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kayman

At-large Elections

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Birmingham seems to be the only area in the state that seems to lack at-large elections. As many have mentioned, up until 1980's, Jefferson County Commissioners was elected at-large, but it was changed to district election due to the lack of a black commissioners on the Commission. However, the effect of this has created more factionalism countywide and across this region. We can't seem to ever get inept commissions held accountable for their treacheous actions such as people like Betty Fine Collins and Bobby Humphryes. Humphryes' antics wasting county funds to redecorated the commission office he resides in because it wasn't "manly enough", but he likely won't be held accountable his abuse because lack of accountability. The same can be said about the combative Birmingham City Councilmembers such as Steven Hoyt, who always seems to be more concerned about getting his name on landmarks or posters for projects like the Habitat for Humanity project in Ensley rather than improving his district or working with fellow Councilmembers on a key issue up for debate.

The district-voting system that seems to be in causing the region more harm than good. It is basically giving elected officials a blank check to do as they please with out being held accountable for their actions or there lack of.

I am encourage everyone on this forum to lobby their state legislature (Senator and House Representative) to create at-large election for the Jefferson County and the City of Birmingham. The creation of either new County Commissioners seats or make 3 of the current ones at-large again, and to make 5 of the 9 council position for the City of Birmingham.

This would be one step towards fixing this massive problem plaguing Birmingham.

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I totally agree. Since Birmingham went to district elections, the city has spiralled downward regarding political representation.

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I agree.

Another thing I feel is holding the city back is how nothing gets done or green lighted in this city unless it has minority contracts attached to it. We've seen several things over the last six months get held up over how much of the contracts will go to minority interest.

I'm all about creating an equal and fair business environment but that doesn't mean every single project has to be mandated that minorities get a piece of the action. Out of all the cities I have spent considerable time in and the few I have lived in I have never seen anything like what happens here.

-Turbo

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^^^I believe that is reaction of the racial tensions that existed post-Civil Rights Movement in this area from the 1970's to 1990's. However, I do agree contract bids and rewards shouldn't be held up just so a minority contract is always the winner. The process should he reevaluated by the next mayoral administration because it is has created a very business and construction hostile environment and culture in this area.

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Trying to fix what's wrong

Birmingham Citizen Advisory Board (CAB) has forced a committee to take on the key issues of city government: Mayoral and council terms, council representation, and term limits. The committee is led by Emmanuel Ford with 9 other appointees by the CAB to deal with these key issues. I am so glad somebody is realizing that especially council representation (by going from all district to a hybrid of both with some district and some at-large). Also the term limits because here in this state its seems nobody has taken the initative to place any on these politicians who seems to want to make a career out of the elected position rather doing their job. Hopefully, the committee will be able to lobby legislation next year that will make some major changes to the city government as others have said before this current district setup with our term limits is a setup for government failure.

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Chilton integration system upheld

Although this about Chilton County, not Jefferson County, this would be a good example how elections for county commissions should be. Chilton refused to go from at-large to district elections just to appaise the Dillard suiters that has led to the mess that plagues Jeffco today with voting districts. Instead, the county chose to increase the number of county commissioners from four to seven, to replace at-large voting with a "cumulative" at-large system, and to rotate the chairmanship among the members to ensure blacks would serve in the post.

This is how Jeffco needs to reform its county commission election system to rather than allowing commissioners how not be held accountable to all citizens for their actions or lack of.

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