Take Out the Trash
If we really get down to it, PLANiTULSA is a guide. It is a lighthouse and a beacon for the direction we want to go and grow, as a city. To pass the vision for the Plan on to the City Council is only the first step. A step we need to take; a step in the right direction. No one will be hurt by this plan, especially if we all stay involved. I urge the TMAPC to pass this plan as it is onto the City Council and let the process begin. Details can be worked out along the way.
There is a sense of urgency. The TMAPC has other items on its agenda, and there is no reason to pick apart something that is merely an outline for a vision that will manifest as people become involved and projects are started. What we need to be discussing is our intention, and our mission and our dedication. We are obligated to create the change we wish to see, and we are also responsible for executing it in a timely and sustainably manner.
Which brings me to my point. If we wish to promote densely populated urban lifestyles, we must ensure that we are working together to create real communities that can share resources and encourage the utilization of progressive, responsible and sustainable practices, as these changes occur. By change I mean development, renovation, preservation, revitalization.
How do we do this? Consult more experts in these areas. Add these items to the agendas of topics to discuss. Continually reevaluate our vision by measurable means.
With that said, if we are going to call ourselves 'green' in Green Country, let us walk the walk, not simply talk the talk. The major component I see missing in the comprehensive plan is a dedication to real conservatism when it comes to generating waste and trash and pollution.
In order to Be Green, we must have language at the forefront, which expresses the desire and dedication to have a viable economy while keeping the waste to a minimum. Of course, one could interpret this in a myriad of ways, I am speaking both literal and figurative. One way to demonstrate our loyalty to sustainable and progressive growth would be to upgrade the way in which we "deal with" trash and compostables and renewables.
Having traveled and lived abroad in diverse scenarios, I saw both extremes of the continuum. In Europe, the waste management is very organized and mostly the government sets the tone, and the private sector complies and the citizens enjoy convenient and efficient waste disposal. In South America, neither the government, nor the private sector, or citizens care much about the natural resources or energy consumption, therefore water pollution, water waste, air pollution, and trash become huge burdens. And no one wants to take responsibility.
I believe that if we were to invest in the available technology, we could put Tulsa at an advantage in the region, while providing a service, which in turn provides jobs and economic growth.
I am speaking of building a state-of-the-art waste management infrastructure including curb-side, single stream, comprehensive recycling. Reducing solid waste matter, pollution and litter, while simultaneously stimulating a mind-set, which puts the responsibility in the hands of the government and We the People, who in turn demonstrates the standard we seek to uphold. We will call it the Green Standard. If too late to add this language to the Plan, I respectfully ask that it be added to a TO DO list for future projects within the Plan.
We are talking about systemic change when we dream of our future and try to decide where we see ourselves and where we want to be. It is important that we continue to review the plan regularly, as technology is always changing. The lucky thing is, we do not have to reinvent the wheel. Other cities have come before us. We can learn from each other and we can dream. We can dream to be the best, but we must stay committed to working together for what is best for everyone, not just what is best for the individual/industry.
Thank you for your efforts and may the record state that I fully support the new city plan for Tulsa and I look forward to watching and assisting the change as it takes place.
- Margaret Leighty
Keep Arts Going
I am writing to urge the public to voice their desire for music education to remain a strong component of our state school curriculum offerings even at this time of tight budgets. The Arts are proven to help close the achievement gap. The No Child Left Behind Act recognizes the arts as core academics, making them eligible for inclusion in broad categories such as teacher training, school reform and technology.
Unfortunately for our students and our communities, recent studies have shown that some schools are neglecting music and art education in favor of "more time on math and science."
Our President recently stated, "In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education".
A creative and disciplined workforce is needed according to the 2007 Conference Board report "Ready to Innovate." Ninety-eight percent of school superintendents and 96 percent of corporate leaders support creativity education and deem it of great importance to the U.S. workforce.
Will Oklahoma eventually start to chip away again at music and art programs when facing tough economic times? Students and citizens who value a liberal arts education do not want to see this come to pass this time around. We already know the result.
Generations past benefited from music and art education. We want to retain our highly qualified teachers and continue to supply these classrooms with the resources to support these programs. Wishing and hoping for these priorities have proven not to ensure these goals.
Please act today. Convince our leaders that Oklahoma citizens will stand up for the arts and refuse to let them be gutted over the short OR long term.
We will no longer tolerate this "solution" to the perennial financial problems created by a lame duck Congress.
Thank you for your action.
- Laura Collins
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