Last week Mayor Larry Langford said he was upset because the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce had added “regional” to its name. As I wrote in this column, Langford was not being entirely forthcoming about why he’d soured on the chamber, which had previously supported his revitalization ordinance (or “tax hike,” as most businesses have known it).
One thing that I forgot to address was how Birmingham chamber nomenclature compares to other chambers of commerce. For instance here in Alabama we have the Mobile AREA Chamber of Commerce, and the Montgomery AREA Chamber of Commerce. And that place we envy so much across the state line, Atlanta? There they have the METRO Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
I know what you might be thinking. None of those are regional, right? More than a few chambers around the country have added “regional” to their names, including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association and the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, among many others.Even some of those smaller cities we're learning to envy have regional chambers, places such as Jacksonville, Fla., Charlottesville, Va., and Memphis, Tenn.
But let's assume Langford is right. If the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce isn’t going to represent Birmingham, maybe Birmingham should find someone who would. The Hoover AREA Chamber of Commerce, perhaps?