Host's unrealistic vision
The online story "Host promotes false narrative on 2040 Plan" (in print this issue) reflects the political zeitgeist of our time.
Either he doesn't realize his interpretation of the 2040 plan is at best an exaggeration or he is consciously or unconsciously manipulating the facts to suit his agenda. Either way his stance reflects an almost mystical view of Birmingham where there are two cities.
One city consists of residents and the other of the businesses. According to him, the former are good and the latter bad. As a former member of Birmingham Citizens for Responsible Government, I also campaigned to help elect Host, I parted ways with this group over this very issue. What was a movement to stop wasteful and inappropriate government spending has morphed into an anti-capitalistic movement who see developers as the root of all evil. Ironically Host spent his career in the private sector presumably as a proud and successful capitalist.
In the 2020 election this anti-development philosophy led some failed candidates to advocate a ban on tear downs and other assaults on private property rights. The proper role of the commissioners should be to streamline regulations and eliminate unnecessary red tape, Host unfortunately seems to advocate more government regulation. While there may be problems with the 2040 plan, Host's critique is meant to appeal to voters emotions and the unrealistic view that somehow we need to freeze development.
When private individuals or companies invest, they bear the risks, not the taxpayer – that is why private development should be encouraged. The Marxist/Socialist response is that government should make these decisions and even participate financially.
Host's plan for the city will lead to government financing of private development when commissioners like him make it impossible for private investors to profit from their investments. Birmingham’s charm is based on a holistic union of residential and commercial/urban development, like any vibrant desirable modern city. It's romantic to view it's heyday as a city without downtown buildings but that is precisely Host's vision, however unrealistic it is.