Sammamish Forum March 26
March 27, 2014
Help build new trails
Beginning April 1, we have a fantastic citywide and regional opportunity: Washington Trails Association will be leading volunteer work parties to build a new trail at Evans Creek Preserve.
This new trail will link the existing trails in Evans Creek Preserve to the Sahalee Way Lookout parking lot across from Northeast Sammamish Park and Timberline. When this trail link is completed, trail users will be able to access Evans Creek Preserve from Sammamish. Improvements to the parking lot are planned, and hopefully construction will start in May.
Two years ago, WTA volunteers built most of the initial trails at Evans Creek Preserve in just one summer. Quite a number of us from Sammamish, including council members, city workers, and friends and neighbors volunteered, alongside others from all over the Puget Sound region. More than 6,000 volunteer hours went into building the trails at Evans Creek. This network of trails is now a favorite place for hikers, families, and even toddlers who look for the iconic gnomes that park users hide along the trails.
Now WTA is back to lead volunteer trail crews almost every day in April to build our new trail. Our local STEM school has been working with WTA on planning the trail link layout, and youth work parties are already scheduled. But we need help from everyone in our community.
Please do your part to create an even better park at Evans Creek. You can sign up at http://www.wta.org/volunteer/trail-work-parties. It’s safe, fun, and rewarding. See you on the trail.
Member of Sammamish Parks Commission and WTA
Vote no on bond
I’d like to applaud the Lake Washington School District electorate for voting the $755 million bond down. Any proposal that called for demolition of facilities in light of a classroom shortage had no business being on the ballot. Rejecting it was the right thing to do — it sent a message to the administration and made them re-think their plan.
The primary reason I’m writing this letter is that I’d like to call attention to what that “rethinking” has entailed. Rather than focus energy on presenting a sensible bond to voters, Lake Washington has split the $755 million bond into two. Voters will face a $404 million bond in April 2014. This bond is the “new construction” part of the old bond. The school board is considering a second bond in 2018, consisting of the demolition portion of the February bond. It’s the same bond from February, but split over two different votes.
There is a specific reason why they punted demolitions to 2018. The district is among those spending taxpayer money on a lobbying campaign in Olympia. They seek to remove the 60 percent supermajority required to pass school bond measures.
This lobbying effort confounds me. I may be mistaken, but didn’t every other district on the Eastside have no trouble passing their bond with a 60 percent supermajority? Perhaps there was a reason why Lake Washington had trouble, and other districts did not.
Widespread opposition exists to tearing down schools. Instead of acknowledging that opposition, Lake Washington chose to spend money on lobbying. Lobbying that would strip protections afforded by the legislature to protect taxpayers. That money could have gone towards repairs and remodels of existing schools, but instead, it went to lobbyists.
Send a message: vote the bond down this April. It is clear to me that the administration hasn’t gotten the message that their behavior is the problem.
Tent City IV permanently in Sammamish?
The City Council and Planning Commission are currently deciding on the codes that will be in place for future homeless encampments coming into the city. We must remember that their stay here was not without incident. There were eight arrests at Tent City when it was here, including two arrests for possession and sale of meth and 30 calls made to the police including a call for rape in the camp. All of this was happening within feet of two preschools. There were only 45 residents in the camp while it was here. Anyone living in a neighborhood near any of our churches should be very concerned.
In light of the above, we must encourage the council to adopt the strictest codes possible. We need only to look to our neighbors for guidance. Mercer Island does not allow the camps to come within one-half mile of the same location in an 18-month period. Bellevue allows them to stay for 60 days and most of the other cities have a 90-day restriction. Most require that the camps be within one-quarter mile of public transportation.
Lawyers and advocates for the homeless population are currently pressuring the city council to adopt the most lenient codes possible. They do not want a 90-day limit. Some are advocating that the camps be here for up to a year at a time. And they do not want random, mandatory warrant and background checks.
If Sammamish adopts the most lenient codes in the region, then we are inviting homeless encampments to move in permanently. Why would they want to deal with stricter codes in the other cities when they can come here and easily stay for a year at a time?
Please write to the Planning Commission and urge them to adopt a 90-day maximum stay, an 18-month restriction from staying within one-half mile of the same location and mandatory random warrant and background checks (HEC@sammamish.us) And please contact your local church as well.