Rebekah Johnson, representing People for a Better Port Orchard, sent me an email this evening citing sources for the anti-Coppola fliers distributed by her group in the recent Port Orchard mayoral campaign. (See below)
Johnson’s statement rebuts a statement by incumbent Mayor Lary Coppola that was posted on the Kitsap Caucus earlier today, shortly after a manual recount showed his challenger Tim Matthes to be the mayor-elect of Port Orchard. Coppola, completing his first term as mayor, called the group’s materials “blatant lies, half-truths, and innuendo.
In an interview earlier today, downtown Port Orchard business owner Darryl Baldwin praised Coppola for his pro-business stance and strong leadership, but said Coppola may have had a blind spot for constituents who felt alienated.
“Most of us didn’t expect Lary to lose,” Baldwin said. “What I see under Lary’s leadership, there was a split that was occurring, and Lary either didn’t see it or chose to ignore it.”
On the effect of the fliers, Baldwin, former president of the Port Orchard Bay Street Association, said, “It didn’t have to sway a lot of votes, but it swayed enough votes.”
I was at the recount today, and I can testify that there was
plenty of scrutiny by both candidates and their representatives of
the meticulous process, in which ballots that had been previously
run through the machine were recounted by hand. No one, not the
candidates, not their supporters, not the people who were there out
of sheer curiosity, had a beef with how the recount was conducted.
In fact, all said Elections Manager Dolores Gilmore ran a tight
This, folks, is democracy in action. The voters have spoken. Despite Coppola’s widespread support among business owners, those with an interest in real estate, and other electeds from within the city and beyond (including plenty of state-level folk), Tim Matthes will become mayor Jan. 2.
Coppola, no doubt, has done considerable soul searching about what led to his political demise. He has said he has no interest in running for other political office. He has plenty of other prospects, however, he said.
The race was extremely close, a difference of five votes out of 3,072 cast. What this means for the city depends on how everyone left in the game — Matthes, council members, business owners, chamber representatives and ordinary citizens — reacts to the change. Matthes ran on an “I am not Lary” platform. What else can he bring? We at the Kitsap Sun will be watching.
Here is Rebkah Johnson’s statement:
Election Result Confirms Voters
Want a Change in Leadership
Contrary to outgoing Mayor Lary Coppola’s claims that he lost his re-election bid due to “blatant lies, half-truths, and innuendo” by his opponents, the truth is that the same voters who elected him by more than 70% four years ago had seen enough. The People for a Better Port Orchard, a citizen’s committee comprised of business owners, taxpayers, families and Port Orchard citizens – some who had supported Coppola just four years ago – simply circulated the facts about his actions and involvement in issues and decisions as Mayor. The sources for these facts, which clearly refuted his claims, were the Kitsap Sun and the City of Port Orchard.
Mayor Coppola had the opportunity to correct these facts when they first appeared in print in the Kitsap Sun over the last years, but failed to do so, and by his silence agreed with their authenticity. It is unfortunate that, when faced with the scrutiny and judgment by those who have had enough of these tactics, he seeks to blame others for his own actions.
The details and source material for the mailers that were sent are available at www.letlarygo.com
Of the original precincts that first elected Mayor Coppola four years ago, not including the newly annexed areas of the City, Coppola’s support shrank from the original 70% to barely 45%. The conclusion is clear – those who have endured these last four years have had enough.
It’s time to move Port Orchard forward.