Whitten answers issues questionnaire

General Information

Name: Nancy Whitten

1. City Council Position Sought:        Position 2

2. Neighborhood you live in: Pine Lake

3. General area you live in: (e.g., SE 20th St. and 212th Ave. SE.)  By Pine Lake Park

4. Current or Previous positions in city government (and dates).   Sammamish City Council 2004-current; Suburban Cities alternate to the King County Growth Management PC, 2004-05; Suburban Cities alternate to the Puget Sound Regional Council Growth Management PB, 2006-10; City of Sammamish representative to Suburban City Assn., 2005-10.

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Richardson answers issues questionnaire

General Information

Name:  Kathy Richardson

1. City Council Position Sought:  Position #2

2. Neighborhood you live in: If you don’t resident in a recognized neighborhood, please skip to next question.

3. General area you live in: North Lake Sammamish

4. Current or Previous positions in city government (and dates).

Planning Commission Position #5, 2010 – present; Vice Chair 2011.

Planning Commission representative on the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Steering Committee, October 2010 – present.

5. Current or Previous positions in community organizations (and dates):

Founding member of Sammamish Homeowners (SHO), 2009 – present.

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Publication schedule for candidate responses to issues questionnaire

Beginning October 13, I will publish candidate responses to a long issues questionnaire I sent the six city council candidates, leading up to the mailing of ballots to voters October 19 for the November 8 election.

Here is the schedule:

Position 2:

October 13: Kathy Richardson

October 14: Nancy Whitten

Position 4:

October 15: Ramiro Valderrama

October 16: Jim Wasnick

Position 6:

October 17: Jesse Bornfreund

October 18: Tom Vance


October 19: A wrap-up view of the election.

October 20: A final comment.

November 8, 8:15pm: The initial returns are in. Based on the history of the past elections since 1999, the election night returns are within one or two percentage points of the final results and the leader on election night has been the winner in the final results. The only exception was in 2001 when Nancy Whitten led incumbent Ken Kilroy by 17 votes but lost the election by fewer than 150 (while remaining within the 1-2 percentage point “rule”). So on election night, I should be able to “call” the elections unless there is a squeaker like the 2001 Whitten-Kilroy race.

Issues questionnaire coming

I will begin publishing later this week candidate responses to a long list of questions I posed concerning issues relevant to the City of Sammamish.

I sent the questionnaire to all six candidates shortly after the August primary. I’ll publish the returns in advance of October 19, when the first election ballots are mailed to voters–just nine days from this post.

Unlike the newspapers, where space is at a premium, these are much more expansive and the responses will be published verbatim, without edits of any kind.

Assessing the candidates’ forum

Five of the six Sammamish candidates for City Council appeared at forum last week sponsored by the Rotary Club and the Kiwanis Club.

Kathy Richardson, who had planned a trip to Africa before she decided to run for City Council, was absent. She had a video-taped statement and a stand-in give a closing statement.

As far as the performance of the other candidates, there wasn’t really much difference between them on the issues. All believe the current City Council did not consider alternatives for creating a Community Center, the $64 million Taj Mahal that is proposed for the Kellman property in the Sammamish Commons. This 98,000sf proposal is 2 1/2 times the size of City Hall. Each of the candidates believes a public-private partnership should be considered, along with the possibility of a location outside the Town Center.

Some criticized Jesse Bornfreund as detached. Our view was that he was “relaxed.”

None supports a utility tax for general purposes and there was only limited support if for a specific purpose.

Who “won?”

Tom Vance was clearly the most well informed and in command of the details and nuances. We’ve remarked that nobody can out policy-wonk Vance. Nancy Whitten was second-best on wonkiness. Whether you agree with their positions is another matter. From a “performance” standpoint, Vance was the “winner.”

The other candidates had varying levels of knowledge of the issues, relying more on philosophical approaches to governing Sammamish in the next four years.

The Sammamish Review and Sammamish Patch have more detailed stories.

Pettiness from the Wasnick campaign

Update: Valderamma gave this interview Oct. 3 to the Sammamish Patch, saying he never meant to mislead voters. Wasnick denied giving the story to the Sammamish Review, in the Patch story.

But others say that Wasnick has been spreading the story by other means.

Original Post:

It’s validation of what I reported in an earlier post in which I identified the election between Jim Wasnick and Ramiro Valderamma as the bitterest campaign shaping up in this year’s city council election.

In comments from Wasnick’s co-worker (though he is not identified as such) on the Sammamish Review article about Valderamma’s past domestic violence incident, Leo McCloskey adds a ridiculous barb about a West Point yearbook saying Valderamma wants to be “dictator” of the world.

