Chapanis asks Council Members for answers to his candidate questionnaire from Sammamish Comment

Roger Chapanis, candidate for Sammamish City Council Position 7.

Roger Chapanis, one of four candidates running for Sammamish City Council in the Aug. 1 primary, asked each of the seven sitting council members to answer questions sent to him by the Sammamish Comment.

The questions are in a three page, comprehensive questionnaire sent to all 12 candidates running for four seats on the Council. Three of the seats have more than two candidates, necessitating a primary Aug. 1. The General Election is Nov. 8.

Seeking Position 7

Chapanis filed for Position 7, the seat now held by Tom Odell. Odell is ending his second four year term this year.

The other three candidates are John Robinson, Paula Stuart and Melanie Curtright. They received the same questionnaire as Chapanis.

Sammamish Comment will begin publishing the responses July 12, the day the primary ballots are mailed by King County.

Seeks answers from the Council8

Chapanis, a newcomer to City politics, asked the sitting City Council Members for answers to the questions:

Dear Council members,

The CityHamilton newspaper has asked all city council candidates to respond to the attached questionnaire; however, I don’t understand most of the issues behind the questions because I haven’t been party to your discussions about them. So, from your experience, would you be willing to respond to the questions you’re familiar with, and then send the completed form back to me by June 23?

NOTE: for questions you don’t answer, would you be willing to refer me to a staff member with more experience, or an outside party who may have knowledge of the issues?


Roger Chapanis

Chapanis’ email to the Council is public record, as are the replies.

Curt response

Odell, the Council Member whose seat Chapanis wants, sent a curt reply:

This questionnaire is for YOU to fill out, not us.  I suggest researching the issues by reading the local paper, watching reruns of Council and Planning Commission meetings, and, of course, by attending these and other city related meetings in person.  The voters need to know your views on the topics raised in the questionnaire.

It is not appropriate for any member of the Council to fill out the Hamilton form for you.

Council Member Christie Malchow also rejected Chapanis’ request:

Good morning. I don’t believe it is in the voters best interest for current Councilmembers to answer your questionnaire for you. I might suggest leaving questions blank that you cannot answer, or reviewing old videos of Council meetings to familiarize yourself with the issues you are not up to speed on. They are available via

I’m also available to meet with you, as most of the Councilmembers are I suspect, if you reach out.

Council Member Tom Hornish replied similarly to Malchow’s response.

Robinson, one of Chapanis’ opponents, said, “I believe it is the duty and obligation of each city council candidate to answer any question presented to them as accurately as possible.  The candidate’s answers reflect their acquired knowledge, experiences, visions and skills that will inform our citizens as to the candidate’s fitness for city council.”

Chapanis declined to comment for publication. Curtright declined to comment on her opponent’s move. Stuart did not respond when asked for comment.

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8 Responses to Chapanis asks Council Members for answers to his candidate questionnaire from Sammamish Comment

  1. otto_the_taxpayer says:

    The enduring lesson of politics: Just when you think they can’t get any worse, there’s always somebody ready to prove you wrong!

  2. Roger Chapanis says:

    Is it possible that Sammamish Comment may have left out some important details? You be the judge.

    Here’s the letter that CityHamilton sent to the candidates for the Sammamish City Council:

    “Hello, Everyone:

    Attached is a candidate questionnaire for your city council race that Jen Baisch and I prepared for publication in Sammamish Comment beginning July 12. This is the day King County mails the ballots for the August primary.

    Although Position 1 will not be on the ballot (only two candidates are running), we ask these candidates to go ahead and fill out the questionnaire; these responses will be published as well.

    The questionnaire has an introductory page that outlines everything you need to know, followed by the questions. This is a Word document so you can insert your responses directly into the document. As noted in the Introduction, this questionnaire and your replies will be printed verbatim; be sure you edit yourself carefully. Also as noted, each response should be kept to 100 words. If you do not respond, we will notify readers that you have not responded when we print your opponents’ response.

    Please have your questionnaires returned to Jen and me by July 7. Giving you this now gives you time to do some research, which you will see is required due to the nature of some of the questions.

    This is far more detailed than anything you will get from the Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter, the League of Women Voters or any other group. This is an important election for Sammamish; four of the seven seats are up, which means control of the Council and direction of the city is at stake. Your responses will help educate voters to make the best choices.

    Thanks for your participation.

