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City councilman a big donor to anti-Coppola group’s ads

Port Orchard City Councilman Fred Chang donated $500 to the political committee that has sent out fliers attacking Mayor Lary Coppola.

Chang is one of three people who made $500 contributions to People for a Better Port Orchard, according to campaign records provided by the committee. The other two big donors are Steve Sego of Port Orchard and Jon Yamamura of Manchester.

The Independent tried to contact Chang for this story, but he did not return a call Wednesday night after a message was left on his phone. Chang is not up for re-election this year.

Listed as a $250 donor is Gil Michael, who along with his wife, Kathy, has been actively involved supporting the campaign of Tim Matthes, who is running against Coppola in the mayor’s race.

Matthes has said he had nothing to do with the activities of People for a Better Port Orchard.

The second of two fliers the group sent out recently cites city crime statistics in an attempt to refute claims Coppola has made in his re-election campaign that the crime rate has gone down in Port Orchard during his four years as mayor. (See related story, Page 1A)

Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend told the Independent that Gil Michael submitted multiple requests recently for police department records of crime statistics.

Reached earlier this week by phone at his business, Cedar Cove Inn, Michael’s only comment was that he requested the crime statistics to check claims Coppola was making during the campaign about the crime rate going down.

The financial records of People for a Better Port Orchard were provided to the Independent, in compliance with state Public Disclosure Commission rules, by the committee’s treasurer, Rebekah Johnson, who is a full-time college student.

PDC rules allow political candidates and committees to file under a mini-reporting category, which limits them to collecting and spending no more than $5,000.

Such groups are not required to file reports with the PDC listing their donors, but they must allow inspection of their records of campaign contributors and expenditures upon request.

The Matthes campaign and People for a Better Port Orchard both registered under the mini-reporting option.

Matthes has raised about $4,800, with his own money accounting for nearly half that amount. He has spent most of the $5,000 allowed.

Coppola has raised almost $15,000 for his campaign and spent $7,241, according to PDC filings.

People for a Better Port Orchard has received $2,875 and spent $2,819.

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