Tag: Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin
As the newly reelected mayor of Birmingham stepped to the stage upstairs at The Fennec in the Parkside District, a few hundred people chanted, “We’re With Woodfin,” and “Four More Years.”
Indeed, they were with Randall Woodfin at the ballot box on Tuesday. As a result, the incumbent pushed aside seven challengers and earned another four-year term in office.
“The energy in this room tonight doesn’t reflect me,” he said. “It reflects us. The energy in this room is the definition of Team Birmingham.”
In total, 36,790 Birmingham residents went to the polls Tuesday, for a voter turnout of 25.27%.
Incumbents did well in the City Council election, with six of the nine incumbent councilors being returned to their seats outright and two more heading to an Oct. 5 runoff. Incumbents on the city’s board of education didn’t fare as well. Read more.
The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve Mayor Randall Woodfin’s FY 2022 budget, making no changes to the proposal presented to them in May.
The $455.5 million budget is the city’s largest to date, indicating a predicted recovery from COVID-19’s impact on last year’s revenues. Woodfin has emphasized that the budget shows the city’s commitment to its employees, including a restoration of merit raises and longevity pay; and its allocations to neighborhood revitalization, including millions for street paving, blight demolition and weed abatement.
The budget does not include the $74 million in federal relief funding from the American Rescue Plan that the city received last month; it will receive a further $74 million next May.
Woodfin told reporters last month that the budget “doesn’t have any pain points” compared to the previous year, which had seen the city reduce or zero out its contributions to various external organizations, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Railroad Park Foundation and Alabama Symphony.
Those organizations were restored to their FY 2020 funding with the new budget, with two notable exceptions. The Birmingham Zoo and Rickwood Field were still allocated COVID-reduced funding — $500,000 for the zoo, down from FY 2020’s $1.9 million; and $50,000 to Rickwood, down from FY 2020’s $150,211. Read more.
On May 18, Katrina Grady, a nursing assistant for more than 20 years, stopped on the side of Warrior Road to provide aid to what she believed was an injured person in a car. The car was empty, and Grady’s family came under fire.
Her 8-year-old daughter, Katilynn, was hit by a rifle bullet and injured in the shoulder and head. Grady was told by doctors that it was a miracle she was alive. “The doctors told me that if she had moved her head any other kind of way, it would have been another situation right now,” Grady said.
Tuesday, Grady stood before a crowd at a press conference arranged by Mayor Randall Woodfin and made an emotional plea for change as her daughter stood off to the side.
Woodfin announced formation of a $125,000 Gun Violence Against Children Fund, a collaboration with more than 20 churches and organizations to combat gun violence against children in the city. Crime Stoppers will administer the fund to pay $25,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of individuals responsible in each of five cases involving children under the age of 10. Arrests already have been made in a sixth case involving another child.
“Never in a million years would I have expected something like that to happen,” Grady told the crowd. “For six kids to get shot, we’ve got to do better. Somebody knows who (did) this to my child and I want justice. It hurt me more than anything.” Read more.
Looking at Mayor Randall Woodfin’s proposed budget for the 2022 fiscal year, it’d be easy to imagine that COVID-19 — and the havoc it wreaked on Birmingham’s city coffers — had never happened.
This year’s budget had dropped by nearly $29 million, largely the result of diminished business tax revenues. Woodfin’s proposed FY 2022 budget, by contrast, is the city’s largest to date. At $455.5 million, it’s nearly $3 million more than the pre-pandemic, $452.8 million FY 2020 budget.
In a call with reporters Monday afternoon, Woodfin said the budget “doesn’t have any pain points,” in contrast to the austerity of the previous year. And though city finance director Lester Smith stopped short of saying the city had made a full financial recovery — revenue from business licenses is down about $5 million from last year — the proposed budget casts a rosy light on the city’s post-COVID future. Read more.
Mayor Randall Woodfin said he will not resign despite Black Lives Matter Birmingham’s calls for him to do so following last month’s police killing of Desmon Montez Ray Jr.
Ray, 28, was killed by police on Easter Sunday as they responded to a domestic dispute call in north Birmingham. After a chase, officers say Ray fired a gun at police as he exited his vehicle; they returned fire, killing him.
After criticism from Ray’s family and local activists, Birmingham Police Chief Patrick D. Smith released three videos — from officers’ body cameras and a neighbor’s security camera — showing the shooting.
On Monday, Black Lives Matter Birmingham called the release of the videos “unacceptable.” Read more.
Mayor Randall Woodfin on Tuesday announced the pardons of more than 15,000 Birmingham residents convicted of marijuana possession, declaring that “one small mistake should not define an entire lifetime.”
The pardons — which were announced April 20, an unofficial holiday celebrating cannabis — covers residents with closed marijuana possession cases in the Birmingham Municipal Court between 1990 and 2020.
The pardons are part of Woodfin’s Pardons for Progress program, launched in November 2019, which was meant to remove employment barriers for people who had been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession. Read more.
The Birmingham City Council has delayed plans for the city to purchase and redevelop the Smithfield Community’s defunct Hill Elementary School property. Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office has proposed that the city buy the school and renovate it for workforce housing. But several councilors argued that they had not been adequately informed of the city’s plans for the property and demanded more information. Read more.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin urges Birmingham residents to continue taking the new coronavirus seriously, and he speaks from firsthand experience.
Woodfin told BirminghamWatch on Saturday that he is mostly recovered after being hospitalized briefly with COVID-related pneumonia, but it’s an uphill battle, including neurological effects that left him barely able to walk for several days. Read more.
Mayor Randall Woodfin officially kicked off his campaign for reelection at a drive-in rally at George Ward Park on Saturday, offering a slightly updated slate of second-term goals but maintaining his first campaign’s focus on neighborhood revitalization.
He repeatedly invoked his new campaign slogan, “progress together,” and promised to “finish the job” he started in 2017 over the next five years.
“We’re ramping up everything we’ve already put in place, making it tighter, putting more resources to it,” he said. Read more.
This year will be better than last year, Mayor Randall Woodfin assured residents during his annual State of the Community speech Monday afternoon.
After a tumultuous 2020, which saw the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest over systemic racism, Woodfin promised greater opportunity in 2021 and reiterated his commitment to neighborhood revitalization.
“We have indeed been tested, and I believe as a city we are stronger and closer because of it,” he said. Read more.