Sammamish Forum Jan. 16
January 17, 2013
Youth board a good experience
I’m writing to share my experiences with Congressman Dave Reichert’s Youth Board. Last year, as a student interested in policymaking, I didn’t hesitate to apply.
I initially thought this would be a Republican board; however, I noticed immediately the diversity present among the 20 members, who come from across the district, including both strong liberals and conservatives.
Throughout the year, we discussed public policy issues with the Congressman in locations ranging from Issaquah to Enumclaw. By participating in these discussions and visiting different places, I feel we’ve come to understand better the opinions on both sides — by stepping into each other’s shoes.
But most importantly, this board is a channel for youth voices to be heard. The younger population generally is more open to new ideas and more willing to explore. Now, as bitter partisanship permeates Washington D.C., perhaps the nation’s solutions lie among the youth.
I applaud Reichert for creating this model board and encourage any high school student in the 8th Congressional District to join. If you live outside of the district, I urge you to contact your local officials to start their own youth council.
Here lies Ace Hardware
In 2008, members of the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey of Chamber members and local businesses. Their report to the City Council stated that Sammamish desperately needed additional commercial space. An urgent, get-the-job-done response was needed.
At the time of the chamber report, the City Council, Planning Commission and city staff were completing work on a Town Center plan. The City Council stacked the Town Center committee and Planning Commission with their political supporters, who proposed the what, where, and how of the Town Center plan. Landowners and developers told the Planning Commission and the City Council the Town Center plan was seriously flawed and would not work. These decision makers ignored this feedback, voted to accept the Town Center plan, and “kicked the can down the street.” “If after three or four years, it doesn’t work, we can review it,” they said. Four years later, the plan clearly hasn’t worked.
What can be done? It may be too late. We are seeing a collapse of local businesses as they find it impossible to operate in Sammamish. The “Walmartization” of our limited commercial properties is forcing local businesses out. They are leaving the plateau or going out of business. Our local business people leave to provide quality “small town” services to Issaquah and Redmond. Sammamish is left with “strip mall” chain stores and fast food.
Ace Hardware, another victim of City Council bad planning and who cares attitude, tried to relocate to the Town Center but hit a wall of dysfunctional regulations, unrealistic demands, and exploitive fees. In Sammamish, the possible is impossible. What can be done in every other city can’t be done in Sammamish.
Check out recent events, Ace Hardware’s last-ditch effort to locate land for the store outside the town center is in critical condition and on life support. City staff are ready to pull the plug.
There is no ace in the hole for Ace Hardware, just a big hole. All that remains is to throw in the dirt and mark the grave, “Here lies Ace Hardware.”
Petco not needed here
I would like to thank Tim Taricco for his article on the coming of Petco to our local shopping center. He has voiced the feelings of our family and many of my customers and neighbors.
We have nothing against Petco as we shop there for all of our pets needs either in Issaquah or Redmond, depending on where we are at the time. Apparently, the person Petco has employed to study the local need for a business did not do the research needed as to the sustainability of such a large location and how the people would react. Not smart business.
Regency, on the other hand, has to know quite well what the people have asked for and are making it clear to the community that they will do as they please. There will be those that feel strongly that big business is allowed to do whatever they please, after all that is capitalism. There will be those few that, for the convenience, will support the new store.
Our family wishes no financial harm to the owners of Petco, but we will not shop at that store to show our support to Ace Hardware and our disapproval towards Regency, a non-local company that cares nothing for the needs of our community or the small businesses that have already had to vacate the shopping center.
We plan to boycott any business coming into the Ace Hardware location as well. We may be a small voice but that is where it starts.