Sammamish Forum May 14

May 14, 2014

By Administrator

We can’t allow discrimination
Thank you Marilyn and Claudia for your letters in recent issues of the Review about discrimination based upon religious beliefs.
Since Marilyn elaborated on my earlier mention of the florist sued by Washington State on behalf of a gay couple, let me provide additional details to get us on common ground.
In 2013, the Attorney General sued Arlene’s Florist of Richland because the owner, Barronelle Stutzman, refused to supply flowers for the wedding of two gay men in spite of them being long-time customers.
She justified her discrimination using her religious beliefs saying “I could not [provide the flowers] because of my relationship with Jesus.”
Marilyn appears correct in that the owner was not anti-gay. She previously sold flowers to these two gay men with no apparent moral conflict and has two gay uncles whom she loves dearly.
The issue here, however, is not whether she is pro or anti-gay. It is that she denied a service to a gay couple that she routinely provided to heterosexual couples. In Washington State, this is against the law. The Attorney General was justified in filing suit.
A person is entitled to his or her religious beliefs and opinions and may feel justified in breaking the law to stand up for those convictions. But this same person should expect legal consequences for doing so. As Claudia points out in her letter, religious-based exceptions to anti-discrimination law would render it toothless as anyone could then claim a religious belief as their justification for a wide variety of discriminatory actions.
I understand how painful it may be for someone with honest convictions to have to choose between their sincerely held beliefs and the law, but in order to ensure America’s promise for everyone our laws cannot enshrine discrimination.
Businesses operate under civil law and I would hope that every business owner understands that this social and legal contract exists because it binds us together in spite of our differences. Exemptions that further divide us, such as the one we are discussing have no place in a fair and just society.

Michael J. O’Connell

war on dogs
The action by the Sammamish City Council May 6 (on a 6-1 vote) to further restrict dogs in parks is another example of attacking a “problem” that isn’t and another step in its war on dogs.
There is only one park in the city, Beaver Lake Park, that has an off-leash area, and this is a small, prison-like area that can be walked around in five minutes. This provides little exercise for dogs or owners.
Despite there being acres and acres of meadow at Evans Creek Preserve that are unused, the entire park has been declared an on-leash park. Despite the north meadow of Big Rock Park being perfect, and perfectly convenient, for dog play and chucking the ball, this, too, has been declared on-leash.
The city spent a half million dollars (!!!!) for two boat docks at Sammamish Landing. What’s a few thousand dollars to fence off the wetland at Big Rock Park and for signage here and at Evans Creek that says “Beyond this point dogs must be on leash?” (I would argue that Evans Creek trails are fine for off-leash dogs, but that’s a subject for another day.)
There are many more pressing issues than these nanny-state issues taken up by the city staff and council. Southeast 24th Street, from 200th Avenue to the East Lake Sammamish Parkway is an arterial and it’s dangerous, with blind curves, without shoulders, walking lanes and bike lanes. It’s been this way since before we became a city. No action.
The city is rushing headlong into annexing Klahanie at a cost of millions of dollars and potential neglect of pressing needs in our city. Streets are full of potholes. The county is “improving” the lake trail, causing more issues with residents in the process.
Where are the priorities?

Scott Hamilton

There are other options for people to earn more
There is local and national talk to adjust the minimum wage that businesses must pay. This appears just a way for politicians to garner votes — there are many more voting people wanting more, without working to earn more. This will increase the cost of doing business and cause the loss of jobs and failed businesses.
The U.S. Constitution does not control what each company must pay employees. When government controls the wages, then this country will become like Cuba. It seems that this is a socialistic trend, which is detrimental to the American free enterprise system.
If a person wants to earn more, then (1) get an education (2) work 120 percent and earn advancement in your current job (3) change jobs.

Ken Sessler

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7 Responses to “Sammamish Forum May 14”

  1. Frank Blau on May 16th, 2014 10:34 pm

    When dog owners can respect the laws we have and not treat EVERY park in our city like an off-leash park, and not treat every pond as their personal bathtub, I might have some interest in Scott Hamilton’s rantings about “wars on dogs”. But dog owners brought this on themselves by not having the inclination or will to police their OWN dogs in line with City Regulations which are in place for the good of all of us

    Until I see evidence that dog owners are capable respecting regulations already in place, I wholeheartedly support a much easier to enforce ban.

