Sammamish Review to cease operations Feb. 24

The Sammamish Review and three sister publications ceases operations Feb. 24.

The Sammamish Review will cease operations Feb. 24.

So will the Issaquah Press, SnoValley Star (Snoqualmie) and the Newcastle News. All are part of the Issaquah Press Group, which in turn is owned by The Seattle Times.

The Group made the announcement today.

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Election Update Nov. 10: Projected winner in 5th LD: Paul Graves; Rodne trending toward win; detailed figures

Updated results from King County Elections today are sufficient for Sammamish Comment to project that Paul Graves will win the open seat for the State House of Representatives in the 5th Legislative District, Position 2.

He will defeat Democrat Darcy Burner. Graves is a Republican, and his win keeps this seat in GOP hands. This change from too close to call is highlighted in green in the chart below.

Incumbent Republican Jay Rodne, seeking reelection in the 5th for Position 1, is trending toward a victory but his race remains too close to call today.

The 5th LD encompasses the greater Klahanie area in Sammamish.

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Shirking their civic duty

The Sammamish Review and Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter shirk their civic and Fourth Estate duties.

Neither makes endorsements in elections.

The Review used to, but stopped last year in advance of the Sammamish City Council races. The Reporter never has.

There was no explanation from The Review for its reversal. The Reporter said people can make their own decisions.

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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.


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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I’ve never seen anything like it before

The Issaquah Press and Sammamish Review have a new general manager and new editor. The Jan. 7 issues have full, front page pleas for people to voluntarily pay subscriptions. The whole thingSamRev smacks of dying newspapers.

This may well be true. The diminishing size of the papers and the sparse advertising were clear signs of struggling papers. But the full, front page pleas? I’ve never seen anything like it. And my first full time job, at age 19, was with a community paper, The Wheaton Daily Journal in Wheaton (IL). The paper no longer exists, given up long, long ago.

But I’ve been in journalism for most of my professional career. I started two international aviation magazines, sold them, and started an paywall/freewall aviation blog, which is my full time profession with its companion consulting business. Sammamish Comment is a past time, a community service, really, started because the Sammamish Review and, later, Sammamish Reporter really don’t do a very good job of covering Sammamish on critical issues. See here for details. Last year, The Comment had record readership.

Having successfully created three money-making publications, including one that is entirely on the Internet, I think I know a thing or two about what makes a successful news outlet.

It’s called giving readers something worth reading.

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