Friday, May 6, 2016

UPDATED: Redmond Performing Arts is in the dark ages

Last night, my wife and I decided on a date night to enjoy some live music. We had to drive all the way to Snoqualmie to find it.  As a 36-year resident watching Redmond's meteoric growth I find this appalling.  

We listened to an old friend Clint McCune play some awesome vibe!  Clint was once Chairman of the Arts Commission and now lives in Woodinville.  In 2008 he worked to deligently to recognize and attract performing arts.  Now eight years later, hardly anything has changed. There's a lot of hum in the city, but where's our heart and soul?  

Redmond is a city of over 45,000 residents and all that I know we have for permanent, full time performing arts is a small coffee shop that occasionally hosts musicians.  Just last week on RCTV, councilmember Stilin spoke of his frustration for not being on the map for a performing arts and cultural center. 

The city has a summer series, a poet laureate, an arts store in RTC, and the valuable Historical Society office with memorabilia and speaker's programs (now threatened by redevelopment.)  In the summer they rely heavily on the County for outdoor music. In the winter, fall, and spring we hibernate.   

For the last three years or so, the city's spent gobs of money and time evaluating elaborate consultant master plans but there's little to show for it -- other than interesting railroad installations in the linear park and the obscure "erratic".   

How can we spark art?  Most of us aren't Arts Commission "committee types."   The Planning Commission's "Historic Core"  study is underway.  Will Art be examined? Our Ed. Hill Assoc. could invite a commissioner for Q&A. Someone could start a "conversation" during the next Town Hall asking why Arts aren't a priority.  The city's got a lot on their plate.  It's time they stop analyzing costly, grandiose, bureaucratic art master plans.

Bob Yoder, opinion

Listen to Clint's music 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mayor Marchione gives "State of the City" address

The City of Redmond is not the same as how it was when Mayor John Marchione was growing up — or even from 5-10 years ago.
In 1970, Redmond was described as a "bedroom community," which Marchione said means people would commute to work outside of Redmond, returning at the end of the day.
"We have become a different city," Marchione said.
The mayor discussed how things have changed in Redmond during his State of the City address at a OneRedmond breakfast Tuesday morning.
One area where the city has changed is in its demographic makeup. Marchione said the city is about 35 percent people of color and "we blend our diversity." This means while people are different, they are welcoming of each other — different cultural groups hold festivals and events that are open to all to attend.

Marchione's speech was also interactive, with audience members taking surveys, using their smart phones to answer questions the mayor asked them.
One of those questions was about traffic in Redmond. Marchione asked whether people thought their travel times around the city are better, worse or the same as they have been in the last few years. The live results showed that most thought traffic is either the same or worse, but there was a small percentage who responded that traffic has improved.
Seeing the results, Marchione asked if some people were just being polite, admitting that even he wouldn't say traffic has improved in Redmond — even before Interstate 405 was tolled and people started to use side streets and back roads to avoid the tolls.
"Red-Wood Road gets the most complaints," he said.  
Marchione said one contributing factor for the city's traffic is its imbalance when it comes to the population and jobs — the latter surpassing the former, with about 84,000 jobs to the city's estimated population of about 59,000. He said once the two numbers are more equal, traffic should improve as there would be fewer people commuting in or out of Redmond to get to and from work.
For this to happen, there needs to be a variety of attractive jobs and companies where people want to work as well as housing for all price ranges so people can actually afford to live in the town where they work, Marchione said. He noted that each time he visits schools and meets with educators, teachers seem to be living further and further away from Redmond because they can't afford to live closer.
In addition to housing at all price ranges, Marchione noted the importance of having housing for all stages of life — from apartments and condos for young professionals, to single family homes, to senior living.  Read More >>
"We want you to stay," he said about residents.
But people need a reason to stay in town and Marchione said one way the city has been doing this has been through developing its urban centers in downtown and Overlake.
While much of the focus has been on downtown — with the completion of the Redmond Central Connector, the increase in multi-use buildings that have brought in residents and businesses alike as well as the soon-to-come Downtown Park and two-way conversions of Cleveland Street and Redmond Way — Marchione said there is also work being done in Overlake. The city recently completed the South Detention Vault and there is ongoing work at Esterra Park, the 3-million-square-foot project on the old Group Health Cooperative site.
"We don't give Overlake the attention it deserves sometimes," Marchione said.

