As I drifted off to sleep the other night my mind wandered to City Councilman Fred Richardson and his recent efforts to make a mountain out of a molehill about the interim Fire Chief accidentally scratching the rear quarter panel of his vehicle last week. I’d been sent an email chain between him and the mayor’s office and that caused me to have the strangest dream.
Suddenly I was opening an email that seemed so real:
From: Fred Richardson
To: Fred Richardson
Subject: Fred Richardson
Fred Richardson, I thought I would write to compliment you on your total domination of the Mobile City Council, the mayor’s office, the media and Facebook over the past six months. Some people may have thought when Fred Richardson was passed over for the job as council president that would put Fred Richardson in his place – that Fred would just shut up and tow the line.
I guess they’ve all learned by now, Fred Richardson don’t tow anybody’s line. Well, unless it’s Sam Jones’ line, but Fred and Sam are buddies and Sam’s line really is Fred’s line so that’s cool. Regardless, Fred Richardson is on fire now! He’s knocking on the door and you can hear it across the land!
When they tried to keep Sam from getting on the water board, my colleagues on the City Council thought they were just going to run over Fred Richardson like a possum on the road from Nymph, but they learned otherwise. School is out! No more lessons! Fred Richardson was ready to do whatever it took, even if it meant putting Mayor Jones up every week until Fred Richardson’s goatee fell out from old age.
Just between Fred Richardson and Fred Richardson though — Fred Richardson knew Sam being turned down wasn’t a racial issue, but sometimes you’ve got to play to win and the race card is always the King of Diamonds. Fred Richardson and Sam had a long laugh when it was all over. Fred and Sam knew those wimps would cave in eventually because Mayor Stimpson is all about trying to make everyone happy. But Fred Richardson sees One Mobile his own way.
Mayor Stimpson better learn unless Fred Richardson is happy, no one’s happy. They should have let Fred Richardson be council president, not that it would have made things easier on them and the meetings waaaaay more interesting, and maybe Fred Richardson would let them have their fire chief. Not now though!
The mayor and rest of the council better recognize that Fred Richardson is really in charge now! Levon Manzie and C.J. Small do what Fred tells them to, which means nothing’s getting passed until Fred says “boo.” Fred wears two watches and he knows what time it is!
Sandy Stimpson should’ve known better than making Randy Smith the interim fire chief. That man sued the city for reverse discrimination and had the audacity to drag Fred Richardson in to testify in court. Fred Richardson explained then that he wanted to see more minorities moved up the chain in the Fire Department, and that hasn’t changed! A white fire chief will not do.
No way Freddy D is letting that dude get the job full time, even after the mayor and white council members caved on Sam going to the water board. Fred Richardson drives the bus, everyone else is just waiting at the stop!
Of course Smith’s little fender-bender the other day wasn’t of any real consequence, but it sure gave Fred Richardson a chance to stir things up and ask questions that make it look like Smith was drinking or doing something else wrong. It’s so easy for Fred Richardson to get the media going on something like that. It makes Fred Richardson laugh a big, loud Fred Richardson laugh. Then just pretend Fred Richardson had nothing to do with how it all went public — play dumb and eat a MoonPie.
It’s all working out the way Fred Richardson has planned it. Some people may think Fred is crazy, but Fred Richardson is now the most powerful man in Mobile and people better learn to do what Fred wants done. The truth is powerful. Many rather a lie!
Speaking of a fib, Fred Richardson had some fun on Facebook the other day snatching a page from city’s 2013 Financial Statement and pretending it showed the city in fine financial shape when Mayor Sam Jones left office. Fred Richardson laughed and laughed at that one too because, really, how many people are actually going to go read the whole statement and find out the city’s budget really was $29 million off? Not Fred Richardson, that’s for sure! Fred Richardson didn’t have to look at budgets when Sam was mayor. He just told Fred things were OK and sent Fred on a trip.
When Sandy Stimpson won the mayor’s office, a lot of people probably thought Fred Richardson was obsolete – someone left fighting battles from 50 years ago. But Fred Richardson has proven them wrong. All Fred needed was some imaginative claims and a couple of guys to buy into Fred Richardson’s fight against racism.
Let’s be honest Fred, the most important thing to Fred Richardson is being treated like a “somebody,” and getting to travel on the city’s dime. Everyone’s going to be dying to get Fred Richardson on some long trips sometime soon, that’s for sure! Ha, ha! Paris Airshow, here comes Fred! Bonny Jorno and rooty toot-toot!
There’s no doubt Fred Richardson has a few tough questions to ask about Airbus and equality and how they intend to treat Fred Richardson when they’re in his city. Maybe Fred will hire an interpreter on the city’s dime so those French white guys can catch exactly Fred Richardson’s drift. And so Fred Richardson doesn’t accidentally eat a snail. That would be nasty.
Yes, it’s true Fred Richardson is getting a little long in the tooth, but the mayor and his friends on the council better recognize Fred Richardson’s not going nowhere! Heck, nobody even ran against Fred Richardson last time. It doesn’t matter what Fred Richardson does, the people would make Fred Richardson District 1 King for life.
So keep ‘em going Fred. Everyone looks to Fred Richardson to keep the battles from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s front and center here in 2014. Don’t ever let those younger black council members who grew up in a different world forget white people are always up to no good.
And see if Fred Richardson can’t land some more great trips on the city’s dime. Fred Richardson deserves more of those and a nice hat for all this hard work.
THE GADFLY BY LAURA RASMUSSEN
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