Birmingham city leaders converge on DNC

PHILADELPHIA, Ala. (WIAT) — A number of Birmingham city leaders are in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention.

That number includes Mayor William Bell, who is pushing to bring the event to Birmingham in the future.

Bell tells CBS 42 News that while he is in Philadelphia he will be promoting the Magic City as a future host for the DNC.

Bell made waves with his first bid to bring the convention to Birmingham. The media blitz included banners downtown and flashy promotional paint jobs on public transit buses.

“That’s exactly what I’m doing, both within the Democratic Party as well as with the other mayors around the country,” Bell said. “You know mayors have a great influence as to where people go in terms of conferences and conventions. And we want to make sure that we get a lot of support from other municipalities in our effort to bring a major convention to Birmingham, Alabama.”

Bell’s commitment to bringing the DNC to Birmingham did not end when the banners came down. The mayor continues to push to bring the convention to the city.

“We learned a lot in our last effort of trying to attract the DNC to Birmingham, and we’re making improvements to our hotel rooms in the area,” Bell said. “WI know some people think that it will never happen, but I’m a firm believer that if you work hard and do all the things necessary you can make that happen.”

City Council members Sheila Tyson and Stephen Hoyt are also in Philadelphia as delegates for Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders respectively, according to a statement issued by a council spokesperson.

“This is a once-in-a-decade moment for us, as the secretaries of every federal department, their staffs, and even the President and Vice-President of the United State are in one place at one time,” said Councilor Hoyt. “This is a tremendous moment to get ‘a bang for our buck’ and not a dime is coming from the City to pay for any of this effort.”

Some Birmingham residents are irritated that the usual council meeting was cancelled, with issues like the lack of a fire station in the Kingston community being delayed.

“I think they got caught up in themselves, because there’s no important reason for them to be there,” said Robert Walker, Vice President of the Wahouma Neighborhood Association. “The important reason for this Tuesday is to have a city council meeting.”

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