Tag Archives: Lary Coppola

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.”

The Chang – Igloi-Matsuno Race: A Footnote

Tomorrow evening, we’ll know the outcome of the race for Port Orchard City Council Position 6 between incumbent Fred Chang and challenger Amy Igloi-Matsuno. I’d like to address a comment posted during the campaign on a letter to the editor.

As I wrote in my coverage of the race, Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola has been clear he admires Igloi-Matsuno’s business savvy and community involvement. But he has not officially endorsed her, as he has incumbent Carolyn Powers in her race against Cindy Lucarelli for Position 2. That has raised public speculation about the possibility of Coppola’s providing behind-the-scenes support to Igloi-Matsuno’s campaign.

Kkurly, in a comment on an Oct. 8 letter to the editor, questioned Igloi-Matsuno’s use of Coppola’s Wet Apple Media for graphic work related to her campaign, suggesting it would be a gift. Kkurley said, “Let’s ask Amy to do this before the election….pay her bill to Wet Apple printing.” In fact, a filing submitted Oct. 27 to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission shows she has. The statement of revenue and expenditures from Igloi-Matsuno’s campaign treasurer Jennifer Christine shows the bill for $5,075 was paid Oct. 16. Services were for “graphic design for all printed materials and Web site design.”

For the record, Christine is a Wet Apple employee who also volunteered for Coppola’s campaign in 2008. She said she does not make filings on company time.

PO Mayor Convenes Stakeholders Group

Parking is the major issue in downtown, merchants say.
By Chris Henry
Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola has convened an ad hoc group of downtown business and property owners to “express their concerns and frustrations, and discuss what they believe the city can do to address their issues.”
Coppola said he tapped prospective members he believes represent a cross-section of downtown interests.
In an e-mail to city council members, he added, “I have made it very clear to the folks I’ve talked to that this is to be positive and
solution-oriented — not just an opportunity to complain.”
That won’t be a problems with at least one group member.
“I think it’s really good that Lary is getting involved and asking what he can do to help us,” said Liana Laughlin, owner of That’s Beautiful bead and jewelry shop. “I haven’t really had a problem with the city itself. I think the people involved are really trying to help the businesses.”
Laughlin said if anything it’s the merchants who needs to do a better job of working together to support each other. For example, she said, they should coordinate hours of operation, especially during special events.
Group member Mallory Jackson, owner of Custom Picture Framing on Bay Street, has challenged the city in the past on parking related to downtown festivals. Parking remains an issue, she said. In addition, Jackson believes the city should support a variety of businesses, not only those that profit from special event traffic.
“I’m not a business that thrives on the festivals and events,” Jackson said.
“As a matter of fact, the closure of the road and the parking has really hurt me over this past year.”
Group member Darryl Baldwin, owner of Moondogs, Too and president of the Port Orchard Bay Street Association, said parking is the pivotal issue in downtown. He supports Jackson’s position but says, as long as the parking is addressed, there should be more, not fewer special events to “give people a reason to come downtown.”
“Each of these events supports different merchants with different products,” Baldwin said. “But as a whole, all the merchants benefit.”
Other members of the group include Van Vlist of Dick Vlist Motors, Judy Eagelson of the Mentor Company, John Reddy of Puget Sound Wine Cellar, Amy Igloi-Matsuno of Amy’s on the Bay and Rudy Swenson of Rings and Things.

PO Mayor: Is Facebook the Place to Conduct City Business?

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola met today with officials from the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau to talk about a renewal of cooperation between the two entities.

The meeting was the result of a testy exchange Feb. 3 between Coppola and Jean Boyle, the bureau’s tourism development director, on Coppola’s Facebook page.

Coppola said he and city council members are trying to upgrade Port Orchard’s reputation from being the “junk drawer of Kitsap County.” The “junk drawer” label, Coppola said, came out of a Kitsap Economic Development Alliance meeting on the KEDA’s “Kitsap 20/20” plan. Apparently made by someone in jest, it stung city officials and representatives of the PO Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is working on a “branding” campaign to help PO overcome its inferiority complex, and city officials are trying to move the city into up-and-coming mode, hoping to shed what City Councilman Jerry Childs has called a “poverty of spirit.”

