Sammamish residents found a misleading attack mailer against city council member Pam Stuart in their mailboxes Friday, just four days before the election, asking voters to support her opponent Josh Amato in the race for position 6.
The mailer was funded by Save Our Sammamish, a political action committee (PAC) formed by four individuals — most notably former mayor Karen Moran.
PACs are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates in elections, as long as they do not coordinate their actions with a candidate’s campaign.
In the mailer, the backers of Save Our Sammamish allege that Stuart pushed for a 12% property tax increase while in office.
A review of the voting record shows this is false.
Over the last three years, there were three votes to increase property taxes in Sammamish. In both the Nov. 2020 (pg. 5) and Nov. 2021 (pg. 5) council votes, Stuart voted against increasing property taxes, but ultimately lost to the council majority that was led by Karen Moran. Together, these two votes totaled the 12% property tax increase that the mailer alleged Stuart orchestrated.
However, Stuart did vote to take the allowable 1% banked capacity increase for property taxes in Nov. 2022 (pg. 3). This was a 7-0 vote by the council, with even Councilmember Kent Treen, the lone member of the opposition and an ally of Moran, supporting the motion.
In a twist of irony, Moran did vote in favor of increasing property taxes by 6% in that Nov. 2021 vote. The council majority that Moran led also voted for the property tax increase in Nov. 2020, but Moran herself was absent during that particular council meeting.
The Sammamish Independent reached out to Moran to ask why she decided to fund the mailer, but did not receive a response at the time of publishing.
Stuart, in a statement, said the people who funded the mailer are “spreading toxic lies about me.”
“It is sad that a former resident and mayor, Karen Moran, is funding and fueling such toxic discourse in our community,” Stuart said.
Moran resigned from city council in June 2022, only seven months after winning re-election, as part of a wave of council resignations in the wake of an ethics scandal involving city manager David Rudat. Moran was a major advocate of hiring Rudat in 2020.
She strongly opposed Stuart’s appointment to city council in early 2022 in a series of emails she sent to the entire council.
Moran no longer resides in Sammamish, and has listed Snohomish, Washington, as her current residence on her Facebook profile, along with a note that says “After 30+ years, we have left Sammamish. We have made many wonderful friends.”
Other top contributors to Save Our Sammamish PAC include Walter Pereyra and Michael Scoles, who were also the top funders of the Sammamish Life PAC in 2021. In that election cycle, their PAC spent $15,000 to support three anti-development candidates, including Moran.
We decided to publish this story given how close the mailer came before Election Day. However, if former mayor Karen Moran provides a statement, we will strongly consider updating this story to reflect her viewpoint.