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Preview: catalyst ..:|:.. hip to be civic ..:|:.. birmingham

catalyst ..:|:.. hip to be civic ..:|:.. birmingham

A diverse group of civic minded individuals who collectively want to bring positive change to Birmingham

Last Build Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2012 20:11:14 PDT

Copyright: 2005 - Some Rights Reserved

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Sun, 19 Mar 2006 17:31:54 PST

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The Magic Continues - a Future Filled with Promise

Sun, 19 Mar 2006 14:27:06 PST

The VULCAN TALKS! Lecture Series is holding a panel discussion, at 6:30pm this coming Tuesday night (3/21). "The Magic Continues - a Future Filled with Promise" panel discussion will feature Gail A. Treschsel, director, Birmingham Museum of Art; Lawrence J. Pijeaux, president and CEO, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute; Kathy Yarbrough, executive director, Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham; and William Foster, chief operating officer, Birmingham Zoo.

Details, call 933.1409 x26 or visit the Vulcan Park website at

Join other Catalyzers after the discussion for drinks at a drinking hole in Southside under the watchful eye of Vulcan himself. If you want to propose a location in advance, comment to this post. Otherwise, we'll decide where to go by majority vote .

Drop Dead Gorgeous

Sun, 19 Mar 2006 14:30:05 PST

Wow! Certainly I view the ladies on the Catalyst Steering Committee as women of great capacity. But when I opened this week's Birmingham Weekly's special section titled WOMEN'S ISSUE '06 this morning, my jaw dropped at the photos. I will admit, readily, that virtually all of the photographs in the entire pullout section were very well done, but I was impressed to see how gorgeous these six women were in print. The following photograph of the advertisement doesn't do them justice - go out today and get your copy of the paper while it's still on the newstands!


"The women of the Catalyst steering committee. We love 'em. Come to one of our events to see the guys. Catalyst is a group of socially diverse, progressive minded people who join together in fun and purpose in order to make Birmingham a better place to live. With social events, think tank discussions and public forums. Catalyst stimulates dialogue and motivates solutions between people with ideas and leaders who can make those ideas a reality. As a conduit for progressive change in Birmingham, Catalyst is making it hip to be civic. Check out our blog and join our mailing list at"

Featured in the photos were:

  • Cherie Fields - our new Director
  • Elizabeth Dotts
  • Kelly Marshall
  • Alice R. Williams
  • Elizabeth Sims
  • Jestina Howard

They represent a great cross-section of our community including working in a variety of professions, they run the gamut from single to married to motherhood, and these ladies are driven leaders in their own right inside or outside of major corporations and non-profits.

I'm honored to work on the Steering Committee with these ladies. And, I'm glad to see them get the recognition they deserve so prominently in the paper!


Foundation grant enables Catalyst to hire part-time director

Tue, 28 Feb 2006 20:30:41 PST

a story as featured today on the Birmingham Business Journal website...

Cherie Fields, a public relations and communications specialist from Birmingham, has been named director of Catalyst, a volunteer-led organization of metro area businesspeople focused on bringing positive change to the area through its own activities as well as by encouraging further civic participation by its members.

Fields' hiring was made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. Her position with Catalyst will be part time, at least initially. She will work from her home in addition to Catalyst's office at Region 2020's headquarters, 1731 First Ave. North.

"The Community Foundation is proud to be the first foundation to make a grant to Catalyst," says Kate Nielson, president of the foundation. "We are confident this organization will be as great a success as KidOne Transport, Space One Eleven and Childcare Resources -- all organizations that credit us with providing pivotal funding in their early years."

John Stone, chairman of the Catalyst steering committee, says the organization's new director "is eager to become an integral part of our future."

Catalyst has organized social events and a variety of public forums for discussion on issues of particular importance to Birmingham. "As a conduit for progressive change in Birmingham," the group says in its news release on Fields' hiring, "Catalyst is making it hip to be civic."