    Frank Blau

  2. Anon anon on May 21st, 2014 5:58 pm

    By Frank Blau’s logic, it makes sense to eliminate driving because some people break traffic rules. Let’s also prevent everyone from walking into banks because some people might rob them.

    Rather than making new laws, how about if the city enforces the ones already on the books? Instead, we added new ones that won’t be enforced either and are harassment to law-abiding citizens. We turned Sammamish into Snohomish or Coeur d’Alene, places I refuse to visit, with or without dogs because of some of their draconian dog rules. I hope responsible pet owners avoid Sammamish for the same reasons. I also hope responsible dog owning Sammamish citizens refuse to volunteer in our parks, because the parks are no longer for us.

  3. John Burg on May 29th, 2014 4:35 pm

    Scott Hamilton is correct and Sammamish Nanny Council is following the war on dogs that was started years ago when marymoor park fenced off all of the slough areas from dogs ecept for two areas where the put in large rocks which are dangerous to dogs and humans. And why, because the greenies claimed the dogs were harming the fish and waterfowl breeding grounds.. however, they fail to mention the asian folks on the slough harvesting the duck eggs with snorkels and built stonewalls to trap the fish… I saw this happen

    So our dogs cant be taken to any of our area lakes to swim because of the same sammamish city council of 5 people who
    Thwart the votes of the citizens with their laws.

    Time to vote the dinosaurs out of office and vote in citizen led initiatives into our govt

  4. Anonymous on May 31st, 2014 10:39 pm

    Funny Mr. Blau is so worried about dogs bathing in ponds but he doesn’t seem to care one lick about drug needles next to preschools, left by the same homeless people he whole-heartedly welcomes into the city. Clearly his priorities are in the right place.

  5. Frank Blau on June 2nd, 2014 11:09 am

    I’m not sure about the “needles in preschools” straw man. but I AM more concerned about the rights of religious organizations to provide services to the needy than I am about the rights of dogs to foul city parks, you are correct, brave anonymous commenter!

    Frank Blau

  6. Anonymous on June 4th, 2014 9:13 am

    You brought up dogs in ponds, Mr. Blau. I think it’s absolutely reasonable to bring up your “record” on another important quality-of-living issue in the city right now. Yes, churches should be allowed to fulfill their mission and serve the poor. They do not need to do it by housing a PROVEN risky homeless population next to private residences and preschools. There are other ways. Of course that’s a whole other topic.

    But yes, you are willing to stand up and fight for dog-free ponds and yet you ignore the far more significant danger of homeless people who may have been dealing and using meth next door to schools. In fact, according to what you said at the Planning Commission meeting, you would like to see Tent City here 8 months out of the year. I’m tired of hearing this argument that the TC4 residents are no more a danger to our community than the average home owner here. Absolutely false. All you have to do is look at the crime statistics. Sorry, but I see a very real problem with your priorities.

    It’s too bad your term isn’t up until 2018.

  7. Frank Blau on June 4th, 2014 4:32 pm

    We’d be happy to have your voice on the Planning Commission the next time there is an opening if you are interested in applying. Of course, you can’t be on it anonymously. This was the one of the very first issues that I took part in as a member of the Planning Commission, and I am proud of the work we did as a team, but I am certain there will be more lively debates to come as we tackle other issues.

    And just to clarify a point, according to Chief Elledge of the Sammamish Police Department, there were no needles found on the site of TC4 when it was hosted at Mary Queen of Peace. While there were some minor crimes at TC4, this is not atypical for the population of Sammamish (the Crime Blotter in the paper would show you that!).

    As a Planning Commissioner, I try to make my choices based on WA State Laws, the constitution, and sound data, not just who can shout the loudest or gather the most signatures. Planning Commissioners serve at the behest of City Council, and are not elected to our advisory role. The elected officials on City Council will be soliciting your input into this issue as well, before adopting regulations that are required to be in compliance with state law.

    But that being said, I am available anytime to talk to people about issues that come before the Planning Commission until 2018.

    As for dogs in ponds… that is not in the purview of anything that the Planning Commission has on its calendar anytime soon. My opinions about that, while well known here, are as a citizen of Sammamish and an environmentalist with an interest in protecting our parks and lakes.

    Thank You.

    Frank Blau

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