New members join City Council; John Traeger elected council president

January 6, 2010

NEW — 11:35 a.m. Jan. 6, 2010

As family members watched and cameras flashed, Tola Marts and Mark Mullet joined the City Council on Monday.

The new councilmen took the oath of office before a packed council chamber, where the audience included families, political supporters, former Councilman David Kappler and County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, whose district includes Issaquah.

Deputy City Clerk Randy Reed administered oaths to the new councilmen, as well as incumbents Mayor Ava Frisinger and councilwomen Eileen Barber and Maureen McCarry. The terms end Dec. 31, 2013.

“This is a wonderful start to 2010,” Frisinger said.

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Former Councilman David Kappler lauded for environmental record

January 5, 2010

Issaquah claimed about 8,000 residents when David Kappler launched a successful City Council campaign in 1991.

David Kappler

David Kappler

Then, before the seismic shifts brought on by widespread growth, residents talked about still-unrealized plans to build urban villages on Cougar Mountain and Grand Ridge. Costco still maintained corporate headquarters in Kirkland.

Kappler, a tireless advocate for trails and open space preservation, won every election since his ’91 victory. The former councilman, who shaped decisions for almost 20 years, led the push to conserve land and cast crucial votes to shape transportation and public safety in Issaquah and across the Eastside.

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New members join City Council on Monday

January 3, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 3, 2010

The next City Council members — newcomers Tola Marts and Mark Mullet — will take the oath of office and join the seven-member panel Monday night.

Municipal Judge N. Scott Stewart will swear in Marts and Mullet, as well as Councilwoman Maureen McCarry, Councilwoman Eileen Barber and Mayor Ava Frisinger. The terms end Dec. 31, 2013.

The ceremony will open the 7:30 p.m. council meeting at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

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Election breakdown shows key to lopsided City Council victories

December 8, 2009

City Council candidates clinched victory last month by vacuuming up votes in opponents’ strongholds, King County Elections data shows. Read more

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City, schools elections attracted only 50 percent of voters

December 1, 2009

With few contested races on the ballot, about half of Issaquah city and school district voters cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election, final King County Elections results released last week show. Read more

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Issaquah city, schools elections attracted only 50 percent of voters

November 25, 2009

NEW — 6 p.m. Nov. 25, 2009

About half of Issaquah city and school district voters cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election, official King County Elections results released Nov. 24 show.

Turnout in the city races reached 50.27 percent, while in the school district — which includes parts of Sammamish and Renton — turnout was a bit lower: 49.87 percent.

Elections officials mailed 16,351 ballots to city voters; 8,219 were returned. The elections office sent 56,804 ballots to school district voters; 28,329 were postmarked by midnight Election Day.

The contest was the first all-mail general election held in King County, and the elections office forecast 56 percent turnout countywide. But turnout was lower: 53.55 percent. The county Canvassing Board met Nov. 24 to certify the election results, the final step in a quiet campaign season for Issaquah voters.

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Voters decide city, schools races

November 10, 2009

Issaquah voters elected a pair of political newcomers — including the first Issaquah Highlands representative — to the City Council last week, and returned Maureen McCarry to the council with a landslide victory. Read more

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Sign, sign, everywhere a sign: Post-election cleanup begins

November 10, 2009

Election Day is done, but the symbols remain: campaign signs planted by candidates and volunteers near busy intersections, along bustling streets and in front lawns from the Issaquah Highlands to Squak Mountain.


Several campaign signs remained uncollected the evening of Nov. 6 on West Sunset Way, and were still there Nov. 9. By Greg Farrar

Candidates realize residents tolerate the signs during campaign season, but after Election Day, the placards become visual pollution.

A few candidates mobilized volunteers to yank signs from the ground before midnight Election Day. City Council candidate Nathan Perea started uprooting his signs Election Day afternoon. Councilman-elect Tola Marts left a victory party and gathered his signs in the election night chill.

Perea said he empathized with residents tired of the signs. The compact campaign ads sprouted en masse during the summer.

“I appreciate the clutter being gone as soon as possible,” he said.

Perea blanketed Issaquah with distinctive green-and-orange signs emblazoned with a pine tree logo. In the end, however, Perea said the signs had little effect. Marts won the Position 7 council contest by a landslide.

Marnie Maraldo, a successful school board candidate, said she understood why the signs must come down soon after Election Day.

“I do sympathize with the public who has had to look at them since April or May,” she said.

