“Search Your Heart, Birmingham” by Lonnie Hannon III, PhD

#WithWoodfin is a series of perspectives from Birmingham residents and stakeholders. Submit your #WithWoodfin statement to ed@randallwoodfin.com.

Greetings, my fellow Birmingham residents. I am looking forward to Election Day next month. I've been in Birmingham for many years. I, as well as most of you, are aware of its successes and failures. One thing that we all can agree on is the dire need to ensure that high quality leadership is in place to take our city to the next level. To this end, I am supporting Randall Woodfin for mayor for two primary reasons.

1. Birmingham needs a pro-growth mayor that understands the importance of economic development, job creation, and city-wide investment.

2. The other candidates represent the same old politics that have gotten Birmingham in the shape it is in now.    

As a scholar who has published scientific research on the importance of economic development and subsequent job growth, I know that many social ills are directly correlated with job availability. Take crime for example, I have heard other candidates talking about "taking guns away", counseling, increasing police presence, and vigils. While well meaning, none of those activities are long-term solutions to mitigating crime. Only by improving economic opportunities will we see a reduction in crime.    

Secondly, in regard to the other candidates, they are nice people, great to have a beer with; but when it comes to the business of running a major city, do they possess the competency, vision, and desire to address Birmingham's problems? For example, Chris Woods has maintained a long and lucrative relationship with the Water Works and the City of Birmingham. In fact, he was called recently to testify before a grand jury in matters related to his affiliation with the very Water Works that is under criminal investigation.

Furthermore, and perhaps even more disappointing, is that Mr. Woods recently sued the City of Birmingham over beef he had with the Bell brothers. Although Woods’ problem was with the Bells, he sued the CITY. Translation: he sued us, the taxpayers. So, after suing us, he wants us to turn around and elect him mayor. Is this the type of behavior we expect from a man who fashions himself as the candidate "for the people?" Can you really be for the people when you just sued them?  This is the type of backroom, top-heavy, politics that has curtailed Birmingham's growth over the last fifty years.

As I have written before, Birmingham is on the cusp of reaching greatness. We have to be very careful this election cycle because the decisions we make in August can push us forward economically and socially or they can revert to the past. My mother and father used to always say, "Son you know in your heart the right decision." Look over the candidates Birmingham: You know in your collective heart who is the best candidate.


Lonnie Hannon III, PhD
Born: Ensley
Current Residence: East Lake 

Urban Sociologist
Associate Professor of Sociology
Tuskegee University


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