Needs to Rant
So many issues, which one to pick...? What the "NEWS" channels call news is a joke! It's batting about one out
of every four stories covered on the PM news, is actually news at all.
As I am writing you the news is advertising its tomorrow big story. A weight loss pill and how it may have down falls. Surprise surprise, this town is not that ignorant and stupid. I have been here a year now and the news
literally spews common sense.
As I once heard " They have a wonderful grasp on the obvious." I mean please, the news just "reported" dead sea is dying. Ahhhduuuhh. It's dropping a foot a year, WHOOOOOOOOO CARRRESSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have a few topics for the News to handle. How come the part of Peoria opened the same day Starbucks did? Qinky Dink, I think not...
How about, what idiot decided to mess with Peoria to begin with? And what MENSA member decided black brick would be the way to go, geee it looks just like pavement. Then why did the city buy Black Bricks when they could of just bought some more pavement. I think the whole renovation of Peoria actually add 12 parking paces and two lights that aren't needed.
Now News you have a few more stories to report on. Follow the money I am sure it's lining some brother-in-law's pockets. If that's too much, how about find some drug addicts and follow them through rehab.
Ya know people just might watch that.
I feel better now.
Lending A Helping Hand
Hey, City Engineers--why not change how the traffic lights with left-turn signals operate: instead of having the left turn signal activate first, why not have the main light switch first and then activate the left turn signal.
It would help the major flow of traffic by allowing the majority of commuters to move forward and also open up the ability of those wanting to turn left to be able to turn left without a turn signal at times when there is no traffic flowing toward them.
Or, just look at most major cities, Phoenix for one! It's inexpensive to do--you could pass on the apparent impossible dream of commuters: traffic light sequencing--and heck--its pro-active and it might just work!!
Yield Signs- hey, just take them down--nobody knows they are there--try driving on the Creek/169 at peak hours, or for that matter, at 4am.
Exit Signs: What's up with putting the Exit signs with an arrow pointing toward the ramp--past the actual ramp! Does this make no sense to anybody but just me?
If you don't think its a real problem, try the new 11th Street exit off 169. And ask all those drivers who have driven off the road and down into that grassy depression... c'mom guys this just makes no sense.
Other than that - have fun with the Island in the Stream vision unveiled by Tulsa's power-brokers. Has anyone asked the people who came up with this gem if they live in Tulsa 12 months out of the year or do they slip off to Aspen or Palm Springs during the cold and flu season for needed rest and relaxation.
Get a grip. These are the same mensa's who would bristle at the mere suggestion that the State impose a sales tax on luxury items--you know like 8,000 sq foot homes, $75,000 + automobiles especially Hummers--are you kidding me--have you seen some of these monsters?
Here's a tip ...we live in the Great Plains of the United States..not the Serengeti of Africa. Instead they are content to burden the average household with another sales tax to pursue their vision to make Tulsa a destination City.
Let's see another penny sales tax (one) that would make our State Sales tax come pretty darn close to 9% or more - and these guys are wondering why Oklahoma is losing population?
I say pay-up or shut-up to the upper 2-percenter income earner--and then you might get the 'riff-raff" to follow that tune you are playing!
By the way - you're way off-key.
Pearl Harbor Revisited
Some time ago, my wife and I visited Pearl Harbor. After a documentary video about the events of that Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, we sailed out to the memorial of the USS Arizona. There we stood and read many of the names of the 1177 individuals who died that day while serving our nation on the USS Arizona.
Many of them were preparing for church services that morning. None of them expected it to be his last day alive. Most of the bodies of these 1,177 still lie in their sunken grave in Pearl Harbor. That day 2,390 military and civilians died during that surprise attack. Half of them died on the Arizona.
That day a "sleeping giant awoke," and the "enemy" was soon to be faced with something they had not counted on--the power of American patriotism.
While on the Arizona memorial, I thought also of the more than 3,000 civilians who lost their lives in another surprise attack on September 11, 2001. On that day, terrorists foolishly thought that they could cause our nation to crumble by destroying the Financial Towers and the innocent people within them.
What our new enemy did not understand was that it was not these symbols of our economy that made the U. S. great. Contrary to the political idiom, "It's the economy, stupid," the fact is, it isn't the economy that makes America great. The goodness and strength of America is the power of Faith, Freedom, and Patriotism.
Today, I, like most of you, am saddened any time I hear about any of our valiant military personnel falling to terrorist attacks. But, I realize that if our military were not fighting the terrorists in Iraq, we would be fighting them here in our homeland and hundreds or thousands of unsuspecting civilians would be dying as the result of these cowardly acts at the hands of terrorism's demons of evil.
