March 2, 2009
Get involved locally this election season
The first candidates for city positions are starting to identify themselves publicly, well in advance of the November election. Issaquah always seems to have spirited political debate and a lot of people who care about what happens in our city government. However, there are also always those people who stay in their living rooms and complain about how things are being run or what decisions are made.
Well, this is your chance to make a difference in the process. There are four council seats open this fall — those of Maureen McCarry, Eileen Barber, John Rittenhouse and David Kappler — in addition to the mayor’s seat. There are also two school board seats — those of Connie Fletcher and Chad Magendanz — up for grabs, along with County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert and the open county executive position.
Go to www.kingcounty.gov/elections (and click on “candidate filing”) to get started. The deadline for filing is June 5. There’s also helpful advice on www.ehow.com (enter “how to file for public office” in the search).
And if you don’t want to run for office, educate yourself about the candidates and issues and then go and vote.
Last year was a landmark year for people getting interested and involved in the political process. While the federal government makes huge decisions, most of the things that directly affect you are decided at City Hall.
It would be a shame to let all of that new political interest and excitement go to waste.
City officials are smart to keep eye on funds
As lawmakers in Olympia and other Washington cities, and Washington, D.C., grapple with crippling budget deficits, officials in Issaquah are touting a $7 million reserve. At a time when Gov. Chris Gregoire and state leaders attempt to close an $8 billion budget gap, cuts to Issaquah city government have been minor.
While Issaquah and its surplus may be unique among governments, the fortunate circumstances are not a fluke. City taxpayers can thank elected officials and staff members for years of planning and careful stewardship of public dollars.
To add another layer of oversight to city finances in this time of turmoil, the City Council last week requested monthly updates on the city’s cash flow and expenditures.
At the end of the first fiscal quarter, the city will conduct a “stress test” of its finances, using the term coined by the Obama administration to describe efforts to scrutinize ailing banks. Issaquah’s “stress test” will be used to find any potential trouble spots in the city’s budget.
These measures are not required by law, and may not even be necessary, but city officials must be lauded for their efforts to monitor and wisely spend public money.