"The signs are obvious that the neighborhood around downtown's west Archer St. has seen better days." ("Archer Street Blues," from the May 29-June 4 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly) Are you kidding?
Thank you for such sincere praise to those of us who have been laboring away to revive, rebuild, renovate, restore, reanimate the most spirited historic urban neighborhood to kick up a little dust in an effort to revitalize downtown. Thank you personally, Brian Ervin for the support and encouragement you sent via this article in May24/June4th issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.
When I think of my neighborhood I do not think, "blighted", or "chronic". You might look for more subtle signs of urban activity than the cliche dangling shoes from power lines. The Archer St. lofts come to mind. Did you ever visit that building when it was home to John 3:16? Quite a difference in appearance and energy wouldn't you agree?And the corner of Brady and Main? Just ten (10) years ago you could rent a room there for $7.00 a night. Those of us who work at Lola's hear on a weekly basis from someone who lives in Tulsa how thankful they are for the efforts we are making to try and anchor this area with a restaurant! And of course The Cain's Ballroom, thank God for the Cain's, The Carnegie Hall of the Midwest.
All of these have added a positive attitude and energy to this "blighted" neighborhood. It's interesting to note that the ho trade is so frisky in the district that is home to the David L. Moss Correctional Center, Avalon Halfway House, Sheriff's Dept., Police Dept. and the soon to open BOK Center. I suppose the world's oldest profession is not without research. Know your audience. Location! Location. Location.
In consideration of downtown revitalization, why decision makers placed the city's jail, day centers and half way houses in the heart of our historic revitalization efforts is mysterious. And why would the BOK choose to place their multimillion dollar arena in the heart of where whore's stroll and dealers roll is also very curious. Seems like a captured audience.
And the pedestrian traffic now chainlinked out from this side of downtown.
It's not easy to navigate downtown but fencing out travelers and people who work on the other side is, well, discouraging.
I do agree with my neighbor Mr. Thompson and his concerns about the shelters and day care for the homeless. You must have an ID to enjoy any of the benefits they offer. Yet, so many do not have a valid Drivers License, birth certificate, state ID or some form of government issue identification. A sample round up to reveal how many were in possession of an ID would be interesting. Why not offer the service to proper identification for this population from these institutions? You don't have to have an ID to go to jail do you? Or a TB test either. Perhaps this would reduce infectious disease, increase their chances of employment.
I recently hired an inmate from the Avalon Correctional Facility, while in our employ he was on time, never missed a day and was truly grateful even if he received only half of what we paid him, the other half going into the Avalon's account. He was one in 350 according to a telephone operator that answered the phone there this week. I can't get anyone to come for an interview since he was released.
It's hard enough to get people to believe they can come over to North downtown and have an enjoyable evening without you blighting our efforts with your disparaging articles.
Mr. Tay makes many excellent points; as fuel costs rise, more individuals will seek alternative means to get where they want to go.
Those choosing bicycles are at particular risk due to the difference in mass and protective structure between 200 pounds of meat and aluminum, and 1000+ pounds of steel. Sadly we must expect an increase in accident, injury and death due primarily to increased exposure and inexperience by all involved.
The 2006 edition of the Oklahoma Driver's Manual devotes barely 2 pages to bicycles. Most of the content is directed to motorists who will encounter bicyclists on the roadway. Perhaps most salient is the Department of Public Safety sees fit to endorse the principles of vehicular cycling in those two pages. Very clearly is stated where the bicyclist can legally ride and why. The only real shortcoming is no mention of the 3 foot safe passing requirement.
As DPS has seen fit to include this information in the Oklahoma Driver's Manual, it is equally important that all educators, civic leaders, and law enforcement officials be aware of and begin educating themselves and their constituents.
There are many bicycling clubs in the state of Oklahoma. A partial list can be found at www.oklahomabicyclesociety.com/clublst.htm.
These active adult cyclists, who are also motor vehicle drivers, are a good resource for skilled, knowledgeable teachers who can mentor new bicyclists.