ALL ABOARD! Next Stop: Railroad Reservation Park

Wed, 22 Feb 2006 17:35:31 PST

Come hear the latest about the Railroad Reservation Park. BirminghamCREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) has opened up their February 16th lunch meeting to the public:
  • Guest Speakers:
    • Renee Kemp-Rotan, Director of Capital Projects, Mayor's Office - City of Birmingham
    • Meredith Ray, Corporate Realty, Project: Standard Condo
  • Topics:
    • Will the Railroad Reservation Park be to Birmingham what Central Park is to New York?
    • Hear from Renee Kemp-Rotan from the Mayor's Office about the latest plans and developments for the Railroad Reservation Park district
    • Meredith Ray with Corporate Realty will share about the Standard Condo project and others in the area around the park and address how this area is becoming a real hot spot
  • Date/Time:
    • Thursday, February 16, 2006
    • 11:30am until 1:00pm
  • Location:
    • The Event Center at McWane Center, 200 19th Street North, downtown Birmingham
  • Cost:
    • $20 for members of BirminghamCREW
    • $25 for non-members
  • RSVP:
  • Parking:
    • Free parking is provided in the McWane Center parking deck accessible from 2nd Avenue North
    • Direct access to the Event Center is available from Level C of the parking deck
BirminghamCREW is focused on advancing the success of women in commercial real estate. Thanks to this organization for hosting the discussion and opening their meeting to the public!

Get Civic, Get a New Constitution

Sun, 22 Jan 2006 20:27:00 PST

ACCR and other groups in the Constitution Reform Movement have now collected over 62,000 signatures on petitions asking the legislature to allow the citizens to vote on holding a convention to write a new constitution! As you may know, these petitions will be delivered to state legislators at 11:15am on Wednesday, January 25th during the “Let the People Vote” Rally on the steps of the Capitol Building facing Dexter Avenue. Click on the following link and consider signing this online petition.

You are also invited to the following activities for Wednesday, January 25:

  • The House Constitution and Election Committee Public Hearing on HB109, the Citizens Convention Bill, from 8:00am until 11:00am in the Capitol Auditorium. If you plan to speak at hearing, please email Cary Page (
  • College students from throughout the state will be wearing their school colors and reading sections of the 1901 Constitution aloud from 8:30am until 11:15am. College students may contact Matthew Lewis ( to be a part of this effort.
  • After the “Let the People Vote” Rally which will be around Noon, you are invited by Greater Birmingham Ministries to walk a block and a half down Dexter Avenue to the King Memorial Baptist Church. In the downstairs meeting room, you can break bread together eating lunches that you have brought or you can pre-order and buy a lunch that will be waiting for you. If you are interested, please go to the following web page for the details:
  • In that same meeting space from 1:15pm until 2:30, there will be a meeting of the Constitution Convention Coalition which connects non-profits throughout Alabama in the common interest of drafting a new constitution through a representative, citizen-led constitutional convention. Please contact Hill Carmichael ( for more information.

As you can see, there is much planned and still more work to do. Working together, we will get a new Alabama Constitution! If you attend the effort in Montgomery, be sure to wear your Catalyst t-shirt!

