Sammamish named America's friendliest townon December 20, 2012 @ 7:42 am (Updated: 10:48 am - 12/20/12 )
Seattle's Morning News host and Sammamish City Council member John Curley says absolutely his town is friendly, but he has better reasons that the the trite four cited for giving it the top spot on Forbes' list of America's Friendliest Towns.
The criteria for the ranking included home ownership, because 90 percent of Sammamish residents own their home, crime rate, the rate of charitable giving, which is exceptionally high in Sammamish, and finally, the number of college degree holders. Research has found college-educated show higher rates of voting and volunteering in their communities.
So there you have it, by the numbers Sammamish looks friendly. While John scoffed at the reasoning behind his city's friendly number one, he offered an anecdotal reason, that got to the heart of the matter.
John's reason isn't the townfolk who testify before him at their weekly city council meetings, instead he points to Mary Trask.
One year for Christmas, he says, Mary Trask got a new bike from her husband.
She hadn't wanted a new bike. She had an old bike and it worked perfectly fine. But she finally gave in an accepted the new bike.
What about the old bike? Mary went online and found an organization that delivered bikes to African communities where people often walked 10 miles there and back to get water. The bike would help those people get to their water source in less time.
Mary asked the citizens of Sammamish to join her in donating their bikes. They did -- by the thousands.
"If you have a Mary Trask in your community," said John, "it will attract other Mary Trasks."
While John was pleased with his town's ranking on the list, KIRO Radio anchor Kim Shepard was unsure about the validity, questioning why a suburb of Oakland made it on.
Kim, a frequent visitor to the Oakland area, said "You would have to go pretty far outside Oakland to find one of the friendliest cities."
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