Update Aug. 7: If you notice Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel’s
comment below, you’ll see that the rules for candidate’s residency
are different for a “second class” city like Port Orchard than for
other Kitsap jurisdictions. (The “second class” reference in the
state law (RCW 35.23) refers of course to Port Orchard’s size, not
its relative qualities as a place to live or work.) The only
requirement for Port Orchard candidates is that the candidate be
registered to vote and be a resident of the city at the time of
The information I included in my initial post here came from the
Kitsap County elections guideline pamphlet, which, as Mayor Abel
points out is incorrect.
It matters because there are rumors about town that Port Orchard
mayoral candidate Lary Coppola has not met residency requirements.
Coppola has said he moved onto his sailboat last year in part to
establish residency for a run for mayor. He now calls his apartment
at The Rockwell in downtown PO “home sweet home.”
I initially thought we could address the issue of Coppola’s
residency on the blog, but given the potential for confusion due to
the error in the election pamphlet, we’ve decided to write a full
You can join a conversation about the issue of candidates’
residency at the Kitsap Caucus blog.
We had a couple of inquiries last week about Lary Coppola’s status
as a Port Orchard resident. One caller said he’d heard indirectly
that people at the The Rockwell apartments are watching Coppola’s
apartment for signs of life.
Guess what, whoever you are, Coppola’s on to you.
“Somebody’s watching me here. They have been for months,” said
Coppola this afternoon by phone from the number listed as
“home”/103 Rockwell # B-17 on the Kitsap County Auditor’s elections
“I find little pieces of folded up paper in the door, little
toothpicks broken off. I don’t know who’s doing it, and I don’t
care. … With all the crap with Josh — as in Commissioner Josh Brown
whose residency was challenged after his election last fall — we
knew this was going to be an issue,” Coppola said.
Coppola has always been up front about his reasons for moving to
Port Orchard. He said he moved onto his boat in the Port Orchard
Marina last summer in part to establish residency for the run for
mayor he’s been considering for some time, in part to facilitate
the remodel of his Manchester home, which he intends to sell. The
arrangement worked out well until Coppola and his wife Dee took
charge of their 3-year-old grandson. Coppola stayed on the boat,
while Dee and Bryce spent most of the time in Manchester.
Coppola bought the apartment at the Rockwell in December, 2006
and rented it out for two months to the previous owners before
moving in. He still owns the house in Manchester, still trying to
get it ready to sell.
The Kitsap County Auditor’s guidelines for candidates state that
to run for office in the City of Port Orchard, one must be
registered to vote and have lived in the city for at least a year.
It does not say anything against owning a second home
Hey, anybody out there have a spare toothpick?
On Friday, Coppola sent us an e-mail telling us that Congressman
Norm Dicks has joined his “long and highly diverse, bi-partisan
list of organizations and individuals” who have endorsed his
candidacy. In the press release, Lary writes, “‘I’m absolutely
thrilled to have Congressman Dicks’ endorsement,’ said an elated
Coppola. ‘Norm has done a lot for our district and I am looking
forward to working closely with him and his staff to help move our
I asked night editor Jim Thomsen about covering this, given that
it was Norm Dicks, and Jim said that, given our policy of not
running stories on endorsements, this would start us on a “slippery
slope.” Sorry Lary. Can we interest you in an ad?