Category Archives: David Sher posts

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?

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 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

Birmingham embarrassed by another key national ranking

Crestline Village in Mountain Brook. One of many Jefferson County municipalities not in Birmingham
Crestline Village in Mountain Brook, one of many Jefferson County municipalities.

We in Birmingham should be growing weary.

Another national publication has punished Birmingham with a low ranking.

Our self-esteem drops and our reputation is damaged.

But this is ironic, because the ranking, like many others, is neither accurate nor fair.

Continue reading Birmingham embarrassed by another key national ranking

Something strange at Jefferson County Courthouse

Jefferson County Courthouse
Jefferson County Courthouse

Oh no!

I had to go to the Jefferson County Courthouse to transact some business.

Based on my previous experiences, I would rather have a ‘root canal.’

The last time I went to the courthouse there were people lined up around the block. The hallways were filled with angry folks with tempers flaring.

Some citizens were compelled to hire surrogates to stand in line so they wouldn’t have to miss a day of work to transfer a license tag. Continue reading Something strange at Jefferson County Courthouse

National publication embarrasses Birmingham

Railroad Park--One of many recent Birmingham successes
Railroad Park–One of many recent Birmingham successes

I love to read positive national stories about Birmingham…and there have been a lot of them lately.

So I couldn’t wait to read the article in City Lab titled, “How Birmingham thrived despite a county bankruptcy in Alabama’s largest city–a story of economic confidence in an unlikely place.

“A story of economic confidence in an unlikely place.”

Yes, the piece bragged about Birmingham.  It described how we’ve thrived since the Jefferson County’s bankruptcy.

But then the author hit us in the face with a pie… Continue reading National publication embarrasses Birmingham

A white mayor for Birmingham?

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Last year who would have predicted that Donald Trump might win the Republican Primary?

Last year who would have thought that Bernie Sanders would still be giving Hillary Clinton heartburn?

People have become so unhappy with the status quo that they are willing to vote for outsiders and non-traditional candidates.

It’s become totally impossible to predict elections and that may be true for Birmingham also.

Continue reading A white mayor for Birmingham?

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 How we in Jefferson County got screwed