Yesterday, Kyle reported that the Birmingham Finance Department was soliciting estimates for a brand new Larrymobile, a 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT with fancy features that regularly sells for more than $65,000.
Today, the mayor said he wouldn’t ask the taxpayers of Birmingham to provide him with an Escalade. How nice of him! And the way he talks, you’d think he’d never mentioned the possibility. So how does he explain this?
Langford, who has his own Escalade, said the city staff made the request for bids to get estimates on how much it would cost to provide the mayor with a city car comparable to his own.
So, if he didn’t ask for an Escalade, then why were city employees getting estimates?
“I didn’t ask for a car. I’ve already got a car that I worked and paid for myself,” Langford told The Birmingham News this morning. “I didn’t ask for anything to begin with, but on the same token I shouldn’t be spending my own money when the city by law is obligated to buy the mayor a car.”
Langford says he wants the city to provide a car allowance rather than purchase a vehicle for him, and at first glance that actually makes sense to me. However, the city can’t legally pay an allowance at this point. No problem for Larry. In a bit of unintended irony, he says the city shouldn’t waste time on something so mundane, and he’ll just go to the Legislature to get the law changed. Because the Legislature has time to waste on mundane things (an obvious opening for yet another rant about our stupid state constitution, but I will spare y’all this time).
“I resent how we focus on the mundane and the stupid when in fact it’s not something I asked for to begin with,” Langford said. “Before this becomes an issue I’ll just keep my car and ask the Legislature to change it (the law) and give a $750 a month car allowance and pay for the gas.”
Wait a minute. $750 a month plus gas to keep driving his own Escalade? As Kyle points out, Escalades get about 12 miles per gallon in the city and 16 on the highway. Those gas bills could get mighty high, especially if Larry’s still driving in from Fairfield every day. And didn’t he just implement a four-day work week for city employees in order to reduce gas consumption?
I say forget the car allowance and buy him a nice new hybrid. The taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for his toys. *
* “Nobody can buy more cars than I buy. The only difference between men and boys are the size of their toys, and you all sell the toys that I like.” — Larry Langford