I’ve spent a great deal of time and effort trying to educate one of my best friends, who I will call Bob, about the problems created by our segmented and dysfunctional governments.
But Bob loves to complain about the City of Birmingham—even though he knows it makes my blood pressure explode.
Bob enjoys hiking and the outdoors. He’s a big supporter of parks especially Ruffner Mountain Nature Center.
For those of you who don’t know, Ruffner Mountain is a 1,000 acres nature preserve located in the eastern portions of Jefferson County, near Irondale.
Bob is irate because the City of Birmingham is conflicted about funding Ruffner.
I understand why Bob is upset, but I explained to him that the City of Birmingham can’t support every amenity in the region. After all, Birmingham only represents 19% of the population of our metro area.
But Bob said that Ruffner Mountain is located in the City of Birmingham and the City has an obligation to support it.
My response is, but you live in Mt. Brook, how much does Mt. Brook pay for you to go to Ruffner? How much does Homewood, Vestavia, or Trussville pay?
There are 37 municipalities in Jefferson County. Is Birmingham supposed to pay for everything?
The City of Birmingham helps support the McWane Center, the Museum of Art, Barber Motor Sports, Railroad Park, the Birmingham Zoo, the Civil Rights Institute, and Vulcan—to name a few.
All our citizens enjoy these amenities. Why don’t we ask all cities in our region to pay a proportionate amount?
Too many governments—no one responsible for our region.
David Sher’s goal is to create a conversation on how to fix our fragmented and dysfunctional local government.
David Sher is a partner in Buzz12 Marketing and co-CEO of AmSher Receivables Management. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (ONB), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).