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Proclaiming the real issues

04.23.2008 by André Natta · → 3 Comments

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Andre Natta headshotThe inboxes at The Terminal received several emails late yesterday afternoon, a couple of them including the responses received by two citizens after they sent in their concerns to Mayor Langford’s office about his proclamation declaring this coming Saturday a citywide day of prayer in sackcloth and ashes. They’re posted over here.

After sleeping on it, maybe I’m not that worried about Saturday evening at Fair Park Arena Friday evening at Boutwell Auditorium – mainly because I’m not sure that getting upset and frustrated will do much to solve the issue at hand. After reading the emails and the responses, it’s clear that there will be no consensus on the issue any time soon.

Now the typos in the proclamation – they bother me. I still haven’t quite gotten to über wordsmith status, but I’ve written more than enough posts to know that what you put out there on paper – whether as a hard copy or virtually, is a visual representation of you as a person. The typos and grammatical errors found in both the proclamation and the email responses from City Hall yesterday speak more about the attention to detail paid to the issues affecting our city currently.

There are times when the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed, and there are other times when the intention is understood but the follow-through is questionable.

There is no question that the city of Birmingham needs to come together to address the crime epidemic that has us listed as the sixth most dangerous city per capita in the United States by some.

Yes, there is a major role that our area’s religious leaders need to play in getting us out of the moral cesspool that is our inability to believe that life can get better in Birmingham. This is despite the fact that the hours of worship are still one of the most segregated and divisive times in our society today, both in terms of denomination and race (but that’s another post).

Yes, there is even a need for the man that holds the biggest and loudest bully pulpit in the city to use his influence to encourage this dialogue to take place. He could even show up at an event like the one he’s announced for Saturday in his role as the leader of the city and speak of how he supports an initiative.

But I’m certainly not sure if he should be organizing the event himself, whether the money being used to pay for the sackcloth is donated or not.

Everyone agrees that something needs to be done to quell this issue. Langford’s police chief admits that there’s not necessarily a one-solution fixes all approach, but I think that his philosophy is more along the lines of what needs to be the focus of the problem as it exists now.

It’s not that we don’t like some of the things that Mayor Langford is doing. Yesterday’s proposal to pay for city bus services as the heat of the summer and the pain of paying higher prices at the pump both begin to expose themselves to the people of Birmingham was something desperately needed. But as mentioned in today’s Birmingham News article, this proposal will not necessarily encourage new riders to begin to use the system – though taking advantage of rising gas prices to get the word out may just be the incentive needed to expand ridership. Maybe then there would be more voices lent to the case made by the Transit Advisory Committee to improve the system that we currently have.

The ideas are great, however (as we’ve learned here during our short existence) sometimes it’s better to pay attention to the content of the message instead of how it’s being packaged for the audience receiving it.

André Natta is the publisher and managing editor of The Terminal.

What do you think? Let’s hear your thoughts about it over on Magic City Question!

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Filed under: Birmingham · Commentary · politics


LOL! Absolutely Concerned, absolutely... especially with typos...


Speaking of types, the event is Friday not Saturday. I guess no one is perfect?!?


Just FYI, the sackcloth itself is being paid for with donations, not city money. But I would doubt that the Proclamations of Time to Pray, printed on paper with a city seal and in a folder with the city logo, are paid for with donations. I haven't called to ask though.