Mayor Coppola on the Mend (and Feisty) After Recent Surgery

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola said he’s doing “better every day” after emergency surgery on Oct. 22. Coppola, 59 and otherwise in good health, was admitted to Harrison Medical Center Oct. 20 for treatment of a cyst on his tailbone that had ruptured and become infected.

On his West Sound Politics blog Tuesday, Coppola said it was, “Nothing life-threatening, but fairly serious just the same, and recovery has just been slower than I had hoped.”

Coppola was in the hospital for six days. Throughout the ordeal he dropped 30 pounds, and it shows. He’s been working short days, 7 or 8 hours versus 12 to 15, annoyed with having to slow down and impatient to get back up to speed.

“I expect to be back to full strength in a week or two,” he said.

Coppola, in the blog post, shows himself scrappy as ever, pulling no punches in his acerbic recap of the Nov. 3 election.

On the Bremerton mayoral race, he appeared to criticize both candidates, calling Patty Lent, the apparent winner, “a nice person, but not really what I would term a decisive decision maker.” He handed Will Maupin a sideways compliment, saying, “I believe he is the best qualified for the job. However, based on my own personal experiences, his uncompromising, ‘My Way of the Highway’ style wouldn’t play well with the other electeds he’d have to deal with. For this reason alone, Bremerton may be better off with Lent at the helm.”

Coppola had a similar assessment of Becky Erickson, who ousted incumbent Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade. Coppola wrote, “While Erickson is very smart and very resourceful, her highly aggressive personal style isn’t going to play well with the other electeds she has to work with in order to get anything done. Quade didn’t just lose here — I think Poulsbo did.”

Speaking of having to work with people, I asked the mayor if he wasn’t worried about burning political bridges. Coppola had no worries on this count. He said he’s simply providing a political analysis, and nothing that hasn’t been said before. “I don’t think I’m the only one to say that out loud,” he said of his comments about Maupin and Lent.

Closer to home, Coppola conveyed in no uncertain terms his dismay over results of the race for City Council Position 6, in which incumbent Fred Chang easily beat challenger Amy Igloi-Matsuno.

Coppola in his blog elaborated on his decision not to endorse Igloi-Matsuno, even though he endorsed incumbent Carolyn Powers over challenger Cindy Lucarelli in the position 2 race. “I believed Amy should win on her own. I didn’t want her tarred with any negativity that could be attributed to me.”

What negativity? I asked.

“I knew that Fred Chang was out there talking about the mayor’s salary,” Coppola said, referencing the council’s decision to give full-time compensation for the mayor’s position for the first six months of 2009. The decision, the council discovered on closer look at the WACs, will remain in effect through the remainder of Coppola’s term. The law allows a council to increase a sitting mayor’s salary, but not to reduce it until the seat comes up for election.

Coppola in his blog slammed Chang, saying “… what has disturbed me the most were reports from people who stated that when doorbelled by Chang, he claimed to be ‘…the only council member who opposed the Mayor tripling his own salary.’ It doesn’t get much sleazier than that.”

The factual inaccuracy of the statement in quotes is that the mayor doesn’t adjust his own salary the council does.

I asked, could those who bent the mayor’s ear by chance have misinterpreted Chang? Coppola said several people called him during the campaign, and the message was similar enough to convince him that Chang had been using the mayoral salary issue as a political wedge.

Chang today said he he knows full well how the process works and would not have made such a statement. He has always supported the idea of a full-time mayor, he said. But he has always felt the matter should be put to a vote of city residents (as does Fred Olin). Chang said he probably did agree to the concept of a full-time mayor in the September work study session Coppola mentions, but it’s also true he voted against two ordinances related to the mayor’s salary when they came before the council.

“I don’t think I’ve ever made it (the salary issue) personal about the mayor,” said Chang, who hopes he and Coppola can resume the “productive” working relationship they had before the election.

Coppola, too, said election-related prickliness won’t change dynamics on the council. When the dust settles, it will be business as usual.

On the topic of endorsements, I asked Coppola if, in endorsing Powers, he didn’t worry she, too, would be harmed by the “negativity” he feared would harm Igloi-Matsuno’s campaign. He didn’t.

“Carolyn is not a political neophyte. Amy was,” he said.
“I wanted her to win if she was going to win on her own terms.”

2 thoughts on “Mayor Coppola on the Mend (and Feisty) After Recent Surgery

  1. Coppola was in the hospital for six days. Throughout the ordeal he dropped 30 pounds, and it shows. He’s been working short days, 7 or 8 hours versus 12 to 15, annoyed with having to slow down and impatient to get back up to speed.

    Some people just don’t listen. What part of ‘take it easy’ didn’t you understand? 😉

  2. Take it easy, Lary! We want to be around for a long time. Besides, “Grandpa” is a far more prestigious and long term title of honor than “Mayor”. 😉

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