City Council approves dollars for affordable housing

February 28, 2012

Officials used $55,249 in city funds to build affordable housing in other King County cities, including a planned Kirkland shelter for homeless youths and a Bellevue shelter for homeless women.

City Council members approved the expenditure to A Regional Coalition for Housing — a joint group including King County and 15 Eastside cities — in a unanimous decision Feb. 6. Issaquah officials used leftover funds from Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 construction to fund affordable housing projects.

“This was one of those last-minute budget decisions that came out of our budget discussion at the end of last year,” Councilman Mark Mullet said. “We decided ARCH was important.”

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City Council chooses Tola Marts, Fred Butler for leadership posts

January 17, 2012

City Council members chose Tola Marts to lead the board in the coming year, as the council reorganizes City Hall and delves into a long-term plan to redevelop the business district.

Tola Marts

Fred Butler

In unanimous decisions Jan. 3, council members elected Marts to the top spot on the board — council president — and longtime member Fred Butler to serve in the No. 2 position.

The council president leads the legislative branch of city government. The responsibilities for the role include running semimonthly council meetings and monthly Committee-of-the-Whole Council meetings, handling committee assignments and representing the city if Mayor Ava Frisinger is absent.

Marts joined the council in January 2010 and succeeded longtime Councilman David Kappler. Butler joined the council a dozen years ago.

The shift represents the only change in council leadership since 2009, after former Councilman John Traeger succeeded then-Council President Maureen McCarry in the top spot. (Both officials have since left the council.)

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City Council bids farewell to outgoing member John Traeger

January 17, 2012

In a dignified sendoff Dec. 19, City Council members bid farewell to Council President John Traeger.

John Traeger

Traeger decided in late April to step down after a single term as a councilman after leading the council through a busy period.

Other council members elected the technology consultant and Squak Mountain resident to lead the board for 2010 and again for 2011. Under Traeger, council members preserved the forested Park Pointe site near Issaquah High School, hired City Administrator Bob Harrison and embarked on a landmark reorganization of city government.

In addition, the council president runs semimonthly council meetings and monthly Committee-of-the-Whole Council meetings, handles committee assignments and represents the city if Mayor Ava Frisinger is absent.

“I will miss Councilmember Traeger’s presence on the council and his thorough research and good, solid work as a council member,” Frisinger said at the last council meeting Traeger attended as a member.

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City Council chooses Tola Marts, Fred Butler for leadership posts

January 5, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Jan. 5, 2012

City Council members chose Tola Marts to lead the board in the coming year, as the council reorganizes City Hall and delves into a long-term plan to redevelop the business district.

Tola Marts

In unanimous decisions Tuesday, council members elected Marts to the top spot on the board — council president — and longtime member Fred Butler to serve in the No. 2 position.

The council president leads the legislative branch of city government. The responsibilities for the role include leading semimonthly council meetings and monthly Committee-of-the-Whole Council meetings, handling committee assignments and representing the city if Mayor Ava Frisinger is absent.

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King County election turnout beat estimates

December 6, 2011

King County officials certified the Nov. 8 election late last month, and closed the book on the contests for City Council and Issaquah School Board seats.

The tally also reflected a higher-than-expected turnout in the off-year election.

In local contests, the certified results differed little from the initial figures released on Election Day. Incumbents scored landslide victories against lesser-known challengers.

Turnout in City Council and school board races reached 52 percent. King County Elections predicted 52 percent turnout countywide in the days before the election.

In the contested council race, incumbent Joshua Schaer defeated newcomer TJ Filley by 1,871 votes — 4,448 to 2,577. In addition, 28 people cast write-in votes in the race.

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City Council candidates, unopposed in election, outline goals for future

November 29, 2011

Though most City Council seats appeared on the November ballot, voters faced a choice in a lone race — the contest between incumbent Joshua Schaer and challenger TJ Filley. (Schaer claimed a second term in a landslide.)

The other seats up for election did not attract challengers, so incumbents Fred Butler and Stacy Goodman, plus newcomer Paul Winterstein, coasted through campaign season. The next council is due to settle into office in early January.

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King County Elections certifies November results

November 29, 2011

NEW — 2:30 p.m. Nov. 29, 2011

King County officials certified the Nov. 8 election Tuesday morning, and closed the book on the contests for City Council and Issaquah School Board seats.

The certified results differed little from the initial figures released on Election Day. Local incumbents scored landslide victories against lesser-known challengers.

Turnout in City Council and school board races reached 52 percent. King County Elections predicted 52 percent turnout countywide in the days before the election.

In the contested council race, incumbent Joshua Schaer defeated newcomer TJ Filley by 1,871 votes — 4,448 to 2,577. In addition, 28 people cast write-in votes in the race.

Issaquah voters also chose incumbents Fred Butler and Stacy Goodman, and newcomer Paul Winterstein, in uncontested council races.

Suzanne Weaver, a school board incumbent, outpolled newcomer Brian Neville by 5,914 votes — 14,005 to 8,091. The race also included 73 write-in votes.

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Issaquah voters re-elect Councilman Joshua Schaer

November 15, 2011

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.

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Off the Press

November 15, 2011

Election comes to yawn-inducing close

Warren Kagarise Press reporter

Joshua Schaer promised a party to daughter Emily. Only, the grownups gathered in a room at the Issaquah Brewhouse almost certainly did not meet the expectations of a 3-year-old girl.

The election night party Schaer put on at the downtown pub included a star-studded — for Issaquah, at least — guest list (City Council members past and present) and hors d’oeuvres aplenty. Bruschetta, anyone?

But, as far as parties go, the event seemed a little dull, boring even. The host, however, is not to blame.

Election Day in Issaquah, at least in the 2009 and 2011 cycles, morphed into a humdrum affair. Incumbents claim lopsided leads and challengers offer cordial congratulations. Repeat.

The lone burst of results from King County Elections came just after 8 p.m., as guests at the brewhouse channel-surfed to see if Issaquah results appeared in the Seattle TV stations’ tickers. In a campaign season dominated by liquor and tolling, no local results appeared in the moments after the results dropped.

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Issaquah City Council, school board candidates gather at forum

October 18, 2011

Candidates for local and regional offices offered prescriptions for counteracting the ailing economy and educating a 21st-century workforce at a forum Oct. 13.

Candidates for positions on the Issaquah School Board laugh at a joke during a candidate forum Oct. 13 at the King County Library Service Center. By Greg Farrar

Organized by The Issaquah Press and moderated by Publisher Debbie Berto, the forum attracted candidates for City Council, Issaquah School Board and Port of Seattle Commission.

The candidates, gathered at the King County Library System headquarters in Issaquah, answered questions in 40-minute sections organized by office.

The forum occurred days before King County Elections mails ballots, and as many voters start to pay attention to the off-year election. Election Day is Nov. 8.

Though the majority of council seats is up for election, only a single seat is contested. In the lone contested race, challenger TJ Filley faces incumbent Councilman Joshua Schaer for the Position 4 seat.

Incumbent Councilman Fred Butler, appointed Councilwoman Stacy Goodman and candidate Paul Winterstein did not attract opponents for the other positions.

In a far-reaching discussion about municipal issues — transportation headaches, economic development, ongoing efforts to regulate a medical marijuana operations and more — Filley and Schaer stuck to usual themes from the campaign.

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