Category Archives: Alabama Constitution

Birmingham’s rough and tumble world of political intrigue

Maury Shevin
Maury Shevin

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

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

For the last nine months, I have been meeting with opinion leaders and opinion makers both within and without the City of Birmingham to find out what a run for the Birmingham City Council would take. Continue reading Birmingham’s rough and tumble world of political intrigue

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 When white people tell black people what to do

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 Why is Mountain Brook so polarizing?

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 Birmingham punished for being in Alabama

The University of Alabama does not exist

The University of Alabama Board of Trustees Seal
University of Alabama Board of Trustees Seal

A good friend came rushing up to me as I entered the Harbert Center for a meeting.  He said, “I just found out something I bet you don’t know— “The University of Alabama doesn’t exist.”

Now I’ve heard some farfetched things in my life, but few topped this one.

But before all you anti University of Alabama folks from UAB and UAH get too excited, he explained that you don’t exist either.

Continue reading The University of Alabama does not exist

Is free UAB movement doomed?

Free UABI think most people will agree that UAB and UAH are not fairly represented on the University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

Twelve of 15 trustees graduated from the University of Alabama, two graduated from UAB and none from UAH–one is a graduate of both UA and UAB, where he attended medical school.

Can we implement an equitable solution?  Maybe not–there’s a potential roadblock.

Continue reading Is free UAB movement doomed?

There’s no stopping Birmingham

Maury Shevin
Maury Shevin

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

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

I recently attended a meeting of real estate professionals from the Birmingham area.

Dick Schmalz, President RGS Properties, spoke about his 20 Midtown development.  20 Midtown is the new Publix, Starbucks, retail and apartment buildings that are being developed between 3rd and 4th Avenues South on both sides of 20th Street.  These are not pie-in-the-sky projects.  They are real with building permits and bank financing. Dick said these three projects will cost more than $100 million.

Continue reading There’s no stopping Birmingham

Birmingham at mercy of outside interests

Sharecroppers
Sharecroppers

A sharecropper is someone who raises crops for the owner of a piece of land and is paid a portion of the money from the sale of the crops.

We in Birmingham have always been controlled by outside landlords.

Birmingham is the city of iron and steel and historically U.S. Steel controlled every aspect of our lives-politics, business, and people.  U.S. Steel is headquartered in Pittsburgh and was for much of Birmingham’s history our largest employer.  Birmingham’s labor was first to be laid off and last to be rehired.  All decisions favored Pittsburgh over Birmingham, and of course, all profits were sent up north.

Fortunately, U.S. Steel is no longer our largest employer, but unfortunately we are still being impacted. February 5th, U.S. Steel announced it could lay off up to 1,840 workers here.

But even though we are not now totally dependent on U.S. Steel, we are still controlled by outsiders. Continue reading Birmingham at mercy of outside interests

What Birmingham can learn from Ferguson Missouri

St. Louis
St. Louis

In September of 2002 Dave Adkisson, the then President of our Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce (now BBA), and I got up for an early morning jog.  We were two of approximately one hundred Birmingham political and community leaders who had traveled to St. Louis to learn about the city and the Edward Jones Dome—home of the St. Louis Rams.

It was really dark and foggy that morning and we got lost.  When we asked some local joggers for directions, they were curious  as to why we were in St. Louis.

When we told them we came to learn about their city, they responded with an incredulous, “You want to learn about St. Louis?” Continue reading What Birmingham can learn from Ferguson Missouri

Can Birmingham get over its low self-esteem?

David Sher

One hundred years from now, when historians write the history of Birmingham, 2013 will be the year they say changed everything.

Birmingham’s been called the “City of Perpetual Promise.”  We’ve been described as the “Magic City” at our zenith and as the “Most segregated city in America” at our low point.

We’ve always been a great place to live, but not a great city.  2013 will be the year Birmingham begins its long-hard journey to become that great city. Continue reading Can Birmingham get over its low self-esteem?