It isn’t very often that you’ll find me changing my mind about someone or something, much less issuing an apology to someone after having seen a side of them that left me thinking differently. In this case, and although I’ve been quite critical of him prior to this, a simple report in the New York Times made me reconsider my position on Derrick Freeman, the Mayor of Port Arthur, Texas.
First, I have to apologize to Derrick because I believe now I’ve seriously misjudged him. I considered him to be little more than a Carl Parker puppet, but came to rethink my opinion of him as I read the article that appeared in the New York Times. My findings are that he is precisely what I thought Port Arthur didn’t have. Someone more concerned with the community than themselves.
In the political area there will be those who both favor and dislike what Derrick is trying to do, especially since the city was flooded out by Harvey. To them I have to now say that y’all need to walk a mile in his shoes. Hilton Kelly, the local ecological guru that I think conned his way into the local limelight, is all upset because a temporary location to store storm debris didn’t meet his expectations. Too bad, but I also think it’s better to get this stuff out of the neighborhood streets faster by taking it to a preliminary holding site than it is trying to pick it up and magically make it all go away.
There are other people in Port Arthur with a strong commitment to the community, but only a few of them are willing to get involved with the community to the extent of being able to do more than rattle off at the gums in social media. Furthermore, those who still live in the past, and think they can bring back a heyday long past are more a detriment to Port Arthur than those seeking involvement based solely upon what they can put in their back pockets.
Obviously Derrick Freeman is a man who cares for Port Arthur and wants to see it a better place. For thinking otherwise, Derrick, I apologize. Thank you for being who and what you are.