Issaquah, Port of Seattle candidates answer questions

October 13, 2011

Councilman Fred Butler (right) answers a question as council candidates (from left) TJ Filley, Joshua Schaer, Stacy Goodman and Paul Winterstein listen during a candidate forum Thursday. By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 11:30 p.m. Oct. 13, 2011

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

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 race.

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Joshua Schaer is not afraid to disagree

October 11, 2011

On a City Council often united in 7-0 decisions, Joshua Schaer is the occasional outlier.

The councilman opposed a hike in cable rates, a redo along Newport Way Northwest and proposed changes to the same street near Issaquah Valley Elementary School. The opposition earned Schaer a grudging respect from council members — and a reputation for outspokenness.

“I’m not trying to be contrarian, and I’m not trying to be difficult, but you can’t have 7-0 votes on every issue,” he said.

Joshua Schaer

Now, as a candidate for a second term on the council, Schaer highlights the no votes just as much as accomplishments.

The councilman, 33, spearheaded a food-packaging ordinance to require restaurateurs and other food sellers to use compostable and recycle takeout containers and utensils.

The legislation is a signature issue as Schaer heads from door to door to greet potential supporters. Newcomer TJ Filley is the other candidate in the race for the Position 4 seat.

“I can’t take credit for the original idea, because it started in a lot of cities. Portland has been doing it for 20 years. Cities in California have been doing it for many years. Seattle was really the model that I looked at,” Schaer said. “If it can work in Seattle with the size of that city, then certainly it can work in Issaquah, where we are leaders in environmental preservation and sustainability. To be the first city on the Eastside to do this, I think, is a tremendous accomplishment.”

The measure caused some heartburn among business leaders, and the rollout continues to face difficulties almost a year after the ordinance took effect. Still, Schaer said the ordinance is a milestone for a city focused on sustainability.

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TJ Filley aims to shift City Council’s priorities

October 11, 2011

The connector across Interstate 90 at state Route 900 — a $6.2 million bridge to carry bicyclists and pedestrians across the highway — looms large on the landscape and in newcomer TJ Filley’s campaign for a City Council seat.

The city relied on federal and Sound Transit dollars, plus about $350,000 in municipal funds, to complete the project. The connector opened to traffic July 1 after construction delays and cost overruns.

TJ Filley

“When I first saw the bicycle and pedestrian overpass over on 90 being built, I originally thought, ‘Gee, they’re going to do something to make it so that traffic isn’t quite so bad around here,’” Filley said. “Then, after a couple months of them working on it, it started to become apparent what it was.”

Intrigued, Filley, 48, started to research the project to determine the reasons behind the City Council decision to start construction.

“I started looking into the project more and more,” he said. “The more I looked into it, the less sense it made to me.”

The project is not so much the problem as the process, Filley said. If elected, he said he intends to change how the council prioritizes transportation projects.

“It’s not that I’m against having bicycle trails or pedestrian overpasses, but it’s more that I didn’t understand how a project like that was given preference over other projects when Issaquah has some notoriously bad traffic problems,” he said.

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Meet candidates for local, regional offices at forum

October 4, 2011

Hear from the candidates for City Council, Issaquah School Board and Port of Seattle at a candidate forum sponsored by The Issaquah Press.

The forum is meant to offer voters a chance to learn about local candidates as the clock ticks down to Election Day. King County Elections is due to mail ballots to voters in late October. The forum starts at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at the King County Library Service Center.

The forum is not a debate. Candidates offer opening statements to the audience and then answer a series of questions from reporters as Publisher Debbie Berto moderates the discussion.

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King County Elections certifies August primary results

August 31, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. Aug. 31, 2011

King County Elections certified the results of the Aug. 16 primary election Wednesday morning.

Overall, voters returned 349,566 ballots of the 1,103,522 elections officials mailed in late July. Turnout reached 32 percent — less than officials estimated in the days before the ballot deadline.

The electorate resoundingly approved — 69 percent to 31 percent — renewing the Veterans and Human Services Levy until 2017.

Organizations operating in Issaquah and the surrounding area, such as Friends of Youth and YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish, receive support from the levy.

