February 13, 2014
Seventh & Gilman property
Flooding concerns must be addressed in a meaningful way
The Seventh & Gilman property clearly needs to be redeveloped. However, having been associated with two businesses there, and having been flooded out three times, I am concerned that whatever is approved takes all its problems fully into account.
The city rates the chance of flooding on this property at a one-in-100-year event, but in reality, it has been more like one in seven in recent years. My largest concern with the current proposal is the below-flood-level parking, and the likelihood it will leave the residents’ 400 to 500 vehicles submerged and its large underground footprint push floodwater to new places.
February 4, 2014
It’s time to let the people decide this issue
As a homeowner in the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area, I have no animosity toward Sammamish, and recognize it is a developing and growing city. What I do have is a frustration with the approach taken by the opposition spreading mistruths about Issaquah. Sammamish had 8-plus years to approach King County regarding annexation and did nothing.
Among the inaccuracies: 1) Issaquah’s police force is not inadequately manned as it has 34 police officers for a population of 32,000, with six more to come. Our research has shown Sammamish has 24 for a population of 48,000. Issaquah has 1-plus per 1,000 while Sammamish has 1 for every 2,000 citizens. 2) Issaquah rightfully supports shared responsibility for Issaquah-Fall City Road and will work aggressively with the other two boundary entities to make appropriate improvements as should be the case. 3) Bonded indebtedness is a phony sales pitch. Sammamish is a 10-plus-year-old city that has little developed infrastructure, business or city build outs — so yes, no debt, yet — bit it will come as it grows. Issaquah is a 100-plus-year-old city — years of growth and development benefiting every one of their citizens.
January 28, 2014
Only the handicapped are supposed to park there
It is a shame to see parents park in the restricted handicapped-parking spaces at the community center, to wait for the time to let their kids out for school, to learn stuff.
The parents are teaching the kids that parking signs, requiring a placard, means nothing and does not apply to them! In general, the kids learn from the bad parenting examples and will disregard driving and parking laws as they grow up. Too bad.
Why do Realtors endorse school levies?
Realtors know high-quality schools are important in every neighborhood. Good schools are a priority — and not just for parents. Savvy buyers and sellers know that quality schools are a factor in home values.
Seattle King County Realtors recently heard presentations by Issaquah Schools Superintendent Ron Thiele and school board member Suzanne Weaver. They took time out of their busy day to make the case for students in Issaquah, and to answer questions from brokers.
Realtors understand the importance of supplementing state funding for basic classroom needs, but as homeowners and taxpayers, we are also concerned about the “return on investment.”
Issaquah residents can be proud of the exemplary financial management by district officials who earn consistently high marks on audit reports, and the highest bond rating of any public school district in the state.
Equally impressive are student achievements on various academic assessments. They significantly outperform their in-state and national peers. Teachers deserve praise for their role in these accomplishments.
In addition to endorsing renewal of the Maintenance and Operations Levy, we also endorsed the School Bus Levy and renewal of the Capital Levy for classroom technology and critical repairs. Upgrading buses is essential to meeting safety and efficiency standards.
Just like the fleet of buses, much of technology used throughout the district needs to be updated. These vital tools are not covered by state funding. It’s also time to invest more in repairs and maintenance of several buildings.
As one of our colleagues stated, supporting school levies is not a matter of altruism — it’s economics.
I’ll be voting “yes” three times on the Feb. 11 ballot, and I hope residents districtwide will join me.
Joan Probala, managing broker
Windermere Real EstateEast Inc., Issaquah
Merry Christmas Issaquah fund goes above and beyond
On behalf of the volunteers at Issaquah Community Services, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you and sincere gratitude to the numerous donors who have made it possible through the Merry Christmas Issaquah fund, to support those in our community who have fallen on hard times.
Our volunteers have the humbling privilege of administering donated funds to those in need. With the funds raised, we can continue to provide emergency assistance to the families and individuals that live in the Issaquah School District that cannot meet their basic needs from month to month. Having a roof over one’s head, running water, lights and a warm home can now be possible for almost 500 families.
We especially would like to recognize the fantastic team at The Issaquah Press, as it has been a major supporter of this service to our community since 1981. Not only was the goal of $75,000 this year reached but it was surpassed. In total, it has raised almost $1 million since 1981.
Merry Christmas Issaquah is our major fundraising event. Without the help of The Issaquah Press reaching out to the community, our ability to raise funds would be costly and time-consuming. With its help, we are able to focus all our volunteer time on serving the less fortunate.
