Longtime rec and parks worker Weir enters council race
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 14:03

Wants to help improve local “quality of life”

by Bill Gates

    Brian Weir announced his intention to run for Baltimore County Council shortly before the February filing deadline with a three-word statement on his Facebook page: “Enough is enough.”
    “There is no quality of life in Dundalk and Essex,” Weir said in an interview last month. “We need the quality of life back in this area, and I want to be the candidate who will fight for that, and for the common person.
    “I’m just sick when I go in my back yard and see the rats running around,” said Weir, who lives in Berkshire. “There were always rats, but they stayed in the creek.”
    Weir, one of five people running to replace retiring incumbent John Olszewski Sr., has never held elective office but does have a long history of public service and is known throughout the 7th District.
    He has worked for the Baltimore County Deparment of Recreation and Parks for nearly 40 years, having started in 1975 when he was still a student at Dundalk High School.
    (Like Olszewski, he graduated from Dundalk High in 1978.)
    Weir is currently a member of the Recreation and Parks Board of Directors, and is the vice-president of the Berkshire-Eastwood Recreation Council.
    For the last 27 years, he has worked for Thompson Hyundai on Merritt Boulevard.
    As could be expected from his background, many of Weir’s concerns deal with — but are not limited to — recreation and parks issues.
    “I’ve been hitting all of the rec council meetings the past two years, and people keep asking me to run for office,” Weir said.
    He also pointed out there is supposed to be 150 acres of parkland for every 5,000 residents of the county, yet communities like Eastwood are facing a future without parkland.
   

Weir also thinks the joint-use agreement between Baltimore County Public Schools and county recreation and parks is not being honored by the school system, with many schools restricting Recreation and Parks’ use of school facilities.
    Then there’s that little issue of the county selling the North Point Government Center to commercial developers.
    Weir said he and former state delegate Bob Staab counted over 160 empty business storefronts in Dundalk and Essex.
    “Why do we need more businesses?’ Weir said, referring to the plans to put a shopping center on the land now occupied by the Government Center.
    “There’s no need to sell park property,” he said. “Why not go sell land in Oregon Ridge Park? It would be a beautiful place to build townhouses.”
    It’s time to bring different businesses to the area, Weir said.
    “They talk about bringing in businesses, bringing in jobs,” he said. “Why don’t we even have a Starbucks?”
    Between now and the June 24 primary election, Weir intends to keep campaigning as he has been: attending meetings, listening to people, and holding a fundraiser on April 12 at the MdTA Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 34 on Wampler Road in Essex.
    He says his track record in the Department of Recreation and Parks shows “I have a proven ability to collaborate and unite people to achieve common goals.”
    And the longtime baseball manager and coach knows how to crunch numbers.
    “If everyone who wants me to run supports me ... if I can get 1,500 votes in the primary and the rest is split, I can win,” he said.
    Weir has coached a couple of generations of baseball players who have grown up to become voters.
    He also helped found the Eastern Baltimore County Over-40 Baseball League five years ago. That’s another potential solid block of support in a five-candidate race.
    “I consider myself a citizen politician that represents the constituency, not a professional politician that represents special-interest organizations of corporations,” Weir said. “I don’t want to owe anything to anybody but the people of this district.”