Category Archives: 2007 Election

Big Turnout in Little Manchester for Port Primary

Mark Rebelowski, who looks likely to be moving on to the general election in the Port of Manchester race, has chastised me for not writing a story about the port race.

Here’s what he said.
“Chris….800 + votes in the tiny burb of Manchester yet we get no mention? I know the race is to close to call but how about at least a mention of it? Percentage wise we have far less voters then the City Of P O yet we had a better turn out…dont you think?”

Well, Mark, I agree with you. That’s a significant turn-out, and it shows the interest of citizens in the port during this time of change and development in Manchester. The editors have informed me that our policy is not to write about port races, water district races etc., unless there is a large looming elephant in the living room, as with the Port of Bremerton and the marina tax levy. Results on the Manchester port race were listed in a grid.

But because Manchester matters, here’s what I would have written.

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Childs and Fitzwater Advance in PO Council Primary

Both candidates say change is needed in council dynamics.
By Chris Henry
Results from the primary race for the Port Orchard City Council at-large seat to be vacated by Bob Geiger show Jerry Childs and Dick Fitzwater moving on to the November general election. Childs earned nearly 50 percent (49.69) and Fitzwater got nearly 31 percent (30.55) of the vote, with a total of 982 ballots cast.
The third candidate, attorney Dennis Xavier Goss, earned nearly 19 percent (18.64), and write-in candidates earned 1.12 percent of the vote.
Downtown redevelopment has taken center stage in the City Council race. The council has been working for more than a year on a downtown plan that could spell relief for the city’s economy, but some merchants and property owners are frustrated with how long it’s taken.
Childs was unavailable for comment, but Fitzwater said from what he’s learned in door-belling for the position, the biggest issue on voters’ minds is “lack of action by the council.”
Fitzwater said he took note of Childs’ lead in the race.
“I’m glad I made it through. I have a lot of work to do,” he said. “Jerry Childs got 50 percent of the vote; I’ve got 30 percent. I’ve got to do a little strategy and see where I go from here.”
A former manager of Karcher Creek Sewer District, Fitzwater has said his familiarity with local government entities would serve him well on the city council.
“I know how to analyze problems, achieve consensus, work with other government agencies, and make important decisions,” he said.
Fitzwater is a Bremerton native who has lived in Port Orchard since 1991.
Childs has called what’s ailing the city council “analysis paralysis.” He has said he would jump start council meetings by providing firm direction.
Childs has said he is for downtown redevelopment and would take a systematic approach to addressing funding and infrastructure shortcomings that stand in its way
A former Seattle resident, Childs moved from Bainbridge Island to Port Orchard two years ago. He has lived in Kitsap County for 17 years.
Childs has been a firefighter for 40 years and has worked in various positions with the Seattle Fire Department, including administrative roles. He is now the captain of Ladder 3 in the Seattle Central District and expects to retire in January.
Goss, who said he intentionally did not go door-belling, had the following comment, “Since I only put up signs and I wasn’t going to do any more, since it was out of my family’s pocket, I guess I got what I expected. I don’t feel bad, and I don’t see any ultimate change in Port Orchard.”

Coppola is Heavy Hitter in PO Mayoral Primary

Saunders said he’s “very pleased” to be moving on to the general election.
By Chris Henry
Port Orchard Mayoral Candidate Lary Coppola easily locked in a slot in the general election, earning just over 58 percent of votes (591 out of a total of 1,016) in today’s primary election. Tom Saunders will also move on, with 271 votes, nearly 27 percent of ballots cast.
Out of the running is candidate Kathleen Dolan-Bowes, who earned just over 13 percent of the vote with 136 of the ballots cast. Write-in candidates earned 18 votes or 1.77 percent.

