THURSDAY, 8/16/12, Issue 58
Hamburger Hail Mary: This spring Forbes named Jacksonville the worst city for jobs. The curse of uncertainty perhaps was lifted last night when the city council voted overwhelmingly 10-9 to reject the watered-down LGBT human-rights ordinance. Waiting for this final decision was the business community, which has been holding back on job creation, not knowing what the city would decide. Mayor Alvin Brown’s refusal to support the civil-rights measure is his masterstroke to solve the Sphinx’s riddle and lift the curse. It’s his Hamburger Hail Mary pass.
Mayor Alvin Brown is like Oedipus. Remember him? The Sphinx sat outside of Thebes and asked a riddle of all travelers who passed by. If the traveler failed to solve the riddle, then the Sphinx killed him. And if the traveler answered the riddle correctly, then the Sphinx would destroy herself. The riddle was “What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?” Oedipus solved the riddle, and the Sphinx destroyed herself, and the curse that had beset Thebes was lifted. Oedipus then became the king of Thebes. The rest is mythology.
Mayor Brown hopes that he too now has solved a Sphinx’s riddle, though I don’t think he wants to become king. What’s his answer to the Sphinx’s riddle? Refusing to support the ordinance—that’ll lift the curse. Now, if all goes according to plan, jobs will come to Jacksonville. Good times will return.
ActionNewsJax, which reported the Forbes story, doesn’t have all of the information right. Even though Jacksonville ranks 11th in the list of U.S. cities by population, it ranks #131 on Forbes’ list of “Best Places for Business and Careers,” below Oxnard CA: Forbes: Jacksonville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
On the Forbes list, which extends to 200 cities, lots of places are worse off, like Camden NJ, Fort Smith AR, and Youngstown OH. The lowest city on the list, where the magazine stopped counting, was #200, Modesto CA, the city that just declared bankruptcy. So, Jacksonville really doesn’t have anything to worry about.
However, here in Jacksonville, what’s holding up employers is not knowing whether they would have to extend civil-rights protections to the LGBT community. They need certainty. They want to know—will it be one way, or the other.
You’ve got to be cunning and courageous to fool the Sphinx. That’s Mayor Brown. Even though during his campaign he promised the LGBT community he’d support such a measure, he did not do so. Sometimes a politician just has to lie in order to get things done. Brown took his cue from a masterful politician:.
The mayor sees the bigger picture. He realizes the business community, led by Peter Rummell, needs certainty. So last night he didn’t step up to the plate. By not doing so, he did his part. He cleared the logjam. Like Oedipus, he solved the riddle. He has lifted the curse that had befallen us.The jobs now will come. Why?
BECAUSE THE CURSE, THE CURSE NOW HAS BEEN LIFTED!!!
I hear Mayor Brown usually eats in Avondale at the Brick or Biscottis. Word is, he dines out there almost every week night, and almost always with a single male companion. Maybe I’ll run into him, or the two of them, someday at Hamburger Mary’s! If I do, I hope he doesn’t turn out to be a protagonist in his own Greek tragedy.
I hope he’ll still have his sight. Otherwise, he might not recognize me. But then, would I still be able to recognize him?