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Veterans and Human Services Levy appears certain to pass

August 16, 2011

NEW — 8:16 p.m. Aug. 16, 2011

King County voters offered strong support Tuesday for renewing the county Veterans and Human Services Levy until 2017.

The measure, Proposition 1, garnered 66 percent of the vote in the initial round of results King County Elections released just after 8 p.m.

The figure is expected to shift in the coming days as the elections office receives and counts more ballots, but the measure appears certain to pass. The initial tally released Tuesday night encompassed 208,833 ballots.

The levy renewal is projected to generate $100 million through 2017. The funding is split 50-50 among programs for veterans and the neediest residents in King County.

The electorate approved the initial Veterans and Human Services Levy — 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value — to fund programs for veterans and social service efforts in 2005. The existing levy is due to expire Dec. 31.

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Voters to decide King County veterans-and-human-services levy

August 9, 2011

Measure funds Issaquah programs for teenagers, parents

King County voters decide the future of a county veterans-and-human-services levy soon, and as Election Day nears, recipients of levy dollars demonstrated how the measure impacts Issaquah and other communities.

The electorate approved the initial veterans-and-human-services levy — 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value — to fund programs for veterans and social service efforts in 2005. The measure, Proposition 1, is up for renewal on the Aug. 16 ballot.

If passed, the levy renewal is projected to generate $100 million through 2017. The funding is split 50-50 among programs for veterans and the neediest residents in King County.

Proposition 1 matches the existing levy and does not include additional taxes. The owner of a home assessed at $340,000 is expected to pay $17 in 2012 if the levy is renewed. (The existing levy is due to expire Dec. 31.)

Proposition 1 receives broad support from human services organizations and advocates for veterans. The measure received unanimous support on the often-contentious council. The county Voters’ Guide does not include any statements against Proposition 1.

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Few candidates face challengers in local races

June 14, 2011

Issaquah residents face a choice in a single City Council race, and a trio of council members appears likely to cruise to election unchallenged.

Challenger TJ Filley entered the race against incumbent Councilman Joshua Schaer on June 10, as the candidate-filing period closed.

Incumbent Councilman Fred Butler, appointed Councilwoman Stacy Goodman and candidate Paul Winterstein did not attract opponents for the other council seats up for election in November.

In the races for the Issaquah School Board, incumbents Brian Deagle and Suzanne Weaver face challengers in the nonpartisan races.

Deagle, a Sammamish resident, has served on the board since October 2006. Challenger Patrick Sansing, a Sammamish resident, is running against Deagle for the Director District No. 3 seat.

Weaver faces Maple Valley resident Joseph Arnaud and Issaquah resident Brian Neville to retain the Director District No. 5 seat. Weaver, a Sammamish resident, has served on the board since January 2007.

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Press Editorial

June 14, 2011

Lack of challengers means lackluster vote

To our complete surprise, it looks like this year’s Issaquah City Council races will be about as lackluster as they come.

We are not surprised that incumbent Fred Butler has no challenger, given his long history of service to the city, the county and numerous community causes. He was a shoo-in.

Only incumbent Joshua Schaer will have an opponent. Late Friday, TJ Filley filed against him. Only these two candidates will give us any real conversation about the way the city deals with growth and development issues, spends taxpayer dollars and provides basic public services.

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Councilman, school board members face challengers

June 10, 2011

NEW — 6 p.m. June 10, 2011

Issaquah residents face a choice in a single City Council race, and a trio of council members appears likely to cruise to election unchallenged.

Challenger TJ Filley entered the race against incumbent Councilman Joshua Schaer on Friday, as the candidate filing period closed.

Incumbent Councilman Fred Butler, appointed Councilwoman Stacy Goodman and candidate Paul Winterstein did not attract opponents for the other council seats up for election in November.

In the races for the Issaquah School Board, incumbents Brian Deagle and Suzanne Weaver face challengers in the nonpartisan races.

Deagle, a Sammamish resident, has served on the board since October 2006. Challenger Patrick Sansing, a Sammamish resident, is running against Deagle for the Director District No. 3 seat.

Weaver faces Maple Valley resident Joseph Arnaud and Issaquah resident Brian Neville to retain the Director District No. 5 seat. Weaver, a Sammamish resident, has served on the board since January 2007.

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