He also discussed the importance of light rail coming to Redmond and stressed the importance of people voting in November to pass Sound Transit 3, a ballot measure that represents the next set of mass transit investments for the region, including the three-mile Redmond extension from the Overlake Transit Center into downtown.
The mayor also acknowledged some of the issues the city faces such as homelessness.
"It is a regional issue and there are many causes," Marchione said.
He discussed the community meeting the city hosted last year, the task force that was formed following the meeting as well as a few of the recommendations that group made to council.
Some of the lower-cost recommendations such as police officers on bicycles to patrol local trails and more communication and work between police and the library on enforcement have already been implemented, Marchione said.
While the city is doing what it can to support businesses and create a community where people want to live, work and play, Marchione said it is a group effort. He noted some of the efforts local businesses have already made such as DigiPen Institute Technology, pointing out that the popular multi-platinum video game "Guitar Hero" began as a DigiPen student's senior project. Marchione also acknowledged Aerojet Rocketdyne, the city's first aerospace business that helped put Redmond on the map — literally, as each rocket part that has gone from being built in Redmond to taking off into outer space has the city's zip code on it.
"When the Martians come, they're coming here because we gave them the address," Marchione said.

Make sure you get a permit before chopping down your trees

My family loves the greenery, majesty and aesthetics trees bring to Redmond.  The magnificent Douglas firs scattered all over my Education Hill neighborhood are an important reason why we moved here.  It wasn't just the good schools.  Despite their beauty, the hum of chain saws and stacks of wood piled up near driveways is common.

We've lived in our home 30 years and during that course had to remove 5 tall Douglas firs from our modest-sized property.  And my, do they grow.  Sadly, two of them were magnificent "Landmarks". All but one of the trees (it was healthy) were cut because they were "dangerous," as defined by the city permit.  They also covered our roof with debris, sucked up water killing our plants, and a few ruined our street appeal and re-landscaping plans.

I can't remember how I first heard of the city permit requirement.  The city doesn't advertise it.  I think an arborist told me.  Not all tree companies told me about the permit requirement but they sure did fill up my mailbox and knock on my door.  We had one neighbor chopping down 12 trees from their modest property in one week's time.

According to the city, removed trees should be replaced with up to three new trees. You can find more information about the tree-cutting permit on these two pages on the city website:  

http://www.redmond.gov/Residents/CodeEnforcement/TreeCutting  residential

http://www.redmond.gov/cms/one.aspx?pageId=136876  development

To plant trees in city parks go to the "GreenRedmond" web page:

http://forterra.org/subpage/green-redmond-partnership

Enjoy the green!

Bob Yoder

Friday, April 29, 2016

Review of the Mayor and Council's ViewPoint neighborhood Town Hall

I went to the last night's "Conversations" Town Hall featuring the Mayor and City Council. It was held in the ViewPoint neighborhood at Audubon Elementary. 

I arrived at 6PM for the "social" and had plenty of opportunities to visit with the council and mayor.   (I also found a long lost friend.)  I chatted with CM Hank Myers briefly and had a good talk with CM Angela Birney. She's thinking about holding a regular "Coffee Hour" in the city, just like CM Stilin and Myers do!

Erika Vandenbande, a Deputy City Administrator was there -- one of the few staff present.  During the social, she toured me around poster-boards showing what was going on in the city.  I told her how useful I've found the info@redmond.gov address for answering questions.

I sat next to Arne Tomac, a past Councilmember from years ago.  He was so excited about the Town Hall that he distributed flyers all over his neighborhood.  He said years ago, when he was in office there was no RCTV coverage so they relied on Town Forums.  Oh, has the news cycle changed!

The Mayor did a fantastic job running the meeting!  It was rewarding to see his personality, sense of humor and interest in our neighborhoods.  Same with the Council.  The Mayor did a great job engaging the residents with the Council.  Being so up close and personal with our elected was a treasure.

It looked like about 40-50 residents attended.  Some of the topics covered:  Lots of discussion on traffic, bus lines and mass transit.  How the city works with the school district and Microsoft. The Downtown Park, Microsoft's funding of city transportation projects. Improving Idlewood parking and the failed parks levy. Water seepage into homes from broken city water pipes. A camera near the schools.  The homeless problem.  The pervasiveness of heroin use....and on.

After the Q&A, council and neighbors spontaneously broke up into small groups.  To me, this signaled a very successful meeting.  I've been wanting these neighborhood meetings for years.  In fact, I campaigned for Steve Fields just on this one issue.  Mayor Marchione listens very well and proved last night he really cares about our neighborhoods. I hope to shake his hand during the May 23rd Town Hall.