Boston Globe Takes Note of Catalyst

Tue, 17 Jan 2006 14:47:54 PST

Story from THE BOSTON GLOBE, Tuesday January 17, 2006TAKING OFFAn ugly past fading inBy Irin Carmon, Globe Correspondent January 15, 2006 BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The past is jumbled on the lot like the yard sale time forgot: rusted iron works, chipped lawn sculpture, old gas pumps, and chrome bath fixtures, sheltered by trees and invaded by creeping vines. The neglect is essentially an act. Everything at the resto-bar The Garage, collected by owner Fritz Woehle, is for sale. Too crowded to be bucolic, the patch comes alive at night. In the daytime, the lunch crowd shares it with stray cats the staff has nicknamed. Built on railroads and iron and scarred by racial violence, Birmingham is seeking to rise out of the ashes of its past and draw young people. Already a haven for recent college grads in tech jobs who are drawn by the residential bang for their buck, Birmingham seems to have decided that the best way forward is by building on what came before. For one, the railroad district is being redeveloped as lofts and art spaces. ''That railroad has always divided the town," says Hugh Hunter, who, with his three brothers, founded the city's artspace called WorkPlay. ''Now the goal of the railroad district redevelopment is to bring people together." The jarringly ugly sepia towers of Sloss Furnaces, on the railroad tracks that birthed the city, host live music and parties. The place draws on its iron-producing past to be a center for metal arts instruction. Many Birmingham residents are defensive about the city's tarring as a capital of racial hatred. ''We suffer so much from our past," says Jeff Tenner, 36, who owns Soca, a boho-glitter clothing store in the Five Points South neighborhood. But for better or worse, young people may be only dimly aware of that past. ''When people my age thought of Birmingham, we thought of the worst troubles of the civil rights movement," says Alan Hunter, 48, a film and music impresario at WorkPlay. ''While it was the ground zero for dogs and hoses, it was also the ground zero for civil rights successes. But there's a new generation that doesn't have a memory of all that." The stunning Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is across the street from the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, the site of the 1963 bombing that killed four black girls, and it serves as a potent reminder of everything that happened here. But the city's younger generation, says Alan Hunter, is able to get past the city's ''low self-esteem" to forge something creative. A Birmingham native who became one of the original MTV VJs, Hunter abandoned New York and Los Angeles to try to introduce artistic revitalization to his hometown. He dreams of making it a ''smaller Austin" -- a center for indie entertainment, especially film, partially buttressed by technology dollars. WorkPlay seeks to be the mother lode of that dream; it is the product of the Hunter brothers' pooling resources to convert a warehouse into a music stage, a bar, several studios, and offices for media and entertainment companies. The brothers say that technology and increased mobility have allowed for the decentralization of arts and entertainment, giving young creative people the opportunity to live wherever they want. ''A creative class isn't necessarily looking for a big city as much as a great living experience," says Hugh Hunter. The city's urge to attract and keep a younger crowd is palpable. The Chamber of Commerce convened a ''Cool Community Task Force," hiring a consultant who specializes in helping cities become friendlier to the so-called Generation Y. Catalyst for Birmingham has more than 600 members dedicated to the motto ''hip to be civic." Tim McDermond, 24, and Josh Billue, 26, University of Georgia graduates, looked all over the Southeast before choosing Birmingham. They now own Zydeco, Birmingham's second-oldest music club, which hosts performers of ''the type of music ignored by arenas[...]

CATALYST "Top 10" List for 2005

Wed, 04 Jan 2006 06:58:09 PST

Whew. What a year 2005 has been. To keep with the "Best of" spirit found in every form of media from TV, print, Web and beyond, Catalyst offers OUR "Best Of 2005" list, in no particular order:Mixing Pleasures - Catalyst hosted a mixer a month, increasing networking opportunities and introducing fellow Catalyzers to each other. Each mixer had a different focus and allowed each attendee to gain a new understanding of the topic at hand.Lofty Living - Catalyst partnered with The Birmingham View and hosted a "Downtown Revival" to show Catalyzers what loft living can mean to YOU. The event was a tremendous success and introduced our members to the downtown living area in a unique setting.All Grown Up - In 2005, the main goal of Catalyst was to be seen as the viable entity that we are. A major component of this was to gain the respect and recognition of Region 2020. With our vision in mind, Region 2020 adopted our mantra and helped catapult Catalyst to the next level by allowing us to seek non-profit status, accept tax-deductible donations, establish office space and gain the much needed credibility among the city's premiere leaders.Red Mountain Bank Recognition - The incredible start of one of Birmingham's newest and most hip banks helped Catalyst get its feet on the ground in 2005. Thanks to a generous corporate donation from Red Mountain Bank, Catalyst has been able to produce a second edition of the Catalytic Drive CD (scheduled to debut in early 2006). Look out for an early '06 party to thank Red Mountain Bank and be sure to check them out on the website at Corner - With the tremendous support of Birmingham Weekly, Catalyst was able to spread our message to the masses through a semi-regular "Catalyst Corner" column, outlining important issues (along with ways to get involved) for our membership. Look for a more regular listing of these columns in '06. Thanks to Birmingham Weekly, Catalyst can reach more and more of the community with the message of our membership and prove it really is "hip to be civic."Swarming Sensation - With the Catalyst blog, our community was made aware of various opportunities to really get their hands dirty, dig in and make Birmingham a better place to live, work and play. Catalyzers swarmed events ranging from the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, Ensley Clean Up, brown bag "lunch and learn" discussions, City Council meetings, Chamber meetings, etc. Bookmark our blog NOW so you, too, can be aware of the opportunities throughout our community.Do you have your "members only" jacket? - Catalyst finally unveiled a true membership structure for those Catalyzers wishing to make a difference and support the notion "hip to be civic." Read all about the membership details here. 2006 will be chock full of members only advantages, so join today!Calling all Candidates - Prior to the City Council elections, Catalyst, in partnership with Region 2020 and Leadership Birmingham, hosted a Candidates Forum to provide an opportunity for the candidates to voice their opinions and plans on issues near and dear to the hearts of Catalyst members. The event was recorded and made available as a podcast. Look for our Gubernatorial and County Commission forums in 2006!"Live First, Work Second" - Our partnership with the Chamber in supporting and promoting Rebecca Ryan's study of our community led to a packed house at Workplay mid-year. More than 175 Catalyst members turned out to learn about what truly makes a "cool community." Even more folks turned out for her release of her findings at the Chamber's annual meeting, where Catalyst was named many times and referred to as "THE premiere organization with which to be involved" in Birmingham.Strategy is the Key - Behind the scenes, the Catalyst Steering Committee held a series of brainstorming and planning sessions to outline a complete and[...]

