two yawners that won’t help draw voters.

The top ballot initiative this year is I-1136, another Tim Eyman tax initiative that most people believe will be ruled invalid in a court challenge should it pass. A number of arcane advisory votes are on the ballot.

Eighty five percent of Sammamish voters typically turn out in a presidential election. This historically drops to 50% or less in an odd-year election. But since the City Council races are “down ballot,” by the time voters get down to these races, the actual voter participation is even lower.

Sammamish Comment has charted the statistics in three recent odd-year elections:

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Larry Wright states reasons for seeking city council seat

Larry Wright – Candidate for Sammamish City Council, Pos. 1

Larry Wright, a candidate for Sammamish City Council opposing Kathy Huckabay–the only contested seat in the race–provided me with the following statement of candidacy.

Sammamish is a great place to live; I want to help make it even better through fiscally sound policies that promote moderate growth while retaining the city’s unique charm and character.

As a father of two young children, I’d like more green space for them to play. As a homeowner, I want efficient public services that contribute to my home’s value.  As a consumer, I want to see more retail space.  As a taxpayer, I want my money spent wisely.  As a patron of the arts, I’d like to see our public spaces enriched with art.  As a daily commuter, I’d like to see traffic improved. As someone that has spent years working with children, I want more programs to help kids stay out of trouble. 

I am running for Sammamish City Council to ensure our high quality of life is available to residents for years to come.

I will be asking Wright, Huckabay and the unopposed candidates, Don Gerend, Bob Keller and Tom Odell, questions on issues for forthcoming columns. If readers have any particular questions you’d like to ask (within the bounds of civility), send them to me at cityhamilton@gmail.com and I’ll pose them.

Also from Wright:

Wright is the Managing Director of the Bellevue Arts Museum. Prior to joining the museum, he served as CEO of the National Mentoring Partnership in Washington, DC and as executive director of their Washington State affiliate, Washington State Mentors.

He sits on the boards of the College Success Foundation, Washington State Mentors, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound.  He is also a Commissioner on the State Charter School Commission.

He has lived in Sammamish since 2009 although his parents have been here since 1987. He is married and has two children.


Two competitive races, two unopposed in 2013 Sammamish City Council election

The deadline for candidates to file for the 2013 elections has passed, and two of the four positions in Sammamish are unopposed.

Tom Odell, completing his first four year term, and a two year term as Mayor, is unopposed for reelection.

Bob Keller is also unopposed. He ran for the Council in the 1999 primary for our city’s first Council, but missed making the final cut. He’s been active in civic affairs since, including serving on the Planning Commission and the Planning Advisory Board. He, too, is unopposed.

Don Gerend, the lone remaining original council member from 1999, is running for a fifth term. He is opposed by newcomer Christine Malchow, who applied for a seat on one of the city’s commissions but didn’t get appointed (Gerend would have had a vote).

Malchow is a Republican (this is a non-partisan election, however). Her campaign website isn’t up yet but she has a blog on the Sammamish Patch and on WordPress. She has a Facebook page.

Kathy Huckabay, who like Gerend was one of the first City Council members elected in 1999, did not seek re-election four years ago. She’s back, seeking her old seat (being vacated by John James).

She is opposed by Larry Wright. Wright was a member of the state’s Charter School Panel. He is the Managing Director at the Bellevue Arts Museum and has been involved in mentoring endeavors, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also served on a commission on homelessness.