Are black politicians what’s wrong with Birmingham?

Jonathan Austin, President of the Birmingham City Council & Mayor William Bell
Jonathan Austin, President of the Birmingham City Council & Mayor William Bell

Week after week I read comments on al.com and on social media blaming Birmingham’s misfortunes on black politicians.

They infer Birmingham would be a better city if whites were in control.

Recently ComebackTown published a piece on efforts to designate our Civil Rights District as a new National Historic Park.

I immediately received a tweet, “Aren’t you embarrassed by what black people have done to Birmingham once they took COMPLETE political control of the city?” Continue reading Are black politicians what’s wrong with Birmingham?

Young professional: Why I came back to Birmingham

Roman Gary
Roman Gary

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

Today’s guest blogger is Roman Gary.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

My name is Roman Gary.

As you can tell from my photograph, I’m a young African-American.

What you can’t tell is that I attended Ramsay High School and graduated from Auburn.

You also can’t tell that I’m married, have a baby girl, and am a principal in a local architecture firm.

You also wouldn’t know that I chose to move back to Birmingham when many of my professional friends moved away.

Why Birmingham?  Here is my story…

Continue reading Young professional: Why I came back to Birmingham

3 hellish numbers wrecking Birmingham

Hellish number wrecking Birmingham
Hellish number wrecking Birmingham

Here are those ‘hellish’ numbers:  37, 53, and 24.

But you will have to see the list at the end of this piece to understand the magnitude of the problem.

Let’s start with a question:  Would you know where to drive if I invited you to lunch in North Johns?

How about Maytown?

Or Sylvan Springs?

Don’t know where these cities are located?

Well you should. Continue reading 3 hellish numbers wrecking Birmingham

Birmingham: We can change the world

Andrea L. Taylor, President and CEO Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Andrea L. Taylor, President & CEO Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

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

Today’s guest blogger is Andrea Taylor..  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

Wish me happy anniversary.  I’m celebrating my first year in Birmingham this month.

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled the U.S. and visited more than 70 countries on seven continents.

I see Birmingham through a unique lens and have been made to feel very welcome here.

If  asked about the history of Birmingham, you might tell me about Bull Connor, dogs and hoses, or the 1963 church bombing.

You might feel embarrassed about Birmingham and prefer the world forgets.

However, Birmingham’s tortuous history may be our biggest strength. Continue reading Birmingham: We can change the world

Mountain Brook gal: Achieving my dreams in downtown Birmingham

Mimi Shannon
Mimi Shannon

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

Today’s guest blogger is Mimi Shannon.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

At this second, writing this article, I am sitting right next door to my apartment building on the brand new Rotary Trail.

The sun is setting, the “Magic City” sign is changing from red to white, there is a black family with their kids that are playing on an abstract cement seat, a preppy looking young white father and his two toddler children walking by, a young hippie couple admiring the trail, Zyp bikes flying above me on 1st Avenue South, and runners galore.

Continue reading Mountain Brook gal: Achieving my dreams in downtown Birmingham

Red Mountain Park faces a difficult future

David Dionne, Executive Director, Red Mountain Park
David Dionne, Executive Director, Red Mountain Park

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

Today’s guest blogger is David Dionne.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

I’m frustrated.

That’s why I’m willing to go out on a limb and disclose what’s going on at Red Mountain Park.

I see so much potential for Birmingham, for Red Mountain Park, and for our regional park system.

But the public, our potential donors, and government officials don’t seem to understand what we’re up against. Continue reading Red Mountain Park faces a difficult future

Birmingham slammed twice by national publication

Creek along Jemison Train, Mountain Brook--calm and peaceful
Jemison Trail, Mountain Brook, located in our Birmingham region (no stress here) Photo by Barry Leff

Okay, we were embarrassed again…

…actually twice within two weeks by the same publication.

But I keep having this unsettling thought.

What if we live in one of the most livable cities in America, but these preposterous loony rankings convince us and people elsewhere that we’re a bunch of losers? Continue reading Birmingham slammed twice by national publication

Does anyone give a damn about Vulcan?

Even Vulcan is embarrassed--drawing by Adam Stermer
Vulcan has a serious problem–drawing by Adam Stermer

Vulcan has a problem–a serious problem!

I find this distressing since I have a soft spot in my heart for this not so lovable Roman God.

I can’t imagine a Birmingham without Vulcan…and no other city in the U.S. or abroad has anything like him.

This 50-ton cast iron statue (the largest in the world) was a meaningful part of my childhood.

When I was a boy, I remember the slow/squeaky elevator ride up to the viewing platform where I was rewarded with a stunning view of Birmingham. Continue reading Does anyone give a damn about Vulcan?

Birmingham: Bear Bryant may be turning over in his grave

Paul Bear Bryant
Paul Bear Bryant

I graduated from the University of Alabama in 1965.

If you are a college football fan you may remember that between 1961 and 1965 UA won three NCAA College National Championships.

Joe Namath was our quarterback, but more importantly, our coach was the legendary Paul Bear Bryant.

No need to give a history lesson on Coach Bryant, but unless you’re of a certain age, you may not know one important fact about the Bear. Continue reading Birmingham: Bear Bryant may be turning over in his grave

How we slashed crime by 70% in downtown Birmingham

Douglas Stewart,
Douglas Stewart

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

Today’s guest blogger is Douglas Stewart.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

The story you are about to hear is truly remarkable.

If an author had written it as a plot in a book, you wouldn’t have thought it possible.

For many years downtown Birmingham had the reputation of being unsafe.

Many people had given up on our downtown.  There were vacant buildings everywhere and businesses were rushing to the suburbs never to return. Continue reading How we slashed crime by 70% in downtown Birmingham

To begin a conversation about a better Birmingham