We’re a bunch of goof balls for allowing government like ours

(The Jefferson County Commission decided to close in patient services at Cooper Green Hospital .  This post is about the awful government structure that created this kind of problem in the first place)

The headlines of the Birmingham New on August 11, 2012 screamed “City sues over Cooper Green.”

But here’s what the headline really says..

City of Birmingham sues Jefferson County

We’re suing ourselves.

And to take it a step further, David Carrington, President of the Jefferson County Commission, is quoted, “This case cannot proceed in the state court because it is subject to the automatic stay that arose when the county filed its bankruptcy petition.”

Of course, the reason Jefferson County bankrupted was because the State Legislature would not allow Jefferson County to have the funding it needed.

So our City sues our County, but is stopped because the County doesn’t have any money because it doesn’t  have the authority to run itself.

You can’t make this stuff up.

When is the last time you heard about…

  • Jacksonville Florida suing Duvall County?
  • Nashville Tennessee suing Davidson County?
  • Louisville Kentucky suing Jefferson County?

You haven’t because they are one in the same.

And when is the last time you heard that one of these counties didn’t have the authority to run itself?

Never–because counties in Florida,Tennessee, and Kentucky are not controlled by their state legislatures.

Think about this…

  • We pay huge incentives to entice businesses to move from one city to another within our region
  • We go to Washington and Montgomery with competing agendas
  • And we sue each other

No wonder we’re not competitive.

We’re a bunch of goof balls for not fixing our government structure.

Let’s turn Birmingham around. Click here to sign up for our  newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

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).


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9 thoughts on “We’re a bunch of goof balls for allowing government like ours”

  1. David — you’re once again right on target.  It’s hard to imagine how a company looking to locate in Jefferson County or someone considering a move here for employment wouldn’t look at all of this and think, “Naw.”

  2. *There is utter disdain for competence in this city, and the incompetence is not limited by race, gender, or zipcode or place of employment. There is no plan, nor vision. A collection of ideas and activities is not a plan. A plan allocates resources people, time and money. Who will do it, how much time will it take to do it, and what will it cost to do it.

    I am struck by the similarities between Birmingham, Kandahar Afghanistan, both have high rates of illiteracy, both high rates of violence, both lack adequate public transit, both the appointed and elected officials are weak and often clueless, and lack vision………….

    1. Richard, Thanks for your comments. Our government structure is set up where there can be no unified vision or effort. 37 municipalities in Jefferson County and no home rule. The City of Birmingham represents 19% of the population of our metro and Jefferson County’s Commissioners are elected by district. There is no single individual who has the authority or population base to get anything done. Everyone is out for themselves–but that is the structure we created. Until we fix that we will have more of the same.

  3. *When the government is out of control, the people must act together.  Our establishment as a nation is founded on this principal (tea party revolt – not modern day TEA Party), Civil Rights Movement.  When government seemingly intentionally causes division because “I represent my people” it stinks from whatever direction it comes.

    Common folk must cross lines not crossed by our current structure and decide (together) what we expect from our government (before the next election), then DEMAND they follow through NOW.  Ohh!  That requires radicals on both sides to work together and AGREE!  People must examine decisions of government closely and no matter where you live (in the County) DEMAND truth and fairness.  My observation of the basis for the Birmingham suit is there have been lies and mis-information provided to the public that divides.  Information from the Commission.  RESPECTFULLY!

  4. You all took the words right out of my mouth.  Our company has helped small businesses in all the cities mentioned.  We found it so much easier to grow companies in that kind of an environment.  There are many more communities that have realized the stupidity of fighting with yourself.  I love my hometown, but good grief.  Just the cost of the redundancy of services is astronomical.  Home rule has been discussed all my life, and it is right where it was in 1944.   I don’t know how all the other cities reached the conclusion that it was better to work together than everyone fail separately.  We have enormous resources and very talented people to lead us out of this swamp.  Let’s start where we are and just take inventory of the good stuff.  Then we will  have a point of beginning for finding our way out of this quagmire of bankruptcy and fiefdoms.

  5. In my mind the problem stems from the numerous municipalities surrounding Birmingham.  We don’t all work together.  We need one government.  When I left Nashville in 1992, Mayor Boner was leaving office with very little accomplished.  Mayor Bredesin came in and got the cities to cooperate.  Until we do that, we will continue to play inch worm.

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