Sold Down the River
Today I received an e-mail string from several people disappointed in the River Tax vote failing. It was condemning the residents of Broken Arrow and North Tulsa for not voting Yes.
As someone who (for the first time ever) had no idea which way I was going to vote until I had the ballot in front of me, this really bothered me. While I was standing with the pen in my hand to vote I was going over several things trying to decide.
First, I WANT river development. I wanted it years ago when 2025 was being sold to us. I didn't see much going to the river then and voted No. This time around it was the primary focus that is what I think many Tulsans have been waiting for. But then I had something that kept creeping up, the way this tax was marketed made me put up my guard and almost cost my Yes vote.
To start with, I don't think I heard anyone who thought running children up in front of camera was a good idea. I did not appreciate the countless flyers that I received in the mail or the ads I saw with some kid holding a sign "Do it for us" or "Let's Make Tomorrow Better" or some other catch phrase to make me feel like if I vote No I'm condemning the children of Tulsa to live in rubble.
When I looked through those flyers, I saw absolutely nothing outlining how this vote could actually help everyone in the community or addressing any of the issues that the Vote No people were bringing up. Facts convince voters, not pictures of cute kids.
Next, I heard of people actually paying for any Vote No sign picked up and brought in. Oh, but they had to come from public right-of-way only . . . yeah right.
Then I hear of stories about an artist's drawing of what Broken Arrow could do on the river as well, but then the residents were told "this drawing has nothing to do with the vote". There seemed to be a lot of smoke and mirrors going on. Maybe none of this actually happened, but that was my perception. And as we like to say in my office - Perception is reality.
The margin between Yes and No was 4%. When it's that close EVERY vote counts. How many people were turned away because they didn't trust what they were being told or voted No just to send a message?
This election wasn't lost by the short sightedness of Broken Arrow or North Tulsa, this election was lost because no one put together a compelling case to those areas of why they would benefit.
Hopefully river development does not die with the outcome of this vote. I do hope that if/when it is brought back up they look at a different way of marketing it.
Seldom have I read an article concerning the Catholic liturgy ("Re-Learning How to Pray," 13-19 September, UTW) that is so blatantly biased and misleading. I assume you are not Catholic, or if you are, you are woefully ignorant of Sacrosanctum Concilium and its progeny.
If you actually read it, you would find that Vatican II mandated that the Mass in Latin was to be preserved and the laity required to learn to sing, in Latin, the chants of the Mass proper to them. The vernacular was to be the exception, but given the zeitgeist of the 1960s the exception swallowed the rule.
The motu proprio issued by Benedict XVI is intended to heal a rupture that should never have occurred with the Church's liturgy. The Eastern Orthodox and the Jews have held onto their ancient language and chants but no one is calling them benighted or against the times.
I find it ironic that the liturgical progressives of the 1960s are today's reactionaries, desperate to hold unto a decade and a liturgical "reform" which should be consigned to the ashbin of history. The 1960s are over. Deo Gratias.
Editor's Note: If we can't pray with you, we'll say a little prayer for you.
Tax Plan, R.I.P.
Aaaahhh, the sweet smell of defeat . . .
For the River Tax that is.
Don't get me wrong, I feel that anybody that wants to build a venue on the river should be able to, so long as it doesn't do environmental harm. What annoys me is when they try to make me pay for them to make a profit.
Even that would be acceptable, but LYING about every step in the process? Do what you think is right, but don't ever make the mistake of insulting my intelligence. That's the kind of thing that will make me dig in my heels and go completely Irish. If I wanted to be manipulated, I'd spend more time with my relatives.
So here we are, the "Tax The Workers To Pay For Our Toys" parties are out millions for the (ridiculously bad) propaganda campaign, the streets are still as bad, the cops and firefighters still as understaffed, the kids don't have safe places to play in their neighborhoods, and the guy who stole my NO RIVER TAX sign, to keep my political rights to free speech from being exercised, gets to pay for the cleanup.
Now we just have to keep our eyes peeled for the next Stone Soup agenda to come down from the fat-cat Powers that run Tulsa County. Maybe they'll finally understand what we really want from county government:
Safe places for kids and families to play in,
Police Officers, instead of uniformed thugs,
Economic development for the seriously depressed areas, such as North Tulsa,
More Fire Stations, to protect our homes, an end to destroying historic areas to coddle special interests(remember the Metro Diner? The Camelot?)
Or how about they give a much deserved appology to Ronnie Bell and give him a section along the Riverparks to rebuild the park that they stole from him, our kids, our city?
Me? A Libertarian?
You bet your ass I am.
Edison Preparatory School
I know that my opinion may not mean much to some people, particularly some within TPS, and I know that I am now far removed from the politics of public education in Tulsa Oklahoma. But if there is one thing that I learned while in Tulsa for 50 years and while serving on the boards of the Tulsa Council of PTA's, the Eliot PTA and the Edison Foundation that I feel I should share.
It is this:
Tulsa Public Schools is focused on one thing above all other. That is to preserve the status quo at Washington, Carver, Eisenhower and a few other schools. These schools serve as the private institutions of the education elite within TPS and in particular the Board of Education and the Education Service Center. They are the schools upon which the careers of many within the TPS bureaucracy are built.
To bring them into the mainstream of TPSS would be to undo the life work of some. TPS bureaucrats and the Board of Education know that if they were to treat these few schools the way they treat the rest of the schools within TPS that these special schools would begin to fail their students just like many, but not all of the other less privileged schools fail their students.
Moreover, it would mean that there would not exist a public school within TPSS to which they would send their own children and it would be an indictment of their failed policies and actions if they sent their children to private schools.
Edison, Memorial and other non-privileged school parents, teachers and administrators have been working for years to drag their schools out of the socially engineered education quagmire that they have been thrust into since the inception of the "Magnet" school programs. At every step the Board of Education and the bureaucrats at the Education Service Center have worked against these individuals.
The result has been disenfranchised parents abandoning the system or moving out of the district all together. Others are just counting the days till they can put the nightmare of their TPS experience behind them.
The bottom line is that any suggestion of action that threatens the "special" schools will be vigorously opposed by the powers that be. As I see it there are only two ways to change the way the system is being run:
1.) Find and run viable candidates for the Board of Education, and;
2.) Persuade the courts to force them to change. Logic and argument from parents and taxpayers won't do it. They will wait you out, just like they have so many superintendents who wanted change.
J. R. Sandschaper
Former Tulsan and Eagle
Why My Yard?
I work for AT&T, but I think it is high time to stand up for what is right for consumers and taxpayers.
I have sent an email to city council. I would greatly appreciate any help in communicating my cause to the public that you can offer to me.
My grievance is AT&T has installed a large V-Rad box 30 foot, north of my center property line. AT&T made no effort to contact me. There were already 3 sac boxes on the same easement. No other property in my neighborhood has an easement that looks as aesthetically cluttered as what AT&T has at my property.
My concern is as a property owner I am required by the City of Tulsa to maintain the easements, but there is no consideration given to me either by the City of Tulsa or AT&T when AT&T gets a permit to work on the easement. It destroys the curb appeal I once had, and threatens my property value & homeowner's insurance rates.
The City of Tulsa has done nothing to help me and AT&T's response is that it was a business decision.
Every city goes through phases. It evolves from small town to small city then gradually becomes a booming city. Housing prices go up, streets become crowded and predictably, many people begin to move outside the city limits to avoid these problems. Voila! The suburbs are born.
Both the city and suburbs continue to grow until one day there's little land left in the city. Growth slows and soon the city has become economically stagnant. City services begin to suffer, thus fueling the exodus to the suburbs.
The city's tax revenues drop further, affecting public services even further. At this point, unless major development or redevelopment occurs, the city is going to continue this downward spiral.
This is the situation in our fair city. And unless something is done to change the course of the ship of our city this problem is going to get much worse. Every penny to run our city is derived from sales tax revenue and that revenue has been flat or declining in the City of Tulsa for some time now. And the cost of government, like the cost of any business, has continued to rise. This is particularly true in areas of labor, health insurance, gasoline, utilities, material and supplies.
