"What Happened to the America Dream?" It Came True in Birmingham

Laughter. 

The American Dream is alive and well in 2013 Birmingham


Without the ability to just… laugh now and then, where would we be as a people? 


When you sit back and realize that the United States of a America, over the past 80 years, has been nothing more than a glorified Petri Dish for a fanatical social/science experiment that continually yields horrifying results… well, it’s worth a laugh or two, because you know that despite this tragic results, no one will ever learn nothing.


That’s why the tragedy of Birmingham, Alabama reflects so devastatingly hilarious on the Disingenuous White Liberals (DWLs) and managerial-elite types in charge of Black-Run America, for the city in 2013 resembles the type of comedy a white supremacist script writer might have pitched had the Southern states had the equivalent of a Hollywood in the 1950s. 


The script would have detailed what happens to a hypothetical city when black people take charge of running the government, fixing the roads and maintaining the infrastructure, attracting new business through economic development departments, and – most importantly – funding the government through the taxing of their labor. 


It would have served as a warning of the type of civilization black people were able to maintain, but alas, in 2013 Birmingham, we need no outlandish script to watch sad players strut and fret their hour upon the political and economic stage — to paraphrase the great Shakespeare — “signifying everything.”


A city of 212,000 people – 73.4 percent of them black – is also home to the highest sales tax in all of America [Birmingham’s 10 cents on the dollar sales tax to remain another five years, Birmingham News, 2-5-13]:

Birmingham’s 10 cents on the dollar sales tax rate will continue for at least another five years following the City Council’s vote to renew the 2007 one-cent hike.

The council without discussion today reauthorized the penny increase that was initially proposed and approved during former Mayor Larry Langford’s administration. 

The increase was part of Langford’s plan to fund improvements in police, fire, street and sidewalks and fund a new scholarship programs. 

The tax was set to expire in December. The extra cent tax brings in about $33 million to the city. Tom Barnett, the city’s finance director, had stressed the importance of extending the tax for both the city’s budget and its standing with bond rating agencies. 

Both one-cent tax increase and the accompanying doubling of city license fees were used to prop up the city’s budget during the economic downturn, officials have said.

 Having a population that is 73.4 percent black – white people abandoned the city their ancestors built and maintained after the downfall of their civilization in 1963 – requires extraordinary accounting methods to fund the Birmingham city government budget. When one of the only contributions of the almost entirely black city council has been the extension of a moratorium of allowing new payday loan, title pawn, or cash-checking business to open in the city every six months since November 2011, you realize the financially devastating impact a majority black population has an economy. 

But then you consider the reason for Birmingham having the highest sales tax in all of America, and it’s worth an even bigger chuckle [Birmingham City Council approves sales tax, business license fee increases, Birmingham News, 12-4-2007]:

The Birmingham City Council voted today to increase the city sales tax by one cent and double business license fees to pay for a domed stadium, transit improvements and other projects.

Both increases will take effect Jan. 1.

The vote is a big early victory for Mayor Larry Langford, who took office Nov. 13 vowing to move quickly toward making big changes in Birmingham. Shortly after noon, the council took separate votes on Langford’s sales tax and license fee initiatives, which the mayor says will generate $72 million a year for various projects.

“Dome, done. Scholarships, done. Transit, done. It’s a good day,” Langford said.

Wait… so the sales tax fee is bringing less than 50 percent of what was promised in 2007 when it went into effect? Does Birmingham have a dome? Better transit?

No. The sales tax only serves to help pay for the cities budget.

And what ever happened to that Mayor Langford fellow?  That’s right, he’s in jail for accepting bribes in a sewage deal that would ultimately help ensure that Jefferson County (home to Birmingham) would have to declare the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history:

Everyone knows that the ultimate target is Larry Langford, the controversial but as yet unindicted mayor of Birmingham. Langford, who served as president of the Jefferson County Commission when most of the riskiest refinancing was completed, has been accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of accepting more than $156,000 in cash and benefits from brokers who had business with the county.

To have the city’s mayor end up in jail would be embarrassing, sure. But it would be nothing compared to the lasting damage to job creation and economic growth that Birmingham’s civic leaders – still fighting the legacy of the city’s civil rights battles in the 1960s – fear from a Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

 Again, you just have to laugh.

Were a bigoted script writer pitching a show in 1950s America of what black political rule would mean for a city, would the condition of Birmingham in 2013 be different from the outcome projected by this fictional writer?

Remember, Birmingham’s is a city whose residents have made such poor financial choices that traditional banks can no longer offer their services because of legitimate fears of losing shareholder money by high rates of default.

This is why payday loan, title pawn and cash-checking business flourish in 73 percent black Birmingham, because they offer a product/service no traditional bank would dare – or can legally- match. The ban on new stores was extended on May 16, 2012; it was extended again on October 16, 2012 for another six months.

