Tag Archives: politics

New questions about the UAB situation for a Monday afternoon

UAB-Blaze-at-Bartow-ArenaI’ve been sitting back and watching all the buzz online today with regard to UAB while starting to get ready for my turn to manage a weekly online journalism chat, but I’ve got to share some of the thoughts and questions on my mind:

1) I’m still wondering why Jabo Waggoner has stayed so quiet for so long? Why is that what’s on my mind? A timeline I created for a presentation about this suggests both Williams AND Waggoner were present for a late October meeting with UAB officials. Williams has been quite vocal while Waggoner’s made very few statements.

2) Most of the buzz from today jives with earlier statements made. Just because we don’t always pay attention to what’s been said doesn’t mean it hasn’t been public. It may just mean that emotions are strong on this issue (and rightfully so).

3) Assuming the bill that requires UAB must field a team passes, how do we as a community make sure the university as a whole (and the athletics department in particular) is not in this same position in 4-5 years? If UAB is going to get back a football team (and I, for one, hope that’s the case at some point), how is a similar financial situation kept from happening again? We will be making history anyway as the first state in the country to require that a university field a football team, so we probably want to make sure it stays viable to field teams for as long as possible (especially as we wait to see how the state will attempt to handle its own funding gap in the coming months).

4) Why did so many folks “wait to be asked” to do something if it’s been an issue for years? I’m not talking about those who’ve long served faithfully as boosters to the program, but those who would’ve made the burden less stressful (i.e., major corporate citizens). If it’s always been suggested that we must volunteer to lead instead of waiting to be asked, why point to not being asked as a reason for sitting on the sidelines instead of seeing the need and filling it? Will “they” step up and serve if asked (as they will need to moving forward)?

Then again, perhaps that same question can be asked about several issues currently facing the city and the region…

5) Can we take a moment and say how proud we are of the men’s basketball team for their NCAA tournament run for a little while longer? They did their university and this city proud and will probably be on more than a few radars next year.

6) When we look back, will this be a case of attempting to see what will get the home rule debate before the state’s citizens in a palatable way? If you take out UAB and insert the name of any major city in the state, isn’t it really about home rule? Is a constitutional amendment regulating an athletic team as important as ones that deal with the issues truly affecting the state right now? I’m a home rule fan. I’m not a fan of home rule with strings attached being dictated by the Legislature as is the case right now (see Question #3).

It may be oversimplifying a lot of what’s going on today, but it’s what I’ve got. Chime in if you have a moment (or if I’ve missed some questions — and believe me, there are a lot more that need to be asked of all sides on this one).


By the way: Before I forget, I’d like to acknowledge a former UAH athlete not getting a lot of attention in Alabama in recent weeks – Cam Talbot. Talbot is the backup goalie for the New York Rangers and, in the absence of their number 1 goalie due to a damaged blood vessel, he’s once again proven he’s, as the Wall Street Journal calls him, “the best insurance policy in the NHL.” 36 saves last night alone – insane.

André Natta is the stationmaster of bhamterminal.com.

The race to mediocrity

This website has never endorsed a candidate in a political race during its nearly three-year existence.

We’re not starting today.

That said, even if we wanted to, there’s no way that either candidate would warrant an endorsement based on just how childish and asinine they’ve behaved in recent days.

Bell vs. Cooper - Bob Farley/f8PhotoThe “fresh face” has dipped down to the same level as “the elder statesman” of Birmingham municipal politics and in reality neither one of them have actually talked about the issues – or at least explained what they were actually going to do if elected.

When one campaign (or their supporters) is running photos of a candidate’s ex-wife and making accusations about that person’s sexual orientation while the other one (or its supporters) is digging up 10-year old articles that include allegations about his personal life instead of talking about the issues – the real issues – it becomes more about character assassination instead of talking about moving Alabama’s largest city (for now) forward.

We heard less about Mr. Bell’s current plans for his hometown and how electing him would be different now than previously and more about him being tied to Birmingham’s present – one that is described as a city “dying on the vine.” We heard him talk about himself in the third person (something that is incredibly annoying) and more insulting one liners than anything else, not to mention supporters talking about Birmingham becoming a colony – perhaps the only way to sustain our current population numbers right now short of fixing our educational system – even though charter schools are apparently not the answer in his eyes if it means that the city will have to pay the bill. I’d have more links for this section but the Black and White article kind of covers the good, the bad and the ugly – whether true or not.