Bob Yoder

Thursday, April 28, 2016

City of Redmond's assessment is our water continues to be safe

Tacoma residents express concern about lead in their drinking water, Fox News

Redmond, WA - In light of recent concerns over lead in regional drinking water, Redmond’s assessment is that our water continues to be safe to drink. Residents receive water from Seattle and through our aquifer supply wells. Recent tests have shown the City drinking water meets standards set by the EPA and the Department of Health.
“We are proud of the high-quality water provided to Redmond residents,” said Mayor John Marchione. “We regularly test our water to ensure it not only meets but exceeds standards set for safe drinking water.”
Since 1983, the City has treated our well water to minimize corrosion of lead and other. The City has participated in lead and copper sampling, collected at a resident’s tap, since 1992. This City’s water quality has successfully met or exceeded the drinking water standards since that time. We perform testing annually; the most recent sampling event was conducted in June of 2015.
Recent concerns regarding lead, in other cities, are related primarily to water service lines containing lead components installed before 1945. The City has been proactively evaluating the potential for any concerns related to higher than normal lead levels in its service areas due to the City of Tacoma’s recent discovery of this issue in homes built between 1900 and 1945 using galvanized pipes. Redmond’s water system serves very few homes built before 1945. However, the City is planning to review and perform additional samplings for any areas of the system with components in service and that are older than 1945. The City does not have any lead pipe “goosenecks” like those identified by the City of Tacoma as the likely source of increased lead levels.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sustainable Redmond features speaker on "in-stream habitat health"

The Annual Sunstainable Redmond meeting last Monday was very informative. Gary Smith, Trout Unlimited salmon advocate, WaterTender, and city parks commissioner reported on factors affecting and indicating in-stream habitat health.  His talk focused on the presence of salmon, birds and benthic invertebrates (bugs) as being environmental indicators.  Gary reported counts of juvenile Coho and Chinook salmon have decreased for two consecutive years and the spawning Chinook salmon in Bear and Cottage Creeks, combined, have decreased for three consecutive years.  He referenced to Micheal Hobb's research demonstrating river health clearly matters to birds. (Mr. Hobb's "Marymoor Park Sightings blog" is HERE.)  

Below, are Mr. Hobb's comments about the relationship between the behavior of birds and in-stream habitat health:
"River health clearly matters to birds.  The most obvious species that is effected by polluted water around here is the American Dipper, as they feed pretty much entirely on benthic invertebrates.  If dippers are breeding on a stream, you know the water is full of benthic invertebrates, and the water is clean.  Dippers poke around the rocks looking for things like stonefly larvae.  They are the coolest birds, being ordinary songbirds (dippers are closely related to wrens), that have learned how to swim and dive.  Read More >>

King County Elections report 66.40% Approval for the LWSD school bond

King County Elections published the first batch of results for the school bond measure and the news is fantastic!

66.40% - 22223 voters APPROVED the bond measure!  The per cent Approval won't budge much from here, but you can follow the results as more votes are counted until the results are certified on May 6.  You can pretty much count on the bond being a done deal for the school district and our community!

Bob Yoder

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Letter: Redmond tent encampment permit fees are too high

St. Jude has hosted a tent encampment every 2 to 2 1/ 2 years. This has been what the parish has thought that it could reasonably accommodate. When we have hosted, we have had to pay for a mailing done by the city to the surrounding community as well as put up a large sign and have a community meeting each time. What we have objected to substantial increase of fees over the years: $2600 last time around, when other municipalities have charged in the $400-$1000 range.

That is what we asked for relief from.... None was provided. We want to be good neighbors. We have always insisted on background checks and have had very little negative feedback from our hosting 5 times in nearly 10 years. We believe we have a Gospel responsibility to work to provide housing to the homeless and lift people out of poverty and help those in need. We as all want a permanent solution to this issue, but it require money and a commitment to providing social service to those in need and affordable housing. 

