Tag: Birmingham City Council

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.

Old Arguments Plague Birmingham City Council Members to the End

Oct. 17, 2017 — Three outgoing councilors bid their farewells during Tuesday’s meeting of the Birmingham City Council, the last before the new council’s Oct. 24 swearing-in. But the impending infusion of new blood did little to keep the council from engaging in one perennial debate — about funding for the Magic City Classic — or to keep it from appointing a handful of new parks and transit board members, despite protestations from one councilor. Read more.

For Newly Elected Birmingham City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, the Neighborhood is Still the Thing

This is the first in a series of interviews BirminghamWatch will be conducting with newly elected city officials.

Accessibility and accountability are the main priorities for newly elected Birmingham City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn.

In a close runoff election, O’Quinn unseated current District 5 Councilor Johnathan Austin. After taking office Oct. 24, O’Quinn plans to immediately start working on ways to engage and educate communities on the resources municipal government can provide, he said.

O’Quinn is part of a wave of new leadership headed to City Hall after the Oct. 3 runoff election. Despite his neophyte status in city government, O’Quinn has been heavily involved in Birmingham on the community level since moving to the city in 2001. He currently serves as president of the Citizens Advisory Board and the Crestwood North Neighborhood Association.

That experience has allowed him to see where communities and neighborhoods have been underserved by Birmingham’s city government, he said.
“I’m sorry to say that the bar has been so low that for me to step in and make a significant difference is pretty damn easy,” O’Quinn said.

Recently, O’Quinn spoke to BirminghamWatch about his early priorities as councilor, his plans to address Birmingham’s economic stagnation and his expectations from the new power dynamic at City Hall. Read the Q&A.

Three Birmingham City Council Seats Are up for Grabs

Voters go to the polls Tuesday to make final decisions on who will fill three Birmingham City Council seats.

No candidates in Districts 2, 5 and 9 received more than half the votes cast in the Aug. 22 elections, and voters Tuesday will choose between the top two vote-getters in the race. Read more.

Birmingham City Council Passes Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Sept. 26, 2017 – The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve a human rights ordinance that was first proposed more than four years ago.

In a 7-0 vote, the council passed the City of Birmingham Non-Discrimination Ordinance, which would put into place protections against discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or familial status. Read more.

Birmingham’s Human Rights Law Set for Tuesday Public Hearing

Efforts to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance in Birmingham are once again underway.

The long-delayed measure, first introduced by City Council President Johnathan Austin in March 2013, will be the subject of a public hearing during the Sept. 26 meeting of the City Council – and now, for the first time, it has the backing of Mayor William Bell.

The City of Birmingham Non-Discrimination Ordinance, colloquially referred to as a human rights ordinance, would put into place protections against discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or familial status. Violators of the ordinance would face up to a $500 fine.

The ordinance also would establish an 11-member Human Rights Commission. Read more.

Questions About Protection of the Drinking Water Supply Dominate Debate On Northeast Birmingham Zoning Plan

Sep. 19, 2017 — The Birmingham City Council approved Tuesday a measure to change zoning district lines in parts of northeast Birmingham despite criticism that some of the changes could endanger water quality in Lake Purdy and the Cahaba River, both essential drinking water sources.

City officials said they are taking steps to protect the watershed and are preparing conservation easements for that land. Read more.

Much Ado About a Do; Birmingham City Council Clashes Over Inauguration

Sept. 13, 2017 — After postponing its regularly scheduled meeting due to the threat of inclement weather, the Birmingham City Council convened for a special-called meeting on Wednesday. Though the rules of special-called meetings prevented the council from voting on most of the planned items on the agenda, the council found room for a spirited

Northeast Birmingham Zoning Delayed After Discussion of Conservation Easements

Protracted discussion over proposed zoning changes to northeast Birmingham led to a two-week delay in the Birmingham City Council considering them during its meeting Tuesday. These proposed changes would affect the East Pinson Valley, Huffman, Cahaba and Roebuck/South East Lake communities as part of the Northeast Framework Plan. Many of the proposed changes were “name-only,”

Birmingham City Council Continues Questioning of House-Building Contract

Aug. 29, 2017 — An ongoing debate over a District 9 construction contract dominated Tuesday’s meeting of the Birmingham City Council, though the only outcome was the promise of more debate.

Outgoing Councilor Marcus Lundy continued his criticisms of Bethel Ensley Action Task, an organization that had been contracted by the city to build two houses in Lundy’s district over two years — a project Lundy says remains unfinished.

Tuesday’s discussion centered on a proposed resolution, which appeared as a late addendum to the meeting’s agenda, to rescind another contract with BEAT that the council had adopted earlier this year. That contract would allocate a further $1.5 million for BEAT to construct nine more three-bedroom, two-bathroom houses in the Enon Ridge community, where the two houses from the previous contract had been built. Lundy said the proposal to rescind the second contract was based on allegations BEAT failed to fulfill the first. Instead, he argued, the second contract should be opened to bids from other contractors. Read more.