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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City Council, Issaquah School Board incumbents post big leads

November 8, 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

NEW — 8:20 p.m. Nov. 8, 2011

Joshua Schaer, the only City Council member to face a challenger in a quiet campaign season, posted a sizable — and almost certainly insurmountable — lead against opponent TJ Filley as election results started to dribble out Tuesday night.

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Bill for Interstate 90 bridge reaches $6.7 million

November 1, 2011

The bill for the pedestrian and bicyclist connector across Interstate 90 is costing Issaquah $450,000 more than city leaders budgeted for the project.

City Administrator Bob Harrison (right) and Mayor Ava Frisinger lead Issaquah and regional officials across the Interstate 90 pedestrian bridge Oct. 26. By Greg Farrar

The total budget for the project is about $6.7 million, up from the $6.2 million set aside to complete the bridge across the interstate at state Route 900. The budget increase accommodates engineering expenses, construction cost and construction management cost increases, and legal and permitting fees related to the connector.

The change increases the amount of city dollars used in a project approved in part because the federal government and Sound Transit offered to cover substantial costs.

Construction delays and other issues — such as using off-duty police officers for traffic control near the construction site — caused costs to mount. The city set aside about $314,000 as contingency funds for the project, but the overruns caused the project to exhaust the backup dollars.

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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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Press Editorial

October 18, 2011

Schaer has earned another council term

The choice in Issaquah’s only contested City Council race is stark.

Incumbent Joshua Schaer articulates a clear vision for the future. Schaer has fashioned a reputation as a councilman unwilling to yield just for the sake of another unanimous vote. Such independence is valuable for a council member and even better for the citizens he represents.

Schaer also brings a broad understanding of the tiny details of city policy — a critical factor for elected officials as the council delves into the Central Issaquah Plan, a medical marijuana ordinance and other hefty issues in the year ahead.

Schaer deserves credit for pushing the first-on-the-Eastside food-packaging ordinance to ban Styrofoam takeout containers. In his second term, however, he needs to lead the charge to increase compliance with the ordinance.

Challenger TJ Filley initially built a single-issue campaign around the pedestrian bridge across Interstate 90 at state Route 900. Though Filley deserves praise for attracting attention to the late and over-budget project, the continued focus on the now-completed bridge is counterproductive.

Filley needs more local experience, while Schaer has earned a second term.

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City Council candidates TJ Filley, Joshua Schaer answer questions

October 18, 2011

Before returning ballots to meet the Nov. 8 deadline, review where Issaquah City Council and Issaquah School Board candidates stand on important issues.

Council candidates Joshua Schaer and TJ Filley answered questions about numerous issues facing Issaquah in the years ahead. (Answers had to be 25 words or less.) Schaer is seeking another term on the seven-member council. Filley is focusing on transportation issues in the campaign.

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