As Campaign Nears Clubhouse Turn, Williams Facing Serious Health Challenge

With the 2020 balloting in which he is due to stand for reelection less than two months away, Needles Mayor Jeff Williams has fallen seriously ill to the point that his life is reportedly in danger.
Because of privacy restrictions in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a 1996 Federal law that limits access to individuals’ private medical information, precise details about the mayor’s condition are not available.
This is not the first major health crisis Williams has faced. In 2015, the then-53-year-old Williams began experiencing kidney issues. In 2016, doctors discovered and removed a cancerous growth on his right kidney. Thereafter, Williams has constantly, three days a week, undergone an exhausting four-hour dialysis session.
Reportedly, Williams experienced a major cardiac episode as well as another nephrological crisis, and is now intubated and undergoing dialysis. It was said that his condition has grown so critical that he remains hospitalized, and is being kept alive mechanically.
Already a legend, which is perhaps apocryphal in some or all of its particulars, has risen with regard to the mayor’s travail. According to that narrative, Williams is hospitalized at the Colorado River Medical Center, where he is under the watchful care of none other than Dr. Ed Paget, for decades Needles’ leading physician. Going back more than a decade, Williams and Paget have alternated holding the mayor’s position, which in Needles consists of a two-year term. Williams, a former sheriff’s deputy who later worked as an investigator for the public defender’s office, was first elected Needles mayor in 2000. He ran unopposed for mayor in 2006 and in 2008 held off a challenge by longtime Needles political figure Roy Mills. In 2010, Paget, who had and continues to have tremendous visibility and popularity in Needles as a physician who cares for many in what is the county’s smallest city population-wise at less than 5,000 residents, challenged Williams for the mayor’s post, besting the incumbent 634 votes or 56.76 percent to Williams’ 483 votes or 43.24 percent. In 2012 and 2014, Paget was unopposed in his mayoral electoral bids. In 2014, Williams reentered Needles politics, successfully running for city council. In 2016, Paget was again unopposed in running for mayor. In 2018, Williams ran for mayor and Paget opted to instead run for city council.
As elected official colleagues, since 2014, Paget and Williams have built a rapport. Indeed, a father-son relationship between the 81-year-old Paget and the 58-year-old Williams appears to have evolved.
With Williams felled by his current health issue, he found himself under the care of Paget, who a decade previously, had been his political rival.
So serious, apparently, is Williams’ condition that Paget has found himself engrossed in seeking to keep his one-time opponent alive. An indication of that came this week after Paget was obliged to leave Williams’ bedside at the hospital to attend the city council meeting. As the vice mayor, Paget officiated over the meeting in Williams’ place. But because the lion’s share of his waking hours for the previous days had been spent in looking after the wan and fading Mayor Williams, Paget did not have time to familiarize himself with the agenda for the meeting. Indeed, so distracted was Paget, that he was dependent upon City Manager Rick Daniels prompting him with regard to the agenda’s contents and guiding him through the proceedings. Immediately upon gaveling the meeting to adjournment, Paget departed at once to the hospital to ensure that Williams was able to make it through the night.
While any brush with death is unwelcome, Williams’ ordeal comes at a particularly inauspicious time, with the November election approaching. Williams is locked in a race against Sandra Queen Noble, a politician and mayoral hopeful of national note. Noble ran unsuccessfully for Cincinnati mayor three times, including in 2005, when she received 121 votes. She ran for Congress representing Washington, D.C., in 2010, challenging Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, receiving 785 votes. Noble was a candidate for U.S. president in 2004, 2008 and 2012. She was a candidate for mayor in Springfield, Missouri at one time, and ran for mayor in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, as well as for a position on the Los Angeles City Council. Noble is the founder of the H.E.R.O.S.H.E.R.O. Party. The mother of two, she has stated she is an “innate law enforcement officer,” and that she holds a “Jim Crow Education K-12 Ph.D.” She further describes herself as a political rapper. She has been employed as a fashion designer and special education assistant. She once filed a $994 trillion lawsuit against the “Stolen United States of America,” as she termed it in court papers.
Because Noble is Williams’ only competitor in the mayor’s race, it appears that her run in Needles may offer her the best chance at success in her long quest to achieve elected office in the many locales she has resided throughout the country.
-Mark Gutglueck

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