Tag Archives: Birmingham

Does anyone give a damn about Vulcan?

Even Vulcan is embarrassed--drawing by Adam Stermer
Vulcan has a serious problem–drawing by Adam Stermer

Vulcan has a problem–a serious problem!

I find this distressing since I have a soft spot in my heart for this not so lovable Roman God.

I can’t imagine a Birmingham without Vulcan…and no other city in the U.S. or abroad has anything like him.

This 50-ton cast iron statue (the largest in the world) was a meaningful part of my childhood.

When I was a boy, I remember the slow/squeaky elevator ride up to the viewing platform where I was rewarded with a stunning view of Birmingham. Continue reading Does anyone give a damn about Vulcan?

How Birmingham can become a major player on the world stage

Brad Toland
Brad Toland

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

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

It’s no secret that Birmingham has radically undergone a change of identity over the last several years.  New developments are happening so quickly that it can be hard to keep up with them all.

However, just like the fifteen year old that decides to attempt personal reinvention over the summer, sometimes the changes aren’t necessarily for the best in the long run, and need to be carefully considered with a focus on long term impacts. Continue reading How Birmingham can become a major player on the world stage

National publication embarrasses Birmingham

Railroad Park--One of many recent Birmingham successes
Railroad Park–One of many recent Birmingham successes

I love to read positive national stories about Birmingham…and there have been a lot of them lately.

So I couldn’t wait to read the article in City Lab titled, “How Birmingham thrived despite a county bankruptcy in Alabama’s largest city–a story of economic confidence in an unlikely place.

“A story of economic confidence in an unlikely place.”

Yes, the piece bragged about Birmingham.  It described how we’ve thrived since the Jefferson County’s bankruptcy.

But then the author hit us in the face with a pie… Continue reading National publication embarrasses Birmingham

A white mayor for Birmingham?

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Last year who would have predicted that Donald Trump might win the Republican Primary?

Last year who would have thought that Bernie Sanders would still be giving Hillary Clinton heartburn?

People have become so unhappy with the status quo that they are willing to vote for outsiders and non-traditional candidates.

It’s become totally impossible to predict elections and that may be true for Birmingham also.

Continue reading A white mayor for Birmingham?

Why a divided Birmingham can’t survive

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.

There are two Birminghams.

At least two.

The historical reason for our two Birminghams is known to most of us.  Our history of racial segregation and economic colonialism is pretty widely known.  The result of Birmingham operating under those conditions for nearly all of its first 100 years, has left people of good intentions trying to overcome a terrible legacy–a legacy of unprincipled abuse leads to a world of fear and doubt and mistrust.

How can any white man, in a suit, be trusted? Continue reading Why a divided Birmingham can’t survive

How we in Jefferson County got screwed

Jefferson CountyWhat’s wrong with Jefferson County?

We  suffered through a very public bankruptcy and then had a parade of County Commissioners convicted of crimes–with many serving jail time.

We’re now paying the price with punishing sewer rates that are projected to increase for the next 40 years.

How did we get ourselves into this mess?

Are Jefferson County politicians more corrupt than others? Continue reading How we in Jefferson County got screwed

You won’t believe my experience riding a Birmingham bus!

Malcolm Carmichael 1ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

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

A few months ago I discussed with some friends (all of us well over 65) how we might get around Birmingham if/when we could no longer drive.

“We’d take the bus,” one replied and we all laughed. None of us had ridden a public bus since the 1960’s.  We also didn’t seem to know anyone who rode the bus.

The members of my transportation discussion group all live in Mountain Brook or Vestavia.  “Let’s take some field trips,” I said. “Let’s catch the bus in our neighborhoods and go downtown for lunch.”

They looked at me as if I’d suggested we all get root canals. Continue reading You won’t believe my experience riding a Birmingham bus!

Birmingham is surprisingly awesome

Rotary Trail--Birmingham is surprisingly awesome
Rotary Trail–Birmingham is surprisingly awesome (Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Birmingham)

Surprisingly Awesome is my favorite podcast.  Each episode explores topics that would put most people to sleep, but the show makes boring topics interesting and fun.

Subjects like pigeons, mold, or concrete become fascinating.

Birmingham, Alabama would be the perfect topic for the show.

Birmingham may sound boring—but Birmingham is Surprisingly Awesome. Continue reading Birmingham is surprisingly awesome

We moved from the suburbs to Avondale and love it

Claire Parker
Claire Parker

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

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

It was the energy.

The energy we felt when we drove in to the city for dinner, music, theater, walking or picnics.  That energy drew us in frequently, and ultimately we moved in to Avondale from the suburbs over a year ago.

It’s been everything we were looking for and much more. Continue reading We moved from the suburbs to Avondale and love it

When white people tell black people what to do

Race is the big elephant in Birmingham's room
Race is the big elephant in Birmingham’s room (Photo courtesy of Birmingham Zoo)

If you want to measure the financial vitality of a region–look at job growth.

Our Birmingham seven county metropolitan areahas fewer people employed today than in 2007.

That’s nearly a decade with a net loss of jobs.

Nashville, Charlotte, and Austin have had double digit increases.

According to the Birmingham Business Journal, (Metropolitan) “Birmingham is down about 19,100 jobs from its pre-recession peak.”

Much of the blame belongs to our racial divide–provoked by our fragmented government structure.

Angry blacks rail against white government Continue reading When white people tell black people what to do