Friday, February 25, 2011

The ever-shrinking Birmingham and Jefferson County

The 2010 count of the U.S. Census on the city of Birmingham has been unveiled and it looks like Birmingham, Bessemer, Fairfield, Midfield, and Jefferson County have all decline in population.  It's disheartening that these areas have loss a number of inhabitants since 2000, but the thing is can anyone honestly blame them?  I'm so ambivalent these days about the Greater Birmingham area because it seems to be a region without a singular voice of unison or leadership.  The current mayor, William "the Jackal" Bell is a failure in my eyes because he represents another fixture of the past grasping on to what little power is left in the city amongst some of the ill-informed, socially regressive, and in many ways prejudice citizenry.  Yeah, he has made some strides by attempting to get the Birmingham Baron back to the city from suburban Hoover along with groundbreaking with the Central Station expansion and progress of the Entertainment District @ the BJCC, but there has been little to no progress on any major infrastructural improvements on the area's mass transit system or recapturing the spirit needed to turn around areas on decaying portions of the city.  Birmingham is truly lacking and the effects of that void isn't limited to Birmingham corporate limits.  Other municipalities on the western portion of the metropolitan area are feeling this as well such as Fairfield, Midfield, Adamsville, Graysville, and Bessemer.  Although there isn't any hard numbers for Lipscomb or Brighton, but there in that same pack of economically depressed and downtrodden "suburbs" of Birmingham.  The heavily industrialized suburb of Tarrant (City) has seen a demographic shift from a white majority to a non-white majority.  Others have slid, but because of their increase in non-white populous as well like Center Point.  The one anomaly in the region, Homewood practically remained at the same population as it did a decade ago, so this stasis says something about Homewood that it's too socially ambiguous and densely developed for their liking (it is the most densely populated municipality in Alabama at 3014.7 per square mile).

Meanwhile, the more suburban in nature areas like Hoover, Trussville, Clay, Hueytown, Pleasant Grove, Fultondale, Gardendale, Vestavia Hills, Shelby County, Saint Clair County, Blount County, and Chilton County have all increased by leaps and bounds.  However, most of these new inhabitants are by the vast majority white (see a pattern...).

This all speaks to the notion that a metropolitan form of government will the only thing that will help create the needed unison for the Greater Birmingham area.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Another suspicious house fire, but this time in North Carolina then the incident in Opelika

Another suspected anti-LGBT hate crime in form of arson has occurred but this time in the Triangle.  According to Raleigh-Durham CBS affiliate, WRAL-TV, on February 4th, in suburban Clayton in northern Johnston County, a house fire was reported early morning before dawn.  Luckily, the male couple were out of town, but a neighbor reported that 2 other incidents had occurred there before and were reported.  However, the Johnston County Sheriff's Department said they knew about it but wouldn't comment.

More anti-LGBT oriented incidents seems to be getting reported more often.  I have a feeling this has been occurring for awhile now, but with more technology and vigilant citizen journalism, these incidents 

Also I'll speak on the situation that happened in Opelika.  About 2 weeks ago, Laura Gilbert and her friend, Shelia Siddell, went to a bar in a rural portion of the Lee County (Alabama), where Gilbert was allegedly attacked by 12 people for being a lesbian.  Gilbert mentioned that "I don't think they like my kind there." and was attacked.  Columbus (Georgia) CBS affiliate, WRBL, reported about the story and even did a follow-up. Initially, the incident was seen as a joke or fodder by media across the state like the Mobile Press-Register.  FYI, Alabama doesn't recognize hate crimes involving sexual orientation or gender identity.  Now after so much exposure involving the incident, the Lee County Sheriff's Department is trying to follow up on the crime and apprehend the alleged attackers.  

This doesn't bode well for Alabama's reputation since it already seen as a state doesn't respect people of color, but add to this injury to insult is the lack of respect for LGBTs.  Considering I'm in the area for school at the moment, the area does strike me as aversive to about anything "different' than the norm of the area...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Free wifi and IT training for Birmingham residents

Not a bad idea at all.

WiFi, short for wireless internet, is set to be installed in a couple of places throughout Birmingham particularly in some housing communities.  This initiative is funded by a $500,000 federal grant for designed to bring technology to those who can least afford it.  Also another $75,000 federal grant is to fund training and education of 15-21 year olds in information technology (IT) for certification and other computer science oriented trades.  The city of Birmingham will be distributing the funds and conducting the programs.

Of course the C.A.V.E. (citizens against virtually everything) twats are on the comment section of the story on the Birmingham News site whining and proclaiming another "socialist agenda".  Of course, as usual you know most of these "commenters" are white Republican suburbanites or exurbanites that are the first to talk negative about an urban area yet will be the first to cheer for their own social welfare programs conducted by their local governments.  However, the morons fail to realize this is a form of economic development for the city of Birmingham and the region as a whole since it provides a trade for youths seeking a career in information technology. 

(h/t to the Birmingham News for the links)

Some urban planning and development stuff to chew on

OK, who thought it was A'OK for the municipality of Hoover to propose an ideal to convert the former 3-level Macy's at Riverchase Galleria mall into a convention/events center with stage theater?  The project is now on hold, but they wanted to turn the 285,000 square foot space into a public space.

