A very good friend once told me that the people serving on the Port Arthur City Council live in their own little world, and are more concerned with garnering enough votes to secure re-election than they are representing their constituency, or addressing the important matters facing the city. Based upon my experience having to deal with a number of them both past and present, and including more than just Mayor Freeman, I have to say that I agree with my friend completely. I find the vast majority of them very self-centered, interested in only their own personal and political special interests, and almost completely unwilling to listen to anyone with regard to what may or may not be important to the community. And in my opinion, there isn’t a better example of this than that which has recently come into the light regarding soon-to-be-ex-City Councilman Willie “Bae” Lewis.
Not very long ago, Willie “Bae” stepped into the spotlight when he made news that the pending re-alignment of Port Arthur City Council districts would adversely affect the city’s Hispanic population. Considering that throughout Lewis’ lengthy political career on City Council, he largely ignored damned near every ethnic group other than his own, it was quite surprising that he would only now come out to protect the Hispanics. Ladies and gentlemen, I may not be the brightest bulb in the pack, but I think I am smart enough to see through Lewis’ smoke screen. In reality, I seriously doubt Willie’s concern was for anything more than he finally figured it out that the re-alignment of those Council districts would mean his seat on City Council would be going the way of the dinosaurs. This opinion is more substantiated with the knowledge that Willie “Bae” Lewis did absolutely nothing when the issue was placed before voters a few years back. Now, all of a sudden, he has concerns. Bullshit! And I wasn’t the only one to see through this scam, either.
PORT ARTHUR NEWS: Lewis; last stand; Councilman clutching to his seat
But the very best example of Willie “Bae” Lewis’ self-centered, self-serving, egotistic attitude came during the April 24th, 2018, Port Arthur City Council meeting. During the course of that meeting, Willie “Bae” Lewis hurled accusations of neglect and inaction during Tropical Storm Harvey against Mayor Freeman (who himself fought back), ex-City Manager Brian McDougal (who wasn’t present to defend himself), Interim City Manager Harold Robinson and others including other City Council members.
PORT ARTHUR NEWS: An angry Lewis exits City Council service
Although through his various tirades, soon-to-be ex-City Councilman Lewis raised some very valid issues, he did so in a way that literally shot himself in the foot. His attitude towards others was antagonistic to say the least; nor did he demonstrate any character as he called out person, after person, for what he conceived as being failure to perform their duties as are defined in the City Charter … this directed almost entirely towards Mayor Freeman.
However, Mayor Freeman fought back, reminding Lewis that only he and Lewis were present for the last City Council meeting (Kinlaw apparently showed up later) prior to the arrival of Tropical Storm Harvey. Mayor Freeman made it very clear that Lewis had absolutely no concern whatsoever for the pending storm approaching the community, or what detrimental effect it may have on Port Arthur residents or businesses, but instead was only concerned about getting some $30,000 from the City to help support the low-wattage radio station that exclusively serves Port Arthur’s Black community. This didn’t shut Willie up, but it slowed him down substantially; and, although I’m not all that impressed with Mayor Freeman, I have to compliment him on his ability to fight back at Willie Lewis all the while maintaining a professional attitude, not yelling or screaming, not threatening Lewis, and in all acting like a gentleman throughout.
However, even though Willie “Bae” Lewis presented some interesting facets regarding the city’s preparation before the storm, handling emergencies during the storm, and dealing with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey, the question remains why Mr, Lewis hasn’t addressed any of these matter previously? After all, Tropical Storm Harvey devastated Port Arthur beginning late in the day of Aug 28th, 2017. That was eight (8) months ago, and this is the very first time anyone has heard so much as a peep regarding these matters from Willie “Bae”.
My feeling in all this is that Willie “Bae” Lewis was so wound up in his own personal and political special interests that he did his usual and ignored everything in Council up to the point when he finally saw the light and realized he was going to lose his City Council seat. The rest is all nothing more than a front to hide his embarrassment in himself and to take it out undeserving on others. That describes a man of little or no character, and let’s hope sincerely that the people of Port Arthur see right through his thin-skin by making sure Willie “Bae” Lewis never again gains a position in city government or administration. The very future of Port Arthur, if there is to be one, depends on it.