PO Mayor-elect Plans to Stay on Planning Commission

Note: a copy of this blog entry appears on the Kitsap Caucus political blog.

Swearing in ceremony:
Port Orchard Mayor-elect Lary Coppola, along with newly elected city council members Jerry Childs and Jim Colebank, will take the oath of office at 2 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. Council member-elect Fred Olin is not available and will be sworn in at a later date.

Here’s the entry:

Tomorrow at 2 p.m. at City Hall, Lary Coppola will be sworn in as the new mayor of Port Orchard. Coppola wants to remain on the Kitsap County Planning Commission and says he can do it without conflict of interest.

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel, who appointed Coppola to the commission, said she supports Coppola’s decision, at least for now. Angel said she is concerned about his ability to juggle running the city and a business, while serving on the planning commission.
“I just question whether he’s going to have the time to do that,” said Angel, who represents District 2. “It’s a bigtime commitment to the planning commission, and I want to make sure we’re adequately represented.”
Angel has advised Coppola to take some time in his new job to evaluate his ability to serve on the planning commission while meeting his other commitments.

Critical of Coppola’s plan to stay on the commission is fellow commissioner Jim Sommerhauser. He said it would create a conflict of interest for Coppola to represent the county by voting on land use issues regarding areas eligible for annexation into the city. Coppola, who believes he is in line for chairmanship of the commission, said he will only vote to break a tie, and will recuse himself from votes that involve a clear conflict of interest. Sommerhauser said that would leave South Kitsap poorly represented on the nine-member commission, with three representatives for each of the the county commissioner districts.

Sommerhauser said he is speaking as an individual and not as a planning commission representative.

Coppola also will continue to write his West Sound Politics blog and his column in the Kitsap Business Journal, both of which he suspended after announcing his candidacy. Now that the election is past, Coppola said, he will once again publish his opinions, with the disclaimer that he represents himself alone and no official position. The title of his column in the December issue is, “He’s baaack …”

“I don’t intend to use it as a tool for anything other than to express my thoughts,” Coppola said. “They won’t reflect any official positions.”

Your thoughts?

7 thoughts on “PO Mayor-elect Plans to Stay on Planning Commission

  1. If I lived in South Kitsap, I would prefer full representation on the Commission. Lary should resign so that Jan Angel could appoint someone who can fully serve.
    I am not sure whether the current situation hurts the rest of us, but Southies may want to request his resignation.

  2. Commissioner Angel needs to take this and run with it. Remove Mr. Coppola and replace him with someone who can represent South Kitsap without the “potential” of conflict of interest. As a voter and taxpayer in South Kitsap I do not feel fairly represented by Mr. Coppola on the Planning Board while he is Mayor of Port Orchard.

  3. Mr. Coppola should step down as a County planning commissioner. Not only does the commission make decisions affecting cities, the commission recommends rules for land use for citizens of unincorporated Kitsap County. Since he lives in a city he would be making rules that affect people he does not represent and he would not have to live under. Would a city appoint a county resident to their planning commission? I think not. There are plenty of qualified county residents to take his place. He should have resigned when he moved into the City of Port Orchard.

  4. Chris, my thoughts contain amazement that Mr.Coppola could possibly think residents would accept his intent to compromise their right to fair and reasonable representation by his wearing the different hats?

    He KNOWS he is representing conflicts of interest or he would not have ‘suspended’ his West Sound Politics blog and column in the Kitsap Business Journal to run for Mayor.

    South Kitsap deserves qualified people in each role Mr. Coppola plans to fill. Conflict of interest aside, having one person fill each public service job waters down his effectiveness in each. The people deserve better.

    The paper and blog he writes for won’t complain…they would get up-to-date information directly from the horses mouth.

    Not fair, Mr. Coppola, to South Kitsap.
    They already have strife…they deserve better.representation than one person wearing conflicting hats then writing about it from a #1 political influencing position.

    In my opinion..
    Sharon O’Hara

  5. Lary Coppola sent the following clarification to my e-mail:

    I will write the column for the time being, but haven’t made a long-term decision about it. Time limitations and circumstances will ultimately make the decision. One thing though, my KPBJ column is often a series of observations — it’s not necessarily my opinions. People tend to confuse those at times.

  6. This comment from Rich Danison didn’t make it into the slot for comments to be approved, a glitch that has happened to others in the past.

    Here’s the comment:
    Perhaps Lary has a secret admiration for Tim Sheldon’s hat choices?

  7. I understand observation v personal opinion writing – though it seems to me a ‘personal opinion’ held by the writer might well be lodged into his sub conscious – enough to unknowingly influence his ‘observation’ piece.

    I don’t know how he can be objective – anywhere in this 4- hat commitment.

    Too bad. Mr. Coppola would probably do a good job wearing any one of the individual hats.

    Port Orchard NEEDS a good, focused and strong mayor during this growth period…one who knows businesses and how they function, what they need.

    “…Mr. Coppola should step down as a County planning commissioner. Not only does the commission make decisions affecting cities, the commission recommends rules for land use for citizens of unincorporated Kitsap County. … he would be making rules that affect people he does not represent and he would not have to live under….”

    In my opinion…Sharon O’Hara

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