Evan Maxim, a senior planner, quit to go to work for the City of Mercer Island. He follows recent resignations of Mona Davis and Laura Philpot in the last year, all senior staffers in planning or public works. Davis went to work for Renton. Philpot now works at Maple Valley.
All too often, elected officials forget who they were elected to serve. This unfortunately is the case with some on the Sammamish City Council.
During the course of this year, Sammamish Comment chronicled a number of important issues in which the Council and the City Administration practiced benign neglect. In many cases, individual Council Members have pursued personal agenda, played follow the leader or blamed citizens for being whiners or misunderstanding what they are supposed to understand.
These attitudes are why Washington D.C. and Olympia (WA) are so dysfunctional and failing to serve the peoples’ interest in pursuit of their own. It’s why Sammamish citizens voted to incorporate in 1998: to get out from under an unresponsive King County government that ignored our wishes and needs.
Certainly being our own City proved far more beneficial than being under the King County Council. We have roads and parks we weren’t going to get under the County rule. We have community events, notably our Fourth of July, Sammamish Nights and similar activities we’d never get under King County.
But the City is letting citizens down in a number of areas due to the benign neglect and personal agendas referenced above. For example:
Skipping the Cascadia Rising earthquake drill
There are a lot of things in government that fall within the category of “What were you thinking?”
Skipping the Cascadia Rising earthquake drill tops the list.
The Sammamish Comment revealed October 5 that the City skipped the sign-up deadline last year to participate in a regional Cascadia Rising earthquake preparedness drill that outlines a scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hitting Sammamish. (The scenario’s epicenter is the Cascadia Subduction Fault off the Washington coastline, with a 9.0 epicenter magnitude.)
Sammamish had no plans to participate. Until after The Comment began making inquiries.
This is a huge public safety issue. This is the worst example of benign neglect yet by our City and City Council. Read the details here.
- Appellants planned to use report in Conner-Jarvis case.
- Conflict of interest with City contract cited.
- Same environmental consultant allowed for applicant in Chestnut Estates West case.
- Conner-Jarvis appellant charged City would withdraw traffic mitigation plans if project appealed.
- Similar neighborhood traffic concerns to Chestnut appeal, which the City lost.
- Links to download documents are toward the bottom of this post.
The Sammamish City Manager blocked an environmental consulting company from being a witness at a land use appeal of the Conner-Jarvis development, and with it, the report the company prepared, charges Mike Grady of the appellant, the Kempton Downs Community Organization.
Grady charged that City Manager Ben Yacizi invoked a clause in the consultant’s City contract for services unrelated to the appeal that says the firm, The Watershed Company, can’t undertake work that in conflict with the City.
Watershed was allowed to be a consultant and expert witness on behalf of the William Buchan Co. in the Chestnut Estates West application, says Grady. The City’s Hearing Examiner threw out the application, handing a victory to the appellants. Buchan told the Sammamish Reporter it plans to appeal the decision this month.
Wetlands weren’t properly assessed, Watershed says
Sammamish Comment obtained a copy of the Watershed report in the Conner-Jarvis case. The report concluded:
- that the wetland boundaries were misidentified by Conner’s consultant;
- the potential effects of the “water flow processes” that sustain Laughing Jabos Creek and the wetland ecosystem were not adequately characterized; and
- the wetland complex should be rated as a single unit rather than separate wetlands.
Some of the issues between Chestnut and Conner are similar: the threat to kokanee salmon from upstream runoff. Kokanee are native to Lake Sammamish and to three creeks: Ebright Creek, which was the relevant creek in the Chestnut case and about half way up the lake; Lewis Creek at the far south end of the lake; and Laughing Jacobs Creek, which is relevant in the Conner case, which is in between Lewis and Ebright.
Hearing Examiner John Galt held a session Monday morning whether to admit the report despite the City’s exclusion. Galt denied a request to enter the report into the record, but gave the appellant until Oct. 28 to come up with a new report.
The Sammamish City Council chamber overflowed into the waiting room and it was standing room only as scores of people got up to testify about King County’s development of the East Lake Sammamish Trail.
It’s clear from the comments that there is a misunderstanding on the part of some over the underlying issues.
Just as the chamber was packed with property owners and members of the Sammamish Home Owners, the place was clearly packed with bicyclists, including the Cascade Bicycle Club. The property owners are largely concerned with legalities, encroachments and heavy-handed tactics of King County. The bicyclists and some walkers, including former Sammamish City Council member Mark Cross, are concerned with having the 18 ft wide design for safety reasons.
Many took issue with suggestions to narrow the trail in some locations and for various reasons. What comes across clearly, for anyone willing to watch nearly two hours of comments on the City’s webcast of the Council meeting, is that those advocating the 18 ft wide design, don’t understand the unique issues involving ELST.
We’re just hours away from the Sammamish City Council update by City Staff and the County staff over the pending development of Section 2A (7-11 area to the Issaquah City Limits) of the East Lake Sammamish Trail.
In my own comments planned for tonight during Public Comment, I will be giving an abbreviated version of what’s below (as much as I can in 3-5 minutes):