Mark Mullet reflects on City Council term

January 8, 2013

Mark Mullet claimed a historic first in January 2010.

Mark Mullet

The entrepreneur and former banking executive ran unopposed for a City Council seat in 2009 and won election as the first Issaquah Highlands resident to serve on the council.

The highlands added thousands of residents as construction escalated in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but the neighborhoods existed for more than a decade before a resident achieved citywide elected office.

In the years Mullet served on the council, members hired City Administrator Bob Harrison, oversaw a major staff reorganization at City Hall, approved a long-term redevelopment plan for the business district, inked development agreements with Lakeside Industries and Rowley Properties, and approved a retail plastic bag ban.

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Joshua Schaer is first City Council member from Talus

January 8, 2013

Councilman Joshua Schaer moved to Talus late last month and, in the process, became the first City Council member from the Cougar Mountain urban village.

Joshua Schaer

The change offers Schaer a perspective on city issues from the quiet urban village perched above state Route 900.

Construction escalated in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Talus and the Issaquah Highlands, both hillside urban villages, but the neighborhoods existed for more than a decade before a resident achieved citywide elected office.

In 2010, Mark Mullet became the first resident from the highlands to join the council. (Mullet, a state senator elected in November, recently resigned from the post to serve in Olympia.)

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Democrats dominate Issaquah voters’ choices

January 1, 2013

Strong get-out-the vote operation boosts candidates

Democrats dominated Issaquah in the November election.

City voters chose Democrats for every federal and statewide office on the ballot — sometimes by a broad margin and others by a handful of votes.

Issaquah overwhelmingly supported Democrats in the races for president and vice president, U.S. senator and U.S. representative, and every statewide office. Only incumbent Republican Steve Litzow, a 41st Legislative District state senator representing about half of Issaquah, earned support from a majority of voters inside city limits.

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How did Issaquah vote?

January 1, 2013

City-level results from the November election show Issaquah voters followed statewide trends on some issues, or occasionally chose another direction.

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Editorial

January 1, 2013

2013 goals are imperative for Issaquah

Our news staff and editorial board put their heads together each year to create a list of 2013 goals for the Issaquah area. Some are repeats from former years, but are still waiting to be accomplished.

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Leaders call for 8-cent gas tax hike to fund ailing roads

January 1, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 1, 2013

King County leaders asked state legislators for a gas tax increase and for the ability for counties to collect a vehicle tab fee for road maintenance.

In a letter to lawmakers last month, Eastside elected leaders joined King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn asked legislators to raise the gas tax by 8 cents to fund ailing roads.

The proposal offered from Constantine, McGinn and the Sound Cities Association calls for 65 percent of gas tax revenue to go to the state and 35 percent to go to local transportation projects.

(Issaquah a member city in the Sound Cities Association, a regional advocacy group once called the Suburban Cities Association.)

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City Council seeks to fill vacancy left after Mark Mullet’s resignation

December 31, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Dec. 31, 2012

From the moment Mark Mullet declared victory in a state Senate race last month, other City Council members started planning for the process to fill Mullet’s seat on the dais once the Democrat departs for Olympia.

Mark Mullet

Now, as Mullet prepares to resign Jan. 8 to prepare for the legislative session, council members put out a call for applicants for the soon-to-open seat.

The city is accepting applications until Jan. 16. The council plans to interview applicants Jan. 22 and, after interviews, members could recess into a closed-door executive session to discuss candidates’ qualifications.

Under state law, the council can discuss candidates’ qualifications in a closed-door session, but interviews and the decision must occur in public meetings. The council is scheduled to vote on the appointment Jan. 29.

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Issaquah legislators receive key commitee assignments

December 26, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 26, 2012

Local lawmakers received or retained influential committee assignments — and the ability to shape state policy on education, transportation and other priorities — in the next legislative session.

Recent changes in how the state Senate operates changed prospective roles for local legislators. Though Democrats claim more members in the Senate, Republicans announced a plan in early December to instead put a bipartisan caucus in place to run the chamber.

With help from Sens. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, and Tim Sheldon, D-Potlach, Republicans received a 25-24 majority. Under the proposal, Tom is poised to serve as majority leader and oust Democrats’ chosen majority leader, Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle. (Until redistricting last year, Tom, a former Republican, represented some Issaquah neighborhoods.)

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City OKs buildings up to 125 feet tall in business district

December 25, 2012

Redevelopment plan calls for more than 7,000 residences

City leaders raised the building height limit to 125 feet in the business district and raised the stakes for redevelopment in the decades ahead.

The roadmap to redevelopment — a document called the Central Issaquah Plan — also creates a framework to add more than 7,000 residences on about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90.

In a series of decisions reached Dec. 17 after years spent re-envisioning the business district, a relieved City Council adopted the Central Issaquah Plan, but delayed action on a key piece until at least April.

“It’s the right plan at the right time,” Councilman Fred Butler said. “It will not happen overnight, but when the time is right, we will be ready.”

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Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet joins state Senate

December 4, 2012

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen (left) administers the oath of office to state Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, in the Senate chamber Nov. 30. Contributed

Issaquah City Councilman Mark Mullet joined the state Senate on Nov. 30 — 45 days before other freshman lawmakers convene in Olympia for the 2013 legislative session.

In a ceremony on the Senate floor, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen administered the oath to Mullet as the Democrat’s family members watched.

Mullet joined the Senate after a bruising contest against Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft to represent the 5th Legislative District — a mishmash between suburban and rural communities stretched between Issaquah and Snoqualmie Pass.

The last senator to represent the district, Maple Valley Republican Cheryl Pflug, resigned from the seat in June to serve on a state board. Sammamish Republican Dino Rossi — senator from the district in the late 1990s and early 2000s — served in the role between Pflug’s resignation and Mullet’s arrival.

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