We would like to thank Debbie Berto for her overwhelming dedication and service to the mission of ICS. We would also like to thank Kathleen Merrill and Christina Corrales-Toy, the editor and reporter who wrote, edited and published the genuine stories shared by some of the families and individuals we helped. Through their words, we were able to reach readers and spread the message for help. We look forward to a continued partnership with The Issaquah Press and are continually grateful for their help.
Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery problem needs to be solved
I was encouraged to read that our new mayor places the Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery problem high on his list of problems to be solved. I sent Mayor Butler an email offering to sit down and discuss my long-standing concerns with the LRIG. As I write this, I have yet to receive a response to my offer, but I am certain that Mayor Butler is very busy, so I am hopeful.
The public water supply contamination in Charleston, W.V., is a parallel to our situation in Issaquah. The Freedom Industries chemical storage tanks next to the Elk River are functionally similar to the storm drains in Issaquah Highlands, with particular emphasis on the new Safeway gas station built on a slope to make containment of a large spill impossible.
The short distance of sloping ground between the storage tanks and the river’s edge is replaced by the Issaquah Highlands storm water system and the hard-piping to the Reid detention pond.
The Elk River is functionally similar to the pipe running from the detention pond to the injection gallery and our Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer.
Charleston, W.V., wasn’t quick enough to get its intake valves closed so its water system got contaminated and the residents lost all trust in their public utility. In Issaquah, the aquifer would just hold the contamination until some sort of very expensive resolution was found.
“The road to failure is paved with good intentions.” We should make a “U” turn.
Why not Sammamish?
Change is sometimes difficult, but can be a catalyst for progress. Yes, there may be some initial expense for changing your city name. I ask you, though, to think visionary and to a better future.
Sammamish has a reputation for taking good care of its parks and amenities and is a very safe and friendly city. Geographically, it just makes sense to be part of Sammamish. Klahanie is even on the Sammamish map due to its proximity and like-minded business community.
The Sammamish Chamber of Commerce has always considered the neighborhood of Klahanie as part of the plateau, serving their business community and delivering welcome bags to new residents since the early 2000s.
Vote no to Issaquah and join the thriving and friendly city of Sammamish. Enjoy road improvements, business promotion and tax savings from having no B&O and utility taxes.
Deb Sogge, executive director
Sammamish Chamber of Commerce
January 21, 2014
Vote yes for high-quality, award-winning schools
Happy New Year! As an elementary school principal in the Issaquah downtown area I have the amazing opportunity to work and live in the center of our city daily. I love Issaquah!
The families, the businesses, and the amazing art and sport communities make Issaquah a quality place to raise a family or own a home. Another main attraction for people to move and thrive in Issaquah is our award-winning schools.
January 14, 2014
Annexation is about home more than about services
Annexation is about more than efficiencies of service. Annexation is also about home, and we have all heard the phrase that “home is where the heart is.”
When the first ground was broken for Klahanie, Issaquah was the nearest city where the residents could shop and participate in community activities. In short, the residents of Klahanie have always thought of themselves as being part of the Issaquah community and calling Issaquah home.
January 7, 2014
Change to the online system isn’t such a welcome one
Well, folks, the King County Library System program writers could not leave well enough alone and had to do a drastic change to the online operation.
I do not find the new online process very acceptable. Hope others have better success with it than I have so far.
They also dropped the feature that showed which titles had been checked out previously by a KCLS user. I have checked out more than 8,000 titles and cannot remember all the titles — now the KCLS will not help me in this regard.
I have read all the Western stories and have started through them again, some I recall and some I don’t recall, as just had my 85th birthday, ha ha.
Vote for annexation into Issaquah
I would like to remind my neighbors on the plateau that there will be an important election Feb. 11.
This election is about the annexation of the area known as the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area into the city of Issaquah.
A vote of “yes” on the measure promises to bring lower property taxes to the area and will provide the plateau with many badly needed services not provided by King County.
December 31, 2013
Education — no better return on your investment
As we enter a new year, Issaquah School District voters have a unique investment opportunity.
On Feb. 11, the entire community will have the opportunity to vote yes on a three-part Issaquah district school-funding ballot, comprised of the following items:
- Four-year Maintenance and Operations Levy in the following amounts: $44.5 million in 2015, $48 million in 2016, $51.5 million in 2017, and $54 million in 2018.
- One-year Transportation Levy in the amount of $1.7 million in 2015.
- Four-year Critical Repairs/Technology levy in the following amounts: $11.4 million in 2015, $12.05 million in 2016, nearly $13.6 million in 2017, and nearly $14.9 million in 2018.
