Who’s the mayor of our region?

Mayor Petelos & Mayor Bell at launch of BBA Blueprint Birmingham

 

We know it’s not the mayor of Birmingham.

The City of Birmingham represents only 19% of the population of the metro area.

And Mayor Bell, who I strongly believe understands the importance of regionalism, has said on numerous occasions, “I was not elected mayor of the region.”

Continue reading Who’s the mayor of our region?

Four unsettling comments

The Birmingham News convened a panel of community leaders to discuss the future of Birmingham

 

The Birmingham News convened a panel of community leaders in April of 2011 to discuss the future of Birmingham.  Included were corporate CEO’s, non-profit professionals, and top political leaders.

Each panelist made his/her remarks and then questions or comments were solicited from the audience. Continue reading Four unsettling comments

Birmingham rated one of the poorest sports cities in U.S.

Legion Field has lost its magic

 

It seems like a distant memory, but in the 70’s and 80’s, Birmingham leaders were plotting to recruit an NFL football franchise to Birmingham.  I don’t know how close we came, but we obviously felt there was a possibility.

Of course, we weren’t successful while other Southern Cities like Jacksonville, New Orleans, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Nashville recruited teams. Continue reading Birmingham rated one of the poorest sports cities in U.S.

In Alabama, a county that fell off the financial cliff

February 19, 2012

Everyone from Birmingham should read this this piece from the New York Times:  “In Alabama, a County that fell off the Financial Cliff.”

As the article states, government structure, as usual, created this mess. Continue reading In Alabama, a county that fell off the financial cliff

Nashville spits on Birmingham

Nashville has grown to be the fourth largest city in the Southeast

 

Up until a few years ago, our Chamber of Commerce (currently BBA), organized a trip of community leaders and politicians to visit other cities.  They were called the “BIG Trips,” and the purpose was to learn what works in other communities.

The Chamber over a seven year period visited St. Louis (2002), Baltimore (2003), Charlotte (2004), Nashville (2005), Pittsburgh (2006), Denver (2007, and Austin (2008).

We found these trips to be fascinating.  We heard about successes and we heard about failures, but it opened our eyes to the possibilities. Continue reading Nashville spits on Birmingham

Let’s move to the suburbs and attack the City of Birmingham

The City of Birmingham is under constant siege by our neighbors in the suburbs

 

Do you listen to talk radio or read comments on al.com?

It‘s a steady stream of condemnation of the City of Birmingham by the folks who live in the suburbs.

Think about it…

A large number of our most educated and financially able citizens abandon Birmingham and then blame our City for being stupid and broke. Continue reading Let’s move to the suburbs and attack the City of Birmingham

How can one document create so much havoc?

 

Alabama has the only constitution in the world that contains the words "pick up truck"

My good friend, Michael Calvert, likes to remind me the Alabama Constitution is the only one in the world that contains the words “pick up truck.”

And it has a lot more words—340,136 to be exact—12 times longer than the average state constitution, 40 times longer than the U.S. Constitution.

About 90 percent of the document’s length, as of 2011, comes from its 854 amendments. About 70 percent of the amendments cover only a single county or city, and some deal with salaries of specific officials.* Continue reading How can one document create so much havoc?

There’s no way in hell we’ll ever work together

Tornado strikes Birmingham, April, 2011, but governments still don't cooperate

 

Leadership Birmingham is a diverse group of Birmingham citizens who are selected each year to study Birmingham’s problems and opportunities and then go out and make a difference.

I was in the class of 1992 and when I graduated I asked the business leader who was delivering the commencement speech, “Why doesn’t Birmingham consider combining its city and county government?” Continue reading There’s no way in hell we’ll ever work together

Will the last big company left in Birmingham please turn out the lights

Regions Bank--Birmingham's last remaining Fortune 500 Company

 

With Vulcan Materials facing a hostile takeover bid from a North Carolina-based competitor, Birmingham is on the verge of losing another public company headquarters.  Even if Vulcan survives, the trend is ominous.

According to a Birmingham Business Journal article from December 16, 2011, titled “A troubling trend for Birmingham,” a little more than a decade ago, Birmingham was home to at least 30 publicly traded companies and now we’re down to 15. Continue reading Will the last big company left in Birmingham please turn out the lights

Government structure is killing us

3rd Ave N. looking east from 18th street; courtesy of the Birmingham Historical Society

 

After World War II, Birmingham and New Orleans were the top two leading cities in the South.  Now they’re at the bottom. New Orleans had Katrina.  What’s Birmingham’s excuse?

Birmingham’s centrally located in the South, is absolutely gorgeous, and has very smart, likeable people–as do other Southern cities.  Why have we performed so poorly?  Is there something in the water? Continue reading Government structure is killing us

To begin a conversation about a better Birmingham