As much as I would like to ignore the long, rambling letters that keep appearing in this paper from Jim Morrison, I cannot stand by and let such public pettiness degrade the office of our fine mayor, and especially a wonderful mayor like Dennis Wilson.
Mayor Wilson is an outstanding leader, a beloved person, and a man of honor and integrity. He always has been.
His contributions have been more than his time as mayor and can be seen in the entire history of his community involvement with St. James. Considering the solid contribution he has made as a professional, and as an individual to this community is to count more hours, more dedication and more leadership than almost anyone in recent history.
It began a long time ago, as a scout leader. Even as a young person, his realization of the need to guide others was well-developed, and indeed, excellent. He was principal in our high school, a job that personally affects hundreds of lives not only of students, but also of their families. His dedication never flagged.
He has operated a local business during a time when small businesses were being edged out of communities like ours. His time as president of the Chamber of Commerce heralded an awakening in the community which brought more events, and popular interest than had been seen in years.
And now, as mayor, he has initiated a time of well-being in our town, new enthusiasm for projects and pride of belonging that only a true leader can accomplish. Our town seems alive, cleaned up and busy. Through the coordinated efforts of his staff at city hall they have found the means that even a small town has to make improvements, such as grants and the skill of grant writers.
He has a large network of friends and colleagues who hold him in highest regard. In every instance he has been a very popular leader. That is something that is earned, by time devoted to the concerns of citizens, and by a personal regard and respect for other human beings.
Mayor Wilson, along with the Park Board, the James Foundation, and the Pool Committee (which he brought together), has been responsible for the wonderful city addition of the Tiger Shark WaterPark. It was he who engineered and negotiated with the James Foundation for the transfer of property that kept the pool in the same pristine, park location. He also designed the sales tax that not only provided the waterpark, but also will in the future be used for city storm-water management. That initiative passed by a 3 to 1 vote, a very popular choice.
This evidence of being able to bring a team together of all the components of St. James is one of the most vivid contrasts to our former mayor, who was famous for tantrums, arguments, insults, and solo behaviors that drove away much talent in city government. Many of these good people have returned to work very effectively under Mayor Wilson.
Less visible, but a tremendous investment in our future is the new electric grid that Mayor Wilson and a coordinated city council have managed from conception to completion. This project was enormous and will benefit us for generations. We thank our hard-working Utility Board, who have also benefited from Mayor Wilson's leadership. The St James Historic Preservation Commission has also reconvened, by the interest Mayor Wilson has in our past, and also for his awareness of our responsibilities in taking care of our heritage.
I cannot allow these attacks on a person of Dennis Wilson's quality to go without comment. I have grown up observing these two people, and it takes no stretch to compare the differences in the humanity and courage of Dennis Wilson, and the mean-spiritedness of Jim Morrison. It seems that the former mayor has spent as much time in city hall lately as he did when he had a real job to do there. But there is no community contribution from the former mayor of any other kind, except the self-appointed critic who seems to be completely insensitive to the valuable time of the city employees whose jobs he interrupts for his own researches.
One who cares for community gives to it. I have noticed that the former mayor does not serve on any group that helps our city, not the chamber of commerce, nor any of the event committees, or standing boards. He does not attend openings, ribbon cuttings, concerts or celebrations, nor does he do any physical activities that many of our citizens do as a common good for our city. He even abandoned our school system and moved away, briefly, instead of boosting it, and helping with the greater good.
All of us who love St. James are encouraged to serve in all the ways that we can. I must admit that many of my contributions, and the hours I have spent on the chamber of commerce, choir and band boosters, the pool committee, and preservation have been inspired by Dennis Wilson and the fact that he is our leader. Many of us share this willingness to follow his example.
Because of his being our mayor numerous people have been attracted for the good of St. James, to serve as volunteers, continually giving time and effort, proud to be a part of his legacy. Anyone who turns to Mayor Wilson for a project or an idea is listened to. I know, I have had much help from Mayor Wilson on any project that involves the betterment of our community, and he is smart enough to know what is a waste of time, and to say so. He is above all a promoter of what is good in St. James, especially its generosity. He does a fabulous job as our mayor.
Dennis Wilson is a genuine leader, and most importantly, has the genuine love and regard of his community.