Position 2, Open Seat: Christie Malchow vs Mark Cross
Christie Malchow is the best choice for Sammamish City Council Position 2.
Malchow is a dynamic newcomer to Sammamish, having lived here four years. She was interested from the start in getting involved in Sammamish public service. She filed to run for City Council in 2013, but withdrew due to family considerations that existed at the time. She announced for City Council well before last May’s filing date, and chose to run for Position 2, a seat held by Nancy Whitten, who decided at the last minute to retire after serving three terms.
Only after Whitten made her announcement did Mark Cross file to run across from Malchow. Cross reportedly originally intended to run for water commissioner for the Sammamish Plateau Water & Sewer District. Cross served two terms on the Council, from 2004-2012, including a stint as Mayor. He did not seek reelection in the November 2011 election due to work requirements. He seeks to return to the Council after a four year absence, mimicking the pattern set by Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay, who served consecutive City Council terms, retired for four years and then was elected to the Council again in 2013.
Despite Cross’ well-qualified background and his previous experience, Malchow is the better choice. Here’s why:
Malchow became involved in land use and traffic issues via an appeal against a development called Chestnut Estates West, adjacent the Chestnut Estates subdivision in which she lives.
The City approved the plat application, granting a host of variations. The application included a bridge across highly sensitive Ebright Creek, one of the three creeks in which endangered Kokanee salmon spawn (in fact, it is the principal creek). The plat also eliminated open space that was a condition to approval of the primary Chestnut Estates years before. There were also adverse road impacts in Chestnut Estates.
Malchow spent $15,000 in legal fees fighting the plat approval. She became a quick study in land use, environmental and traffic issues. She concluded that the City Staff ignored the City’s own codes. Along with two other citizen groups that appealed, the City’s Hearing Examiner agreed that the Staff should never have approved the plat. He rejected it.
Few in Sammamish are willing to stand up and challenge government, especially when it comes to the kind of cash outlay Malchow faced. As a City Council Member, Malchow vows to challenge Staff and the City Manager to follow City codes and to properly evaluate development.
Malchow has proved to be an energetic campaigner, a quick study on the issues and someone who will be a fresh and young perspective to the City Council, which are sorely needed. While the appeal she and her neighbors filed focused on traffic issues, Malchow learned about the environmental issues that threatened Kokanee salmon that inhabit Ebright Creek, around which the development was proposed.
Malchow further understood how the City staff ignored City codes and granted variances to approve the project. The Examiner found the staff acted improperly.
It was from this experience that Malchow came to understand there’s something very wrong in City Hall that the current City Council fails to correct. She vows to hold the feet of the City Manager and Staff accountable.
Mark Cross is a career government employee who, while admirably serving, nonetheless has now demonstrated government comes first and citizens come second. He testified before the Sammamish City County against requiring design flexibility of the East Lake Sammamish Trail. The City–and scores of citizens–wanted the County to selectively narrow portions of Section 2A of ELST (from the 7-11 south to the Issaquah City limits) in order to preserve trees and to avoid unreasonably impinging on private property. A different storm water runoff “vault” was sought as well.
Cross opposed any changes to the design of the trail, which is a 12 ft wide pavement and three feet of gravel shoulders on each side–18 ft, the equivalent of one-and-a-half lanes of East Lake Sammamish Parkway. Opposition to design changes was also expressed by the Cascade Bicycle Club. Shortly after Cross expressed his opposition to design flexibility, the Cascade club endorsed Cross for election.
Cross has shown a remarkable disdain for voters. His campaign website is devoid of any details about his positions and he didn’t respond to the League of Women Voters non-partisan campaign profiles for all candidates. Cross apparently believes voters don’t need to know what he stands for.
More concerning, however, are statements Cross made on the campaign trail as far back as August. He opposes Initiative and Referendum, despite voter approval last April. He already says Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay will be the next Mayor.
This is the height of arrogance and presumption. Cross apparently assumes he will be elected. He obviously presumes Huckabay will be selected by Council vote, including his own, to be the next Mayor.
Cross will become a reliable member of the Gang of 4, which is led by Mayor Tom Vance and Huckabay. Vance is running for reelection. Cross endorsed Vance. The third member of the Gang, Tom Odell, also endorsed Vance and Cross.
Cross served honorably and well from 2004-2012, but his time has come and gone. His allegiance to the Gang is already evident-and troubling.
Malchow will challenge the Gang’s control. She will be a Citizen Advocate. Cross prefers government to citizens.
Malchow is the clear choice for Sammamish City Council Position 2.