Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?
– Five Man Electrical Band

Well you can sure read a sign that says Nymph now, thanks to Mobile City Councilman Fred Richardson, who recently asked the Alabama Department of Transportation to add a sign to the Castleberry Exit (Exit 83) on I-65 to recognize the tiny community of Nymph, where the councilman was born and raised.

Councilman Fred Richardson proudly stands under a new sign along I-65 for his birthplace of Nymph, a very small community in Conecuh County. Richardson personally requested the sign from the Alabama Department of Transportation and it cost taxpayers $3000, raising the question of whether it was a good use of public money?

Councilman Fred Richardson proudly stands under a new sign along I-65 for his birthplace of Nymph, a very small community in Conecuh County. Richardson personally requested the sign from the Alabama Department of Transportation and it cost taxpayers $3000, raising the question of whether it was a good use of public money?

The sign cost the taxpayers of Alabama $3,000.

According to a news report by WKRG, the community consists of a couple of churches and a volunteer fire department and is so small many of the residents of Conecuh County, where Nymph is located, didn’t even know it existed.

On his Facebook page, Richardson said it deserved to be recognized because there are many important people from his little speck on the map.

“Nymph should been on the map. Google Moddie D. Taylor of Nymph who helped make the atom bomb. What about Shelton T. Richardson. Mayor of North Randall Ohio, from Nymph: and Lee Simmons who was an assistant for President Ford. He is from Nymph. General Lloyd Austin who is over forces in Iraq and in charge of stamping out ISIS, has deep heritage roots in Nymph. Lease of all I’m from Nymph,” Richardson wrote on his Facebook page.

I can’t argue this isn’t a sweet gesture for the proud Nymphonian (or is it Nymphonite? Nympho?) to do for his hometown, although it’s hard to see how it really honors the very deserving people he mentioned. But even if it did, in a time when not just our city but our entire state is struggling financially, is this really the best use of taxpayer money?

And is it even appropriate for a politician to make such a personal request of an entity he has to work so closely with as an elected official? What’s next? Adding “Birthplace of Fred Richardson, Mobile City Councilman, District 2. Make sure to vote in the next election!” to the sign? This just seems like a sketchy path to start heading down.

If it meant so much to him and to avoid any conflict of interest, he should have footed the bill for this one.
As people have criticized him on news sites and via social media, in typical Fred fashion, he has attacked back by calling them negative and haters and people who just want Fred Richardson to be out of office.

He has brought up other signs along the interstate of other communities he claims are smaller and asked who paid for them. I’m sure the state did, but did a politician request any of those? If the answer is yes, then we have a bigger problem.

Fred! Wake up! This is not about hate or negativity or your favorite accusation to sling out there — racism. It’s about just being a good steward of taxpayer money. This, along with the ridiculously excessive amount of globetrotting you do on the taxpayer’s dime, aggravates people. They don’t hate Fred Richardson, they hate the way Fred Richardson cavalierly spends their money and uses it to self-aggrandize — especially when our city and state have so many unmet needs.

Can’t you understand how wasteful these actions look in the current economic conditions? And can’t you realize how frustrating that is for your constituents? I promise you if any of the other council members were making such requests, the level of aggravation would be the same. This isn’t personal.

What I am more amazed by is that ALDOT actually agreed to do this. I am not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill here, but now every time some self-important politico from Mobile to Muscle Shoals wants a vanity sign of their own, are we going to oblige all of them?

If you told Fred yes, how could you tell them no? Just about every community has their own interesting story to tell or accomplished native sons and daughters. How do you determine who is sign-worthy?

It’s just a really strange precedent to set. And one that could really clutter up the side of every highway and interstate.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind. Not to mention the bank.