Why Issaquah can’t be trusted, Part 4: proof Issaquah planned an assumption of Water District despite denials

The Sammamish Reporter has a long story about Issaquah’s plans that have in the works for several years to take over part of the Sammamish Plateau Water & Sewer District.

Issaquah repeatedly denied to Klahanie that it plans to do so, and was forced to backtrack when the Water District revealed the plans. The Sammamish Reporter provides a detailed look at a 2011 Issaquah “White paper” that makes it clear Issaquah indeed had plans to assume part of the District.

Furthermore, I found another Sammamish Reporter article from 2009 that once more casts doubt on Issaquah’s track record of doing what it says it will do.

Issaquah entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District in 2009 to treat stormwater before it entered the Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery (LRIG) and then didn’t follow through.

Pre-treatment of stormwater before it is injected into the LRIG is at the heart of the disagreements between the two governments. And it is disagreement over this that leads to the proposed hostile takeover of the sliver of the District that lies within Issaquah but which supplies 40%-50% of the drinking water to the 93% of the District that lies outside Issaquah, including most of Sammamish, the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area and other parts of King County.

Providence Point within Issaquah is one of the more concentrated areas also served by the 7% of the District within the city. Three wells also are within the “7%” and represent the heart of the District’s assets.

I previously reported that Issaquah reneged on an MOU it signed with Sammamish to transfer the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area to Sammamish.

  • The Sammamish City Council this week adopted a resolution directly the City Manager to undertake a study of potentially annexing Klahanie if the expected vote tentatively scheduled by Issaquah to do so fails.

Residents of the Klahanie PAA need to think long and hard about whether they want to be part of a city where the government is so unreliable.

Issaquah Reporter slams City’s cybersquatting–but not one word of condemnation from elected officials

The Issaquah Reporter, in an editorial, joined the Issaquah Press and Sammamish Review in slamming the City of Issaquah for cybersquatting the website of the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District.

But there still has not been one word of condemnation from the elected officials of the City of Issaquah. Instead, Mayor Ava Frisinger and City Administrator Bob Harrison defended the action.

In the only contested race in the city elections this year, Councilmen Fred Butler and Joe Forkner dodged. Both said they had no concurrent or advance knowledge of the cybersquatting. Butler expressed frustration at the volume of emails received from people concerned about Issaquah’s plans to inject water into the Lower Reid Infiltration Galley, uphill from an aquifer supplying drinking water to 40%-50% of the Water District, but he didn’t make any statement concerning the city’s action. Forkner declined comment, according to the Sammamish Review.

None of the other council members has made any public statement that we are aware of.

The namby-pambyism of Butler, Forkner and the city council–especially in the face of universal condemnation–is incredulous. Frisinger’s and Harrison’s defense of the action is downright appalling.

No wonder the City of Sammamish has trouble dealing with Issaquah.

No wonder Issaquah can’t be trusted, on a variety of issues, including annexation of Klahanie.

As the newspapers said, Issaquah is lacking ethics and good government.

Why Issaquah can’t be trusted, Part 2: Klahanie annexation

The opinions expressed are my own.

Why Issaquah can’t be trusted, Part 1: Mayor admits to cybersquatting.

After summer doldrums, events are picking up with the prospective annexation of Klahanie into Issaquah.

While this is known as the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area (PAA), in reality there are several adjacent neighborhoods to Klahanie that are also subject to the February vote the Issaquah City Council has set. The Issaquah Reporter has a very good story outlining the issues facing Klahanie voters. The map below is from this story and shows the adjacent neighborhoods.

But there are other issues voters need to consider, and top of the list is whether Issaquah, its city council and city administration are the best choices to become their new leaders. And this is quite questionable.

Map Source: Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter, Sept. 12, 2013.

Continue reading “Why Issaquah can’t be trusted, Part 2: Klahanie annexation”

Why Klahanie annexation, water fight matter to Sammamish

This is the “Sammamish Comment.” So why am I spending so much time on a water fight between Issaquah and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District and the proposed annexation by Issaquah of Klahanie?

Because of the impacts on Sammamish, which could be profound.

The water fight and the annexation are the crescendo of long-running disputes between Sammamish and Issaquah, in which Issaquah has basically stiff-armed Sammamish at nearly every turn–most notably years-long efforts to adjust the financial contributions of the many partners in the Eastside Fire and Rescue (EFR) service.

Sammamish, by assessed value of the homes and land, pays the largest share into EFR. But Issaquah generates more calls. By Sammamish’s analysis, Issaquah should be paying about $500,000 a year more than it is based on the actual calls.

Issaquah refuses to adjust. Relations between Sammamish and Issaquah have reached a breaking point. Sammamish will decide soon whether to withdraw from EFR and form its own fire department or possibly even an alliance with Redmond.

Sammamish might close “Klahanie” fire station

Sammamish has warned that if Klahanie annexes to Issaquah, Station 83, more commonly known as the Klahanie fire station–which is owned by Sammamish and located at SE 32nd and Issaquah-Pine Lake Road–may be closed. Issaquah, according to our information from Sammamish, has already told our leaders it won’t buy the station.

This didn’t stop the Issaquah police chief from telling Klahanie residents that he could co-locate a police sub-station at the Klahanie fire station, a comment that came as a surprise to Sammamish officials.

Issaquah’s arrogance over EFR matters–and the continued unfair financial burden Sammamish taxpayers have because of Issaquah–is an issue unto itself but it’s also tied to the Klahanie annexation.

Continue reading “Why Klahanie annexation, water fight matter to Sammamish”

Why Issaquah Can’t be Trusted, Part 1 Update

KIRO TV did this news report Friday evening about the cybersquatting by Issaquah of the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District.

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What is especially incredible about this whole affair is this: Mayor Ava Frisinger says Issaquah created the typosquatting URLs to counter what she claims is misinformation coming from the Water District. Even if one believed the “misinformation” charge, the fact that Issaquah undertook a practice universally considered internationally to be unethical and in some circumstances illegal is astonishing. It’s even more so that the chief executive officer of the city, Mayor Frisinger, and its spokeswoman are defending this.

Why Issaquah can’t be trusted, Part 1: Mayor admits cybersquatting Water District to redirect customers to City websites

The opinions expressed here are my own.

The mayor of Issaquah, Ava Frisinger, has admitted that the City Administration directed one of its staffers to “reserve” two Internet domain names that are virtually identical to two held by the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District. These differed only in the dot extensions from the Districts home address, www.sammplat.wa.org and www.letstalkaboutourwater.org.

(The same story linked above also is in the Issaquah Press.)

Frisinger dodged admitting that more than “reserving” the virtually identical URLs, they were activated and directed people to City of Issaquah websites. People who mistyped the Water District’s domain names were sent to the City’s website.

The practice is called cybersquatting, and it is considered in Internet circles to be unethical and under certain circumstances to be illegal.

Issaquah and the Water District are engaged in a protracted dispute over water quality and the City’s plan to resume injecting stormwater into what’s known as the Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery (LRIG), which collects stormwater runoff from Issaquah Highlands. LRIG was ordered shut down by the state Department of Ecology in 2008 when fecal coliform (bird poop and other pollutants) was found to have infiltrated a nearby drinking water aquifer.

Frisinger has accused the Water District of misleading the public and that “customer confusion” exists within Issaquah over which agency, the City or the District, provides water and sewer service to the small portion of the District that lies within the City limits.

Frisinger wrote the District after the District discovered the bogus URLs and cybersquatting that the city “Administration” told an employee to obtain the bogus URLs.

This brazen, deliberate action to hijack the public who sought to go to the Water District’s web sites is astounding, and Frisinger’s response to the Water District is equally appalling.

I spent eight years in Sammamish City government on committees and commissions and 12 years working on political campaigns and I thought I had seen everything. This takes the cake. For the Issaquah city government to not only condone but to initiate this is beyond belief.

Frisinger, the Chief Executive Officer of the city, chose not to seek reelection this year. Is this the legacy of her years of public service that she wants to have? Pursuing a plan to allow inadequately treated stormwater to threaten drinking water? Pursuing a hostile takeover of a sliver of the Water District that could cost taxpayers $12 million? Keeping information from its taxpayers until “outed” by the Water District? And finally condoning and initiating cybersquatting?

Apparently the answer is Yes.

Water District vs Issaquah: video presentations tell the story

The debate is contentious. The Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District says Issaquah wants to inject contaminated water into an area where fecal coliform can infiltrate into an aquifer that provides up to 50% of the drinking water for the District, which serves 54,000 residents in Issaquah (including part of the Issaquah Highlands, all of Providence Point and Overdale), all of Klahanie and other parts of unincorporated King County and roughly three quarters of Sammamish.

Issaquah officials charge the Water District is resorting to scare tactics and its real “agenda” is “self-preservation” and to block the potential annexation by Issaquah of Klahanie. What’s noteworthy of Mayor Ava Frisinger’s approach on this is that by making allegations that the District has an “agenda” and personally attacking the president of the District, she’s avoiding the issues and the City is repeating tactics from 2008 when the Washington Department of Ecology forced (repeat, forced) Issaquah to shut down the so-called LRIG (Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery) in the first place.

Then, according to the press report at the time, Issaquah told Ecology:

They stated that the DOE relied on information supplied by the Sammamish Plateau Water & Sewer District, and said it was “riddled with factual errors,” and contains “inflammatory, incorrect and prejudicial statements masquerading as science and technical analysis.” They also call the monitoring program required by the DOE order “extensive, expensive, excessive, unreasonable and arbitrary.

Frisinger and her administration are following the same line of attack today.

Fortunately, you can see for yourself. Issaquah and the Water District each made presentations to the Sammamish City Council on the issue. Sammamish is trying to sort out facts and has heard from both sides. Issaquah heard the presentation from its own consultant, who also presented to Sammamish, but has so far not wanted to hear from the Water District. It’s clear Issaquah doesn’t give a damn about public opinion or scientific questions over the dispute and it’s equally clear it doesn’t want to hear from the Water District, which is why the District felt compelled to “go public” in the first place.

But you can watch the following videos:

Issaquah Presentation to Issaquah City Council (this was the same presentation given to the Sammamish City Council the same evening). This is 31 minutes.

Water District Presentation to Sammamish City Council on June 4. (Issaquah hasn’t invited the Water District to present to the City Council). Advance to 46:30 minutes for the hour-long presentation.

I think you will find a great deal of useful information that you can compare about who is more factual and more complete.

With respect to the allegation of “self-preservation,” Issaquah is attempting a hostile takeover of a small portion of the District that includes three wells (the ones using the aquifer at risk) in such a way that will dismember the infrastructure to the detriment of Sammamish residents, and those in unincorporated King County. 93% of the District lies outside Issaquah (using Issaquah’s own number) and Issaquah refuses to talk with the District or Sammamish in a way to resolve these issues and concerns. Instead, officials have made it clear that they are only interested in themselves, no matter the consequences to anyone else.

The threat to the water quality is why the Water District is putting up such a fight.