Sammamish Forum April 2
April 2, 2014
The city has been processing the permit for the community center over the last few months. It will be a large project, at the top of slopes that drain to a wetland that provides important habitat and is the headwaters of Ebright Creek. Over many years, Friends of Pine Lake, an all volunteer non-profit organization established in 1998 with the mission to provide protections to the waters of the city as well as the biological resources that depend on them, has been highlighting the sensitivity of the area and has pushed for stronger, innovative storm water controls, first for City Hall, then for the library. This has led to underground parking, extensive pervious surfaces, and the library’s green roof and rain garden.
The community center will have some of the strictest storm water controls of any of the civic buildings, using integrated storm water management, including grey water re-use, bio-filtration in a planter between two areas of underground parking and a large area of reforestation. Once matured many years from now, it will also help slow down rain flows and provide more forest habitat in another portion of the Commons Park.
After reviewing all the materials and having met with staff, we asked to have them consider permanently protecting the lower portion of the site so as to preserve the forested slope. We were pleased that staff was receptive to the idea. The Parks Director and the City Manager worked to bring the idea for the Council’s consideration on their March 17 meeting. After thoughtful discussion the Council unanimously approved a motion to bring back a resolution to impose a permanent open space easement on the lower portion of the Community Center site.
We want to thank all involved for doing everything possible to minimize impacts from the community aquatic center to the associated wetlands and in particular to the headwaters of Ebright Creek.
Friends of Pine Lake
Oppose Lake Washington Bond
I have been a homeowner and property taxpayer in three different Eastside cities for the last 36 years. I vote in each election whether it’s local, state or national. But for the last decade I have voted against every single school related property tax increase item that has come before me, and obviously others are doing the same.
I never had children and simply got tired of paying for your children’s schools. Unlike gas taxes for roads, where pretty much everyone who is driving is paying their share, schools taxes are only paid by property owners. Renters may pay in an indirect way through their lease but not outright as homeowners do.
My feeling is the parents of children should pay their own way. When a child is born those parents begin paying tax to the school district in which they live. When a family moves, the family then transfers that tax payment to the school district to which they have moved. The more children you have, the more tax you pay. As each one of your children graduate from high school then that tax is removed. You pay regardless of your living situation as a renter, homeowner, home sharer or other. If you can prove that you cannot afford to pay the school tax in which you are responsible for, then it will be taken up before the district to make a decision. If your child is home schooled and you use no public school resources or he/she goes to a private school then revisions will be made to your tax assessment.
As more baby boomers have empty nests, the responsibility of the younger parents will become greater and more important. Seniors on fixed incomes are sometimes pushed out of the homes they raised their children in because of high property taxes, so eliminating school taxes would be very beneficial to them. I truly don’t believe the young advocates think the impact and fairness through when they are lobbying for more tax to pay for their child’s fancy football fields and overcrowded classrooms.
Support Lake Washington Bond
We have the power to avert a crisis in the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) by supporting the district’s smaller capital bond April 22. Overcrowding is already an issue; and with a projected increase of 4,000 new students over the next eight years, 180 new classrooms must be constructed. This second chance, smaller bond will address only the district’s most pressing needs. Failure of this bond to garner the 60 percent plus 1 majority required to pass, will affect all schools within the district.
Can our schools operate without additional capital? Absolutely, but I am unwilling to risk potential costs — busing children away from neighborhood schools, double shifting schools, and reducing all-day kindergarten. The district will redraw boundaries to spread overcrowded students across existing schools; no school is immune. Inadequate classroom space will force the use of portables, which make room for classes, but lack necessities such as restrooms. Should students spend a portion of their day waiting in line for the restroom?
Focus on the size of the February bond measure diverted attention from the district’s plight and left the misguided impression that residents within the district bear a heavy burden to support schools. LWSD is one of the largest school districts in the state; and even if the February bond had passed, along with both levies, homeowners in the district would have still paid less per $1,000 of assessed property value for schools than homeowners in neighboring school districts such as Issaquah and Northshore.
When we invest in our schools, we invest in our community. We are fortunate to live in a thriving community that attracts new families who care deeply about education. For many, the high quality of our schools justifies the high property values. If the condition of our schools deteriorates, we should expect a corresponding depreciation in housing value. What could provide a better return on investment than supporting quality schools?
Let’s continue to invest in our communities. Exercise your civic duty and vote ‘yes’ on LWSD’s April bond.