Randall Woodfin faced a hard challenge Tuesday — how to start fulfilling his promise of major changes as Birmingham mayor while showing respect for the mayor he soundly defeated. He pulled it off perfectly, praising former Mayor William Bell for his long years of service to the city. Woodfin went even further, recognizing the past contributions of past mayors Richard Arrington, Bernard Kincaid and Larry Langford. (The Langford reference felt a little weird, give that the former mayor is still in prison.)
Woodfin’s nod to the past was one of two remarkable moments. The other came when he invited the nine members of the new City Council to line up behind him and said, “The 10 of us collectively not only represent you, are not only committed to fighting for you, but wholeheartedly we believe in you. We believe in our city. We believe City Hall has something to offer you.”
That was a jarring contrast to the fighting between Mayor Bell and the last council, and even the new council has had some tense moments already. Still, we’ll hope for a honeymoon that lasts long enough to allow new relationships to form. And I’ll be watching closely to see how well Woodfin keeps his promises of a more open city government.