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May 27, 2007

Comments

ex-Kangaroo

So as an 'unincorporated' member of your blog, does that mean you want us to unsubscribe? Does that also mean you want us to stop spending money in "your" stores, donating our money to "your" local causes, eating at "your" restaurants, stop attending "your" city sponsored events and supporting "your" community efforts with our money to improve the city? Hmmm. I live on the exact cut-off line next to Juanita Park. I was really excited to be a recognized resident of the city so I could finally participate in the city government and vote on the initiatives which ultimately impact my family and people in this area. I wanted to be able to make a difference. I have volunteered at several Kirkland events over the years, attended parades and events with my kids. I grew up in Kirkland--went to Kirkland Jr. High and Lake Washington High School. I have been proud to call Kirkland my home, until now. I can't help but wonder if the addresses being annexed just aren't rich enough for your blood. I live on the water, does that help? The simple fact of the matter is that all of us in the PAA have been actively part of the Kirkland community, many of us our whole lives--supporting the local businesses & events, supporting and volunteering at the library's, pools, parks, Community Centers & classes (for which we pay non-resident fees), yet pay higher taxes, don't receive assistance from Kirkland Police & Fire and are unable to participate in the City Council. I think we all know what's behind the opposition, in spite of the scare tactics being used--acting like the jail will be in the middle of your neighborhoods, referring to Kirkland as the future "Kent". You don't want to see less than perfect neighboorhoods on your map or homes under a million encroaching on your demographic value. I have to say, this ridiculous opposition has left a bad taste in my mouth about a place I've called home for 30+ years. It also perpetuates the image that non-Eastsiders have of Kirkland--a sterotype which I have been defending for many years. Well, you are proving me wrong. Thanks for letting me borrow your Kirkland address for all these years. I think I'll move to Seattle.

David

ex-Kangaroo, you still haven't given a reason as to why the annexation itself would benefit the city of Kirkland. Sure, it's better for you, but it's not better for Kirkland residents. It would cost much more money and be more of a burden on the city. I'm glad that you feel such an association with Kirkland, but that isn't reason enough for me, as a Kirkland resident, to support the annexation.

current-Kangaroo

Wow!
Talk about someone with an attitude. I feel genuinely sorry for the person who posted as "ex-Kangaroo". You ascribe so many vitriolic motives toward people who merely want their town to stay small. People may not want to become a large city (like Kent). People may not want their taxes to rise. People may not want a jail. People may not want all of the problems of big cities and the attitudes that the previous poster seems to harbor for anyone who doesn't have her view. Lose the 'Diversity is good, but only if you agree with me!' attitude.
I'm sorry, but I will NOT apologize for loving the town I grew up in and still support - Go Kangs!
Don't spit your anger at those of us who want our city council to represent our wishes.
You seem to have a problem: you aparently spend a bunch of time and money in Kirkland and it is full of mean ugly people you don't seem much like! Wow. Perhaps you should move far away from this evil you have on your boarder and spend your time and money there. You attack people who have a differing view. DO NOT chastize me for wanting to protect that which we have worked hard all our lives. And DO NOT give me this class warefare million dollar elitism crap. It doesn't work on anyone with common sense.
Kirkland is a fantastic place to live. You, my friend are an angry and misguided person. Not everyone in the PAA agrees with you and I don't blame them!

MikeD

Janis also pointed out that there are concerns about changes that would happen in the PAA too - especially the loss of the rural feel. The idea of a 'park' to Kirkland (landscaping, paved trails, maintenence crews that cost, etc) isn't the same as for the people who live up in the forest and would prefer to leave things a little more wild.
It would be nice if there were a middle-ground where this region of King County could get the services they feel they lack, without taking on the overly groomed rules and regulations of a city.

