Woodfin opposes update to Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, questions law’s existence
The fight is back on over the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act.
On Tuesday, Yellowhammer News reported on the Alabama Senate Governmental Affairs Committee holding a public hearing on a bill by State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) that would enhance the penalty provision of the act.
This came in the wake of the Alabama Supreme Court upholding the act and ruling that the City of Birmingham violated said law by obstructing the base of a monument to a Confederate soldier in Linn Park with a large plywood screen.
As a result, the City was fined $25,000. However, the law as written only hands down a onetime fine per violation. The City of Birmingham maintains that the law does not actually require them to take the plywood screen down.
On Wednesday, Mayor Randall Woodfin tweeted out a video summarizing his thoughts on the issue.
“On its face, this is a city park,” Woodfin said. “It’s city property. The city owns the park. The city manages the park. The city allocates resources to the park. And any city facility, a municipality — a local municipality — the city should have its right to do what it feels is in the best interest … for its citizens. This law goes against that.”
“The City of Birmingham, founded in 1871, did not exist during the Civil War,” the mayor added. “So, placing the statue in this park, having the statue in this park, commemorating something that [happened when] we did not even exist, it’s hard to make that connection.”
“But I do want you all to connect this,” he continued. “We’re saying preserve something, we’re saying protect something, that’s a slap in the face to black residents of this city that [comprise] 74% of this city … the fourth blackest city in America. You want to have a statue in commemoration of relegating black people to being property and slaves. It’s offensive. It’s wrong.”
Allen’s legislation (SB 127) to update the act, which he originally sponsored, would adjust the penalty provision so that a $10,000 per day fine would be imposed on violators rather than the onetime $25,000 fine.
Woodfin concluded, “There shouldn’t be any amendments to this law, but question whether this law should even exist.”
I am fighting to attract and keep the best and brightest talent to our welcoming city, not protecting hurtful monuments of the past.
— Randall Woodfin (@randallwoodfin) February 12, 2020
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn