Category: Uncategorized

Jefferson County Takes on Drugmakers in Opioid Crisis

The Jefferson County Commission today hired four law firms to recoup expenses incurred because of the opioid crisis.

The county entered a legal services contract with Napoli Shkolnik, PPLC; Edmond, Lindsey & Hoffler, LLP; Perkins-Law, LLC, and Riley & Jackson PC.

The four firms were hired to file suit on Jefferson County’s behalf against manufacturers and distributors of opioids alleging they fraudulently marketed and distributed the drugs.

County officials contend the opioid crisis has brought about great expenses for cities and counties, including the increased cost of staffing the coroner’s office, the cost of providing indigent residents with opioid addiction treatment, the increased cost of law enforcement, the cost of administering potential overdose treatment and the decrease in employable citizens as a result of their addiction.

Transparency, Neighborhoods and One Uber Battle: Three Former Birmingham Councilors Talk About Their Time at City Hall

The Birmingham City Council started its 2017-2021 term last week without three familiar faces.

Kim Rafferty, Johnathan Austin and Marcus Lundy left the council; Rafferty and Austin were defeated in their reelection bids, while Lundy did not seek another term.

During their final week in office, the three spoke with BirminghamWatch about their successes, their failures and their views on what the election means for the city. 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.

Strange Touts Trump Endorsement, Moore Slams DC Influence in Senate Runoff Debate

It was an unusual format for a political debate, at least for modern times. Two candidates on a stage with no moderator or questions from journalists, only a timekeeper. But there was plenty of old-fashioned political rhetoric.

In what was styled as a “Lincoln-Douglas debate,” incumbent U.S. Sen. Luther Strange and challenger Roy Moore, former chief justice of Alabama, battled for a little more than an hour before a crowd at the Retirement Systems of Alabama Activities Center in downtown Montgomery. Read more.

Contributions to Bell and Woodfin Highlight Campaign Differences

Birmingham’s two remaining mayoral candidates have reported the contributions their campaigns have received since the Aug. 22 election, revealing stark contrasts between the candidates’ fundraising tactics.

Filings submitted last week show that incumbent candidate William Bell has raised $137,000 since the election, more than triple the $42,356 that challenger Randall Woodfin has raised.

But Woodfin surpasses Bell in the sheer number of individual contributors. He’s collected contributions from 327 donors since Aug. 22, with an average donation of $130, while Bell has received contributions from 59 sources, averaging $2,331 per donation.
Read more.