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COUNTY NEWS: Mahan begins campaign; Coppola may stay on planning board

MAHAN WANTS TO SUCCEED ANGEL--South Kitsap resident Monty Mahan is the only declared candidate for the county commissioner seat now occupied by Jan Angel.

“I am actively campaigning,” Mahan said this week. “And I have a lot of friends on both sides.”

Mahan, 50, said he has filed the required public disclosure documents. He plans to formally announce his candidacy in early 2008.

Mahan, a Democrat, said he has a lot of respect for Angel, who is Republican. He said that he would not be a candidate if Angel had chosen to run again.

Mahan currently works for Pierce County. He formerly worked in the Kitsap County Department of Community Development and served on the Kitsap County Planning Commission.

Mahan said his three priorities as commissioner, in no order of importance, are community planning, safety and transportation.

“No commissioner has ever made transportation a priority,” Mahan said. “And no commissioner has ever paid any attention to public works. I find public works exciting, You are building things that have a long-term effect. It is the part of government that touches everyone.”

Mahan said that budget. “is where the fun is. When you fund policy you make policy.”

Mahan is the son of Port of Bremerton Commissioner Bill Mahan, who served as South Kitsap Commissioner for 20 years ending in 1979. While calling his father “a legend” the younger Mahan said that every time he is quoted in local papers it is always appended with a ”son of...” notation. As his campaign continues this will presumably change.

Mahan could face a primary battle, as both Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel and former South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido have indicated they may be interested in the position, but neither has made an official announcement. And no Republican candidate has yet surfaced.

Mahan is attempting to develop cross-party appeal and also hopes to earn the respect of North and Central Kitsap residents.

“Maybe the Republicans will like me so much they won’t run anyone at all,” he said.

COPPOLA MAY STAY ON BOARD--Port Orchard Mayoral Candidate Lary Coppola said this week that he had not decided whether to remain on the Kitsap County Planning Commission should he win the November election.

“I haven’t given it any thought,” Coppola said. “I wouldn’t mind staying on, although I would recuse myself from any votes that concerned Port Orchard.”

Coppola was first appointed to the Planning Commission in 2001 by South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel. Whether or not he stays on the Planning Commission throughout 2008 he said he would not seek another four year term.

He also noted he is scheduled to serve as Planning Commission chair in 2008, which means he will only vote in case of a tie.

There is no policy that forbids an elected official from serving on a volunteer board, although Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown said it in this case represents a “conflict of interest.”

Angel, however, is the only person that matters in this case. Volunteer Services Coordinator Jan Koske said the absence of a statute gives Angel the option to decide whether the dual positions are appropriate.

Angel, at this time, said she had no problem with Coppola serving on both boards.

“I talked to Lary about whether it would be a conflict of interest,” she said. “He indicated that he could do both jobs.”

Angel said that it would be a benefit for someone who served on the Planning Commission to also sit on the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council’s board. All elected officials have obligations to KRCC.

If Coppola resigns before his term expires then Angel would have the opportunity to appoint his successor. As it stands, they are both scheduled to leave office at the end of 2008.

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