Blessings, Fr. Jim Johnson
St Jude Parish

Friday, April 22, 2016

EvergreenHealth 7 Hills of Kirkland Cycling to End Homelessness


This article is written by Rob Butcher in "Kirkland Views"
Every day is an uphill climb for someone struggling with homelessness. You can make a difference in our community by joining us in our annual EvergreenHealth 7 Hills of Kirkland Cycling to End Homelessness event on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 2016. Thanks to your 2016 sponsors: Evergreen Health, Master Builders Association, Explore Kirkland Tourism Bureau, Kirkland Kiwanis, Clif Bar, Flat Stick Pub, and Merit Homes.
Rider registration is open at http://7hillskirkland.org/ 
Whether you choose the traditional 7 Hill Route (approximately 40 miles), the popular Metric Century Route, or the challenging Century Route, you’ll enjoy a classic route with challenging climbs and beautiful scenery. Travel at your own pace through urban, suburban, and rural roads, on a holiday when cyclists seem to outnumber vehicles.
 Start the morning on the Kirkland waterfront, follow a well-marked course to great food stops, challenging ascents, and wonderful descents. Climb Winery Hill and be rejuvenated by the applause of your own cheering section and the lovely strains of a bagpiper.
 The traditional 7 Hills course is approximately 40 miles long with about 3,000 feet of climbing. It loops around Kirkland, going over the following hills:
• Market • Juanita • Seminary • Norway • Kingsgate • Winery • Rose •

UPDATED 5/4: Redmond Neighborhood Blog, aka "Redmond Blog" updates "About Us"


Bob Yoder, Editor and Writer
UPDATED:  5/4/2016

This text is partially obscured.  
Please go to the "About Us" header located at the top of the blog 
to read the unobstructed text.   

The Redmond Neighborhood Blog aka "Redmond Blog" investigates, advocates and publishes news and opinion on local governments, organizations and neighborhoods. Contact: redmondblog@gmail.com  

Dear visitors:  

The Idylwood and Education Hill neighborhoods of Redmond have been my home for over 36-years.  I've been living in the same house with my wife since we've been married -  a walk to Hartman Park and Trails, Perrigo Springs, Redmond Bike Park, Mann Elementary and Redmond Middle School and Redmond High School and six churches.  (Read my Profile.)

The focus of this blog is on our local governments and their communities.  I started reporting in 2006 to shed light on city land use public notice issues.  Much of my early reporting centers on Open Government.

In 2015 Redmond Blog took a change of direction and tone.  I'm getting closer to government officials and developing trust.  I'm attending meetings to participate, not just report. I endorsed the 2016 Lake Washington School District bond measure and advocated for it's passage. I'm investigating and reporting on Open Government to a lesser degree. 

I value and publish press releases. Primary sources for news and opinion are public meetings, chat and correspondence with elected officials, community leaders, citizens and social media. My investigative reports and opinion are at times distributed to media outlets and government officials.

A few early examples of actions taken by my investigative reporting:  

  • In 2008 Redmond Blog reported severe Bear Creek SR-520 flooding to State Representative Ross Hunter with photos and a video created by "WaterTender" Gary Smith.  According to Councilmembers Cole and McCormick this report helped pave the way for obtaining an $8 million state grant for re-locating Bear Creek away from the SR-520 widening project.     
  • In 2006, investigative reporting catalyzed hazardous waste clean-up, stormwater improvements and riparian upgrades in SE Redmond industries. Redmond Blog leveraged voice and engaged the community.  The State Department of Ecology, City of Redmond Code Officer, and numerous other regulatory agencies swept onto a All Wood Recycling to enforce the city aquifer protection ordinance.  
  • The city land use public comment period was extended from 2 weeks to 3 weeks.  Notice of Neighborhood meetings were required.    
  • In 2005, Redmond Blog raised community awareness of  "Perrigo Heights" plat encroachment onto Hartman woodlands, wetlands and the woodland trail connector. The city later purchased 3 acres to buffer the development from these sensitive areas.  
  • A native growth easement trail running from Perrigo Heights to Nike Park was identified.  A partial trail was developed.  The trail-head is adjacent to the steep slope sewer line.    
  • Salaries and bonuses of local government officials and employees are usually increased without transparency and meaningful public review.  Labor costs constitute the majority of  local government budgets.  Redmond Blog occasionally brings transparency to this challenge by searching public records for executive compensation.  
  • My coverage of  LWSD and Evergreen Hospital governments began in 2009.  Coincidentally, Evergreen's Brown Administration ended abruptly thereafter.  Evergreen and LWSD administrations wrote entirely new organizational charts.  Kudos to the school and hospital district for putting "the people" on the top of their organizational hierarchy.    
  • Changes were made to archaic administrative and policy code governing LWSD.
  • Faulty code regulating LWSD pet policy was changed giving owners more freedom to walk their dogs on school property. New signage was installed district-wide. 
  • Contradictory mission and vision statements were identified within the Chamber of Commerce. 
  • LWSD superintendent became an ex-Officio member of the Chamber and Redmond Economic Development Association.  Evergreen CEO Bob Malte started communications with LWSD.  
  • EvergreenHealth commissioner meeting Minutes are published on their website.
  • EvergreenHealth taxpayers received a $476,990 capital levy carry-over refund in 2012.  The hospital's first county Levy Charter was adopted.   
  • Disclaimers are published on all city email correspondence notifying the public that city emails are subject to public record requests. 
  • Redmond Blog leveraged the voice of environmental and community activist Susan Wilkins
  • The Mayor proclaimed  "Riparian" as the city's Habitat of Local Importance for Bear Creek and the Sammamish River.    
Redmond Blog is a hobby my approach to community service.  

