Pacific has been a city for 103 years, but it might not exist by the end of the month. The city along Highway 167 is about to lose its insurance, and it’s within an eyelash of dis-incorporating. Most people blame one man, the mayor.
Cy Sun became mayor in January, winning as a write-in candidate in November of 2011. The city has 6,600 residents, but less than 1,200 actually voted.
Sun’s platform was simple. He went door to door telling people he was going to get rid of corruption, though he couldn’t identify any specific corruption.
When he got into office, he fired the department heads at city hall, including the police chief. He was then arrested himself at city hall while trying to get into an office. He fired the officers who arrested him.
The 82-year-old Korean War vet is under investigation for destroying records. He’s also the subject of a recall that he says he welcomes, but he’s fighting it in court. He’s been ordered by a judge to start filling the vacancies that he created.
Tracey Apata is behind the recall effort on Facebook.
“You don’t think that something like this can happen,” she said. “You don’t think that someone can walk around, door to door, telling lies and actually get elected to office, and then he can step in there and do whatever he wants, pretty much. He’s systematically torn it [the city] apart.”
The city’s insurance carrier says it will drop its policy at the end of the month because things have become so messy and risky in Pacific. The city is facing $11 million worth of lawsuits, and it only has $10 million worth of coverage.
The city council has asked Auburn to consider annexing the city so it won’t lose its coverage. Leanne Guier, the council president, says saving the city is priority one.
“It’s what we’re trying to do every day,” she said. “We’re looking for options and looking for an insurance carrier that may cost us a bunch more money and not have as good of coverage to just get us by.”
Many people, like Tracey Apata, just want Mayor Sun to resign, to save the 103 year old city. But he plans to stick it out.
“How can he not see what he’s done to this community,” Apata asks. “How can he not see that there’s outside influences stepping in to try and save this community from his hand?”
Mayor Sun didn’t return any calls or emails. He wasn’t in his office on Friday, so I went to his house. I was able to get to the front door because he forgot to padlock the front gate. Mayor Sun politely told me he couldn’t talk about the situation.
“I talked to my attorney, and I got no comment,” he said. “He told me to keep my mouth shut and don’t say anything. I can’t be seeing you. Thank you.”
As I walked away, a woman followed me out and locked the padlock on the gate.
The Pacific City Council is expecting so many people at its meeting Monday it has moved it to a bigger room. It’s deciding what can be done to save the city.
The Auburn City Council is meeting to discuss whether annexing Pacific makes sense. Mayor Pete Lewis has called all of his department heads to the meeting to go over the pros and cons of annexation.
“The deadlines are so tight right now that I honestly believe that we need to help them find some insurance coverage to last them through at least half of the next year.”
The dis-incorporation vote is scheduled for February, but Pacific can take that off the table before the end of the month. The insurance coverage is set to expire January 1.