Election will put at least one newcomer on City Council
By KAITLIN STROHSCHEIN
Port Orchard Independent Reporter
October 17, 2011 · Updated 6:00 PM
Both candidates for Fred Olin’s seat on the Port Orchard City Council are moms with business experience. And those aren’t the only similarities between them.
Both candidates — veteran campaigner Cindy Lucarelli and newcomer Amy Miller — got involved in local politics through volunteer work, shortly after moving to the area.
Miller moved to the McCormick Woods neighborhood in 2006 and joined planning groups for several local parks, helping with plans for the McCormick Village Park and South Kitsap Regional Park.
“Going to all of these meetings, it became very clear to me that there was something missing on the council — a consistent voice for families,” she said at an Oct. 6 debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Kitsap.
“I’m connected to how families act in the town,” Miller continued. “I know what’s missing and what they would like to see, and I think I can be that voice.”
She has been on the board and a past president of the Port Orchard MOMS Club, a support group for local mothers. She organized the group’s Daddy Daughter Dance in 2010, which 400 fathers and daughters attended, raising approximately $2,500 for nonprofit organizations.
Lucarelli also got involved in the community shortly after moving to the area.
She moved from Madison, Wis., in 2002, and shortly after co-founded a neighborhood association that expressed concerns about building height during discussions about Port Orchard’s downtown plan.
Four years ago, she challenged Councilman John Clauson for City Council Position 4 and lost by about 50 votes. She ran again in 2009 against Carolyn Powers, for Position 2, looing her second bid by only 12 votes.
This time, she says, she’s “better prepared than ever” for the job.
“I have been regularly attending the meetings for five years. I have been actively involved the past five years,” she said. “I’ve been here and heard the discussions.”
Lucarelli is part of the city’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee, and she is president of the Cedar Cove Association, which has promoted the area as the site of local author Debbie Macomber’s best-selling Cedar Cove series.
Lucarelli also started a group for families of children with special needs.
“I have one daughter who was born blind and helped me see the world in a whole different light,” Lucarelli said. “When she was young, I helped found a support group for families of children with special needs. That was the beginning of a lifetime of my advocating and volunteering on behalf of families.”
Besides their volunteer work, both candidates have said that their careers helped prepare them for the job.
Miller graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Animal Sciences, and spent the next nine years working in the pet food industry.
Lucarelli owned a floral business in Madison for 21 years. She also owned an advertising business.
“I have more than 25 years of experience with business ownership,” she said. “That experience was the perfect teacher of fiscal responsibility.”
The two also have similar plans, if they’re elected.
Both would like to learn more about the code city issue before deciding if Port Orchard should become one.
“I think that, from the information I have thus far, Port Orchard would do wonderfully as a code city,” Lucarelli said, although she agreed with the City Council’s decision to put off the switch for now, to avoid the expense of putting it on a special-election ballot.
The candidates differed, slightly, in their answer to the question: What should the city do, if anything, to improve transparency?
Miller said that they should use social media, such as Facebook, to get the word out about meetings.
Lucarelli said that the city was already going above and beyond any reasonable obligations for transparency.
Both support the city’s moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries.
“The moratorium should allow the city and staff time to put those regulations in place,” Miller said.
Lucarelli said she’d eventually like to see the moratorium lifted.
“Marijuana is a necessity for some of the patients,” she said. “The dispensary idea, I would have loved to see come through a pharmacy.”
Both also favor the idea of bringing a YMCA to Port Orchard.
“I am a member of the YMCA in Gig Harbor,” Miller said, adding that she’s sad to take her tax dollars out of the city when she visits it.
Lucarelli noted: “People who need it the most may not have transportation to Silverdale or Gig Harbor.”
Both candidates have online presence for their campaigns. Miller’s website is www.voteformiller.webs.com, and Lucarelli's website is www.cindyforcitycouncil.com.