Felicia Stewart, a gay woman who is married and has two children, is running for the District 46 House seat held by Republican David Faulkner. Stewart, of Mountain Brook, is running on the Democratic ticket. Todd, who made history in 2006 as the first openly gay candidate to win a seat in the Legislature, recently announced she would not seek re-election to the District 54 seat. Stewart’s campaign website does not push LGBTQ issues to the forefront of her campaign, though, as Todd did.
Issues That Matter
The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama has launched Alabama Priorities, an initiative to identify and address the most important issues to Alabama voters.
PARCA surveyed voters, asking them to rank issues affecting the state this year. The council intends to publish a series of policy briefs on each of the top 10 issues, according to a PARCA statement. See the top 10 issues selected here.
NewsMatch 2017 raised more than $4.8 million from individual donors and a coalition of foundations to support more than 100 local and investigative nonprofit news organizations, including Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism, which publishes BirminghamWatch.
According to a report from the Institute for Nonprofit News, this makes NewsMatch 2017 the largest-ever grassroots fundraising campaign to support local nonprofit and investigative news.
More than 80 individual donors supported AIIJ/BirminghamWatch during the October-December campaign, the highest number in the organization’s two-year history. These local contributors gave more than $20,000 that is being matched by national foundations to support the organization’s mission of public service journalism on the environment, education, the economy and government for Birmingham and Alabama. Read more.
The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama has found that Alabama high schools are sending more graduates out into the world and they are sending more students to college, but some of those students are taking a little bit of time out in the world before they head to campus.
In 2016, 63 percent of high school graduates enrolled in college in the year after they graduated from high school, according to PARCA. In 2014, that portion was 65 percent
State of the Community
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.
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Alabama’s roads and bridges are in relatively good condition compared to other Southeastern states.
More of the state’s roads are in good condition compared to other states, fewer are in poor condition, and the percentage of its bridges that are deficient and need to be replaced is about average for the Southeast, according to the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama.
But in its “How Alabama Roads Compare” report, PARCA found that the state has devoted an increasingly large share of its budget to preserving existing roads, and it has a shrinking pool of money available for new projects. In fact, in recent years Alabama has borrowed more than $1.3 billion, but the authority to borrow has been exhausted. In 2018, Alabama will have about $250 million less to spend on roads than it had in 2017 because of the loss of money to borrow and an increase in the state’s debt service.
PARCA in its report notes that Alabama has not raised its 18-cents per gallon motor fuels tax in 25 years. Meanwhile, improved fuel economy of cars and trucks means less gas is being bought in Alabama, and so the tax revenues have dropped.
Read the full report here.
Figuring out whether news is real or fake in today’s click-driven media landscape requires increased awareness and diligence by the public, experts concluded at a Thursday night Media Savvy forum, held in the Edge of Chaos room at UAB’s Lister Hill Library.
Media Savvy: Smart Choices in a Changing Information Age included discussion by audience members and presenters about how economics, technology and social media continue to change how Americans receive, understand and trust – or don’t trust – the news and the news media.
“Ten years ago, and it seems almost quaint now, the focus was on accuracy,” said Carol Nunnelley, veteran newspaper editor and executive director of the nonprofit Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism and its public service reporting arm, BirminghamWatch. “Today’s media have to fight for attention. It’s hard to tell who is telling us what and for what purpose.”
Electionland Wins Online Journalism Award
ProPublica and the Electionland coalition won an Online Journalism Award for planned news/events, announced at the Online News Association Conference and Awards Banquet on Saturday.
A collaboration with a coalition of organizations, Electionland tracked voter experiences in the November 2016 election in real time, across thousands of polling sites.
BirminghamWatch participated in the project, monitoring and reporting on local polling places. Read more.
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