Category: Government

The Next 100: Woodfin Outlines Recommendations Committees Made on Neighborhoods, Economic Development and Schools, Among Others

Mayor Randall Woodfin in his “The First One Hundred” event Thursday evening presented the findings of his transition committees and vowed to make several changes to the structure of Birmingham’s city government based on the reports.

Woodfin gave his presentation during an event at the Alabama Theatre. Though the event’s title ostensibly referred to Woodfin’s first 100 days in office – a benchmark reached March 8 – Woodfin mostly ceded the spotlight to the heads of his transition team’s five citizen-led committees. He responded briefly to their suggestions at the end of each committee’s presentation.

Among the changes he said would be coming, Woodfin said he’s willing to form a formal partnership with the city school system. He also said he will reshape the mayor’s office’s division of economic development to the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, and he said he would create the Mayor’s Office of Social Justice during his next 100 days.

A 35-page booklet titled “The Woodfin Way: A Citizen-Led Transition for Progress in Birmingham” summarized the transition team’s findings and Woodfin’s resulting plans. The booklet was handed out during the event and is available online.

Transition committees reporting during the event were on neighborhood revitalization and public safety, education and workforce development, entrepreneurship and economic development, transparent and efficient government and social justice. Read more.
Read the full version of “The Woodfin Way: A Citizen-Led Transition for Progress in Birmingham.”

100 Days and Counting: Bham Mayor Randall Woodfin Set to Discuss Reports on His Top Issues

March 15, 2018 — Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is slated to present his transition team’s reports this evening at the Alabama Theatre during an event commemorating his first 100 days in office.

Woodfin’s transition team is led by former Birmingham-Southern College President Charles Krulak and former Alabama Power executive Bobbie Knight. It consists of five citizen-led committees focusing on various priorities in Woodfin’s administration: neighborhood revitalization and public safety, education and workforce development, transparency and efficient government, entrepreneurship and economic development, and social justice.

In the weeks following Woodfin’s inauguration, the committees held public meetings to gauge citizens’ concerns, the results of which were published on Woodfin’s campaign website. Reports from follow-up meetings among city officials and transition teams will be the focus of Thursday evening’s event. Read more.

Storm Season is Coming and Concord Still Has no Shelter, JeffCo Commissioner Says

Jimmie Stephens said he had had enough.

The president of the Jefferson County Commission made it clear during a meeting Tuesday that he was tired of facing Concord residents with unfulfilled assurances that they would get the storm shelter for which they have waited seven years.

“They lost family members, they lost homes and they’ve waited seven years to get this done and it hasn’t been done yet,” Stephens said in the commission’s committee meeting. “When you live in the Concord community, when you live in the Oak Grove community and you’re looking for a safe place to get out of a storm, it’s not if you’re going to have one it’s when you’re going to have another. It’s hit every time.”

Read more.

Humane Society in Search Again for a New Home

March 6,2018 – The Greater Birmingham Humane Society is looking for another place for its new home after Jefferson County commissioners acknowledged that another entity is interested in developing the old Trinity Steel property in North Titusville.

Commissioner David Carrington said during the commission’s committee meeting Tuesday that the Trinity Advisory Committee met and approved the property being used for economic development. Subsequently, the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority met and rescinded the zoning authorization to the city of Birmingham. Read more.

Birmingham Council OKs Complete Streets Policy to Improve Street Access for Foot and Bicycle Traffic

March 6, 2018 — The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to amend the city’s transportation plan to include a “Complete Streets” policy, which would make streets more accessible to foot and bicycle traffic in addition to cars and public transit.

District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, who heads up the council’s Transportation and Communication Committee, described the ordinance’s passage as “a historic moment for the city of Birmingham.”

“I don’t think most folks realize it, but I truly believe that at some point in our future, maybe 15 or 20 years down the road, people will look back at this day and say, ‘We turned a corner here,’” he said. Read more.

Ivey, Cobb Lead Their Parties in Fundraising for the Governor Campaign

Gov. Kay Ivey has amassed a campaign war chest almost equal to that of her three opponents combined as the campaign for the Republican gubernatorial primary enters its final three months.

On the Democratic side, former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb has a slight fundraising advantage over her chief opponent, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.
Read more and see lists of contributors to each candidate.

Blanket Fort Hope Seeks JeffCo’s Help to Take in Child Trafficking Victims

Alexa Likis-James conjured images of a child’s innocent sense of security as she spoke last week to members of the Jefferson County Commission.

Explaining Blanket Fort Hope, the organization she co-founded that aims to provide a fortress of safety for child victims of human trafficking, Likis-James told the commission there is no housing in Alabama for child trafficking victims, specifically for the ages of 11 to 14 years. She asked the commission for help finding and paying for a crisis home. Read more.

Birmingham City Council Won’t Revoke License of the Former Onyx Lounge

Feb. 27, 2018 — Following a public hearing during Tuesday’s meeting, the Birmingham City Council decided against revoking the business license of Blu Nightlife Lounge, formerly known as Onyx Lounge.

The nightclub became the center of controversy following the Oct. 15 death of Maurice Morris, who was shot on the club’s back patio. On Nov. 7, the council voted to give the nightclub 16 weeks to implement changes to address safety concerns.

Tuesday’s meeting came at the end of that period, and the council appeared satisfied with the changes. Law enforcement officers told the council that they had not received any calls or complaints during that time, a stark contrast to the 81 calls they had received about Onyx between May and November 2017. Read more.

Alabama has a swath of elections coming up this year, and there will be a much stronger Democratic presence on the ballot than there has been in recent statewide elections. Do you think Alabama’s moving toward being a two-party state? Are Democrats a viable party statewide?

Jones: I think you’re looking at the viability of Democrats. The viability of Democrats is not dependent on a candidate. It’s dependent on the issues and how they present those issues to the people. I’ve always believed Democrats can be viable. I’ve always believed Republicans, even when Democrats dominated the state, could have been viable with the right message. We flipped (dominant parties) too quick, and we never became a two-party state.
Read more.

You just touched on some issues — immigration and guns — that are very hot-button issues for Alabama voters. For those issues, it seems that you have to balance between the more liberal parts of your voter base and the conservative majority of the state.

They’re voters, for sure. But I’ve told people in my campaign, “Don’t expect me to pass a litmus test for one side or the other.” I continue to get asked, “Are you liberal, conservative, moderate, progressive, what?” And I say, “Don’t label me! I’m Doug, and I’m going to vote the way I feel. I’m certainly not going to pass the far left’s litmus test any more than I’m going to pass the far right’s litmus tests. Read more.