City Council faces a pivotal decision on Town Center; STCA proposal reveals phase II details

By Miki Mullor
Editor

UPDATE: tonight’s City Council meeting has been cancelled.

The new majority on the  Sammamish City Council will face its first major decision tonight on the Town Center – whether to revamp the Town Center plan, or focus on adjustments. This decision comes as new details on further phases of Town Center are revealed in an unsolicited proposal developer STCA made to Sound Transit to place a “transit center” on one of its properties. 

STCA’s proposal details a total of 2,000 homes (6,000 residents), 2,000 employees and 11,000 daily customers in the area west of 228th Ave, above the Met Market complex.

Tonight’s meeting is closed to  public attendance due to the coronavirus but will be broadcast live on Channel 21 and on Facebook, starting at 6:30pm:

Continue reading

City’s emergency manager transferred amid controversy

By Miki Mullor
Editor

The Sammamish emergency preparedness manager was transferred to Fire District 10 on March 2 amid controversy that goes across a broad spectrum. The transfer is unrelated to the Coronavirus outbreak.

  • Complaint of harassment and political retaliation levied against council member Pam Stuart by the City’s Emergency Preparedness Manager employee, Andrew Stevens.
  • Stuart subsequently levied a charge of making a threat against Stevens.
  • Stuart complains of Stevens’ wife’s involvement in a Facebook election-oriented group and being “very mean.”
  • Roots date to 2015 during the administration of then-Mayor Tom Vance and then-city manager Ben Yazici, when neglect and equipment failure was revealed.
Continue reading

Stuart flip-flops on tax vote: Favored higher levy before voting no

By Scott Hamilton

Guest Contributor

In a maneuver reminiscent of Sen. John Kerry’s infamous “I was for it before I voted against it” declaration in the 2004 presidential election, Sammamish Council Member Pam Stuart declared she would support taking the 1% property tax increase allowed by law.

Council Member Pam Stuart

Then she voted against it when the vote was called.

She was the deciding vote in causing the motion to fail.

The vote came after the council on Nov. 19 added $270,000 to the city’s expenditures for the next year that hadn’t been budgeted.

This included $120,100 for the Technology Fund and $150,000 for a grant in the Health and Human Services Commission dedicated for youth mental health.

Continue reading

Former Mayor Don Gerend forms a PAC

By Miki Mullor
Editor

The latest entrant to the election cycle is former Mayor Don Gerend, who has just formed a PAC (Political Action Committee), a PDC filing shows. Gerend has also recently initiated legal action to reverse the City Council’s new concurrency rules.

Continue reading

Valderrama now supports Sahalee Way project he once called lipstick on a hippo

By Scott Hamilton

Commentary

July 29, 2019: The Sahalee Way project Sammamish City Council Member Ramiro Valderrama now advocates approving is the same ones he labeled “lipstick on a pig” and “lipstick on a hippo” in January 2017.

Ramiro Valderrama

Valderrama opposed the 2015 plan, comparing with a proposed set of projects for East Lake Sammamish Parkway in 2011 that he labeled the “most wasteful project in the city’s history.”

In posts on Facebook last week, Valderrama falsely claimed he supported the Sahalee Way project but only after a Transportation Management Plan was prepared.

Valderrama made his remarks on a Facebook thread commenting about the petition filed by former Mayor Don Gerend seeking to overturn a traffic concurrency adopted two months ago.

Development of the next phase of the Sammamish Town Center cannot pass the concurrency standard on Sahalee Way.

Continue reading

Accusations fly as Council drops committees

By Scott Hamilton

Accusations flew between the two factions of the Sammamish City Council as it considered whether to drop committees in favor of a council Committee of the Whole or some hybrid system.

Motives were questioned, personal attacks flew and “blind ambition” was alleged as interfering with the work of the committees.

Two members claimed the body is a “do-nothing” council.

The meeting again illustrated the dysfunction and political rivalries between the majority and minority factions.

Continue reading

Reject power play to dissolve committees

By Scott Hamilton

Commentary

The Sammamish City Council tomorrow will take up a motion to dissolve its

Council Member Tom Hornish

committees, where a lot of spade work is done on issues, and adopt a Committee of the Whole (COW) process instead.

This move should be rejected. It’s been tried before. The council ultimately returned to the committee system. This city council should not repeat the mistake of the past.

Continue reading