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How to Sneak 33,000 people into Kirkland

Trojan_wooden_horse1 A Trojan Horse, perhaps?  Noooooooooo-it's annexation!

It's a buzzword around town these days and you can find LOTS of info on the city's website.  Kirkland is considering whether to annex the neighborhoods of Finn Hill, Upper Juanita and Kingsgate which are all part of unincorporated King County today.  This means that those areas would essentially become part of Kirkland, almost doubling our population to 81,000.  That's a tremendous change for our cozy little eastside paradise!

This might be a fabulous solution for the people of the 'Proposed Annexation Area'  (the "PAA").  Currently it takes an unbearable amount of time to get a police officer or fire truck to respond to them b/c they rely on King County services.  And maybe they'd appreciate some local government representation too.  I'm sure it wouldn't hurt their home values to be considered part of Kirkland either (many already have Kirkland addresses).  It's mostly upside for the PAA, except for maybe some that may prefer feeling more rural, or might feel more locally connected to Bothell or Woodinville or wherever is nearest to them.   And then there's a handful that fear higher taxes.  But mostly they're psyched for some good service.

What isn't clear to me is why this would benefit Kirkland or the people of Kirkland?  Our small town Prison1would suddenly rival the size of Kent.  Throw in another 30,000 people and we're Bellevue.  That means big expenses to expand our police/fire services/city hall/sidewalks/sewers/garbage/etc.   There is a proposed new 75 bed jail in the plan, but mysteriously no one seems to know where that would be located.  The state offers a kickback type incentive to make annexation more feasible, but that's only for ten years.  Then what?  The financial picture is troublesome.  Unfortunately, the 'PAA' is primarily residential and doesn't have many revenue producing/ economic development opportunities to offer up as an offset to the expenses it would create for our city.  And most importantly, the small town feel of Kirkland is what makes it so charming.

Here's the kicker:  Kirkland residents DO NOT get to vote on this issue.  Only the people living in the proposed annexation area do (seriously!).  Our City Council members need to know how we feel because this process is running like a freight train already.  The city folks are surely salivating at their impending promotions that come along with managing a bigger city.  I was at a neighborhood association meeting a few months back where a "city consultant" came and spoke about annexation and documented all of our questions/concerns.  There were 14 sheets of paper filled with ink around the room.  At the very end, a resident raised his hand and said, 'would you like to know what we think?'  And the answer was: "NO".   Then some fodder about how it was the wrong time in the process for that.  Since then, we are on to 'phase two' and city council members just keep nodding their heads along-the process will just keep going until it happens unless we give them a reason to reconsider. 

So, here's what you do.  If you support annexation, you can kick your feet back up with that glass of wine you're drinking- this thing is on auto pilot anyway.  If you'd like to preserve Kirkland as the community it is today you need act swiftly. Contact your local city council members to let them know how you feel.  There's also a particularly passionate Kirklander named Rob Butcher that has put together a website where you can sign an on-line petition and offer your help at www.savekirkland.com .  If you're on the fence and want more info, you can use this link through the city's website.  ~Janis

Brix Wine Cafe Coming to Juanita Village

Brix_003Nothing makes me happier than a new wine bar that's going to be opening right up the street.  Ok, maybe this sunny weather is a close second.  Keith Mourer and Dave Zimmerman (co-owners, pictured left) are teaming up with Chef Tom Black, previously of the Barking Frog, to bring Kirkland some fabulous food that will be coupled with a hand-picked wine list with a local emphasis.

Keith and Dave were cool enough to let me check out their space at 11811 NE 98th in Juanita Village.  It's a great corner spot with high ceilings and a well thought out build-out plan for their 2700 sf space that you will start to see transforming very soon.  Brix, which actually means 'the measure of the sugar content of a grape', will seat 80 people max and there will also be a private dining area for up to 20 people. 

Ever since the Vine Grotto closed on Market Street, I've been missing a cozy little wine bar atmosphere (and I LOVE Purple, but always have to wait).  The north end of Kirkland may just find themselves a new hot spot!  But you'll have to hold your thirst until their August or September opening.  We'll keep you posted! ~Janis

Thank you to all the Mothers out there!

Mothersdaybabyandmomhand1 It seems appropriate that Mother's Day is around the corner for our family.  Steve's mom passed away last week and we have spent much time with loved ones reminiscing about all the years she made Halloween costumes, let the boys play outside until dark or made her famous 'yummy dish' on Friday nights.  And then my mother had a total knee replacement a few days ago so I find myself helping her walk, folding her clothes, instructing the doctors and nursing staff, and worrying -as she did so watchfully over me for past (eh-hem) 35 years. 

I was sitting at a Sea Hawks game a few years back with a friend that had recently had a baby.   She looked around the packed stadium and then said, "Isn't it amazing?  Every single person here has a mother."  That sounds like a simple thought, but she was so overflowing with love and the profound mother/child relationship that she had a moment realizing the greatness that this feeling could be so widely experienced by others.  "It makes me look at my own mother a lot differently.  I didn't know she loved me THIS much.  And it also makes me think about the times I must have broken her heart."   

So, hug your mother.  She needs it.  It really means a lot.  Say thank you.  Say "I love you."  And big hugs- always!  And here are some other ideas for her around Kirkland too:

3rd Annual Kirkland Artists Studio Tour- May 12 & 13 10am-6pm throughout Kirkland- This is a self-guided tour, maps are available at the Kirkland library, local outlets and individual studios. Artwork includes painting, pottery, jewelry, glass and more!

Bon Appetit Hosts Mother's Day Tea!  May 12th at 10:30am, Sur La Table- Bon Appetit magazine hosts a traditional tea party to celebrate mom.  Don't forget to register!

Mother's Day Brunch at Waters, a Lakeside Bistro, March 13th- $38 per person, children 12 and under pay their age.  Excludes tax/gratuity/alcoholic bevs.  Reservations required 425-803-5595

Mother's Day at Yarrow Bay Grill, May 13th 10am-2:30pm- A dream brunch- Chef Vicky McCaffree will present a spectacular multi-course prix-fixe menu. Cricket the Clown will be taking care of the entertaining.  $34 adults, $15 kids 12 and under (under 5 yrs free).  Reservations: 425-889-9052.

Mother's Day Brunch at the Beach Cafe, May 13th 10am-3pm-Opulent all-you-can-eat buffet brunch prepared by Chef Cameron Orel.  Global dishes from breakfast classics to the tastes of the exotic East.  Cricket the Clown is a busy guy- he'll be here too!  $38.99/adults, $15/kids under 12, kids under 5 yrs are free.  Check out the menu.  Reservations call 425-889-0303 ext 4.

Kirkland Half Marathon Walk and Run & 5K Run-Walk, May 13th, Starts and finishes at Kirkland's Juanita Beach Park.  The runner's route includes shoreline segments in downtown Kirkland and Juanita Bay Park.  Courses are both USATF certified and will be chip timed.  A great warm-up opportunity for core summer marathons and triathlons.  contact 206-729-9972.

Open House for Kirkland Mom's at My Gym in Bellevue, Friday May 11th 1-4pm, This is a free open house so that moms can enjoy some fun, games, and special activities with their little ones. Babies-13 yrs welcome, invite a friend! Questions call 425-451-1393 or email mygymbellevue@comcast.net

Or, you could just let her scoot around on her own- check this out, how fun!  ~Janis