Sammamish Forum March 20
March 20, 2013
Regulations are harsh
As a front-page article in the March 13 Review said, some Sammamish City Council members do not like the proposed changes to the city’s environmental regulations.
Some residents of the city do not like the code changes either, but for an entirely different reason – they fail to correct some severe inequities in the current code. Many of these result from the misapplication of forest practices to developed urban neighborhoods, imposing one-size-fits-all buffers that restrict a resident’s use of their property while in many cases providing no environmental benefit.
For example, let’s assume you have a modest house with a landscaped yard in a developed neighborhood, and a neighbor two houses away has a small watercourse crossing his yard. It has water in it only in rainy periods and has no fish, but because it drains into Lake Sammamish it is classified as a Type F Stream, the most protected category.
Now let’s assume you want to add a small tool shed or greenhouse in your yard, within 165 feet of that watercourse. Our code prohibits you from doing that! The fact that your project will have no effect whatsoever on that watercourse is irrelevant. A 150-foot stream buffer plus a 15-foot building setback is imposed anywhere that these so-called “streams” exist, as if it were in a forest.
This is just representative of the kind of inequities that have not been addressed in the current code revision. These problems need to be fixed now, not left to burden our citizens for years to come.
Alison Meryweather for Issaquah School Board
I have spent the past 10 years supporting our children in our schools in our Issaquah community. We live in an amazing community that supports education and our community is full of people who have done the same!
During those past 10 years, I have had the honor of working with Alison Meryweather who is currently seeking the open school board position in the Issaquah School District. Alison is one of those individuals who I think has served on every possible educational committee or organization in the district. She has done this because she has a passion for children and their education.
When you think of Alison, you think of someone who loves to support our children and our schools, and when she gives her time and energy, she does it with joy.
Our Issaquah School Board has narrowed the candidates for the current open seat down to two candidates. When you compare the two candidates, Alison by far has the more experience in the education world.
She has been involved in the PTA of the schools her children have attended and do attend, and also has been very involved at the PTA council level. She has worked tirelessly on the Volunteer for Issaquah Schools, which supports the passage of our school levies and bonds and is instrumental in the fundraising that happens with the Issaquah Schools Foundation. Not only has she volunteered her time in our community, but she has also spent a great deal of time in Olympia encouraging our legislators to support education.
When you think of Alison Meryweather, you think of education. Please encourage our school board members to have Alison Meryweather be the next Issaquah School District board member.
Jody R. Mull
In response to the March 12 editorial, “Teen criminals’ privacy vs. your right to know.”
This editorial was extremely misleading about the effects of HB 1651. Firstly, this bill would leave records of all serious violent offenses, other more serious offenses (including arson) and all sex offenses entirely open to the public. Thus, contrary to the view expressed in the article, the public would absolutely know about a “neighborhood teen molesting other kids.”
This bill balances the vital goals of rehabilitation and public safety by keeping the records of more serious offenses open and limiting public access to the rest. Currently, even those who have paid their dues for minor juvenile offenses have trouble finding a job or a place to live because of their public record. This doesn’t make for healthier communities – it leads to a cycle of poverty, homelessness and crime for young people who are just starting out in life.
Washington is one of only eight states where juvenile records are open to the public and put online. This means that youth from our state are at a disadvantage. Someone from California can leave their childhood mistakes behind when they come here and apply for jobs. A youth from Washington cannot.
Finally, HB 1651 honors the principle of “open and honest courts . . . with full accountability” by keeping the court proceedings open to the public and making the records available for purely research and statistical purposes. Individual and aggregate information can be scrutinized to address potential bias around race, class, or other factors. This ensures that the public can keep courts and our government accountable.
The juvenile justice system is founded upon the core principle of rehabilitation. That system is successful when youth reintegrate into society and become active, law-abiding, and contributing members of our communities. HB 1651 will finally allow our state’s youth to do just that.
The writer is a project coordinator at the Center for Children & Youth Justice.