A slimy campaign smear

The campaign for mayor got slimed last week.

A flier mailed to Port Orchard residents smears the incumbent, Lary Coppola. It’s a tactic that smacks of obvious desperation on the part of people who have no qualms about taking the low road in their attempt to keep the mayor from getting re-elected.

The Independent has not and will not endorse a candidate in this race nor any other. But we’d prefer to see campaigns conducted without this kind of deceitfulness and distortion.

Coppola’s opponent, Tim Matthes, said he had no knowledge of the fliers sent out by a group identifying itself as People for a Better Port Orchard.

Matthes said he doesn’t view the fliers — which make no mention of him — as helpful to his campaign, though in a curious bit of ambivalence he added that they are “pretty factual.”

That’s a dubious assertion, since the fliers state that Coppola “managed to increase his salary.” The mayor can’t increase his own salary; the City Council made the sensible decision to make the mayor’s position full-time, and set the full-time pay for whoever holds the office at a level that hardly seems unreasonable.

Whoever produced the fliers also tries to bamboozle voters with the ridiculous observation that Port Orchard’s mayor is paid nearly twice as much as Bremerton’s mayor on a per capita basis. It’s absurd to suggest that any public official is paid on a per capita basis.

Another distortion is that Coppola is to blame for “skyrocketing” utility bills and water rates. The flier also attacks the mayor over the city’s purchase of some of his commercial property that’s needed for a roundabout to be developed. It depicts him as “a Mayor on a spending spree” and implies that Coppola is fleecing unsuspecting local taxpayers.

Maybe some people are as gullible as these deceitful campaign meddlers presume. But more likely, people will realize that Port Orchard would be better off without the sleazy tactics of a group calling itself People for a Better Port Orchard.

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