At this point the city is drowning in red ink. Councilor Bill Martinson's report on the shortfall in municipal revenue clearly defines the problem. But, what is the solution? Earlier this year the issue of annexing the fairgrounds to increase sales tax revenue was suggested as an answer. Even if the most optimistic projections occurred, the revenue the fair grounds would add to the coffers would be so minimal it would have little impact.
The city now has two options: Raise sales taxes on a permanent basis to cover the budget shortfalls or raise sales taxes on a short term basis to pay for infrastructure in the river and promote growth that will bring jobs and businesses that will, in turn, increase sales tax revenues.
We need several good-sized companies to move to Tulsa to replace the businesses we've lost over the past 10 years. While our unemployment rate is low we have a high number of residents that have taken jobs at salaries much lower than they made several years ago because of those business losses.
The proposed Tulsa Landing Project includes retail and entertainment components that will draw visitors from outside Tulsa. However, perhaps more importantly, it includes office development that will attract businesses that will provide well paying jobs. Dell Computers has located in Oklahoma City's river district. Do you think they would have considered the move if Oklahoma City hadn't built Bricktown?
We all want the same thing. We want a clean city with a low crime rate and good streets. We want our children to be able to find good jobs in Tulsa when they graduate, rather than having to leave the city or even the state to find a decent job. The disagreement arises over how we achieve this goal. We can either divvy up the higher costs to run the city among the people who currently live in Tulsa or we can institute a plan that will increase the number of people who will be sharing that expense. Do we really have a choice?
Terry A. Simonson
Not So Supreme
In recent days, my feeling towards Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has progressed from total dislike and near hatred to one of pity and deep sympathy. My awareness of Justice Thomas did not begin with his nomination by President G.H.W. Bush and so when his appointment was confirmed by the timid majority Democratic Senate, I was particularly incensed because I was aware of his professional record up to that time.
As the man who headed up the EEOC under Ronald Reagan, there was constant clamor that this government department was not doing the job of seeing to it that the laws of equal employment was being observed by America's large corporations. So when he transitioned from that office, there was a major backup of workers' complaints which were never properly examined.
I could not understand how a man who got to every position that he ever held due to affirmative action ultimately turned against it and tried to nullify the opportunities it afforded to others like him who followed. Although Anita Hill's testimony was riveting the story of his contempt for the laws and our constitution was already well known. So I gritted my teeth and settled down to watch 60 Minutes' interview of Justice Thomas.
My eyes were opened and I came to understand the story of a man who hates his upbringing and now makes every attempt to live a life that tries to deny everything there is about him and others like him. Yes, he dislikes his grandfather and he hates the mantle he wears of being a man who benefited from special programs given to him because of his blackness.
Clarence Thomas despises the Law Degree he received from Yale Law School because his comeuppance was mostly attributed to Affirmative Action rather than his hard work. Undoubtedly, it was Affirmative Action that got him to Yale but it was his hard work that got him through Yale and it was unfair to disregard that aspect of his development. But when it came time for him to be appointed Supreme Court Justice, ironically, it was the improper use of Affirmative Action that got him through the door along with some rather spineless Democratic senators.
It took me some time to understand why it is that Mr. Thomas could make such anti-black, racist decisions from the bench because he is no racist. Immersed as he is in self-hatred and loathing of his very upbringing, Mr. Thomas has gone the other way and has fully bought into the doctrine of white supremacy. As such he has attempted in every aspect of his life to rid himself of his blackness in an attempt to prove to himself and everyone else that he has eschewed, as it were, everything that is really him.
This is an unfortunate individual and one that should be afforded all help. Unfortunately he does not see himself in that light so presently, he is beyond help. History is replete with examples of people who have despised their past trying to conceal it from others. In Mr. Thomas' case he cannot obfuscate what he is but he can show his scorn by acting like what he is not. How sad!
Colin T. Bent
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