To the editor:
When I look over candidates for public office, such as our city commission candidates, I look for people with intelligence, common sense, competence, judgment, expertise, accomplishments and proven integrity, people our populace can trust to make decisions. We had some people like that running in the recent primary for city commission. Voters passed on some of them. That may have been a mistake.
Our city commissioners are sometimes privy to the activities of drug task forces in this area, the activities of the DEA, ATF, FBI, KBI and other law enforcement agencies operating in this town. Our city commissioners make decisions that affect our police officers and the operations of the department itself.
Our police officers and other law enforcement officers operating in our area deserve to have a city commission they can fully depend on to act in a neutral manner without malice toward them or their agencies. They deserve commissioners they know they can trust.
In the past, we’ve had people running for city commission who were far less than qualified, and those with minor police records, but now we have a very different situation, a candidate with a serious felony record who was sentenced to three years in jail.
Jermaine Wilson may have totally turned his life around, I can’t say. But when there are other quite competent candidates, I don’t really think we need someone on our city commission whose past shows a history of flagrant disregard for the law.
Can a convicted felon even hold the position of city commissioner? If so, maybe that needs reconsideration.
Can our police officers totally trust someone they know has a serious felony record and did time in jail? Their jobs are dangerous. I believe our police officers know of this issue and aren’t truly comfortable with it. But they can’t speak out about political matters. I can.
I don’t believe Wilson, if now a totally fine citizen, possesses any special experience or training, no educational achievements to speak of, nor any special talents needed in the position of city commissioner. Just what does he bring to the table? Very little, except that he says he’s a community organizer and his criminal record. Those certainly aren’t very compelling qualifications for a city commission seat.
I think people need to think long and hard before they vote to put a former convicted felon on our city commission. It certainly wouldn’t be a prudent decision, would set a horrible precedent and isn’t justified.
(Editor’s note: A story published on March 23, 2016, in the Times included information provided by Jermaine Wilson of his police record.)