Council pay increase may be good for Birmingham

Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council

I’m confident this opinion piece will make many of you crazy.

But before you beat me up, please take a moment and read what I have to say.  If you still disagree, then feel free to respond.

Our Birmingham City Council increased its pay from $15,000 to $50,000 a year–plus expenses, effective 2017.

The public and media response has been ugly.

I’m not saying $50,000 is the right amount and I’m not comfortable with the way the legislation was passed, but it’s possible a pay increase is the right thing for Birmingham. Continue reading

Posted in David Sher posts, Government structure | Tagged | 21 Comments

Birmingham renaissance: Not so fast!

Maury Shevin

Maury Shevin

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Maury Shevin.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

ComebackTown has been an excellent forum to discuss issues surrounding “regional cooperation.”

I’ve published my joyous thoughts about Birmingham’s successes of recent years and our potential for even more with regional cooperation.  The Birmingham naysayers have been awfully quiet during this period.  And, I don’t want to stir them up, but… Continue reading

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Political process in Birmingham actually working

Tripp Watson

Tripp Watson; Photograph by Bob Farley

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Tripp Watson.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

I have an ominous suggestion for you: The political process in Birmingham might actually be working.

What if our elected officials are doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing?  What if they are looking out for the people that they represent and passing laws that best embody those interests? Continue reading

Posted in Government structure, Guest blogger | Tagged | 1 Comment

Atlanta more screwed up than Birmingham

Atlanta traffic

Atlanta traffic can sometimes be out of control

I have mixed emotions about Atlanta.

There’s no doubt I feel a certain amount of envy —probably because I grew up in the ‘50’s when Birmingham and Atlanta were about the same size. I have fond memories of my dad taking me to Rickwood Field to root for the Birmingham Barons when we played the evil Atlanta Crackers in Southern League baseball. Continue reading

Posted in David Sher posts, Government structure, Population, What's great about Birmingham | Tagged , | 21 Comments

2010—the year that changed Birmingham forever

Birmingham Southside pre 2010

Birmingham Southside lot pre 2010

There are two important dates in the history of Birmingham:  1871 when Birmingham was founded and 2010 when Birmingham found itself.

I’ve lived in Birmingham my entire life.  I’ve always hoped for a better Birmingham, but I never imagined the Birmingham that is being created today.

Five years ago, except for UAB, Birmingham was frozen in time.

It was generally accepted that we could do nothing right—so why try?
Continue reading

Posted in David Sher posts, What's great about Birmingham | Tagged | 4 Comments

Zombies spotted in Birmingham

Zombies from Walking Dead

Zombies from Walking Dead

I’m currently binge-watching The Walking Dead.”—the TV series about a small band of survivors struggling to live day to day in an apocalyptic world overrun by flesh-eating zombies.

The survivors are strong-willed, tenacious—and optimistic.  The zombies are vicious, unrelenting and intent on destroying all that is good. Continue reading

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Alabama: A great State unless you are black, gay, or Hispanic

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore

I recently wrote a piece, “Birmingham punished for being in Alabama,” where I pointed out that job growth in Birmingham and around the state has been relatively flat while other cities in the South are flourishing.

Our Birmingham-Hoover seven county metropolitan area has fewer people working now than we did at the beginning of the recession.

I regularly blame Birmingham’s lack of job growth on too many competing governments, but being located in Alabama is not a positive. Continue reading

Posted in David Sher posts, Population, Race relations | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Glenn Beck: Birmingham will restart America

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck, radio talk show host and conservative activist

On the evening of June 17, 2015, a mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.  Nine people were shot and killed.

You can’t help but wonder, ‘What if nine people had been executed in a church in Birmingham?’

Would there be rioting in the streets of Birmingham like there was in Ferguson–or would we come together as a community as they did in Charleston? Continue reading

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Birmingham punished for being in Alabama

Metropolitan Birmingham

Metropolitan Birmingham (Wikipedia)

One of the greatest obstacles to metropolitan Birmingham’s growth is too many competing governments, but that’s not the only deterrent.

Being located in Alabama is also an obstacle.

The Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) publishes a report that compares key economic figures of metropolitan Birmingham to eleven peer cities.

In my opinion, the most important of these key metrics is job growth.  And metropolitan Birmingham has no more jobs than they had before the recession. Continue reading

Posted in Alabama Constitution, David Sher posts, Government structure, UAB | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

UAB deserves better from Birmingham

UAB MascotWhen our Chamber of Commerce (BBA) visited Charlotte in 2004, we were greeted by the President of the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Charlotte’s a city on fire, but the first words out the President’s mouth were, “We don’t have anything like UAB.”

Can you believe a great city like Charlotte is jealous of us?

But it appears by recent events we may be taking UAB for granted.

It’s been a few weeks since UAB decided to retain its football program, so I thought it might be healthy to take a moment to reflect. Continue reading

Posted in David Sher posts, UAB | Tagged , , | 18 Comments