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Meet the Candidates: Port of Manchester Position 3

Update Aug. 8: Candidate Mark Rebelowski called me yesterday to note that he only heard Monday about the candidate forum at 6 p.m. Aug. 11 at the the Manchester Library. According to forum organizer and candidate Dave Kimble, Kimble had been waiting for the Kitsap Sun to publicize the event as a means of notifying the other candidates. The forum is listed on our online calendar. Kimble notified the other candidates via e-mail of the forum after I asked on Monday if he’d heard how many were coming. He said in an e-mail to me he was “sorry for the late notice to them.”

P.S. Rebelowski is still a member of the carpenter’s union.

end update

The Port of Manchester race for has drawn four candidates for position 3 to be vacated by Bob Parks. A fifth candidate, Bill Stewart, withdrew his name, saying some others who have filed for the position reflect his views.

Strong interest in the port race reflects changing tides in the picturesque waterfront town. Development in the downtown core has stirred discussion of Manchester’s future and the role the port might play. Some favor the port exerting more of its economic development muscle. One candidate, Phil Paquette, is openly against having port commissioners expand the horizon of their responsibilities.

Another candidate, Dave Kimble, has organized a candidates forum at 6 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Manchester Library. The forum will be moderated by Port Orchard mayoral candidate Larry Coppola.

Tax Talk Continues

Steven Gardner writes:

I’m watching over the South Kitsap blog while Chris Henry is away. I guess I’ll have to tone down my jabs at Port Orchard.

Over on the Kitsap Caucus blog there is a bit of a discussion about the Port of Bremerton race, including much about how the tax increase remained dark for so long.

Driving through South Kitsap today I saw a lot of signs in support of Port Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington. Based on signs alone it would appear Martin DiIenno would be the other primary survivor, but I don’t know if signs are necessarily an indicator of who will win. If Huntington is the top vote getter Aug. 21, the next number to look at is whether she has more than 50 percent. If she’s first, but not the majority choice, the question becomes how big is the ABMAH contingent. If she’s in second, she’s in trouble.

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?

Mayoral Candidate Misused Grant Funds During OC Tenure

Update 3:40 p.m July 27: Dear readers, I updated this entry with a link to Lary Coppola’s farewell column (see below).

Politics is a messy business in which a candidate’s past can and often does come back to bite. Such is the case for Port Orchard Mayoral Candidate Kathleen Dolan-Bowes, who in 1997 was dismissed from her post as head of the Olympic College Office of Women’s Programs for misappropriation of grant funds.

Articles from the Kitsap Sun archives detail her downfall.
Dolan-Bowes, then Kathleen Dolan, was dismissed from her position as manager of the Office of Women’s Programs at the college March 31, 1997, after the state auditor’s office reported that she had used thousands of dollars in college grant funds to pay for personal expenses, including $2,266 toward her own master’s education and more than $800 to pay for her granddaughter’s child care expenses.
The allegations against Dolan-Bowes were submitted to the auditor’s office under the provisions of the Whistleblower Act, which allows state employees to confidentially report the misuse of state funds.

Dolan-Bowes subsequently filed a lawsuit against Olympic College for unspecified damages, claiming the termination of her employment at OC was retaliatory. But a Washington State Executive Ethics Board hearing determined the college had “reasonable cause” to believe Dolan’s violations had occurred, according to an article in the West Sound Sun, May 31, 1999. In a negotiated settlement, the story says, she admitted several violations and agreed to repay the misappropriated funds.

Dolan-Bowes, reached by phone Thursday, had no comment.

And while we’re on the topic of candidates’ past, the Kitsap Sun has a history with mayoral hopeful Lary Coppola. A former columnist for The Sun, Coppola was released from that appointment in June, 2004, for plagiarizing material from an editorial by Erin Shannon of the Building Industry Association of Washington.

In his farewell column, Coppola took his lumps and apologized to his readers. He also explained his actions, saying, “I’ve had blanket authority from BIAW for years to publish materials without attribution in any manner I found appropriate. … BIAW has permission to, and does, use my editorial material occasionally for its membership as well. … In retrospect, because I expressed myself partially in Erin’s words and not my own, I should have given credit to her, or quoted her directly. Because of my longstanding agreement with BIAW, I mistakenly didn’t see the necessity of doing that.”