Mo Fun in the New Year

Tue, 03 Jan 2006 20:16:22 PST

"I am a kamikaze gadfly." - Mo Rocca

It's time to start thinking about your social plans for after the Holidays. Catalyst has arranged something special just for its members.

The Alys Stephens Center and Catalyst present America's funniest news reporter MO ROCCA on Saturday, January 21 @ 8pm. And of course, since Mo is the hippest and Catalyst members are pretty darned hip as well, all Catalyst members get a special deal! All you have to do is call the ASC Box Office (975-ARTS) and mention the code word: MO'FUN (don't tell anyone else the secret). For $25 you will get a ticket to the show and a ticket to the After Party that features great food, cash bar, and fun people who also like Mo' Fun.

And, rumor has it that Mo loves a good party, so he's likely to stop by. The offer is limited to the first 250 people, so call right now and don't wait until January! Who is this Mo we're talking about? Keep reading...

For pundit-weary viewers, seeing Mo Rocca disturb the usual partisan debate of the last election with insights into presidential history and pets is a welcome relief. Rocca, former reporter for Comedy Central's The Daily Show and contributor to NBC's Today is known for his wacky, tongue-in-cheek news commentary. He can also be seen on VH1's Best Week Ever and is the author of All the Presidents' Pets, a satirical look at the secrets of White House pets. And, for NPR-lovers, he can be heard on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me. Need more info? Visit

Give them BIRMINGHAM for the New Year!

Tue, 03 Jan 2006 20:12:47 PST

Birmingham Magazine is offering a sweet deal for all Catalyzers this New Year. Renew your subscription to the magazine - or order a brand new one as a gift or for yourself - NOW and you will receive Birmingham magazine at a discounted rate of only $15. Best part is - $7.50 of EACH subscription you purchase goes to CATALYST!

Email Joe O'Donnell at and put "Catalyst" in the subject line with your order and he will make it happen.

Regift Your Old Computers on December 28th @ Vulcan Park

Sat, 24 Dec 2005 08:28:28 PST

Why keep an old computer laying around if a new one is received for Christmas? On Wednesday, December 28 from noon – 6 pm, the public is encouraged to drop off any used computers, laptops, cell phones and a number of other accepted items to Vulcan Park to be “ecycled.” Volunteers will be on site to assist in the unloading of donated equipment and provide each consumer with a tax receipt. Co-sponsored by TechBirmingham and Vulcan Park Foundation (VPF), this “ecycling” drive is to encourage local residents to recycle their used electronic equipment for the benefit of local non-profits within the greater Birmingham community.

