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PO Council candidates prepare to file

Unless more candidates emerge, at least two members of the Port Orchard City Council will be re-elected without opposition.

“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest in running for council,” said Mayor Lary Coppola, “which may indicate that people are satisfied with the way things are going.”

Candidate filing begins on Monday and extends through the end of the week.

As it stands, all four incumbents plan to run for another term, and two challengers have announced they intend to enter the contest — although neither has officially targeted an opponent.

The discussion exists on two levels, private conversation and public announcements. Privately, all the candidates have expressed the intention to run.

Publicly, incumbents Jerry Childs, Fred Chang and Rob Putaansuu, as well as challenger Amy Igloi Matsuno, have declared their candidacy.

Carolyn Powers, the longest-serving incumbent on this year’s ballot, has not formally announced her intention to run.

Cindy Lucarelli, who fell short of defeating incumbent John Clauson by 39 votes in 2007, has also been circumspect.

Lucarelli and Matsuno were the only council hopefuls to attend a candidate workshop sponsored by the Kitsap County Auditor earlier this month.

While Lucarelli made no commitments, she said it was likely she and Matsuno would discuss their plans so they do not end up in the same race. If the two were to run against each other they would hurt their respective chances, as well as forcing the city to hold a primary election.

Matsuno is likely to oppose Chang, according to several sources.

Lucarelli probably will not oppose Childs, since they are working together in the production of the upcoming Cedar Cove Days.

Candidates often wait until the last minute to make their intentions known, so it is possible more will emerge before next Friday’s deadline.

However, there are no blips on the council radar. If this holds, two incumbent council members will essentially be elected to a second term at the close of business June 5.

“I would really like to see more challengers come forward,” Chang said. “It makes it more interesting.” 

Chang expressed respect for Matsuno, saying, “I really would like to work with Amy, although that’s unlikely if she runs against me.”

Matsuno, 28, has generated a buzz around her candidacy due to her youth and experience.

“Amy is well-thought-of and well-liked,” said Planning Commissioner Gil Michael, who has run for council in the past. “She has run a successful business and we need that kind of experience on the council.”

Michael expressed disappointment that the annexation of McCormick Woods was not complete in time for council filings.

“If the annexation was done two months before it happened, we would have had a wider selection of candidates,” Michael said.

Dick Davis, who helped coordinate the McCormick Woods annexation, said he was happy with the timing and feels the area will cast the deciding votes in the election — even if there will be none of its residents on the council until 2012.

“There is no single issue we need to advocate,” Davis said, “so we don’t need our own candidate. But I think McCormick Woods will be a flashpoint in the election.”

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