Whatcom County Council - Issue of the Week

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weimer Runs For The Hills

Hi all,

Thanks for all the wonderful votes of confidence and offers of support you have all sent trying to encourage me to run for the county executive position. It has been somewhat overwhelming, and really did push some deep soul searching. In the past few days much analysis and number crunching has lead me to the belief that I certainly could win the race for county executive. That left the main question as not whether I could win, but rather why would I want to?

In the end I have decided to run, but not for the county executive position. I have decided to run for the hills and try to recapture some of the things I love that working two jobs too hard has kept me from. In each of the last three years I have lost significant chunks of paid vacation time because I could never find the time to take it. That is the definition of nuts! This year I will be 58 years old, which to me translates to the fact that I only have a handful of summers left when I can strap a backpack on my back and make it to the top of Whatcom Pass (not sure I can even do it now). I refuse to give up one of those summers for the inanity of campaigning. At this point in my life the desire to get to Whatcom Pass is a much higher priority than getting to the executive’s office, and I also believe it will be a much more rewarding adventure.

There are certainly other reasons too. Some of them are:

• I believe that government hardly ever initiates positive change. That comes from like-minded individuals working together to create momentum for change that the government ultimately has to give in to. The world is at a place where positive changes need to happen and I don’t want to be the captain of a ship where the rudder often seems disconnected from the wheelhouse often.

• I have an amazing job with the Pipeline Safety Trust that allows me to have tangible positive impact nationwide while also empowering local communities. In the past year I have led a team that has testified to Congress seven times, brought significant changes to both federal agencies and the pipeline industry, and am regularly asked for advice from national media sources, agency heads, and leaders of industry and environmental groups alike. In many ways it is a much bigger job than the County Executive’s.

• County politics around here are currently quite ugly and oppositional with both sides guilty of not letting the facts get in the way of their opinions. Few reasonable, rationale people, who can see beyond the short term benefits that carry long term consequences, want any part of it, which leaves a lack of good candidates for races such as the county council. That means policies and budgets that an executive has to live with are not being set by the most capable among us. That hopefully will change, but to date I have seen precious little indication of that this year.

• Pete Kremen is stepping down because of an underlying health condition that is made worse because of the stresses of the executive’s job. Pete is only a year or so older than I am, and I already have an underlying health condition (inflammatory disease) that gets worse with stress. Since this decision came up, and you all began chiming in, the inflammation in multiple joints has been so bad that I can hardly move. Think there might be a signal there?

There are other reasons too, but those will suffice. I certainly will continue to work hard on the Council for decisions that are a benefit to the long-term health of our county.

Sorry if this decision is a disappointment to some of you. Of course if you are really concerned you can always run for something yourself. Hope to see you in the council chambers or maybe at Whatcom Pass.

Thanks again for all your words of support!

Carl

P.S. - During these deliberations this poem kept coming to me as a strong reminder of things I have misplaced. If you get it - you get it, if you don’t get it nothing I say will help.

The Summer Day
Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

9 comments:

  1. I for one can totally understand your decision. We all reach a time in our lives when we have to be selfish - especially when health issues are involved.

    Thanks for all you have done and for what you will continue to do.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for giving it serious consideration.

    I'll admit to being disappointed, but I entirely understand your decision.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Carl,

    Thanks for thinking about it, and thanks for your continued good work on the Council and for the Pipeline Safety Trust.

    Dan Pike

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you Carl, we're very lucky to have you on the council!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I got to love a "politician" who quotes Mary Oliver. Whatcom Pass is a mighty fine place to remember what you will do with your one wild and precious life, my friend.
    Robyn

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for the thoughtful words on how change happens. You're a good man. And thanks for the reminder about living. All the best!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wish we could clone you, Carl. But you are right in your decision - live in this precious world while you can. Enjoy those grasshoppers.
    Shannon P.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Carl,

    Thanks for all you do, and have done!
    I would support in a heartbeat for any office you would aspire to.
    So, hurry up and climb the pass, then come back refreshed and decide to run for -not from- something else.

    John

    ReplyDelete
  9. Carl,

    Thank you for your work on the Council and your very touching note about your decision. The Mary Oliver poem says it all so eloquently! I hope to see you on the trail.

    Jeremy Standen

    ReplyDelete