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Port Orchard prepares for City Council contests

Four incumbent members of the Port Orchard City Council who have indicated they will seek re-election, and at least two challengers have shown interest in denying the incumbents another term in office.

The biggest question mark concerns Carolyn Powers, who would be running for a sixth term and is the second-longest-serving council member.

Powers has been mum about her intentions, and has stopped short of a formal declaration of candidacy.

“I would like to serve another term,” she said. “I think I still have a lot to offer. This particular council is a good team. We respect each other and conduct ourselves in a civil manner.”

Powers said this has not always been true, but has become so again in the last few years.

Other incumbents expected to file for re-election are Fred Chang (elected 2005), Jerry Childs (elected 2007) and Rob Putaansuu (appointed to fill the seat of Tye Moore and elected 2007).

Potential challengers include Amy Igloi Matsuno, who owns Amy’s on the Bay in Port Orchard, and Cindy Lucarelli, who challenged John Clauson in 2007 and lost by 49 votes.

“I am strongly considering running for city council,” Matsuno said on Tuesday. “A lot of people have asked me to run.”

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola, who has privately promised support to some of the candidates, said he is not making any endorsements at this time.

“I will have to work with whomever is eventually elected, so it’s inappropriate for me to publicly support any particular candidate at this juncture,” he said. “While this particular council has been very productive and works quite well together, it wouldn't surprise me to see one or two changes.”

Even while taking no position, he sent an e-mail to the Port Orchard Independent that singled out Powers, Childs, Putaansuu and Matsuno for praise.

“Amy’s extensive knowledge of finance and business would bring a higher level of understanding that will be very helpful to the council,” he said. “But more importantly, since most of the council falls into about a 10-year span of age, as a much younger, and highly successful entrepreneur, Amy will also bring a completely different long-term perspective to the council — one that it will need to consider going into the future.”

Lucarelli said she had decided to make another try but had not yet determined which member to oppose.

Matsuno is similarly uncommitted but will most likely challenge Chang, according to several sources.

“I have heard someone will run against me,” Chang said. “I would be surprised if each one of us did not have an opponent.”

It is unlikely that Lucarelli will challenge Childs, since they are working together to organize the upcoming Cedar Cove Days.

By this logic, Lucarelli will run against either Powers or Putaansuu.

“I enjoy serving on the council,” Putaansuu said. “It’s a form of community service and we have a good group of people.”

Added Childs, “We are all working together, and there still is a lot left to do.”

Candidates file for office during the first week of June. All six of the potential candidates acknowledged their intention to run, but stopped short of formal declarations of candidacy due to Public Disclosure laws. Upon a formal declaration, a candidate has two weeks to file the necessary paperwork.

All candidates wanted to have the paperwork ready before making the commitment, even though it is not required by law.

Several of the candidates were also uncertain about which paperwork would be required. Municipalities with fewer than 1,000 do not require paperwork, while those less than 5,000 need candidates to file a basic disclosure form.

With more than 5,000 a full disclosure is required.

Port Orchard currently has 3,727 registered voters, but the expected annexation of McCormick Woods will push population above the 5,000 mark.

Municipal candidates for the mayor or city council, however, will not need to file full financial disclosure until the 2011 election, as the limit is defined by the number of voters in the previous election.

The McCormick Woods annexation will not occur prior to June 6, eliminating the opportunity for subdivision residents to run in this year’s municipal election.

However, they will certainly vote in the Nov. 3 general election or, if the annexation occurs prior to July 18, the August 18 primary.

A primary is not a sure thing, and will not occur unless a single race draws three candidates.

So if each incumbent draws a single challenger or no opposition city residents would not receive a primary ballot.

This would save the city money, as each jurisdiction pays the cost of an election. This cost cannot be calculated until all candidates have filed, and is based on the number of candidates in the individual jurisdictions.

The cost to Port Orchard ranges from nothing (if no local candidates file) to about $30,000 (if Port Orchard is the only jurisdiction with a primary contest).

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