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The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
June 3, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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June 3, 2009
 

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THE ISSAQUAH PRESS WEDNESDAY~ JUNE 3, 2009 * A5 BY WARREN KAGARISE New city campaign finance rules went into effect June 1 -- just as candidates began filing to run for mayor and four City Council seats. With the start or campaign sea- son two weeks away, the City Council voted May 18 to limit cam- paign contributions to $500 fl:om a single party. The cap includes both cash and in-kind donations in the total. The legislation sets the first city campaign finance rules for Issaquah. Council members ended months of debate about the measure with their decision Before the 5-1 vote, Councilman Joshua Schaer noted the importance of dollars for can- didates seeking office. He said fewer hurdles exist for candidates flush with campaign cash. "Reaching voters is very impor- tant," he said. "You can send out more mailers, you can put up more signs -- though I wish people wouldn't -- and you can do a lot more things with money in the bank." Proponents said they hoped the limit would broaden the ranks of people seeking public office. "We all have to reach the same number of people, and I think this helps level the playing field," Council President Maureen McCarry said. Councilwoman Eileen Barber, who cast the dissenting vote, said the bill amounted to excessive and unnecessary regulation. As council members considered the bill dur- ing the last several weeks, she raised questions about creating additional regulations. Barber out- lined her concerns during the debate before the vote. "I want to once again express my concerns about implementing excess regulation, in my opinion, as a preventative measure," she said. "We've not outlined any iden- ttfiable concerns or problems that we've had by any member of this particular council or previous councils in regards to campaign contributions." Schaer said the campaign finance bill was one of the most divisive issues he had encountered as a council member -- at least provisions were not a good fit. "I believe it's worth a shot and I'll be supporting it," he said. Councilman John Rittenhouse, the main proponent of the legisla- tion, did not attend the meeting due to illness. Councilman Fred Butler said he did not receive any e-mall from constituents about the finance bill. "I'm amazed at the amount of time and effort that has gone into this also, addressing a non prob- lem," he said. As the bill wended through committee meetings, council members also weighed the influ- ence of money from advocacy and political groups on municipal races. During the 2005 election, the King County Republican Party donated heavily to City Council candidates -- including Barber -- though the council posts are non- partisan. Proponents also noted how donors could contribute more to a among his colleagues, council candidate than they could "S.urprisingly, for being this divi- give to a presidential candidate. slve m my mind, we've had very Federal campaign donations are minimal public feedback," he said. capped at $2,400. Though Schaer voted in favor of The bill added language to the the measure, he said he shared city code about the cap and some of Barber's reservations enforcement against violations. about the bill. He said officials The new ordinance will be could later tweak the ordinance if enforced by complaint in a way PROM PAGE A1 Police said punishment for juve- niles would be weighed based on the age of the offender and his or her level of involvement. Ayers said his officers would not tolerate underage drinking. "As the school year winds down, and graduation parties begin, we unfortunately see an increase in underage drinking parties, he said. Our goal is to avoid tragedies, such as drunken driving accidents or alcohol poi- soning, from ever occurring in our community." WHO IS ALLOWED TO DRINK? WHAT HAPPENS IF State law limits the sale and con- sumption of alcohol to people 21 YOU GL:T CAUGHT?. and older. Minors are breaking the ~ An underage drinker 18 or older law if they possess, consume or faces misdemeanor charges punish- acquire alcohol, able by up to a $1,000 fine and a Minors are also breaking the law 90-day jail term. A first-time juvenile if they are in a public place - or are offender could have his or her dd- inside a vehicle in a public place - ver's license revoked for up to a and exhibiting the effects of having year or until he or she turns 17, consumed alcohol. A minor can be whichever period is longer. Stronger found in violation of the law if his or license penalties exist for repeat her breath smells of alcohol, for offenders. instance. Under state law, a person who State law prohibits adults from supplies minors with alcohol faces giving alcohol to minors unless the gross misdemeanor charges punish- alcohol is given to the minor by a able by up to a $5,000 fine and a parent or guardian and then con- one-year jail term. Exemptions exist surned in the presence of a parent for alcohol purchased by a parent or or guardian. The law includes guardian and then consumed by the exemptions for consumption related minor in the presence of a parent or to religious or medical purposes, guardian. similar to how other city code violations are brought to atten- tion and addressed. City Code Compliance Officer Michele Forkner will be responsible for responding to complaints. Candidates in past elections were required to follow guide- lines set by the King County Board of Ethics and the state Public Disclosure Commission. Seats held by Barber, McCarry, Rittenhouse and Councilman David Kappler are open in the coming election. Barber and McCarry have announced their intention to seek re-election. Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392- 6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress, com. PROM PAGE A1 required to live or work in King County for at least a year. Habitat homeowners are cho- sen based on their need and ability to pay the mortgage. Habitat homes are sold at cost -- about $100,000. Homeowners repay no-interest loans. Habitat retains owner- ship of the land. Since the local Habitat affili- ate was founded in 1988, volun- teers have built 86 homes across the Eastside. The development agreement between the city and Port Blakely mandates at least 30 percent affordable housing in the highlands. In turn, afford- able housing units are required to meet architectural guidelines for the highlands. Granger credited the city and Port Blakely for taking steps to address the lack of affordable housing. He said Habitat works alongside communities to con- front the challenge. In addition, the Habitat hous- es will be constructed to Built Green standards set by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. The standards include bench- marks for water quality and conservation, energy efficiency and indoor air quality. The proj- ect will be built with materials that aim to limit the impact on the environment. The houses will also be built to the Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard, a set of eco-friendly criteria set by the state. Homes will be outfitted with Energy Star appliances. Energy Star is a joint program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy that promotes house- hold products that require less energy to operate. Granger said his organization hopes to educate people about hgreen building practices, and ow they can be cost effective. "If we can really demon- strate our ability to do that in affordable housing," then green building can set an example for other homebuild- ing projects, Granger said. He said the practices were cost effective because savings relat- ed to energy and water conser- vation offset additional upfront costs. Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@iss- press.com. Comment on this story at www. issaquahpr ess. com. PUBLIC MEETINGS June 3 Development Commission Agenda: HighMark Office Building findings of fact, Longs Plaza com- munity conference 7-9 p.m. Council Chambers, City Hall South 135 E. Sunset Way June 4 Cemetery Board 6:30-8 p.m. Coho Room, City Hall 130 E. Sunset Way June 8 Arts Commission 6:30-8 p.m. Coho Room, City Hall 130 E. Sunset Way June 9 Sister Cities Commission 6:30 p.m. Eagle Room, City Hall 130 E. Sunset Way PROM PAGE A4 ter heaters. These are really 'tank- less' water heaters. These heat water only as it is needed without a tank." So, if you enjoy receiving our paper, check out the Web site. Let us know what you think. I believe it only makes us a stronger publi- cation that will keep attracting new readers. Reach Reporter David Hayes at 392-6434, ext. 237, or dhayes@isspress.com. Comment on this column at www.issaquahpress.corn. Discuss plans to replace May Creek Bridge Bring questions about the May Creek Bridge to a King County Road Services Division drop-in open house June 11. The county is set to replace the bridge next summer. The bridge is located on Southeast May Valley Road just east of state Route 900. Timber supports beneath the roadway are decaying. A replacement bridge would meet current safety standards with a wider roadway and improved sight- lines. The open house is from 5:30- 7:30 p.m. at Briarwood Elementary School, 17020 S.E. 134th St., Renton. Contact Barbara de Michele at 206-263- 3792 or barbara.demichele@king- county.gov to learn more. f % Saton Ooututa .... 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