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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John Urquhart takes office as King County sheriff

December 4, 2012

John Urquhart

John Urquhart assumed office as King County sheriff Nov. 28, months after retiring as the agency’s longtime spokesman.

Urquhart, a former sheriff’s office sergeant, defeated the incumbent sheriff, Steve Strachan, 56 percent to 43 percent, in the Nov. 5 election after a contentious campaign.

Strachan, a former Kent police chief, and Urquhart debated how to lead the sheriff’s office after a series of audits lambasted how the agency operates.

The sheriff oversees a budget of about $150 million and about 1,000 employees, and leads the largest local police organization in the state after the Seattle Police Department.

Urquhart won election to fill the remaining year in former Sheriff Sue Rahr’s unexpired term, and is due to face voters again next year.

Voters choose John Urquhart for King County sheriff

November 13, 2012

John Urquhart

John Urquhart is King County’s next top lawman.

Urquhart defeated the incumbent sheriff, Steve Strachan, 57 percent to 43 percent, after a contentious campaign.

Strachan, a former Kent police chief, and Urquhart, a former sheriff’s office sergeant and spokesman, locked horns about the agency’s future. The contest to lead the King County Sheriff’s Office hinged on a series of audits into how the agency operates.

The sheriff oversees a budget of about $150 million and about 1,000 employees, and leads the largest local police organization in the state after the Seattle Police Department.

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Issaquah police plan no immediate changes after Initiative 502 legalizes marijuana

November 13, 2012

In a milestone, Initiative 502 legalized marijuana for recreational use among adults 21 and older in Washington.

In the days after the measure passed, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg dismissed 175 cases involving people 21 and older for possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana.

The law outlined in I-502 is scheduled to take effect Dec. 6. Meanwhile, Washington Liquor Control Board officials must formulate rules to grow, sell, tax and regulate marijuana.

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Cyberbullying crackdown is priority for sheriff’s office

October 23, 2012

King County Sheriff’s Office investigators could soon crack down on cyberbullying, after the King County Council approved a motion introduced by Issaquah-area Councilman Reagan Dunn.

Reagan Dunn

Cyberbullying is the use of information and technology to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behavior. The crime exploded in recent years due to the prevalence of social media services, and gained national attention last year after classmates targeted a then-12-year-old Issaquah girl online.

Dunn said cyberbullying is increasingly a concern for law enforcement agencies.

“In recent months, all across the country, we have seen tragedies unfold as a result of cyberbullying,” he said in a statement. “This motion will allow the sheriff’s office to study this issue thoroughly and ensure King County has a plan to deal with any of these troubling bullying trends.”

(Dunn represents rural areas south of Issaquah and Newcastle on the council.)

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Next King County sheriff faces tough decisions to reform agency

October 16, 2012

The contest to lead the King County Sheriff’s Office could hinge on a series of audits into how the agency operates.

The sheriff oversees a budget of about $150 million and about 1,000 employees, and leads the largest local police organization in the state after the Seattle Police Department.

John Urquhart

Steve Strachan

The contentious race pits Sheriff Steve Strachan, a former Kent police chief, against John Urquhart, a former sheriff’s office sergeant and spokesman.

King County Council members appointed Strachan as sheriff in April, not long after former Sheriff Sue Rahr resigned to lead the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, or state police academy.

Though the election is to fill the Rahr’s unexpired term through 2013, the next sheriff faces a landmark effort to reform the agency in response to audits critical of policies put into place under Strachan’s predecessors.

Strachan, a SeaTac resident, served as a police chief and state legislator in Minnesota before accepting the Kent post in 2006. In the Minnesota Legislature, he helped pass legislation to reduce the blood-alcohol limit to 0.08 percent. Rahr tapped Strachan as the chief deputy, or No. 2 spot, at the sheriff’s office in early 2011.

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Press Editorial

October 16, 2012

John Urquhart for sheriff

King County voters last experienced a contested race for sheriff in 2005.

The race on the ballot next month, between appointed Sheriff Steve Strachan and John Urquhart, a former King County Sheriff’s Office sergeant, offers voters a choice between a pair of capable candidates.

Former Sheriff Sue Rahr stepped down in March, and the King County Council appointed Strachan for the interim. The election is to fill the remainder of Rahr’s term through December 2013.

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King County Sheriff’s Office to hire 14 deputies

October 13, 2012

King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert (center) joins Councilman Joe McDermott (from left), King County Executive Dow Constantine and Sheriff Steve Strachan for the hiring announcement Friday. Contributed

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 13, 2012

King County Sheriff Steve Strachan announced a plan Friday to hire 14 deputies in the months ahead by using dollars from the existing King County Sheriff’s Office budget.

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Facebook, friends lead police to suspect in Skyline threat

October 9, 2012

Police said a trail of Facebook comments led investigators to a suspect in the Sept. 20 shooting threat against Skyline High School.

Parker N. Mace

Facebook taunts directed at Skyline High School students linked the incident to a 16-year-old Edmonds boy, a former Skyline student. Police said Parker N. Mace posted the Skyline threat on the online bulletin board 4chan just before midnight Sept. 19.

Then, after frightened Skyline students created a Facebook group to discuss the threat, police said Mace posted mocking comments. The taunts, plus information from friends, led police to a surprising arrest in the case.

King County prosecutors filed a felony harassment charge against Mace on Oct. 4, after King County Chief Juvenile Court Judge Helen Halpert ordered electronic home detention and restricted computer access for him. Mace pleaded not guilty to the charge Oct. 5.

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