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The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
May 6, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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May 6, 2009
 

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A2 WEDNESDAY MAY 6 2009 THE ISSAQUAH PRESS City could cap campaign donations BY WARREN KAGARISE City Council candidates could be forced to dig deeper for donations if a new cap on campaign contri- butions is enacted. A proposal to impose a $500 limit on contributions to City Council and mayoral races went to the council for consideration May 4, after The Press' deadline. The spending cap includes cash and in- kind donations in the total. Supporters said the proposal could lessen the influence of money in city politics. Opponents decried the measure as unneces- sary regulation. The measure would add cam- paign fmance limits to the city code. Existing rules require candi- dates to hew to guidelines set by the King County Board of Ethics and the state Public Disclosure Commission. During a wide-ranging discus- sion about the bill at the April 28 Committee-of-the-Whole Council meeting, council members asked if the proposed cap would open or close elected positions to more res- idents. "Concerns have been raised about why we're even considering doing this, and I see it as preventa- tive medicine," Councilman Joshua Schaer said. A candidate is allowed to donate an unlimited amount to his or her campaign. The proposed law encourages candidates "to engage in fair play and respect the spirit of our community by not uti- lizing excessive amounts of self: funding during a campaign. Attempts to limit self-financing of campaigns have not survived legal ONTHEWEB Read updates as this story devel- ops at www.issaquahpress.com. challenges. Officials questioned whether the proposed contribution limits would limit the field to wealthy candi- dates who could rely on themselves for campaign cash. Councilwoman Eileen Barber spoke against the proposal. She said the bill would amount to addi- tional and unnecessary regulation. Barber said she could not recall any council votes that had been swayed by campaign contribu- tions. "I don't believe we've had any particular legislation in this city in which we've had undue influence and a vote changed yea or nay," she said. Barber cited several King County cities that rely on PDC guidelines for their elections. She spoke with officials in several cities about the Issaquah bill, and said other offi- cials did not believe additional reg- ulations were necessary. Councilman John Rittenhouse said the bill was modeled on a Seattle campaign finance ordi- nance. He said that few Washington cities imposed contri- bution limits, but he pointed to longtime federal contribution lim- its. "As odd as it may seem, you can get a contribution for a city race that s larger than you can get fi:om an individual for a contribution if you are running for president of the United States," he said. Contributions to federal candi- dates are capped at $2,400 per person, per election. The ordinance would be enforced by complaint -- like the way other city code violations are brought to attention and addressed. Because the city would not he responsible for enforce- ment, the measure would have lit- tle or no cost to the city, Rittenhouse said. "Concerns have been raised with respect to, I guess the phrase is, turning neighbor against neigh- bor," Schaer said. But he said the proposed process would not change the way com- plaints are filed. "This system really does nothing to change the mechanism by which complaints are generated, he said. If passed, the proposal could have an immediate impact for four council members whose seats are up for re-election this year. Seats held by Barber, Rittenhouse, Councilman David Kappler and Council President Maureen McCarry are open. Mayor Ava Frisinger is also up for re-elec- tion. The legislation also aimed to redefine "election cycle" as the period stretching from Jan. 1 of an election year to 14 days after a general election. Existing rules say an election cycle ends 14 days prior to the election. Council members said the word- ing change stemmed from King County's widespread switch to vote-by-mail elections. Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392- 6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquah- press, com. Fletcher FROM PAGE A1 representative. She worked to implement several pieces of legis- lation to improve education, like Initiative 728 and No Child Left Behind, and she chaired the Achievement Gap Task Force. Fletcher traveled throughout the state and nation on behalf of edu- cation initiatives. "She has an excellent way of engaging our representatives and our community in Issaquah," Board President Brian Deagle said. "It is going to take a lot to replace her, and we're not going to replace all she brings to the board with just the individual that fills her posi- tion. All of us on the board will have to step up and fill those." Fletcher's retirement from the board leaves the south-end district position open. That area encom- passes the Liberty High School attendance area, including Maywood Middle School and sur- rounding elementary schools. Magendanz will run for election, as he said he would during his appointment process in October. "I committed to running when I was applying for the position," he said. "The enthusiasm hasn't dimmed at all. I have only been energized by my experience on the board so far." Magendanz said he wants to ensure Issaquah's education sys- tem continues to meet the needs of children who will work in the 21st century, maintain accountability for the district's mission and ends, and exceed expectations through- out the state and nation. Magendanz represents the southeast part of the district, including the Issaquah Highlands, Preston, Mirrormont and Tiger Mountain areas. Issaquah School Board members serve four-year terms and are not paid for their work. Board mem- bers can apply for $50 reimburse- ments per meeting up to $4,800 each year, but they aren't school district employees. Each candidate must live within the boundaries of his or her director district to be eli- gible for election. If you think you might want to fill LEARN ABOUT SEEKING'IH[ JOB 7-8 p.m. May 11 Issaquah School District administration building 565 N.W. Holly St. See if you're eligible Go to www.issaquah, wednet edu/board/ elecUonO9.aspx for a general director district map. District offi- cials ask all applicants to check their address on the detailed map at the district administration Office. either position, board members and Issaquah Schools Superintendent Steve Rasmussen will be available to answer your questions at the administrative building May 11. Candidates must file for election the week of June 1-5. Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@iss- press.com. Comment on this story at www. issaquahpr ess. com. BY WARREN KAGARISE SCHOOL DISTRICT HONORED King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert presented a King County Green Globe award to Issaquah School District officials Keith Simmonds, director of facility services; John Macartney, a resource conservation manager; and Superintendent Steve Ras- mussen at an April 22 ceremony in downtown Seattle. The district was honored as an environmental leader for cutting energy use and taking other eco-friendiy measures. Renton City Council meets with Issaquah School Board BY CHANTELLE IUSEBRINK The Issaquah School Board and Renton City Council met April 27 to discuss events and upcoming projects, which affect both juris- dictions. It is the first time in several years the two entities have met, said Brian Deagle, Issaquah School Board president. "It is important, because the district spans so many municipal- ities. It is important to have rela- tionships with other governments in our boundaries," he said. "Government, whether that is the school district or cities, all serve the community," Councilman King Parker said. "It is important to understand the different issues that are in our common territories, so that we will be able to work together for a better understand- ing of our community and what our citizens need." Officials from both organiza- tions talked about their respective budgets and how they intend to weather hard times ahead, Deagle said. "There was nothing real meaty. It was a discussion about the budget, naturally, and really more of a get-together," Parker said." Officials also talked limitedly about potential future annexa- tions by the city of Renton in parts of the district that are now con- sidered unincorporated King County. However, specific time- lines or areas for annexation weren't discussed, Deagle said. "Right now, there is nothing spe- cial on the table in Renton, as there is in Issaquah and Sammamish with our construction. But if they annex more of the district into Renton, to have an established relationship will be better," he said. Both representatives said the meeting was successful and pro- ductive. HighMark building public hearing set for May 6 A public meeting is at 7 p.m. May 6 in the Council Chambers of Issaquah City Hall South,135 E. Sunset Way, for the proposed HighMark Building. The building will be a three- story medical office building at 1740 N.W. Maple St. The site is about 2.5 acres. Send your written comments to Jerry Lind, Issaquah Planning Department, P.O. Box 1307, Issaquah, WA 98027 or e-mailed to jerryl@ci.issaquah.wa.us. 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