by Max Brantley
Northcut's objection were to bad judgment in past decisions. Particularly, he cited 1) Problems with Hispanic nightclubs and, most of all, 2) that Patel had refused to let Northcut's anti-gay bigotry stand in the way of support for a gay nightclub in Russellville. (Operators never applied for the permit and it never came to a vote.)
Patel withdrew his application seeking reappointment but not, apparently, before making remarks worthy of a Best Person in the World nomination. The newspaper included an e-mail by Northcut to the mayor and other members of the City Council. It said Northcut called Patel himself about a citizen's complaint that Patel had not worked against the gay nightclub:
So I called Mr. Patel personally to ask him about it. He told me that, 'It was strictly a matter of business and that the question of morality was not something he was going to get into. If we don't welcome this type of business, they wil go somewhere else. So we should let them in.'
That pretty well cut it with Northcut. He wrote last year in a letter to the editor about work to oppose the gay nightclub:
I want to express my deep gratitude to the members of the quorum court, the county judge and county attorney, along with others who worked very hard to prepare and then pass an ordinance that will help protect our community from this type of debauchery in the future. I wish we could totally outlaw it, but we cannot. However, like a deadly cancer, we can do our best to control it. Praise the Lord that this abhorrent situation has been contained, for now. But we must be watchful because they will be back to try it, of something like it, again. That'sthe way the devil works. So, "watch and pray."
Patel said he'd talked with his family before withdrawing. Northcut wouldn't talk to the Courier reporter. Mayor Billy Eaton said Patel had been a quality member of the Planning Commission. He said Patel took time to research agenda items, often making site visits for more information.
When Northcut received word Patel had withdrawn from consideration, he sent another e-mail:
I believe this is an answer to prayer. P.T.L.