Praise for TIFs
As a full time economic development professional working everyday to expand our local economy I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your article on TIFs. Well written and researched. I was on the agenda to speak last week at the House subcommittee hearing on TIFs but after two hours of speeches by those opposed to TIFs the chairman adjourned the hearing with only one presentation in favor of TIFs. Oklahoma and especially rural Oklahoma have a limited "tool bag" to work from to help spur development. In the next legislative session there will be a significant effort to severely limit the use of TIFs in Oklahoma. Please keep your eye on this issue, it's going to get interesting. There is a lot of misleading information being disseminated around the State so don't buy everything you may hear in the near future.
Thanks again for a very good and fair article.
Going Into Labor
My comments are concerning an article titled "Who Do You Work For?" (Guest Editorial, Nov. 1-7, 2007). First, Americans whom are represented by organized labor earn about 20 percent more money than non-organized labor.
How does this apply to Urban Tulsa?
Urban Tulsa appears to represent entertainment and dining quite extensively, which is usually purchased with discretionary income. The more money people earn, the more they have to spend at your customer's businesses.
Detroit- every ill that American automakers are experiencing are direct results from poor management decisions, not labor.
Truth About Teacher Pay
As a teacher, I congratulate Mr. Stoops on his well-done research and confronting the myths about teacher pay.
I feel adequately compensated for what I do. Moreover, people who go into this field should not complain.
They know what they are getting into.
One thing Mr. Stoops left out thought is the unintended consequence of higher teacher pay: getting teachers with less experience.
Entering my sixth year of teaching, and feeling burned out, I was seeking new employment. I noticed that many districts did return phone calls or emails when I inquired about openings. Why did they not call me back? I had a Master's in my teaching field and some good experience.
A human resources expert told me a possible reason is that school districts would rather hire teachers with less than five years experience and a Bachelor's degree because they do not have to pay out as much on salary.
I finally found a new position. In this journey, I discovered that just as minimum wage laws put people out of work, hiking teacher pay as much as the State Legislature has over the last three years is forcing administrators to hire teachers with less experience and education.
It is no wonder quality is eroding.
Stop Talking, Do Something
Brian Ervin's article, Opening Eyes and Hearts, in Urban Tulsa this week shines a spotlight on the continuing saga of people talking about people talking. I have attended at least 9 of the Tulsa Together services missing this year because of not being in town. It is not that we are different colors and have different faith traditions and cultures. That is the given. Talk is cheap and most of the resulting conversations uninteresting, unintelligible, and unworthy of note. On the other hand, casual conversations that you have when you are working together with people different from you on a project worthy of your time often produce understanding and lasting relationships.
People are proving neighbor to one another all over the city, sometimes as faith initiatives but often as personal statements of their beliefs. This is done at DVIS, Tuesday Morning Miracle Workers, EIS, The Day Center for the Homeless, The Salvation Army, The Iron Gate, The Community Food Bank, of Eastern Oklahoma, John 3:16, Tulsa Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together Tulsa, and many, many more agencies and ministries. Black, white, brown, Catholic, Pentecostal, Jewish, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Muslim, Disciples, and Unitarian, and more working side by side are caring for ones who have been kept down, fallen or been knocked down and in doing so are caring and ministering to that one and one another without one creed, doctrine, or the big one, dogma. A local theologian, Garth Brooks, has said he has friends in low places. We all should be that fortunate. If you were God Almighty, would you want people yammering about their guesses to the Mystery of Presence or want them doing the actions you told them to do?
Tulsa Together has a great service once a year. Highlights from past years have been Carlton Pearson standing in the raised pulpit at First Presbyterian saying, I just thought we were Higher Dimensions and Sydney Flack from Prince of Peace Lutheran changing the script because of the contentious climate between mayor and city council, all who were in attendance that night, to reading the Dry Bones from Ezekiel with such fervor that I wept unashamedly over Tulsa. Talk is good then, but it's just not enough. Ezra 10:4 says, Rise up, this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.
