Politics turn ugly in small Wash. town

PACIFIC, Wash. -- The small town of Pacific is in turmoil, and the battle is getting so intense that the city clerk has taken extreme measures against a former mayor.

The fight, which involves the mayor, the city council and the police force, has gotten so contentious that city clerk Jane Montgomery now keeps her door locked and has an anti-harrassment order against one of the mayor's top people.

Montgomery even called the police chief to come check on her welfare after she said Mayor Cy Sun began pounding on her door Friday morning.

"I've had some incidents lately," Montgomery said. "I had to go seek an anti-harassment order and I don't feel safe."

Montgomery has an anti-harassment order against former mayor Howard Erickson, who now works for Sun signing off on building permits. It's a role members of the city council say he's not qualified for.

"I know that he does not have certification for it," said Councilman Clint Steiger. "He signed off on a gas test."

Steiger said Erickson puts the city at risk should something go wrong with a permit. And he's not alone. The entire council took a "no confidence" vote on the Sun after two department heads were fired and three others quit.

"It's time that we joined together and forces and get the city back in control," Steiger said.

The mayor declined an invitation to give his side of the story, but in December he said he was ready to take on the city hall establishment.

"I don't expect any guff from anybody, and that's how I am," he said just prior to taking office.

The problems in Pacific have gotten so bad that there's now talk of a recall.

"I would back (a recall) 190 percent," said Pacific resident Maggie Gustafson. "Oh, it's on my mind."

But not everyone is convinced that a recall is the best option.

"Do I think it's needed? No. I think the people spoke when they elected him in. And I think the fighting needs to stop," said city grant writer Sheryl Stookey.

The issue will come to a head on Monday night when the council holds its next meeting.