Banned from Mountain Brook Facebook group

Old Mill, Mountain Brook
Old Mill, Mountain Brook

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

Click here to sign up for our newsletter.(Opt out at any time)

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. dsher@amsher.com

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19 thoughts on “Banned from Mountain Brook Facebook group”

  1. In other words, David…How dare you allow posts that criticize “The Tiny Kingdom.”

    Do not mess with Mt. Brook, it does not appreciate commoners’ opinions of its sovereignty…especially if one does not live there.

  2. The admins have a serious issue following their own rules. One in particular bullied me and threatened me for refusing to release someone’s name who was grotesquely bullied by several, including her, on the page. The reason I was kicked off, because I refused to tolerate any anti-Semitic “jokes”. Her response to me, “but Im part Jewish!” I took the being kicked out with pride. Not a group I want to have association. Also have had several friends kicked off if they even mentioned any respite for Trump. Because apparently it was a “no politics” rule? However there was lots of pro Trump touting before I was banished.

    1. I know the current admins very well and you are completely wrong in your accusations! You need to stop spreading lies about these women that spend countless hours trying to moderate a very large and somewhat rowdy group at times. I’m also aware that you’re a member of another MBU, a FB group that is incredibly intolerant, horribly mean spirited and hateful, and has an admin that blocks every single person that she disagrees with.

  3. I’ve read a few of your articles. While I understand your intent to unify and/or create a better Bham – I’ve always left with the impression that you have it out for MB. I’d love for you to focus more on the massive mis-management and hundreds of millions in debt the BIrmingham Water Works Board has – talk about something that will negatively impact our city, ability to keep population and damage our infrastructure. Or how about focus on some good stuff like Crestline Elementary years long partnership with Brookville? Or Bham’s very own angel Don Lupo helping the most in need in our city?

  4. Mountain Brook residents are being banned without warning from this site, as well as MB Today and Spartan Forum even though the rules are being followed. It’s a problem, and the administrators and moderators need to step forward and explain.

  5. Your experience is similar to mine; I was banned without warning as well. Around the time of the election, some neighbors’ vans were vandalized with anti-Trump slogans, written in childish handwriting using Spartan green paint. I suggested this indicated the likelihood that local teens had done it. I was banned and blocked within hours, and the administrators ignored my inquiries. Seems petty and imperious.

  6. “B”, care to champion the noble and selfless moderators/admins when they shut out MB residents without cause, reason, or discussion? And what does it matter to what other FB groups one belong to?

    1. It speaks volumes that the Admin and Moderators are being radio silent. After seeing the reasons why residents are being removed, it is obvious why you were blocked, David and others. How embarrassing for these individuals and for our community.

  7. I am a MB resident and was blocked in March. All I had posted were articles published by Johns Hopkins, urging people to wear masks and physically distance. I suspect that my foreign-sounding name did not help. God bless!

  8. Way to undersell that they banned you for a mask-wearing article, that says a lot about the group. It does seem like it affected you to post a whole article on it. That is giving them a lot of power and publicity. Keep pushing for positive change, you are appreciated! 2021 w00t!

  9. The contention that government had the right to punish people for speech it didn’t like got settled during President John Adams’ administration when the Supreme Court said the Alien and Sedition Laws were unconstitutional and government could not punish anyone for making comments derogatory to it or that they otherwise just didn’t like. That is, unless you are a student on a government college campus in 2020 and say something that the school administration does not like.

    Social media is relatively new and the issue is unsettled about the “right” for a private business to prohibit speech it doesn’t like on its site. Most social media sites don’t like comments from Libertarians, so I boycott most of them.

  10. Social media, more digital than humane.

    I really have not liked things done by college dropouts like Zuckerman and Gates. By my standards, they are under educated. So this is what happens.

    I agree with Durham Ellis, and you do have the right to leave it or as he said ‘boycott.’

    Keep up your good efforts though David. Your positive outlook is what is much needed.

  11. NOT ONE CITY wants to JOIN Birmingham IN A SHARED COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAM…why?
    Birmingham Debit 60,000,000 million dollars
    Birmingham Transit Services -no thanks
    City Services Police, Fire, Sanitation, Road repair – NO thanks we have that already.
    Dealing with B ‘ham political groups, City Council No Thanks

    It’s not only Mtn. Brook that wants to maintain their independent, separate community standards and services, No suburban city wants or needs these services or debt or politics space in their backyards.

    Mayor Hartselle of Atlanta, in addressing a Birmingham civic organization forty + years ago stated:|” Birmingham will never grow without shared community services”.

    Comeback Town stays on the shared services Band Wagon with B’ ham regularly. SORRY, the bus left about 40 years ago.
    She’s not coming back.

    Maybe forty years ago it might have worked

    1. “Comeback Town stays on the shared services Band Wagon with B’ ham regularly…”

      In spite of the doom and gloom, David Sher tries, against evidence from downtown Birmingham operations, that there are good-hearted people, with community-based values in the Jefferson/Shelby County galaxy, that better times can be had. Yes, it is like butting one’s head against a brick wall.

      But David has opened a dialogue to TRY. What have YOU done, William?

      But as long as incorporated satellite cities prefer to hang onto their inclusive little enclosures – Mt. Brook is not the only one – nothing will ever change.

      1. GLAD TO SEE YOU AGREE WITH ME. !!!

        And to the question ” what did I do to help”? I left and moved to a mountain top to avoid these time wasting efforts.

    2. William, I certainly can understand how you feel. But please ask yourself why Birmingham is like it is today. Jefferson County has had zero population growth in 50 years and our metro area which includes Shelby County has grown very little. Much of the wealth and leadership fled Birmingham leaving Birmingham with citizens with the least amount of resources. And Birmingham has the responsibility to pay for many of the amenities of our region–Regions Field, Railroad Park, the new Protective Stadium, etc. No other city in the region pays for any of these amenities. Hence all our peer cities have passed us by. BTW, I’m not promoting one great city. That won’t happen in my lifetime. But it certainly would be good if we worked together. Please continue to comment. I certainly don’t have all the answers.

    3. This city will not grow and move forward like other forward thinking cities without shared services. Those of us who understand how progress needs to happen are being held back by old fashioned ideas that obviously are not working. Thank you David for opening our eyes.

      1. That’s the whole point. “This city” (Mt. Brook), does not want to grow or move forward. They want it secluded, exclusionary, and private, just like Robert Sorsby Jemison, Jr., a former clerk in a hardware store , designed it in the late 1920s. To his credit however, Jemison was a visionary, talented developer, and early investor in the UAB, medical Center.

  12. I fail to understand why your column would be blocked without any explanation, let alone a response from the administrators. Polite criticism, observations, etc. shouldn’t be a cause to remove Comeback Town from the group. If we do not take a hard look at the problems that cause our greater metropolitan area to remain stagnant, nothing will ever change. Keep Comeback Town coming. I applaud you for your hard work that comes from a place of caring about the city in which you live.

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