Accepted items include: Desktop computers, Laptop computers, Computer monitors, Keyboards and input devices, Printers, Scanners, Digital cameras, PDAs and handheld devices, Game systems, Printer cartridges (laser and inkjet), and Cell phones.

While most of the items received will be recycled and demanufactured, many will be refurbished. All usable desktop computers will be refurbished and redistributed to select community-based computer learning centers whose programs would benefit from an additional supply of computers. All laptops will be considered for use by Vulcan Park Foundation for educational use in conjunction with Vulcan Park’s wireless Internet service. Such laptops, along with the park’s wireless Internet capability, will allow VPF the opportunity to integrate Internet use in existing children’s workshops, create new educational opportunities designed specifically for learning about “WiFi,” and offer the community access to a valuable resource.

For more information about ecycling, see

Live blogging "Live First, Work Second"

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 08:56:08 PST

Sitting in the audience, using a free WiFi connection at the Sheraton. Click here for the "Birmingham Handprint Summary" in PDF format. Rebecca Ryan speaks to the Chamber's Annual Meeting Catalyst Leadership with Rebecca Ryan Click here for more pictures from the eventHere are some running items from today's presentation "Live First, Work Second" at the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce's Annual Meeting:When asked how the audience broke out by a show of hands...10% -- Life-long Birminghamians20% -- Boomerangs70% -- TransplantsOnly 50% of the study set was in the transplant categoryYoung professionals in Rebecca Ryan's study in Birmingham asked for things like...Politicians who work togetherAn invitation to the "big kids table" (boards of directors, politics, etc.)Catalyst -- Rebecca told the crowd about the funding for Catalyst from the Community Foundation of Birmingham and noted that only the YP organizations that have full-time funding grow to the largest of numbers in active membersPermission to build on Birmingham's painful past.. she described the concept of "two Birminghams": the city that suffered the scars of the 1950's and 1960's; and, the city for the generation whose past is written in history books only... the idea she proferred was "Birmingham's past should be the floor on which the city is built, not the ceiling through which no one can pass."In exchange the region's young professionals will offer...Exciting ideas... well, maybe not "exciting" to others, but innovative nonethelessBoundless enthusiasm (like that found in the Catalyst effort)Viral marketing... they'll tell their friends about how great Birmingham really isDon't waste another year!"The wasted years that come from lack of sensitivity ot industry trends, and the propensity to deny uncomfortable truths, so often imperil a community's infrastructure that by the time the need to change is inescapable, the cash, people and intellectual energy needed to regenerate to community's core strategies have been largely dissipitated."My only complaint about her presentation was that she (perhaps unwittingly) lumped several progressive "older" folks in the audience into an anti-YP mindset. It is absolutely required that Birmingham's young professionals find allies in the older workforce who will help open the doors for this shift. It can't be done solely by one generation.Two prior blog entries about this subject can be found at Attracting Young, Creative Professionals to Birmingham and Rebecca Ryan visit to Birmingham.[...]

Media Files:

Giving Makes Change

Tue, 13 Dec 2005 12:16:43 PST

This film isn't at a festival, but it is one that might warm your heart at this holiday season. Alabama Giving and Alabama Public Television have teamed up to create "Giving Makes Change," a 30-minute program that airs Thursday, December 15, at 9 p.m. (repeated on Sunday, January 8 at 3:30 p.m.)

You can hear Birmingham's Willie Grant, a sharecropper's son now a retired engineer, talk about how he provides scholarships for science students. Or learn from Cristy Moody about what a group of young adults do -- together -- to support the needs of Walker County through their time, talent and treasure. Alabama Giving is a statewide initiative supported by foundations and by a grant from New Ventures in Philanthropy.

As Kathryn Tucker Windham says so eloquently in the program, "being able to do something for somebody else is the greatest gift we have." Watch "Giving Makes Change," and inspire yourself and your family this season.

