Monday, August 3, 2009

#176. The Reality of Jefferson County

Sweet home Alabama. Where the skies are so blue, and Black people control Jefferson County too.

Named for Thomas Jefferson, the most populated county in Alabama is home to a thriving Black people led-local government that has helped see - in 10 short years - the exodus of five Fortune 500 company headquarters from Birmingham:

"There was a time when Birmingham - at least by one measure of corporate muscle - ranked up there with Los Angeles and Boston.

That was in April 1999, just 10 years ago, when Birmingham was home to six companies in the Fortune 500, the list of the largest corporations in the country, ranked by revenue.

Now, the Magic City has just one member, Regions Financial Corp., which is hanging on to its 280th spot after a rough year that included a $6.2 billion fourth-quarter loss. Los Angeles has added a member since 1999, while Boston's tally has remained level. Meanwhile, another landmark Birmingham business - Bruno's Supermarkets LLC, a member of the elite Fortune roster in the mid-1990s - is in the process of disappearing after the 75-year-old chain's assets were auctioned in U.S. Bankruptcy Court."
Jefferson County is 58 percent white and Black people comprise 39 percent of the county, as they are largely situated in the core of the Birmingham, with white flight encircling the minority-ruled city in such white cities as Hoover, Vestiva Hills and Mountain Brook.

Black people have found the suburbs of Birmingham not conducive to their needs and have decided to stay within the eroding city walls of downtown Birmingham. There, Black people have helped Alabama climb to # 13 in the United States for worst crime rate with much of that crime taking place in Birmingham:
"The overall crime rate in Birmingham for 2007 (10,108.9 per 100,000) is more than twice the state average (4,206.3 per 100,000). The violent crime rate per 100,000 is almost 3.5 times the state average, and the property rate per 100,000 is 1.9 times the state average. The average clearance rate is below the state average. Indeed, the only clearance rate above the state average is for robberies."
Birmingham and its Black leaders can take solace in the fact that in the football crazed state,they are ranked th 11th most violent city in America, and #5 in murders per capita, in 2008.

This violence and dearth of major corporations led the annual Iron Bowl football game between Auburn University and the University of Alabama to leave Legion Field in 1998 - where they had played almost every since the 1950s - and back to the whiter and safer college campuses in Tuscaloosa and Auburn.

The area around Legion Field is incredibly unsafe and populated entirely with Black people, so officials from Auburn and Alabama moved the game - which brought an incredible economic boost to the former Magic City - for their alumni and fans safety.

Birmingham's City Council and Mayor Larry Langford - Birmingham is 73 percent Black and 25 percent white - have inherited a leaky sewer situation that threatens to bankrupt the city and with it, Jefferson County: a $3. 2 Billion sewer debt.

Worse than the $3.2 Billion sewer debt, is the fact Jefferson County is insolvent:

"A budget crisis is forcing Alabama's Jefferson County to push negotiations over its multibillion dollar debt onto the back burner even though the mounting payments due could drag the county into bankruptcy.

"If Jefferson County goes bust it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, but the pressure of coping with sharply falling revenue has reduced the priority of talks on how to reschedule the debt, county commissioners said.

"In the latest sign of financial turmoil, Jefferson County announced on Wednesday it would put roughly 1,000 employees, out of 3,200 total, on administrative leave without pay by August 1 in a bid to save money.Our immediate crisis is being able to provide services and keep people employed. That's the No. 1 crisis here in this community. The sewer crisis has taken a back seat," said county commissioner Sheila Smoot."
Why is there a sewer crisis and why is Birmingham directly leading Jefferson County into the problematic waters of the largest potential municipal bankruptcy in US history?

It's a convoluted story, but when you get down to the meat of the story, it unfortunately looks very Black.

Stuff Black People Don't Like includes the reality of Jefferson County, Alabama, for a city that was once the jewel of the South and is now the sewage of the South has helped bring a once thriving county to the verge of the bankruptcy.

White people fled Birmingham, as did five Fortune 500 companies. Black people rejoiced in having the city to themselves, much like Clayton County, Georgia and Detroit. Thus far, the results haven't been what Black people would expect them to be, as the largest bankruptcy in US municipal history is on the verge of fruition, thanks to Black people.


Anonymous said...

This is great, but you're coming on a bit strong this time, pull back a bit on the rhetoric and keep it light and ironic.
You'll do no good laying it down hard, Americans like to wake up to their favorite radio station, not an harsh buzzing alarm.
Be the radio station, keep the music playing.

Anonymous said...

Women, high-school shuffle-throughs, and a gay dude... what could go wrong?

Thanks for being the civilization petri dish, Birmingham.

Anonymous said...

Anywhere, everywhere in the world you have a majority black population you have the same social pathologies: crime, violence, corruption, and disfunction.

I am so damn sick of watching formerly beautiful cities fall sick and die as a result of being infested by these violent, idiotic, entitled, indolent parasites.

Anonymous said...

"you're coming on a bit stong this time"

I disagree. Sometimes the truth is a harsh blaring alarm. People that need everything watered down to digest don't read blogs like this.

Anonymous said...

When I moved to Birmingham from New Jersey in 1973, I thought I had found heaven on earth. Now, I am doing everything I can to find a job as far away from here as possible. Damn shame what happened to this once beautiful and thriving city!

Anonymous said...

Why bother to post a comment when the last time it was not printed? It was a good real one, written by someone whom actually lives in the area and has all her life. Birmingham was once a great city, but has now turned into a nasty sewer. I was just today visitng my parents on a side of town that used to be a cute area of post-war bungalows, but today was full of thugs looking for something to get into. The once sweet little communities have given way to decay, closed businesses, and homeless people. Okay, enough, I see it all the time here. Come here, call me and I can take you on a tour that will chill your bones.

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...

Sorry if your comment was deleted.

Anonymous said...

You're right on target. I last attended a game at Legion Field in 1978. I was forced to pay a dark-skinned fellow $10 to park on the street outside his house -- as *insurance* that nothing would happen to my car.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Ensley which WAS a nice safe community....good schools, shopping, parks, community pool but all of that ended in the 70's with the intergration of schools and white flight....I have watched Bham slowly die over the years as has all major cities that Blacks now control....I still live in Bham, but now on the Southside....I own two houses in Bham and plan to sell both and move into Shelby or St. Clair....Blacks wanted the city, control the city but dont have a clue how to run things....