Piper Scott

Like ex-Kangeroo, I too live in unincorporated King County in one of the proposed annexation areas (PAA). Unlike ex-Kang, however, I was and will forever be an Inglemoor Viking (blue ribbon class of '68), and also unlike ex-Kang (we creamed 'em in football every time we played 'em) I have absolutely zero desire to be annexed into Kirkland.

Call me crazy, but call me free. As wretched as the administration of County Executive Ron Sims has been to us uninc's, from what I've seen of Kirkland city government becoming a serf to their lordships down at city hall would be worse...WAY worse.

The Kirkland City Council is an assortment of dilettantes who spend more time congratulating themselves for their civic virture as they preside over the morphing of a bedroom community that once was home to middle class families with kids to a haven for the uber-rich in their mega-mansions with nary a toddler or wee winker in sight.

While my in-person experience with the council is limited to a couple issues, what I've seen tells me that I'm not going to like what I see across the board. And that goes double for most members of the planning commission.

As an example...during deliberations over the breathtakingly draconian tree canopy ordinance, members of the planning commission were observed to admit not understanding the implications of what they were doing so they threw their hands in their air saying collectively, "Oh, well...let's just pass the thing and see if it works. If there are problems, we can fix them later."

Both my heart and my stomach sank as I witnessed the worst of government at work. Who was it who said (and I paraphrase) that no man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the Kirkland City Council or Kirkland Planning Commission are in session.

Perhaps there are some who see Kirkland as the be all and end all, but I am not among them. Yet I recognize the need to affix myself and my neighbors to a municipal government somewhere. But what chucklehead said that it has to be Kirkland??? I can toss a rock from my back deck into Bothell, and Woodinville is just over the hill. I'm in the Northshore School District, the Woodinville Fire District, the First King County Council District, and the First Congressional District.

Aside from a 98034 Zip Code, what do Kirkland and I have in common?

And there are more reasons - political, economic, and societal -that typify Kirkland and repel me. But I think I'll save those for another post.

Suffice to say, this PAA peasant ain't about to be sold down the river by the evil Simon Legree of King County Politics, Ron Sims, to his even more evil twin Skippy Legree characterized by Kirkland city government without one hellatious fight.

Anyone care to join me?

The Piper

Jason

If you live in Kirkland you know we have our problems and are doing all we can to keep up with the current pace of growth, never mind annexing 33K more people.

I agree w/ Current Kang's posting above: I won't apologize for protecting my interests and wanting Kirkland to remain small.

Sorry to make you feel like an outcast, nothing personal, but the extra 33K citizens bring a lot of burden and no benefit to those already in Kirkland proper.

Carla

I am proud of you Janis!! Your love for your community comes shining through, not only in this blog, but in how you talk about Kirkland to us East Coasters. Keep your voice loud and strong! You represent the voice of many that may not choose to have a voice.

Steve

Seems odd and backwards that the residents of Kirkland never get to vote on this. I am curious why you would only let the PAA folks vote and not the tax paying residents of Kirkland?

Rob

Janis,

I would like to take this opportunity to dispel an untrue rumor floating around Kirkland. The rumor, as it was told to me, is that SaveKirkland.com is being funded by the card room/casino. This is patently false. It is untrue. We have not received funding from the casino (nor anyone else for that matter) and everything we have done so far has been through our own resources and through the efforts of spectacular volunteers.
What is most disquieting about this rumor is it's nature. Apparently, there are individuals on the other side of this issue who choose to attack us and our organization rather than refute our arguments. This attempt to taint us with this rumor will not succeed because we have the facts on our side. If they had an argument, then they would present it in the arena of ideas. They do not, and they have instead chosen to use dirty politics.
We will continue our campaign to educate the citizens of Kirkland in an effort shed light on the ramifications of annexation as we see them. We welcome an open debate on the subject. Reasonable people may listen to the facts we present and may ultimately disagree with our stance. That is okay. It is how the system works. I trust that this rumor will quickly die as people learn more about our campaign and our belief that we are all best served by an informed public presented with honest and sincere arguments. My hope is that in the future, we all may be able to discuss the content of our arguments rather than impugn the motives of our actions with false allegations and rumors.

