Checking in: What has Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin been up to?

Randall Woodfin
[Photo Credit: Randall Woodfin on Facebook]

Ever wonder what your mayor been up to each month? Sure you may have helped elect them, but what happens after that? Alabama Today has you covered. Each month we’ll highlight what the Yellowhammer State’s Big 5 mayors have been doing in an effort to hold them accountable and keep things more transparent.

In the last month, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has called upon the EPApenned a letter to Arnold, Pa. Mayor Karen Peconi, and announced the completion of another campaign promise among other things.

Here’s what he’s been up to for the last month:

July 16

Woodfin sits down in front of a camera to answer frequently asked questions about the 2018 Fresh Start Amnesty Program on Facebook.

July 18

Woodfin visits the Ironworks Local 92 training facility; chartered in 1906 “Local 92 helped build the skyline that is Birmingham,” reads the company’s website.

“This morning I got the opportunity to tour the Ironworkers Local 92 training facility. Local 92 hands built Sloss Furnace, the Alabama Theater, Tutwiler Hotel and more,” Woodfin posted on Facebook. “Their four-year, $189 program will teach you the trade that built this city.”

Woodfin announces the “100 Homes, 100 Days” project, a partnership between the Neighborhood Revitalization Fund and Neighborhood Housing Services to renovate 100 homes in the Birmingham area drastically in need of repair.

“Our plan is to bundle our work to transform entire blocks instead of renovating one home on a street surrounded by other blight,” Woodfin said in a press release. “This reaffirms our commitment to giving all 99 neighborhoods a fresh start. As additional economic development projects pay off in Birmingham, resources from those projects will be identified and committed to the fund.”

July 20

In an effort to increase transparency, Woodfin launches the Boards and Agencies web portal a complete online directory listing all active boards, agencies and commissions affiliated with the city; the first of its kind for the city of Birmingham.

“Making appointments to boards and agencies is one of the most important and influential powers the mayor and city council possess. Ensuring we are appointing people to boards with a clear understanding of their fiduciary role is absolutely vital,” Woodfin said in a press release. “The Mayor’s Office places a clear expectation on understanding our mission of ‘Putting People First’ and our core values of customer service, efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, and transparency. We need to have the same expectations for our board members.”

July 21

Woodfin attends the 23rd annual Back to school R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Rally hosted by Pastor Green and More Than Conquerors Faith Church.

July 24

The Mayor’s office announced the completion of another campaign promise to promote transparency and accountability by introducing the Open Checkbook portal on the city’s website.

The Open Checkbook documents Birmingham’s budgeting and expenditures dating back to fiscal year 2009. The portal consists of nearly a million pieces of data per fiscal year.

“The Open Checkbook portal is helping us uphold our campaign promise of a transparent government,” Woodfin said. “I encourage everyone to visit the portal and see exactly how we’re directing our resources to make Birmingham stronger.”

July 26

Woodfin penned a letter to Arnold, Pa. Mayor Karen Peconi expressing his concerns over what he called her “deliberate misrepresentation” of the 1963 civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham.

Peconi came under fire after her controversial Facebook post during the public protests in Pittsburgh following the death of Antwon Rose — a 17 year-old African-American man shot and killed by a police officer in Pittsburgh in June. The officer has since been charged with criminal homicide and awaits trial.

After learning of Peconi’s comments, Woodfin wrote an open letter her in an effort to encourage “constructive reflection,” on her part.

“I am writing as the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, because you posted and commented on a photograph taken during the civil rights demonstrations that took place in our city in 1963, in a way that completely misrepresented the purpose and meaning of those historic events,” Woodfin wrote. 

“Today, we in Birmingham take tremendous pride in our city’s role in advancing the causes of justice and equality for all Americans. And, even as we recognize the distance our nation, more than a half-century later, still has to travel along that road, we take pride in Birmingham’s progress and our ongoing emergence as a city of growth and opportunity for all. We honor our past and proudly and actively commemorate the history that was made in our streets — but our eyes and our actions are fixed firmly on the future.”

July 27

Joined by former boxer and four-time heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield, Woodfin visited with senior citizens at the Shepherd Center in Birmingham.

“I’m very familiar with the importance to staying active at any age. When I was younger, my grandmother stayed with my family the last nine years of her life. It was a rewarding time for me,’’ Woodfin said in a press release. “I encourage every resident to seek out and experience the wisdom and talent our seniors have to offer.’’

On this day, Woodfin also presented Birmingham’s new Police Chief Patrick Smith with his badge during his official swearing-in ceremony.

“I am proud to present our Chief of Police Patrick Smith with his badge during the official swearing-in. Thank you for your leadership chief,” Woodfin posted on Facebook.

August 4

Woodfin spoke on a panel, and provided the closing keynote’s speech for the Netroots Nation national event.

Drawing over 3,000 participants from across the nation, the Netroots Nation is the largest annual conference for progressives. Online and grassroots activists attend panels, training sessions, keynotes speeches, social events and more.

“Today I’m speaking on a panel at Netroots Nation about Safeguarding Internet Freedom. This is a conversation about access. ISPs should not be the gatekeepers of what our citizens can and cannot access on the internet. The internet is the public library of the 21st century. We can not allow that free and open internet to be compromised,” Woodfin posted on his Facebook page.

August 6

Woodfin hops around Birmingham, welcoming children to their first day of school at Hemphill Elementary, attending and speaking at Google’s free workshops at the Birmingham Public Library, and joined the Birmingham Education Foundation for their “All In” campaign.

August 7

Woodfin writes a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) insisting that they add the North Birmingham 35th Avenue Superfund Site to their National Priorities list.

“In light of the recent revelations concerning public corruption, we believe the environmental injustices in North Birmingham must be addressed and prioritized by the Environmental Protection Agency,” the Birmingham City website reads. “A site may be included on the EPA National Priorities List if it has scored greater than a 28.5 on the Hazard Ranking System. The North Birmingham 35th Avenue Superfund Site scored a 50, almost twice the minimum requirements.”

August 9

Woodfin continues to visit schools in the Birmingham area, “Y’all know what they say about first impressions, right? I want to make sure our students have a great first week back at school, and have that momentum to carry them throughout the year,” Woodfin posted on his Facebook page. “Commit to our students. Invest in them. And watch them grow. #BCS”