The What’s happening in Mountain Brook Facebook page is a powerhouse.
More than 23,000 members—when there are only about 20,000 men, women, and children who live in all of Mountain Brook.
I’ve been posting ComebackTown articles on this Mountain Brook Facebook page for more than eight years, developed a loyal following and—BOOM—I was suddenly banned from the site.
You may be reading this column on al.com, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, or on one of our many local Facebook community pages, but you are not reading it on the What’s happening in Mountain Brook Facebook page–unless one of its members share it.
The Facebook administrators totally blocked my access with no warning, no discussion, and with no right of appeal.
I tried to direct message the administrator, but received no response.
No rules for the group seem to have been broken * and there’s no requirement that a member live in Mountain Brook.
I was disappointed, but what’s really ironic is that the ban reinforces one of the primary concerns of ComebackTown that some people in our too many municipalities don’t want to participate in a community-wide conversation of a better Birmingham region.
And it certainly magnifies one of the most worrisome problems in America today–some people don’t want to be exposed to ideas that may differ from their own.
Let’s go back ten years
I was sitting at a table at the Harbert Center downtown at a civic club lunch meeting. All my dining companions were older, white, well-to-do Mountain Brook businessmen.
I was shaken by some of the comments they made about their children. All, except one, had adult children who had moved away. The one father that had school age children lamented that he looked forward to the day when his kids would graduate high school and leave Birmingham forever.
I was dumbfounded.
These fathers had everything they thought they wanted from living in a prosperous bedroom community, but they had lost their most important possession—their children and grandchildren.
Nice homes, gorgeous neighborhood, good schools, wonderful quality of life but children who saw no opportunity here.
I’ve been fortunate to visit many other cities and listen to political and business leaders discuss their regions’ many successes—cities such as Nashville, Charlotte, Austin—all are poaching Birmingham’s brightest and best.
These cities create good jobs while our Birmingham region languishes.
So in 2012 I began publishing ComebackTown, an on-line public forum, to discuss a better Birmingham region and state.
Banned from Mountain Brook
But in June, prior to Governor Ivey’s required face mask mandate, Frank McPhillips, an attorney and a Mountain Brook resident, noticed that many people in some of our over the mountain communities weren’t wearing face masks and that COVID was spreading at a higher rate in those areas.
He wrote a column for ComebackTown titled, “Hoover and Mountain Brook not immune from coronavirus.”
The day after it published on the What’s happening in Mountain Brook Facebook page, I was denied access.
It’s disappointing the administrators of the Mountain Brook Facebook page deny content to subscribers on topics that concern their community.
The primary objective of ComebackTown is to create a more collaborative and knowledgeable region. I strongly believe most people in Mountain Brook would like to be a part of that conversation.
I’m particularly excited about MB Listens , a nonpartisan, grassroots organization that is striving to ensure that everyone is accepted, welcomed, and treated equally in Mountain Brook.
ComebackTown is giving a voice to our community
ComebackTown’s readership continues to grow and e-mail newsletter subscriptions are at an all-time high–even without the Mountain Brook Facebook page. But Mountain Brook plays a leadership role in our region/state and its Facebook readers should have easy access to ideas and conversations about our past and future.
If you agree and are a member of the What’s happening in Mountain Brook Facebook page, would you consider contacting the administrator to share your feelings? I’m sure the administrator would agree if she understood the big picture. At least encourage her to contact me to discuss.
I have lived most of my life in Mountain Brook and am its biggest fan.
ComebackTown’s strongest audience is young folks 40 and under–who are ready for a more progressive Birmingham region.
There’s no need for censorship. If anyone doesn’t want to read ComebackTown, they don’t have to read it—but they should have the option.
*Rules for What’s happening in Mountain Brook Facebook Page
- No spamming the group
- Be kind and courteous
- No hate speech or bullying
- Respect everyone’s privacy
- No trolling
David Sher is Co-Founder 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).
Invite David to speak to your group for free about a better Birmingham. firstname.lastname@example.org