How we in Jefferson County got screwed

Jefferson CountyWhat’s wrong with Jefferson County?

We  suffered through a very public bankruptcy and then had a parade of County Commissioners convicted of crimes–with many serving jail time.

We’re now paying the price with punishing sewer rates that are projected to increase for the next 40 years.

How did we get ourselves into this mess?

Are Jefferson County politicians more corrupt than others? Continue reading

Posted in David Sher posts, Government structure | Tagged , | 1 Comment

You won’t believe my experience riding a Birmingham bus!

Malcolm Carmichael 1ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

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

A few months ago I discussed with some friends (all of us well over 65) how we might get around Birmingham if/when we could no longer drive.

“We’d take the bus,” one replied and we all laughed. None of us had ridden a public bus since the 1960’s.  We also didn’t seem to know anyone who rode the bus.

The members of my transportation discussion group all live in Mountain Brook or Vestavia.  “Let’s take some field trips,” I said. “Let’s catch the bus in our neighborhoods and go downtown for lunch.”

They looked at me as if I’d suggested we all get root canals. Continue reading

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Birmingham is surprisingly awesome

Rotary Trail--Birmingham is surprisingly awesome

Rotary Trail–Birmingham is surprisingly awesome (Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Birmingham)

Surprisingly Awesome is my favorite podcast.  Each episode explores topics that would put most people to sleep, but the show makes boring topics interesting and fun.

Subjects like pigeons, mold, or concrete become fascinating.

Birmingham, Alabama would be the perfect topic for the show.

Birmingham may sound boring—but Birmingham is Surprisingly Awesome. Continue reading

Posted in David Sher posts, Population, Race relations, UAB, What's great about Birmingham | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

We moved from the suburbs to Avondale and love it

Claire Parker

Claire Parker

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

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

It was the energy.

The energy we felt when we drove in to the city for dinner, music, theater, walking or picnics.  That energy drew us in frequently, and ultimately we moved in to Avondale from the suburbs over a year ago.

It’s been everything we were looking for and much more. Continue reading

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When white people tell black people what to do

Race is the big elephant in Birmingham's room

Race is the big elephant in Birmingham’s room (Photo courtesy of Birmingham Zoo)

If you want to measure the financial vitality of a region–look at job growth.

Our Birmingham seven county metropolitan areahas fewer people employed today than in 2007.

That’s nearly a decade with a net loss of jobs.

Nashville, Charlotte, and Austin have had double digit increases.

According to the Birmingham Business Journal, (Metropolitan) “Birmingham is down about 19,100 jobs from its pre-recession peak.”

Much of the blame belongs to our racial divide–provoked by our fragmented government structure.

Angry blacks rail against white government Continue reading

Posted in Alabama Constitution, David Sher posts, Government structure, Race relations | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Birmingham hits a grand slam homerun!

Jeb Stewart

Jeb Stewart

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

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

Birmingham’s spirit as a comeback town has been well-reflected by the attendance last season at Regions Field, as the Barons set another record at the turnstiles.

The final attendance total was 444,639, making it second-highest regular season in franchise history behind the “Michael Jordan Year” of 1994 (467,867). 2015 also marked the third year in a row where the attendance topped the previous year.  Continue reading

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Birmingham’s misfortune (and how we’re overcoming it)

Rickwood Field--the oldest baseball park in America

Rickwood Field–the oldest baseball park in America

Each year from 2002 to 2008 approximately 100 business and political leaders from Birmingham traveled to cities across the U.S.

The Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce BIG trips were designed to discover ideas that were successful in other cities that could be implemented here in Birmingham.

Much was learned, but every year we came home and lamented Birmingham’s stroke of misfortune.

Continue reading

Posted in Corporate community, David Sher posts, What's great about Birmingham | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Why raising the minimum wage won’t work for Birmingham

Two fireworks superstores on I-20 in Alabama near Georgia line; one on each side of Interstate

Fireworks superstores on I-20 in Alabama near Georgia line on each side of Interstate

Before you folks who favor raising the Birmingham minimum wage start beating me up…please listen to what I have to say.

This piece is not about whether raising the minimum wage is a good idea or not.  I’ve read arguments for and against and I’m not taking sides.

This is about raising the minimum wage specifically for the City of Birmingham. Continue reading

Posted in Corporate community, David Sher posts, Government structure | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Children’s of Alabama: the 10th busiest pediatric center in America

Mike Warren

Michael Warren, CEO of Children’s of Alabama

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

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

After having been at Children’s of Alabama for over eight years, I want to share some thoughts.

Over 100 years ago a small group of dedicated volunteers recognized a great community need and began what would become Children’s of Alabama.

I think our organization today would make them extremely proud as we have grown to be a tremendous asset for the health of children throughout Alabama and the surrounding area.  Continue reading

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Why is Mountain Brook so polarizing?

Mercutio Southall Jr., being escorted out of Donald Trump rally in Birmingham

Mercutio Southall Jr. being escorted out of Donald Trump rally in Birmingham

Last week Blake Scott Ball, a doctoral student in history at UA, wrote a scathing piece attacking Mountain Brook for al.com titled A brief history of Mountain Brook picking on Birmingham.

He talked about Mountain Brook’s history of ‘establishing segregation laws‘ and ‘moving children out of Birmingham school systems.’

Then there was the national news story in November when Mercutio Southall Jr. was attacked at the Donald Trump rally at the BJCC and complained,“Birmingham is 75 percent black, so why did he (Trump) choose to come here?  He could have gone to Mountain Brook…”

Why is Mountain Brook such a lightning rod?
Continue reading

Posted in Alabama Constitution, David Sher posts, Government structure | Tagged | 8 Comments