Recall the reason for the moratorium in the first place — with 93 Payday Loan businesses operating within the city limits of the 73.4 percent black city of Birmingham, this was the number one product/service offered to the citizens of the city:

Councilwoman Lashunda Scales – also chairwoman of the Birmingham City Council Economic Development Committee – believes in ‘forcing banking institutions to become more flexible in their lending practices” in the 73.4 percent black city

Birmingham City Council members adopted a resolution to ban new Payday Loan businesses within the city. 

The resolution was originally introduced by Councilwoman LaShunda Scales in September. But even as the ordinance came up for a final vote council members still had not reached a consensus on the language. 

At one point during the discussion Councilwoman Kim Rafferty declared that the Council as a whole looked like a bunch of fools. 

Council President Roderick Royal swiftly found Rafferty out of order.

The debate stemmed from two amendments issued by Councilor Carole Smitherman. 

The Amendments were to clarify language in the ordinance to ensure that banks and existing payday loan businesses would not be impacted. 

Council members say they need the time to establish better establish rules as to where a Payday Loan business may open to avoid clustering. 

Councilor Scales says that with 93 Payday Loan businesses operating within the city limits, these businesses are the number one product the city offers to its citizens.

Remember, payday loan stores operate via granting higher interests rates to consumers traditional banks understand are too great a risk too lend to; after all, banks are trying to make a profit, while black-run governments know the federal government might bail them out. 

Councilwoman Lashunda Scales, who proposed the ban, is also the chairwoman of the Birmingham City Council’s Economic Development Committee. She is in favor of forcing legitimate banking institutions to become “more flexible” in their lending practices when it comes to handing out loans to the citizens of 73.4 percent black Birmingham currently under-serviced by banks and over-serviced by payday loans, title pawn, and check-cashing stores

Councilwoman Kim Rafferty later called a meeting to form Bank on Birmingham, a clearinghouse of available institutions willing to provide services and insight to those now using high-interest and high-fee payday lending and check cashing businesses.

“As a local government it would be wise for us to continue to work with the federal government and the state Legislature to protect our citizens from predatory lending while forcing banking institutions to become more flexible in their lending practices,” Scales said.

“Forcing.”

Or is it “Fleecing,” since most of the loans would only go into foreclosure…


Comrade Lashunda Scales rationale and reasoning for passing the ban is equally hilarious, for the logic behind why so many of these stores operate in 73.4 percent black Birmingham is the reason legitimate businesses and commercial development can’t operate in 73.4 percent black Birmingham  

She said businesses offering short-term loans have high interest rates that keep financially strained customers trapped in a cycle of making interest-only payments.

Secondly, she said, the presence of too many of these businesses repel other commercial development.

“Our citizens deserve first-class businesses at an affordable price,” she said. “However, if you have a string of these kind of predatory lending agencies in those same communities, then the likelihood of those (other) businesses locating in that area is nonexistent.”

Predatory lending agencies are exactly the kind of fifth-rate businesses the 73.4 percent black citizens of Birmingham deserve, because it’s the only type of industry that can flourish in this type of demographic situation:

According to Councilor Lashunda Scales, who spearheaded the drive for the moratorium, there are 93 payday loan facilities in Birmingham—more than any other city in Alabama. “It is the leading product, at this point, that we have,” Scales said. “It supersedes any grocery stores, any main retailers that our citizens are asking for, and that’s in every single district.

Birmingham is an unattractive investment for grocery stores, major retailers, and other businesses considering investing capital with the city limits for the very reason it is such an attractive location for payday loan stores. 
 
Of course, Birmingham is also a city that had to set restrictions limiting where methadone clinics can be opened… [
Birmingham City Council sets restrictions on methadone clinics, Birmingham News, 11-8-11]:    

The Birmingham City Council today approved new rules limiting where methadone clinics are allowed to open.

The new zoning rules prohibit the clinics from operating within a thousand feet of churches, schools, parks, historic districts or revitalization districts.

Councilwoman Valerie Abbott, who sponsored the new restrictions, said they were the result of complaints from residents in South Avondale, where a clinic is operting.Abbott said the clinics increase traffic and are frequent scenes of loitering.“We had no means currently of dealing with these type of facilities,” said Abbott, chairwoman of the Planning and Zoning Committee.

“We’ve had numerous complaints from people living around these type of facilities about what was going on there.”The ordinance was approved on a 4-2 vote, with Abbott, Council President Roderick Royal, Jay Roberson and Johnathan Austin voting yes and Maxine Parker and Steven Hoyt voting no.

Council members Lashunda Scales, Kim Rafferty and Carole Smitherman were absent.The rules will not affect existing clinics.Hoyt called the rules too restrictive and unfair to people needing treatment.

“I’m not in favor of it in this form,” Hoyt said. “Given the writing of this ordinance, I’d believe you’d have to build it on Mars.”Hoyt said the clinics provide essential services that the city is limiting.

If we don’t treat these folks they’re going to break into our houses, they’re going to shoot and kill folks because of lack of treatment,” he said.

Laughter. 

Without the ability to just… laugh now and then, where would we be as a people? 


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Stuff Black People Don't Like (formerly SBPDL.com) has moved to SBPDL.net!
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