We heard more about Mr. Cooper’s connections to Andrew Young and saw a lot of arm waving and heard less about his father’s past connections to several influential companies that conduct business in metro Birmingham that may be his key to bringing about change in the community. We heard less about the fact that the former U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica once served as the senior vice president for Volkert and Associates, an engineering firm that does a great deal of work here in the city. He is also a former member of the board of United States Steel – (see page 6) – owner of more than 200 square miles of land located within city limits, a lot of it undeveloped.

The connections that both candidates have to people are a result of them being politicians – yes, both of them. It’s something we’ve got to live with…

What disappointed me the most ties into the post I wrote back when this roller coaster ride began. I still don’t think that Birmingham needs a savior (even though they need someone to save it from this sham of an election cycle). Neither man did the one thing that would have made a decision on who to vote for a slam dunk – neither one of them called off the attacks once it became apparent that many people in the city were tired of them.

I hope that whoever wins this evening decides to actually be that leader or head coach that we need and not worry too much about getting re-elected. Then the city would truly benefit.

The only thing scarier is the issue of whose minds the mud slinging actually changed.

I encourage those of you registered in Birmingham, AL to vote today – even if you feel as though it will not mean anything. This city has been able to move forward – albeit slowly – in the past and can continue to do so regardless of who ends up in the big office on the third floor of Birmingham City Hall. But I may encourage all of you to look deep within yourselves to figure out what you can do to make Jones Valley a better place for all people – and start thinking about who can truly help us lay out a path for the future come 2011.

I’m going to have a glass of scotch and sit on the front porch at the house and hope that the calvary’s planning to appear by then…

André Natta is the stationmaster for bhamterminal.com

Photos: Bob Farley/f8Photo

Tea Party a hit in Hoover?


Alabama Conservative Tea Party in Hoover

Hot barbecue sandwiches, potato chips, Southern sweet tea, vintage American Flags, lawn chairs, kids playing with their dogs in the open field, music, and green grass. Sounds like just another picnic day in Alabama. Add some clever protest signs and some great radio personalities speaking and you’ve got the start of a revolution!

Last week I attended Birmingham’s conservative Tea Party protest. It took place at Veterans Park next door to Spain Park High School in Hoover. Being a Libertarian leaning Conservative myself, I had been looking forward to this for a few weeks ever since I found out about the Tax Day tea parties on a few conservative web sites like TCOT (Top Conservatives on Twitter) and some of the radio talk shows like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.

Satillite Uplink truck for Fox NewsI got there right as the sun was starting to set over the rolling hills of the Spain Park area and already there were at least 300 people chilling out, setting out blankets on the lawn, and setting up booths with food, patriotic t-shirts, literature and information about the Fair Tax, the Constitution, and fact sheets about the current administration’s backward policies.

Up-link vans from ABC 33/40, WZZK, and WAPI were set up and a satellite up-link truck for Fox News had set up, ready to simulcast on the Sean Hannity show on Fox News later on that night. Dogs were chasing Frisbees and people were crowding in to get a front row spot.

The action started about 30 minutes later with Matt Murphy of 101.1 FM The Source and a few other local personalities. They spoke their minds about some of the hot topics like the government bailout and taxation. There was some great music in between and we saw a lot of creative signs.

At about 7:30 p.m., nationally syndicated talk show personalities Rick and Bubba arrived on stage and entertained and informed for a few minutes while we were waiting for the Sean Hannity show to do the simulcast. During this time more and m0re people had continued arriving. According to law enforcement reports, Hwy 119 was backed up all the way to Hwy 280 with people trying to get in and park and it didn’t stop until about 8 p.m. When the big on-air moment came, everyone “went nuts” as Rick and Bubba would say, flags waving and people chanting “USA, USA!”. Overall the unofficial headcount from the event coordinators was somewhere in the 3,000 range with more than 4,000 coming and going making our tea party one of the largest out of the over 800 parties held in the nation last night.

What I came away with from that night was, that THIS was the first step that a citizen can take to let yourSigns at the tea party voice be heard. The tea parties are a completely non-partisan rally. It wasn’t about Obama hatred (although I’m sure the sentiment was there), it was about the common man having a voice and letting Washington hear that voice. I was also impressed that the conservatives were finally embracing social media using platforms like Twitter and Facebook to organize the event. The Birmingham party was almost completely organized grass roots with a Facebook page and word of mouth and throughout the country real time details were posted on Twitter.

The common person these days has no idea what they can do, if anything. I think that the tea parties has shown people that they CAN make a difference. Start little, do something big! Let’s keep our government accountable for their actions.

Photos: Josh Self/Flickr 

Josh Self is a contributor to The Terminal. He also maintains two blogs – a personal one, The Horse, and The Wedding Photogblog.