Maraldo bested Wright Noel in the race for the school board Director District No. 2 seat.

The candidates’ cleanup effort means less work for city Code Compliance Officer Michele Forkner, who keeps a careful watch on campaign signs in the months before Election Day. Forkner did not receive any complaints from residents about the signs. Just after the election, she said she hoped candidates and volunteers had cleaned up after themselves.

Besides City Council candidates, contenders for county executive and assessor posts, and even Sammamish City Council hopefuls, planted signs around Issaquah. Hotspots included the cluttered intersections at either end of Northwest Gilman Boulevard: Front Street North and state Route 900.

Forkner said volunteers or residents usually pluck signs for out-of-town candidates after the election wraps.

Although candidates would doubtless relish the opportunity to turn the Northwest Gilman Boulevard median into a thicket of campaign signs, city code prohibits signs there.

The state Department of Transportation also prohibits signs on state-owned rights of way.

City rules call for campaign signs to be removed within a week of the election. Forkner begins rounding up rogue signs after the deadline passes.

“I do not touch those signs until the eighth day,” she said.

Forkner seldom fines candidates whose signs linger too long after Election Day. Instead, she gathers leftover signs, and collects wooden stakes for future candidates and people who need the poles for signs to announce garage sales and other events. The signs themselves head to the landfill.

“Signs don’t talk back; they just lay there or stick in the ground,” Forkner said.

The medium is expensive. Perea dropped $1,095 on campaign signs; Marts spent $683. Maraldo — who planted signs across the school district, from Newcastle to Sammamish — paid $1,774 for signs.

Marts and campaign volunteers sprinkled 200 signs around Issaquah.

“I wound up putting out the right number of signs,” Marts said.

After the signs were deployed, candidates found ways to augment the placards to deliver more information to voters.

City Council President Maureen McCarry affixed sheets touting her endorsements to her campaign signs as she worked to defeat challenger Joan Probala in the Position 5 contest. McCarry won the race by a wide margin.

Marts said where candidates placed signs — and how many signs candidates placed in proximity to opponents’ signs — was the most antagonistic act in the otherwise cordial campaign.

“The sign wars were more aggressive than the forum wars were,” Marts said.

Triumphant candidates said leftover signs would be stowed in garages until the next election. Maraldo and Marts looked toward 2013, when candidates elected last week will face voters again.

Maraldo said the designer of her blue-and-white campaign signs said a simple sticker could be added to change the message from elect to re-elect.

Marts said reusing his signs — adorned with a mountain backdrop and a salmon silhouette — would be a money-saver when he runs for a second term.

“I plan on using those signs for my re-election campaign in four years,” he said.

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

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Off the Press

November 10, 2009

Take in campaign season from a journalist’s eye

Warren Kagarise Press reporter

Warren Kagarise Press reporter

Election Day ended early, with a slow coast to prime time. Results were delivered in a single, anticlimactic burst at 8:15 p.m. with no nail-biting suspense. The frontrunners opened up big leads early, snuffing the chance to track trends or offer last-minute prognostications. Issaquah voters knew the make-up of the next City Council and school board well before “NCIS” was over.

Despite the quiet coda, campaign season was chockablock with memorable moments, at least for someone outfitted with a notebook and a digital voice recorder. Throughout the campaign, I jotted down observations and asides about the candidates and the race to public office.

What I observed — among the Issaquah candidates, anyway — were amicable, issue-oriented campaigns accessorized with the usual yard signs, candidate fliers and e-mail blasts. But the best — and cheapest — campaign tool I saw was the laminated placard Nathan Perea placed beside him at coffeehouses: “I’m running for Issaquah City Council. Please stop and chat!” the sign read. And it worked: Voters stopped to talk with the first-time candidate. Read more

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Leading city, schools candidates solidify margins as elections office updates tally

November 4, 2009

NEW — 4:45 p.m. Nov. 4, 2009

City Council candidates Tola Marts and Maureen McCarry, and school board hopeful Marnie Maraldo, strengthened leads in unofficial election returns released 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Marts led opponent Nathan Perea by 915 votes in the latest batch of returns released by King County Elections. Incumbent McCarry widened the gap between challenger Joan Probala to 1,588 votes. In the school board contest, 2,371 votes separated Maraldo from opponent Wright Noel.

King County Elections released the first unofficial returns at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, and more tallies will be posted Thursday afternoon. Though additional ballots could still shift the results, Perea, Probala and Noel would need to see stunning reversals to prevail.

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