Executive race crucial to the Eastside: Huckabay
By JAKE LYNCH
Sammamish Reporter Editor
June 4, 2009 · 1:19 PM
As the residents of Issaquah and Sammamish begin weighing up the candidates for positions on their own city councils, at the same time another election race is unfolding that may have a great impact on the lives of Eastside residents.
With the resignation of King County Council Executive Ron Sims last month, jockeying has begun to fill one of the most influential posts in the state of Washington.
The executive is not a member of the King County Council, and is a separately elected official.
One of the executive's roles is to come up with a draft budget for the operation of city government, and he or she has veto power over ordinances passed by the council.
Though, as incorporated cities, the councils of Issaquah and Sammamish control much of the legislative and financial matters that concern residents here, the operation of the county council has the potential to have a profound affect on the operation of these cities.
At a recent meeting of the Sammamish Kiwanis, Sammamish councilwoman Kathy Huckabay expressed her concern that the political race to replace Sims as King County Executive was not being sufficiently reported on by local media, and should be a matter of great importance to citizens within the boundaries of Issaquah and Sammamish.
There are four men running for the position of King County Executive.
Two of them are incumbent King County Council members, Dow Constantine and Larry Phillips.
The other two are residents of the Eastside, state Representative Ross Hunter and state Senator Fred Jarrett.
"There has always been a difference in the 'flavor' of the officials from Seattle, compared to those outside the city," Huckabay said.
The Sammamish resident said that the King County Council had demonstrated a long history of financial mismanagement, and so she would be concerned should a councillor who had been involved in that process, as Constantine and Phillips were, be elected executive.
"The two candidates from Seattle have been on the council for many years," Huckabay said. "Everyone knows that the county has major issues, with finance, and with direction. They've been cutting services, and the councillors have been supporting this."
Huckabay said that the county's operation of public safety apparatus, such as the courts, police, and jails, and public health and public transportation, all directly impacted the cities of Issaquah and Sammamish.
"Many of the cities on the Eastside use contracting models," she said. "(King County) Sheriff Rahr's budget impacts the numbers of officers we get in our cities, and the salaries of those officers. The county is also in charge of many services that we don't necessarily see, such as stormwater and sewerage."
Huckabay spoke highly of the two candidates, particularly Mercer Island's Jarrett, praising his concern for the transit issues of the area, and his analysis of growth management in urban centers.
Huckabay also said that effective negotiations with the powerful trade and employment unions in the Seattle area was crucial to improving the financial position of the county, something that the county council had not done well in the past.
Ron Sim's former chief of staff Kurt Triplett was chosen last week to be the interim King County executive until the elections in November.
On Monday, June 1, a candidate forum was held at the Fauntleroy Community Church in West Seattle to describe their vision for the county and discuss key issues.Contact Sammamish Reporter Editor Jake Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org.