April 29, 2014
The impacts of the state losing its No Child Left Behind waiver are unlikely to be profound locally, but they are still an embarrassment — an embarrassment that could easily have been avoided.
Washington, along with 42 other states, was operating under a waiver that allows the state to essentially ignore some portions of the federal law. But that waiver was revoked last week.
We are in this mess because the state teacher’s union and Democrat members of the Legislature were unwilling to allow test scores to be a factor in teacher evaluations.
April 22, 2014
Issaquah is a naturally beautiful place, but it could be cleaner. Litter — beer cans, gum wrappers — are often found along streets and sidewalks amid the landscaping.
It takes a community to care about keeping Issaquah beautiful, which is why volunteers begin litter patrol in the second annual Spring Clean-up this Saturday morning.
The event is hosted by the Downtown Issaquah Association and Kiwanis Club of Issaquah, but more than 200 volunteers from clubs, organizations and businesses, as well as individuals, have signed up to tackle a segment of town and give it a clean sweep. Girl Scouts will plant flowers to add some spring color to key locations.
April 15, 2014
Turns out you can fight City Hall after all
While it may be true that you can’t fight City Hall and win, you might be able to win it over.
So, it seems, is the case with Save Squak in its battle over Squak Mountain land that was set for logging a little more than a year ago.
In January 2013, 15-year Squak Mountain resident Helen Farrington was concerned that clear-cutting 216 acres of forest could impact a fork of May Creek. Salmon had just returned to the area, and residents feared that with logging, they would be gone again.
April 8, 2014
Tiger Mountain school rethink can work
The Issaquah School Board is planning some big changes for Tiger Mountain Community High School. Some of these changes are necessary, but the disruption of the community is not.
Tiger Mountain has about 100 students who would generally be considered “at risk.” The school tries to reach these students with nontraditional methods in an attempt to keep them engaged.
The attempt isn’t working as well as it should. The school’s graduation rate of 37 percent shows this. Whatever methods district officials are attempting are actually reaching only a fraction of the students.
April 1, 2014
Vote yes on roads and transit funds
The state failed, once again, to find a way to fund transportation. So, once again, the county is on the hook to do so. It’s unfortunate that it has come to this, but it has. Voters should approve King County’s Proposition 1, to fund roads and transit.
It’s not cheap, ($60 on car tabs per year and a 0.1 percent sales tax increase for the next 10 years) but neither is the transportation network needed to keep one of the fastest growing counties in the nation moving.
March 25, 2014
It’s time to just let Klahanie go
Please, please, let us stop writing about Klahanie.
The Issaquah City Council pushed and pushed to convince the residents of the Klahanie area to join the city. The residents rejected the idea. Now, the council is considering another study of the issue and even talking about carving the area up on a precinct-by-precinct basis, cherry-picking the spots that voted to join.
The balkanization of Klahanie is not the answer. Does that council really want to start down this road of carving up territory after election results come in? Perhaps, in future elections, only people who live in precincts that support a bond measure will have to incur the debt. Maybe people whose precinct supports a losing candidate will get an alternate City Council, so the person they choose can serve them.
March 18, 2014
An annexation that may make sense
Washington State Parks has asked the city of Issaquah to consider annexing Lake Sammamish State Park. The idea is worth considering.
As it stands, the park, even though it is a state park, sits in unincorporated King County. However, it is surrounded on all sides — except the lake side — by Issaquah.
As there have been plans to add some developments to the park, Issaquah has taken the lead in vetting those plans. But, once a specific plan is chosen, the county would need to get involved in issuing needed permits.
March 11, 2014
State park lifeguards worth considering
The park manager at Lake Sammamish State Park is asking Issaquah to consider chipping in for lifeguards at the beaches on Lake Sammamish. The idea is worth considering, but the city must protect its interests.
The state ran a pilot program of placing lifeguards on the beaches in 2007 and 2008. In that time, the number of average daily visitors to guarded beaches rose from about 178 to 267. Considering it sometimes takes time for word to spread of a new program, it’s likely that many of the visitors in the second year heard about lifeguards and made the decision to come to the beach because they knew they and their children would be safe.
If the increase in visitation continues, with a commensurate increase in revenue from fees to enter the park, it would help offset the costs of hiring lifeguards for the swimming season. From a fiscal standpoint, the lifeguards would quickly pay for themselves.
March 4, 2014
It’s time to let Klahanie go
Issaquah made the best offer it could to Klahanie, but most residents in the area are no longer interested in being part of that city. It’s time to let them go.
It had always been assumed that Klahanie would eventually become part of Issaquah. Indeed, the southern half of what is now Sammamish was at one envisioned as part of Issaquah.
Sammamish, of course, went its own way and formed its own city. In 2005, when Issaquah last attempted to annex Klahanie, Sammamish was fairly new — it didn’t even have a proper city hall yet.
February 25, 2014
Death penalty overdue for reconsideration
More than five years ago, this newspaper called for the state Legislature to revisit the value of Washington’s death penalty. Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee opened the door to begin the overdue conversation by implementing a death-penalty moratorium while he is the state’s elected CEO.
At first glance, it may seem unimportant. Washington state has had only five executions in the past 50 years.
But consider that there are nine men currently on death row in Washington prisons. Consider that taxpayers pay for the prosecution, for the public defenders and for the court system. Those cases are under appeal and the appeals will go forward. Inslee’s mandate does not do away with capital punishment, it just removes the killings from happening on his watch.