To The Editor

September 14, 2010

City manager

Why does city need a new administrator when it already has a full-time mayor?

I usually see things differently, so there should be no surprise that the article “City invites input as mayor prepares to hire administrator” (Sept. 1), caught my attention.

Issaquah has what is known as a “strong mayor” form of city government, so our mayor is elected by the voters to be the “chief executive and administrative officer of the city…” The other alternative is the “city manager” form, where the mayor is a figurehead position and the City Council hires a city manager to run the day-to-day staff functions.

In the days when Issaquah’s mayor was a “part-time” position, it made sense to have a city administrator to coordinate the activities of the staff. Then, back in the day, Mayor Rowan Hinds created the position of assistant city administrator, though I have never found where the City Council authorized that change. In 2001, the mayor’s job was officially changed to a “full-time” position by Agenda Bills 4678 and 4721, with pay and benefits to match. The mayor’s salary was again increased in 2007, by Agenda Bill 5568, to $84,000 per year.

So, why are we hiring a new city administrator to do the work of a city manager when we have elected a “full-time” “strong mayor” to do that work? Did anyone read about Bell, Calif., recently?

But then, as I said, I usually see things differently.

Hank Thomas

Issaquah

Read more

Drivers avoiding center lane cause state Route 900 backups

September 14, 2010

Not enough drivers use the center lane on the state Route 900 overpass at Interstate 90, causing construction-related traffic backups.

The city Public Works Engineering Department and the state Department of Transportation tweaked traffic-signal timing through the corridor to address the congestion. The agencies made changes to travel lanes in order to accommodate construction of a pedestrian connector across the interstate.

Despite the changes, backups often occur during mid-day and during the afternoon commute along northbound state Route 900. The problem: Many drivers do not use the lane closest to the centerline, causing blockages at nearby intersections.

City staffers plan to track the traffic and make adjustments to ensure smooth travel through the corridor.

Construction on the almost $6 million connector started in August. Plans call for a separate 12-foot-wide pedestrian bridge across the westbound I-90 on-ramps and modifications to the existing state Route 900 overpass to install a 10-foot-wide pedestrian crossing. The project should be completed by April 2011.

City accepts NOAA grant for fish passage

September 14, 2010

Though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could not fund the entire $3 million cost for a proposed fish passage near the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, the federal agency has agreed to grant $172,375 to design and permit the project.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife — the hatchery owner and operator — has agreed to match the NOAA grant, bringing the total to $344,750. Read more

Off The Press

September 14, 2010

David Hayes Press reporter

I’ve been reading books lately like they’re going out of style. (With all the e-book readers on the market, they just might be.)

I’ve read the gamut, from biographies (Ozzy Osborne) and social commentary (The Obama Diaries) to historical fiction (the Temeraire series, featuring a dragon air corps during the Napoleonic wars) and nonfiction (“Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joseph McCarthy,” fascinating). Read more

Nominate businesses for civics honor

September 14, 2010

Nominate businesses with outstanding community service records for a state Corporations for Communities Award, the highest civics award in the state.

Find the nomination form at the Secretary of State website. Nominate businesses by Oct. 15. Read more

Finance staffers receive award

September 14, 2010

Issaquah city finance officials have received the prestigious Professional Finance Officer award for 2010 from the Washington Financial Officers Association.

Finance Director Jim Blake, Utility Services Coordinator Heidi Nagler and Financial Services Supervisor Roxanne Hagood received the award.

The annual honor recognizes achievements of professional service, and ongoing continuing education and training.

The financial officers group is a professional association comprised of finance officers from Washington towns, cities, counties, state agencies and other governments.

County adds safety features near Briarwood, Pacific Cascade

September 14, 2010

King County crews completed pedestrian-safety projects near Briarwood Elementary School and Pacific Cascade Middle School in time for students to return to campus.

The county Road Services Division installed electronic speed limit signs along 168th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 314th Street near Briarwood. The signs use solar power to operate. Read more

Duo bikes for domestic violence prevention

September 14, 2010

Bridget (left) and Cycle the WAVE Ride Director Sharon Anderson talk about raising money for the Eastside Domestic Violence Program. By Laura Geggel

Bridget considers herself a strong woman, so strong that she found a way to save herself and her young son from her abusive husband.

The two got help from the Eastside Domestic Violence Program, and now Bridget is giving back by cycling with the Lakemont Ladies Cycling Club during the annual Cycle the WAVE — Women Against Violence Everywhere — Issaquah bike ride. Read more

Public Meetings

September 14, 2010

Sept. 15

Community Advisory Committee

Agenda: Rowley Properties development agreement

4 p.m.

Pickering Room, City Hall Northwest

1775 12th Ave. N.W. Read more

Scouts add bat and birdhouses along trail

September 14, 2010

Bats and birds received places to roost along Pickering Trail as part of a summer Boy Scout project.

Scouts built four bat houses and six birdhouses along the trail near Issaquah Creek.

The bat houses — built by Lars Boettcher as he worked toward Eagle Scout status — house little brown bats, a common species in King County. Using donations and grant dollars, he built the bat houses to state Department of Fish and Wildlife standards for the species. Read more

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