Health, family win out for Woodland mayor

As five candidates battle this fall for his old seat, Woodland Mayor Chuck Blum will be on the sidelines, free to spend more time with his family as his days in office come to a close.

Blum, 73, said he ruled out running for a second term early last week, as filing began for political races.

In doing so, he heeded the advice of his doctors. They told him running could re-aggravate conditions that forced him to have heart surgery nearly two years ago.

Given the risky prognosis, he made an easy decision — forgo a possible second term, in order to spend more time with his six grandchildren. His eldest grandson, Remington Forman, is graduating from Skyview High School later this month.

“I made the decision primarily because of my own health,” he said, noting that had the situation been different he “probably would have been in the middle of what’s going on here.”

Three Woodland council members are running for mayor. They are Marilee McCall, J.J. Burke and Darwin Rounds. Former Woodland Police Chief Grover Laseke and attorney Janna Lovejoy are the other candidates.

The high number of candidates likely stems from frustrations with city government, particularly Blum, Woodland councilman Benjamin Fredricks said last week.

An independent audit released this spring criticized the city’s government for a myriad of reasons, including financial planning and the lackluster relationship between the council and Blum.

Blum is scheduled to serve as mayor until Dec. 31.

In his final months, his stated goals include augmenting the city’s budget, making sure the Sherman Way reconstruction project remains on schedule, and working with the council on securing money for Horseshoe Lake-related studies.

When 2012 arrives, he will pass the torch to one of the five mayoral candidates.

“That’s okay,” he said, “I want to spend more time with my family.”

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