December 24, 2013
Special thanks to our many letter writers
We’d like to take a moment to salute those people who took the time to write a letter to the editor in 2013. Their written voice provokes, challenges, encourages and thereby builds a stronger community for us all. We aren’t able to publish every letter we receive, but here’s a list of the 148 authors, in alphabetical order, who did get ink this year.
Michael T. Barr
David Baty Read more
December 24, 2013
Respect knows no gender, race or political party
The Issaquah Press photo headline, Republican respect, referring to Congressman Reichert’s visit to Issaquah Middle School was shocking.
I was taught, and as a teacher I taught children, that respect knows no gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and certainly no political party.
I trust that teachers and parents are reinforcing that basic life lesson, especially for those Issaquah Middle School students who eagerly looked for themselves in the front-page photo where the headline jumped out at them.
Any number of headlines could have captured the essence of the congressman’s visit without furthering the political divide that is crippling our country. Congressman Reichert, I trust, was not invited to Issaquah Middle School because of his political affiliation. That would be blatantly inappropriate in a public school. I again trust that the congressman was invited because he had a message that resonates with young people struggling to make appropriate choices.
I expect better from The Issaquah Press.
Change your mind and think outside the bag
I was amazed when I read two letters in the Nov. 20 issue about the bag ban. Did Ms. Cardozo and Mr. Sessler even read what they wrote?
Ms. Cardozo explained the absolute need for produce bags to carry a variety of things. I don’t know where she gets her sushi, but mine comes in a hard-shell container, which is recyclable. Meat & chicken? Rarely do I see a package leaking, and only then would I add more plastic. Ice cream? It won’t melt in her 15 minutes’ drive home! Produce? Very little actually needs a plastic bag.
No one she has spoken with thinks the ban is a good idea? Perhaps she’s talking to the wrong folks. Then, she “tosses five or more” of these produce bags. She should know that Waste Management says produce bags are code 4 recyclable! So, yes, she saves nothing; what a shame.
Mr. Sessler stated he has witnessed people carrying and dropping things on their way to the car, spending “minutes” just to escape the bag fee? Maybe these folks are environmentally conscious but clumsy. I’ve carried unbagged items to my car for years, even dropped a few. I’ve even made a clerk remove items from a bag because it’s the right thing to do. If I’m absent-minded enough to leave my bags in the car — wow, what a burden it is to retrieve them!
These are not reasons for wasting plastic! Perhaps a frame of mind change is in order — think outside the bag. The bag ban was the right thing to do, and I hope my fellow Issaquahnians make the right choice and keep our town moving forward. Oh, and by the way, I can’t vote either as a county resident.
Vote yes to annexation by Issaquah
Efforts by Sammamish to encourage opposition to annexation by Issaquah are not in our best interest.
Sammamish cannot serve us better than King County does now. They just want our tax revenue! Sammamish has little commercial tax revenue, placing much of the city’s costs on its residents.
Plus, annexation by Sammamish is not a default option if you vote no on annexation to Issaquah. State annexation laws are such that a no vote will just leave us in King County, where we will continue to be obligated for King County debt, rather than Issaquah debt. City/county debt is not an issue in this election! Vote no and our tax dollars will continue to be spent in Seattle and other parts of King County.
Annexation by Issaquah, according to neutral, third-party analysis, will save taxpayers over $850/year in property tax on a $500,000 home. Our tax dollars will stay in our community and be managed locally where we can have a greater say in how that money is spent.
Issaquah was incorporated in 1892 and has a well-established government and police department. We will receive better police protection, and road and park maintenance. Eastside Fire & Rescue will serve us as they always have, while our utilities, including Sammamish water will stay the same. Our addresses have always been Issaquah addresses. We have been part of the Issaquah community for decades. It’s about time we become official residents of Issaquah.
Understand the facts and consequences. Support annexation by Issaquah. They have done due diligence to make sure they can take good care of us. They want to serve our needs and for less cost to us than King County or Sammamish. Let’s vote yes to be part of Issaquah for all the right reasons, because all the reasons are right!
December 17, 2013
There are as many opinions as there are citizens
A recent letter faulted the paper for a cartoon characterizing the Tea Party unfavorably.
Perhaps those who support repealing the ban against plastic bags might take umbrage with the cartoon that ran alongside the complaint letter: The drawing was a statement against environmental pollution.
While I support the letter writer’s right to voice his opinion, it’s just one among a community of many.