Political campaigns are the devil. They taint everything, and offer promises broken quicker than an honest politician’s will.
Like when William Bell ran for re-election as Birmingham mayor in 2013.
“We’re going to reset the relationship with the council,” he said then. “We’re going to reach out to them. We are going to be open and forthcoming with the council.”
Oh man. Pick yourself up off the floor. Like Bell and council member Marcus Lundy had to do after 2015’s Brawl in City Hall. The only “reaching out” between this mayor and council has come from the pawing in that sad scrap that sent them both to the hospital with dubious “wounds.”
Rub some dirt on it, guys.
Open? Forthcoming? Hilarious.
What’s true is that the coming Birmingham election of mayor and council – and to a lesser extent the school board – comes down to that issue again. Can anybody in Birmingham leadership get along?
And the answer is a clear, definitive “no.”
They can’t agree on a budget or even the facts surrounding the way it is produced. They can’t agree on the direction of the water works or anything else, and wind up in court fighting – using taxpayer money – on both sides.
It’s not an election about getting along. That was a load of hogwash in 2013 and it’s a load now. This is a referendum on the mayor. And the council.
Who do you trust more? Whose side are you on?
A thinking person might say the squabbling at city hall has only proven you can trust no one, that politicians who spend your money and your time whining and fighting should be sent home toot sweet. But thinking people have not often altered Birmingham elections.
But they’ll get a chance. If you think Mayor Bell has done all he can in the face of a recalcitrant council, stand by him and vote against the council members he detests most – Johnathan Austin and Lashunda Scales (since Lundy is not running for re-election).
Then again if you think Scales and Austin are the front lines in a force opposing a domineering and dirty mayor – if you think Birmingham is heading in the wrong direction — support one of them.
And pick another mayor. There are plenty to choose from, though it is widely thought a three-man race between Bell, Chris Woods – who is running largely on money he won in a lawsuit against the city – and former school board member Randall Woodfin. Woodfin, formerly the school board president, is pulling in some big campaign cash, though much of it is from out of Birmingham and out of state.
Frank Matthews, the erstwhile God’s Gangster, is running for mayor again – and seems to be gathering more steam than in the past. Hey, anything can happen in Trump’s America.
Bless my heart, Matthews is starting to make sense to me. He has some creative ideas – like promising to personally meet with every felon when they leave prison in Jefferson County.
I’d hoped his Ethics Commission financial disclosure forms would finally confirm his source of income -how he pays for his Porsche, and his Bentley, and his other luxury cars. But alas, no luck. I asked him how he did it. He said he’s good at saving his money, adding that he buys his suits in the off season.
Yep. Political campaigns are the devil. But they are entertaining. Consider:
Edward Maddox, who had to step down as president of the school board as part of a plea deal in which he copped to two ethics charges, is running for school board again.
And Antwon Womack is back. You might remember him as the school board candidate in 2009 who went by the title of “Dr. Bishop Antwon Womack.” He claimed a college degree until the Birmingham News revealed he was a high school dropout. He dropped out of the race, saying he had been scrutinated enough.
Fortunately, they only have these things every four years.