.San Anselmo Mayor Brian Colbert

I’ll be honest: I didn’t know the town of San Anselmo at all before my family moved here earlier this year. But as the real estate gods would decree, we found our own slice of paradise nestled between the sprawling hills of West Marin—south of Wine Country and north of San Francisco. And like a Nextdoor member on steroids, I did my best to get to know my neighbors. I even managed to get appointed to our town’s Arts Commission, and part of that involved meeting our Mayor Brian Colbert.

When I asked Brian to participate in this interview series, he was happy to oblige. Imagine that, a politician who actually responds to and interacts with his citizens! Thanks for being so welcoming, Mr. Mayor. Now, if you could just help with some re-zoning permits …

Nish: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

Brian: Having my 11-year-old daughter show my wife and me one of her new creations. The look on my daughter’s face lights up the universe.

Nish: What was your worst job ever?

Brian: Never had a “worst job,” since I learned from every job I’ve had, some more than others of course. I worked at Friendly’s for two weeks. It was akin to working in the salt mines.

Nish: What was your first job ever?

Brian: If you’re not counting babysitting, I worked at the Shell Station in Bethel, Connecticut. I was the cashier and pumped gas. It was quite an introduction to dealing with the public. It also taught me the value of being on time and honest.

Nish: What was your best job ever?

Brian: I lived in Izmir, Turkey, for three and a half years. During that time I taught in the Political Science Department at Izmir University of Economics. It was a great experience living and teaching there, and I also had an opportunity to travel around the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Nish: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Brian: Sometimes I’m a little too quick to speak before reflecting on the flow of the conversation.

Nish: What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Brian: Reticence to speak their mind.

Nish: What’s some advice you’d give to yourself at 23?

Brian: Be open to new experiences and people that you might think have nothing to offer.

Nish: What is your greatest extravagance?

Brian: I have been known to splurge on certain experiences and meals while traveling.

Nish: You have exclusive dinner reservations for four, excluding family and close friends; who are the three people—alive, dead or imaginary—you’d invite?

Brian: Michael Milken, Angela Davis and the person who masterminded the temples at Angkor Wat

Nish: What is the theme song of your professional life?

Brian: “Ramble On” by Led Zeppelin. I’ve been fortunate to have a varied professional career! I also tried to choose from Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings, because I simply love that boxed set.

Nish: What is your motto?

Brian: Never had one before this question. “Live every moment to the fullest.”

Nish: What is something you’re really excited about right now?

Brian: The world has fundamentally changed in big ways over the last several years, and a lot of people are frightened by this—but I’m not. I’m excited about the new conversations I’m having that just weren’t possible even two or three years ago. I’m excited about new opportunities that I’m seeing out in the world.

A version of this conversation originally appeared at lostanswers.substack.com.
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