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Time to choose
Voters will receive their 2011 general election ballots in the mail this week.
Here's a summary of the races for Port Orchard mayor, Port Orchard City Council, Port of Bremerton, Kitsap County commissioner and South Kitsap School District board:
Port Orchard mayor
Lary Coppola is seeking re-election to a second term, campaigning on his management experience and leadership skills, and on his record of shaping up the city's finances and improving the business climate in Port Orchard during his first four years in office.
"Our city is now in better financial shape than most cities in the state," is a line Coppola delivers regularly while campaigning.
He says he's been successful running the city like a business, and he's promised to announce a plan soon for revitalizing the city's waterfront commercial area.
His opponent is Tim Matthes, a Puget Sound Naval Shipyard retiree who currently serves on the city Planning Commission and is chair of the Kitsap County Board of Equalization, which hears appeals of property tax assessments.
Matthes has tried to make an issue of the lack of public participation in city government, citing particularly the "code city" decision, which Matthes supports putting to a public vote. He's also expressed criticism that he says is echoed in the community of how the mayor deals with people.
He doesn't dispute that a lot has been accomplished during Coppola's administration, but Matthes says "How he's done it is almost as important to me as what he's done."
Port Orchard City Council, Position 5
Cindy Lucarelli is making her third run for City Council, having lost by only 12 votes to Carolyn Powers in 2009. This time, she says she’s “better prepared than ever” for the job, because she has regularly attended City Council meetings and economic development and tourism committee meetings for the past five years. Lucarelli, a former small business owner, is executive director of the Cedar Cove Association, the nonprofit organization that staged the successful Cedar Cove Days in Port Orchard in 2009.
Amy Miller says Port Orchard will thrive if local families “stay, play and pay” locally. The stay-at-home-mother of two girls got involved advocating for parks after moving to Port Orchard. She says she hopes to be “a voice for families” if elected to the City Council. Miller thinks the council should use social media and email to keep citizens informed about key issues, to market the city’s pro-business attitude to companies who may be interested in moving here, and to advertise local businesses to people who come to the city to work at the county government buildings.
Port Orchard City Council, At-large
Jerry Childs, a self-styled “visionary” and “activist,” says he should be re-elected for a third term as Port Orchard’s at-large city councilman because of his repeated successes. Childs was elected to the City Council after a 40-year career with the fire department in Seattle. He says investing in events and infrastructure improvements will help “up Port Orchard’s image.” He's helped plan several city events, including Cedar Cove Days and the Festival of Chimes and Lights, and has been a major advocate for a pathway along Port Orchard’s waterfront.
Ben Pinneo, an English teacher at South Kitsap High School, says he’ll bring “a new voice, a new vision,” and “new results” to the City Council if he’s elected. Pinneo grew up in Olalla, and after college he returned to take a teaching job in the area, because he loves it here and wants to give back to the community, he says. Being in touch with youth will be a major asset on the council, he says.
Port of Bremerton commissioner
Axel Strakeljahn, general manager of the South Kitsap Fred Meyer, and Shawn Cucciardi, operator of the McCormick Woods golf course and restaurant, both stress their business credentials in campaigning for the port position.
They agree the port's mission is use its marine facilities, industrial park and airport property to spur economic development that will bring jobs to the area.
Cucciardi has the endorsement of numerous elected officials and area business leaders, while Strakeljahn maintains he would be an independent, nonpartisan voice on the port commission.
Kitsap County commissioner
Incumbent Rob Gelder is running against Republican challenger Chris Tibbs for Position 1, which represents North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island, although commissioners are elected in a countywide vote.
Gelder, a Democrat, was appointed to fill a mid-term vacancy on the three-member commission last spring, and whoever wins the election will serve the one-year unexpired term for Position 1. Gelder previously served on the Kitsap Citizens Budget Advisory Committee, and has worked for more than 20 years in health and human services in the nonprofit sector.
Tibbs, who works as sales director for a coffee company, has been critical of how commissioners balanced the county budget and of how they deal with land-use issues such as revising the Shoreline Master Plan.
South Kitsap School District board
Gregory Wall and Adele Macomber LaCombe are running for the open school board seat.
Macomber LaCombe is a graduate of South Kitsap High School who has three children attending school in the district. She has been active as a volunteer in Girl Scouts and school groups, and says she wants to serve on the school board because successful schools are important in the community.
Wall is an attorney whose wife is an elementary school teacher in the district and whose three sons are SKHS graduates. He has served on the district's Instructional Materials Committee and as a volunteer in support of school levy and bond issues.