Coppola remains the personification of Port Orchard’s mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-anymore attitude. Referencing Port Orchard’s decision not to allocate any of its 2009 hotel-motel tax funds to the VCB, he told Boyle, “The KPVCB has a LOT to prove to Port Orchard if it ever expects to receive our future support.”

Coppola established his Facebook page “a couple of months ago” primarily to connect with people he has worked with writing car reviews for the automotive industry. He has 103 “friends” on the social networking site, including representatives of local businesses and organizations, and he has made some postings related to the city of Port Orchard.

“I probably shouldn’t have said anything to Jean up there (on Facebook),” Coppola said. “On the other hand, it led to this meeting.”

What do you think? Is Facebook a good way for public officials to promote informal discourse about local affairs? What are the risks? The potential benefits?

Coppola on the Pros and Cons of Mayoral Pay Hike

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola is seeking approval from the city council for an increase in the mayor’s salary from $19,738 per year, which funds a part-time position, to more than $60,000 for a full-time position. Coppola issued a statement documenting his arguments for the increase and addressing arguments against the proposal.

Here’s the Cliff notes version (full text below the fold):

Headings in the “for” category:

It’s more than a full-time job.

We have not had a seat at the table when decisions impacting both the City and Kitsap County in general have been made.

We have relied on our South Kitsap Commissioner to look out for our interests when the city should be proactive

It’s impossible to do this job and hold another job.

It’s impossible to do this job part-time and move the city forward

Arguments he addresses against making the change to a full-time mayor:

The current mayor should have researched this before deciding to run for office

Synopsis: He did, but the requirement to represent the city on numerous boards and subcommittees of local agencies was not listed among the mayor’s duties in city code.

Any change like this should be voted on by the people:

Synopsis: Port Orchard is a second class city (population-wise) so this decision by law rests with the city council, not voters. Even if it were, codifying the mayor’s pay rate by a vote would remove the flexibility the council has to lower as well as raise the salary annually. The election would also cost taxpayers.

The financial realities of the decision:

Synopsis: Coppola says that the pending Fred Meyer annexation alone will bring in enough sales tax revenue to cover the increase.
Continue reading

PO Council to Consider a Raise for the Mayor

Dec. 2: Here’s the link the the story. One commenter on the story suggested a performance-based audit with measurable goals. Gil Michael, a PO resident and member of the city’s planning commission, suggested the same, praising the mayor and saying he deserves full-time compensation, but adding, there should be “a clearly measurable list of performance standards.” The mayor has expressed a willingness to have results of his administration scrutinized. He is confident that pending annexations will bring in more than enough sales tax revenue to justify (and cover) the expenditure on a sustainable basis. He said, “I come from the private sector where I’m used to having to produce. I’m not afraid to go out and put myself on the line for this.”

Tonight, I’ll be covering a public hearing on the City of Port Orchard’s draft 2009 budget, which includes a proposal to raise the mayor’s salary.

The item on the city’s supplemental budget, if approved, would raise Mayor Lary Coppola’s annual salary from $19,738 per year, which funds a part-time position, to more $60,000, for a full-time position.
The increase, however, would be approved for only the first six months of 2009. The council would revisit the issue and could extend the new pay scale for the remainder of the year contingent on the availability of revenue from pending annexations.

Coppola said the increase would be justified, because he spends 50 to 60 hours per week in his duties as mayor, including representing the city on a number of boards.

Councilman John Clauson, chairman of the finance committee, said he supports the proposed raise.
“I think it’s very fair,” Clauson said prior to the meeting. “The committee was very sympathetic to the amount of hours he puts in.”

Clauson noted, however, that Coppola ran for the position knowing it was funded part-time.

