Mike Slive: Why the SEC and I call Birmingham our home

Mike Slive, Commissioner SEC

Mike Slive, Commissioner SEC

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

Today’s guest blogger is SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

When I became commissioner of the Southeastern Conference in 2002, I knew little about Birmingham and its surrounding communities.  I was drawn to the position by the prestige of the conference, the commitment of the league’s institutions and the passion of its fans.   I was aware of its proud history, impressed by its success and intrigued by its future.

But for the city I was going to call home, my knowledge was limited.  That soon changed. Continue reading

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This number will scare the bejeebies out of you

Birmingham job growthDo you have bejeebies?

If you do, your bejeebies will be obliterated when you see the one  depressing statistic that best describes the economic health of metropolitan Birmingham.

Please note we’re not talking about just the City of Birmingham or Jefferson County.  We’re talking about the Birmingham Hoover Metropolitan area—defined by our seven counties: Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby, and Walker.

So the folks in our suburbs are impacted by this number just as much as our local residents.

What is that statistic?

Continue reading

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Birmingham’s real image

Jake McKenzie

Jake McKenzie – CEO Intermark Group

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

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

A little over a decade ago, the head of Nissan North America, Carlos Ghosn, made an announcement that shocked nearly everyone – Nissan was moving their headquarters from southern California to Nashville, Tennessee. When publicly questioned why, he cited savings in operational costs and large tax incentives.

But in private discussions, Ghosn began his answer rather differently. He shared how Nashville is simply Continue reading

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Strong as Steel–a great new song for Birmingham

Chris Wood

Chris Wood, Musician & lover of all things Birmingham

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

Today’s guest blogger/singer is Chris Wood.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

Editor’s note: Never expected to hear a song about Birmingham’s civil rights struggle written and performed by a young white male from Helena.  View & listen to Chris’ new song (below)–it will make you stomp your feet and be proud…

People often have conversations about what they love regarding different cities that they live in or have visited. “Oh, you’ve got to visit Chicago, the architecture is amazing!”… “Man, there’s so much history in Boston!”… “Seattle is just such a cool, hip place.”… You know, sometimes it’s hard to remember that the city we get to live in and be a part of is pretty awesome too. Continue reading

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Is Steven Hoyt evil?

Councilor Steven Hoyt

Councilor Steven Hoyt

When you read some of the remarks by (I assume) white commenters on al.com, you almost have to come to the conclusion that Steven Hoyt is the devil—some kind of black racist.  Councilor Hoyt is the City Council representative from Birmingham’s District 8.

Councilor Hoyt regularly seems to be in the headlines standing up for African-American inclusion when there are economic opportunities for individuals or businesses created by the City of Birmingham.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Continue reading

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Our good friends in Homewood should fund Railroad Park

Railroad Park

Railroad Park

The big controversy currently is whether the City of Birmingham should fund maintenance for Railroad Park.

I love Railroad Park as do many of you.  Almost everyone agrees it has been the catalyst for just about everything good that has happened to Birmingham since it opened.

First there was Railroad Park, then Regions Field, the Rotary Trail, and a then an unending list of announced projects.  When the modern history of Birmingham is written, it will be clear that Railroad Park changed everything. Continue reading

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Birmingham: Next David to slay Goliath

David Sher

David Sher

When I picked up Malcom Gladwell’s most recent book, I never expected to be reading about Birmingham.

David and Goliath—underdogs, misfits, and the art of battling giants features Birmingham as one of its primary stories.

I enjoy reading Birmingham history, but I chose David  and Goliath only because I liked some of Gladwell’s other books–The tipping point, Outliers, and Blink.

As we’ve come to expect, however, when outsiders talk about the history of Birmingham, they almost always focus on Bull Conner, fire hoses, and dogs.

Gladwell’s description of Birmingham and Bull Conner is no different…

“People told jokes about Birmingham…’A black man  in Chicago wakes up one morning and tells his wife that Jesus had come to him in a dream and told him to go to Birmingham.  She is horrified: Did Jesus say He’d go with you?  The husband replies: ‘He said he would go as far as Memphis.’

Continue reading

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Gene Hallman: 5 myths about a Birmingham dome

Gene Hallman

Gene Hallman, President and CEO of Bruno Event Team

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

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

They said no one would go to Railroad Park.

They said no one would go watch the Barons play baseball downtown.

They said downtown was dead.

Guess what?  They were wrong.

Now it’s time to talk about our biggest and most rewarding project.

The dome to some people is a foul four-letter word.  Arguably, the dome, or the multi-purpose facility, is the most hotly and widely debated project in the history of Birmingham.  More than 18 years in the making, the quest for the dome has become a very emotional issue.  Allow me to discuss some of the misconceptions surrounding this project. Continue reading

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Graffiti covers up Birmingham

Teresa Thorne

Teresa Thorne Executive Director of City Action Partnership (CAP)

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

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

2,675 pieces of graffiti were splattered all over downtown Birmingham last year–but you didn’t see any of them. That’s because our CAP officers removed them almost instantaneously.

Can you imagine what downtown Birmingham would look like if we hadn’t been removing graffiti from walls, signs, and power boxes for the past 19 years?

I’ve spent most of my adult life in Birmingham, and I feel we rarely take the time to celebrate our successes. Continue reading

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It must SUCK to be a Birmingham hater

Rotary Trail

Rotary Trail

It must be depressing to be a Birmingham hater.

You guys can’t seem to get a break.

You can bitch and moan about Birmingham all you want, but the tide has turned against you.

It looks like “doodoo Birmingham,” one of our regular al.com anti-Birmingham commenters is in doodoo–himself.

We have been overrun with so much good news about Birmingham, it’s difficult to keep track.

Even our crime numbers are in free fall.

Birmingham’s 2013 crime numbers lowest in 30 years

Yes, this is the “lowest (serious crime) number reported since the FBI started tracking the numbers in its Uniform Crime Reporting data almost 30 years ago.”

Birmingham haters click on the headlines below and weep:  Continue reading

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