Sincerely,
Rob
SaveKirkland.com

Rebel parent

As a current Kirkland resident, I'm not necessarily pro-annexation. I will not support annexation if there is not realistic financial support to extend City services to the PAA. That being said, I am concerned that anonymous posters to this blog do in fact a stake in the annexation dialog that they are not being open about. I believe that there are individuals in the building/development community who would much rather operate under King Co.'s lax zoning, land use codes and enforcement than be held to the same environmental protection standards as within Kirkland. Yes, the new tree ordinance in Kirkland is overkill, but would you really rather have none whatsoever? Take a look at the new development site on 132nd, just downhill from Juanita HS, and then consider if it could have been developed in a more sensitive manner. I know I would be very concerned if such a project were to be built in my neighborhood.

City Resident

Annexation may make sense to King County and the State of Washington. Annexation would probably improve services in the PAA. However, I have to echo other residents who say that it doesn't help current Kirkland residents.

I have seem plenty of people all over this region advocate for their own self-interests - should you tell Kirklanders that they should be different? I have suffered from plenty of the selfish lobbying campaigns and special interest efforts that have imposed their wishes on me.

The arguments in favor are weak so far. Give me something real. Are they trying to hide something?

Herb

I would like to hear more tangible benefits myself. I feel like Kirkland is being asked to take on a burden that was created by the county's negligence and bad policies. Now there is an area that can't support itself taxwise and has poor roads, incomplete sewers. underfunded parks and other physical problems. So what to do? Stick it on an existing city.

Tell King County to fix all the problems, then come back to us.

Big Finn on the Hill

I have to laugh at the thought of "sneaking in" 33,000 people, as though the city will be overrun with new residents. Talk about misleading.

I have an idea, why doesn't the City of Kirkland give back Totem Lake and South Juanita, so the PAA has something to incorperate? Of course that will never happen because those are both areas with sales tax bases to support city services. What does that leave the folks in the PAA with? Nothing. Truth is, when Kirkland annexed those areas, they should have also taken in the surrounding neighborhoods, especially Juanita and Finn Hill.

To answer the how is this good for Kirkland question...it's not as the only time anexation is good for a city is when you anex something like a business district which provides more cash than it takes. The only real benifit of the PAA to Kirkland will be the increased regional political power of a larger population base.

