General Krulak for Superintendent of Birmingham Schools

General Charles Krulak

General Charles Krulak, President Birmingham Southern College

Last week’s ComebackTown blog was titled, “Our next Superintendent’s not going to save Birmingham Schools.”

The point of the piece was that there’s no person dead or alive who can save our school system—not Moses, not President Abraham Lincoln–not even Coach Nick Saban.

The piece received many comments—both online and in person—but a response I never expected was that we needed a ‘Krulak-like’ solution. Continue reading

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Our next Superintendent’s not going to save Birmingham Schools

Craig Witherspoon

Craig Witherspoon, outgoing Superintendent Birmingham City Schools

Every editorial I read about hiring a new superintendent for Birmingham City Schools says it’s critical we recruit the right candidate.  The future of Birmingham Schools and possibly the City of Birmingham may be at stake.

Unfortunately, our next superintendent has virtually no chance of being successful.

Every time we employ a new superintendent we think he/she’s the one. Continue reading

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Should our self-worth hinge on Alabama football?

Alabama upset by Ole Miss

Alabama upset by Ole Miss

I love Alabama football.

I attended the University in the early ‘60’s when Bear Bryant was winning football games just as Nick Saban is today.  By the way–even the Bear lost a game or two every once in a while.

My claim to fame is that while eating at the Little Cookie, a burger joint in Tuscaloosa, Joe Namath asked me to pass the salt.

And I take great pride in our University’s growth. Continue reading

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Our Birmingham spy in New York

Deborah Layman

Deborah Layman

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

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

I was an urban kid – born and raised in New York City.  And although I’ve lived in the country near Montevallo for almost 25 years, the grid and grit of a city still make my heart beat faster.  I love the feel of pavement under my feet and the sensation of being flanked by tall buildings with graceful design elements that only the pigeons can see up close. Continue reading

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Charles Barkley & Bo Jackson make empty promises

Bo Jackson

Bo Jackson

This is Birmingham’s time.

We are on a roll.

Our momentum is accelerating and it’s time for our hometown heroes to put their money with their mouth is.

Bo Jackson was quoted recently by the BBJ in an article titled, Would Bo invest in Birmingham?

“I have always thought about coming home to do something greater, but the timing just hasn’t been right. I have looked at doing things within the city at different times in the past and things just didn’t pan out. It could have been anything, like bringing restaurants and supermarkets to the downtown area. I am all about doing what I can to help people. I’m a firm believer that in order to be successful, you have to employ people. My main goal to come back home was to help employ some of the unemployed.”

Continue reading

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Birmingham–the city too confused to hate

Mi Pueblo

Mi Pueblo

There’s no way my wife and I could have been prepared for our first visit to Mi Pueblo—the new 44,186-square-foot multicultural supermarket that recently opened on Green Springs Highway.

The store is bright, clean, and stacked high with fresh meats and poultry, fresh seafood and fish with products from all over the world.  My guess is that Mi Pueblo does more business in a day than the Food World it replaced did in a week. Continue reading

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Time to write a new story for Birmingham

Duanna Pang-Dokland

Duanna Pang-Dokland

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

Today’s guest blogger is Duanna Pang-Dokland.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

Have you seen the billboard or heard the saying, “Will the last person leaving Seattle turn out the lights?” According to Luis Ubinas, former president of the Ford Foundation, 40 years ago cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston and Seattle were broke, had drastic unemployment and residents were leaving. They were considered dying cities. Since then, these cities have rewritten their stories and rebounded.  They are comeback towns.

But before our minds fly to the idea that Birmingham is different from these cities, or that changes that occurred in those cities cannot be replicated here, I invite us to stay open to the whisper of possibility and to live each day in Birmingham beyond business as usual.
Continue reading

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Is Birmingham destined to become a suburb of Atlanta?

The Southeast in 2060

The Southeast in 2060

Folks in Birmingham squabble a lot, but there’s one thing we agree on —none of us want Birmingham to become another Atlanta.

Because the growth of metropolitan Birmingham has been so slow, I haven’t spent much time worrying about Birmingham getting too big.  In fact, I’ve been much more concerned about Birmingham staying the size of Birmingham.

Then I read that researchers from North Carolina State project that the South’s explosive growth rate for the past 60 years will continue and metropolitan Birmingham could be part of an “urban megalopolis” by 2060. Continue reading

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4 Reasons Birmingham may be the Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden

My daughter, Melanie, and I finished lunch at Niki’s West and drove onto I-65 from Finley Avenue towards downtown.

Suddenly the car ahead started swerving side to side.  Then it veered to the left, hit the concrete barricade, and reversed direction hitting us head on.  By the time we made impact both cars were moving slowly and fortunately no one was hurt.

But what happened next was truly remarkable. Continue reading

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What Birmingham can learn from Ferguson Missouri

St. Louis

St. Louis

In September of 2002 Dave Adkisson, the then President of our Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce (now BBA), and I got up for an early morning jog.  We were two of approximately one hundred Birmingham political and community leaders who had traveled to St. Louis to learn about the city and the Edward Jones Dome—home of the St. Louis Rams.

It was really dark and foggy that morning and we got lost.  When we asked some local joggers for directions, they were curious  as to why we were in St. Louis.

When we told them we came to learn about their city, they responded with an incredulous, “You want to learn about St. Louis?” Continue reading

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