**ACTION ALERT** Railroad Park Agreement

Tue, 20 Dec 2005 10:59:33 PST

(image) It is now time for each of us, and all supporters of the Railroad Reservation Park project, to reach out to the Mayor and the City Council, in an effort to get the Railroad Park Agreement signed. The telephone number of the Mayor's office is 254-2277. The number for the Council is 254-2294. When you call the office of the City Council, you can leave a message with the receptionist that will reach all Councilors. It is important that the City's elected leaders know that we are committed to getting the park built, and that the time is now to execute the Railroad Park Agreement.

Here's the message to convey to the Mayor and Council members:

    "The Railroad Park is a major project in the City of Birmingham, and it is now time to move forward with the project through the signing of the Railroad Park Agreement."

If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Railroad Park office at 205.226.5217.

In the coming weeks we will post notice once this item gets on the Council's agenda for a regular Tuesday morning City Council Meeting. We'd like the Catalyst faithful to "swarm" the meeting, so keep an eye on this blog and your email inbox!

Learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters

Tue, 06 Dec 2005 13:30:35 PST

Looking for a way to make a difference right here right now? Come to
the Big Party!

It's a chance to meet new people and have fun. It's also a chance to
find out more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham.
Make a difference in the lives of children across the area. Many
kinds of opportunities are available through the program to fit with
your schedule and availability.

We'll have hors d'oeuvres, music, cash bar and door prizes.

Come by Zydeco from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Zydeco is located at
2001 15th Ave. S.

For more information, email Wade Kwon at
Or call the Big Brothers Big Sisters office at 942-8007.

What makes us the Magic City?

Mon, 07 Nov 2005 06:13:43 PST

Recently, some of our region's leadership proposed building on the moniker "Magic City" for the Birmingham region. A few articles have been written about it... please take the time to read them to understand the context of the discussion:

We'd like to know what the Catalyst faithful feel about it. Please fill out the short survey and enter your comments.

Clean Up Ensley!

Sun, 06 Nov 2005 06:18:09 PST

Main Street Birmingham (MSB) and the City of Birmingham are organizing a clean up effort in the Ensley Commercial District on Saturday, November 5 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 am.

Come and help area merchants prepare for the upcoming holiday season by making the district a more inviting place to visit and shop.

Meet at the municipal parking lot located at the corner of 20th Street Ensley and Avenue D.

Keep Birmingham Beautiful will provide bags and other necessary supplies.

If you are interested in participating in this effort please contact André Natta, MSB Main Street Coordinator, at (205) 595.0562 or via e-mail at or we'll see you on Saturday!

Some supplies will be made available to volunteers. We recommend bringing additional rakes and brooms as well as garden or work gloves.

Murderball -- see Quad Rugby live in Birmingham!

Fri, 04 Nov 2005 06:31:44 PST

(image) You've heard about the award-winning documentary Murderball, now come see wheelchair rugby live and in person!

Forty of the nation’s top rugby players will be vying for spots on the 2006 National Wheelchair Rugby Team on the road to regain gold.

Open training sessions will be held at the following times:

Friday, November 4th

Saturday November 5th
1:00-5:00pm and 7:00-10:00pm

Sunday November 6th
1:30pm Team Selection Announcement / Press Conference

(image) All training sessions are free and open to the public and will be held at Lakeshore Foundation's U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site, located at 4000 Ridgeway Dr., Birmingham, AL 35209.

For directions please visit their website at or call 205.313.7400.

Podcast of Birmingham City Council Runoff Forum available

Thu, 27 Oct 2005 07:30:26 PDT

Want to relive the Candidate Forum? Didn't make it and want to hear what the candidates did or didn't say? Well, one of our Catalyst faithful, Daniel Walters, made a podcast recording of the event. It was so much information that it took two files to make it happen. Click on each of the files below (one at a time obviously) to listen:

We'll soon add an RSS feed and begin posting the files on iTunes, Podcast Pickle, Podcast Alley, etc.

Media Files:

TONIGHT: Birmingham Future Forum Event Explores City's Development, Potential

Mon, 24 Oct 2005 09:05:59 PDT

U.S. Representative Artur Davis, Birmingham civic organization Catalyst, and the African American Business Council will host a community forum discussing the future development of the city of Birmingham tonight from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Birmingham YWCA, 309 23rd Street, North.

