PlaniTulsa: Is It Too Late?
(In response to "We're Late, We're Late" in the Oct. 7-13 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)
Public support will be a basic essential to successfully revise the zoning codes.
I hope the hiring of the planning director is handled like school superintendent searches are, so the public has a chance to meet, interact, and converse with the top applicants in a public forum before a decision is made. A citizen's board to review the top candidates and make recommendations might not be a bad idea either.
The Mayor would be wise to handle this decision in this manner, instead of just holding a press conference announcing he hired someone.
Considering the public's poor opinions ratings of INCOG, he would also be wise to keep INCOG as hands off in this process as possible. The public overwhelmingly said again and again throughout the PLANiTULSA process that they wanted INCOG out of city planning. The more INCOG is involved, the more public support will be eroded.
The Mayor's ideas about outsourcing and privatizing the planning functions he mentioned will only serve to undermine public support. If the Mayor wants to demonstrate that planning will be a priority, as much of the work as possible should be done in house to really show the city is serious and in this for the long haul. The planning department has a good relationship with the public and brought PLANiTULSA this far with high levels of public support and participation. If it ain't broke and it's running like a well oiled machine, why fix it?
It's good to hear that there's a discussion going on about how to make the process of determining how small area planning and demonstration projects are applied for and approved equitable, objective, and geographically diverse. Establishing a clear set of standards is the first critical step towards making the small area planning process and demonstration projects transparent and accountable.
True Tulsa Sound
(In response to "Just In Time" in the Oct. 7-13 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)
The Tulsa Sound is many things, but not really a music genre. It's more of a feel than a category. I will argue that it started in Sonny Gray's basement as a result of jam sessions that included Johnny Cale, Bill Raffensperger, Bob Bumbalow, myself and various drummers. Cale says it was what happened when we were trying to play the Blues and didn't know how. We had heard Flash Terry's band and they did know how.
Our musical abilities were limited; we were still quite young and inexperienced, so the music was uncomplicated and simple. I, personally, think the basis for the feel was mostly in the hands of Bill Raffensperger, who was playing a big upright bass in those days. The other thing about the Tulsa Sound is that it was and is improvisation, pure jamming: we never knew what we would do next; we never played any song the same way twice. Robin Zander, of Cheap Trick, once commented to me, "You don't even need to know the song!" In the light of that understanding, Leon was not strictly a Tulsa Sound player, since he composes his music, including the instrumental breaks, and pretty well plays them the same way every time. Leon's contribution was that he took the feel, the sound, out to the world as an ambassador and became its most famous and successful representative. It's appropriate that the street be named for him and the Studio be recognized as a historic location and tourist magnet. The next step is a monthly TV broadcast to promote and exploit the Tulsa Music Scene and the local players. I'm hoping somebody will step up to the plate on that one.
The principal reason Leon Russell has not been recognized in Tulsa Oklahoma is because the power-elite had their neckties strung around their necks to the point where it cut off their circulation. The Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and the bravo-macho boys at Southern Hills could have long ago capitalized on The Tulsa Sound, Leon Russell and a long list of superior Tulsa musicians who brought absolute credence to the legacy of rock and roll. But they refused out of ignorant fear of counterculture and a failure to see the reality of what could have been a great deal, a win-win. Instead, Leon left the building, and Tulsa lost a valuable icon and a chance to rival Memphis and Nashville in the music scene. Yes, it could have happened. May we now bring back this powerfully important musician, in many ways more historically important than his current fellow traveler Elton.
(In response to "Duke It Out" in the Oct. 21-27 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)
Would someone please explain to His Honor the Mayor the difference between a "principal" (most important, consequential, or influential primary individual) and a "principle" (fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning). You're editorial staff should have caught that, any sharp 5th grader would have. Shame on you.
[Editor's Note: We try to let our guest writers express themselves in their own words as much as possible. Sometimes, this is the result. Any sharp 5th grader should know this, as well as the difference between "your" and "you're."]
In the cover story, "When the Moon Hits Your Eye," in the Sept. 16-22 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly, we incorrectly stated that Paul Marshall passed away in 2000. The correct year is 1994.
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