History of Sammamish resumes today

Sammamish Comment today resumes its occasional series that is loosely called The History of Sammamish (According to Scott).

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History of Sammamish

This is principally based on recollection and first-hand accounts of The Comment’s founder and editor, Scott Hamilton. Hamilton was involved in the incorporation election in 1998 and every City Council election since the first one in 1999.

He served on the Planning Advisory Board, which wrote the first Comprehensive Plan, and the Planning Commission, which created the Town Center Plan. Hamilton moved to what was then unincorporated Sammamish in 1996 and in August 2016, moved to Bainbridge Island. Sammamish Comment continues this year to complete The History. Plans are to discontinue The Comment Dec. 31, 2017.

Related stories:

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Posted in East Lake Sammamish Trail, Sammamish, Sammamish Comment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

History of Sammamish: Building moratorium ends in 2005

The period 2004-2005 saw little controversy in Sammamish. Rather, this was a period of developing projects that had direct benefit for the residents.

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History of Sammamish

A moratorium on building development, adopted when the City incorporated in 1999, remained in place. It would be lifted by the end of 2005 after developers sued, alleging the length of the moratorium was excessive. Fighting the lawsuit, and potentially losing it, could have bankrupted Sammamish. So, it was agreed the moratorium would be lifted.

But the moratorium didn’t stop the City from developing and upgrading parks and roads. The fight over development of the East Lake Sammamish Trail—of which the City was not a part—continued.

Two civic events were launched that have become popular draws: Nightmare at Beaver Lake and Summer Nights in the Park.

Highlights in 2004-2005

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Posted in East Lake Sammamish Trail, Sammamish, Town Center | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A for Effort on Retreat livestreaming; transparency needs work

Commentary

Sammamish’s last minute decision to livestream its annual retreat, a first for the city and believed to be a first for any jurisdiction in the area, was an admirable step in the right direction.

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Sammamish Retreat 2017

It represented a quest for transparency and a hope for increased citizen participation.

Success was muted by the fact the only microphone was that on the camera itself. None was put strategically around the room to pick up the voices of the council members and staff.

Sammamish Comment, which was present at the retreat in Tacoma, received emails during the retreat that audio for the most part could not be heard during the livestream.

Lesson learned. Assuming the City does livestreaming next year, we’d expect a better audio set up. Another issue: video viewers could not see slides that council and staff could., and the stationary, single camera left it unclear who was speaking.

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Posted in City Council, City Staff, Sammamish, Sammamish City Council, Sammamish Comment | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Sammamish electeds have history of using private email accounts

Special Report: (10 pages when printed.)

  • Council Members routinely used private email accounts for City-related business.
  • Expansive Public Records Request during 2015 Council elections brought issue to fore.
  • One Council Member, acting as a private citizen, demanded emails on private account from another Council Member.
  • The City Attorney, paid for by tax dollars, became de facto attorney for the “private citizen” Council Member.
  • Two Council Members subsequently failed to produce emails from their private accounts.
  • One of the two Council Members failed to produce emails from her private account again in 2016 pursuant to a PRR.

Hillary Clinton’s email was a story that wouldn’t die in the presidential campaign, dogging her right through the Nov. 8 election.

The City of Sammamish has its own problems over emails. Council members routinely used private emails for city business and when it comes to complying with the Washington State law for Public Records Requests (PRR), some members aren’t always forthcoming with documents.

One City Council Member was explicit that a controversial topic should be discussed using private emails to avoid public disclosures through City emails.

The City Attorney’s position on compliance in responding to Public Records Requests appears inconsistent.

The issue is about transparency in government and complying with the law.

Requirements to hand over emails from personal accounts is well established in Washington State. A Bainbridge Island case is illustrative. See here and here.

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Posted in City Council, City Staff, East Lake Sammamish Trail, Eastside Fire and Rescue, Klahanie, Sammamish, Sammamish City Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Transportation Master Plan RFP green-lighted for Sammamish

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Sammamish Retreat 2017.

A request for proposal for a consultant to create a Transportation Management Plan (TMP) for Sammamish was green-lighted Saturday at the annual retreat.

A TMP for a 20-30 year vision will be a first for the City.

This differs from the Six Year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP), a legal requirement under state law for projects needed for growth and traffic concurrency standards.

It will include connectivity, sidewalks, bike lanes, the possibility of new east-west and north-south routes.

Coordination with Redmond, Issaquah, King County, the State and Sound Transit will also be examined.

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Posted in City Council, Issaquah, King County, Sammamish, Sammamish City Council | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sammamish to hold finance retreat, town hall for likelihood of new taxes

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Sammamish Retreat 2017

A special retreat on Sammamish will be scheduled in July focusing on city finances, the looming operating deficit in 2020 and how to fund road and stormwater projects. New taxes and new debt will be key points at the retreat.

Council Member Tom Odell essentially floated the idea of a 2% utility tax, which would raise $2m, by asking how much this amount would support in new bonds. This will be one of the points to be discussed at a finance retreat.

Member Ramiro Valderrama asked that franchise fees on the two water districts serving Sammamish and potentially contracting out stormwater management (presumably to the water districts) be included.

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Council is the root cause of marathon public comment

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Sammamish Retreat 2017

The Sammamish City Council yesterday created an ad hoc committee to come up with ideas to reduce the number of marathon public comment sessions.

However, in the discussion, not one Council Member or staff put their finger on the root problem. It is the Sammamish City Council’s own fault.

The following is my public comment given this morning on the topic.–Scott Hamilton.

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Posted in City Council, City Staff, Sammamish, Sammamish City Council | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments