Category Archives: City of Port Orchard

Renegade rooster finds a flock

Bitsey the rooster, who avoided capture for a year in South Kitsap.
Bitsey the rooster, who avoided capture for a year in South Kitsap.

Bitsey, the once elusive rooster, quickly found himself in a permanent home after being captured earlier this month in South Kitsap and taken to the humane society in Silverdale.

Last summer, Bitsey made the ravine above Port Orchard City Hall his own. City officials and neighbors weren’t pleased with situation where the rooster would crow at all hours of the day and night.

Animal control finally nabbed the rooster on May 4. He was adopted by Lone Rock Mercantile in Seabeck on May 13, a day after he was up for adoption. The owners of the store declined to be interviewed, although Bitsey now is happily spending his days with 15 hens, according to the Kitsap Humane Society.

Livestock tend to be adopted fairly quickly because of the rural area in and around Kitsap, said Meagan Richards, the humane society’s adoption program coordinator.

Roosters usually take the longest to adopt, she added.

Livestock are adopted in an average of 12-20 days, including roosters. Without counting roosters, livestock are adopted in less than five days, Richards said.

Dogs tend be adopted in less than seven days, while cats average about a 15 day stay at the humane society.

duck
Duck the rooster, who is up for adoption at the Kitsap Humane Society.

There is still one rooster, named Duck, up for adoption.

When Bitsey arrived at the humane society there were at least two other roosters up for adoption.

“Over here, he’s crowing up a storm with the three of ‘em going at the same time,” said Chase Connolly, an animal control officer with KHS. “It’s an orchestra of roosters.”

Now, only Duck is left.

For information on adopting Duck, contact KHS at 360-692-6977.

Howe family honored by Congress

Howe family history was honored Thursday in Congress.

As anyone familiar with South Kitsap knows, the Howe name is interwoven throughout Port Orchard’s 125-year history. It began with William Fenton Howe, who on March 6, 1891, moved his family from Tacoma to the shores of Sinclair Inlet in the town known as Sidney (now Port Orchard). The Howes were movers and shakers in the town’s early government and commerce. Members of the family, including the late Gerry Howe Bruckart, remained influential throughout the 20th Century.

Anyone not familiar with the Howes’ contributions to Port Orchard ought to be, according to Edwin (Scott) Howe of Pierce County, great-grandson of William Fenton Howe. Edwin pitched to Congressman Derek Kilmer a proclamation noting March 6 as the 125th anniversary of the Howes’ arrival in Port Orchard. Kilmer was instrumental in authorizing the proclamation, which he read into the Congressional record on Thursday, according to Kilmer’s spokesman Jason Phelps.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the William Fenton Howe family for their contributions to the history of the Pacific Northwest and to recognize their 125th anniversary of calling the city of Port Orchard, Wash., home,” Kilmer read.

The proclamation goes on to detail the lives of the Howes, who came to Washington in 1888 from Pennsylvania. They lived in Tacoma before arriving in Sidney in 1891. William and his wife Emma had five children: Harry, William, Edwin, Roy and Edith.

Sidney, incorporated in 1890, was the first town in Kitsap County to do so. The Howes established Howe Hardware, serving a the burgeoning lumber industry. Agriculture and a pottery works were other major economic drivers in Port Orchard’s early days.
PO125_3
Following the death of his wife in 1985 and a fire at the hardware store, William Fenton Howe placed the children with families in the community and set off for Alaska to pursue opportunities in the booming mining industry there. Edwin Scott Howe joined his dad, and they provided stoves to the miners.

Back in Port Orchard, after the death of their father, Edwin and Harry Howe opened Howe Brothers Hardware. The family also owned Howe Motor Company, which supplied many of the first vehicles to the Kitsap Peninsula. Members of the Howe family served on the city council and were engaged in civic organizations. They rallied to bring electric power to the town and ensure the location of a veterans home in Retsil.

The Howe legacy continued with Gerry Howe Bruckart, a businesswoman and charter member of the Sidney Museum and Arts Association. Bruckart, who owned the Olde Central Antique Mall on bay Street, died in 2005 at 88.

Edwin Scott Howe tells us he is “the last of the Howe clan and never had any children. I am one of the original ‘Baby Boomers’ having been born March 13, 1946. I moved from Port Orchard in 1981 to Pierce County. My oldest sister, Judy Howe, is the sole surviving member of the original Howe family still living in Port Orchard. She was born September 12, 1942.”

Howe Family Proclamation

Samadpour’s company responds on Pavilion closing

Abadan Holdings, LLC, Mansour Samadpour’s property management company, on Tuesday responded to our Feb. 7 article about the impending closure of the Port Orchard Pavilion. Delilah Rene Luke said she can no longer subsidize operations for the event center, which she has operated since 2009. Luke said she and Abadan were unable to reach an agreement on rent that will allow the Pavilion to remain open.

In the article, Abadan attorney Mary Ogborn responded to Pavilion manager Joni Sonneman’s statement that Abadan now wants $6,000 a month for the place, by saying the future monthly asking price would be negotiated with the new tenant. She neither confirmed or denied that $6,000 is the current price for the Pavilion, and Ogborn said Abadan had no further comment on the Pavilion closing.

In fairness to Ogborn (and readers) I could have and should have pressed her for confirmation of other statements made by Delilah and Sonneman about arrangements between the Pavilion and Abadan through the years, including Sonneman’s statement that rent had at one time in the past been dropped from $4,000 to $3,000 per month then raised back up. Ogborn, in her response letter, stated the rent was never reduced to $3,000, and I have verified that is correct.

Ogborn gave other additional details about the lease agreement over the years that Pavilion representatives do not dispute, including an arrangement that gave the Pavilion some credit, in the form of one month’s free rent per year, for work done on the building.

Ogborn said the rent originally, in 2009, was $5,000 a month. In 2010, Delilah and company approached Abadan regarding installation of a sprinkler system that was required on the building and requested a tenant improvement allowance. “Abadan was happy to grant this allowance,” Ogborn said.

According to Ogborn and the Pavilion, this option was exercised over the next two years, but not in the following three years. There is some disagreement over who was responsible for initiating the free rent option.

In May 2012, at the Pavilion’s request for a rent reduction, Abadan agreed to $4,000 a month, and it remained at this amount through fall of 2015. As the lease expiration approached, the Pavilion and Abadan entered discussions on rent. The Pavilion proposed $2,750 per month and asked for its three years’ worth of retroactive free rent. Both parties agree that the Pavilion received three months of free rent in the latter part of 2015 and early 2016.

At the same time Abadan offered a one-year extension but stood firm on $4,000 a month. “Thereafter the lease negotiations stalled out,” Ogborn said.

The pavilion obtained a short-term lease extension to Feb. 15 at $4,000 per month and later was granted another extension to March 15 at $6,000 a month (which is apparently where the $6,000 figure came from). Abadan has said if the Pavilion wants to continue renting the space month to month and not enter a fixed term lease, the price is $6,000 per month, Ogborn said.

Samadpour owns multiple properties in Port Orchard, including virtually the entire 700 block of Bay Street, where the Pavilion is located.

Ogborn in a letter to me had this statement: “Abadan supports businesses in Port Orchard and has worked with the tenants at the Port Orchard Pavilion over the years to support them through their struggle to develop a viable business. Over the years, Abadan has worked with many of the tenants in Port Orchard to reduce their rent in order to help keep their businesses viable during economic downturns. Abadan has reduced the rent for the Pavilion in 2012 and has not raised the rent for the Pavilion in three years.

“Abadan takes issue with the characterization of the negotiations in your article because in actuality, tenants demanded Abadan reduce the Pavilion’s rent by $1,250 per month or no deal could be reached. Abadan cannot reasonably be expected to subsidize a failing business by continuing to offer rent reductions and believes it is unprofessional for the tenants to voice their displeasure with Abadan by presenting a one-sided and inaccurate version of the history of their tenancy and the lease negotiations between our businesses to you.”

Regarding Ogborn’s letter, Delilah said that renovations she made to the building, including urgent and critical repairs, tallied far more than the total the Pavilion received in the form of free rent.

Answering questions on residency of council candidates

A link to the Kitsap Sun’s story about nine applicants for a vacant seat on the Port Orchard City Council hadn’t been up on Facebook for half an hour, when some one questioned the residency status of one of the candidates.

The district 3 seat was vacated at the start of 2016 by Rob Putaansuu, who was elected mayor in November.

The council will fill the vacancy by choosing from among the pool of applicants. Monday was the deadline to submit a resume, letter of interest and answers to written questions from the council. The council will interview applicants on Thursday, beginning at 9 a.m. at city hall. All interviews are open to the public. The council likely will make the appointment at the Jan. 12 regular council meeting.

To be eligible for city council, an applicant must be a registered voter and resident of the city. State law prohibits felons from holding elected office. The city of Port Orchard does not have districts or wards, so anyone living within city limits is eligible for the district 3 seat … or any other seat.

During election season, we reported on a residency challenge against Port of Bremerton candidate John Poppe. The story, by Tad Sooter, illustrates how, as Kitsap County Elections Manager Kyle Joyce puts it, state law puts the onus on the person making the challenge to prove a candidate does not live at his or her stated address.

Poppe told the Kitsap Sun he moved to the Chico Way address listed on his candidate registration specifically so he could run for the Bremerton port commission seat while maintaining his standing as a Silverdale Water District commissioner. Kitsap County Auditor Dolores Gilmore ruled in Poppe’s favor, saying challenger Roger Zabinski failed to present “clear and convincing evidence” Poppe didn’t live on Chico Way.

The city of Port Orchard determined some applicants for the city council position were ineligible because they live outside city limits. City Clerk Brandy Rinearson said her office used the Kitsap County parcel search function to confirm the location of applicants’ homes. In one case, where the applicant’s listed address was close to the city limit, Rinearson verified through the Kitsap County Elections’ Division that he lived just outside the city.

Rinearson then verified through the Kitsap County Auditor (Elections Division) that the remaining applicants are registered voters within the city of Port Orchard.

The Auditor’s Office does not ask people for proof of residency when they register to vote, Joyce said. The voter registration form requires a signature attesting to the truth of the information provided.

“Should a citizen have concerns, they can reach out to me or the Kitsap County Elections department to receive a form for challenging,” Rinearson said, in an emailed response to the Kitsap Sun and others with questions about residency verification. “Please let me know if you have any additional questions or need anything further.”

Rinearson may be reached at (360) 876-7030. The elections division is at (360) 337-7129.

Matthes apologizes to city for tussle with opponents, stands by his interpretation of campaign finance law

Port Orchard Mayor Tim Matthes was contrite Monday following an altercation Friday over campaign finance records that involved Matthes, running for re-election, former mayor Lary Coppola, Teresa Osinski, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County, and others.

Osinski’s request to review Matthes’ campaign contributions and expenditures, as allowed by law, devolved into a tug-of-war between Matthes and Osinski over the the folder containing the records. In an audio recording by Matthes’ supporter Robert Parker, there are sounds of scuffling and broken glass shortly before an abrupt end to the meeting, held at the Bremerton Bar & Grill.

“I apologize that this is reflecting poorly on the city,” said Matthes who stressed he was acting in his capacity as a candidate not as mayor at the meeting. “I apologize to city residents and to my supporters, too. I let them down, and myself too, by allowing this to get out of hand.”

The meeting, already tense in tone, went south after Coppola arrived, and Matthes told Osinski he would not show her the records while Coppola was present. Coppola, who lost the 2011 election to Matthes by five votes after a contentious campaign, is a member of the HBA’s board and was there as a witness to the proceedings, Osinski said.

Osinski said Matthes at one point “lunged across the table” reaching for the documents, causing and injury to her hand. Parker said it wasn’t a lunge and that Osinski appeared the aggressor. Osinski reported her hand hurt after the incident. Matthes got a paper cut.

Coppola and Linda Simpson, a Bremerton resident there on behalf of Matthes, both told Bremerton police that Coppola tried to take a video of the altercation with his cell phone and Simpson tried to block him. Simpson and Parker say Coppola at one point pushed Simpson. Coppola did not respond to requests for comment on Friday. The audio indicates a verbal confrontation between the two of them. See the partial transcript from the audio recording at the height of the confrontation, below.

“This was a candidate Tim thing. I was not representing the city or city staff,” said Matthes. “It saddens me that political stuff gets this bad. Sometimes the rhetoric, the viciousness just gets out of control. I think this is prime example of things getting out of control. I apologize for my part.”

Matthes raised and spent under $5,000 on his campaign and opted for “mini-reporting” of his campaign spending. The law allows people to inspect mini-reporting records within eight days of the election, and Osinski had an appointment to do so.

Both Matthes and his supporters say a revision to state law (RCW 42.17A.235) put them within their rights to bar Coppola from the meeting and to end the meeting when he wouldn’t leave. However, a spokeswoman from the state’s Public Disclosure Commission and a local legislator who co-sponsored the bill that effected the change say the new law doesn’t speak to the presence of witnesses.

HB 1819 adds to the RCW the requirement, “A person wishing to inspect the books of account must provide the treasurer with his or her telephone number and must provide photo identification prior to inspecting the books of account. A treasurer may refuse to show the books of account to any person who does not make an appointment or provide the required identification.”

Michelle Caldier, R-Port Orchard, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the intent of the legislation is to impose requirements on the person asking to look at the records, not to prevent people coming along to watch the proceedings. That also was the interpretation of Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman.

“I don’t know that that change necessarily prevents someone from accompanying” the person inspecting the records, Anderson said. In the PDC’s view, Coppola’s presence was irrelevant to the role of the PDC, which is to ensure the candidate’s compliance in sharing campaign finance records, Anderson said. “They have the burden of proof to whoever wants to see them.”

Matthes’ group asserts the last sentence refers to people who accompany those requesting to see the records. Simpson said Coppola was close enough to Osinski to be able to see Matthes’ campaign ledger. Matthes said, “When you’re in a room like we were, if you’re witnessing it or in the room where it’s being discussed, I believe it’s the same thing as inspecting.”

Anderson acknowledged that the recent dust-up at the Bremerton Bar & Grill exposes a gray area of the new law. “You’ve brought up a situation that the PDC hadn’t thought about, and maybe we need to do some rule making around if other people come they need to be announced.”

Simpson said she contacted the PDC before the meeting so they would be aware of the rules. Nothing in there speaks to witnesses, she said.

Parker and Simpson argue that it was a private meeting, so Coppola shouldn’t have attended. Osinski said she was not made aware that Matthes would have other people with him.

Matthes on Monday said he has raised $1,600 in campaign contributions (other than funds provided by himself to his campaign). He has spent $2,889.30

Partial transcript of audio recording by Robert Parker on Oct. 30 of a meeting between Teresa Osinski of the HBA and Tim Matthes, cadidate for Port Orchard Mayor, for the purpose of Osinski viewing Matthes’ campaign finance records, as allowed by law.

Matthes to Osinski: “I’ll be more than happy to show you these records … if you just follow the prescribed law, you can see them.”

Matthes to Coppola: “I’d ask you now to wait in the outside area.”

Coppola: “I’m not going anywhere.”

Matthes: “OK, that pretty much ends this.”

Osinski: No, it doesn’t, I have an appointment and I’m going to look at your books.”

