Outgoing Officials: San Marino is in Good Hands

They might not have always voted in consensus, but Dr. Richard Sun, Richard Ward and Dr. Allan Yung have reached their latest one even after they formally stepped down as city councilmen.
According to them, San Marino, their home for decades, is in great hands moving forward.
“It’s not a boat that’s about to sink,” Sun said in a phone interview last week. “It’s not about to hit an iceberg. That’s not the case.”
The three men earlier this month ended their more-than eight years on the City Council (their terms were extended by a few months to help align the city from March to November elections) and were asked for reflections on their time as city officials.
Sun, a retired dentist, said former city councilman Dr. Matthew Lin, who now holds a post in the Trump Administration, initially inspired him to run for the seat.
“He was the very first Chinese-American mayor in our city,” he explained. “In fact, he was the very first Chinese-American councilman in our city. At the time, he was about to retire. He inspired and encouraged me a lot.”
For his last year, Sun served as the city’s mayor and led the City Council through a fairly turbulent time in City Hall. The City Council enacted a significant restructuring of the city’s administration earlier in the year, in addition to reorganizing some operational policies and procedures, and finally hired a new permanent city manager in Marcella Marlowe after more than a year of having a placeholder in that office.
That interim city manager, Cindy Collins, helped to implement those structural changes and hire some of the department heads along the way; one department had two changes of hand in that time.
“She put a good team together,” Sun said of Collins. “I think especially the finance department is much stronger than in the past. I think the city is in excellent shape right now. With the current staff, the city is in good hands.”
“I think that we’ve selected a competent city manager and the other people who have been brought in in the last year or so have all impressed me with their knowledge and abilities,” Ward said. “You never anticipate a wholesale change of your department heads, but that’s about what happened. Between the selections and recommendations that Cindy Collins made, and were endorsed by Marcella, I think we’re in pretty good shape.”
Ward, a retired intellectual property attorney, said a previous election campaign by his brother-in-law, Benjamin Salvaty, had inspired him to run in 2009; Salvaty died in 2008, about a year after his unsuccessful campaign, and Ward said he carried that spirit with him into his own election.
“I’d been active in the city in different organizations and I’d really developed a feeling of belonging to the community. I basically felt a duty to make the contribution to my community,” Ward, who was vice mayor this year, added.
Yung, who was a medical doctor and lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, described his two terms as a larger “learning process” thanks to the differences it had from his career.
“I highly enjoyed it,” he said. “It is very different for me. I am a physician and we work with very precise and scientific parameters. Dealing with people is nothing scientific. The situation varies. Peoples’ feelings are different. The significance of personal interpretation is very important.”
Compared with when he was first a candidate, Yung said he remains proud as ever for living here but has a better understanding of what makes San Marino tick than before.
“I was so thankful and still feel so thankful that so many people supported me from the entire community,” he said. “I had strong beliefs on which direction our city should take and I wanted to participate in maintaining our city in a leadership position. It was a tremendous experience.”
Moving forward, Yung said he hoped to encourage future waves of city leadership and teach them about the nuances of what that takes.
“I’ll work with the community very closely,” he said.
Sun, who was at the time preparing for a vacation to Taipei, Taiwan, indicated he was looking forward to more personal time.
“It’s kind of a mixed feeling,” he admitted. “I’ve been enjoying what I’ve been doing for the past eight years. At the same time, I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family, my children and grandchildren.”
The typically eloquent Ward was frank about his next step: “The future is pretty uncertain, but I doubt I’ll ever consider running for elective office again,” he said. “I’m 81 now and beginning to feel the ravages of old age.”

Leave a Reply