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TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Channel dome money into UAB research

Gov. Bob Riley hasn't sounded much like he was about to join in Birmingham and Jefferson County's folly and help finance a domed stadium.

When asked for a $150 million commitment, the governor said perhaps the state could help in other ways. But domed stadium hysteria is so rampant in Birmingham, the governor might cave in to political pressure and do something foolish for the county with the largest legislative delegation.

Birmingham is offering $300,000 million in conditional funding and Jefferson County pledged $350 million for the stadium.

The Birmingham money is contingent on ending a taxing and funding squabble with the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.

An entertainment district and domed stadium would be nice for Alabama if it had major league sports teams to play there and if Birmingham were a convention city.

"Build it and they will come" is fantasy.

Birmingham's infrastructure needs shoring up and its school system stays in constant upheaval. Birmingham needs to set meaningful priorities and forget about the city once being the football capital of the South. Those days are gone.

Meanwhile, across town from city hall, The University of Alabama at Birmingham is scrambling to keep its place as one of the nation's top medical research centers.

The people of Alabama would be much better off if the governor were to give that $150 million to UAB for research.

UAB has new trial clinics in Alzheimer's disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dermatology, endocrinology and metabolism, gastroenterology, gene therapy, gerontology and geriatrics, incontinence, infectious diseases, nephrology, neuroservices, nutrition and weight control, obstetrics and gynecology.

The list goes on, and it takes millions of dollars and time to do these studies correctly and develop treatment and prevention of diseases.

Let's get as excited about UAB research as we do about building a domed stadium that has no teams to play there.

Building the stadium makes no sense.

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