Thank you for reading and and contributing to Redmond Neighborhood Blog and sharing it with your friends and acquaintances.  Your stories, news, letters, tips, and comments are always welcome and will usually be published. 
    
Cheers!

Bob Yoder
Redmond, WA.

Redmondblog@gmail.com
http://redmondblog.org

Twitter: @RedmondNeighbor    Facebook Fan Page:  Redmond Neighborhood Bloghttp://redmondblog.org/ ,  Subscribe by email

You are encouraged to comment below posts.  This blog platform has limitations for commenting.  I suggest "Education Hill in Redmond" and "Education Hill Neighborhood Association" Facebook Groups for lively conversation.  The Ed Hill Accoc. email is edhillna@outlook.com


Privacy Statement:    Facebook and Redmond Neighborhood Blog (RNB) comments may occasionally be posted on RNB.  If the commentator asks me to remove the post I will.  Readers are encouraged to include their name with they publish a comment.

Disclaimer:  Errors, omissions and mis-representations may occur from time to time. Not all content is verified or sourced.  Comments are moderated.

Journalism experience:  "Seattle Times News Partner" (2010, 2015-16),  "Bloggers We Love" feature for New York's "Outside-In" (2010). "City Watch"  Redmond Reporter columnist (2007).  "Journalism That Counts" seminars in Tacoma (Tacoma Tribune) / Seattle.  Student of Kovach and Rosenstiel's "The Elements of Journalism".

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Redmond City Councilmember Hank Myers to host a "Coffee Time" at Down Pour Coffee Bar

Steve Fields announced on social media yesterday that Redmond Councilmember Hank Myers will host a two hour "Coffee Time" at Down Pour Coffee Bar every 1st and 3rd Thursday afternoon from 2:30 to 4:30. 

Stop by and talk with Hank!  The first session is today April 21st. It is also Hanks Birthday!!  Down Pour is located at 13200 Old Redmond Road on the NE corner of 70th and 132nd (AKA: Old Redmond Road).

Steve Fields ran for Mayor, City of Redmond, in the 2015 election.  He is a co-owner of Down Pour.  

Bob Yoder

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

UPDATED: EvergreenHealth's Board of Commissioners Approve Resolution to Request Expansion of Board

Proposition to be Placed on August Ballot

EvergreenHealth’s Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to expand the King County Public Hospital District No. 2  (EvergreenHealth) board from five to seven commissioners last night at their regular public board meeting. The resolution requests that King County Elections places a proposition on the Aug. 2, 2016 election ballot to allow the registered voters in EvergreenHealth’s district to decide on the expansion.

As a public district health care system, EvergreenHealth is governed by a Board of Commissioners, each of whom is elected by the voters in the district to serve a six-year term. The Board provides governance and accountability for EvergreenHealth’s mission, vision and purpose, quality, service and overall effectiveness, through collaboration and counsel to the system’s CEO.

Since formation in November 1967, EvergreenHealth’s Board of Commissioners has been comprised of five members. In accordance with state regulation RCW 70.44.053, at any general or special election a public hospital district board of commissioners may, pursuant to resolution, submit to the voters of such district a proposition to increase the number of commissioners to seven.

As EvergreenHealth’s district continues to grow in size, diversity and complexity, the Board seeks to expand in order to broaden the viewpoint and representation in the community. Over the district’s 44-year history, the total population within its boundaries has grown from 22,000 to nearly 300,000 residents. Today, EvergreenHealth is one of the largest employers on the Eastside with gross revenues exceeding $1 billion and more than 4,000 employees, nearly 1,000 providers and 1,000 volunteers who care for nearly 600,000 people annually.

