Issaquah voters re-elect Councilman Joshua Schaer

November 15, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Joshua Schaer (right), calls his mother Nancy Schaer, of Redmond, to tell her about his lead in the Issaquah City Council race, as former Councilman David Kappler chats with other election night partygoers at the Issaquah Brewhouse. By Greg Farrar 

Joshua Schaer, the only City Council member to face a challenger in a little-noticed campaign season, trounced opponent TJ Filley as the off-year election came to a close.

Incumbents scored leads in the initial election results released just after 8 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 8, eliminating the prospect of a long pause before a frontrunner emerged. Schaer, alongside incumbents on the Issaquah School Board and Port of Seattle Commission, pulled ahead early.

Though voters decided on the majority of council seats, only Schaer attracted a challenger. Incumbent Councilman Fred Butler, appointed Councilwoman Stacy Goodman and candidate Paul Winterstein cruised into office in the other council races. Terms for the triumphant candidates start in January.

Filley conceded the race not long after King County Elections released the results.

“Well, everyone, let’s continue to eat, drink and be merry,” he said to supporters at Billy Bob’s Burgers & BBQ. “It was a long, hard campaign and I appreciate everybody’s help.”

In the contested council race, Filley made the $6.7 million pedestrian bridge across Interstate 90 a major issue, because the city accepted federal funds to complete the connector.

By the numbers

City Council

  • Joshua Schaer (incumbent) — 63.3 percent
  • TJ Filley — 36.3 percent

 Issaquah School Board

  • Suzanne Weaver (incumbent) —63.8 percent
  • Brian Neville — 35.8 percent
  • Brian Deagle (incumbent) —65.1 percent
  • Patrick Sansing — 34.5 percent

Port of Seattle Commission

  • Bill Bryant (incumbent) —62 percent
  • Dean Willard — 37.5 percent
  • Gael Tarleton (incumbent) —56.9 percent
  • Richard Pope — 42.6 percent

Source: King County Elections

“We used the bicycle and pedestrian overpass as an example of government spending money they do not have, on things that the public neither wants nor needs, and which does not solve the real problems that the public is facing, which in this case was congestion relief,” he said in a concession statement released Nov. 9.

Schaer, meanwhile, snacked on onion rings at the Issaquah Brewhouse on election night and laid out ideas for a second term.

On the council, the attorney spearheaded a food-packaging ordinance to require restaurateurs and other food sellers to use compostable and recyclable takeout containers and utensils.

“We need to get our compliance rate up,” he said. “We’re probably going to have to start issuing warnings. There are certain businesses — and I’m not going to name names — that are refusing to comply, overtly refusing to comply.”

Throughout the campaign, the councilman knocked on about 1,000 doors as supporters — including Schaer’s 2007 opponent, Vincent Ippolito — fanned out across other neighborhoods.

Schaer credited Filley for scrutinizing how city leaders spent public dollars, but said the city needs to accept funds from outside sources in order to complete critical projects.

“I think it’s always good for people to be a watchdog about the use of dollars, wherever they come from,” Schaer said. “That’s something that we try very hard on the council to do. We try very hard to maintain a strong economic vitality in the community, manage our tax base and provide a high level of services.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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