Mom: Tisdale forgot a few things, too

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2012

To the editor:

What I have to say to your readers is in response to John Tisdale’s recent letter. Is it not ironic how politics sometimes brings togetherness from those who were formerly dire adversaries?

Allow me to quote excerpts from May 2010 e-mails I received from Tisdale. “Earl Johnson worked with a vengeance to have me (John Tisdale) removed from the Downtown Redevelopment Authority which I helped form along with Mayor Barrow and Sid Fuller following the official designation of the National Historic District. Without so much as a ‘thank you’ from anyone representing the city for my investments in Andalusia since 1978 including millions of dollars/hundreds of hours in service to this community, Johnson declared me ineligible to serve. The city council actually believed him. It would not be good for me to participate (in a CHS program) expressing my opinions, many of which reflect poorly on the DRA’s current direction. Please help me pass it along that I will no longer offer any of my properties for free use to the public. You probably don’t know this, but up until now I have always worked with many of the non-profit organizations in Andalusia for causes including bake/yard sales, car washes, auctions, walk-a-thons, reunions, valentine sales, use of parking lots for recreation events. I just spoke to (name), withdrawing my offer for free use of the Prestwood building for art exhibits during the upcoming Andalusia Homecoming. I explained my current relationship with city hall which affected my decision. I suggested that she discuss her needs with the current administration explaining to them why she can’t use the building. Maybe they have property to donate.”

So is this a little confusing as to why Johnson’s political signs are located on Tisdale properties? We can only wonder if Johnson and Tisdale have some deal in the works? Is Tisdale’s uncontrollable anger taking over due to Blaine’s FB postings concerning the city’s unfair abatement of certain property – “What’s required of one owner’s unsightly property should be required of all.”

Through the years, I have always defended Tisdale’s ongoing efforts to restore downtown, have never doubted his passion, have had confidence in his intentions when no one else did.

When it comes to Tisdale’s criticism of our son, Blaine Wilson, a few things need to be brought to the public’s attention, so here goes.

The “silver spoon” comment – not exactly accurate. When Blaine was an AHS sophomore, his father worked for a local auto parts franchise distributorship that sold to another company, moving their headquarters to Montgomery. He faced a job crisis briefly. Blaine mopped floors at his part-time job thanks to grocer Hugh King. He also helped build sewing machines thanks to entrepreneur James Henderson. In lieu of pursuing an awarded LBW scholarship, he assisted his father in the electronics business for 10 years. He can definitely identify with the average working citizen. This experience actually helped Blaine to develop his present work ethic.

Blaine’s late grandmother was a widow who was employed at Southeastern Box and Funsten Pecans. She, like other fixed income households, had to worry about utility/ medicine bills. Wilson understands what many face.

Tisdale asks “What has Blaine Wilson done to improve Andalusia?”

After 9-11, Blaine attended the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center, returning home to work in law enforcement helping to protect and serve the citizens of Covington County. We recall memorable headlines – “Sears burglary foiled” and “28 pounds of marijuana seized.” Officer Wilson worked Hurricane Ivan where Montezuma Activity Center residents were rescued from a collapsing building then transported across town to safety. Drug busts, domestic disturbances, auto accidents, vandalism, child molestation incidents, jail escapee hunts – risking one’s life that all law enforcement officers experience, part of the job.

During 2001-08, Blaine, with partners, started investing in blighted properties to remodel, rent, resell. Neighbors were appreciative. Tenants were fortunate to have found decent housing. With pride, he built several commercial storage/garage/office buildings which improved site appearances.

No, Blaine has not spent thousands of dollars like Tisdale, because unlike John, he does not have a “silver spoon.”

After purchasing WAAO (2008), Blaine has offered hundreds of hours, free air time, to various groups/individuals. He along with generous Andalusians raised an astounding $60,000-plus for victims’ families and promoted the Tuscaloosa tornado relief effort never to be forgotten.

In conclusion, Tisdale states he has developed Andalusia property for 44 years. The fact remains that very few of his buildings have been completed casting a shadow and distressing downtown occupants.

Now that I have reluctantly responded, let’s proceed to get on with the work of making Andalusia the best it can be. This is “Our Town!”


Sue Bass Wilson