“Increasing the number of commissioners will help provide oversight within our ever-increasing, complex health care environment, with added expertise and a broad mix of skills and leadership styles among commissioners,” said Al DeYoung, chair of EvergreenHealth’s Board of Commissioners.

The Board currently has five commissioners: one from each of the three sub-districts and two at-large positions. Current members of the Board of Commissioners include: Al DeYoung, board chair (Bothell/Woodinville/Duvall); Jeanette Greenfield, secretary (at-large); Rebecca Hirt (Kirkland/Kenmore); R. August Kempf (Redmond/Sammamish) and Charles Pilcher, M.D. (at-large).

To learn more about EvergreenHealth’s proposed Board expansion, visit www.evergreenhealth.com/board-expansion.

RAMIRO VALDERRAMA ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN FOR STATE HOUSE

Sammamish Deputy Mayor Ramiro Valderrama announced today that he is running for the 45th District House of Representatives, Position 1.

Watch a video clip of Ramiro

Valderrama cites his top campaign issues as reforming education, improving transportation both on I-405 and regionally, balancing growth with environmental stewardship, expanding economic opportunity, and fiscal responsibility.

During his first term on the Sammamish City Council, Valderrama established a record of fiscal conservatism, challenged the status quo and was instrumental in implementing a city government model that values participation of the citizens and advocates on their behalf. He was reelected in November with 83% of the vote.

In addition to his leadership in Sammamish, Valderrama also serves as Vice Chair of the Regional Law, Justice and Public Safety Committee, and is a Board Member of Regional East Side Fire and Rescue. “The families of this district need new leadership that listens and works on their behalf. Our current representative has disregarded citizens’ voices on a range of key issues.

Whether it’s improving transportation, giving disadvantaged kids school choices or demanding accountability from state government, he’s been on the wrong side every time.” said Valderrama. “I have a proven record of listening and getting results for those I represent and I will do the same in Olympia.”

Valderrama is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and has a Masters from George Washington University. He serves as an advisor to the LWSD STEM startup, Chair of the International Services Committee for the Sammamish Rotary, and a founder of Citizens for Sammamish. He has over 25 years of international and domestic experience working with government and Fortune 100 technology and management consulting firms. Ramiro and his wife Sherie have been married for 29 years. They have four children: Carla, Natalia, Daniel and Michael.

More information is available at VoteValderrama.com. 

Lake Washington Foundation Inaugural Breakfast Fundraiser April 27

April 27th Inaugural Breakfast to benefit the Lake Washington Schools Foundation.
7:00am to 8:30am
Marriott, Redmond Town Center 
Keynote Speaker:  Sigi Schmid, Head Coach, Seattle Sounders FC
Hear inspiring stories from students and staff, learn about the District and Foundation partnership and discover why community support is the best way to ensure all students recieve the 21st century education they need to succeed in school, the global workplace and life.  
$150 suggested minimum donation
Reserve your seat today:  www.lwsf.org / 425-936-1414

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

One week left until the April 26 special election on the Proposition 1 school bond measure -- Vote "yes"!


Endorsements for Prop. 1 continue to build; more than 16,000 votes have been turned in

Ballots are due one week from today -- April 26 -- in Lake Washington School District’s Prop. 1 measure, which would help ease overcrowding while keeping the tax rate stable.

This week drivers in Redmond, Kirkland and Sammamish will continue to see teachers, parents, students and school supporters waving signs during the morning and afternoon commutes. Volunteers are also going door-to-door to talk to voters about the importance of the bond for students and schools. After failing to reach the needed 60 percent vote twice in 2014, supporters are rallying to urge voters to approve the measure this spring.

“This vote is so important for our students,” said Eric Campbell, a Lake Washington School District parent who served on the district’s 63-member long-term facilities task force. “We looked at the solutions needed to address overcrowding while not raising the tax rate. I’m really proud of the work of our task force. Prop.1 will add enough classroom space for 3,000 more students and help address overcrowding.”

Lake Washington School District is one of the fastest growing in the state, growing from the sixth to the fourth largest in the past year. The district saw an increase of 1,114 students in just one year. That’s growth of 34 new classrooms in one year.

The number of people who endorse the bond continues to grow. Legislators, mayors, PTAs, Chambers of Commerce and the Seattle Times editorial board all urge Lake Washington School District residents to vote YES on Prop. 1. For a full list of endorsements, visithttp://vote4lwsdkids.org/endorsements/

So far, 16,290 ballots have been returned as of Monday, out of 109,561 possible registered voters, according to King County Elections.

