I feel like a jerk when I write a negative piece about Birmingham.
It pains me to criticize the community I love so much.
And it’s particularly hurtful when I get an e-mail from a community leader and friend chastising me like this one…
I don’t want to gloss over our problems, but I also think an overly negative self-image does nothing to help fix those problems. In fact I think that a negative self-image can prevent us from solving problems, by giving everyone such a pessimistic attitude that we think it can’t be done.”
I feel even worse when I inadvertently cause the “Birmingham haters” to spew their negative comments.
But watch it, Birmingham haters—when I talk about Birmingham, I’m talking about our entire metro area, which includes Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby, and Walker.
My intent is to convince folks in our region that we need better government.
So when I feature poor economic statistics, please note that these numbers impact everyone in our region—not just Birmingham.
The 2011 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index ranks Birmingham 182nd out of the 200 largest U.S. metropolitan areas by how well cities create and sustain jobs for economic growth.
The Birmingham Business Journal says Birmingham ranks No. 34 among large Southern metros for small business vitality. (April 10, 2012). I didn’t know there were 34 large Southern metro areas.
The Birmingham Business Journal says Metro Birmingham ranks 91st in job growth of the 100 largest metros. (April 10, 2012)
And according to al.com, Birmingham ranks near the bottom of the nation’s 337 metros in construction jobs. (May 3, 2012)
Our region (not just Jefferson County) is a financial train wreck. It’s costing us jobs and hurting our standard of living.
Let’s improve our government and so I don’t have to feel like a jerk.
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David Sher is a partner in Buzz12 Relationship 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).