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PO Council hopefuls declare, Wyatt poised for return

Four Port Orchard City Council candidates arrived at the Kitsap County Auditor’s office on Monday morning, becoming among the first to legally declare their candidacy.

Two more filed in short order, and a third--former City Councilman Rick Wyatt--indicated that he was close to declaring his candidacy.

“I always want to be first,” said Port Orchard City Councilman Jerry Childs. “I don’t like waiting in line. Two years ago I was the first to register in the county and the first to ever register in this new building.”

“I wanted to get it over with,” said Port Orchard City Councilman Fred Chang. “I wanted to let people know that I was running so there was no suspense about whether I was going to file or not.”

Aside from incumbents Chang and Childs, early filers included council challengers Amy Igloi Matsuno and Cindy Lucarelli. Matsuno will be challenging Chang, while Lucarelli has chosen to oppose incumbent Carolyn Powers.

Shortly after the initial rush Powers arrived and filled out her own candidate papers. Incumbent City Councilman Rob Putaansuu filed later in the day.

Childs arrived at the filing with Lucarelli and Matsuno, saying that he supported both of the challengers--even if he doesn’t expect to do too much active campaigning.

Wyatt, who was defeated for re-election by Fred Olin in 2007, said he was close to a decision to run but has not decided whom to oppose. “My paperwork is ready to go,” he said. “I just have to clear up some personal issues.”

Currently, Childs and Putaansu have no declared opposition.

“It’s possible that someone will come out of the woodwork so you never know.” Childs said. “I think that a lot of people like the work we have done with the council, and the energy and vitality that comes from us and our new mayor. Both have a lot to do with how people feel about Port Orchard.”

Childs support of Matsuno and Lucarelli puts him in political opposition with Chang and Powers.

“Time marches on,” Childs said. “We get new blood on the council, and that’s where the energy came from last time. There are a lot of people who have been on the council a long time now. We appreciate their energy and their institutional knowledge, but as we get more time under our belts we become that institutional memory. It’s all part of the process.”

Lucarelli, who lost a close race against the longest-serving council member in 2007 is now targeting the second longest-serving member, Powers.

“I will bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the council,” Lucarelli said. “I support the whole idea of a vibrant downtown and I support revitalization. Carolyn has been on the council a long time, and had an illness not too long ago. I think she is vulnerable because of the illness, and her age.”

Powers deliberately does not disclose her age, saying it has nothing to do with job performance.

Powers said that ”what matters is whether you are qualified and can do the job,” and that she has already proven her ability in both areas.

Chang said that he and Powers are the most detail-oriented of the council members, and both ask questions about fine points of budget and process. Powers said that her strength is the ability to manage and understand complex budgets.

Candidate filing will continue throughout the week, and the last possible time to file is at 5 p.m. June 5. Elections Supervisor Dolores Gilmore said if any office fails to draw a candidate there will be a special three day extension to provide candidates the opportunity to come forward.

If there are no races with more than two candidates, all opposed races will be decided in the Nov. 3 general election. More than two candidates in a single race it will force a primary, scheduled for Aug. 18.

Chang has accepted having one opponent but might rather have two.

“Any race with two candidates is exciting,” Chang said. “A race with three candidates is more exciting.” Childs, who also won a three-way race his last time out, said “I hated the idea of the primary but It was the one thing that really gave me some salt. It helped me to develop my ideas and my thoughts.”

The latest filing data will be available here throughout the week.

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