Our goal: Better government for our region.
Birmingham’s an amazing community in many ways.
It’s difficult to explain, but we have the largest and most successful civic clubs on earth.
Our Birmingham Kiwanis Club, our Birmingham Rotary Club and our Birmingham Rotaract Club are the largest in the world. You wouldn’t think that it could be mathematically possible.
Amazingly, the Civitan Club was founded in Birmingham.
So I was surprised when a long time community leader and civic club member (one of the big two) responded to one of my blogs by blasting what he called, “Rotarian types.”
“ We’ve got too many Rotarian types in this city, who think they are doing something worthwhile by showing up once a week for 272 Rotary meetings in a row to listen to some random speech—instead of actually doing something for the city.
Yeah, I know about their summer camp for tornado victims but where are the bold voices when it comes to issues that could literally transform our city—such as the Charter School bill that got torpedoed this year that could’ve actually brought the black and white middle class back to the city? Where were the strong voices when Richard Shelby offered to give us a billion dollars to build a regional mass transit system but allowed it to die because of the lack of the 20% local match?
We’re still waiting for Hugh McCall or Billy Payne to step forward and take costly, controversial stands and actually spend political capital to move the city boldly forward.”
It’s difficult for me to reply since I’m a Rotarian myself.
However, I contend it’s our segmented regional governments and lack of home rule that make it too much of a hassle for our corporate leadership to get involved. Look how hard the BBA worked to help Jefferson County avoid bankruptcy or to reinstate funding for Jefferson County.
Why can’t Jefferson County be allowed to manage its own affairs? Why do we have to deal with Montgomery?”
No corporate leader wants to take a beating for trying to do a good deed.
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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).