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June 15, 2010

Missing Rick Weldon

Roy Meachum

Rocky Mackintosh had a column Monday. He more or less replaced Rick Weldon on


As everybody must know, Rick departed under pressure for a single item in a column of more than several items that opened in the same way: “Is it just me, or are you also sick…”


In this instance, the column went on to say: “… of tree-hugging dipsticks who seem determined to alter our way of life by recycling, reusing, and reducing our consumption to the point that we’re as miserable and self-absorbed as they are?”


What hurt the aforementioned “tree-hugging dipsticks” was that my former colleague’s words are true for much of the community. I recycle every other Thursday, trying to keep plastic away from paper, cans and bottles. Many of the Safeway bags are used after Pushkin makes forays into the back yard, and get thrown with trash. There is no faith behind my gesture to recycle. I frequently wonder how much the county-hired company makes, and is it paid out of the bucks that the recyclable pickups bring in.


I’ve been at this trade long enough to know I’ve just written heretical words for fervent “tree hugging” environmentalists. They can come for a bald and bearded head; they must watch out for old scars on my neck from previous attempts. On the other hand, their local leader lamented at the end of Katherine Hildebrandt’s Gazette story that Rick may have gone too far by resigning from


The former columnist explained in the last paragraph of his resignation:


“I’d like to thank the thousands of readers who have offered encouragement and insight over the years. More importantly, I want to again apologize to the people that found my attempt at humor to be personally hurtful. I have spent decades as both an elected and appointed public servant trying to raise the level of public discourse, yet with a single opinion column, I inadvertently undid all the work.”


Not quite.


Rick and Amy Weldon hang their hats in Brunswick; when we first met he was town manager, looking for a bigger chair in Winchester Hall. He was a mannerly man, sensitive to others’ moods and with an engaging smile. He didn’t make it that election, but ever since he’s won approval to move on from Frederick city manager, appointed commissioner and elected delegate. He resigned from Annapolis to take a position, mayor’s executive assistant, in the present Republican administration. (Disgusted with both parties, he resigned from the GOP while still a delegate.)


As we discussed the other day, after the resignation, I counseled him not to abandon politics for appointment as a civil servant. He had a lovely time serving under Mayor Jim Grimes. They clicked. Their personalities merged. I was reluctant to encourage his expectations for his present role. The current aldermen split four Democrats and only a single GOP member. The real difference in those days was that Jim and Rick were less impeded.


Unfortunately, the imbroglio over that single item justified his assertion that “tree hugging dipsticks” want every man, woman and child to adhere to their belief that human beings are what’s wrong with this work. They preach a form of self-loathing, going beyond all polite bounds to make their assertions and points. Anyone who disagrees must metaphorically have the head cut off, as I said.


In well over 25 years observing and writing on the local community, as readers know, I line up against all public figures, elected or designated – even self-designated – when they use their official power to hurt other human beings. Commissioner John L. Thompson and ex-mayor Jennifer Dougherty are on the list. I’m inclined to post a new name but have reason to believe Caroline Eader may have led the anti-Rick drive not knowing what she was about.


At the very end of the Gazette article, she was quoted: “It seems a bit melodramatic for Rick Weldon to quit writing his column. How about learning and growing from the experience?”


In that statement, Ms. Eader showed total ignorance of the political process; he had no choice of leaving a group of writers who respect and regard him highly.


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