Here's the pros and cons of the project according to Hoover municipal officials:
  • -- The Galleria is one of the largest malls in the state/region and has helped enhance recognition of Hoover.
  • -- There is a relatively large number of restaurants and retail businesses surrounding the mall and throughout the city.
  • -- There's a perception of safety and convenience with parking and accessibility.
  • -- Relative to its size, Hoover offers a large number of hotels.
    • Weaknesses included:
    • -- Hoover has a limited perception as a convention destination, and the city is viewed by some non-locals as a "suburb with a big mall."
    • -- The city lacks a traditional downtown and/or central business district with a density of visitor amenities and entertainment options.
    • -- There are a number of potentially competitive event venues in the greater local marketplace.
    • -- The city is inland, versus on a coast.
    Last time I remember, Hoover is the middle of the socially and fiscally conservative territory, where "socialist" initiatives like that to a minimum or non-existent (remember how you guys didn't even want a measly bus line in your community?).  Now they want to overstep on partial owners General Growth Properties and Jim Wilson to turn their largest vacant space in their shopping center into a "public entity"?  Now the GGP and Jim Wilson  is very actively pursuing finding a replacement for the space that was to become a Nordstrom but thanks to GGP screw up it failed.  LOL  Hoover, you guys kill me because your community has low-range to mid-range hotels aside from the Wynfrey Hotel at Riverchase itself, and that is 1 upper-tier hotel.  Then there is the lack of downtown or central portion of the community to designate as a "downtown".  You are a suburb of Birmingham and that is all Hoover will ever be because its development patterns are incompatible with "hub status" of the region.

    My alma mater, the University of Alabama at Birmingham aka UAB, has finally made up their minds on the design and scope of what they are going to place on the corner of 10th Avenue South & 13th Street South.  It's going to become a visual arts center with classrooms, essentially replacing the nearly 40-year-old George Wallace Humanities Building on the 13th Street of the UAB campus.  At the moment, the corner is a parking lot for the engineering buildings and Alys Stephens Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.  Also UAB, has committed to finally placing an on-campus stadium for the UAB Blazers football and soccer teams at 6th Avenue South and 12th Street South.  It will seat 25,000 to 30,000 and will have a large plaza adjacent to the stadium for tailgating.  The stadium is a part of a measure will be presented to the University of Alabama system trustees for approval soon.  The new master plan  also calls for new access roads lining Interstate 65, a new science complex on University Boulevard and 18th Street South, and the eventual elimination of much of the street parking on campus, which would be replaced by parking decks.  Score 2 for UAB and its decision to make some major moves and attempting to produce more dense and coherent development flowing with the urban core of Birmingham this past week.

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    Another week and another round up

    Well, the Good Bishop Eddie Long was on YouTube pleading to California-based investment company, City Capital Corp. on the behalf of his "parishioners" at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church to resolve issues involving their retirement accounts.  According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, these accounts have possibly tanked and went down with the economic downturn.  Long is pleading to get his "parishioners" investments back with interest.   Former CEO of City Capital, Ephren Taylor responded attempted to refute the allegations and clear his name which has been dragged through the mud because of this controversy.  SMH, that New Birth is cursed.

    Awww, it's so cute that Tyler Perry has snatched the role of "Alex Cross" from Idris Elba in the revamping of the franchised based on James Patterson's novels of the same name.  It's so funny listening to the producer of the upcoming film set to start filming in June said that Perry as:
    Tyler Perry is a phenomenon. Tyler Perry is one of the most significant entertainers in all of media. He is a huge cross-media talent and presence — and he’s a terrific actor whose range is going to be shown here. You’re going to see Tyler Perry like you haven’t seen him. He’s 6’5″, he is a linebacker. He is an awesome physical presence and is just going to tear it apart here. It’s an intense, dramatic role.
    I just want to snicker and then go back to ignoring this film franchise as before (Hell I haven't even seen "Kiss the Girls" so you know...).  However, it's been a topic of the black blogosphere all week long so I had to discuss it.

    The mandatory insurance coverage portion of the Americans for Affordable Healthcare Act was found unconstitutional in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola by (conservative and anti-healthcare funded) Judge Roger Vinson.  Vinson attempted to invalidate the entire law basing on the way the law was written and passed. This the suit that was orchestrated by 22 states filed against the law.  Another attempt by the classist-complexed (majority white) faction of T.E.A. Twats attempting to further fuckery in our nation...

    The GOP leaders of the Alabama Legislature has decided to limit access of the State House claiming the  shooting of Gabrielle Giffords as a reason.  The Alabama Democrats responded to the antics of the GOP shutting the door on process to the people and forcing them to backtrack on their stance.  It seems to me there is some funny business going on with this.  I'm more ashamed of how Senator Pro Tem Del Marsh co-signs on this fuckery considering I know him personally.  Wise move by the ADP to attack, but they still have disorder in their own house before they are reputable party and organization again.  However, that's politicians for ya, they say what they are going do and then the do the exact opposite...  (h/t to Left in Alabama)

    Oh yeah, the wintry mix of rain/sleet/snow caused chaos during rush hour in Birmingham and Central Alabama, but primarily Birmingham on Thursday.  This weather is the normal for this part of the South, so my advice to all officials in these major cities, "BUY SOME DAMN SNOW EQUIPMENT, NOW!!!!"

    That's this week in review.  I'll be back with the more posts soon.


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