Today, Kitsap Sun editors and I considered how to report on this episode of Coppola’s career as a community figure. In light of what we had learned about Dolan-Bowes, it seemed at first we ought to mention Coppola in the story. Later, I thought maybe a side bar. Ultimately, Editor Scott Ware and Local News Editor David Nelson decided that to include Coppola’s plagiarism in with Dolan-Bowes’ misappropriation of funds was inappropriate. Using others’ words without attribution is serious, yes, but not in the same league as using state grant funds for personal gain, an action that apparently had repercussions for another OC staff member and for its women’s programs. And besides Coppola did publicly admit to and apologize for his actions.

Just to be fair, we searched our archives for any other dirt that might be hiding under the rug on Coppola and the third candidate, Tom Saunders, covering the same span of time in which we searched for information on Dolan-Bowes, 1996 through the present. We found nothing on Saunders. And except for Coppola’s recurrent ability to raise people’s hackles in his columns and letters to the editor — especially on the issue of NASCAR, which he favored — he came up clean, as well.

Meet the Candidates: PO City Council

Update 3:15 p.m. Aug. 8:
Incorrect information on candidate Jerry Child’s employment was given in an article on the Port Orchard City Council primary race. Childs is the captain of Ladder 3 actively working a rescue unit/ladder truck fighting fire in the Seattle Central District. He has lived in Kitsap County 17 years.

Also to clarify Child’s position on downtown development, he says, “I am for downtown
revitalization with character and style that can make us all proud. I am not against redevelopment and support those who want to do so. I just think the council needs to put in place a plan (the DOD is NOT a redevelopment plan, but a series of zoning changes) complete with artist renderings of how the town might look and one that will shape our city and give us consistency that will attract business and visitors alike. We then need to prepare a list of infrastructure weaknesses, and important needs—such as money for improvements to our downtown storm water and electrical delivery systems and money for a parking garage – and then go get state/federal funds through the
grant writing process. ”

***end of update********

Three candidates are contending for the at-large seat on the Port Orchard City Council to be vacated in 2008 by long-time member Bob Geiger. Geiger, who has served on the council for 45 years, said in the spring he’s finally had enough.
Geiger’s is one of five positions up for grabs on the seven-member council. Only one race will be uncontested, as incumbent Rob Putaansuu seeks to hold onto his seat. Only the race for Geiger’s seat will go to the primary.
The city council has been wrestling with one another for the past year over a proposed downtown development plan that has yet to be adopted, and the issue of the council’s efficiency figured prominently at a Kitsap Sun editorial board meeting with the three primary candidates last month.

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Meet the Candidates: PO Mayor’s Race

Despite different styles and personalities, candidates agree new mayor must take charge.

Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel announced in early April she would not seek re-election at the end of her first term, leaving the race wide open. Vacant buildings in the downtown core are a glaring sign of the city’s potential yet to be achieved, even as some downtown business owners have worked to improve the appearance of the area. The Port Orchard City Council has been working for more than a year on a downtown plan that could spell relief for the city’s economy, but some merchants and property owners are frustrated with how long it’s taken. Constituents voting in the upcoming primary election will no doubt be looking for candidates who have a clear vision of Port Orchard’s future and the leadership skills needed to make it happen

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It’s Debatable: Mayoral Candidates Agree on Economy

Judging by today’s debate among Port Orchard Mayoral candidates, there’s not much to debate. What did become clear is the difference in personalities among the three.
Economic development dominated the agenda at the event, hosted at Le Garmache by the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce. And all three candidates — Tom Saunders, Kathleen Dolan-Bowes and Lary Coppola — agreed the city needs leadership and a plan to succeed.

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