Pacific residents working since August to recall Mayor Cy Sun got the go-ahead Thursday to try, and they say they’ll need only two days to get the 427 valid signatures required to hold a special election to oust him.
Assuming they do, within 60 days, two charges against Sun will be put before Pacific voters:
- That he tried to use the police department as his personal investigative force.
- That he jeopardized the city’s liability insurance coverage by not filling vacant department head positions.
Under Sun’s tenure, the city did lose its insurance coverage, which it replaced with a higher-cost, higher-risk policy. And he fired various city employees, including police department leaders and multiple city clerks, one of whom settled with the city for more than $175,000 for wrongful termination, among other allegations.
The recall effort was allowed to continue after the Washington State Supreme Court on Thursday upheld King County Superior Court Judge Laura Inveen’s ruling that, if true, both charges would be grounds for Sun to be dismissed.
Sun said Thursday that while the allegations are “baseless,” the only reason the issue went to the higher court in the first place was because he was mad at his opponents, but not because they were trying to oust him.
He said he was fine with the court’s ruling, and that he expects the recall campaign will get the needed signatures.
“I welcome the election,” he said.
“We’re going to start collecting as many as we can before Monday,” said Don Thomson, head of the Committee to Recall Cy Sun. They’ll start by setting up outside the post office at noon today, he said.
The committee must get signatures amounting to 35 percent of the total number of votes cast when Sun was elected. The signatures will be sent to the King County Elections Division, which will need to verify the signatures and hold an election within two months.
Sun said that what prompted him to appeal the lower court’s ruling was that members of the recall committee questioned whether he attended a Korean War veterans reunion in September, insinuating he lied to delay the recall proceedings.
“I lost a kidney, I got a bullet in my back, I’ve got a steel plate in my head,” he said. “When you (they) said I lied, that I didn’t go to the reunion, I got mad.”
The recall effort did not raise the issue in court, but Thomson said at the time: “We don’t know where he went.”
Thomson said the mayor tried to drag out the Supreme Court proceedings as long as possible with appeals.
That’s true, Sun said Thursday when asked directly.
“If I could take them to another Supreme Court, I would,” he said. “I would make them spend every cent they’ve got and break them.”
Sun said he’s spent more than $100,000 of his own money for legal representation to fight the recall and for other court proceedings.
“The last time was $30,000, and I took it all in $20 bills,” he said. “I took it in a box, a cardboard box.”
Thomson said the recall committee’s legal fees are almost covered. It has raised about $30,000 so far, including roughly $3,000 from two garage sales in late March and early this month, and have a couple thousand left to go, he said.
“The turnout from the citizens of Pacific has been overwhelming,” he said. “We’re in good shape.”
Sun’s not sure which way a recall election would go.
“I don’t know what the voters or the citizens would do,” Sun said. “All I know is they voted me in to do a job. I’m fighting for the city, and I’m fighting for myself to do what I was elected to do, clean up corruption.”
Thomson seems more certain what the election result would be.
“There’s no more appeals on his part,” he said. “We have the votes.”
Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268