Tag: Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin

Woodfin Looks Toward a Better 2021 in State of the Community Speech.

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.

Alabama Black Mayors Say It’s Time for a New Reconstruction, Lament Capitol Insurrection

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin described the Jan. 6 Capitol insurgency as a time when people “identified themselves as white supremacists,” which he said the country must acknowledge.

“To move the country forward, we have to acknowledge the pain it caused, have accountability and move forward,” he said during a livestreamed interview with Karen Attiah, global opinions editor for the Washington Post.

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed described the insurrectionists as people who felt they could get close enough to use deadly force. The terrorists exhibited “a level of privilege, entitlement and outright brazenness,” he added.

The two black mayors, whose cities represent the cradle and battlegrounds of the Civil Rights movement from the 1950s to the present day, were interviewed during a Facebook Live event by Karen Attiah, the global opinions editor of the Washington Post, on Friday, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Read more.

Woodfin Released From Hospital, Recovering From COVID

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has been released from the hospital two days after being admitted with COVID-related pneumonia. While his condition has improved, Woodfin will work from home and stay self-quarantined.

According to a Wednesday afternoon press release, doctors at Princeton Baptist Medical Center found “COVID pneumonia” in the mayor’s left lung.

“I’m blessed they caught it early,” Woodfin said in a statement. He received the drug Remdesivir and convalescent plasma therapy to combat the illness. Read more.

Birmingham Council Goes Virtual, Mayor Still Hospitalized

On Tuesday, for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Birmingham City Council opted for an all-virtual council meeting — though, at least initially, that format kept them from accomplishing much. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin remains hospitalized with COVID-related pneumonia. Read more.

Woodfin Tests Positive for COVID, Reports Mild Symptoms

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has tested positive for COVID-19. He announced the news in a press release Wednesday evening that quotes him as saying his symptoms are “currently mild.” While the mayor is self-quarantining, he is “still handling matters of the city,” according to the press release. Read more.

Birmingham Police Need the Public’s Help in Solving Homicides, Woodfin Says

Mayor Randall Woodfin pleaded with Birmingham residents on Wednesday to help police in homicide investigations, saying police have “hit a wall that’s hard to crack” in many cases: uncooperative witnesses.

There have been 120 homicides in Birmingham this year, 15 of which have been ruled justifiable. Sixty-two of the remaining 105 homicides remain unsolved. That low clearance rate, Woodfin said, “is not because our detectives are not doing their job.”

“Trust me, they are,” he said during a news conference with Police Chief Patrick Smith. “But we don’t have more solved cases in part because there are some people who know who are behind these killings, but they won’t say anything.”
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Birmingham Officials Reject Defunding, Plan Police Reforms with Civilian Oversight, Social Workers and Attacking Crime from a Public Health Perspective

After several months of study and citizen input, the City of Birmingham announced Thursday that police reforms are underway — some of which will go to effect shortly, others that will take years — with the end goal of making law enforcement more transparent and responsive to the needs of the citizens.

Highlighting a more than 100-page final report called “Reform and Reimagine Birmingham Public Safety,” city officials outlined steps to improve relations between the police and the public, improve training for police, make rules and regulations public, and ultimately increase accountability.

The city’s Public Safety Task Force included a former U.S. attorney, a retired detective, an anti-police-brutality advocate, an attorney and the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Birmingham.

But Mayor Randall Woodfin said the city will need the assistance of healthcare providers and citizens to make the reforms work over the long term. And he rejected calls to defund the police, saying that the most common request he hears from citizens is to beef up the department and put more officers on the job. 
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Woodfin Says Sale of Parking Decks Would Lessen COVID-19’s Economic Damage

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin says the proposed sale of several city-owned parking decks is an opportunity to lessen the economic damage done to the city by COVID-19 — including bringing back furloughed public library employees.

Woodfin said in an interview with BirminghamWatch that the city received an unsolicited offer from Birmingham Economic Development Partners LLC — a group founded last month by Shipt founder Bill Smith, according to paperwork filed in Jefferson County Probate Court — to purchase six of the city’s 11 parking decks for a total of $41 million.

If the sale is approved by the City Council, the city could receive that money in one lump sum in 60 days — which could go a long way toward offsetting the $63 million budget shortfall caused by COVID-19. Among other things, Woodfin says, the money would go toward reinstating library employees who were furloughed as a result of severe budget cuts.
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Birmingham City Council Approves Software for Police Department’s Real-Time Crime Center

Updated — The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to implement new software for the Birmingham Police Department’s real-time crime center, despite public concerns that the agreement could pave the way for facial recognition software to be used by city law enforcement.

The resolution will allow the city to lease-purchase rights to Motorola Solutions’ CommandCentral Aware and BriefCam softwares at a total cost of $1,315,659 over a five-year period.

Fifteen residents — several of whom had also vocally opposed Mayor Randall Woodfin’s FY 2021 budget — spoke against the proposed agreement at Tuesday’s meeting, expressing concerns that BriefCam’s capability for facial recognition could have a negative impact on residents, particularly Black people, who are misidentified by such software far more often than white people.
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