Tag: City of Birmingham

Delta Strikes Birmingham Public Works, but Mayor Says the City Will Get to Your Trash

Approximately 10% of Birmingham’s public works employees have tested positive for COVID-19, causing delays in city services such as trash pickup and grass cutting. Mayor Randall Woodfin, who recently required masks to be worn on city property, urged residents to get the vaccine and asked for patience while public works employees continue to catch up on their work. Read more.

Birmingham Elections Begin Officially as Candidates File Qualifying Papers

UPDATED — Though many campaigns already are well underway, June 25 marked the official start of the qualifying period for Birmingham’s 2021 municipal elections.

Candidates will have until July 9 to officially add their name to the Aug. 24 ballot, which will include the city’s mayoral, city council and school board races. Voters have until Aug. 9 to register to vote.

So far, four of the eight declared mayoral candidates have officially filed to run: incumbent Mayor Randall Woodfin, former Mayor William A Bell, businessman Chris Woods and philanthropist Cerissa A. Brown.

Community activists Philemon Hill and Darryl Williams also have announced runs for the seat, as has Jefferson County Commissioner and former Birmingham City Councilor Lashunda Scales. Birmingham resident Juanita Jones has also filed preliminary paperwork to run for the seat, though she has not yet officially qualified.

Woodfin turned his qualification into a miniature campaign event, hosting a press conference on the steps of the Jefferson County Courthouse shortly after filing his statement of candidacy. “I don’t want anybody to think we’ve just got this in the bag,” he told supporters. “I don’t want to get anyone to get comfortable,” he said.

As qualifying opened, several new faces joined council races: Don D. Scott in District 2, Roshanique Yvette Taylor in District 5, La’Toya Lee in District 7 and D. Denise Webber-Jenkins in District 8.

See the lists of candidates who have filed qualifying papers and candidates who have announced they are running for Birmingham city offices.

Local, Federal Officials Launch Partnership to Reduce Gun Violence in Birmingham

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin launched a collaborative effort with federal and local law enforcement agencies to put an end to the city’s growing gun violence problem. The partnership, announced Friday, imposes stiff penalties for people who have unauthorized guns. Officials called on the community to help make the city safer by providing information on people who may be involved in criminal activity. Read more.

Erasing the Stain: 15,000 Pardoned of Marijuana Possession Convictions

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.

City Leaders Watch Business Licenses for COVID-19 Impact

In a March presentation on how the city of Birmingham’s finances are faring one year into the pandemic, city finance director Lester Smith said business license filings were down about 500 in the first 2.5 months of the year compared to the same time last year.

“My concern is that differentiation between those numbers may be lost businesses, but we don’t know that yet, so we have to continue to monitor it,” Smith said late last month.

Municipal business licenses are usually due early each year and have been an anticipated gauge of the true economic impact of COVID-19.

“The overall concern is that in the municipalities that have seen a downturn in license renewals, is that you have lost some jobs and loss of business investment in your community,” Alabama League of Municipalities Executive Director Greg Cochran told Alabama Daily News. “Ensuring that businesses stayed healthy during the pandemic and stayed afloat financially was a difficult tight rope for a lot of them to maneuver down.” Read more.

Bill Would Cut Pensions for Future Birmingham Employees, Raise Employee Contributions

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is supporting a bill in the Legislature that would both compel the city to fully fund its pension obligation and increase employee contributions to the pension fund by half a percent. The bill would be Woodfin’s latest step toward correcting the city’s longtime underfunding of the city’s pension plan, which he warned could cause a future financial crisis for the city.

HB510 is sponsored by Rep. Allen Treadaway, R-Morris, who was the Woodfin-appointed assistant chief of the Birmingham Police Department from 2018 until his retirement in October. Read more.

Lighting Up the Night Again

The neon sign for the historic A.G. Gaston Motel was lit Tuesday night in a ceremony marking the end of phase 1 of the site’s restoration. Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin attended along with representatives from the city and the National Park Service. “The A.G. Gaston motel sign served as a beacon to black families traveling through the segregated South,” Woodfin said. “It’s a sign that will now shine in remembrance of Dr. A.G. Gaston’s legacy – a legacy of black prosperity, equal opportunity, Southern hospitality and freedom.” The motel was used frequently by civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as they strategized their campaigns against injustice. Restoration of the 1958 wing of the hotel has been completed. Work to restore the 1968 wing and courtyard is next, with a projected completion date of June 2022. (Photo from City of Birmingham Facebook video)