You can’t simply snap your fingers in municipal government and make things happen. But you can sure as heck show up to public comment and TELL people to make things happen.
“It’s really long overdue and it’s something I want to get done,” a woman clad entirely in white ordered Mobile council members. “We need to get this done.” (“This” being renaming Glennon Avenue to “Dr. Yvonne Kennedy Avenue.”)
“I talked with Councilman [Levon] Manzie this morning,” she narrowed her eyes at him. “We’re going to have Dr. Kennedy’s name on the pole?”
“Yes, ma’am,” acknowledged Manzie.
“We’re also going to have Glennon Avenue on the pole?”
“We wanna put a permanent plaque and–can I have my way with this? Doing what I want to do?” she inquired.
“No, ma’am!” Manzie exclaimed.
“I love having my way!” she threw up her hands and chuckled.
“I think Councilman Manzie hears you loud and clear,” intervened Council President Gina Gregory as the woman retreated in satisfaction.
Success! Could there be anything more slam-dunk than a street named after a scion of the community?
“I’ve always enjoyed Elfapalooza,” a kindly man in a pink shirt smiled. “I’ve never actually put on my pointed ears and gone down in my tights. And, uh–”
“I’m visualizing that right now,” President Gregory deadpanned, prompting raucous laughter.
“Maybe if you give ’em the $40,000, I’ll do that this year!” the man replied.
“Might be worth it,” Gregory considered with a smirk.
He was, of course, referring to $40,000 proposed to revive the “North Pole Stroll.” It was a hot topic for a cold season, and Council Member John Williams was ready to wrap that present.
“This payment will be for holiday events and decorations,” he cheerfully made the motion.
But just as Christmas needs a Santa Claus, it also needs a fiscally-responsible Grinch.
“We’ve been assured that they’re going to have a robust Christmas celebration in downtown,” Council Member Manzie protested. “We don’t know what those activities will cost, so I’m a little hesitant.”
He added, logically, “if it’s a great success, the expectation will be that we need to continue [payments]. I would hate to start something and not continue in perpetuity.”
Council Member Fredrick Richardson attempted his own Scrooge impersonation. “Sometimes we need to leave well enough alone,” he grumbled.
“I think,” he softened, “we need to go back with the Christmas parade. It brings joy in the hearts of all.”
President Gregory called for a vote. It failed. The man in the pink shirt would not be wearing his elf ears and tights after all (although we can mark that in the “good news” column.)
Yikes. If the Mobile city council said no to Christmas, what would they say “yes” to?
“On Wednesday, I had the honor of being interviewed,” announced Council Member Manzie. “Michael Karlik runs a website and podcast called City Council Chronicles.”
“He came up with some new catchphrases for District Two. I promised I would play it in the meeting, but I can’t get it to function here,” Manzie admitted, trying to recall the catchphrases. “‘District Two: We have a Hardee’s.’ ‘District Two: Walk on the wild side!'”
“Well, Michael,” Gregory mused, “I’m guessing you’re watching….’Seventh Heaven?'” She glanced around as her colleagues giggled at her own district catchphrase.
“‘District Seven…Heaven.’ You gotta rhyme!” she insisted.
Council Member Richardson leaned into his microphone. “Did you get that, Mike?”