#14: Northport, AL 5/2/16

As the classic song goes, “Sweet home Alabama / Where the skies are so blue and the city council meetings get ’em riled up like General Lee’s army.”

The warning shot was fired by a grizzled Northport veteran who wasted no time during public comment in waving the rebel flag. “We now have regular traffic jams at all hours of the day and early evening,” he charged.

“The speed of cars along Fifth Street going 45, 50, 60 miles an hour has unfortunately become commonplace–and the noise pollution of cars and trucks.” He gave one final push on his verbal bayonet. “I wouldn’t invite my two-year-old granddaughter to come and visit me in Northport until this situation changes.”

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Remember: the Civil War was started because of traffic concerns

How would Mr. Lincoln’s army respond? Council President Jay Logan chose retreat. “I know your wife came up two weeks ago and expressed an interest in traffic control…I can’t really give you a solution right now just simply because it’s still considered a state highway.”

Councilman Bert Sims made a run to join enemy lines. “When I’m eating at Billy’s [Sports Grill], I’m very nervous for pedestrians. When that light’s green…they have at it like they’re at Talladega.”

One councilman down. A traitor to his cause.

The next skirmish was a big’un: Jody Jobson, himself a former city councilman, strode up to the front line. Brother against brother. Heartbreaking. War is hell.

“Are you familiar with any slush funds in this past administrator’s office?” Jobson assailed.

Mayor Herndon sat up. “Slush funds?”

“Slush funds,” Lieutenant Jobson responded. “That nobody on the council had access to except [the recently resigned city manager]?”

“No, sir, I do not,” the mayor returned fire. “And it’d be better if you–if you’re gonna be talking about an individual that’s not an employee of the city of Northport–”

“Well you get on the radio and talk about it…you get on the TV and talk about it,” Jobson flanked Hizzoner.

Mayor Herndon refused to give ground. “With good cause, good reason.”

Corporal Jobson laid into the mayor about how the former city administrator moved money from one fund to another without a council vote. Then, mid-sentence, a loud, piercing siren sounded. Did General Grant surrender? Had Johhny Reb captured Fort Northport?

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Artist’s rendering of the bloody Battle of Mount Slush Fund

No, Jody’s time was up.

But he wasn’t going quietly. “I was fixin’ to call for a state audit because you just don’t– you don’t move funds from one to another without a vote. And he doesn’t have any authority to do that unless council does it.”

Score one for the Union. A slow clap from the graycoats greeted Jobson as he sat down.

As they prepared to celebrate the ceasefire, council President Logan had one final dispatch from Mr. Lincoln’s war room. “We had a safety fair Saturday and Councilman Sullivan and I participated in a dunking booth. So if you missed the opportunity to dunk me and Rodney…you just missed it.”

Councilman Sullivan muttered, “I’m glad they missed it.” Clearly, he was shaken from narrowly avoiding Jody Jobson’s sustained volley. Lord knows what that man could do with a dunking booth in his crosshairs.

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“Dearest Nelly: I narrowly survived the dunking booth today. I only wish divine Providence had spared Councilman Sullivan.”

Final thoughts: Let’s just pray these boys make it home to their wives. And that the country never again sees the horror of the battlefield.*

*dunking booth

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