Vote count points to recall of disruptive Pacific mayor
Residents of Pacific say they are eager to move on after results in Tuesday’s special election showed voters overwhelmingly recalling controversial Mayor Cy Sun.
Seattle Times staff reporter
As a soloist at the Pacific-Algona Senior Center entertained diners with “The Beat Goes On’’ Wednesday, residents in Pacific said they were anxious to do just that — get back to business and forget the mayor accused of creating turmoil in their city.
“I’m glad (the recall) is happening,’’ said Mary Ann Townsend, a Pacific resident for the past 27 years and a volunteer at the senior center.
“I love people in Pacific and he’s way out of line. I don’t like what was going on.’’
The first votes counted from Tuesday’s special election show that Mayor Cy Sun, 83, will be recalled July 9 when the election is certified — unless he decides to step down before. Once Sun steps down, the City Council will appoint a resident to finish his term, which ends in 2015.
Already, two-thirds of the votes counted Tuesday night favored his ouster, King County Elections reported. The county won’t update the vote count again until July 3.
“It’s great. We can now move past all the damage he’s done and start to rebuild our city,’’ said Tracey Larson Apata, who was part of the recall campaign.
Police chief John Calkins echoed her sentiment.
“It’s a great day for the city and the police department,” he said.
The recall asked voters whether he should be removed from office based on two allegations — that Sun used police as a personal investigation squad and that he jeopardized the town’s insurance by not filling department-head vacancies.
Sun, who earlier said he would comment on the recall after the election, did not return phone calls, and a blog he kept has been removed.
Sun was elected with 471 votes on a write-in ballot in 2011. In Tuesday’s count, 836 voted in favor of the recall while 405 voted against it, King County Elections said.
In his 2011 campaign, Sun ran on an anti-corruption platform in the city of 6,800 on the border with Pierce County.
In his 18 months as mayor, Sun forced three police chiefs and other department heads out of office, and was arrested while trying to enter the city clerk’s office. The turmoil led to some $11 million in lawsuits against the town, which has an annual budget of $15 million.
He twice tried to fire Calkins, sending him to disciplinary hearings that the police chief said resulted in no wrongdoing being found. Even as late as June 20 Sun filed another disciplinary complaint against Calkins.
The turmoil surrounding Sun has garnered the city notoriety well beyond its borders, so when the recall results came in, so did the messages of congratulations.
“People have been Facebooking and texting — even from out of state,’’ Apata said.
The day the recall is finalized — July 9 — is ideal, she said. The following weekend the city celebrates Pacific Days, a community festival and, she hopes, the beginning of a new chapter.
This story includes material from Times staff reporter Brian M. Rosenthal and from The Seattle Times archives.
Nancy Bartley: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-464-8522