Matthes: “No you’re not. Not as long as he’s (Coppola) sitting here. As long as he’s sitting here, you’re not going to look …”

Osinski: “(Coppola) doesn’t need to look at them. I do.”

Matthes: “Would you give the books up?” (sounds of scuffling)

“Osinski: “I have the book.” (more sounds of scuffling)

Matthew: “No you don’t have the books.” (glasses breaking) “No you don’t have the books. Now you don’t have the books.”

Osiniski: “Give me my book.”

Other person: “It’s not your book.”

Osinski: “I have a book under there. Give it to me.”

Simpson: “Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me.”

Coppola: “Don’t you touch me.”

Simpson: “I didn’t, you touched me.”

Coppola: “I haven’t touched you.”

Matthes: “Under these circumstances I’d say you all need to be out.”

Matthes, citing RCW 42.17A.235, told Osinski he’d show her the records when Coppola left.

Videos candidates Christensen, Donlin up at Kitsap Sun

Clancy Donlin, candidate for the at-large position on the Port Orchard City Council, and write-in candidate Bill Christensen, who joined the race in early September, met with the Kitsap Sun’s editorial board. Videos of the interviews follow. Usually the board interviews candidates together, but Donlin missed the scheduled interview, Sept. 22, and was interviewed separately on Oct. 1.

For your convenience, I have re-posted the Ed Board videos from all other council races and the mayoral race. As a reminder, I report on the races and am not part of the Editorial Board’s endorsement process. I do sit in on interviews, as my schedule allows.

PO Mayor: Matthes and Putaansuu

PO Council, position 5: Lucarelli and Lane

PO Council, position 1: Cucciardi and Law

PO council position 4: Clauson and Whittleton

PO candidates can’t give back realtors’ contributions

Questions about the influence of outside groups and big money on Port Orchard city government races have been raised by Port Orchard blogger Todd Penland. Penland’s posts about campaign spending in four local races have generated chatter on Facebook and letters to the editor of the Kitsap Sun.

Recently, Penland posted an online petition through Change.org calling on four candidates, including mayoral challenger Rob Putaansuu, to reject campaign contributions from the National Association of Realtors, which are recorded in the database of the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission. The contributions, totaling nearly $25,000 in the four races, are listed as independent expenditures.

The petition had 32 signatures as of Wednesday.

In the interest of transparent campaign finance, the state requires all candidates for elected office to detail direct contributions they take in (including from themselves) and expenditures they make during their campaigns.

Individuals, organizations and political action committees who make independent expenditures on behalf of a campaign (either for or against a candidate or cause) also must log their revenue and expenditures with the PDC. But here’s the difference, the candidate has no control over independent expenditures. In fact, state law requires contributors not to coordinate in any way with the candidate, according to Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman.

The National Association of Realtors, based in Chicago, has spent $8,307 on mailers, phone calls and online ads supporting Putaansuu’s campaign and $5,449 apiece to support the campaigns of city council candidates John Clauson, Cindy Lucarelli and Shawn Cucciardi. All four candidates have been endorsed by the Kitsap County Association of REALTORS.

The no coordination rule will make it tough for the candidates to return the money, because it never was actually in their control. As current campaign finance logic goes, candidates have no say over the free speech of individuals, organizations and PACs who wish to campaign on behalf of or against them.

The bottom line is, Putaansuu, Clauson, Cucciardi and Lucarelli can’t decline the expenditures no matter how may signatures Penland gathers.

Penland’s concerns that the National Realtors’ donations will erode local control of city government were echoed in a letter to the editor of the Kitsap Sun by Dianne Gardner, who worries that the “bigwigs out of Chicago” have their eyes on Port Orchard to make a profit. “What’s more, I am completely against outside money influencing voters,” Gardner writes.

Mike Eliason, CEO and government affairs director for the Kitsap County Association of REALTORS, fired back with a letter stating, “Although our national organization headquarters are located in Chicago and Washington, D.C., political candidate endorsement decisions and funding are decided by local Realtors within Kitsap County.”

