Your Tax Dollars for My Private Project
In the tradition of Great Plains Airlines, and the newly proposed "Islands in the Stream" islands in the Arkansas River, I am requesting help from anyone who can put together a presentation for me.
I want to present a proposal to the Tulsa City Council to help me to build "Steve's Retirement Porch". I anticipate that it can be done for about $2,000,006.00, with tax dollars paying the $2,000,000.00 for the project.
The other six dollars will come from other sources. For their money, the citizens of Tulsa will be able to come and sit on my back porch, visit, and on hot days for an additional charge, lemonade could be provided.
I realize that this seems like a waste of tax dollars, but it is a far smaller waste than Great Plains Airlines was, or what the islands in the Arkansas River will be. If they could raise the tax dollars paid to me for this back porch project to around Ten Million Dollars, I will even get Cesar Pelle to design it.
The Golf of Tulsa?
The Channels is the large retailer concept in that it changes the commerce location to a different place--everyone else can turn out the light and go home. Why not try to bring commerce back downtown? I would suggest an 18-hole golf course between the 11th Street Bridge and the 21st Street Bridge.
The vacant land at the SE corner of Riverside drive and the 11th street bridge could work for a club house--the street could be closed if needed for more space and the river could be canals and ponds then back to a river at the low water dam incorporating the fountain in the project.
Nothing is as beautiful as a golf course and is a good source of revenue too. A golf course would make most in the business community happy and would be a reason for people to come downtown--after golf people may want to browse shops, have dinner or a drink at the local establishments.
The Channels could be built down stream in another location later on--lets give old Tulsa a chance before we give up and build a new one.
Best Laid Plans
This writer wonders what happened to all the other river development plans
My husband, Kurt Nielsen, is avidly interested in what is currently going on with INCOG and the proposed Channels development. He asked that I send an e-mail on his behalf stating his interest in talking to you some more about the ideas he has for Tulsa in general and development along the Arkansas River in particular.
On a related note, I am attaching the plan he submitted to the LaFortune camp during the so-called "public comment periods" during the Vision 2025 campaign. He submitted this plan, not once, not twice, but three times without any kind of acknowledgement that it had been received.
That is what is frustrating to us both. Projects like the arena and the Channels seem to literally bulldoze ahead without so much as a by your leave to the people who have to live with the damn things for the next 50 years. Yes, the public input processes exist, but are the powers that be really listening?
The City of Tulsa has one of the most beautiful, historic, and unique downtown areas in the Southwestern United States. Unfortunately, the downtown area has been slowly dying due to lack of use and interest. Part of the reason can be blamed on the growth of other areas of the city to the south and east. But one reason is the lack of an attractive facility that might lure out-of-town visitors to conventions and other gatherings in the city.
This document introduces a plan to revitalize downtown Tulsa and bring out-of-town dollars to the city through the construction of a new convention center/arena.
Overview of the Plan
The plan for the new facilities includes three main ideas:
*A new large-capacity arena
*A light transit system to shuttle people from downtown to the new arena
*Conversion of the old convention center into a combination of multi-story parking structure, transit terminal, and small meeting room facility
New Large Capacity Arena
The new arena -- tentatively to be named the Route 66 Arena -- would be the highlight of the new construction. The arena should seat 13,000 to 17,000 people. It could be embedded into the southeast corner of the 11th St. bridge in the Arkansas River in what is sometimes called John Zink Lake. Since the 11th St. bridge was part of old Route 66, the name Route 66 Arena would fit. And it is well-established that Route 66, or the "Mother Road," is a bankable tourist attraction.
The design theme of the arena should fit into the unique art deco style of architecture for which Tulsa is known. A design contest may be a good idea to promote the project and to get ideas on which to base the design.
The placement of the arena at the 11th St. bridge site takes many factors into consideration:
*The 11th St. bridge has low traffic flow so construction headaches would be limited.
*The bridge could be used as a service road for maintenance after the arena has been built.
*The arena would be visible from two major highways going into the city, plus from Riverside Drive and Southwest Blvd.
*The arena could be built, along with a major portion of the light transit system, before the existing convention center would have to be closed for new construction.
*A terraced area and large windows could make the arena the perfect venue from which to watch fireworks on the river and other outdoor shows.
