Op Ed-Not Seeing The Line For The Marbles

Birmingham AL City Council Member Steven Hoyt, what are you thinking?

A recent request from Zoom Motorsports, producers of motorsports events at Barber Motorsports Park, for $300,000 in support from the City of Birmingham was recently rejected via a coalition headed up by Councilor Hoyt on the grounds of Birmingham being a majority African-American populated municipality and the people who run Barber Motorsports Park and Zoom Motorsports being primarily Caucasian.

The fact of the matter is Councilor Hoyt has no problem with the city directing hundreds of thousands of dollars towards hosting the SWAC Football Championship, building the Birmingham Crossplex indoor track/Natatorium, hosting the Magic City Classic  football game…. The list goes on and on… In fact, the City of Birmingham grands funds to many events over the course of the year.

The common tie among all those events I listed? They’re all within Councilor Hoyt’s district.

All of a sudden, when Zoom Motorsports asks for assistance with an event that brings in a $40 million tax impact to the city, he decides to tighten the purse strings. Somehow, Councilor Hoyt becomes the bastion of fiscal responsibility. What motivates such a change  in the good councilor? A man who is not only a Pastor, but on his biography declares himself a “Dedicated community leader?”

The event is run by “people who don’t look like me.” (Source: http://www.myfoxal.com/story/21802048/birmingham-council-puts-the-brakes-on-funding-for-indy-car-race)

Mr. Hoyt, if that’s not flat out racism, I don’t know what is.

If I were a council member and I rejected funding for an event at the Crossplex on the grounds that the people running the Crossplex “don’t look like me,” you would be on the phone with the NAACP so fast it would make my head swim. I would be forced to issue a public apology and then genuflect to every special interest group that came along.

Mr. Hoyt, in your biography, you state that you have “Worked for over twenty years to impact change that will yield positive results for the community.” If you truly want to do that, Mr. Hoyt, you won’t play the race card.

It’s a tired old adage in City of Birmingham politics that last resort says you play the race card. Sir, this is 2013. I think we should be beyond that level of childishness by now. Dr. Martin Luther King said that men should be judged on the content of their character, and not the color of their skin. You sir, are leveling the antithesis of what Doctor King fought for on the very same streets of our city.

If you have a problem with the funding, consult Mayor William Bell and resolve the issue. Don’t simply throw out the race card and play dumb.  After all, a $40 million return on a $300,000 investment sounds pretty good to me.

I’d like an apology honestly, but I’m pretty sure I won’t get it.

Let’s work together to make our community a better place, not issue dividing  rhetoric and  further alienate each other.

I suggest letting the good councilor know how you feel… Send him an email…. steven.hoyt@birminghamal.gov

5 comments

  • Willy Phiestergache

    I love reading stuff from irl fanboi’s obsessed with a very failing series. Good job to the city of Birmingham in pulling funding for the irl race. They get it. Why should public money support a failing series with welfare when it makes very little money in return. The John Howard’s of the world will claim the race makes money while hd tv and ratings do lie. Nobody attends the race. Maybe 5 to 8000 at best. A Marlo Klain wedding crowd for sure.

    • Oh Lordy…. I guess you’ve never actually been to the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama. It pulls in around 80,000 people over the weekend. There’s 5,000-8,000 people sitting under the trees on the backstretch alone.

  • Willy Phiestergache

    Remove yourself as a fan for a minute and look at the big picture. There is absolutely no way 80,000 people have attended on a race weekend. I could accept that as a total since the first race. I would also love to see proof of 40 million made from the race. That is just complete bullshit. The city is right in pulling their support for this race. The Hulman family has an oil well that hit . Let them invest the money not tax payers.

    • Once again I ask you…. Have you actually been to the race?

    • Willy – apparently you have been away from IndyCar racing for quite a while. Otherwise you would at least understand that the sport has re-unified and has been the IndyCar series for quite a while now, and IRL is dead. Not to mention that the series has become extremely competitive with close racing that has come down to the last race of the season to decide the championship multiple years in a row. I’m actually watching the Barber race on NBC Sports Network right now, and the aerial shots shows a hell of a lot of people along the shaded tree line. I think you Willy need to remove yourself from your hatred of the former IRL (of which I hated as well), and realize that this sport is growing and gaining quite the following. I understand the concern of any government investment in sports or private industry, however it happens all the time and this seems like a wise return on investment.