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Pacific mayor ready for recall
It was billed as an opportunity for representatives from the Teamster’s Local 117 union and Mayor Cy Sun to clear away the City of Pacific’s logjam of building permits and find a temporary fix for the community’s vacant building inspector union position.
But Tuesday’s open meeting at City Hall also provided a chance for Pacific residents to watch their controversial mayor in action, to see what makes him tick, to weigh in with appraisals of his performance.
For Jack French – a longtime resident and former Pacific councilman – and Rachel Kringle – a recent transplant and community activist who authors the Taking Back Pacific blog – it was an eye opener.
“People have the feeling that you aren’t hearing them,” French told Sun after being invited to speak during the meeting. “You need to slow down, and you need to listen to people. The council has the same ideas, too. They’re against you because you want to run the whole show by your own way. Cy Sun’s way. It’s either my way or the highway, that’s what I’m getting out of this.”
Despite his contentious approach to negotiations, Sun did manage to get approval from the union to allow the City to temporarily use Sound Inspections to issue and approve building permits (contingent on approval of the City Council, which has to OK any payments made to Sound) until a permanent solution can be found.
Sun also cleared out several pending construction permits that had been languishing in the permitting office.
But mostly, the meeting was about the mayor’s management style and the motivation behind his confrontational relationship with members of the city council, none of whom were in attendance.
“(When I started) nobody came up from the council and said 'you’re the new mayor, congratulations,'” Sun said. “I just sat there, my wife and I. Then my wife started elbowing me and said, ‘They’re talking about you.’”
According to Sun, his first interaction with the council focused on controversy about his military record and set the tone for his future relationship with the councilmembers.
“I heard Gary Hulsey say to me (at that first meeting), ‘Tomorrow at 8 o’clock you will report to my house and present your credentials and your medals,’” he said. “And this is a councilmember talking. He said, ‘If you’re not there, I’ll have the FBI arrest you.’
“This is the kind of greeting I got from the council on my first day,” Sun continued. “I sat there and got all the sneers, the bad looks, and the humiliation was almost unbearable.”
When Kringle suggested in the meeting that a mediator might help to smooth over relations between him and the council, Sun was swift to respond with a challenge.
“I tell you what, why don’t you people get together and conduct a recall on me?” Sun said. “I’d be glad to accept it. I want you to get together and start the recall on me. That will solve all the problems. That way I can just go away. Let’s do that. That’s my decision. Have a recall on me. I’m waiting for a recall. And I’m waiting to quit and go home on a recall.
“I want to leave all this, and I’ll tell you why,” Sun said. “Every time I get a phone call from my kids (in Oregon) they ask. ‘Dad, what the hell are you doing up there? Get the hell out of there.’ My grandson called me after the meeting last night (Monday) and asked why I didn’t come home because they’re skinning me alive. But I can’t come home unless they recall me.”
When asked why he continued to act as mayor, despite wanting to leave, Sun’s answer was simple.
“Because the people voted me in, and I want the people to vote me out,” Sun concluded.