Maverick City Councilmember Diane Woolley is beating a retreat from the harsh spotlight of public officialdom.
She will not run for reelection for a third City Council term.
Well known for her brash independence, Woolley often has voted with the liberal/progressive block on social issues – she is a self-described civil-rights activist – and with the moderates on fiscal and tax matters.
She says she’ll be happy to see folks on the street now and be able to say hello without the constant tug at her to bring this or that matter to the council.
“It’s a cloud that hovers over you,” she said.
She’s looking forward to a more relaxed life – perhaps writing and taking classes. And she’s looking back on her council years with some pride.
“I saved the city $22 million on the pipeline,” she said, referring to the pipe system that was to be built for firefighting purposes. It was dropped after Woolley and others fought it, arguing it was an inappropriate way to spend Measure G bond funds and a less-than-optimal firefighting system.
Woolley’s also proud of her fight not to allow some Sea Scouts, a branch of the Boy Scouts, to have a free berth at the Marina, because of the Boy Scouts’ refusal to allow homosexuals into its ranks.
Another victory Woolley points to is her role in blocking a new hotel at the waterfront. She had argued that further commercialization of the Marina would hurt the environment and the ambiance.
Her experience in city government has not been jading. “To know that so many people would like to participate is heartening,” she said of the commissioners, particularly those who sit on the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board.
There is no good time to leave the job of councilmember, Woolley said. Once one job is done, there is always another to do.
“Still, nobody likes to leave something in the middle,” she said, adding, however, “At some point you realize you’ve learned what you can learn and you’ve done what you can do.”