Withdraw from the Olympics
America, the shining city on the hill, a beacon for liberty and justice should not celebrate tyranny by participating in the upcoming Olympics. I commend Steven Spielberg for his refusing to become the artistic advisor for the Olympic Games in China due to their involvement in the Darfur crisis.
Furthermore, I encourage the America's Olympic team to withdraw from participation in this year's Games. Not only because of China's involvement in Darfur but for the decades of suffering endured by many at the hands of this communist regime.
This regime has a long list of evil activities. For example, they systematically imprison, torture, and murder Christians and Christian missionaries. In 1989, they slaughtered thousands of student demonstrators at Tiananmen Square. They murder innocent children through forced abortions and use slave labor for many of the cheap products Americans purchase.
Additionally, America should withdraw from the United Nations and stop legitimizing this regime and others like it on a world stage as a partner in "world peace."
Each time America works with China internationally, developing trade treaties and voting with them as an "equal" voice we perpetuate Chinese suffering. The message America needs to send to the Chinese people by withdrawing from the Olympics and the UN is that freedom is not for a few but is a gift to all from the hand of God.
Phillip W. Smith
Rail Wail, Part 2
In response to Dr. Randi Eldevik's Rail Wail (see "Love Letters/Hate Mail in the Feb. 21-27, 2008, issue), Minneapolis, MN is HARDLY the positive example of a middle-sized city that has just recently began light rail transport. It is still government-subsidized.
Bates' argument for jitney service (see "Should Tulsa Take the Trolley?" in the Jan. 10-16, 2008, issue) probably needs a bit of polish. But, he visited a much larger issue of government-subsidized and controlled transit.
If the government owned and controlled the automobile industry like it controls and owns the transit industry, the car of choice would be the Yugo, available only in one color, puke gray. The engine would start only on Sundays, after church.
Professor Eldevik totally missed Bates' point with the mention of Richard Roger's book, Cities For a Small Planet, and the advantages of rail. I am surprised a learned scholar of Oklahoma State University has not gone beyond the standard, tired, belabored cliches supporting transit. As a bicyclist, I am all for transit.
The Broken Arrow Expressway is really a very nice wide 60+ foot bike path. The current problem? There are too many motorists who insist on driving their SUV's to spinning class and making other silly short trips to the grocery store right across the street. Use transit to get motorists off the road. What's left? A whole lotta BIKE paths.
Bates was not belaboring the limited ink space on UTW against the eventual demise of the single-occupant automobile, the unsustainability of auto-centric cities, or even the energy efficiency of rail to move people. NEW rail systems are FAILURES in EVERY American cities because it is controlled, owned, and heavily regulated by government. Tulsa's first profitable and private transit system ended on 1 June 1921.
Tulsa Transit is the present day bastard descendant of that system used to ferry the cheap kitchen help from Greenwood to Maple Ridge. Hannibal
Johnson, Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District, Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum (1998). Tulsa Transit is a failure as a bus system. As long as the City owns and operates the system, there's every reason to expect Tulsa Transit will be a failure as a rail operator. Tulsa Transit and its brothers all over America have NO profit motive to meet the many needs, to include utilitarian and emotional, of the traveling public. If Tulsa Transit's employee parking lot is any indication, even Mr. Boatwright, the general manager, and his employees, the bus drivers, don't ride the bus for their basic transportation needs.
If Tulsa Transit can't even make transit work for its own employees, shouldn't we look for another business model for transit? Getting government out of the business of meeting the needs of the traveling public worked great for the airlines.
Jet Blue would not be possible without airline deregulation. Stylish, 5.4 MHz cordless telephones would not be possible without deregulation either. We would still be leasing black, rotary dial phones from the old AT&T, before its break-up. Divest Tulsa Transit to private operators. Auction the curb rights, similar to the FCC's frequency sales and TV and radio licensing. Deregulate transit. Daniel B. Klein, Adrian T. Moore, Binyam Reja, Curb Rights: A Foundation for Free Enterprise in Urban Transit, Brookings Institution Press (1997).
Last October there was a news story about Steve Eaton of Jenks having been turned down by the Jenks Planning Commission and, on appeal, the City Council a request for a permit to install and use a small grass airstrip on land he owns West of the proposed River Development South of the Creek Turnpike. The proposed strip was to be private for his own use and had been approved by the FAA. Mr. Eaton is reported to have stated that there would be no more than one operation per day (and that would only be under clear weather VFR conditions since his plane is a Piper Cub) The published story did not give details as to the length of the strip.
The permit application was opposed by the Developer and by a Mr. Gentner Drummond who was representing the residents of Aberdeen Falls, an up-scale residential development to the West of Mr. Eaton's property. Mr. Drummond is reported to have stated that he owns Downtown Airpark, Northwest of Downtown Tulsa and that about 25 planes a day land and take off from that Airpark without permission. From my 63 years as an active pilot, and knowledge of Downtown Airpark, it is quite clear that he is comparing "apples to oranges". Downtown has a paved runway, has had lights and has been in existence for years. If Mr. Drummond does not want the runway used, he should paint a large "X" in the center of the field, indicating to pilots it is closed. This is clearly a case of people in ignorance opposing another's use of his property. Since those opposed have substantial funds to pursue the case, they have bought off the governing body members.
It is sad that the first thing people do when something new is proposed is to mount a major project in opposition. If they, with their funds, wanted to be fair, they should locate some flat land of equivalent size, purchase it, and trade it for that of Mr. Eaton. Instead, they use their greater clout with the political office holders to, in effect, deny Mr. Eaton the private use of his land, without due compensation. There is too much of this sort of thing going on in the U.S. today, and it is rapidly taking away our GOD-given freedoms.
Robert W. McDowell, Jr.
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