Rapid Response

July 27, 2010

Do you believe the completion of the Interstate 90 Undercrossing will make a meaningful reduction in traffic congestion?

I can only hope so. Pretty soon the waiting lines for a green light to get onto Interstate 90 at opposite ends of Gilman Boulevard may end up touching each other in the middle!

Michele Forkner, Issaquah

Yes, but it should connect to East Lake Sammamish.

Matthew Balkman, Issaquah

Yes, in the short run. However, it will only be a short term Band-Aid as our current infrastructure tries to accompany longer-term planned growth. We will have to think “out of the box” to find alternatives to automotive transportation. Realistically, we will have to limit growth to the capacity of our infrastructure to absorb it.

Raymond Extract, Issaquah

Rapid Response

July 20, 2010

How do you feel about a state requirement for schools to record students’ race and ethnicity?

For what purpose? Is funding going to depend on certain demographics? Are subjects or programs going to be race or ethnic specific?

Michele Forkner, Issaquah

Why? What is the purpose? The ACLU would have a ball opposing this in the courts and the media would have a field day. The state should concentrate on ways to fund and provide improved education opportunities for all of our students and stay away from divisive issues.

Raymond Extract, Issaquah


Do you believe the completion of the Interstate 90 Undercrossing will make a meaningful reduction in traffic congestion?

It should take people off Front Street and away from that awfully congested corner at 17th Street and Southwest Lake Sammamish Parkway, so yes, I think it should help. I would rather have seen it go north and end near the Barnes & Noble shopping center, though. But it should help nevertheless.

Barbara Extract, Issaquah

The undercrossing project will relieve congestion by rerouting traffic. An additional benefit is shortened trips, saving fuel, as well as time.

Gail Givan, Issaquah


What features would you like to see incorporated in the downtown, Issaquah Creek-area parks, keeping in mind that the area will be limited to passive activities?

Does it include “passive” smoking?

Paul Stewart, Preston

Hello!?!?! There is a recession going on! The city sends out pleas for ideas about how to save money — here is the plan… stop spending money! Especially on passive parks that very few people utilize when we need to repair and make more usable the parks we have, the parks that serve our population the most (active parks) and that generate some revenue. There are so many repairs and basic infrastructure needs and other active park demands to focus on in our city.

Matthew Balkman, Issaquah

Rapid Response

July 13, 2010

Will King County’s new plan for animal control and sheltering services provide better services for taxpayers?

Yes, if they have a presence here in Issaquah.  They will need to have enough officers to respond in a timely manner to complaints or assistance with regard to animals/pets.

Michele Forkner, Issaquah

Only if ‘animal control’ encompasses the cougars trolling the local bars!

Paul Stewart, Preston

Should Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill — facing a domestic violence charge in Issaquah — be allowed to play this season? Read more

Rapid Response

July 6, 2010

How can the city best encourage owners of undeveloped land/open space to preserve their property for conservation?

Pass an ordinance that says we’ve met all our growth targets, and then stop granting permits for new construction.

Bryan Weinstein, Issaquah

Have environmental groups, such as Conservancy and Mountains to Sound, purchase the land. Provide tax incentives and donors with public recognition through statues, plaques, sitting benches, etc. Provide incentive for projects willing to preserve open space.

Mark Bowers, Issaquah

If it is zoned for development, the only honest thing to do is to buy it from them or purchase development rights to keep it as open space. Anything else is stealing.

Fred Nystrom, Issaquah

Read more

Rapid Response

June 29, 2010

In light of current economic conditions faced by school districts, how do you think Washington state should raise the money to provide a globally competitive education to students?

Use the money they have to start teaching kids the basics, so they will be successful in school first, and the global marketplace second.

Bryan Weinstein, Issaquah

The education system needs more competitive incentive and less nanny-state funding. Good schools and teachers are rewarded — bad schools and teachers are not. Washington state education should be far less controlled by unions and bureaucrats. Removing layers of bureaucracy, providing community equivalent standards in educator benefits, improve classroom to nonclassroom hours ratios. Consider privatization of public education with a year-round option.

Mark Bowers, Issaquah

Put educational funds in a separate legal place where politicians can’t get their hands on it. It should never be a part of the general fund.

Fred Nystrom, Issaquah

Drop a number of the school bus runs and make the kids walk to school. This will also give them some exercise.

Paul Stewart, Issaquah

Does more money spent always mean a globally competitive education? In the decline in funding, focus on creating a culture of globally relevant outcomes: Rather than training students to be consumers, train them to be creators!

