January 7, 2014
A new year brings new goals
There are dozens of issues Sammamish could tackle this year. Here are a few select ones we’d like to see accomplished in 2013.
Cable franchise review – Sammamish is set to renew its cable franchise agreement early this year. Gone are the days when the cable franchise meant simply which company will provide premium television to an area. Those cables now carry Internet and telephone conversations at the very least. Citizens consume media in countless new ways and are just as likely to wirelessly stream a show and binge-watch on a rainy weekend afternoon as they are to carve out 30 minutes during prime time. The City Council needs to pay attention to evolving media habits and be sure the franchise agreement reflects what’s best for citizens now. It might also consider opening up the franchise to allow more competition.
Marijuana ordinance – The city has plans to develop a marijuana ordinance by the end of the year. It needs to follow through with a set of final regulations and stop this limbo of “temporary” moratoria that have been in place for years.
Klahanie – Klahanie residents will vote in February about whether or not to join Issaquah. If they don’t, Sammamish leaders need to follow through on all the talk from the past year and find a way to annex the area.
Town Center – The council made a couple of changes to the Town Center regulations. It should resist the urge for wholesale change without an in-depth study (which frankly, the city doesn’t have the time for right now, owing to a state-mandated Comprehensive Plan review). Any eventual changes should keep goals realistic; Sammamish doesn’t have the daytime population to support much retail, particularly when the city is bookended by Redmond Town Center and the Issaquah highlands.
School partnerships – Issaquah schools used a windfall of state cash to bring in counselors from Swedish. Lake Washington schools partner with regional powerhouses like Microsoft for tech help. Both school districts seem to be, on a smaller scale, adopting the Sammamish model of contracting for services. They should look for opportunities to continue to do so. It allows them to provide needed services without adding to payroll dollars.
Arts opportunities – Last year the city’s arts commission sponsored reading of plays and a discussion with Chinese artists moderated by an expert university professor. The year before, it was All Sammamish Reads and an author discussion. The commission should continue these innovative programs that find ways to expand cultural opportunities on the plateau.
Transportation — Keep the toll off the Interstate 90 bridge and maintain funding for Metro bus routes to Issaquah, even if it means a higher gas tax.
February elections – The trio of school district levies in the Issaquah School District, and a pair of levies and a bond in the Lake Washington School District, are all up for a vote. The only good thing about the dismal turnout of voters in the November election is the easy assurance of getting enough voters to validate the school levy election. Let’s hope Sammamish voters get back on track and return their ballots in higher numbers in 2014.
State park priorities —Washington State Parks put out a call for proposals to enhance Lake Sammamish State Park and received three responses. They need to try again, seeking proposals for specific projects in the 2007 master plan that are waiting to be implemented. One should be for the RV, tent and yurt site, a sure boost in economic growth for both the park and city.
Future leaders — Sammamish is overdue to have its own leadership program. Start with a series of Citizen 101 classes for citizens to learn about their government, water issues, police department, school funding and volunteer opportunities. Informed citizens are tomorrow’s leaders — and Sammamish can never have too many leaders. Elections for the Legislature will be in November, let’s see some candidates from the plateau.