Tag: Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Councilor Calls for Changes to Alabama Open Meetings Act

Dec. 19, 2017 — One Birmingham city councilor called Tuesday for a reevaluation of the Alabama Open Meetings Act, the state law requiring governmental meetings to be accessible to the public.

John Hilliard, the newly elected councilor for District 9, made his remarks at the council’s regularly scheduled meeting during discussion of an item that would allow members of council committees to appoint proxies when they are unable to attend a committee meeting.

The text of the resolution was not made available even to members of the council, and its sponsor, Councilor Lashunda Scales, was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

But before the council voted to delay the item, it became the springboard for a freewheeling discussion about the legalities involved with committee meetings. Read more.

To Uber or Not to Uber: That is the Question Before Birmingham’s Transportation Committee

Nov. 20, 2017 — Birmingham City Councilors say they may revisit the ordinance that allowed ridesharing company Uber to begin operating in the city.

During its first meeting of the 2017-2021 term, the council’s transportation committee — now led by District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn — received a presentation from Stephanie Jones, a representative of Birmingham Cab Drivers United.

Jones expressed concerns about ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, which she said operated “under no rules, regulations, nothing.” In particular, she pointed to a perceived lack of accountability ride-sharing companies have to city governments, specifically regarding background checks — which, currently, are done in-house at their respective companies. Read more.

A False Start: Birmingham Council Brings up Budget Then Decides the Newly Elected Need More Time to Study It

Nov. 14, 2017 — A budget for the 2018 fiscal year came closer to passage than ever during Tuesday’s meeting of the Birmingham City Council, but consideration eventually was pushed back to December because of concerns that newly elected officials had not had enough say in the matter. Read more.

Birmingham Council Considers Pulling License of Onyx Lounge

Nov. 7, 2017 — The debate at Tuesday’s Birmingham City Council meeting was in many ways a retread of last week’s discussion, with approximately three hours dedicated to a public hearing on the potential revocation of a nightclub’s business license after reported incidents of violence and crime.
This time the venue in question was Onyx Lounge, at 615 Eighth Ave. W. The discussion drew a large enough crowd that, early in the meeting, the fire marshal refused to allow any more people into the council chambers. Read more.

Don’t Find Us on Facebook: Lack of Live Stream for Birmingham Council Session Draws Criticism

The Birmingham City Council drew criticism Wednesday after a committee meeting to discuss city finances was not streamed live on Facebook as advertised.

The Committee of the Whole meeting was dedicated to a presentation by Director of Finance Tom Barnett that summarized the state of the city’s finances.

Barnett said he asked that the meeting not be streamed because he wanted it to be “a casual conversation” between the finance department and the council, where they could be “free to speak their mind.”

Former Councilor Johnathan Austin quickly posted to Facebook that not streaming the meeting appeared to be an attempt to keep the public in the dark.

The meeting remained open to members of the public who attended in person. Read more.

Birmingham City Council Closes Skky Lounge, But Fractures Appear in Discussion Over BUL

Oct. 31, 2017 — The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to revoke the business license of a violence-prone Five Points South nightclub, but discussion over funding for the Birmingham Urban League drove the meeting in a much more contentious direction, revealing potential fault lines among the council’s new lineup. Read more.

Woodfin Names Leaders of Education and Economic Development Transition Committees

Oct. 30, 2017 — Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin announced new co-chairs of his transition team in a Monday morning press conference at the Alabama Workforce Training Center.

Perry Ward and Fred McCallum will serve as co-chairs of his Education and Workforce Committee, while Tracey Morant Adams and Josh Carpenter will lead the Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Committee. Read more.

Birmingham City Council Taps Abbott as President and Roberson as Pro Tem, Delays Adopting a Budget

Oct. 24, 2017 — Shortly after being sworn into office for the 2017-2021 term, the Birmingham City Council elected Councilor Valerie Abbott to serve as president and Councilor Jay Roberson as president pro tempore. The two will serve in the leadership roles through 2019.

Abbott defeated Councilor Steven Hoyt for the president’s position on a 5-4 vote, drawing support from Councilors Darrell O’Quinn, William Parker, Jay Roberson, and Hunter Williams. This will be her first term as council president; she has served as a council member since 2001. Abbott succeeds former Councilor Johnathan Austin in the position after his loss in the Oct. 3 runoff election.

Roberson was elected president pro tem, also by 5-4 vote. He defeated fellow nominee Sheila Tyson, with votes from O’Quinn, Parker, Williams, and Abbott. Roberson has been a councilor since 2009 and served as president pro tem from 2013 to 2016.

“The commitment that I make to all of you is that I’m going to be fair, and we’re going to follow our own rules to the best of our abilities,” Abbott said. “I appreciate the confidence my colleagues have shown in me. I know this is a big and very unusual thing for the city of Birmingham, so I am honored.” Read more.

Birmingham’s New Council Members Sworn in; Abbott Elected President

Oct. 24, 2017 – Birmingham City Councilor Valerie Abbott was elected president of the Birmingham City Council this morning.

The vote was taken after new council members were sworn into office for the 2017-2021 term. Six incumbent councilors – Abbott, Lashunda Scales, William Parker, Sheila Tyson, Jay Roberson and Steven Hoyt – and three new council members – Hunter Williams, Darrell O’Quinn and John Hilliard – started their terms today.

Mayor William Bell remains as mayor until Randall Woodfin, elected in the Oct. 3 runoff, takes office Nov. 28.

New Bham Councilor John Hilliard Says He Can’t Do It Alone, Residents Must Share Responsibility for the District

This is the fourth in a series of interviews BirminghamWatch conducted with newly elected city officials.

John Hilliard might become the Birmingham city councilor for District 9 when he is sworn into office Tuesday, but he wants his constituents to understand that they share responsibility for improving their district.

He speaks of himself as a facilitator — someone who will bring together various groups in his community to plot out solutions to the issues of crime, economic stagnation and blight facing their neighborhoods.

On the Wednesday morning just six days before his inauguration, Hilliard found himself swarmed by phone calls and scheduled meetings — the result, he said, of a “firestorm” of a transition process. Speaking with BirminghamWatch, he described his plans after he takes office, his goals for economic revitalization, and the importance of millennial involvement in urban communities. Read the Q&A.