Angry About Aliens
Would someone please explain to me how the media and so-called Godly people can possibly defend illegal behavior? It has always been against the law to aid and abet criminals - illegal aliens are criminals. They have no right to be in this country and no right to any of its benefits. Illegals have stolen into our country and take our money by demanding free medical care and goods and services from our social service agencies. Why doesn't the media report the crippling aspects of the illegal invasion? Illegals cost us an enormous amount of money. They have overwhelmed our schools and social service agencies. They have raided our country and protest our laws. They expect us to accommodate them at all times, otherwise, they will holler "racial profiling." It is obsene that illegals have been allowed to overwhelm us and demand that our laws reflect their needs. It is obsene that American taxpayers are supporting the economy of Mexico. If people would only read the hispanic newspapers, they would find out that the ultimate goal of these people is taking over the U.S. Again, how can anyone defend the illegal behavior of these invaders?
Name withheld by request
The Cherokee Nation Council has passed the Cherokee Nation Arts and Crafts Authenticity Act 2007 in Rules Committee and will no doubt pass it before the full Council in November. I don't think they took the time to consider the impact of the act nor allowed enough time for good discussion and contributions from the communities they will affect. They are making a solution before the problem has manifested itself. Can the Cherokee Heritage Center (on its own volition and not by order of the Cherokee Nation) and other stores of Cherokee businesses/entities properly label things? Those coming to buy artwork are presuming that it's by "registered" Cherokees, but I wouldn't preclude outright the sale of other artwork. For instance, what do we do with people who are in fact Cherokee by blood but are also of another tribe? They are eligible for enrollment and they have enrolled with Choctaw or Creek, etc. That person is clearly Cherokee, but arguably not under this act. And then what do we do about Shawnees and Delawares? They are not Cherokee, but they are allowed to be "members or citizens" by adoption in treaty to the Cherokee Nation. Under this Act, a full blood Delaware person is Cherokee, but a ? by blood Cherokee who enrolls Choctaw, because of other blood is not Cherokee. It destroys cultural decisions of self-identification. Art depicts Cherokee culture, even if done by another, it has value. - Not enough discussion.
Where is a definition in this act of what actually constitutes a "Cherokee artist" -- it does not specifically say UKB and Eastern Band, and the only reference is to the Cherokee curator (which has to be a citizen of the Cherokee Nation (not UKB, not Eastern Band).
Willard Stone has made a positive contribution to Cherokee culture through his artwork. The most famous piece of Cherokee art work in the world -- the Exodus is by Stone -- not Cherokee by the standards of this legislation. This legislation does not interfere with the display of Willard Stone's art work but who will protect the next up and coming Willard Stone if this legislation is passed? Culture can be taught. A person can be culturally Cherokee, without being legally Cherokee. A panel that recognizes art as Cherokee even when made by an individual not enrolled can contribute to the culture. Does the art enrich the lives of Cherokees? Pan-Indianism and Cultural Misappropriation does not enrich our culture. A Cherokee that makes dream catchers is making Cherokee Art, but the Art does not contribute to the reinforcement of Cherokee Identity through traditional culture. A dream catcher is another tribe's medicine. Anything a Cherokee makes is Cherokee art but what benefit does it have to our culture. Skill, integrity, and cultural understanding are not determined by legal definitions of Native identity i.e. CDIB card. Blood quantum is not accurately biological; it is a socially-constructed legal indicator of Cherokee identity. Legal identity is appropriate and necessary in some situations but we need to take care not to weaken the cultural definitions of Cherokee identity. People that have been adopted into and espouse Cherokee culture, our own extended family and friends, should be considered in this legislation. And, they are not.
Also, when the legislation passes -- '...they made the ruling, now let them enforce it." Sound familiar?
Roy Hamilton (with the help of friends).
I wonder if you people at this paper understand that the only reason that Tulsans pick up this paper to look at is because it is free and like to look at what is going on around town for the weekend. Nobody cares about what somebody thinks about a movie or what Michael Bates thinks how this city should be run. If he knows so much why doesnt he run for mayor? I have kids and grandkids and we all are homegrown Tulsans and what has he done to make Tulsa a better place to live. I hope him and all the other
hardheaded dumb old okies are glade they voted no to take a free donation of money that would make Tulsa a better place to live. Now we want to know what his game plan is to make Tulsa a better place to stay here and enjoy in our
1203 so birmingham
Tulsa, ok 74104
Editor's Note: A little more education earlier down that old, dusty road might have done you well. At this point, at least a little "grammar and spellcheck". Next time you write, do us all a favor and have your granddaughter proof your letter.
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