Sammamish City Council member Ramiro Valderrama displayed hypocrisy last Tuesday in his aggressive attempt to force fellow member Tom Hornish to remain on committees following acceptance of a new job in the private sector.
Two years ago, Valderrama sought a new job in the public sector that would have had direct conflict of interest with his city council position. It would have meant choosing between his new job and the council when it came to attending meetings and committee meetings. It likely meant Valderrama would have missed the council’s annual retreat at which goals and committee assignments are made for the coming year.
Yet Valderrama vowed to retain his council position if he got the new job and brushed aside all objections from his constituents.
When Hornish stepped up and recognized time constraints were coming, resigned his position as deputy mayor and stepped off all but one committee, Valderrama—oblivious o his own actions two years earlier—objected and engaged in a transparent attempt to set Hornish up to fail and ultimately force him off the council.
The City Council meeting tonight at 6:30p will undoubtedly discuss the Mullor Study. The study may be accessed here.
By Scott Hamilton
The news yesterday that Sammamish has been using outdated traffic counts, mostly from 2012 but some from 2014 and none from 2016, to run its traffic concurrency tests for development applications is fundamentally cooking the books to approve projects.
I should be outraged, but I’m not.
I should be shocked, but I’m not.
I’m not even surprised.
It just goes to show you how far our city government and City Council declined over the years to become a mini-King County.
I reached this conclusion as far back as 2009. That was 10 years after Sammamish incorporated.
Reading comments on this blog about the latest East Lake Sammamish Trail events, prompted by a mass email campaign generated by the Cascade Bicycle Club, displays a real lack of understanding about the issues involved.
The emails created by the Club don’t surprise me: all they care about is bicycling and nothing else. Some of their members don’t even follow the Rules of the Road while biking on streets, let alone respect the unique issues involved in developing the ELST. Their self-centered myopia is long-standing.
The Club strikes me as particularly hypocritical because most of the time, the bicyclists prefer the streets and roads to the trails.
But the comments from some of those who live in Sammamish and who otherwise are concerned about local development surprise me. Many use the ELST and should see first hand some of the issues involved.
After starting 2016 with a new era of transparency and access, the Sammamish City Council may revert to holding its annual January retreat at the Suncadia Resort in Roslyn, east of the Cascade Mountains.
The timing–January 19-22–puts at risk driving over Snoqualmie Pass in a winter storm. The location makes it difficult and unlikely all but the most diehard members of the community will attend the meetings. It’s also costly: being more than an hour away, over the pass and through the woods means anyone going has to rent a hotel room for the three-day retreat.
Even the Sammamish Review and Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter historically don’t show up to report on the meetings and hold the City Council accountable to the public.
Only Sammamish Comment made the trek in January 2015, the first time it had done so.
Captive audience and no audience
Council members chose the location in the past to make it difficult for their own members, and staff, to leave the retreat meetings. But it also meant that despite the days being open meetings, the practical effect was they that were closed. No public participation occurred.
During 2015, The Comment made an issue of this. Toby Nixon, then-president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, criticized the Sammamish City Council for the location, lack of transparency and lack of access for citizens. Nixon, then as now a member of the Kirkland City Council, said Kirkland in 2015 chose the Beaver Lake Lodge for its retreat, right here in Sammamish.
The public pressure caused the 2015 Council to delay site selection. The November 2015 Council election saw the defeat of Mayor Tom Vance and his allies, Mark Cross and Hank Klein. Council member Ramiro Valderrama was reelected, along with newcomers Christie Malchow and Tom Hornish. The latter three made it known to then-City Manager Ben Yazici, who was retiring in February 2016, and his successor, Deputy City Manager Lyman Howard, that they wanted the retreat at a more local site.
The 2003 Sammamish election presented an opportunity to shift the balance of power from a Republican-conservative leaning City Council to a Democratic-left-of-center membership.
As the election season approached, the Council was generally, though not reliably, split 4-3. Ken Kilroy, Ron Haworth, Troy Romero and Jack Barry were reliably a voting bloc. The minority three were Michele Petitti, Kathy Huckabay and often, but not always, Don Gerend.
Petitti won her seat in 2001. The others were all original council members from 1999.