    Very truly yours,

    Scott Hamilton”

    Notice that CityHamilton requested return of completed questionnaires by July 7. In my opinion, this gave respondents a very narrow window in which to respond to a very lengthy questionnaire. That’s why I chose to send the questionnaire to the council members–knowing that they were the experts and would be the best source of information. Note that in CityHamilton’s instructions to the candidates (above), he did not prohibit contacting the council members directly; consequently, I felt free to contact them — knowing that if they were unwilling to fill out the questionnaire that they were free to do so.

    Afterwards, I contacted all council members — expressing regret for any discomfort they may have felt: Here’s what I said:

    “Dear Council members,

    I recently learned from the City Hamilton newspaper that my earlier email to you requesting information related to the Candidate questionnaire was inappropriate. However, because the City Hamilton did not mention specific prohibitions as to how candidates could collect information. I decided to go directly to the council members themselves, who are most up-to-date on the issues facing the city. (I hoped that the Council members would share this information requested with all the candidates.)

    As a professional technical writer for over 20 years, I support the highest standards of journalism, and I would never have used any information you provided without first requesting your permission, and then acknowledging the source.

    From your responses, I sense that some of you are upset by my request. If you are, I sincerely regret any discomfort that I may have caused. And, I formally withdraw my request for information.

    If you’d like some empathy for your discomfort, don’t hesitate to call me. My number is (425) 557-5387.


    Roger Chapanis
    I hope that this gives you more understanding of what happened and why it happened .

    • cityhamilton says:

      Roger did not include the date my email was sent, which was June 13. That gives all the candidates 24 days in which to complete the questionnaire. None of the other candidates asked the City Council to do their homework for them.

      Roger is under no obligation whatsoever to return the questionnaire at all. This is his choice. As noted, “If you do not respond, we will notify readers that you have not responded when we print your opponents’ response.” This is the practice Sammamish Comment followed in previous elections. There is nothing different here.

      None of the other 11 candidates are being afforded anything different than the same rules outlined to Roger.

      As long-time readers know, The Comment is a free public service to Sammamish began in 2003. After moving from the City in 2016 (which was fully disclosed to our readers), I announced then The Comment would continue through 2017 and then be closed. This was also disclosed at the time and continues to be disclosed in the “About” section.

      Chapanis was afforded the opportunity to comment before publication of the post, to include his position within the post. He refused. He infers from his email to the City Council retracting his request that I deliberately failed to include it in order to present a distorted picture. A Council member-recipient says the email was sent/received after my post went up, not before.

      For him to cry foul after the fact is, to use his own words:

      “Is it possible that [Chapanis] may have left out some important details? You be the judge.

      One of Chapanis’ opponents, Pam Stuart, provided this statement today:

      “It is up to the voters to decide who they think best understands and is best equipped to resolve the issues that face our city and it’s residents.”

      • otto_the_taxpayer says:

        I suppose my earlier comment came off a bit snarky, but there is a real problem here.

        On one hand, we have staff and elected officials who use their knowledge of the issues to contort policies against the wishes of the vast majority of the electorate in favor of a small number of real estate developers. Then along comes an apparently self-admitted know-nothing who wants the other kids to do his homework for him. How in the heck can somebody like Mr. Chapanis even begin to articulate his reasons for seeking office under these circumstances: of course, he cannot and has not. Instead he attacks the messenger.

        The damage done to this city by many of the incumbents (some of the worst of whom are finally leaving the stage) may well be irreversible. It seems like we just can’t have nice things any more. This whole business with the questionnaire is an unfortunate sideshow that is one more deflection from the real issues.

        The new folks who made it to the council last election seem to have become infected with the kind of conformist can’t-we-all-get-along groupthink that promulgates the status quo, and there’s nobody on the electoral horizon who’s made a compelling case for the necessary course correction — least of all Mr. Chapanis.

  3. fblau says:

    It is important to note that The Sammamish Comment is a one person blog, not a newspaper with an editorial board or civil responsibility. No one, citizen, candidate or council, is under any obligation to respond or reply to a blog or emails from the author of a blog.

    • Scott Hamilton says:

      In this election, Frank, there is a second person writing for The Comment. And I already beat you to the punch by saying Roger is not under any obligation to provide any information.
      That said, Sammamish Comment has done more to reveal critical issues in Sammamish than the Sammamish Review ever did or the Issaquah-Sammamish Reporter ever has done.

      • Frank Blau says:

        Toot toot.

      • Roger Chapanis says:

        What are the real / critical issues that you would like to bring to the attention of Sammamish residents, and how could you best raise their awareness about these issues? I’m serious. (BTW, I’m no longer upset — just curious.)

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