Atlanta embarrassed–Birmingham soars

Birmingham snow storm

Birmingham Snow storm

“There was no coordination around school closings, because there are more than two-dozen city and county school systems in “__________.” There was little coordination between highway clearance and service to city streets because “_________” is comprised of dozens of municipalities connected by state and federal highway systems.”

Was this written about Birmingham?  Nope, this was written about “Atlanta.”  These comments appear in an article in Politico Magazine titled, “The day we lost Atlanta,”

I’m concerned that this storm revealed just how unprepared we are in case of real disaster. If Atlanta, the region, wants to get serious about public safety, its mayors, county officials, and state officials will need to start practicing regionalism instead of paying lip service to it. And whether threatened by a dangerous pandemic, a major catastrophe, or just two inches of snow…”

You have to admit–this is eerie.  These comments could just as easily been written about Birmingham.

However, though many of us in Birmingham had a miserable couple of days, we had a completely different emotional response than Atlanta.

Atlanta was hell bent on blaming someone.  Let’s attack the governor, the mayor, or the National Weather Service.  We’re angry and someone needs to pay.  This was the message Atlanta broadcast to the world.

In Birmingham two prominent TV weathermen, James Spann of ABC33/40 and J-P Dice of Fox6 apologized.  That calmed everyone down–and then we went about our lives.  Certainly there was frustration—but very little animosity.

Every one of my family members was rescued or brought home by strangers or Good Samaritans.

Our media, instead of pointing fingers, featured many acts of selflessness, kindness–even heroism.

Local doctor performs emergency brain surgery after walking 6 miles

Snowstorm Samaritans: A classy move for Teach for America

Chick-fil-A workers offer free food, shelter to stranded

How Tony Petelos braved ice slicked roads to rescue more than a dozen patients and senior citizens

Most every family in metro Birmingham has a story about a friend, neighbor, or stranger who helped them.  Many churches, businesses, public offices, and private homes took in strangers–offering shelter, warmth, and food.  Unselfish people in four wheelers drove up and down roads and highways picking up stranded motorists.

Like Atlanta, we are divided into countless municipalities, but we didn’t search for blame–we wanted to help our neighbors.

We still have “community” in Birmingham.  When we compare ourselves to Atlanta or any other city—we need to remember that.

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 the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising and co-CEO of AmSher Collection Agency.  He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham)), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

This entry was posted in David Sher posts, Government structure, What's great about Birmingham and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Atlanta embarrassed–Birmingham soars

  1. Jeremy Talton says:

    *Sounds like progress :)  I think most people’s complaints begin to diminish when they focus attention on others in need.

  2. David Dionne says:

    *Your comments on Birmingham during the recent snow events were spot on, Sir. I have in depth expereince with snow (pun intended) as I worked snow operations at our EOC in Anne Arundel County, Maryland for dozens of years. In my view, considering the circumstances, Birmingham’s reaction to the snow storms was perfect. First, our forecasters announced the National Weather Service predictions which are accurate 95% of the time. Conversely, that means the NWS predictions are wrong 5% of the time. The prediction of a light dusting was reasonable but the storm shifted in the last hours as they sometimes do and we got more than expected. The decisions to send kids to school and people to work were very reasonable that morning. The resulting traffic snarls and frustration are understandable but not the fault of JP or James. The reaction to our calamity was perfect. People helped each other. People reacted with grace and class. Sure a few fenders were bent but we pulled together and made every attempt to house, feed and care for those who were stranded and away from the comfort of home. All this in a region that has few plows, sand and/or salt trucks and little experience in the snow. Private citizens and government workers made extordinary efforts to rescue people and care for their needs. I was proud to live here and bragged to my firends up north about the character and hospitality of my new southern friends and neighbors. Under the circumstances Birmingham was perfect.

    One more comment on our weather forecasters if I may. I don’t want or expect James or JP and the others to be experts on snow events. I want them, no I need them, to be experts at tornados. They proved their value in April of 2011 when they first predicted and then helped us through one of the worst out beaks of deadly weather in the nations history. And for that I am deeply grateful.

    David Dionne, Executive Director

    Red Mountain Park

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