Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Cary Lamari on Blair Ewing

By Cary Lamari.

I was sorry to hear of the loss of my friend Blair Ewing. The last email I received from Blair was on May 18th, he regretted my loss in the election and he followed up with me on the State Board of educations denial on the county waiver request.

I have known Blair personally for about 20 years although I knew of him for over 30 as an active county resident. I first met Blair during one of Ida Mae Garrotts weekly strategy meetings for her political action committee the New Democrats. Blair and Ida Mae were good friends and it was Ida Mae Garrott that convinced Blair he should run for the County Council. I worked with Blair on numerous initiatives but the one that was most memorable was the initiative to promote Mental Health awareness. Blair was critical on the Civic Federations first Mental Health community forum that led to the Blue Ribbon committee the County’s most comprehensive document addressing Mental Health.

Blair wasn’t afraid to tackle the hard issues even if they drew criticism, he once told me it was his job to bring topics to the forefront, put them on the table and see how they shake out. Blair was a leader in protecting the environment and always was available to discuss a concern of any resident of this County.

Blair was a true Civic Activist; he cared for this County and took some serious lumps trying to protect our quality of life from eroding. Blair and I spoke in depth about the End Gridlock team and the dismantling of our Annual Growth Policy in 2003, he was one of very few who truly understood the meaning of Smart Growth, not what is being promoted today by Chairman Hanson and Rollin Stanley and he also understood the need for a measurable growth policy, he recognized the need to promote community with all necessary infrastructure which also requires a sustainable budget that protects our county employees so they would not have to be burdened with always being the people that get stuck with balancing the budget because we allow developers to get away without paying their fair share.

He was truly a hero of not only the residents but the employees of this County. I am proud to call Blair Ewing a friend and a mentor. He was not only a gentleman but also a Statesman. Blair represented the caliper of public servant that most dream of becoming. Blair stands in the same category as Neil Potter, Ida Mae Garrott, Betty Ann Kranke, and Marilyn Praisner. I do not know a politician in this County today that has his integrity, dignity, honor and sense of community. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Cary Lamari