Digs Channel Coverage
Reader is empowered to submit his own plan for Riverside
Thanks for all your articles about the Tulsa Channels (especially note our Cover Story, "Brain Thrust: These guys want to sell you some waterfront property," 9-15 November).
My letter is in response to many of these. The last two weeks the Tulsa World has published two long Readers Forum articles authored by attorneys who favor the Tulsa Channels. One of these gentlemen mentioned that the islands would be a good place to take his grandchildren.
I submit that if additional taxes be raised for the Arkansas River that there has already been a vetted plan published by INCOG; a plan that has been supported by the local communities along the river.
I looked at the Arkansas River Master Plan and plugged some numbers into the "high" cost estimates that INCOG presents. As an example, for $369 million, we could make the following bridge and road improvements:
20 miles of railings;
300 decorative lighting poles;
Add decorative lighting on the underside of two bridges;
20 miles of pedestrian lanes
A Sand Springs dam and bridge;
A Creek Turnpike dam and bridge;
Along Riverside Drive we could build the following:
20 miles of native landscaping;
20 miles of streetscaping;
20 miles of new, 10' wide trails;
300 new lights;
A decorative tower with laser lights;
12 baseball fields;
12 soccer fields;
2 sports complexes;
5 parking lots;
12 tennis courts;
36 lighted athletic fields;
12 picnic areas;
A Double A Baseball stadium;
3 low water dams;
retrofit Zink Dam;
8 park gateways;
5 bridges across the Arkansas;
A Sand springs Main Street extension;
A Broken Arrow Aspen Extension;
Riverside Drive West.
I am not advocating raising taxes immediately to fund these projects or any other list of projects from the Arkansas River Master Plan, but I do say that such a
list of projects would provide multiple locations that would benefit many more residents of Tulsa County than the Tulsa Channels.
Our taxes should be spent with the goal of making Tulsa City and County a better place for its residents and plant the seeds for private investment to occur around the public locations, not create expensive new land for private profit using our tax dollars.
Clyde F. Wootton
Mr. Bates and the Boring River
Back when Mr. (Michael) Bates (UTW Op/Ed Columnist) first began writing about The Channels project, he made some comments about Riverside Park. He talked about how the trees obscure the river from view, and how he and his wife prefer walking in their neighborhood rather than on the Riverside trail, because Riverside
is so boring! He suggested we make it more fun by implementing The Channels project. (Editor's Note: Actually, Mr. Bates has not written favorable of the project.)
While I am not for or against the Channels project
yet, (though leaning toward against) and I do try to keep up with Mr. Bates' informative articles about the project, I object to his comments.
I also live close to Riverside, and I walk my two dogs almost daily. Right now, Mr. Bates, I would like to call your attention to Riverside. The leaves on the trees lining the river are gold, yellow, orange, and red, and they are quickly falling to the ground exposing the river, so even YOU can see it. Indeed, the leaves on the trees obscure part of your view only a few months out of the year. If you paid less attention to the Jones' house and more to the landscape, you would already know this.
I mostly walk during the day, but in the summer, I like to walk the dogs after dark, and I am always rewarded with wildlife, including foxes, skunks, owls, rabbits, hawks, moles, opossums, bats, eagles, raccoons, and beavers. It is beautiful; it is wonderful to experience the changing seasons and landscape, and the critters throughout the
You commented on how you would rather look at all the houses in your neighborhood rather than the beauty of nature on Riverside. Well, that's fine, Mr. Bates. You prance around your neighborhood and look at all the fancy houses.
If you don't find fall foliage and native wildlife interesting enough to hold your attention span and ease your boredom, that is fine too. But please don't give people who are constitutionally incapable of enjoying the simple outdoors a new, good excuse to destroy some of the cheapest, finest outdoor experiences available right here in Tulsa.
Rivers, trees, and wildlife aren't boring, Mr. Bates, only people are. And saying the river is boring in an attempt to get people to agree to damage part of it is irresponsible
on your part. Surely you can come up with a better reason for common-folk to support The Channels Project.