McCloskey and Wasnick are vice presidents at the same company and Valderamma is a graduate of West Point.

How petty can you get?

All of us who have had entries into yearbooks saw good comments, sarcastic ones and jokes entered. That’s what happens. For McCloskey to throw this into the mix is outing the whispering campaign that was going on from the start.

Other commenters criticize Valderamma for “lying” on a Sammamish Patch response. I don’t know whether Valderamma lied or had a different understanding of what the process and outcome of the report and investigation. But when his son, also a West Pointer, says the incident was his fault, I find this compelling.

But if Wasnick’s supporters are concerned about lying, then they ought to be concerned about Wasnick’s running mate, Jesse Bornfreund. On two occasions, Bornfreund looked me in the eye and said he was not running with Wasnick, when the opposite was and is clearly the case. They have been campaigning together and Bornfreund has been seen, distinctive pony tail and all, taking down Valderamma’s signs.

I met with five of the six candidates (Vance being the exception) and found positive attributes of each. What’s emerged in the last week–Wasnick’s hit on Valderamma, his co-worker’s pettiness over some year book entry and Bornfreund’s false denials–are all cause for concern.

Wasnick is showing pettiness and desperation. Bornfreund wasn’t truthful. They are both tied to John Galvin, whose history of abusing city staff, commissions and committees (and anyone else who doesn’t agree with him) this column has well documented. Galvin’s abusive behavior is such that city officials had police on hand on multiple occasions to be sure he didn’t get out of control.

Galvin and Wasnick, in a Sammamish Reporter article, were clear that they share the same “vision.” Here is the article: SammamishReporterPrimary.

It’s fair to say that this is the Wasnick/Bornfreund/Galvin ticket.

Dirty politicking in Sammamish

Sammamish has been known for its dirty politicking since its incorporation. The first council race, in 1999, was a horrible example of low-ball tactics (and I am from Chicago, where this was routine).

The 2001 race wasn’t too bad and 2003 was better still. The races in 2005 and 2007 were pretty tame but the lies and name-calling returned in 2009. Today hit a new low, following the initial whispering campaign that began before the primary between John Galvin, Jim Wasnick and Ramiro Valderamma.

I reported right after the primary that the race between Wasnick and Valderamma was already shaping up to be the nastiest of this season. Today it hit a new low with a spurious attack in the Sammamish Review. Wasnick had been spreading this story and while the Review did not reveal how it came by the information, the obviously conclusion is that it came from Wasnick or his supporters directly or indirectly.

Valderamma’s son wrote this letter, an edited version of which also appeared in today’s Review. It speaks for itself.

This is a very hard letter for me to write, but I feel compelled to put an end to the actions of the Wasnick campaign against my family. For weeks, we have heard that Wasnick’s campaign has been calling supporters of my father to smear him, and today I learned that as a result, this story would now be reported in the press. So in place of the whispering campaign that has been launched, I would like to present the facts, since this story is in essence, about me.

In 2005, when I was 14, I got into a disagreement with my father. The result was that I foolishly reached out and punched my father. To try to calm the situation, my father held me to the floor until I was calmed. In the process, I bruised my ear and went to see the doctor, who reported the incident, as is standard procedure. It was investigated and found it to be without merit; a hearing confirmed this. This was a sad isolated incident in my family; it was not a big deal and one that I never dreamed would be made public for the political gain in a city council election.

My father has always been an active and positive force in my life. He motivated me to excel–in school, in sports and in leadership. He was there for me every step of the way–my biggest fan on the sidelines throughout years of soccer, my inspiration to study and excel in school, and he set an example to me of how important it is to serve. My father is a graduate of West Point, where the values of “Duty, honor and country” is our standard. My father instilled these core values into all of us. As a result, I am in my third year at West Point, and will graduate and serve my country in 2013 as an officer in the US Army.

It is a shame that Wasnick’s campaign has so little to offer the City of Sammamish that it appears that they would resort to trying to destroy the reputation of my father, who has given so much to the city. And if this is the way Mr. Wasnick conducts his campaign, I cannot imagine how he would conduct city affairs.


I am proud to be my Father’s son. I am proud of his work in Sammamish. I am proud of his campaign for City Council. I am proud to follow in his footsteps as a cadet at West Point. I urge you to support my father in the bid for City Council. He is a person of high standards, who will help the city to continue to excel, just as he has helped me to achieve my aspirations. 


Daniel Valderrama