There are also over a dozen League of American Bicyclist Certified Instructors in the state:
Finally the Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition, in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Oklahoma State Department of Education is in the process of assisting schools gain Safe Routes to School Grants to improve the physical health and safety of school children walking and riding bicycles to school. More info can be found at: ODOT's SRTS website:
http://www.okladot.state.ok.us/srts/ and Safe Routes to School National Partnership - Oklahoma link
(In response to "Doggone Strays" in the May 29-June 4 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
Animal Control has air tranquilizer guns available to them at this time but are locked up rusting away. The tranquilizer drug being used right now is not a controlled substance drug, it is available to a citizen just like the air tranquilizer gun.
You can buy many tranquilizer products at local feed stores and online without any special license. The tranquilizer guns and drugs legally are available to the animal control officers at this time but are just denied. Animal Control officers have been to the class for D.E.A. controlled substance, and have passed the tests for buying and using controlled substances anyway.
-James Sutherland, Animal Control Officer
Cruel and Usual Punishment
With homes being foreclosed and the cost of living skyrocketing, animal shelters across the U.S. are bursting at the seams with abandoned animals--many of whom must be euthanized to make room for the never-ending flow of more animals (AP story).
I urge people who are facing financial difficulty to explore every option to keep their animals, including searching for rental properties that allow animals and asking trusted family or friends to care for animals temporarily. If your veterinary bills are adding up, talk to your veterinarian about working out a payment plan.
For people who truly have no other option, taking animals to shelters where they will be fed, cared for, and loved, and will have a chance at finding new homes, is the kindest thing to do. Abandoning animals to "fend for themselves" or handing them over to strangers are virtual death sentences.
Everyone can help free up room and resources at shelters by having their own animals spayed or neutered and by adopting animals from shelters instead of buying them from breeders or pet stores, which contribute to overpopulation. To learn more, visit www.HelpingAnimals.com.
It is time to remove Sally Kern from office. There is no excuse for such rabid meanness in any public official. This level of ignorance and bigotry cannot be tolerated. Private citizens can be as off the deep end insane as they want but it is totally unacceptable for someone so grossly misinformed in public office. I have heard her extremist rants, her ugly and obsessive personal agenda against law-abiding citizens. It has no place in politics or in polite society. Her accusations are absurd. It is unfortunate that anyone can be so ruined by fanaticism as this miserable creature is. Weak and pathetic people like Sally Kern are not leaders at all. Real leaders are intelligent, kind, compassionate and want the best for all people. It is sad and disgusting that such bottomless ignorance and hatefulness could be considered leadership.
Of course she has her followers. Hitler had followers. Ignorance and bigotry are never hard to find. What is rare is real leadership, real compassion, real morality. Real heroes are rare indeed. As common as she is, hers is still the most grotesque level of ignorance and bigotry I have seen. What must have made her such a horrible person I don't even want to know. It hurts my heart to hear her vile words. It is not what this earth needs, and it is the most depraved sense of so-called morality I can imagine. Certainly it has not made her a better person, but in fact has turned her into a hard, nasty bigot of the worst kind. She needs therapy. She needs some enlightening of her own. She needs to be removed from office immediately. It is always the weakest, those farthest from true leadership, true morality that hide behind their religious obsessions to spew their hate. The last thing we need is another small-minded, unsophisticated bigot, the last thing we need in this cruel world is someone like Sally Kern.
It is totally, absolutely and unequivocally unacceptable for her to be able to spew her reprehensible nonsense and poison in the public schools! Only love and compassion and tolerance, from being truly informed should be desired. What brand of morality is this? Certainly not one I would ever want. I am so thankful to be free of the ugliness that has ruined Sally Kern, so grateful to have a kind heart with compassion for people. It is always particularly appalling when misinformed people, because of their own personal weakness, spread hate under the guise of morality. She is a pathetic, sad, miserable excuse for a human being and her ugliness will never enlighten or help anyone!
There are many, many decent, kind, moral and honorable people in this world who are homosexuals. I have known brilliant and compassionate gay doctors who have dedicated their lives to helping others, people far, far more noble than Sally Kern could ever be. Her fears are ungrounded in fact. Such a backwards way of thinking... like racism, to lump all of one category of people into one group and call them evil! The fact is, life is a mystery. We are all, all of us, just people on this journey in life, on this magical mystery tour, all just trying to make our way in the world. No one really knows why we are here, why some people are white, some black, some straight, some gay. The best policy is to have love and compassion in our hearts for all people.
