Bottoms Up In Woodland

Woodland councilman Benjamin Fredricks once told me he had a calendar he used to mark off the days left in Mayor Chuck Blum’s term. It was nothing personal, Fredricks said, but he believed Blum steered their community in the wrong direction.

I called Fredricks Thursday morning to ask him whether he had gone “Tebowing” after Grover Laseke was sworn into office. He laughed. Yes, I asked him if Blum’s departure had caused him to go “Tebowing.” I have NFL playoff fever, but that’s neither here nor there.

Fredricks responded that he had celebrated Blum’s departure in a different way — by giving the outgoing mayor a bottle of his favorite whiskey (Johnnie Walker Black Label) prior to his last council meeting. He also thanked Blum for his service.

“I never had hard feelings about Chuck Blum,” Fredricks said Thursday, adding he just had opposing views as the mayor on the best course for the city. Fredricks praised Blum for his willingness to serve the city when most people would rather complain from the comfort of their couch.

Blum said he was touched.

“That made me feel very good,” the former mayor said of Fredricks’ gift. “Of course Mr. Fredricks and I had our differences.”

Fredricks wished Blum the best, but noted the past four years had been rough. Blum did not help matters by blasting council members in an independent auditor’s report.

“I think things are going to be a lot better now,” Fredricks said. “I don’t think we will be the laughing stock of Clark and Cowlitz counties.”

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