Light Transit System
After visiting other cities with a light transit system, such as Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., etc., it is apparent that people are drawn to riding the rails where they can see views of the city and get to their destinations at the same time. It's true that something like this requires a lot of planning and engineering, but the idea is very flexible at this point. Basically, the transit system would feature views of the city from the air space over the river and downtown, and give a very favorable impression of Tulsa.
Conversion of the Old Convention Center
The existing convention center, built in the 1960s, is not the most attractive building around. One could argue that the structure was out of date the moment it was finished. In this plan however, the existing convention center could be reused as parking space and small convention halls. In addition, it could serve as the terminal for the light rail system, possibly featuring shuttles that move workers and visitors to the center of the city during daytime hours. Conversion could also include updating the existing architecture to better fit the art deco style of other downtown buildings.
Rather than abandon hope of revitalizing the downtown area, it is time to take positive steps to build on what we have going for us in the city of Tulsa. A new convention center/arena that combines elements of art deco architecture, the beauty of the city of Tulsa, and the excitement of a useful and fun light transit system would definitely be positive steps in the right direction.
Guilty, No Opportunity to Prove Innocence
I want the world to know, the basic principles of justice are being made a mockery by the following glitch or loophole in "the system".
Everyone would agree, the attitude "guilty until proven innocent" is wrong. I recently discovered a local procedure which is even worse. I describe it as "Guilty, with no opportunity to prove innocence".
DVIS is an organization sponsored by the Tulsa Area United Way. They provide a much needed service to abused persons. The problem is, in some situations they have unrestricted authority to convict, without any of the usual elements of a trial, which would include evidence, cross examination, and the opportunity to face the accuser.
The system is ripe for misuse to the point it invites fraud with open arms. Shame on Domestic Violence Intervention Services! It seems they are encouraging immigrant women who are seeking their green card to claim "spousal abuse".(wink, wink) DVIS knows this will guarantee the immigrants green card and there is NO TRIAL! No questions asked!
In this situation there is NO RECOURSE available for a person falsely accused of abuse. That person is "Guilty, with no opportunity to prove innocence". DVIS uses the "privacy act", "attorney client privilege" and the respect they have earned helping people that truly are abused, to hide this injustice. No amount of good deeds provided by any organization could justify this gross misuse of power! Shame! Shame!
I enjoy . . . your articles; it is tragic that your words are cast out to a mostly deaf population. The quiet few that understand both of your opinions are more than aware of the issues. The movers and shakers of Tulsa have read Gone With the Wind too many times, and didn't realize that the book was a tragedy.
Imagine Tulsa voting for the right to same-sex marriage. Imagine Tulsa listening to knowledgeable people prior to developing or destroying an area of town. Imagine Tulsa seeking culture without economic benefit. If that could happen, you wouldn't be in Oklahoma.
Real art isn't created for bucks. Real community grows from freedom of thought an acceptance, not to increase property values. Quality of life is the pursuit of a community that wants to become, not cash out.
Tulsa has the talent but would never allow the exposure of that talent without a "name brand" or someone from out of state to tell them it has value. Tulsa is the city that goes to the museum and only wants to know the cost of the painting.
These attitudes are not easily changed. The resources to make positive changes are here, hidden among the neighborhoods that are tucked into corners of the city. Educating a population that shopping at Wal-Mart is not good for your neighborhood, economy or tax bills is a task for the brave at heart. Small shops and cute little cafes are not purchased--they grow. For these types of businesses to exist requires a population that will drive past McDonald's for lunch and hit that corner mom 'n pop shop.
'If you build it, they will come' is not necessarily true--ask Flint, Michigan. The people who live in your city must live and care and want the kind of businesses that allow creativity to flourish. An island with high-rise buildings is about as warm and cuddly as an iron maiden. Lofts and apartments manufactured to pretend to be New York are only manufactured and fool few.
An island with a village on it with small boats and canoes to transport visitors, not shoppers, is inviting. A neighborhood where street art is displayed for everyone, not just to be purchased, is interesting. These are a few of the things that make a community. You can't build it. You can't sell it. You must allow it to happen. Encourage it to grow, not discourage it.
Some of the fertilizers that nourish that kind of growth are found in diversity and freedom of speech, even when it offends. Profit is not the motive but the reward. Real compassion for your fellow man is a necessary ingredient. Freedom from persecution from over-zealous prosecutors and police--all things that shock most Tulsans.
