Category: Uncategorized

Birmingham’s Future “an Open Question,” Woodfin Says in First State of the Community Address

Jan. 15, 2018 — Mayor Randall Woodfin shared a cautiously optimistic vision for Birmingham’s future during Monday night’s State of the Community address, highlighting several of his administration’s planned initiatives while also calling on citizens to take action themselves.

“The state of our community is an open question that only you and I can answer together,” he said. “I believe that we, as a city, can do great things — if we do the right things.”

Woodfin’s remarks the full text of which can be read here, reflected the collaborative tone of his Nov. 28 inauguration speech, emphasizing the importance of his relationship with the City Council and his focus on addressing education, poverty and crime, which he described as intrinsically interrelated. Read more.

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.

Rick Journey and Chanda Temple Joining Woodfin’s Staff

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has tapped television news reporter Rick Journey to serve as his director of communications. Former Birmingham City Schools spokeswoman Chanda Temple also has taken the position of public information officer.

“Our administration’s focus on servant leadership by putting people first starts with transparency and providing a clear message to our citizens and our employees that we will serve with the public’s best interest at the core of our work,” Woodfin said in a statement. “I am pleased to have Rick and Chanda be part of providing that clear message and joining an administration committed to core values of transparency, efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and customer service.” Read more.

Doug Jones’ Search for Common Ground: Jones Talks About His Intentions, His Opponent and His Route to the U.S. Senate

In his first press conference since being elected senator, Doug Jones reiterated his desire to find “common ground” on both sides of the political aisle and dismissed his opponent’s refusal to concede the election.

Jones defeated the twice-deposed Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore by roughly 20,000 votes Tuesday night, a surprise Democratic win in a state that for decades has been considered a Republican stronghold. However, Moore has not conceded the race, telling supporters that “when the vote is this close … it’s not over.”

For the most part, Jones’ responses to reporters’ questions were conciliatory, stressing the need to find “common ground” — a phrase he repeated 12 times during the press conference — in the midst of a divisive political climate.

“I know I’m just sounding like a broken record (when I) talk about that,” Jones said, “but I just think it is so important that we try to sit down at a table and talk about issues and talk about the things that matter in the big picture … . I want to try to find those issues more and more that we can find common ground on, and let’s just agree to disagree on those issues that are so divisive that it’s hard to even talk to people about them.” Read more.

Is There Life After Doug Jones for Alabama Democrats?
God and Politics, 2017 Edition: Roy Moore Brings Religion to the Forefront Like Few Campaigns Before It

Gardendale School-Separation Arguments Going Before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday

The latest step in the long-running effort by the city of Gardendale to form its own school system is a stop at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

On Thursday morning, a panel of three judges will hear oral arguments in an appeal from attorneys for the Gardendale Board of Education, as well as a cross-appeal from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Both are appealing a ruling U.S. Circuit Judge Madeline Haikala issued in April, in which she determined that the city’s efforts to break away from the Jefferson County Schools was racially motivated. However, the ruling still allowed Gardendale to take control of the two elementary schools, with the provision that the city could take over Gardendale High and Bragg Middle schools some time later, after Haikala could determine that no racial discrimination of any kind was present.

Gardendale’s appeal says that Haikala should have given the city full control of all four schools from the start. The NAACP counters that her determination that racial motives were involved in the formation of the system precludes the courts from allowing the breakaway to take place at all. Read more.