Some of you might remember the troubles of Jefferson County, and how they are going bankrupt because of a sewer system and tax cuts.
Now the 3rd-world price may about to be paid - machine gun carrying troops on the streets.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The sheriff in Alabama's most populous county may call for the National Guard to help maintain order, a spokesman said Tuesday, after a judge cleared the way for cuts in the sheriff's budget and hopes dimmed for a quick end to a budget crisis.
Circuit Judge Joseph L. Boohaker ruled that leaders in Jefferson County — now trying to head off a municipal bankruptcy filing of historic proportions — could go ahead with plans to slash $4.1 million from the budget of Sheriff Mike Hale, who had filed a lawsuit that temporarily blocked spending cuts for his office.
About 1,000 county workers already are on unpaid leave because courts threw out a key county tax, and Hale has warned that reductions to his budget would mean fewer patrols by deputies and decreased courthouse security.
A spokesman for Hale, Randy Christian, said the sheriff told Gov. Bob Riley after the ruling that state assistance may be needed to perform basic law enforcement tasks once the department's current funding is exhausted in early September.
"We will certainly be looking at calling in the National Guard," said Christian.
Hale may have to cut as many as 188 deputies and almost 300 civilian workers out of more than 700 employees total because of Boohaker's ruling, Christian said. That would leave just enough workers to staff the county's two jails, which hold about 1,000 prisoners on average.
Christian said the department couldn't close either jail or release inmates, but it would send as many prisoners as possible to the state prison system, which already is badly overcrowded.
Riley previously refused to declare a state of emergency in Jefferson County, which has about 640,000 residents and includes the state's largest city, Birmingham. But he hasn't ruled out sending in Guard members or state troopers if needed.
We aren't turning Japanese. We are turning Mexico.