Scheduled panelists for the "Future Forum" include:

  • State Representative Linda Coleman
  • Bob Dickerson, executive director of the Birmingham Business Resource Center
  • Ed Fields, vice president of business services for the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Jeremy Erdreich, president of Erdreich Architecture
  • Elaine Witt, former editor and columnist with the Birmingham Post-Herald
  • Special invited guests include Mayor Bernard Kincaid as well as runoff candidates in the city's council elections

This Future Forum comes at a critical time for the City of Birmingham just one week before critical runoff elections for the Birmingham City Council. This event will focus on where we are in our current development as a city and how we should work together as a community to achieve the success realized in other midsized southeastern including Jacksonville, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina.

"This is a chance for us to examine where we are as a community and candidly discuss what we can do to reach our fullest potential," Davis said. "I am pleased that Catalyst and the African American Business Council will be participating in this event, and I look forward to a rewarding discussion about the future of this great city."

The council candidates will have a chance to hear from their future constituents about their expectations for the city during the question and answer segment, and Mayor Kincaid will offer remarks on his vision to close out the session.

Emerging Arts Leaders Creative Conversation

Mon, 24 Oct 2005 13:08:09 PDT

The Alys Stephens Center and Americans for the Arts invites you to attend Emerging Arts Leaders Creative Conversation.

Creative Conversations bring together emerging leaders in the Arts & Entertainment fields to discuss issues specific to our community. The CC will begin with a talk back from two of Birmingham's arts leaders, Erik Jambor, Executive Director of Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, and Keith Cromwell, Executive Director of Summerfest Musical Theatre. The conversation will then open to group discussion.

It's free and open to the public, so feel free to pass this invite along to colleagues.

City Center Master Plan... review meeting tonight!

Thu, 20 Oct 2005 09:36:49 PDT

Sorry about the last minute notice, but this just crossed our desks. TONIGHT from 7pm to 9pm, the City of Birmingham will conduct a public meeting to review the major elements of the City Center Master Plan, focusing on the proposed land-use revision. This is an important opportunity for the public to review and comment on the land-use proposals, which will go before neighborhood associations, Planning Commission and City Council.

The presentation will take place at the Center for Regional Planning and Design, 1731 First Avenue North and will include a PowerPoint presentation followed by ample time for comments and questions. If you can spare the time, please attend this event to see how the effort is sticking to the plan in which Catalyst members first heard about last October.

Click HERE to view a PDF file containing the original ULI report from 2002. We're still looking for an online version of what UDA (the current design team) is currently recommending.

Article about Catalyst Forum last night

Wed, 19 Oct 2005 12:34:45 PDT

Candidates focus on crime, economic developmentWednesday, October 19, 2005JOSEPH D. BRYANTNews staff writerNine of 12 candidates in the Nov. 1 Birmingham City Council runoff made their case for election Tuesday in a forum at WorkPlay Theater. The candidates talked about urban revitalization during the event sponsored by Catalyst, a civic action and social group."The future means a comprehensive plan, listening to you, not telling you what is going to be done," said District 5 Councilman Elias Hendricks, who faces former Councilman William Bell in the runoff. "Together we can move forward and together we are moving forward."Bell said many of the issues important to the Catalyst members had initially been addressed during his terms at City Hall. "For over 23 years, I have been a catalyst in the Birmingham area," Bell said. "My shared vision gave us the McWane Center; the current councilor's vision gave you the Furnace strip club. We're better than that and the council needs to be better than that."The two men also responded differently to a question comparing Birmingham to other cities, including Nashville, Charlotte and Jacksonville, that have forms of metropolitan government. "We've spent so much time comparing ourselves to other cities that we've got to figure out what Birmingham is," Bell said. Bell said he's visited several Southern cities, but Birmingham must form its own plan tailored to its own needs.Hendricks said there are lessons to be learned from other areas, particularly when it comes to regional transportation cooperation. "It's not us against Hoover, it's us against Atlanta, and we've got to start coming together to solve some of these issues."Council incumbents and challengers said they have worked to improve the city culturally and economically. "I have been about the business of making sure you don't have to live outside Birmingham to live in a better neighborhood," said District 9 incumbent Roderick Royal, who faces former Councilman Leroy Bandy in a runoff. "I'm leading a team that's cleaning up our neighborhoods."Bandy did not attend. District 4 challengers Hezekiah Jackson IV and Maxine Parker also were absent.Range of topics:Moderator Odessa Woolfolk asked questions covering parks and recreation, arts and culture, regional cooperation and economic development.As chairman of the council's public safety committee, District 1 incumbent Joel Montgomery said he helped law enforcement get the tools needed to fight crime, including new equipment and limited use of assault weapons. However, he said the issue of crime prevention isn't something any councilor can solve. Attitudes must change and economic and educational opportunities must be expanded, Montgomery said.Challenger Lashunda Scales agreed with Montgomery's crime assessment. But she questioned development in her district under the current administration and Montgomery's ability to relate to other city leaders. "Do your homework," she told the crowd. "We need to have someone in government who knows how to get along with their other colleagues. You deserve better, we're going to give you better." Montgomery countered, inviting anyone to City Hall to examine the record and see the millions in public improvements he's directed toward District 1.Business and blight:District 2 contenders, incumbent Carol Reynolds and Frank Matthews, said they were the best leaders to revitalize a district with both established and blighted properties. "This is a business and we nee[...]

