At Home with Lary Coppola

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 filing.
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 blown story.

You can join a conversation about the issue of candidates’ residency at the Kitsap Caucus blog.

Original post:
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 filing list.

“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 elsewhere.

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 city forward.’”

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?

4 thoughts on “At Home with Lary Coppola

  1. Carpetbagging has a long and honorable history in this County. Lary would not be getting this attention if he had not given Josh Brown such grief over it. Personally, I don’t care so long as the candidate lives in the district once elected, which I assume Lary intends to do. I just hope he has more in his fridge than beer and old pizza.

    Now that the cover is blown, the stakeout may excalate. So Lary, watch out for that bag of flaming dog poo!

  2. The Auditor’s information regarding residency for candidacy in Port Orchard is incorrect.

    A city formed under state RCW 35.23, as Port Orchard is classified, only requires that a candidate be a registered voter and a resident at time of filing (RCW 35.23.031). In 2009, the next city election cycle, this will be clarified in the Election Guidelines because the City asked for this correction.

    The other cities in Kitsap County do have a year’s residency requirement and somehow this information was carried into the City of Port Orchard’s column as well.

    With the earlier primary, the bigger issue is whether anyone will be in town during the traditional Northwest vacation month of August to cast their primary election ballots!

  3. 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.”

    Wow Chris , this appears to be just news ? The Sun constantly reminded readers of all the Mayors and council people in Kitsap county that were against NASCAR .

  4. Mick,

    It all reminds me of an election here in Kitsap some years ago, Catch 22, One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest, et cetera.

    The day after a Bremerton Eggs and Issues debate, Sun deciders published three articles favorable to the incumbent. And treatment for the challenger?

    Well, in total, Sun deciders gave the challenger two or three lines of type in one article.

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