If we don’t build it, they will come

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Attention Conservation Notice: This is about local politics in Birmingham, Alabama, but also about sustainability throughout North America.

Now that the new city council is seated, it’s high time to revisit The Dome, as we like to call it. Despite the strong case against expansion of the city’s convention complex, there is political momentum in favor of floating the bonds and summoning the bulldozers. Mayor Larry Langford actively promotes the project with pep rally techniques (banners, rallies, T-shirts) that evoke his campaign slogan, “Let’s do something!”

Many people, probably including a majority of Birmingham municipal voters, support the dome in the faith that large public works bring prosperity to a community, and that Birmingham has been too slow to perform such works. And when it comes to a project like providing reliable public transit, or passable school buildings, they are absolutely correct. Birmingham has buses that routinely break down or lack air conditioning, and its school buildings often leak, flood, or stink. Investing in projects that solved these problems would bring nothing but benefits.

But not all public works are created equal. Continue reading “If we don’t build it, they will come”

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More about Langford

Danner at 9 numbers built a thoughtful post on the Langford case around a comment of mine. Worth reading if you’re a fellow Birminghamster. Langford was grand marshal of the city Christmas parade yesterday and put a cheerful face on his arrest and indictment. Judging from comments that people in the crowd made to TV […]

Our mayor is arrested

Birmingham mayor Larry Langford was arrested by FBI agents at about 7:00 this morning. He’s charged with receiving $230,000 from an investment banker whose firm made more than $7 million off of bond financing business for Jefferson County. Langford was chairman of the county commission at the time. The county is now heading toward bankruptcy […]