On Your Mark, Get Set...RUNOFF!

Fri, 14 Oct 2005 04:54:24 PDT

Catalyst announces an open candidate’s forum for all the Birmingham City Council runoff candidates on October 18 at 6 pm at Workplay (500 23rd Street South).

The Forum will feature opening and closing statements from the candidates coupled with a question and answer format addressing Catalyst issues including arts and cultural growth, regional and city center growth, parks/greenway development and mass transit/public transportation. The Forum will be moderated by Birmingham’s Urban Affairs Consultant Odessa Woolfolk. The timekeeper will be Birmingham View Editor-In-Chief Vickii Howell.

“Having an open discussion coupled with questions from the community is a key way to help increase the voter turn out that was missing on Voting Day this year,” John Stone, Catalyst Steering Committee chairman said. “Catalyst wants to make sure that our membership has the opportunity to openly discuss the issues that are important to them – as well as to provide an opportunity for any interested person to have their key concerns addressed as well.”

The open Forum will kick off at 6 pm in the Workplay Theatre. All candidates involved in City Council runoff elections (joined by those candidates who win their seats outright in the general election on October 11th) have been invited to share their thoughts on key Catalyst issues as well as issues of the community at large.

Catalyst’s mission is to motivate a diverse membership to become educated about issues, find solutions, and work to implement those solutions. Catalyst helps make it hip to be civic by swarming important events, alerting its membership to opportunities in the community and educating the public on various ways to get involved and their voices heard.


Catalyst Election Night Shebang!

Tue, 11 Oct 2005 07:01:48 PDT

Join your fellow Catalyzers on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11 at 5:30 pm at WorkPlay (500 23rd Street South) for the results of the Birmingham City Council election. Several of the candidates and run off hopefuls will be in attendance as we view the results of the important election of our officials that will lead us into the future. Mix, mingle and be merry!

Food and drink specials will be available as well as a DJ for those that need to feel the music.

(image) And stay for the 8:00 Sidewalk Cinematheque viewing of STREET FIGHT, a film New York Times calls “engrossing”. There's a saying that democracy is a contact sport, and STREET FIGHT gives you a ringside seat. Even if you know the outcome from national reports, or lived in Newark at the time, this insider's chronicle of the 2002 race for mayor in Newark, New Jersey is riveting, delivering a dramatic account of youthful energy and ideals running headlong into old-guard machine politics and racial demagoguery. STREET FIGHT covers the turbulent campaign of Cory Booker, a 32-year old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law graduate running for mayor of Newark, N.J. against Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent twice his age. Fresh from winning awards at the SilverDocs, HotDocs and Tribeca film festivals, STREET FIGHT is this year's political thriller.

Hip to Be Civic