Editor's Note: Dear readers, we so enjoy hearing from you. But do read the paper with more care and open mind.
Alternative Plan to The Channels
Aerial Infrastructure Resources (AIR) accepts the challenge of the Tulsa Stakeholders and respectfully submits to you an alternate proposal to "The Channels" which is equally visionary and equally viable at significantly less cost.
This proposal is superior for the following reasons:
This project requires 1/10th of the taxpayer funds.
This project will be 100% sales tax producing.
It will be 100% market driven and has the capability to be built on a modular basis.
It will employ local skills in the aerospace, lightweight composite, glass and steel manufacturing industries.
It poses no flooding risk.
It will utilize untapped renewable resources while eliminating odors along the river.
What is this panacea of economic development, this visionary plan for Tulsa's more prosperous future?
The SkyMall, a shopping and entertainment center suspended by hot air balloons!
This project will be located at the site of the proposed Channels, suspended above a docking station that provides for fail-safe operation and poses no flooding risk.
This project will utilize abundant renewable resources currently found at or near the river, such as methane gas from the sewer plant, unburned hydrocarbons from the refineries and a seemingly endless supply of hot air from city hall and other government offices.
Anyone who opposes this type of project is simply a naysayer who believes tax dollars should be spent on roads, bridges and public safety.
Only when Tulsans embrace this type of visionary project can we rightfully claim our title of "Hot Air Capital of the World."
A subsidiary of Tulsa Flakeholders, Inc
Tulsa Flakeholders began with four young professionals gathered at a downtown bar. They vowed to bring a new vision to Tulsa and agreed they would not profit from this extraordinary venture. All they seek in return is for the project to be dedicated to Baron von Fablemeister who was best known for repeatedly asking the designers of the Hindenburg, "You know that's flammable, right?"
EMSA v. The Fire Department
(An open letter to members of the City Council)
Nearly thirty-years ago, Waldo Bales told me to help Norma Eagleton create a new ambulance service for the City of Tulsa. While the service envisioned by Jack Stout and Alan Jamieson did not turn out to be exactly what Tulsa got, it seems to have worked pretty well despite the opposition of the Mayor and the Fire Department.
One thing that has been added, which certainly did not exist back in the '70s, is the Fire Department responding to emergency calls along with EMSA. I am certain that having properly trained first responders in the various fire stations has save a number of lives over the years because it is statistically more likely that a fire crew can reach any given point in the city sooner than an ambulance.
Everyone understood back then that the response time could be reduced below what EMSA would be able to provide if every fire station had an ambulance stationed in it but the cost would be prohibitive. The model envisioned by Stout and Jamieson was to vary the number and location of ambulances by time of the day and day of the week based on a statistical model of the demand pattern information collected over time. I have, for example, noticed that I see ambulances parked at certain locations at certain times of the day, e.g. 41st Street and I-44 at 7:30am on week days. The goal was to balance the statistical need against the cost of available resources.
Another aspect of the original structure of EMSA was to have the Authority hire private contractors to provide the EMTs to man the equipment owned by EMSA for the benefit of the City. Frankly, I do not know if this is still being done or not. I have not read anything about any effort to solicit bids for that purpose in recent years. I do know that EMSA came up with a quasi insurance program to get people to pay an annual subscription fee for unlimited ambulance service. I also know that EMSA has also expanded its territory and hired a doctor, etc., and that Medicaid is cutting reimbursement rates for ambulance services provide by EMSA to our increasing poor population.
I now read that the Fire Department wants to take over responsibility for running our City's ambulance service. While I certainly think it possible for our Fire Department to run our ambulance service cheaper that Mr. Williamson, et al. to run it, I must admit that I am skeptical. It might be better to review the current structure and operation of EMSA with the goal of getting its costs under control rather than create a new Fire Department-based system.
While I helped create the original EMSA, I do not have any vested interest other than that I am a senior citizen who is statistically more likely to need its services than 30 years or so ago. I do know a little bit about health care delivery and issues and will be happy to volunteer some of my time to consult with you, if you wish, about this subject of significant importance to our City.
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