Eliason described the Realtors as a “bottom up” association. Local groups aren’t directed from above, he said, but visa versa. A portion of local dues goes to funds with the state and national organizations for “government affairs,” which can cover lobbying or political campaigns, potentially on state or national issues. But local groups retain interest in and proportionate control over these funds.

When election season rolls around, the Kitsap Realtors draw on the local, state or national funds to support the causes or candidates of their choice. What fund they tap depends on a variety of factors, including the balance in each, Eliason said.

Members of the Kitsap realtors group also have the option to donate to RPAC, the association’s political action committee. The committee, which anyone can join, is the group that makes endorsements and devises the campaign spending strategy, Eliason said.

Eliason said the Kitsap realtors group routinely makes independent expenditures as well as direct campaign contributions. While Washington State campaign finance law limits donations to candidates in city council or mayoral races from any one person, group or PAC to $950 per election, there is no limit to independent expenditures.

Direct contributions to city of Port Orchard races from the Washington Association of Realtors on behalf of the Kitsap Realtors stack up as follows: $950 for mayoral candidate Rob Putaansuu and $700 each for Shawn Cucciardi and John Clauson.

Lucarelli (the position 5 incumbent) has registered with the PDC for mini-reporting, which requires she raise and spend no more than $5,000 and which exempts her from detailed reporting. So we don’t know at this point if she has received direct campaign contributions from any Realtors group. Anyone who’s curious can request an in-person meeting to view details of a mini-reporting candidate’s records within eight days of the election.

Lucarelli is not alone. All other city of Port Orchard candidates (aside from the four named above) this year have gone with mini-reporting.

Eliason said he wasn’t free to discuss independent expenditures made by the Kitsap County Association of REALTORS in this year’s election because of the “no coordination” rule. Were candidates to read his statements in the media, they could be construed as a form of communication. But he pointed to past activity as examples of how it works.

“In the past decade, we’ve had independent expenditures in the city of Poulsbo supporting candidates, also in the city of Bremerton,” Eliason said. In 2008, the realtors supported three candidates, including Clauson with independent expenditures. Whether the money is listed as coming from the local, state or national level, it is directed toward campaigns in Kitsap County by the local RPAC, Eliason said.

All four candidates who received the independent expenditures said they were not contacted by the National Association of Realtors about spending to promote their campaigns, and they were unaware of the expenditures until the chatter started online and about town.

“I heard about the situation, but I have no idea what they’re doing or what they’re spending the money on,” Clauson said.

But these expenditures do show up on candidates’ PDC summary reports, which anyone can access.

Remember People for a Better Port Orchard, the group that spent $2,785 in 2011 on advertising aimed at defeating then-incumbent Mayor Lary Coppola? You’ll see their spending in the mayoral campaign listed on Coppola’s PDC disclosure page as an independent expenditure (IE, against).

Are independent expenditures bad in and of themselves? Not necessarily, but they’ve gotten a bad name. The lack of spending limits and the potential for groups to game the system are sticking points in the ongoing debate over campaign finance reform. Eliason says his organization plays by the rules and shouldn’t be lumped in with the bad guys.

It is interesting and perhaps significant that of the 53 mayoral candidates around the state listed by the PDC in this year’s election, Putaansuu is the only one with an independent expenditure. And among the more than 600 candidates for city councils, the three in Port Orchard are among a mere 20 candidates with independent expenditures. In the council races, the donations aren’t all from Realtors. The National Association of Realtors, as of the most recent reporting, had donated at total of $129,264 for city council candidates, including those in Port Orchard (total $24,857), plus candidates in Renton, Seattle and King County.

It’s no secret that a hot button issue for Kitsap realtors (and the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County, contributing through their PAC the Affordable Housing Council of the HBA of Kitsap County) is a proposal in the city of Port Orchard to impose development impact fees. The Kitsap County Association of REALTORS took out a large display ad earlier in the discussion stating their position. The HBA’s PAC by the way has donated $950 apiece to Putaansuu, Cucciardi and Clauson.

Eliason said the realtors, unlike some PACs, will always put their logo on campaign materials (or identify their organization in phone calls), and as an organization they eschew slamming opponents of those they endorse.

“In all of our activities, we’ve always run positive messages about our endorsed candidates. We don’t run negative ads about our opponents,” Eliason said.

As for endorsements, the Kitsap realtors do “early endorse” incumbents whose records suggest they’ve represented the group’s interests, Eliason said. This year, they endorsed Clauson and Lucarelli before the filing deadline and did not hold interviews with the challengers, Marcus Lane and Nick Whittleton. Lane, who filed on the last day of filing week, said he has been invited to a couple of realtors’ luncheons and has accepted the invitation.

Cucciardi and his challenger Keith Law were both invited to interview before the RPAC, Eliason said. Only Cucciardi responded to the invite, according to Eliason.

When it comes to campaign contributions, it’s understandable that people watching local races may become concerned by relatively large expenditures on races for mayor or council seats. There is no doubt that groups like the HBA and Kitsap County Assocition of REALTORS are well heeled and well organized. But ultimately they don’t hold the pen to individual ballots. The public at large may or may not be swayed by their materials.

Would it be overly optimistic to think that Port Orchard residents are capable of critical, independent thought when it comes to evaluating the source and content of campaign materials, blogs and articles in the media? Or that on election day the results will be the product of the democratic process, imperfect though it may be? You tell me.

I’m open to receiving or hearing about campaign materials related to the Port Orchard race that you receive from any candidate or group. I’d like to know what’s out there. So thanks in advance for keeping me up to speed by emailing christina.henry@kitsapsun.com or calling (360) 792-9219.

— Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun

Kitsap Sun has video interviews with PO candidates

I see that some people have already linked to a couple of the Kitsap Sun’s editorial board video interviews of candidates for Port Orchard Mayor and the contested council positions.

Here, posted for your viewing convenience, are the interviews done to date: (Port Orchard Mayor) incumbent Tim Matthes versus Rob Putaansuu; (Council position 5) incumbent Cindy Lucarelli versus Marcus Lane; (PO Council, position 1) Shawn Cucciardi versus Keith Law; (Council position 4) incumbent John Clauson versus Nick Whittleton.

The number of contested council races grew from three to four last week, when Bill Christensen announced himself as a write-in candidate for the at-large position against Clancy Donlin. The editorial board has not yet had an interview with Donlin and Christensen. I’ll post an update, when we get the video.

Send me your questions for these candidates, as our Port Orchard election coverage continues in the run-up to the Nov. 3 general election, chenry@kitsapsun.com or find me on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/chrishenryreporter. — Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun

PO Mayor: Matthes and Putaansuu

PO Council, position 5: Lucarelli and Lane

PO Council, position 1: Cucciardi and Law

PO council position 4: Clauson and Whittleton

Port Orchard, hauntings and such

I learned a lot about Port Orchard when I was working on our coverage advancing the city’s 125th anniversary celebration on Saturday.

See a listing of anniversary events planned for Saturday, by clicking here.

Back to my story research, I thought I knew the closest mayoral race in the town’s history. See if you know by taking our trivia quiz. I’ll give you a hint, it was not the 2011 race between then-incumbent Lary Coppola and now-incumbent Tim Matthes.

I also was amazed to find how many buildings in the city, especially in the downtown core, date to the first half of the 20th Century. PO125_9According to a map of historic buildings on the city of Port Orchard’s website, quite a number are from the ’oughts, ’teens and ’20s, and there’s even a few from the late 1800s. You can find out more about Port Orchard’s historic buildings at the Sidney Museum and Arts Association, which hosted its annual historic homes tour in July.

SMMA’s own building at the corner of Prospect and Sidney is an old Masonic hall dating to 1908, listed on the Washington Heritage Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places.

