Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: mayor


How one man is dismantling the City of Pacific

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Elections have consequences, as the people of Pacific have learned to their sorrow.

Last fall, mayoral candidate Cy Sun made a stink about supposed corruption at City Hall. The political novice persuaded 464 citizens to cast write-in votes for him; he wound up winning with a 64-vote plurality in a three-way race.

Since then, Sun has single-handedly almost destroyed the small city. Literally.

The chaos he wrought upon the little municipality – including the firing of much of its staff and almost half of its Police Department – has so spooked its insurer that the company is about to drop Pacific’s liability coverage. The company reportedly has refused all requests for an extension as long as Sun is mayor.

The policy will expire as of the end of this month unless Sun leaves – and he is defying all requests that he do so. Without a renewal or extension of coverage, city workers – including police officers – would become personally exposed to lawsuits.

The City Council has little choice but to prepare to dissolve its own jurisdiction – either by letting Auburn annex Pacific or disincorporating outright. The annexation vote is scheduled for Monday.

One man destroys a city of 6,600 people in less than 12 months. This deserves a chapter in a civics textbook. We’ve never seen anything like it.

The defining moment of Sun’s administration happened July 19, when he tried to break into the locked city clerk’s office, allegedly to destroy city records.

He fired the officers who arrested him. He terminated the city clerk for good measure; she is now pressing a $2.2 million claim against the city. He fired or drove out other managers without hiring replacements.
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Four fine prospects for FWay mayor; we pick two

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

History is being made in Federal Way this year as the city shifts from the council-manager to the mayor-council form of government.

Our initial concerns about politics-driven management under an elected executive have been eased by the sheer quality of the candidates running for the new “strong mayor” position: Mike Park, Skip Priest, Linda Kochmar and Jim Ferrell.

The city would fare well with any of these four, which has made this endorsement decision unusually difficult. We’ve settled on Priest and Kochmar, but Park and Ferrell have different and impressive qualifications that may carry more weight with some voters.

Like the other three, Park has an extensive record of public service. He was appointed to the Federal Way City Council in 1995 and has won election four times since. He has twice served as council-appointed mayor.

A small business owner, he chairs the city’s finance committee and has brought strong fiscal expertise to city government. His civic leadership includes service on Highline Community College Foundation’s Board of directors.

Ferrell is a dynamo who also serves on the City Council; he’s been a driving force behind several city crusades, including the campaign to create the very office he’s now running for. His civic service includes leadership in the South King County Multi-Service Center and YMCA.
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Merritt for mayor (if only we could get Strickland, too …)

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Tacoma’s mayoral contest this year poses the kind of dilemma we wish every race offered: two candidates so good that it is hard to pick between them.

We are endorsing Jim Merritt, but with considerable regret that we couldn’t somehow also endorse his opponent, Tacoma City Councilwoman Marilyn Strickland. Unfortunately, there’s room for only one person in this office.

When we pass over a candidate, we sometimes cite inadequate experience, limited volunteer service or other lack of preparation. We can’t do that in this case, because Strickland is eminently qualified to be mayor of Tacoma.

She is quick on her feet, a formidable advocate, dynamic and public-spirited. She possesses an MBA and substantial experience in both the private and public sector.

Her relatively brief two years on the City Council are buttressed by many years of community service in other capacities. She’s been part of the volunteer leadership of the Grand Cinema, the Tacoma Public Library and other important organizations. She exudes competence, intelligence and decency. She’d make a fine mayor for Tacoma.
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