If approved, the bond will:

·        Build two new elementary schools
·        Build a new middle school
·        Rebuild and enlarge Juanita High School
·        Replace and enlarge both Mead Elementary here and Kirk Elementary in Kirkland
·        Renovate the Old Redmond School House
·        Generally reduce our use of portables
·        All without raising our tax rate
  
For more details on the April 26 bond, visit: www.vote4lwsdkids.org

King County Town Hall at Evergreen Middle School May 18, 6pm -- Emergency Preparedness tips -- briefing on road potholes

There will be a county town hall May 18 beginning at 6 PM at Evergreen Middle School. Emergency preparedness for the county will be there with tips and ideas, there will be a info briefing on roads in the unincorporated county AKA potholes and time for all the Council to listen to Citizen input! Hope you can join in!

Kathy Lambert, King County Councilmember
FB

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mayor and City Council holds Town Hall in the neighborhood April 28

Redmond, WA – On April 28, 2016, City Council will launch a new series of neighborhood conversations. These forums are a casual and convenient way for residents to interact with their elected officials. Each meeting will be held in a different neighborhood venue, and the meetings will be open for residents to direct the topics—whether it’s a neighborhood issue or the vision for the City. 

“We are looking for new ways to engage with the community. We see the Neighborhood Conversation forums as a casual and convenient way for residents and Council to connect,” said Redmond City Council President Hank Margeson. 

The first forum will be held in the school gymnasium at Audubon Elementary in the Idylwood neighborhood. Community members can connect with their neighbors and elected officials, learn about City projects, and discuss issues that are important to them. The meeting will last from 6:30–7:30 pm. Council will answer questions, discuss current projects in the neighborhood, and listen to ideas and thoughts from the community. 

For more information on this forum and future Neighborhood Conversations, please visit www.redmond.gov/conversations. Each meeting will be “kid-friendly” and light snacks will be provided. 

LETTER: Redmond Central Connector is an important addition to Redmond's trail network

Redmond Central Connector: An Important Addition to Redmond’s Trail Network
The Redmond Central Connector (RCC) trail is a rail trail. A rail trail is the conversion of a disused railway into a multi-use path, typically for walking, cycling and sometimes horse riding [Wikipedia].  
The City of Redmond purchased the BNSF railroad right of way in Redmond in 2010 specifically to create a rail trail. Design of Phase II of the RCC is complete and construction will begin this summer.
While the RCC will enable easier, safer, faster pedestrian and bike access to Digipen and tech companies along Willows Road, that was never the main intention.
Rather, the RCC was envisioned as several things: First, it is a beautiful (and popular) linear park in downtown Redmond. Second, it is a means for cyclists to bypass Redmond Way and Cleveland Street to travel through Redmond from north to south (and vice-versa). And third, the RCC is an important component and connector in the Puget Sound regional trail network.
To the south, the RCC will connect directly with the East Lake Sammamish Trail and enable non-motorized travel to Sammamish, Issaquah and beyond. To the north and west, the RCC will connect to the Cross Kirkland Connector and the Eastside Rail Corridor. In the near future, one will be able to cycle by trail to Kirkland, Bellevue and Renton. Additionally, Snohomish County has purchased BNSF right-of-way and plans to develop a trail from Woodinville to Snohomish.
Traffic is an unavoidable part of life in our region. Trails enable people to walk and bike more safely – and remove cars from roads. In an ideal world, trails would be designed with no traffic intersections. Sadly, we do not live in an ideal world. Fortunately, trail intersections can be improved with signage and warning mechanisms for both trail users and vehicle operators.
There are plenty of examples of trail users and traffic coexisting peacefully. The Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle has many intersections as does the Sammamish River Trail in Bothell and Kenmore. The East Lake Sammamish Trail has a number of intersections including an entrance to busy Lake Sammamish State Park. The relatively new Cross Kirkland Connector follows the old BNSF railbed as well, with a number of street crossings.
The Sammamish River Trail – a multi-use recreational trail where bicyclists, dogwalkers, kids, and commuters all coexist – is owned and maintained by King County. Yes it does get delightfully crowded on sunny days.  A faster, less crowded alternative trail will be welcomed by many even if it is not as scenic.
Still concerned about safety issues and traffic near the RCC? Simple solution: Use the Sammamish River Trail. I’m looking forward to biking the second phase of the RCC when it opens in late 2016!
I’m not speaking for anyone but myself; however, I have served on the Redmond Parks and Trails Commission for six years, including a year as Chairperson. Anyone is welcome to attend our Commission meetings to express his/her concerns, ideas, and questions.  We meet first Thursday of every month, 6:30 pm at Redmond City Hall.
Tom Sanko

