by Winston Chua
“Titanblue,” said Eugene Sun when asked what his favorite color was.
Titanblue is the color synonymous with San Marino High School. Sun is the mayor ofSan Marino.
But EugeneSun did not become San Marino’s well-respected mayor overnight. The ChineseAmerican worked long and hard as a board member of the South Pasadena and SanMarino YMCA and served as a trustee for the San Marino Educational Foundation.He was the president of the Chinese Club of San Marino in the early 1990s, aswell as the City Club of San Marino.
Notexplicitly encouraged by his parents to devote his life to public service inhis youth, he nevertheless sees its importance. Sun’s parents had a simplerhand in his development.
“AllI can say is that I had tough parents. They were loving, but tough. They wantedme to study hard and to be a productive citizen of society,” Sun said. Hehas said he has instilled similar values for his daughter Emily, a graduatefrom San Marino High School in 1998. She then completed her college studies atUC Berkeley.
The 64-year-old Sun grew up in China beforegraduating from National Taiwan University with a degree in chemicalengineering. He received his graduate degree from Purdue and worked with anengineering firm that sent him to Holland.
He didn’t live long in Holland, in part because hefelt that living so far from the States was not conducive to a good social lifefor his family. So after his brief stay in Holland, he made a more permanentmove back to the States and the San Gabriel Valley, which has been his home forsome 25 years.
He calls himself a “transplant” to the United States.The self-proclaimed transplant has made a good imprint on the city he is themayor of. Born of Asian descent yet living much of his life in America, Sunbelieves that Asian people should integrate themselves into the Americanculture, even recommending that young people serve in the US military so theycan learn to become responsible citizens.
As the mayor of San Marino, he has taken care to makesure the city has enough in its reserve funds.
Like many cities, however, San Marino’s is notwithout its problems.
“We’re in an environment in which we have nocontrol. The state fiscal crisis is going to affect us.”
Sun said that the state may borrow as much as 8percent of the city’s property taxes, ballooning the city’s deficit to$800,000. That deficit will force the city to dip into its reserves.
Despite the tough financial times for the city, Sunis still working to make the San Marino schools the top in the state.
In his spare time, Sun enjoys playing golf andspending time with his family.
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