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Coppola to run for Mayor

Placing the first game piece on the board, Lary Coppola, publisher of the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal and a Kitsap County Planning Commission member, has announced his plan to run for Mayor of Port Orchard.

If elected, Coppola said he hopes to decrease violent crime and improve economic development. He cited his 3-year-old grandson as a major reason why he’s running.

“I want him, when he gets done with college, to be able to come to Port Orchard and be able to find a family-wage job, for this to be a place he wants to live and wants to raise his family,” Coppola said. “The way it is now, this is not a place that young families can get a good start at.”

Coppola said he would remain publisher at the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal, but would not write the editorials.

His on-line blog, “West Sound Politics,” will shift to campaign news, but still remain linked to the front page of the newpaper’s Web site, www.kpbj.com

Mayor Kim Abel said the long hours — she works around 60 each week — and part-time pay — around $18,000 — contributed to her decision to not run for a second term this year.

Coppola, by contrast, said he believes the position should remain part-time.

“I believe that it can be done part-time if you’re a good time manager ... and you empower the people that work for you to make decisions and you trust them to make good decisions,” Coppola said. “People that do the active, physical work are close to problems and solutions. I give them the authority and we empower them to make decisions.”

Coppola only became eligible to run for mayor last year, when he moved from his home in Manchester to a home within Port Orchard city limits. He said this move differs similar action by Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown that Coppola openly criticized.

Brown moved to Kitsap County in late 2005 with the intention of seeking public office. He sought to establish residency in the Central Kitsap District in order to run for commissioner. In February, Judge Craddock Verser ruled there was no compelling

evidence that Brown lied about his residence.

“The difference is, I’ve lived here continually since 1975, where Josh (Brown) was a recent transplant,” Coppola said, adding that although Brown did attend high school in Kitsap County, he left for college and spent time in California before returning.

Focusing on his campaign goals, Coppola said he will knock on every door in Port Orchard twice, with his plans for crime prevention and economic development.

He said the city needs to tap into the money spent by boaters visiting the Peninsula. Port Orchard needs businesses downtown, such as a grocery store and marine supply store, “if we’re going to have any of that money.”

Coppola said he had no comments on Mayor Kim Abel’s accomplishments while in office, focusing more on his campaign than past actions, adding that “you deal with the cards you’re dealt.”

“I think Kim’s done the best job Kim could do,” he said. “Kim is privy to a lot more inside information than I am at this point. She’s probably made decisions based on information I do not have.”

Charlie Bermant contributed to this article.

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