Revisiting the 2015 election

With the 2019 Sammamish City Council race underway, Sammamish Comment looked back at the 2015 race in which Christie Malchow and Tom Hornish were elected for the first time and Ramiro Valderrama was reelected to a second term.

Malchow is seeking reelection. Hornish and Valderrama are retiring. Malchow defeated former city council member and mayor Mark Cross, who was seeking a comeback after a four year hiatus. He was closely aligned with Mayor Tom Vance, who was seeking reelection to a second term. Malchow won with 58% of the vote, a landslide.

Hornish defeated Vance, making him only the second incumbent Sammamish council member and the only sitting mayor in the city’s history to be defeated. Vance won his 2011 election with 67% of the vote against a weak candidate. He lost his reelection, receiving only 47% of the vote, a 20 percentage point drop. Hornish was a reluctant candidate, running because he didn’t want to see Vance run unopposed.

Valderrama defeated Hank Klein, who withdrew from the race too late to be removed from the ballot. Valderrama used his huge win, with 85% of the vote, as a springboard to run in 2016 for the State Legislative House against Democrat Roger Goodman. Goodman, a flawed candidate who should have been easy to defeat, hammered Valderrama by capturing 62% of the 45th District vote. Valerrama only captured 40% of the Sammamish vote in the 45th–a dismal showing compared with his 2015 and 2011 results.

Some of the issues then remain issues today: Tamarack storm water drainage, Sahalee Way and, as always, development.

Here’s a retrospective of that election.

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Valderrama’s hypocrisy over Hornish issue

Analysis

Ramiro Valderrama

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.

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Outraged, shocked, surprised about Sammamish cooking the books on concurrency? I’m not.

  • The City Council meeting tonight at 6:30p will undoubtedly discuss the Mullor Study. The study may be accessed here.

Commentary

By Scott Hamilton

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.

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13 candidates seek 4 Sammamish City Council positions

Thirteen candidates filed for four positions on the Sammamish City Council, the most since 1999 when 40 people filed for seven positions for the first Council.

 

This means there will be primary races in the August election for each seat up this year. The top two of each race will advance to the November general election.

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Lake Trail issues remain misunderstood; let’s clear them up

Commentary

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 Sammamish Mapnothing 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.

Let’s look at these unique issues.

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Fiscal irresponsibility at Sammamish City Hall

Commentary

Gerend 2

Mayor Don Gerend

As the Sammamish City Council heads into its retreat tomorrow evening, there is one topic that will get short shrift: the City’s finances.

In Monday’s Sammamish Comment post, I outlined the City’s own 2017-2018 budget that has a 73% decline in its cash balance from the end of 2016 to the end 0f 2018.

The budget has a 30-minute allocation on the retreat agenda. It’s not enough, and the City Council has been ducking the budget ramifications for the last two years.

The City faces being out of cash in 2019 at the current spend rate. (See Operations vs Capital Funds, below.) Action needs to be taken this year. It’s been put off yet again.

There is simply no other way to put it: the City Council and Administration have been irresponsible to not face up to the coming budget realities sooner.

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Council nears decision to send annual January Retreat back to Suncadia, across mountains

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.

maptosuncadia

The long drive over the mountains and through the woods to the Suncadia Resort for the Sammamish annual Council Retreat could be longer and challenging in the January winter storms, but that’s where the City Council is thinking of going in January 2017.

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.

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