(In response to "Divine Intervention" in the April 21-27 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
I take exception to Michael Bates' rant against Tulsa churches and their parking lots. To make an emotional appeal, he goes straight for the underbelly and cites one church (gasp!) razing an art deco building and the old bus station for their parking lot. (It was most impressive to behold the zillions of rats escaping as the old structure fell.)
I grew up in the glory days of downtown Tulsa and I can say no other church razed an art deco building. Instead, art deco buildings such as the Sears store on Boulder and the Cadillac building on Boston as well as the bar on Fourth -- the favorite watering hole of the newspapers' reporters -- were all destroyed by non-church groups. Other interesting, now long gone buildings include Seidenbachs, the exclusive ladies department store with its Gothic façade, and the old Skelly headquarters on Fourth. Yes, all gone, but not due to evil deeds from the churches.
Mr. Bates has a rather sentimental attachment to others razed. I presume he has reference to the many one story buildings that were moved for parking lots. These had no architectural significance: dull, brick-faced shops, which probably closed anyway as downtown declined.
An excellent example of what could be done was the razing of the First Street buildings. Long having an unsavory reputation except on Saturday morning when civic clubs and junior high and senior high social clubs held their rummage sales, all presided over by the street's famous character, Tangle Eye Williams. Down the way was that great Tulsa landmark, May's Rooms. All this "historical neighborhood" gave way to BOK tower, PAC and the hotel. I presume Mr. Bates does not pine for the loss of that venerable institution.
--Dr. William A. Weinrich
(From "Are you pissed off?" on urbantulsa.com)
I want a public transit system that works for me! For the fourth or fifth time in my adult life I actually looked at the schedules for the bus system in Tulsa. Why? Because I drive a Tahoe and it gets about 15 miles to the gallon. At this point I am spending $80-100 a week on gasoline, and I cannot afford it.
This week I have to decide between my natural gas bill and gas to get to work. UGH!
The major dysfunction of the Tulsa Transit system is the same as it has always been -- the hours. People who have 9am-5pm jobs are about the only people who the schedule can accommodate.
I work as support for a school district and I have to be there before school and after school. Just slightly outside of the normal work day and still I cannot get to work at 6:30 in the morning using the transit system, and I cannot get home if I get off work at 5:30pm. How crazy and useless is that?
You cannot build a business if you are not open when people need your service! I would much rather pay to ride the bus now, we are talking a savings of 75 to 80 a week! But Tulsa doesn't have a functioning public transit system. It is the perfect time for that to change!
In the wake of soon-to-be $4/gallon gas, I thought I would share this gem.
Last summer, riding my motorcycle on the way home from work in sweltering heat, I pulled up next to a late-model SUV with a "Spill Baby, Spill" bumper sticker. I shouted as loud as I could "That thing got a Hemi?" but the well-coiffed lady in the driver's seat could not hear me. The human voice can't compete with an AC unit cranked to turbo, and Dolby Surround Sound. Nothing says "conserve" like a 6,000 pound vehicle that gets 20 miles to the gallon.
Note to all the Mother Earthers out there screeching about saving the planet: Until you start to practice what you preach, the rest of us will laugh at you before we listen to you.
Tell It Like It Is
As a citizen and shopper concerned about the health, environmental, ethical, and socio-economic hazards of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and industrial-scale factory farms or CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), I am writing to inform your readers about a new consumer campaign calling for Truth-in-Labeling. The campaign, sponsored by the Organic Consumers Association, is calling on conscientious grocers to implement voluntary package or shelf labeling of foods products containing GMOs and/or products coming from large factory farms or CAFOs.
Although "USDA Organic" standards and labels prohibit the use of GMOs or CAFO confinement practices, the overwhelming majority of non-organic foods in grocery stores or supermarkets today fail to reveal whether or not they likely contain GMOs or come from a factory farm supply chain. Up to 90 percent of U.S. soy, corn, cotton, canola, and sugar beets are now genetically engineered and routinely laced into foods with no labels orsafety testing whatsoever. And of course hapless animals confined in CAFOs are reared on a diet of genetically engineered corn, soy, cottonseed and drugs.
According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Biotechnology Industry Association, approximately 80 percent of current grocery food items contain GMOs; while according to U.S. Department of Agriculture records, the majority of beef, pork, poultry, dairy and eggs now come from CAFOs.
CAFOs breed pathogens, pollute water-sources, add tons of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere and systematically abuse and mistreat animals.
CAFOs are defined legally by the Environmental Protection Agency as containing 1000 beef cattle, 700 dairy cows, 2500 pigs, or 125,000 broilers or 82,000 laying hens or pullets.
Health and ethically minded consumers such as me believe that Americans have a right to know where our meat, dairy, and eggs come from and whether or not our produce and the ingredients in processed-foods have been genetically engineered.
Conscientious, consumer-friendly grocery stores should clearly identify all food products containing non-organic soy, corn, cottonseed oil, canola, sugar beets or GM growth hormones witha label or shelf sign that says "May Contain GMOs" and identify all beef, pork, poultry, dairy and eggs that come from CAFOs with a label or shelf sign that says "CAFO."
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