I am not saying to quit trying. You are being heard by a few. Tulsa is at risk of becoming a stagnated pool of dead fish big fish as the jobs dry up and the future moves out. Oklahoma's singular obsession with sports kills the arts. People come to Tulsa and want to discuss more than where your wife bought her dress or which high school team won a championship.
Adults want to talk openly about philosophy, morals and solutions. Until Tulsa turns off the sports channel and turns on its creative juices, it will be what it is.
So keep speaking up. Keep opening the doors and hopefully more Tulsans will listen at some point in time. Sooner or later, you will have to be more direct and tell Tulsa who and what it really is.
Very truly yours,
William R. McMahon, Jr.
Inhofe Correct on Global Warming
Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe has been taking a lot of heat lately for his skeptical stance on global warming. He's been called a "social dinosaur" for his failure to accept the politically correct view. But in my opinion, Senator Inhofe is absolutely correct to be skeptical. As the Enlightenment philosopher Denis Diderot said, "skepticism is the first step towards truth."
I'm a geophysicist who has conducted and published climate studies in top-rank scientific journals. My perspective on Senator Inhofe and the issue of global warming is informed not only by my knowledge of climate science, but also by my studies of the history and philosophy of science.
The media hysteria on global warming has been generated by journalists who don't understand the provisional and uncertain nature of scientific knowledge. Science changes. For years we were told that drinking coffee was bad for our health and would increase our risk for heart disease. But more recent studies have shown that not only is coffee safe for our hearts, it can decrease the risk of liver cancer and is chock full of healthy antioxidants.
I read in the Edmond Sun October 1 an article by an economist which indicated that temperatures are now higher than at any time in the past 12,000 years. The fact that the thermometer wasn't invented until the year 1714 ought to give us pause when evaluating this remarkable claim. Reconstructions of past temperatures are not measurements, but estimates. These estimates are based on innumerable interpretations and uncertain assumptions, all invisible to someone who only reads the headline. Better studies -- completely ignored by the major media -- have shown that late-twentieth-century temperatures are not anomalous or unusually warm.
I also read last week that in a mere 50 years mean global temperatures on Earth will be higher than they have been for the last million years. We all know that in recent years weather forecasts have become more accurate. But meteorologists can't predict what the temperature will be in 30 days. How is it that we are supposed to believe that they can reliably forecast what the temperature will be in 50 years? They can't, because Earth's climate system is complex and poorly understood.
It is not surprising that some scientists today find evidence to support global warming. True believers always find confirming evidence. In the late 18th century, a school of geologists known as Neptunists became convinced that all of the rocks of the Earth's crust had been precipitated from water. British geologist Robert Jameson characterized the supporting evidence for Neptunism as "incontrovertible." The Neptunists were completely wrong, but able to explain away any evidence that appeared to contradict their theory. A skeptic pointed out that not all rocks had their genesis in the ocean because he had observed molten lava from a volcano cool and solidify into rock. Unperturbed, the Neptunists calmly explained that the heat of the volcano had merely melted a rock that had been originally generated in water.
Around 1996, I became aware of how corrupt and ideologically driven current climate research can be. A major researcher working in the area of climate change confided in me that the factual record needed to be altered so that people would become alarmed over global warming. He said, "We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period."
The Medieval Warm Period was a time of unusually warm weather that began around 1000 AD and persisted until a cold period known as the "Little Ice Age" took hold in the 14th and 15th centuries. The warmer climate of the Medieval Warm Period was accompanied by a remarkable flowering of prosperity, knowledge, and art in Europe. But the existence of the Medieval Warm Period was an "inconvenient truth" for true believers in global warming. It needed to be erased from history so that people could become convinced that present day temperatures were truly anomalous. Unfortunately, the prostitution of science to environmental ideology is all too common.
Senator James Inhofe is not only correct in his view on global warming, but courageous to insist on truth, objectivity, and sound science. Truth in science doesn't depend on human consensus or political correctness. The fact that the majority of journalists and pundits bray like sheep is meaningless. Galileo, another "social dinosaur," said "the crowd of fools who know nothing is infinite."
Geophysicist, Associate Professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma.
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