Former Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel said, like Coppola, she spent 50 to 60 hours a week working on behalf of the city.

“If you really want to make sure the city’s where it’s supposed to be, that the amount of time it takes,” she said.

Abel said she didn’t consider asking for a raise, figuring the city needed to increase its staffing first. She said Coppola’s proposal is a “reasonable request,” but she would like to see such a decision taken out of the budget process and made part of a “big picture” discussion of the city’s growth.

Check back here later tonight for a link to the story. And let me know what you think about the proposal.

Port Orchard Wants to Take $#!& From SKIA

It really does come down to sewers.

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola, in his South Kitsap Industrial Area Multi-Jurisdictional Implementation Proposal, issued March 27, spoke in a general way of shared costs and revenues from the proposed industrial park. But the city’s primary claim to its piece of the SKIA pie is as a provider of waste water treatment, he told Kitsap County Commissioners Jan Angel and Steve Bauer at a summit with city council members Monday at City Hall. A 2003 memorandum of understanding between the city and the Port of Bremerton gives Port Orchard the legal backing to support its stance, Coppola said. At stake is substantial revenue from sewer service provided to SKIA, money the city will need as it is impacted by increased traffic from the area, Coppola said.

Coppola asked Angel, representing South KItsap, for an official statement of support for the city’s position. But Angel declined, saying, “I’m just going to put it on the table, the Port of Bremerton, part of the City of Bremerton and Port Orchard are all in my district. That’s why the county has stepped back and not taken a position, because we didn’t really feel it was our place to do so.”
Coppola said the city is prepared to dig in and defend its $21.5 million investment in Karcher Creek’s waste water treatment plant, made in large part with SKIA in mind.
“We’ve invested $4.5 million from our treasury and the balance in bonds, and we’re not walking away from that,” said Coppola.

Read the complete story later at kitsapsun.com. Read Bremerton Beat reporter Andy Binion’s post on public perception of conflict between Bremerton and Port Orchard here.

Other issues of mutual interest discussed at the summit included:

McCormick Woods annexation: Angel said the county supports the annexation, even though it would mean reduced revenue for the county. Discussion centered on how the county and city would share responsibilities and revenues (in the form of impact fees) from the area.

Under an inter-local agreement between the county and Kitsap cities, transfer of revenue would be phased in over three years, with 75 percent going to the county in the first year of annexation, 50 percent the  next and 25 percent the next. Councilman John Clauson suggested responsibility for maintenance of roads to be assumed by the city could be similarly phased in.

Angel said the board of commissioners needs to discuss the annexation and make its recommendation.

Council members requested that the board put McWoods high on its list of priorities. “I would just comment maybe the sooner the better,” said Carolyn Powers. “We have a lot of people out at McCormick Woods chomping at the bit, and we can’t do it on our own.”

Bethel Corridor: The county is taking a survey to see if taxpayers would support any of several measures to fund major improvements to the 1.7-mile stretch of road that is South Kitsap’s major commercial thoroughfare. If not, the project that has been in the works since 2000 will be kaput.

“If people aren’t willing to pay anything, we don’t have a project,” Angel said. “A lot of people believe there is money to do this project. There is not.”

Coppola said that a number of Bethel property owners have approached the city about annexation. The city is likely to eventually annex the whole Bethel corridor.

Givens Center and Veteran’s Memorial Park: The county has offered the Givens Center to the City of Port Orchard, not as a gift. No suggested sale price has been mentioned. The city is analyzing the potential benefits and liabilities of the proposal, said James Weaver, the city’s director of planning and development. Jan Angel said she began talking with Copploa about the proposal when he took office in January.”I was hoping you were going to offer a price tonight,” said Angel, mostly in jest.

“I thought you wanted to give it to us,” said Coppola, also joking.

Angel said it would also be logical for the city to assume responsibility for Veteran’s Memorial Park, which is in city limits. The county understands that the city is working to create a parks department and that they would not be likely to take over the park until that had happened.