“The Mayor of Hamilton Park” wasn’t elected by popular vote. In fact, there were no votes at all. The election involved a personal decision made by Eiland Collins, a 30-year neighborhood resident, to get involved in the community.
Collins was tagged “The Mayor of Hamilton Park” because at least twice a week, he “raises sin” with the Dallas City Council and other City staffers.
“Oh, it’s all right with me if it’s in good faith,” Collins says about the title bestowed by a Council member.
Collins’ volunteerism in his neighborhood is a full-time job that he does with no expectations.
“I don’t do it for me or for praise, I do it for the citizens of Dallas,” says the native of Greenville. “It’s not for money, it’s for the community.”
Collins spent much of his youth in the armed forces. He retired from the Dallas Morning News after a 16-year tenure in the production department.
Collins, who is 63, says he feels like he’s “going a little downhill.”
That feeling may come from his work ethic and schedule as a volunteer at Willie B. Johnson Recreation Center.
“I spend six to 10 hours here every day,” he says. “And I stay until the job is done.”
Collins performs whatever tasks are asked of him – cleaning to answering the telephone to light repairs.
“He’s a volunteer, but he’s better than any employee,” says Pam Aikman, community program manager for the recreation center. “He does everything from helping with activities to running errands and sometimes literally running the center.”
“He is a quiet force when it comes to interfacing with the police and sanitation departments and neighborhood services,” Aikman says.
Collins is a can-do man. Many of his sentences end with “whatever it takes.” Such as his battles with City Hall.
“I’ll get up there before the Council and raise sin if I have to,” he says. “Make calls, write letters, make speeches, whatever it takes.”
Collins focuses mostly on City code enforcement pertaining to empty lots and alley maintenance and brush disposal.
“It has taken me almost six years for one project – taking care of creek erosion,” he says of the task that has been budgeted for this year. He also won another battle over the reconstruction of public parking lots.
Collins negates the idea of being admired by associates.
“Oh, if anyone is saying something nice about me, it must be my wife, Hattie L.,” he says.