Tulsa: Tax Capitol?
Let me state my opinion of the River Improvement Project. New Tax, they say it won't be, they will be using the part of Vision 2025 that was slated for Boeing Aircraft, which was hoping to lure more business to Tulsa. You remember, the part that they said wouldn't be used if Boeing didn't come...well that makes it "not a new tax" just an old tax that wasn't going to be used.
And hopefully we can then get a new tax for the "Channels"...the islands that would then be in an improved Arkansas River. And I am as hopeful as the Mayor that Tulsans will vote a new tax so that City Hall can be moved to OneTechnology Center, which will also house the Tax Collection Center where most Tulsan's paycheck will be delivered to cover all of these new and "old" taxes.
And that doesn't even start to cover the future costs of Cesar' Pele's Crystal Cow Patty, when the air-conditioning goes kaput trying to keep all of that underglass arena under 120 degrees.
I drive through blighted neighborhoods, my old one included, bouncing through canyon-like pot holes, past closed swimming pools, never seeing any police presence, and we are looking at a new group of tax driven projects.
Thanks, but no thanks.
On the subject of the homeless ("Can't Stay at the YMCA," 31 May--6 June), I must agree state funding will never curb the chronically homeless because they would never see it after government and officials handling the program take a cut and most of the homeless are mentally ill. That is why they are chronic. Since state institutions have closed off most people who had no one to go home to or anywhere, so it's the streets for them.
Yes, yes how embarrassing and what an eyesore it is for the poor souls crawling out of their $300,000 homes into their buffed out BMW, and such an embarrassment to have people unbathed everywhere on the streets makes it such an grueling walk to the air-conditioned office.
Looks to me that the homeless already have a "beat in the eye" by life. Nowhere to sleep and people hating you, trying to kill you-prejudging you and your situation. U haven't heard many homeless people playing any part of a "sniveling victim"--most are silent about life and what brought them to the streets. I must say the ones I hear whining about life and playing the victim are the ones who have.
I thank God daily that I have a loving husband, family, and friends-I am grateful for a clean home and food. It's a blessing to know my clothes are hung in closets, not in clear garbage bags that I must carry as a scarlet letter for the self-righteous and haughty to judge me.
People who are caught up in "imagines" need to look at their's because if they really look at themselves, I am sure they will see that dark shadow that lurks in all of us, waiting to come out when no one sees.
Affordable housing, clean shelters with professional people working them should be the first priority of every city.
Further Discussion Along Greenwood
I appreciate Michael Bates' reply (5-11 July) to my letter (28 June-4 July), especially for its historical insights about Tulsa. I want to make clear that my letter did not dispute whether Greenwood got rebuilt after the first trauma -- the race riots of 1921 -- but rather why it's fared rather worse since the second trauma -- the construction of I-244 in 1967.
I hope many readers besides myself have learned something about our city from the sources Bates puts forward on what Greenwood was like between these two key dates. But I do wish to clarify what appear to be genuine disagreements over why neighborhoods rise and fall.
If markets were composed solely of small businessmen pursuing bright ideas and high profits, Bates' solution might work to some degree. But in reality bankers, realtors, and governmental regulators are all necessary players in the redevelopment of neighborhoods.
What distinguishes members of government from bankers and realtors is the rather extreme degree to which the first group can be held publicly accountable for the influence they wield over the way our city develops.
If the bankers and realtors make a killing for themselves by pushing development away from central neighborhoods with history and character toward peripheral subdivisions indistinguishable from those of hundreds of other American cities -- the public can only call them effective and successful businessmen.
If city officials, on the other hand, squander our cultural resources and undermine our city's potential for growth in order to line their own pockets, gratify their own ideological tastes, or what have you -- the public can call them corrupt and anti-social and put them out of power.
I don't know how much of the sort of selfish, uncivic behavior I just described has been at work in Tulsa in the last 40 years -- as I noted in my letter, I've only been here for 3 of those years. I'm happy to leave that historical question to others better informed than myself. But how should we go about estimating what we might expect for the future?
Because the purpose of the free market is to gratify individual appetites, we can have no grounds for complaint or correction when it destroys (or simply preserves in an already destroyed state) public, collective goods like neighborhoods, local character, or civic pride. When governments destroy these things, on the other hand, we do have some recourse, at least in theory -- because public goods are their very reason for being!
Maybe clever politicians (or their masters in the private sector) will defeat the efforts of journalists and citizens to rediscover and rebuild some of Tulsa's public goods. But at least we can try to create institutions and procedures to make the big shots in government accountable to the ideas of a broad range of people about how to promote some kind of collective welfare. That's not something we can do as readily to the big shots in the banks and realty offices.
Given the current presence in Greenwood of OSU-Tulsa -- a theoretically public entity, but one run by a fairly tight circle of former Business School administrators -- perhaps some kind of democratic mobilization is Greenwood's best bet for the near future.
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