I have been a Birmingham City Commissioner since 2001, serving as Mayor in 2005, 2010 and 2016.
I am running for my fifth term on the Commission because I want to continue to be involved in the decision-making that is critical to maintaining Birmingham's financial stability, its quality services/programs and its beautiful environment. During my 16 years in office, I have demonstrated that I research issues thoroughly; that I listen to all points of view and make my decisions thoughtfully and independently; and that I am approachable and respond to citizen concerns.
I have 25 years of experience as a mediator for the Oakland Mediation Center and in local district courts. During my 40-years as a Birmingham resident, I have been a community activist, holding numerous volunteer leadership positions on the local, county and state levels. My professional background is public relations and corporate communications.
Fiscal Responsibility -- Through sound management and careful oversight, Birmingham has maintained its financial stability and AAA bond rating. To ensure continuation of quality programs and services without increasing the city's tax rate, I will focus on making prudent financial decisions and continuously pursue cost-saving measures.
Communications -- With increasing activity in both the neighborhoods and Downtown area, it is essential that our residents and business community have access to current and timely information. I will continue to support City efforts to provide such information via the City's enhanced electronic tools which can be found at www.bhamgov.org/communications_tools.
Infrastructure Projects -- In addition to the ongoing replacement and/or repair of Birmingham's aging infrastructure, major projects are proposed for Downtown Birmingham including the reconstruction of South Old Woodward and consideration of the expansion of the North Old Woodward parking deck. I am committed to giving thorough oversight to these projects and carefully monitoring costs.
I am a resident of nearly 30 years, currently serving my 2nd term as Mayor, and have been a City Commissioner since 2009. Since my initial civic involvement in 1996, I have been a dedicated volunteer on numerous boards and committees, most significantly serving over 10 years on the Planning Board. Since being elected, I have worked successfully with my colleagues on the Commission to maintain and increase the exceptional services that our community enjoys while lowering our tax rate. I will continue to work with the Commission, our city manager and staff, our business community and all residents, to set priorities and resolve difficult issues related to our budget, tax revenue, services and community development challenges. As an architect and urban designer, I have unique insight into our community and am a tireless advocate for enhancing our neighborhoods and promoting our pedestrian-friendly, walkable downtown and districts. My proven leadership and hands-on experience have been an asset to the Commission when making decisions, affecting us all, our neighborhoods and businesses.
I will focus on continuing to manage our city’s economic budget demands, specifically our increasing legacy costs. To address our growing financial commitments, I will work with the Commission, continuing to implement efficient strategies to maintain services and lower our tax rate, leading to a more effective government that meets the needs of all community members - individuals, families, seniors and businesses
Birmingham is about to embark on many significant civic projects/initiatives, including the rebuilding of Old Woodward in downtown, the Bates Street Extension, a new parking deck, a city master plan and many pedestrian enhancements. My expertise as an architect/urban planner is unique on the Commission and will be valuable in guiding our process to achieve successful results
I strongly advocate for a walkable city. I will continue working to enhance the pedestrianization of our neighborhoods, parks, downtown & districts, further implementing our Multi-Modal Plan, which increases property values, and the health and safety of our residents, particulary children and seniors
Three times in the last twelve years you elected me to serve on the Birmingham City Commission. I have been honored to serve not only as a City Commissioner, but also as Mayor Pro Tem (twice) and as the Mayor (twice) of the City of Birmingham. I take great pride in the knowledge that we are positioning Birmingham to remain a vibrant community for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. We are doing this by continuously improving our neighborhoods, our parks, and reinvigorating our downtown. We have made these improvements to our City without raising the operating millage tax rate during both good and bad economic times. We have made great progress and I want to continue working for you. That is why I am seeking re-election.
We must continue vigilantly controlling the City’s spending and exercise responsible budget management. During both economic downturns and economic prosperity, we must exercise responsible management by balancing the City’s budget without using reserve funds and without raising taxes. I have been a diligent gatekeeper on your behalf by personally scrutinizing every line item of every budget and every request for funds that comes before the Commission.
Challenges lie ahead, many of which we don’t even know yet. To address all challenges, we must listen to our residents’ views and concerns. We must continue re-investing in our infrastructure to protect our property values and way of life. We must continue addressing how we provide services to our seniors and, at the same time, to our younger families; two vastly different demographics with different and sometimes competing needs.
I have shown that I can make difficult decisions in a fair and equitable manner.