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Pinneo brings ‘optimism, pragmatism’ to city council race
Ben Pinneo, who just finished his third year as a sophomore and senior English teacher at South Kitsap High School, plans to challenge incumbent Jerry Childs, for Port Orchard’s at-large city council seat.
Teaching has helped prepare Pineo for the job, he believes.
“I love my role,” he said. “I think that being in charge of 150 kids in a trimester, and all the other roles I’ve taken on as a leader of clubs, has prepared me for leadership.”
Being a young teacher also gives Pinneo the perspective of the younger generation, he said.
“I have this sense that, when people hit 18, they want to move out of here,” he said. “There’s not a lot for that 20-something, 30-something crowd, and there’s that sense that everything better is in Tacoma, Seattle or somewhere else.”
And, he added, maybe being in touch with younger generations will give him the ability to offer some fresh perspective.
“It seems like, because our demographics are skewed to 55 and over, anything new has negative connotations,” he said. “I would like to bring a sense of optimism and pragmatism to the way in which the decisions get broached.”
Being a teacher also has taught Pinneo the importance of demanding results.
“I just believe in accountability,” he said. “There is no A for effort. Demand results. There is nothing to be gained from not trying your hardest all the time.”
He’s working as a teacher, he says, for the same reasons he’d work as a city council member — to make South Kitsap a better place.
“The $9,000 salary isn’t a priority for me,” he said. “It’s what could you accomplish and what you get as a result from it.”
He has a few specific ideas about what to change from watching the city council meeting videos online, he said.
The Bay Street Alehouse, he noticed, couldn’t hang up its sign because the zoning laws were tough, he said.
“Because of the zoning laws, now, it’s just leaning against the building,” he said.
“A lot of these things seem straightforward, and they get hung up on all the complexity,” Pinneo said, and instead, they should ask: “What’s the simplest solution we could attain for the business and the city?”