The Birmingham Free Press has learned that Alabama State Representative Patricia Todd from Jefferson County may be splitting from the Democratic Party after a fellow Democrat introduced homophobic language into an amendment to a teacher tenure bill. Democrats were opposed to the bill. In order to kill it, they had proposed numerous amendments aimed at killing the bill, but none of their amendments were approved.
In an apparent act of desperation, a fellow Democrat (unnamed) proposed an amendment that would allow the state to fire teachers for "teaching homosexuality." During this Representative's presentation of the proposal, he allegedly made remarks that were construed by members of the House, including Todd, as homophobic.
The House asked for a ruling on whether the amendment was germane to the bill and determined that it was not.
Representative Todd is the first openly gay public official in the state of Alabama. She claims that she has been continually disappointed in her fellow Democrats with regard to protecting the rights of gay people in the state. "You cannot use a marginalized community as a political weapon or pawn," she said, adding, "They just don't get it."
Though the unnamed Representative appears to have acted alone in his proposed amendment to the bill, Todd claims to be shocked at the lack of response from other Democrats, while Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and other Republicans went out of their way to apologize to her for the incident. "It actually gave me an opportunity to have some very frank dialogs with Republicans about gay issues," Todd said. To date, the Democratic Caucus has not discussed it.
The incident, she claims, further erodes her faith in the two-party system. As a result, she is considering running as an Independent when this term ends. For the time being, she is no longer caucusing with the Democrats. "When I look back at my relationship with the Democratic party in Alabama," she said, "our priorities don't match."
The Birmingham Free Press Broadsheet hits the streets again
We first went online with birminghamfreepress.com in 1998. We started printing a broadsheet in 2003. However, beset by rapidly burgeoning personal careers, we stopped printing after a couple of years of muckraking and yellow journalism. We let the other guys have a chance. They blew it.
So, after a seven year hiatus, the Birmingham Free Press returns to the hard copy arena with a renewed vigor for our mission of bringing you the news, bringing it hard, and making it fun.
Our website has never ceased publishing new content. Like a black widow spider, we've been lurking in the shadows of Southside subsisting on a meager diet of news items from the internet and occasional local interest features, waiting for the perfect time to strike out again.
The time is nigh.
In the past year, we've beefed up the website, expanded our network of blogs and video content, and recruited new writing and editorial talent. In addition, Birmingham Free Press Music has expanded exponentially into a social media scene of its own, creating a vibrant web of communication between musicians, fans, and venues.
The Birmingham Free Press broadsheet edition brings back a unique voice into the chaotic mix of papers available in town. We will talk about things the other guys won't talk about. We will ask questions the other guys won't ask. We will engage you in ways that the other guys won't engage you. We are kind of obnoxious. We may very well challenge you to wrestling matches at the Bottletree, get us both kicked out, and then make it up to you over coffee at the Waffle House.
As we continue to print, you will find that the Birmingham Free Press, while striving to maintain a balance of viewpoints, is committed to honest and open discourse. At some point, readers may be challenged or even offended by something found within our pages. We feel that in order to serve the community, it is important to offer converging and divergent viewpoints and opinions in order to stimulate real communication.
We want to inform and challenge the citizens of Birmingham and its metro area to take a look at themselves and their neighbors. Though we will often cover national or international topics, our main focus will return to Birmingham and how these issues affect our city.
In short, the Birmingham Free Press has the attitude and DIY ethos of a punk rock fanzine and the diversity, style, and professional look and feel of a newspaper. We represent Birmingham. We are Free. We are the Press.