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Powers, Lucarelli face off for council position
The contest between incumbent Carolyn Powers and challenger Cindy Lucarelli for the Port Orchard City Council Position 2 seat evokes the standard change-vs-experience cliche. Powers, who was first appointed to the in 1988, is the second-longest serving council member, while Lucarelli is a relative newcomer to local politics.
Powers has earned admiration for her deliberative nature, and her tendency to ask detailed questions. She provides a historical context for the council’s actions. But Lucarelli has surprised many people with her determination, and the fact that she nearly defeated John Clauson, the other senior council member, in 2007. Since that time she headed up the Cedar Cove Days celebration.
Powers and Lucarelli discussed their candidacies in separate interviews with the Port Orchard Independent.
Why are you running?
Powers: I’m excited about all the things that are happening in Port Orchard, that are on the horizon, which I want to be a part of. We need to complete the Tremont Street widening project, the new library and the parking garage, and finish the annexation of the Bethel corridor.
Lucarelli: I’m running because I have concern for Port Orchard. I think my involvement over the last few years has proven thus to be true. I have attended every meeting over the last three years, and have proven that I have a lot to offer.
I believe in tourism, and promised during my last campaign that I would turn Port Orchard into a destination on every tourist map. I was able to do that with the success of Cedar Cove Days, even though I was not on the council.
Why did you challenge Carolyn, of the four who were running?
Lucarelli: When I filed, she had not announced whether she would run or not, so I didn’t want there to be a seat where no one was running. Aside from that, there was an entire year where she did not attend very many meetings, which concerned me. She has served five consecutive terms, and even people who are her friends have said ”enough, already.” I think it is time for a change. She has said that parks are her highest priority, but the local parks are in horrible condition. Even the park that is named after her husband, which I wouldn’t want to go into.
Powers: I am running a clean campaign, but she doesn’t have the 25, 30 years experience that I have. I have won five elections with over 60 percent of the vote and I have more that I want to do.
I have two passions, finance and parks.
How has the council evolved, in your memory?
Powers: When I first came onto the council it was very collegial. We didn’t necessarily agree but everyone was civil and we respected each other. For several years there was a time where it didn’t go as smoothly, because council members were personalizing things. This made it more difficult.
This council, so far, has worked well together. But everyone has something to offer. It just depends how they go about it.
Lucarelli: I became involved with the council because I was concerned about the building heights. I don’t have a long history with the council, but there used to be a lot more bickering. I think we have a good council, but they aren’t getting the right information about the costs of projects.
What will be your role on the council?
Lucarelli: I will be able to state my opinion, no matter what. I don’t owe anyone any favors, nor does anyone owe me favors. I have a good attitude, passion and energy that will bring results.
What is your feeling about the mayor?
Lucarelli: Lary does a very effective job of hiring staff. He is moving the city in the right direction. He is moving us forward.
Powers: I work really well with Lary. He is very open, and very committed to doing a good job for the city.
He knows that if I don’t agree with him that I will come in and talk to him about it and we will iron out our differences. But he and I work well together.
What have you disagreed on?
Powers: It must not be anything much, or I would tell you. He respects people, and is well informed on all the issues. He is also a good administrator.
The council sets the policy and it is the mayor’s job to carry it out. He is good with people and manages his staff well.
He knows how to hire good people, and allow them to do their jobs without looking over their shoulder.
Downtown Port Orchard is a little ragged, while Poulsbo thrives. What can we do to become more like Poulsbo?
Lucarelli: We already are. Cedar Cove Days’ success showed that.
Powers: Why do we want to be like Poulsbo or Gig Harbor? We need to have the ability to become whatever we want to be, without comparing ourselves to other places.
What don’t people know about you, that you would like to share?
Powers: I never got my bachelor’s degree, but I’ve always been a student at heart. I am intellectually curious, and have a lifelong commitment to learning. And I am absolutely committed to Port Orchard.
I want us to maintain our community spirit, where people and businesses work together.
Lucarelli: I get really involved in things. I have dealt with a lot of adversities in my life. My daughter was born blind, so I had to become an advocate for special needs kids.
Sometimes I hear people complain about how hard it is for them to get their kids to get on the bus to go to kindergarten, so I tell them that I was sending my daughter to school when she was 18 months old.