Friday, April 15, 2016

Letter: Panhandling should be treated like a business and be regulated

I think the rules that Tacoma have on panhandling are very reasonable; they typically do not arrest or fine they just use the rules as a tool. In Redmond, if a panhandler were to stand next to an ATM and a RPD officer were to tell him to move, the panhandler could legally tell him no. Only the property owner could tell the RPD to make him leave. I look at panhandling as a business and there is no reason why it should not be regulated like any other business.

Al Rosenthal

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Why I have decided to vote "yes" for the school bond

As 33-year Ed Hill residents living on a fixed income, my wife and I had a hard time stomaching the 2014 one billion dollar combined school bond measures -- even if it meant our house would increase in value and our daughter attended K-12.  We were very concerned about our property taxes going up and the district's record of building award-winning posh schools.  Of course our schools were seriously overcrowded in 2014. Today, overcrowding has reached crisis levels.      
When Superintendent Pierce announced the $398 million April 2016 bond measure we could digest it and our concerns about property taxes and expensive schools were answered, as follows:  1) The measure will maintain 2015 tax rates, 2) Seven principles for designing practical, cost effective schools will be implemented.  And yes, the severe overcrowding will be tackled by building three new schools with increased capacity AND rebuilds/enlargements at Juanita HS, Mead, and Kirkland Elementary all for the price of $398 million. 
Eric Campbell -- a Kirkland parent and developer -- described the District's 7 principles for building practical, cost effective schools at a recent Education Hill neighborhood meeting.  Some of the highlights:  1) the district will save money by eliminating or minimizing 1-story designs, 2) aesthetics will be pleasing but not based on Award-winning architectural designs. and 3) buildings will be designed in a more compact manner i.e box/cube.  New schools will be cost-effective and practical while providing teachers and students the space they need to learn and thrive!
If you need motivation this April, the measure calls for a new elementary school in North Redmond that is expected to reduce morning and dismissal traffic congestion on 166th Avenue (since many of the Rockwell students will go to the new school.)  Also, if the proposed Middle School on Redmond Ridge is built, some traffic mitigation is likely on the Avondale corridor. 
Please vote "yes" for the April 2016 Bond measure!

Bob Yoder

UPDATED: Council decides on the homeless tent encampment ordinance, side-steps Planning Commission recommendations

My wife and I went to Redmond Council's April 12 study session on the homeless tent-encampment ordinance. In response to public outcry, the Council decided that for each encampment permit:  the hosting churches (St. Jude and RedWood Family) would be allowed only three 120 day stays, for a time uncertain, with 365 days between stays. They decided to keep the permit fee at $2,846.36 amortized over the length of the permit.  Council basically rejected the Planning Commission's far-reaching encampment recommendations and decided to support the Planning Department's Technical Committee.

A public Hearing is planned in the future so Council can review:  1) background checks for neighborhood safety and 2) improved service provider access to the camps to help the vulnerable homeless residents achieve independence.      

Council decided 4-3 (Birney, Myers, Shutz) to limit permitted stays at each hosting church to 120 days to ensure Education Hill not be burdened with year-round encampments.  It was noted by Councilmember Shutz the decision not to approve 180 day stays could affect "stability" at the camps.

In so many words, Councilmmember Stilin was concerned if the encampment permit was restricted to a five year term the hosting churches may feel pressured to hold encampments more frequently and the church congregations could burn out.  Councilmember Birney indicated a 5-year permit could attract organizers to Redmond's hosting churches.  No decision was made on the term of the permit;  Stilin asked staff for a recommendation.  

Council decided to keep the amended temporary-use permit as "Permit Type 1."  Type 1 permits are "legislative" with more restrictions on public noticing than other Land Use Permit Types -- and so can lead to unintended consequences as it did here.  For example, the city wasn't required to mail encampment notice letters to residents living within 1,000 feet of the host churches. Council relied on social media for noticing.  Letters weren't sent to the Redmond Reporter. The word on the proposed ordinance didn't spread.  Years from now if St. Jude or RedWood Church request a permit will the public will be in the dark again?   

Bob Yoder, opinion





 
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