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Lucarelli hopes for success in her third run for city council

Cindy Lucarelli plans to challenge Amy Miller for Position 5 on Port Orchard
Cindy Lucarelli plans to challenge Amy Miller for Position 5 on Port Orchard's city council.
— image credit: courtesy photo

Cindy Lucarelli lost a bid for Port Orchard’s city council to John Clauson, by about 50 votes four years ago. She lost again, to Carolyn Powers, by 12 votes, two years ago.

She’s running again this year, and she thinks her chances of success are better than ever.

This year, she’ll have several advantages that she didn’t have other years, she said, including: five years of listening to city council meetings, political knowledge from two campaigns and an opponent who’s new to the political field.

“Both (Powers and Clauson) have been in office for more than 20 years,” she said, and they’re quite entrenched in the community.

Amy Miller, Lucarelli’s current opponent, doesn’t have that advantage.

And she’s not the grizzled veteran of two city council campaigns that Lucarelli is.

Lucarelli said that those campaigns showed her which issues citizens cared about, and what they’d like to see from their city councilmen.

“As I was campaigning,” she said, “I heard whole neighborhoods speak out on issues that still remain unsettled.”

For example, many locals didn’t like the idea of installing a round-about at the intersection of Tremont Street and Pottery Avenue, she said.

Their concerns “seem to have fallen on deaf ears as a small round-about only grew larger and more invasive to a family-centered neighborhood,” Lucarelli said.

“A lot of the reasons (the city councilmen) gave for supporting the roundabout were really disappointing,” she said. “It was almost like, ‘it’s not in my backyard, so I don’t need to worry about it.’ ”

The roundabout isn’t the only major issue the city council ignored citizen’s opinions about, she said.

They also failed to listen to opposition for a new parking garage downtown, which cost $56,000 per stall according to a recent estimate.

Lucarelli would listen to citizens if she got elected, she said, though she’s formed some of her own opinions already, based on the numerous city council’s meetings over the past five years.

She plans to take a conservative approach to finances if she’s elected, she said.

“With the economic decline and very limited resources,” she said, “we need to look to the most basic investments: water main and storm water pipes, sewer lines and infrastructure investments that simply cannot be put on hold much longer without needing to pay out more money in the long run.”

She learned the importance of fiscal responsibility, she said, during 23 years as an owner of an advertizing agency and a flower shop specializing in events, she said.

“We went through some times kind of like now with economic decline,” she said. “It was pretty stressful at times.”

“That’s a good, solid background,” she said. “You need to learn to tweak the business for what works at the time.”

Right now, she thinks it would help Port Orchard’s economy to become more of a tourist destination through thoughtful planning and zoning.

“I think that careful planning is really important,” she said. “There hasn’t been much of a city plan.”

A good city plan could really boost Port Orchard’s economy, she said.

“Some communities actually have themes,” she said, “like Leavenworth. To a degree, that kind of works.”

Lucarelli thinks she’s learned what it takes steer the city in the right direction, through leadership experience with numerous clubs and city groups through the years.

She’s currently the executive director for the Cedar Cove Association, a committee that plans an annual city festival for fans of local, bestselling author Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series based on the town.

She's also spent two years on the city's economic development and tourism committee, and helped organize the Jingle Bell Run, for arthritis.

“I come better equipped to run for City Council than every,” she said, “with a track record of City involvement.”

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