People with hateful and misinformed messages like Sally Kern's that pander to the lowest and basest instincts in man don't last, though, and usually compassion and kindness win out over it because kindness is what a healthy heart innately wants. Sally Kern is a disgrace to the fine people of Oklahoma, a disgrace to humanity. Surely Oklahoma can do better than this!
In reading Chrissy J.'s letter to the editor last week, "Bike Etiquette", I couldn't help but chuckle at the irony. I cannot count the times I have been running or walking with family at the river parks trail and have a bicyclist zip past me from behind, yelling "ON YOUR LEFT" as they approach your heels.
Similarly as a group of cyclists 3 abreast come pedaling upon you and expect you to get out of the way so you do not disrupt their conversation. You would expect these bicyclists to show the same courtesy they expect from drivers to us slower and vulnerable pedestrians.
My suggestion to Chrissy J. and others that feel as she does, re-read your letter and insert "pedestrian" for "bicyclist" and "bicyclist" for inferences of "drivers".
Lets all play nice.
I love good food as much as I love life, therefore I love Urban Tulsa because it is the greatest, the one and only, source of new and existing restaurants in Tulsa. I love the Cuisine Scene section and it is my favorite part of your paper. This is the first time I thought about getting on your Web site and I like it just as much as the print.
The only thing I wish there was more of in the Cuisine Section is more photographs of the restaurants that you feature in your articles. Great food is key to a successful dinner but ambiance matters just as much. It would help me get an idea of choosing the restaurant with the perfect mood for a date with my wife.
Thank you for doing an excellent job, you just helped me decide which new great restaurant (SoChey) to take my wife to on our next date. Keep up the great work!
Letter to Senator Inhofe
Re: Floor Statement on H.R. 2003 "The Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007
I must respectfully take issue with your prepared remarks regarding H.R. 2003, The Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007. The House of Representatives has sent H.R. 2003 to the Senate with unanimous backing. Not one Representative took issue with the bill.
Now it is up to the Senate to pass this legislation. I believe the bill is sound and a very important American contribution to democracy in Ethiopia. The reality in Ethiopia is that the tyrannical regime of Meles Zenawi continues to oppress the Ethiopian population. This regime has never hesitated to imprison and kill its national political opposition. "Unprecedented progress" and "obvious advancements" are illusions; ask an Ethiopian.
Travels by members of the U.S. Senate are highly visible to the people living in the areas visited. If those people are subjected to pervasive spying by Secret Police then what may be heard could be false witness. Such was the case, I am sure, in Ethiopia.
Your interest in the adoption of a young Ethiopian girl by your daughter is quite commendable. But one person out of seventy-five million souls is a very small sample. H.R. 2003 addresses the large issues confronting the nation of Ethiopia and should be enacted.
If you say that you "...continue to agree that the violence and intimidation that took place after the 2005 election was an unnecessary use of excessive force" you need to know that this continues to the present moment. The Meles regime has in fact taken no steps to introduce democracy to Ethiopia. To the contrary, it has embarked on an International campaign to cover up its well documented crimes. The regime continues to hold political prisoners, crush freedom of the press, and silence all those who are suspected of resisting. It intimidates all opposition without mercy.
Most of the statement is about what has been termed the "War on Terror". Ethiopia's people are not supporters of Islamist terrorists agendas. In fact most of the country has been Christian for nearly two thousand years. The regime's "anti-terror" policies are cynical ruses to hang onto power. H.R. 2003 puts the United States on the side of the Ethiopian people.
It is interesting to note that you cite public relations training for the regime as a positive thing. This is one hundred and eighty degrees off course. First Ethiopia needs democracy, respect for human rights, and free market development.
Ethiopians have been hoping for support from the United States to improve their lives. A free and democratic Ethiopia could be a very strong ally of the United States, as long as the Ethiopians are free to make their own choices. As subjects of a regime like that in power now all those possibilities are jeopardized. I urge you to reconsider your position. Speak with distinguished persons such as Representative Chris Smith (R- NJ) who have been crucial in drafting and enacting this legislation. If the regime is so good for Ethiopia how can they be afraid of fair elections?
-Mesfin Mekonen, Kinijit International Foreign Relations
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