Complacency, willful ignorance, Council infighting mark Sammamish muffing of Lake Trail issues

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. If it is heeded in time, danger may be averted; if it is suppressed, a fatal distemper may develop.”

[New Statesman interview, 7 January 1939]”
Winston S. Churchill

This is around 18 pages when printed.

Summary

The City of Sammamish has tried to keep an arm’s length to final development of the East Lake Sammamish Trail, but this hear-no- evil, speak-no-evil, see-no-evil approach began to unravel last year as King County’s over zealous approach to building the North end spurred outrage among homeowners.

A review of two years’ of emails, videos of Council meetings, conversations with city council members and homeowners along the Trail paints a picture of:

  • a complacent city staff routinely engaged with the County that kept the City Council in the dark;
  • frustrated property owners reaching out to the County and City;
  • a City Council that didn’t want to know what was going on;
  • inflighting among Council Members, who largely tried to ignore the one Council Member who was raising red flags about the County’s development of the Northern most section of the Lake Trail;
  • a City Council that ignored homeowners who complained; and
  • a City Council that finally awakened to the issues but remains muddled about what to do next.

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Time has come to form own fire department

The front page story in the Sammamish Report January 28 that the Eastside Fire & Rescue is prepared to create a new taxing authority to expand EF&R is the final straw in long-running disagreements between Sammamish and EF&R over the direction and fiscal responsibilities of the district.

The disagreements have been well covered by the Sammamish Reporter, the Sammamish Review and the City’s own newsletter and won’t be recounted here. Suffice it to say that Sammamish believes EF&R hasn’t been as cost-conscious as it should be, particularly during the recent national economic crisis, and that ambitions to annex other fire districts (notably the area at Snoqualmie Pass) means more cost to Sammamish taxpayers with no additional benefit.

The City’s own studies about costs have been previously disputed by members of the EF&R board, who at one point labeled the Sammamish City Council a bunch of “rascals.” This characterization may or may not be true, but certainly not in this case. Our “rascals” are spot-on.

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