It’s a new season for Indio City Council and a new season of life for the former mayor, Mike Wilson. He conceded earlier this week to his opponent, Waymond Fermon. NBC Palm Springs met with him at the Empire Polo Club to reflect on his tenure as mayor and the future of Indio.
How were your 21 years as mayor?
“I drive through Indio today and just about on every street or street corner there’s something there that I played a huge part in. It’s certainly a large legacy that I walk away from in the city of Indio.”
Wilson assisted in expanding polo tournaments, music festivals, malls and more in the city.
“This has truly become an international destination and it’s a great place to be,” he said.
How do you feel looking back at the accusations of racist tweets?
“This campaign and this election, I was called a racist for the first time ever in my history. What the public doesn’t know is my first wife of 26 years was Hispanic, my kids are Hispanic and my nine grandchildren are Hispanic.”
Wilson is known for his outward conservative and religious views.
“If you look at the whole Hispanic culture, their values, the God, faith, family, community, that’s all conservative.”
What do you think led to your loss?
“The movement here in the valley is Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Coachella ‘politics.’ It has now raised its ugly head in Indio.”
Wilson added the new districting rules made an impact, too.
“They had no chance in an at-large election to defeat me or my colleague mayor pro-tem Troy Strange who, by the way, is a Democrat, but he’s a moderate Democrat and he’s not left enough for them, so they attacked him and went after him too.”
What do you see for the future of Indio?
“What I see is a complete 180 degree change to a socialist, activist agenda that’s going to turn this community on its head and quite frankly, history will be the only decision-maker on if the community made the right choice or the wrong choice but I fear what the future holds here and I don’t see good things happening because of it.”
Wilson highlighted sanctuary city policies, the removal of prayer from the council chambers and the possibility of cannabis expansion as road blocks for a positive future.
“I’ve talked to many investors, developers, those folks in Indio that are doing business here and that are looking to do business here, that are now saying the instability is too great for them to take a chance on.”
Will you ever try to run again?
“It’s going to be an interesting few years and at the end of the day, my supporters and those people in Indio will be watching and there’s always a recall process if it gets too out of hand.”
Do you have any words for Waymond Fermon?
“I wish him the best. I wish his family the best and congratulate him on his win. He did win but again, we’ll be watching.”
What’s next for you?
Wilson said he and his wife are making retirement plans and will be in Indio for the next few years. He plans to continue an active role in politics and the city.