Given the age of the architecture, it’s small wonder talk of ghosts bubbles up around the town. Rumor has it the Old Central Hotel building, now the Olde Central Antique Mall, is haunted.

Another restless spirit is reputed to live in the yard abutting Prospect Street that is part of the Olympic Bike & Skate property owned by Fred Karakas. According to local historian Bryan Petro, the property was homesteaded by a man named Campbell who married a Native American woman. When she and their two boys died of a fever, Campbell is said to have buried them on the homestead.

“That’s why nothing is built there,” Petro said. “We’ve been told that’s haunted. It’s probably by her.”

Karakas says the burial was on the property of the building next door, which he also owns. The building once housed a tarot card reader who got strong vibes from the place, Karakas said.

Well, isn’t that the way with history? There are sometimes multiple versions of a story. Karakas and Petro also disagree on the origin of the name “Fathoms ‘O Fun,” the organization that has hosted Port Orchard’s summer parade and Fourth of July fireworks show since the late 1960s.

According to Petro, 56, city leaders decided to ax the Days of ’49, a Wild West themed annual festival involving much boozing and debauchery. mockhangingThe festival was supposed the hearken back to the city’s rough and tumble logging days. Mock shoot-outs, stage scenery jails and pretend hangings on Bay Street were a few of the reasons the city curbed its enthusiasm in favor of a tamer summer celebration initially called Sunfest (or Sun Fest). Petro says that name was claimed by another community, and “Fathoms ‘O Fun” was the replacement.

Karakas, in his 70s, said he arrived in town shortly after the Days of ’49 ended. But the festival died an unwilling death, according to Karakas. The wild and crazy times lived on, if diminished, in the Dinghy Derby race, which involved fake cannon shots and again, considerable boozing, according to Karakas. The dinghy races were part of Sunfair (or Sun Fair) Karakas concedes, but as to the origin of Fathoms, it came from a Sunfair T-shirt, a motto of the year. The following year, there were leftover T-shirts, and the organizing committee, of which Karakas was part, just taped over the year and used them again. (This is very much Karakas’ modus operandi). Thus Fathoms ‘O Fun became ingrained in Port Orchard’s memory bank and history.

One other little piece of trivia from the odds and ends bin, do you know which downtown business operates in a building that used to house a brothel upstairs? Find the answer, and test your knowledge of Port Orchard’s legend and lore against the folks in this video.

See a timeline of Port Orchard’s history by clicking here.

Port Orchard’s longest-sitting public servant

If people taking our Port Orchard trivia quiz had trouble with the question on who was the longest-sitting public servant in city government, it’s understandable. The city’s had quite a few in recent years.

The trivia quiz, online now at www.kitsapsun.com, is part of our coverage of Port Orchard’s 125th anniversary. The city and community have a big celebration planned for Sept. 5. Check the Kitsap Sun on Sunday for a look back at Port Orchard’s history (it will help you on the trivia quiz) and a look forward at the celebration.

Now, to the question at hand.

Q: Who was Port Orchard’s longest sitting public official?
A. Carolyn Powers, city councilwoman
B. Leslie J. Weatherill, mayor
C. John Clauson, councilman
D. Bob Geiger, councilman

If you said, Bob Geiger, you’re correct.
PO125_geiger
Geiger, who served 45 years on the city council, was not only Port Orchard’s longest serving public official but the State of Washington’s when, in December, 2007, the mayor and council honored him for his service. Geiger had announced he would not seek another term.

Carolyn Powers, was appointed to the city council in 1987 to fill an unexpired term and served 26 years on the council before retiring at the end of 2013. She also served a term in the State House of Representatives.

Leslie J. Weatherill was Port Orchard’s longest serving mayor, holding the office from December 1983 through December 2003.

John Clauson, running for re-election this year, has served on the council since 1983, 32 years.

Happy birthday, Port Orchard!