It is much better for all of us to have the terrorists in Iraq fighting trained military than on the streets of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Memphis or Oklahoma City attacking common everyday working people.
We all hate to lose any of our military personnel. But, each life sacrificed by one of our military probably saves dozens of lives here at home and gives the people of Iraq the opportunity to work for a future of freedom rather than tyranny.
And Whose Land Is It?
Palestinians supported by majority of the Muslim of the world are fighting and terrorizing Israelis for the last 54 years claiming that part of the world to be theirs and justifying their actions as Jihad, because fighting for home land is categorized as Jihad in Holy Quran (in case of any doubts please refer to chapter 22-40 of Holly Quran).
Is this really a justified Jihad?
The holy Quran, as per Muslims belief, is a 'Divine Writ' thus anything contained in it can not be argued or changed by its believers and is source guidance for them (in case of doubt please refer to chapter 2.2 of holy Quran).
In a reference in Quran it is very clearly stated that the Holy land has been promised to Bani Israel (the Jews, the followers of Moses) (in case of doubts please refer to chapter 5.21 of the Holly Quran).
To determine what part of the world constituted the Holy Land as referenced in Quran, following is submitted:
Early Islamic tradition by various historians (including Az-Zujaj, Maad ibn Jabal and Qatada) describe the Holy Land to be Damascus, Palestine and a portion of Jordan.
In the Holy Land as described above, Muslims consider Jerusalem to be the holiest of all the holy places because of Isra and Miraj, which attributes to ascension of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to heaven, through Jerusalem in the year 620. And while at Jerusalem he led the prayer for all the assembled prophets including Prophet Abraham.
Jerusalem was also the first qibla (direction of prayer) for Muslims during initial period of Islam, which subsequently was changed to Kaaba in Mecca.
It is therefore, beyond any ambiguity that the Holy Place as referred to in the book of Islam refers to the disputed land between the Arabs, Palestinians and the Jews, which was promised to the followers of Moses as stated in Quran.
Therefore, as per the writ in Quran, the land belongs to the Bani Israel, the followers of Moses and any claim by Palestinians and the Arabs to this land is without validity as per the true Islamic belief and any struggle to regain this land, thus, cannot be described as Jihad by Muslims.
Then what is the actual issue. It essentially is a result of Arab politics of deception and self interest; where by the rest of the Arab world is keeping Israelis busy with Palestinians by ensuring continuation of conflict.
They are using various Palestinian organizations to promote hatred against Israeli Jews by ensuring continuation of suicide bombings (and by the way suicide is a Sin and the person committing suicide is destined to hell, as per the teachings of Islam) which result in retaliation by the Israeli forces and in the process of retaliation, innocent Palestinians also get hurt and the process provides continuous ignition and fuel to Palestine Israeli hatred.
The Palestinians must, therefore, think rationally and should not become a tool in the hands of so called freedom fighting organizations, who are there to play the game of power and money for self interest. They should avail the current cease fire as an opportunity to elect new and sincere leadership who are capable of resolving any issues diplomatically with Israelis without resorting to violence or becoming a tool at the hands of other Arab countries.
Similarly the Israelis must realize that the ordinary Palestinians are victim of exploitation by the so called freedom fighting organization and some rogue Arab countries and any act of retaliation directed toward Palestinian population goes to the benefit of such organizations and countries. If indeed a forceful retaliation is required, then it should have to be a swift one and at the right target with no or minimal collateral damage.
Israel, therefore, should give an opportunity to the Palestinians to find new leadership and should engage in dialogue with the saner elements with in the current lot of leadership to resolve the Palestinian Israeli Issue.
My family moved to Tulsa in 1961. I have also lived in Stillwater, Nashville, TN, and spent time in Austin, TX. Let's face it -- as we travel, memories are imprinted in our minds. A Tulsa memory for me involves my father driving the 1959 Plymouth station wagon through downtown Tulsa to Coney Island (you know, the one with the left-handed school desks). He told me to look up as we approached and right there was the Goodyear blimp with the Adam's Mark Hotel in the foreground as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" blared on the radio.
I also remember the skyline of Tulsa looking pretty much like it does today -- a majestic yet compact array of diversely ornate buildings that sparkle in the sun. As a landscape designer, I understand Bing Thom's desire to place his mini-city called the Channels smack dab in the middle of the river and call it "a reflection of downtown." But please folks, what it will really end up being is a reflection of refinery row (maybe they could call it "Sunoco East").
