Coal Creek Utility District approves building sale

March 5, 2015

Coal Creek Utility District commissioners unanimously approved a deal Feb. 25 to sell its former operations building to the city of Newcastle.

Under the terms of the agreement, the city will pay the district $250,000 for the 129th Avenue Southeast building appraised at about $740,000. In addition, the city will agree not to assume the utility for the next 10 years.

The deal has been surrounded by controversy since the Newcastle City Council first approved it in a 4-3 vote Sept. 16. Council members approved it again, by the same vote, Jan. 20.

CCUD Commissioners Pam Martin, Ric Anderson and Doug Kunkel approved the deal after holding a required public hearing on the subject Feb. 11. Read more

Editorial — It’s your city; get involved in decisions

March 5, 2015

Sue Stronk. Larry Johnson. Jessaca Jacobson. Sonny Putter.

With the exception of the last name, you’ve likely never heard of these people. But make no mistake, the Newcastle City Council knows who they are, at least they should.

They are examples of just a few Newcastle residents who have come to at least one council meeting in the past year to voice their opinions.

They are, essentially, examples of democracy in action, a far too rare scene witnessed in the perpetually empty Newcastle council chambers. Read more

City Council approves controversial building buy

February 6, 2015

The Newcastle City Council officially authorized City Manager Rob Wyman to go ahead with the controversial purchase of a Coal Creek Utility District-owned building at the Jan. 20 regular meeting.

Under the terms of the agreement, the city will pay $250,000 for the 129th Avenue Southeast building appraised at about $750,000. In addition, the city will agree not to assume the utility for the next 10 years.

The purchase has been surrounded by controversy since the council first approved it in a 4-3 vote Sept. 16. Deputy Mayor John Drescher, Councilman Gordon Bisset and Councilman Rich Crispo voted against the deal then, and did it again Jan. 20.

Former and current council members alike have raised questions about the agreement’s legality, feasibility and the logic behind giving up the city’s right to take over the district for the next decade. Read more

Council approves CCUD building purchase

January 21, 2015

UPDATED — 1:20 p.m. Jan. 22, 2015

The Newcastle City Council officially authorized City Manager Rob Wyman to go ahead with the controversial purchase of a Coal Creek Utility District-owned building at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Under the terms of the agreement, the city will pay $250,000 for the 129th Avenue Southeast building appraised at about $750,000. In addition, the city will agree not to assume the utility for the next 10 years.

The building would serve as a place to store and work on the city’s public works vehicles, which are currently parked at City Hall. It could also potentially house a future Newcastle history museum, Mayor Steve Buri said.

It again came down to a 4-3 vote, with Deputy Mayor John Drescher, Councilman Gordon Bisset and Councilman Rich Crispo dissenting. Read more

Creating a sense of community

January 6, 2012

After 17 years, longtime Newcastle resident Sonny Putter steps down from City Council

Sonny Putter, longtime Newcastle city councilman, cuts into a cake celebrating his 17 consecutive years of service at his last City Council meeting Dec. 6. By John Jensen

As you flip through the pages of longtime Newcastle City Councilman Sonny Putter’s date book, you start to notice a trend.

For the month of October, nearly every date is bursting with small writing filling each box.

Read more

Two more candidates emerge in City Council race

June 14, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. June 14, 2011

Resident Frank Irigon and former City Councilman Gordon Bisset filed to run for City Council Position 4 in this year’s election. Bisset — who served on the council from 2002-2005 — and Irigon will face off against Parks Commission Chair Andrew Shelton in a primary election in August.

The top two finishers will advance to the general election in November.

Read more

Parks chair to run for City Council

May 6, 2011

Councilman Sonny Putter to retire

Parks Commission Chair Andrew Shelton announced in April that he will run for City Council this November in Position 4 — the position Councilman Sonny Putter occupies.

However, just before Shelton announced his intention to run, Putter announced he would retire at the end of the year, ending his 17-year stay on the council.

Shelton joins Deputy Mayor Steve Buri and Councilwoman Lisa Jensen on the November ballot. Buri and Jensen announced in March their intentions to seek re-election in positions 3 and 1, respectively. City Council positions are not divided geographically in the city.

Councilwoman Carol Simpson, who sits in Position 2, filed paperwork April 2 with the state Public Disclosure Commission, a precursor to running for election.

The deadline to file for election is June 10.

Read more

Get ready for start of campaign season

May 6, 2011

If you’ve been thinking about taking on a bigger leadership role in Newcastle, it’s time to take the next step. Filing for candidates is June 6-10.

Newcastle City Council, school districts and the Coal Creek Utility District will hold elections this fall.

Many candidates are already filling out the needed paperwork with the state. Others have announced their intentions.

City Council incumbents Lisa Jensen, Carol Simpson and Steve Buri will seek re-election. Sonny Putter will opt out after serving 17 years; Parks Commission Chair Andrew Shelton has said he will seek Putter’s seat.

Council candidates must be registered voters at the time of filing and have one year of Newcastle residency. Those qualifications are the law, but candidates should also bring the willingness to devote hours every week to numerous meetings and study of the issues. An elected official’s most important attribute is the ability to listen and communicate.

The issues sure to be hot topics in City Council races this year include future city budgets, future development in the city limits and mitigation of seasonal flooding on Lake Boren. Park development and funding is sure to come up, and the relocation of City Hall will likely get rehashed.

Read more

Letters

May 6, 2011

Veteran Newcastle councilman to retire in December

I am writing to announce that after 17 years of community service, I will not be running for re-election to the Newcastle City Council.

I am proud of how far our community has come. When we struggled to incorporate the city of Newcastle, the then-Chair of the King County Council echoed Gertrude Stein’s opinion of Oakland, saying “There is no there there.”

Since incorporation in 1994, we encouraged the location of the prominent Golf Club at Newcastle on the site of an old landfill. We provided incentives for the location of a full-service YMCA — now overflowing with active users — and an 11,000-square-foot King County library, now under construction.

We encouraged the funding and construction of two new elementary schools in the city. We leveraged Newcastle’s small capital resources over this period to construct major street, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, like the $55 million Coal Creek Parkway project and the $4 million Newcastle Transit Center.

All these amenities have attracted a highly diverse population of new residents and the construction of a large number of new, high-valued homes. Since incorporation, our population has grown by almost 50 percent to its current 10,300 residents.

Newcastle is now “on the map.” It has become a highly desirable place to live, all the while maintaining the green canopy of parks and open spaces that characterize our community. Newcastle residents feel a sense of place, a sense of belonging to a real community of neighbors. Now, when we tell people that we live in Newcastle, they often respond “Oh, you live in Newcastle,” with eyebrows raised in admiration.

I hope the future leaders of our community will safeguard this legacy and sustain our community’s vision into the future.

Sonny Putter

Newcastle City Council

Read more

Councilman Sonny Putter to retire

April 11, 2011

UPDATED — 4:10 p.m. April 13, 2011

Councilman Sonny Putter announced April 11 that he will not seek re-election this year, ending his 17-year stay on the City Council.

Sonny Putter

Putter was elected to the council in 1994, and he was re-elected in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007. He also served as mayor from 2000-2001. Putter sits in Position 4 on the council.

Putter said he decided not to run for re-election based on the direction the council is taking the city.

“We’ve got a less collegial, more corrosive atmosphere on the City Council,” he said. “Going forward, I didn’t think I could make a difference.”

Read more

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