Looking for Larry

Once again, the Birmingham Weekly delivers the story other news media ignore.

The issue of Mayor Langford’s residency is not a new one. It’s an old joke that no one laughs at anymore. But just to belabor the point, I conscripted one of Birmingham Weekly’s contributing writers, Madison Underwood, for a little project. Periodically we would wake up just before sunrise and drive from Birmingham (where we both live) to Fairfield. We’d navigate the Fair Oaks subdivision to Larry Langford’s house to see if his car was parked in the driveway. We’d shoot video. We’d take pictures. And we’d do this enough times until a reasonable person could conclude that Langford still lived there and there alone…

Five trips — and five sightings of Langford’s vehicle. They also checked at least once to make sure he drove said vehicle to work the same day; he did.

After Langford won the mayoral election in October 2007, second place finisher Patrick Cooper went to court with plenty of evidence showing that he was in violation of the residency requirement. However, the judge, reluctant to overturn the will of the voters, took Larry’s testimony that he intended to move to Birmingham at face value and let the election stand. Yeah…that went well.

When Langford was arrested on public corruption charges last year, he had to give one and only one address to the federal probation office. At his initial appearance, the federal magistrate told Langford in very clear terms that if he were found living at any other address he would be in violation of his release and could go straight to jail. That probation record is not a public document, but let’s assume Langford wrote on it one of two addresses. If he wrote that he lived in Birmingham, then by living in Fairfield, he is violating his probation. If he wrote that he lived in Fairfield, then he is not a Birmingham resident and is not legally mayor…

…It’s clear that Langford still lives in Fairfield and never moved to Birmingham. Again, this isn’t new, but what’s so astonishing is that it’s not news.

Astonishing — and sad, really. Is the Birmingham News waiting for the federal trial to take care of this little problem? Larry has already requested and received one postponement; he could drag that process out for years while he continues to flout local law. Where are the TV news reporters? Why haven’t their cameras been trained on the mayor’s house?

One of Larry’s favorite lines is, ”I’m sick and tired of people who live outside the city telling us what we can and cannot do.” Why haven’t the residents of Birmingham told him, “Put up or shut up”?

h/t, Blues reader Sansou

7 Responses to “Looking for Larry”

  1. Zach says:

    This whole situation is perfect in is absurdity. By allowing Langford to continue as mayor, the residents of Birmingham are saying that it’s okay for a leader to behave in any way he wants and disregard any laws he wants.

  2. Kathy says:

    Yep. That nails it.

    You know, I can understand a private citizen choosing not to take on the hassle and expense of a lawsuit over this, but I really don’t understand the media (other than the Weekly) ignoring it so completely. Are they all afraid of him?

  3. Bill says:

    Kyle, FTW!

  4. Zurich says:

    @zach “the residents of Birmingham are saying that it’s okay for a leader to behave in any way he wants and disregard any laws he wants.”

    Kind of reminds you of Bill Clinton doesn’t it?

  5. Kathy says:

    Kind of reminds you of Bill Clinton doesn’t it?

    No, it reminds me of George W. Bush.

  6. Don says:

    I guess Langford figures that if state Senator “Walking Wendell” Mitchell can get away with flaunting Section 47 of the Alabama Constitution for years by living in SD25 while representing SD30, he can get away with being Mayor of Birmingham and not living there.

  7. Loretta Nall says:

    That’s beautiful!

Leave a Reply