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Langford Convicted: What Next for Birmingham?

October 29th, 2009 No comments
Larry Langford, Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, ...
Image via Wikipedia

If you haven’t heard Larry Langford, Birmingham, Ala., Mayor, Convicted on 60 counts of Bribery and Corruption.  These charges alone can earn him 805 years in federal Prison not including the money he will have to return to the people of Jefferson County. Now that Langford is convicted felon he can not serve as Mayor of Birmingham City…

What happens to the Mayor’s office?

The president of the City Council takes over until a special election can be convened and certified.  Which has to be conducted within a certain period of time (perhaps 90 days) where the new mayor is chosen.

What does this mean for Birmingham?

Birmingham City Council President Carole Smitherman became Mayor after the first guilty conviction was announced today in Tuscaloosa, AL and Valerie Abbot Councilor Pro Tempore stepped up into the Council President position.  The problem with that a new city council will be sworn in the later part of November following an early October vote unseating a few current members and filling a couple vacant seats.

After the oath of office for the new and old members under the current Charter of the City of Birmingham’s Council President must be elected.  There is no guarantee that Mayor Carole Smitherman will be re-elected council president and in turn the newly elected council President would take the office of mayor until it can be filled by the special election. It is possible that the City of Birmingham have a 3 mayors in the span of only about 2 and a half months.

Analysis

Chaos in the making.  At this pivotal point in time a strong leader is needed not the in fighting and bickering of city officials.  Carole Smittherman has been much of the root of the in fighting and has a dwindling popularity rating with the city of Birmingham as she could have been unseated by an opponent in early October herself.  The likely hood of her winning the council president seat again is unlikely.  Interim governments or leaders are at best controlled chaos to add unpopular political figures in the mix is likely yo make matters worse.

China is Upset about US Steel Probe

May 2nd, 2009 No comments

In the early part of April US Steel manufacturers filed suit against China for dumping steel on the US Market.  It is no suprise that the Chinese Government is upset about the probe and for the obvious reasons.  As a product of the US Steel Market and the tublar pipe used for the Oil & Gas industry the probe is welcome.

I am all for fair trade and globalization…  But the dumping of cheaper goods unfairly is dangerous to all involved, especially my family.  There are lots of problems in the US Steel Market all the way down to raw ores and scrap metal – I am not defending that.  But, what the Chinese have done over the past few years is detrimental to the global economy.  Not only in a monetary standpoint – also environmentally (see my Earth Day post “American-made steel is cleaner than steel made in China.”

I found an interesting article on United Press International titled “China dismayed over U.S. probe of steel

China dismayed over U.S. probe of steel

BEIJING, May 1 (UPI) — U.S. investigations into tubular and pipe steel imported from China is troubling for the Chinese government, the Commerce Ministry said.

The U.S. Commerce department this week said it was launching anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations into Chinese steel pipes used in oil and gas drilling, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Countervailing duties are duties imposed under World Trade Organization rules to neutralize the negative effects of other duties, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia said.

The U.S. decision to open the investigations has been protested, Commerce Ministry spokesman Yao Jian said. Warning the move would send the wrong signals to the world, Yao said China would monitor the case and respond as appropriate.

“The steel pipe is the main product of Chinese steel exports to the U.S.,” Yao said. “The move will seriously hurt the Sino-U.S. steel trade and pose negative impact on the relevant U.S. industries.”

U.S. steelmakers April 8 filed an anti-dumping suit with U.S. trade bodies for an investigation into the steel products, Xinhua reported.

Yao said the probes constituted discrimination against Chinese products and an abuse of special safeguard measures.

Maglev Comes to Birmingham

April 17th, 2009 3 comments

High Speed Rail MapMaglev high speed trains are coming to Birmingham.  In a proposal by the Obama Administration high speed trains will connect Atalanta, New Orleans, Houston, and Birmingham in the Gulf Coast Corridor.

According the Federal Railroad Administration the “vision is to transform the nation’s transportation system, by rebuilding existing rail infrastructure while launching new high speed passenger rail services in 100-600 mile corridors that connect U.S. communities. Similar to how interstate highways and U.S. aviation system were developed in 20th century: partnership between public sector and private industry, including strong Federal leadership that provided a national vision”.

The proposal was released yesterday (April 17, 2009) and by no means definite. Funds have been allocated to the tune of $8 Billion initially and $1 Billion annually over the next five years. These funds are considered a down payment on what is surely to require many more Billions of dollars from state and local governments. First round Federal Grants are expected to be awarded by the end of Summer 2009.

Obama’s administration is promising a transparent approach in development and outlines what appears to be a three phase plan to implement based on merit and benefits.

  • First round of applications will focus on projects that can be completed quickly and yield measurable, near-term job creation and other public benefits.
  • Next round to include proposals for comprehensive high-speed programs
    covering entire corridors or sections of corridors.
  • Additional funds will be available for planning to help jump-start corridors not yet ready for construction.

Ten Major Corridors have been Identified.

  • California Corridor (Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego)
  • Pacific Northwest Corridor (Eugene, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver BC)
  • South Central Corridor (Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Little Rock)
  • Gulf Coast Corridor (Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Birmingham, Atlanta)
  • Chicago Hub Network (Chicago, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit, Toledo, Cleavland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville)
  • Florida Corridor (Orlando, Tampa, Miami)
  • Southeast Corridor (Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Macon, Columbia, Savannah, Jacksonville)
  • Keystone Corridor (Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh)
  • Empire Corridor (New York City, Albany, Buffalo)
  • Northern New England Corridor (Boston, Montreal, Portland, Springfield, New Haven, Albany)

Also, opportunities exist for the Northeast Corridor (Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Newark, New York City, New Haven, Providence, Boston) to compete for funds for improvements to the nation’s only existing high-speed rail service, and for establishment and upgrades to passenger rail services in other parts of the country.

The proposed high speed rail system is intended for immediate economic relief creating new jobs, specifically in the construction and manufacturing sector.  Proposals have also been made that this system will be a green system.  A date for breaking ground on the project was not proposed in the announcement.  Planning and funding application time line goes through February of 2009.  So the immediate impact on Middle-class workers isn’t likely until years to come.

From the Federal Railroad Administration on the Gulf Coast Corridor:

Gulf Coast High Speed Train Corridor
Major Cities: Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Meridian, Birmingham, Atlanta

Overview: The designated Gulf Coast Corridor would use New Orleans as its hub, with three spokes reaching (1) Houston, (2) Mobile, and (3) Birmingham and Atlanta. At Atlanta, the Gulf Coast Corridor would connect with the Southeast Corridor to Charlotte, Richmond, Washington, and Northeast Corridor points. At present, no corridor-type intercity rail service operates in this corridor, although Louisiana has been working with Amtrak and the Kansas City Southern to initiate a commuter service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The FRA has made study grants to the Southern High-Speed Rail Commission (SHSRC, formerly known as the Southern Rapid Rail Transit Commission), which comprises appointees of the three member states (Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama).

Status: Current activity includes a Baton Rouge to New Orleans conceptual engineering study and a New Orleans gateway rail improvement project.

For Further Reading on the High Speed Rail system from the Federal Railroad Administration:

Other News articles:

Buy American Buy Alabama

December 11th, 2008 No comments

Made in AmericaBirmingham SEO an Alabama Based Search Engine Company and ask me to put this on my blog.  So certainly I am happy to oblige as I feel this is an atrocity. Below is copied and pasted from a blog post at BHM SEO announcing their support of Buy Alabama.

On Wednesday night Birmingham News Source CBS 42 the 10:00 broadcast announced that a boycott of Alabama had been started. The boycott is calling to boycott Alabama made goods and not patron Alabama’s tourism. The website was basing this off the fact that Senator Richard Shelby has made comments that aren’t pro bailout. While we are unsure at this time of these statements we do know that this is an attack on the good hard working people of Alabama.

In response to this atrocious action from a group in Michigan we have launched a response ourselves that is currently in development to help promote the business of Alabama. We started the site Buy Alabama. This site will be used to develop a place where Alabama Business can feature their products. We also plan to in the future open up a store showcasing some of the products to be bought and sold direct from the site. The store is just an idea and no plans are being made. Birmingham SEO will be providing the Search Engine Marketing and Optimization plan for the website for free as a duty to promoting our state.

We also believe as a duty that we help promote the whole of the US and buy American Made. You can find out more on American Made products from Made In The USA. We do not wish to boycott any state and only encourage buying American but Buying Alabama is Buying American.

I am not going to give a link to the group that is calling for the boycott but lets just say it is one crazy nut that doesn’t like Senator Shelby.  Though I know Joe Babisiaz is trying to earn support for bailing out the Big Three.  Which as you know I am fan of.

Message to Joe:

Calling for a ban on Alabama is down right un-American and wrong.  You state on your website “this is not an attack on the hard working people of Alabama”. Then what do you call it an attack on our Senator? The Senator is a hard working Alabamian and the same as attacking the car maker in Alabama. That’s right you may envy we are making good cars in Alabama that aren’t going through Financial Trouble.  But here in Alabama we buy American Made cars. We even buy Detroit made cars.  I can proudly say that most people I know in Alabama want to see the jobs of millions of American’s secure.  We all want secure jobs.  So don’t boycott Alabama buy American and build something Americans can be proud of.

I know you are just a front line worker that is afraid you may loose your job.  Senator Shelby doesn’t want you to loose your job.  He wants to ensure things are in order and bad business mistakes are not rewarded.  The cars you make are of top quality in your job.  But the problem is the decision makers – the management.  If it were up to you – you would build the best and only car on the road I get that.  But build something every kid wants, every grandmother is safe driving in and, something that gets good fuel economy and lowers emissions. Something where the bumper doesn’t fall off.  That is all Senator Shelby is saying.  He isn’t trying to punish you he is trying to right the company.

Senator Shelby is trying to protect Alabama.  He doesn’t want the citizens of Alabama to have to pay for the mistakes of a few greedy managment level automakers.  If true measures are in place that will benefit the overall life of Alabama voters Senator Shelby will support it.  But if measures in place are not there to safeguard us he will not.

There is no reason to call for a boycott of Alabama.  I kindly ask that you end the boycott and your fellow Americans for help in supporting your effort instead of dividing the country.  Because like you said we are all American’s and plenty of Alabamians support the Bailout with oversight.  Without oversight it is just like giving a college kid money  experiments or lab time or Beer and food?  So if there is some oversight we might be able to get something from it.  Like a stable auto market full of good paying jobs.

What I am telling you is your strategy is wrong.  You should be trying to unite everyone to get behind you instead of isolating and picking fights.  We are your brothers and sisters.  Embrace us and we can help.