ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham
Today’s guest blogger was written by a commenter who calls him/herself ‘bhamthoughts’.
(ComebackTown generally does not publish anonymous blogs–but it’s difficult to find people willing to include their name when the content may be perceived as negative.)
If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.
I am not from here.
I wasn’t born or raised here, I didn’t go to a school that starts with an “A,” and you wouldn’t know my parents if they were standing right in front of you.
I am one of those rare people who have moved TO this city from somewhere else. Now that I have been here a while, it’s no wonder our city isn’t growing and competing with the Nashvilles and Charlottes of the world.
Everything I mention below comes from a good place, these are just the realities of our community that we need to overcome if we ever want to grow like the rest of the country.
First, and most importantly, there are very few offerings that really attract people to our city (besides UAB and cost of living).
Over the past few years more large companies have moved out than moved in, and those jobs disappeared to other states. The remaining quality jobs are hard to come by, even harder for someone who was not born in a 352– zip code.
Don’t underestimate how important that fact is; as people graduate and/or look to move, job opportunity is a huge part of the decision and will only be worse if we have a strong reputation for only hiring from local schools. Forty nine other states also have institutions of higher learning, many rated well ahead of the beloved Tigers and Elephants.
While there is great momentum with Regions Field, the microbrew movement, and the food scene downtown, is that really enough to convince a new Fortune 500 company to relocate downtown?
Second, our headlines, and therefore national reputation, are embarrassing at best (see recent Uber handling). Our city government seems to march to their own drum, while taking one heck of a pay raise, and the surrounding municipalities can’t seem to get on the same page.
We are far from a united chorus for our part of the country, but more like little kids who fight over toys. We won’t even talk about the bankruptcy debacle, but we all know it is still there.
Third, this city’s history is rooted in a past that emphasizes cultural differences and we seem happy to continue that pattern. If we are honest with ourselves, not much has changed. While race is still a hot button issue, we have chosen to add more things to the pot. Auburn or Alabama, Mtn. Brook or Cahaba Heights, IronTribe or LifeTime, Democrat or Republican, the list goes on.
The point is that while there are multiple ways we choose to highlight our differences, there is nothing here serving as a uniting force. What are we all proud of, what can all Birminghamians hang their hats on?
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. We refuse to change, or open our arms to the outside workforce, yet wonder why we are getting passed by.
It’s time to pull our heads out of the sand and realize we are part of a bigger pie; let’s step out of our own “Little Kingdom.”
My hope is that someone, anyone, will try to make Birmingham a more user friendly place and help stop spinning our tires.
Otherwise no one is moving here and others will leave.
Let’s move this thing forward for the better, for the future, for our survival.
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 co-CEO of AmSher Compassionate Collections. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).