Birmingham mayor releases ‘The Woodfin Way’

Birmingham, Alabama, Randall, Woodfin
Photo by Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin’s community progress report highlighted recommendations from more than 800 Birmingham residents. He calls the report “The Woodfin Way”.

On Thursday, March 15, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin held a free event to release reports from a series of public input meetings. Check out our photo gallery of The First One Hundred.

A Little Background

When Woodfin took office in November he initiated a series of public input meetings and created five transition committees.

The committees focus on:

  • public safety and neighborhood revitalization
  • education and workforce development
  • entrepreneurship and economic development
  • transparent and efficient government and social justice

The mayor’s transition team researched and worked to form their recommendations, presenting their findings in the form of an in-depth report.

Birmingham, Alabama, Randall Woodfin

You can read the full report here.

On Revitalization

Committee Co-Chair Herschell Hamilton of the Neighborhood Revitalization and Public Safety committee emphasized that public safety is the most critical component to neighborhood revitalization but that the city must stabilize its neighborhoods.

From WIAT:

“Roughly 1700 homes have been demolished and only 400 structure built. So that’s a 4 to 1 ratio of demolitions in housing production which is not sustainable,” said Herschell Hamilton, co-chair of the neighborhood revitalization and public safety committee.”

On Public Safety

According to the report, recommendations included transparency in recruitment and hiring in the police and fire departments, along with annual active shooter training.

Birmingham, Alabama, Randall Woodfin

On Education

WIAT reported that Dr. Lisa Herring, superintendent of Birmingham City Schools, recommends early intervention.

“Research shows us that it is our responsibility to start early, that if we do that well, we can ensure our pre-k kids are ready for kindergarten,” said Dr. Herring.

Randall Woodfin, Mayor, Elect, Birmingham, Alabama, Committee, Press Conference
Randall Woodfin with a young Southtown resident, via Huffington Post
On Economic Development

According to the report, residents said that obtaining a business license was one of the biggest obstacles to starting a business in Birmingham. Recommendations included streamlining the permit system, along with helping residents find job opportunities close to home.

Josh Carpenter, a co-chair of the Economic Development committee, said that too many Birmingham residents are missing out on opportunities as the city continues to grow.

“There are too many people who haven’t felt the opportunities in their neighborhoods and their backyards,” Carpenter said.

Mayor Randall Woodfin addresses the audience at the 2017 Birmingham Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
On Transparency

Woodfin pointed out the city’s recent efforts to improve transparency through a partnership with OpenGov, software that enables municipalities to share their financial and non-financial data with the public.

Birmingham Woodfin
Mayor Randall Woodfin greets a visitor at the BJCC warming station on Christmas Day
On Social Justice

Woodfin pledged to form the Mayor’s Office of Social Justice and Racial Equity based on the report. This office will be formed in the next 100 days.

There are lots of moving parts here. Do you think it’s a good start?

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