Mr. Thom's design has no reverence for the culture that already exists in this area of Riverside Drive, namely, the Gaslight Theatre and the River's Edge Bistro, which coincidentally, Jenks has had impressive success copying. And what about the second largest Oktoberfest in the world? Are we just supposed to scrap it and start over? John-Kelly Warren may have a closetful of $5000 suits, but he hasn't shown much hometown value when it comes to this project. Here are a few questions I would like to have addressed:
What is the life expectancy of a turbine that will be subject to highly corrosive, saline-laden water and silt buildup? If the taxpayers fund this pipedream, will we get a guarantee on the life of this machinery?
Who will be liable when we have a recurrence of the deluge of 1986, and the powers that be at the Channels decide to open the floodgates on their new 18 foot dam to send the water downstream? Bixby and Jenks will claim they were wiped out. And if the water is held -- oops, there goes Maple Ridge. What about the mini-city itself? Will it be built so that ground level and below-ground level structures can withstand some serious water?
INCOG did thorough homework and listened to the public in meetings among Native American tribal governments, city leaders, representatives from the Corps of Engineers, and residents of the City of Tulsa and surrounding communities. The Channels is scrapping any consensus that was reached during this arduous public process and doing an end-run around the public at-large. What's up with that? Why not put the thing at 34th or 35th where a lake was already being planned by INCOG? Is it an ego thing that it has to be so close to downtown?
Were any of the residents west of the Arkansas River asked what they thought of giant windmills in their front yards, or is the plan just to claim eminent domain and remove any pesky naysayers?
Finally, what about the cost of the thing? I mean, get real if you think you can buy land rights, appease environmental and civil requirements, and actually construct a whole city for $788 million. And what's going to happen when the project goes over budget? Wait, wait, I already know the answer to this from the arena debacle: "Bend over Mr. and Ms. Taxpayer, we need mo' money."
Mr. Thom, I believe you have good ideas about cities in the future being able to be self-sufficient, but in the case of the Channels, the risks far outweigh the benefits. I would like to see your ideas carried out in a more environmentally friendly way, for example, maybe placing the project in a less sensitive area of the river, and not blocking half of Tulsa's view of downtown
If you need an example of how to approach it, just look at what INCOG did with the help of common citizens like, well, like me anyway. Dan Alaback designed in detail the area between 11th and 21st on Riverside, and you can tell he cares about this city by his design. I would like to see Tulsa do its homework and support river development while preserving Tulsa's identity and culture. But it's important to choose wisely. And with that said, I have a few ideas of my own, if anyone's listening...
First, the river has natural and unnatural divisions in it. I believe the area between 11th and 21st should be dedicated to nightly entertainment, festival grounds, and shopping. There could also be a year-round farmers market (maybe build a covered area on the route 66 side of the 11th street bridge).
Second, 21st through 51st should keep its focus on fitness by supporting and improving the trails. Where the land between the river and Riverside Drive gets wider (between 34th and 42nd), the land itself could be expanded out into the river, with earth and floodwalls, like the sturdily engineered ones at the pedestrian bridge... Fishing piers could be built protruding out over the river, and an area for restaurants and shops could be developed (don't forget the Coney Island!).
Third, Tulsa should consider protecting Riverside Drive with a "scenic" designation or whatever it takes to keep commuter traffic to a dull roar.
Finally, I urge all Tulsans to support the Native American statue and general development of the area where the Native American statue is to be built. It's a beautiful area, a project that will put millions of dollars back into our local economy, and a landmark that will hold its beauty and value for years to come.
I truly believe the Channels -- or "Bing's Bling" as I like to call it -- will be just a twinkle in the eye of Tulsa's economy about five years after it's built. Then it will turn into a monkey on the back of our city. And you can bet that the 20-40 year-olds Tulsa Stakeholders is trying so hard to attract will quickly notice that it's pretty darn stinky down there on the river and it's definitely dark and undeveloped between them and basically anywhere they want to go since all the taxpayers' money was dumped into one small area.
With Tulsa's less than stellar ability to attract and maintain new industry, the whippersnappers will soon be saying, "Hey man, I'm unemployed, it stinks here, and a homeless guy just stole my scooter. Take me back to Dallas quick!" I guess when all those folks leave, the Warren Foundation can donate the whole thing to the state for another inspiring government housing project.
Are you getting the picture, members of the Tulsa Stakeholders? Support local landmarks, work within the natural boundaries of what we already have, and provide for future use of the river without clobbering what we have today.
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