Quality, not quantity noted in city council races

With all due respect, we disagree with Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola’s assessment that city residents must be fairly satisfied with the job the current city council lineup is doing or there would be more people challenging them for their jobs.

For one thing, there is opposition. Of the four incumbents up for re-election in 2009, three face a challenge.

Moreover, while there isn’t a lot of quantity in the upcoming races, the quality of opposition is about as noteworthy as in any council election in recent memory.

Two years ago, for example, Cindy Lucarelli narrowly lost her bid to unseat veteran Councilman John Clauson. In the years since, she’s remained visible, most notably working closely with Councilman Jerry Childs — the only current incumbent who isn’t opposed — to plan and organize the inaugural Cedar Cove Days festival.

This time out, she faces the venerable Carolyn Powers — the council’s longest-serving member.

Elsewhere, former longtime Councilman Rick Wyatt, who lost his seat two years ago to Fred Olin, is plotting his return against incumbent Rob Putaansuu, who was appointed to his seat and has yet to face an actual opponent.

Wyatt is making fiscal responsibility the key plank in his platform, and he notes that he suggested many of the moves Port Orchard is currently planning, such as annexing the entire Urban Growth Area, years earlier.

Finally, in the campaign’s most interesting race, incumbent Fred Chang faces a strong challenge from Bay Street restaurateur Amy Igloi Matsuno, who is believed to have the tacit — if not formal — backing of the mayor.

Again, in terms of sheer numbers, there aren’t a lot of candidates vying for the three available seats on the council. But unlike other years, where there were challenges in name only by candidates ill-qualified to lead the city, any of the six in this year’s crop could conceivably win their seat and bring something to the table.

In short, there aren’t too many challengers, nor are there too few.

From where we sit, things look just about right.

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