Don Burnett, Issaquah Read more

Rapid Response

June 22, 2010

As the city moves closer to establishing a human services campus, what role do you feel the city should play in providing social services to residents?

Continuous review to ensure the services offered are the right services for our community at the right time.

Bryan Weinstein, Issaquah

The role of government is to provide safety (police and fire), education and infrastructure. Participating in housing and feeding the less fortunate should be a collaborative effort with government, business, churches and citizens. Get the latter three even more involved than now through tax incentives and public recognition for their efforts.

Mark Bowers, Issaquah

Assist in finding a place and fast track the applications and then stay out of it.

Fred Nystrom, Issaquah

Interfaith and community collaboration is vital to keep a safety net in place for meaningful social services. People become unsafe in isolation and thrive in community!

Don Burnett, Issaquah

Don’t need the nanny state at the local level.

Ken Sessler, Issaquah Read more

Rapid Response

June 15, 2010

What type of leader should city officials choose for the next city administrator?

The mayor is being paid to be a full-time mayor and should therefore be running the city.

— Jackie Thomas, Issaquah

What steps should Issaquah School District officials take to reduce expenses or increase funding?

First, they should figure out how much it costs to educate students and adopt a plan to fund that — then start looking for ways to increase funding or reduce expenses.

— Bryan Weinstein, Issaquah

As with all business these days, more is expected with less. Simplifying the funding process to a student/per capita ratio per school will allow for huge reduction in administrative costs and provide consistent funding across all districts. Consider privatizing education. Emphasize tax incentives for home schooling and private school choice.

— Mark Bowers, Issaquah

Since we can’t cut much further and can’t get more money, send all the kids to Bellevue or Mercer Island for schooling — they are paid much more per student by the state.

— Fred Nystrom, Issaquah

Why do they always look for more money? Just use some of the “hopefully educated” administrators to really look to making efficient cutting from within. Each taxpayer has to do it within his or her own home.

— Ken Sessler, Issaquah

No easy solutions here. After the requisite audits to eliminate waste, bureaucratic impediments, brainstorming more efficient and effective ways to achieve results, lobbying for state and federal grants, and charging fees for participating in extra- curricular activities (providing scholarships to those whose parents can’t afford them), there seems to be no choice other than to increase property taxes and/or seek approval of another bond issue.

— Ray Extract, Issaquah

Administrators do not add value to the education product. Start cutting administrative positions and reducing salaries.

— Hank Thomas, Issaquah

Many people do not realize that school districts are highly regulated. School districts can “work smart” within this framework, but long-term solutions will be crafted by the state of Washington.

— Barbara diMichele, Issaquah

Eliminate management positions — one principal and one assistant principal per school, for instance — and duplicate positions.

— Jim Harris, Issaquah

Salaries and benefits comprise 83 percent of expenses, so that’s the only area where you could make meaningful reductions. Focus instead on increasing the levy lid.

— Mel Morgan, Issaquah


City officials point to new businesses and new construction as signs of economic recovery. Do you believe Issaquah is emerging from the recession?

I don’t believe Issaquah has emerged, because banks still haven’t let go of money for much major new development and there are still empty stores.

— Michele Forkner, Issaquah

If this definition is used, there are new businesses opening in Issaquah so perhaps we are recovering.

— Jackie Thomas, Issaquah

Rapid Response

June 1, 2010

What type of leader should city officials choose for the next city administrator?

Whoever it is, it will tell us a lot about the values of our leaders.

Bryan Weinstein, Issaquah

One that will reduce city spending and eliminate unnecessary non-city functions.

Ken Sessler, Issaquah

Relevant municipal administrative experience; superior communications skills; an effective team builder; a commanding presence that inspires performance; most of all, the ability to remain above the fray, not perceived to be favoring any special interest, pressure group, political party or individual.

Ray Extract, Issaquah

I am hoping they find a candidate who will be an advocate for the employees as well as the city. One who will embrace the traditions and culture that we currently have. There is room for improvement and change, but get to know the “city family” first.

Michele Forkner, Issaquah Read more

Rapid Response

May 18, 2010

City officials point to new businesses and new construction as signs of economic recovery. Do you believe Issaquah is emerging from the recession? Read more

Rapid Response

May 4, 2010

What additional steps can city officials take to encourage development downtown?

They could cut taxes/paperwork and red tape.

Paul Stewart, Issaquah

Make the change in occupancy process faster and reduce fees — there should be no vacancies in downtown.

Fred Nystrom, Issaquah Read more

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