"Stepping Up With Specifics"
Thought that I would write a short note to you about your (Michael Bates' OpEd piece, Oct. 26 -- Nov. 1) comments about Step Up Tulsa. I have been meeting with Henry Kaufman and others on a weekly basis for a number of months to discuss issues relating to Downtown Tulsa in an effort to formulate practical strategies to implement to fix our downtown. We have identified a number of problems with downtown that we believe make it unsuccessful in competing with other parts of town as a residential, retail or commercial area of our City.
The problems that we keep coming back to are: (1) the large number of homeless people who make their livings downtown, (2) the dearth of boots on the ground law enforcement downtown, (3) the crazy quilt pattern of one and two-way streets downtown, (4) lack of free parking for patrons of what business remain downtown, (5) inflexible building and fire codes policies and enforcement personnel.
Except for the homeless, all of the problems relate to how the City insists on running Downtown Tulsa. The building and business owners always point to one or more of these issues when asked what they think is wrong with our downtown.
If, on the other hand, one talks to about anyone in the City, other issues seem to be paramount. For example, every business owner along Boston wants it to be a two-way street. The City put Boston on its tax and spend wish list and developed plans to "fix" the problem with Boston at a cost of $7 million. The initial plan would have resulted in Boston becoming a two lane two-way street.
When the Baumgarners and others found out what was in the works they threw a fit and the plans were modified so that Boston will remain a four lane street. Most everyone asks how it is possible for it to cost $7 million to convert Boston from one-way to two-way. The answer is that most of the money will be spent to make the street prettier.
In a couple of years Tulsa will have spent $10 million fixing Main Street and Boston but nothing will change because the money will not change the way our downtown works.
Hip Visitors Love "Mexican"
Recently the high sheriffs of my employment allowed me the "luxury" of leaving the warm bosum of Texas to travel to Tulsa. After recovering from my depression with massive quantities of 3.2 beer (and Texas athletes want to go to college in Oklahoma??) I happened upon the local Tulsa alternative weekly
Your introductory "gabacho" column had me laughing (no, it wasn't the weak-ass beer...the laughter actually helped relieve the bloat). So, scant 2 weeks later I link to the Dallas alternative weekly and in the links is the "Ask a Mexican" column beckoning once more for me to waste precious worktime resources.
Dude, your column is spreading like, well, cotton choppers and potato pickers (immigrant labor categories of my former parttime schoolmates in West Texas (yeah, we capitalize a compass direction...its what we do).
While my perspective is Anglo, my rural hometown was ~50% Mexican (depending on the season) so a lot of your column hits home, and is extremely welcome. From someone who's first paddling at school came in 2nd grade for calling a kid a "son of a beech" but learned to say pendejo without punishment, the benefits of 2 cultures were apparent at an early age (just don't talk about chi chis grandes to Luz Rodriquez)
I wish you continued success with your column as it finds an audience. Here in Austin we're likely too liberal and pc for that kind of humor (still needing a humor transplant after releasing GW on the world) but it's good to know you're out there on the internet. It's also good to know that in Tulsa there are Taquiera storefronts with "Menudo" on the window, where you can speak crappy Spanglish to a sweet young thang that will bring you weak-ass cerveza fria to go with your carne guisada and cheeps.
Authentic Mexican food and "Ask a Mexican" in Tulsa. Amazing.
I will suggest to the Chronicle that they consider using your column, though.
Don Alexander in Austin, Texas
On Assyrian Genocide
Recently a fourteen-year-old Assyrian young man was discovered crucified to death in the Iraqi city of Alb asra.
The ghastly execution is just one of the hundreds of killings directly attributed to the Pope's remarks about someone else's historical comments about Islam, made centuries ago. Talk about think skin and long memories!
During the same week, a priest was kidnapped and in typical grizzly Muslim killing style, his throat was cut out.
But these are just two of many thousands of grizzly murders of Assyrian Christians at the hands of Muslims in recent years. Beheadings, rapes and beatings continue to be common occurrences in that region. Tragically, there have also been a growing number of reports of young Assyrian Christian women committing suicide after being raped and desecrated by men from Islamic groups.
But who cares? Most people don't even know what an Assyrian is, so I'll tell you. Assyrians were the ethnic group comprising the second world empire. Their historical peak followed the Egyptian Empire and preceded the Babylonian Empire. Most people probably assume the Assyrian race went extinct years ago but there are still a few million Assyrians left in this world, mostly in Northern Iraq, some in Syria or Turkey and some large concentrations of this remnant people in Modesto, California and Chicago.
But at the rate Muslims are murdering innocent Assyrians, this ancient people may very well become extinct.
These killings have already triggered a large exodus of Assyrian Christians from Iraq to Turkey and other nearby nations. The London Guardian reports that the largest single group of refugees in Jordan this year were Christians from Iraq. Approximately 40 percent of Iraqi
refugees seeking asylum are Assyrian Christians. I am an Assyrian American (also known as Chaldean and Syriac) who as a young boy heard of how my great uncle was rounded up with 50 other Assyrian Christians who were all burnt alive in a Christian Church by Muslims (called Mohammedans in those days) for refusing to denounce Christ and convert to Islam.
But the sad thing about "ethnic cleansing" is that by the time the world finds out who is being "cleansed", it often is too late. The genocide of Assyrians needs to be stopped now. It is my hope, plea and prayer that the world will become aware of the Assyrian plight and intervene to save this fine people group.
Share this article: