The List Is In: 13 Apply to Fill Roberson’s Seat on the Birmingham Council

 1474696767 
1536782934
The Birmingham City Council.
The Birmingham City Council.

Source: Cody Owens, City of Birmingham

bw-logo-color-2

 

By Sam Prickett

Thirteen people have applied to fill the seat of former Birmingham City Councilor Jay Roberson, who announced his resignation last month. The lineup includes a former board of education president, a handful of candidates who previously ran for the District 7 seat, and a current member of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, among others.

Roberson’s resignation officially took effect Monday. At a press conference last month, he said he was leaving office to accommodate his wife’s new position with Alabaster City Schools.

The Birmingham City Council can appoint someone to fill the vacancy as early as next Tuesday, Sept. 18. Council President Valerie Abbott is facing pressure from several councilors — particularly outgoing District 1 Councilor Lashunda Scales — to fill the seat as soon as possible. The council voted Tuesday not to select a new president pro tempore to replace Roberson, so that the soon-to-be appointed District 7 councilor would be able to participate in the selection process.

Abbott has said that, if about 10 people applied to fill the vacancy, the council would attempt to interview them all before making a selection.

“Usually we just sit down in a conference room, invite (the applicants) in, ask them questions and give them a minute to talk about what they think is important, and then we go on to the next person,” she said. “I think the council is going to have to put together a list of questions to make sure that we ask everyone pretty much the same things.”

The candidates for the District 7 seat are:

  • Wardine Alexander is the former president of the Birmingham Board of Education. Alexander was appointed to the board in 2013, and was elected board president in 2015. She lost her bid for re-election in 2017.
  • Raymond Brooks is a former chief of the Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service, a role he held from 1997 to 2002. He served as fire chief of Compton, California, from 2002 to 2004, before returning to Birmingham, and he made an unsuccessful run for mayor in 2007. He previously had applied to fill the District 7 council seat after Miriam Witherspoon died in 2009; the council chose Roberson, instead.
  • Gwendolyn Calhoun is the president of the Hillman Neighborhood Association.
  • Gibril H. Davies Jr.
  • Dr. Gertrudis A. Hunter was briefly a candidate for mayor in 2017.
  • Marcus King
  • Lonnie Malone ran against Roberson in the 2017 council election, placing second with 961 votes.
  • Jameania Ravizee
  • Jeffrey Rowser ran against Roberson in the 2017 election. He received the third most votes (489), after Roberson (2,667) and Lonnie Malone (961), another applicant to fill Roberson’s seat.
  • Theodore Smith is a member of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority board of directors, a Birmingham fire captain and former member of the city’s parks and recreation board.
  • Walter Wilson is a public works employee for the city of Birmingham. He also has served as a substitute teacher and volunteer football coach in Birmingham City Schools. He previously ran for the District 7 seat in the 2009 municipal elections, but he lost to Roberson.
  • Robert H. Young
Amazon Breaks Ground Oct. 2, Laying Path for Western-Area Development
09-15-2018

The official groundbreaking on the new Amazon development in Bessemer will be Oct. 2, Jefferson County commissioners said Thursday.

A Deadly Week: September Homicides Could Foreshadow Record Year in Birmingham
09-11-2018

Six homicides happened in Birmingham during the first week of September, putting the city firmly on track for its most violent year in more than two decades and pressuring city leaders to improve their strategies for responding to such incidents and to focus on preventing them.

Alabama Power Awaiting Federal Guidance After Court Strips Its License to Operate 7 Coosa River Dams
08-28-2018

It’s now official. Monday, Alabama Power Co.’s license to operate its seven Coosa River dams was taken away under terms of a federal court order issued a month ago. The power company will now operate under its prior license.

Legal Services Alabama Serves Thousands In State. Program, a Partisan Battleground, on President Trump’s Budget-Cut List
08-28-2018

Army veteran Ronald Whitson gives credit to Legal Services Alabama for keeping his family home in Birmingham. However, the program that Whitson praises has been controversial, the frequent target of partisan political battles since its start in the mid-1970s, with roots in the nation’s War on Poverty. Now the Alabama program’s federal parent, Legal Services Corporation, once again faces defunding, this time in President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget proposal.

Tariffs Imposed By U.S., Trading Partners Hit Home In Alabama
08-21-2018

President Donald Trump is battling with countries he says are unfairly hurting America’s foreign trade, but some of his moves may adversely affect industries in Alabama in the process.