Fiery exchange between mayor, councilman heats up debate over Birmingham parking deck sale

This is an opinion column.

They paved paradise

And put up a parking lot

—lyrics from “Big Yellow Taxi” (Joni Mitchell)

Paradise. Not sure the word can be associated with Birmingham—not right now, at least.

There’s too much distrust. Too much pettiness. Too much opacity. Too much territorialism. Too much insecurity. Too much fear. Too much (just speaking truth, y’all) ignorance.

Too much this is how we’ve always done it.

Just too much.

Right now, and at least for the next few weeks, the chasm between the two words – paradise and Birmingham – is about the size of, oh, a parking deck.

Six of them, frankly. Six city-owned parking decks (five downtown, one on the Southside) that might be sold to a group of rich folks headed by one of the area’s richest—Shipt founder Bill Smith—for at least $41,375,000.

Might because the very idea of the sale has

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Citizenship-for-Sale Scandal Heats Up as EU Threatens Lawsuits

(Bloomberg) — Malta and Cyprus were issued with legal ultimatums as the European Commission stepped up its crackdown on governments selling citizenship rights to live and work in the European Union.

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The two nations may have violated EU law by offering so-called golden passports, or access to their country’s nationality and EU citizenship, in return for a fee, the bloc’s executive authority said on Tuesday.

Their duo’s investor-citizenship programs may undermine “the integrity of the status of EU citizenship,” the commission said in a statement. Cyprus announced earlier this month it would end its current passport for investment program on Nov. 1.

“When a Member State awards nationality, the person concerned automatically becomes an EU citizen and enjoys all rights linked to this status” and “as a consequence, the effects of investor citizenship schemes are neither limited to the member states operating them,” the Commission said.

The speaker

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