Tag: Birmingham Mayor William Bell
In a recent meeting during which two new Birmingham City Council members were appointed, councilors gave clear signals that they’re ready to take on a rewrite of the law that governs separation of powers in Birmingham’s municipal government.
Interviews with finalists for the two empty seats were peppered with questions about the Mayor-Council Act of 1955. Specifically, councilors focused on controversial changes that were made to the law in 2016, which took certain powers from the council and gave them to the mayor’s office. Undoing those changes would be a priority in 2019, councilors told applicants.
That process won’t be easy. Councilors will need to lobby state legislators to walk back changes they made recently. Perhaps more critically, the efforts could put the council at odds with Mayor Randall Woodfin, who would stand to lose significant budgeting power if the 2016 changes were undone. Read more.
A night of upsets in Birmingham city government culminated in the victory of challenger Randall Woodfin over incumbent William Bell.
Woodfin topped Bell in the race by more than 7,500 votes, getting 58.94 percent of the vote compared to Bell’s 41.06 percent, according to the unofficial vote tally.
It was the end of an often contentious campaign in which Woodfin challenged the status quo. “We deserve better” was his campaign slogan.
Bell campaigned on his experience and accomplishments. But ultimately, a public dissatisfaction with Bell’s seven-year administration won out.
“Birmingham, this is our moment,” Woodfin said to a raucous crowd of supporters gathered at his campaign party. Read more.
• The city is streaming voting results as they come in tonight. Keep up with the numbers here.
• Birmingham city runoff elections are today.
• The mayor’s office, three seats on the City Council and five seats on
the city Board of Education are on the ballot.
• Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Throughout the Birmingham mayoral race, candidate Randall Woodfin has challenged Mayor William Bell’s record on neighborhood revitalization, contending he has neglected struggling areas of the city in favor of developing the downtown area.
Bell, however, maintains that downtown development should be prioritized over some neighborhoods because it is an economic engine that brings money into the city, though his actions have been both lauded and criticized by various neighborhood officials.
The issue of neighborhood revitalization has remained an issue in the mayoral campaign even as the number of candidates was cut from 12 to two.
Birmingham voters will go to the polls today to finally pick the man who will take over the mayor’s office for the next term. Also on the city runoff ballot are three City Council seats and five city Board of Education seats. Read more.
Birmingham City Runoff Voter Guide
Mayor William Bell during an Aug. 28 meeting in City Council chambers urged employees of his office to bolster his re-election campaign and told them their jobs could be at stake as well as his.
In an audio recording of the meeting, Bell told staffers that it would be improper for them to campaign for him on city time. But he told them there were activities every weekend and urged them to spread the word on social media about projects conducted during his administration.
“The political survival of my administration is at stake,” he says on the tape. Read more.
Both challengers involved in a recent mayoral election debate targeted what they said were shortcomings in Mayor William Bell’s administration, while Bell fired back with attacks on their records, or lack thereof.
When the Mayor-Council Act was modified by the state Legislature last year amid continuous jockeying for power between the elected officials representing Birmingham’s legislative and executive branches, city councilors lamented that the changes would give too much power to Mayor William Bell.
Today, even as the mayor and some councilors continue at odds over various issues, one thing is clear: how the mayor has used his broadened powers in the past year has not eased the tension.
One example: Bell’s office has paid nearly half a million dollars to one lobbying firm, and at least $122,000 of that was done without the council’s approval as of January 2017. Read more.