A retired United Airlines pilot and former Habitat For Humanity volunteer will fill a vacancy on Blaine City Council left by Jason Overstreet after his recent election to the state legislature.
During their regular meeting Monday, council voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Alan Black, of Semiahmoo, to fill the council’s ward three, position 5 seat.
Raised in Audobon, New Jersey, where he graduated from Audobon high school, Black earned a bachelor of arts degree in electrical engineering from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. After college, he served three years in the U.S. Army, one of which was in Vietnam.
Following his service, he joined United Airlines where he worked as a pilot for 33 years. He also worked for five years as a pilot for Airlift Northwest, which flies patients to hospitals throughout the Northwest, before he retired.
He said he and his wife moved to Blaine because they wanted to have a “nice house in a nice town.”
“We looked and looked up the coastline from Seattle to the border and fortunately we found something right here,” he said.
“Blaine has good schools and all of the features we wanted – it was near the water, near reasonably good shopping in the area and with good medical facilities nearby.”
When asked what issues he would tackle, Black said he didn’t have any particular agenda but simply wanted to give back to his community.
“I’m here to serve but I’m not looking to accomplish any particular goals in my service,” he said. “What I can say is I will try to do a commendable job in whatever tasks befall me and make fair and open-minded decisions on whatever issues come before me.”
In particular, Black added that his experience as a pilot dealing with 400 passengers and a crew of 20 or more at a time helped him learn how to resolve conflicts and work through issues amicably.
“I’m able to accept the fact you can differ in opinion and still be civil.”
Black also serves on the Architectural Standards Committee for the Semiahmoo Resort Association, a group of homeowners.
When asked by council members what he thought the pending sale of the Semiahmoo Resort might mean for Blaine, Black said he was uncertain.
“Time will tell,” he said. “It does create a lot of uncertainty, but I’m certainly hopeful it will turn out for good.
“Trillium is going to do whatever it’s always been planning on doing and there will always be residents who move here and then complain about another 100 people moving to the neighborhood.”
Blaine mayor Bonnie Onyon asked Black what he felt should be the city’s top priorities.
Black said given the current economic climate they would be maintaining a balanced budget with a reduction in revenue while maintaining the most important services like public schools, fire and police protection, and libraries.
“There are some things that shouldn’t be touched,” he said.