2010—the year that changed Birmingham forever

Birmingham Southside pre 2010

Birmingham Southside lot pre 2010

There are two important dates in the history of Birmingham:  1871 when Birmingham was founded and 2010 when Birmingham found itself.

I’ve lived in Birmingham my entire life.  I’ve always hoped for a better Birmingham, but I never imagined the Birmingham that is being created today.

Five years ago, except for UAB, Birmingham was frozen in time.

It was generally accepted that we could do nothing right—so why try?
Continue reading

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Birmingham and the Walking Dead

The walking dead

Watch out!  There are zombies in Birmingham.

I’m currently binge-watching The Walking Dead.”—the TV series about a small band of survivors struggling to live day to day in an apocalyptic world overrun by flesh-eating zombies.

The survivors are strong-willed, tenacious—and optimistic.  The zombies are vicious, unrelenting and intent on destroying all that is good. Continue reading

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Alabama: A great State unless you are black, gay, or Hispanic

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore

I recently wrote a piece, “Birmingham punished for being in Alabama,” where I pointed out that job growth in Birmingham and around the state has been relatively flat while other cities in the South are flourishing.

Our Birmingham-Hoover seven county metropolitan area has fewer people working now than we did at the beginning of the recession.

I regularly blame Birmingham’s lack of job growth on too many competing governments, but being located in Alabama is not a positive. Continue reading

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Glenn Beck: Birmingham will restart America

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck, radio talk show host and conservative activist

On the evening of June 17, 2015, a mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.  Nine people were shot and killed.

You can’t help but wonder, ‘What if nine people had been executed in a church in Birmingham?’

Would there be rioting in the streets of Birmingham like there was in Ferguson–or would we come together as a community as they did in Charleston? Continue reading

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Birmingham punished for being in Alabama

Metropolitan Birmingham

Metropolitan Birmingham (Wikipedia)

One of the greatest obstacles to metropolitan Birmingham’s growth is too many competing governments, but that’s not the only deterrent.

Being located in Alabama is also an obstacle.

The Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) publishes a report that compares key economic figures of metropolitan Birmingham to eleven peer cities.

In my opinion, the most important of these key metrics is job growth.  And metropolitan Birmingham has no more jobs than they had before the recession. Continue reading

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UAB deserves better from Birmingham

UAB MascotWhen our Chamber of Commerce (BBA) visited Charlotte in 2004, we were greeted by the President of the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Charlotte’s a city on fire, but the first words out the President’s mouth were, “We don’t have anything like UAB.”

Can you believe a great city like Charlotte is jealous of us?

But it appears by recent events we may be taking UAB for granted.

It’s been a few weeks since UAB decided to retain its football program, so I thought it might be healthy to take a moment to reflect. Continue reading

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Grinney and Krulak agree on how to fix Birmingham

Jay Grinney, President & CEO HealthSouth Corporation

Jay Grinney, President & CEO HealthSouth Corporation

Metropolitan Birmingham is the only one of our peer cities to lose jobs from 2001-2010 and from 2011-2013 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Many folks feel the reason for our poor job performance is too many competing  governments.

Why don’t we do something about it?

Because most people feel some sort of government consolidation is impossible.

However, two of Birmingham’s most respected leaders agree that change is critical to our future.   Continue reading

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New energetic Birmingham: Not just for young folks

Janice James Eubank

Janice James Eubank

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Janice James Eubank.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

We recently had family visiting in town. Although they are native ‘Hamians’….they most recently lived out of the country but wanted to see the “old town,” with an emphasis on seeing loft locations in Birmingham. We only had an afternoon with them, so we packed in a loaded agenda ending the night at Highland’s Bar and Grill with Goren Avery, “Gastro Concierge Extraordinaire”. Continue reading

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How to extort money from City of Homewood

Target

Homewood gave Target $10 million in incentives to open store at Brookwood Village

We have a little game us business people play in Birmingham—and we’re darn good at it.

When it’s time to renew the lease on our building—we go to our home city or surrounding cities and demand money.

And it’s so easy to do.  There are 35+ municipalities in Jefferson County and if you are large enough or important enough—some local government will throw money at you. Continue reading

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Bayer and Sher don’t have a prayer

Jeffrey Bayer, President & CEO Bayer Properties

Jeffrey Bayer, President & CEO Bayer Properties

Here’s a story about POWER and Jeffrey Bayer.

On November 14, Jeffrey Bayer, President and CEO of Bayer Properties, and I were scheduled to deliver a speech about regional governance at a symposium of Birmingham area commercial real estate professionals (CCIM).

The Harbert Center was dark when we arrived.  The lights and electricity were off and the escalator to the upper floors was motionless.  There had been an traffic accident killing the power to the Harbert Center and nearby buildings. Continue reading

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