The Jefferson County Commission is being sued in the 11th Circuit Court over their county bankruptcy settlement which increased our debt from $1.8 billion to over $14 billion to be paid by increasing our sewer rates annually for the next 40 years. Jefferson County commissioners Carrington, Stephens, Knight and Brown voted for the settlement. Bowman voted against it. Attys Calvin Grigsby and David Sullivan are representing the rate payers.
8/29/17 Update: As many now know, the “Gang of Four” - a title attributed to Commissioners Carrington, Little-Brown, Knight and Stephens – voted back in 2013 for a bankruptcy settlement that took a $2.2 billion debt, created under criminal conditions, blew it up six times to $14.4 billion, dumped that debt on two of the five county districts – Districts 1 and 2, where most of the Black and low income folks in the county live – and then called it a great day for the county because the county was out of bankruptcy. Federal Judge Sharon Blackburn agreed to hear the sewer rate payers’ case and the County Commission appealed her decision to the 11th Circuit Court. They heard our case in January, 2016. We are awaiting their decision.
Illegal Sales Tax Extension
The Jefferson County legislative delegation and our County Commission are being sued for illegally attempting to extend the 1% County School Construction tax for a totally different purpose without a vote of the people. It is illegal to convert a "general" bill into a "local bill" without a vote of the people. This legislation was written by (or possibly written for) Rep. Oliver Robinson, vice chair of the Jefferson County delegation.
8/29/17 Update: The State Supreme Court recently ruled to allow the Jefferson County Commissioners to take charge of the $100 million county school tax income annually and refinance the debt (for 30 years). If the Jeffco Commission focused on paying off the debt, we would complete same by 2020-21 and that would lower the county tax from 10 to 9% and allow the City of Birmingham to pass its own one penny school tax generated ten times the income of the House/County plan ($40 million annually instead of just $4 million). Judge Graffeo ruled HB 573 was passed illegally, violating the Budget Isolation Resolution (BIR), an amendment passed in 1984 that instructed the legislature rules of the road when passing legislation. The Court used the 2016 Amendment 14 statewide referendum (a public bamboozle) vote to justify overturning Judge Graffeo’s decision. The Amendment 14 vote retroactively eliminated violations of the BIR. OVERTURNING A STATE CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT RETROACTIVELY HAS NEVER HAPPENED IN THE U.S. If this were to be found constitutional, the Congress could overturn the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments and all the contracts that were based on them! The same for Women’s Suffrage! WE ARE RAISING FUNDS FOR OUR APPEAL WHICH HAS BEEN FILED WITH THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES ON JUNE 16, 2017
The Attorney General is being sued for threatening to sue members of the BWWB if they agree to contribute as a Board to the Jefferson County Sewer Defense Fund, the fund that has hired Attys Calvin Grigsby and David Sullivan to represent the sewer rate payers in the first suit listed above.
Illegal Expansion of Birmingham Water Works Board
The Attorney General decision to uphold Vestavia State Senator Jabo Waggoner’s attempt to take control of the BWWB from the City of Birmingham by expanding their Board of Directors is being challenged in court.
8/29/17 Update: For a year and a half, the CSJC encouraged the City Council leadership and the water board to join in a suit to challenge the constitutionality of Jabo Waggoner’s 2015 legislation to expand seating on the BWWB from five to nine, removing total appointing power from the Birmingham City Council. Judge Vance ruled in favor of the counties of Shelby and Blount, the Jeffco Mayor Association and Mayor Bell, all of whom opposed our arguments to maintain appointing powers with the Birmingham City Council. We have appealed Vance decision to the Alabama Supreme Court. Mayor Bell’s appointees, Sherry Lewis and Deborah Clark continue to frustrate the four City Council appointees efforts to protect the BWWB’s assets for Birmingham by consistently voting with the out-of-Birmingham members.
The US Supreme Court ruled that the State Of Alabama had willfully gerrymandered the legislative district map in order to dilute Black voting strength and that therefore, a new legislative map must be drawn WITHOUT input from elected officials (this time), and new elections from the county on up must be held. Jefferson County has more state legislators (18, should be 14) and senators (8, should be 5) in its delegation than mathematically feasible or necessary which allows for single party control of the Jefferson County delegation. Three state representatives, who vote in the Jefferson County delegation, do not live in Jefferson County, a violation of the 1901 Alabama Constitution.
8/29/17 Update: The Alabama Legislature was found guilty by the US Supreme Court of “packing Blacks” into districts to dilute their voting strength and influence in other districts. A three judge panel was appointed by the court to oversee a new legislative map for 2018. Population dictates that Jefferson County should have 14 house members and five senate members. The Map being offered by the Republicans would settle on 16 house members and six senate members. Their primary concern is continued control of the most important county in the state economically. THE BLACK LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION HAS TAKEN THIS CASE BACK TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT.
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