Friday, October 30, 2009

Black News: Larry Langford, Mayor of Birmingham, Convicted

It's hard to blame residents of Alabama's most populous city if they've got the Birmingham blues.

An interim mayor took over Thursday after her predecessor, Larry Langford, was convicted on 60 felony counts for bribery and kicked out of office.

Across a park from City Hall, officials at the Jefferson County Courthouse are trying to avoid filing the largest municipal bankruptcy ever, a mark the governor says would stain the entire state.

Citizens are moving out of Birmingham by the thousands, and few are replacing them. The population has dropped to an estimated 209,639, down more than 13 percent since 2000. The state high school football championships even left town this year, abandoning decrepit Legion Field for the state's two major universities.

Ronnie Coats, 42, has been living in Birmingham and volunteering in local politics for almost three decades, and says he's disgusted.

"There's a problem with government here. It's called greed," he said.


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