Kirkland Developer

After reading the above comments, I thought I would add my own. I will state right up front that I am a developer and my company has been building houses in Kirkland since 2003. And, we build houses that some would consider to be "large", though in my opinion 3,500 - 4,500 square feet is not a “mansion” by any means. The new houses we build certainly aren't one story bungalows like the houses they replace - because no one would buy them given the high cost of land in Kirkland (and please, someone show me ANYWHERE in the US where properties that are waterfront or waterview are not more expensive than the surrounding areas with no view). The houses we build are generally 2 story and they meet all of the rules laid out by the Council. They meet the 25' height limit, the 50% floor area ratio limit, the 50% lot coverage limit, the “required yard” setback rules and all of the hundreds of other regulations imposed. We are now also required to plant new trees and put in new sidewalks, water service, sewer connections and more with every project. On top of that, we pay $80,000 - $100,000 in sales taxes on every project. We pay excise taxes upon the sale of every project. We contribute a LOT of tax money to the State, County and City, and EVERY time someone buys one of these expensive new houses, the property values go up for EVERYONE, even those people who complain about all of the new construction and then retire with lots of money in the bank after they sell their old bungalow to someone like me. I am not complaining about paying taxes or meeting the regulations imposed in Kirkland, because I can do all of that and still make a modest profit - which allows me to continue living in Kirkland (although I do admit that I'm glad I bought my house in Kirkland several years ago). I am just putting this information out there so people have an idea of why Real Estate is expensive in Kirkland. People want to live in Kirkland and are willing to pay a premium to be near Lake Washington and everything else they consider important. As a Kirkland resident for 15 years, I have seen dramatic changes happen to our neighborhoods. However, I don't think all change is necessarily bad. The reason that property values are going up dramatically and houses are getting bigger has nothing to do with the City Council. In fact, the Council takes every opportunity they can to make it harder to build “big” houses. (I know, because I feel the effects every time a change is made and we have to go back and redesign something that we've been working on for a year or more). The reason that we are all seeing big houses and rising property values is because Kirkland has what the market demands. Our regional leaders have been asleep at the wheel for many years, as our population grows while our roads and traffic continue to get worse and our so called leaders pump more and more money into mass transit and carpool lanes that no one wants while ignoring the fact that we just need more and better roads. (People vote with their wallets and actions - and they are still driving to work alone more than ever despite billions wasted on buses and light rail). The current traffic mess automatically puts a premium on neighborhoods that are "close in" and have easy access to jobs, shopping and services without having to always spend 30-45 minutes (or more) driving to get anywhere.
Now, with all of that stuff out of the way, here is why I am against annexation. The Kirkland City Council has repeatedly proven 2 things: (1) They do not listen to the residents of Kirkland when it comes to making decisions. I’ve seen it happen many, many times and this issue is another example. That is why they are not allowing even an advisory vote on this issue. (2) They have repeatedly proven that they cannot balance a budget, and they ALWAYS resort to raising taxes to fund whatever shortfall there is in the City budget. If there is ever a tax surplus, it will be spent and then some. If there is a shortfall, they will find a way to raise taxes to cover it. That’s the bottom line for me. I don’t want to pay higher taxes – they are high enough already. Yes, we have great police, fire, utility and park services and I don’t mind paying for that. I just don’t want to be forced to help pay for those services for the PAA. The council freely admits that the revenue shortfall will be in the millions each year, however, they offer no solution and are clearly hoping the issue will just work itself out over time. If the Council adds a special tax to only the PAA to cover the new services provided to the PAA, I would have no problems with annexation (other than the absolutely ridiculous idea of a new jail). I have to wonder though how many of the PAA residents would still want annexation if they knew it would come with a hefty tax bill. I also wonder if they realize just how much regulation they are in for if annexation happens? The tree regulations are just the tip of the iceberg……

Citizen Smith of PAA

wait a second - you want to "keep Kirkland a small town"?!?!?

Have you seen the huge houses that are being built in "your" small town? What about that Heathman Hotel? Lord knows, when that opens, and with no traffic light, there's bound to be some major traffic (there already is).

Add to that the proposed redevelopment of Park Place... and yes, I'm sure "your" precious Central Way will be renovated into buildings with condos above..

Oh yeah, let's not forget all those brightly colored condos on Kirkland Way. BEE-youtifully small town, no?

Hey, YOU voted in "your" city council members, right? Or did you just want to pose for pictures with them & grab a free drink?

Rob

The City of Kirkland is hosting some public forums on annexation. They should prove to be quite informative and I encourage everyone to go.

Annexation Public Forums:
This is your chance to tell the City Council exactly what you think. These meetings are informative and they can be lively.

Thursday, June 21
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Finn Hill Jr. High
Cafetorium
8040 North East 132nd Street

Tuesday, June 26
7:00–9:00 p.m.
Evergreen Hospital, Surgery & Physician Center
Room Tan 100
12040 NE 128th Street

Additional information is available at http://www.SaveKirkland.com

Kirkland's website has details:
http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/depart/CMO/Annexation_Information.htm

KirklandZoo

I am not sure the City Council is for annexation. They certainly have not voted for it yet (and I know personally that some members are far from making up their minds on the issue). But, they are sort of mandated to look at both sides of the issue. On the other hand, I think many of city "staff" are for annexation. They get more to do, more job responsibility, and likely a more secure position. But, don't confuse that with the city council.

In the current situation, I am likely not for annexation myself. At the same time I fear what will happen if the train pass this time, and next time we will simply be mandated by the state to annex - at that time w/o any of the financial backing that is put on the table today as a teaser? Maybe the best outcome (for Kirkland) is if the PAAs votes "no". That will sort of force King County to take another, very serious, look at it.

I live in an annexed area and I would have it no other way. Kirkland is my home and been so since 2000. I am proud of being a Kirkland resident, I get great service at City Hall, and I do admire those residents that get involved in our local government. Sitting on the Planning Commission, City Council, etc, is no walk in the park. They spend a lot of time and deal with very contentious and heated/emotional issues in every meeting. Regardless of what they decide, some people will be pissed. Sort of the nature of the beast.

As for developers in Kirkland: Some do a great job. Build nice looking houses with both quality and style. But some (builders) just focus on size, and that leads to what many in the community now refers to as "Kirkland Boxes". Houses designed to primarily maximize the square footage (while adhering to the height limit and all other regulations) - a design decision that leads to a flat roof (not just most of the time ugly, but also a poor design choice in a region as wet as this one), since builders and real estate agents deem it "un-sellable" if it is not in the 3,500-4,500 sqf range. Many of these houses are totally "out of touch" with the neighborhood, not primarily due to their size, but due to their design, squeezed tightly together.

At the same time, I am not blaming builders/developers. They build what people want (in the immensely desirable 98033 zip code). But once we have allowed (by current regulations) our city to be "densened" up (with big houses/tiny set backs), the "yardage" and green spaces gone due to high lot coverage, the quality of life have been affected (in my eyes for the worse).
The only way we, together, can steer the direction of Kirkland's future is to get involved in our local government - and form opinions such as community groups/blogs, etc. That is how a democracy works. It is a true shame that voter participation is so low in the U.S., but we also only get as good elected officials as we deserve.

I applaud Rob Butcher (and others) for having gotten involved and working the (annexation) issue and getting it up for debate - even though I might not agree with him on all points.

KWinder

I notice all the blogs stop nearly a year ago, so just to update:

The April 23, 2008 Kirkland Reporter (ironically printed up as "Kent Reporter" on the article page) announces, "Council tables annexation indefinitely". Council members Jim Lauinger, Jessica Greenway, Tom Hodgson and Dave Asher voted against annexation of PAA (Potential annexation Areas, Kingsgate, Juanita and Finn Hill, in the 4-3 vote. (for annexation Joan McBride, Mary-Alyce Burleigh and Bob Sternoff).

The main issue was economics. A concern raised on both sides of City of Kirkland residence and PAA residents concerned that the expansion would lead to increased service needs and therefore budget/taxation.

So we continue with the status quo. We exist separate, yet we still are Eastsiders.

On the downside, City of Kirkland people get to deal with the upscaled staff taken on in anticipation of the annexation and to juggle the costs of getting the Totem Lake shopping center on it's feet. For the PAA folks, knowledge that police service will still come from King County (however, I disagree with the stance that fire services have similar slow respond), and that in a disaster they are second stage.

On the positive, we pay for what is on our side of the fence.

The reality is that all of our borders cross and we live, eat, breath and shop in each others backyards. Development is here and population is coming whether we want it to or not.

Do we tear out the habitat of the red wing black birds to replace it with cement walls that guard us from the freeway noise; only then to have to replant with native plants at high costs? Do we long for the horse pastures along 116th, but need a place to provide childcare for our children? Ideal vs. economics and growth.

This issue isn't over. I hope we all take the time to breath and understand what we wish not to lose and what we individually will need to do to keep what we value so much in Kirkland as a region -- no matter which side of the fence we are on.

alex

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Do want the Real Information and where to go out in Kirkland? The real information on the Time Out . All the stuff you should know.

Its all at KirklandBars.com .

www.kirklandbars.com

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