(In response to "Black and Blue" in the May 5-11 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The police feel like they run this town. Try getting a police report forwarded on to the DA's office.
Took over a year to get the police to present the report to the DA's office -- only to have the DA "decline to file." The police and DA's office do not have Tulsa's best interest at heart. It is now a money hungry machine with no limit to its hunger or greed!
(In response to "Thrift Family and Other Lies" in the May 5-11 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
The central tenet in Ted Rall's latest column seems to be "consumers don't live within their means, so why government should be forced to?" In making his argument, Rall exposes the vastness of his economic illiteracy. But then, to be a Marxist that's a prerequisite.
Rall insinuates that our economy would collapse if people were to live within their means. That's absurd, because most American consumers are pre-wired to spend up to the point they can get in real trouble anyway. In other words, people have a tendency to spend however much disposable income it is they have to dispose of. For example, I paid off all my outstanding debts -- home, tractor, motorcycle -- about five years ago, which freed up more than $1,000 a month pretty much at one fell swoop. What I noticed -- unfortunately -- is that the amount I saved per month did not increase by $1,000. Rather, I went on a liberated spending binge that lasted two years, upgrading this and that. The point is, just because you aren't in hock to the eyeballs doesn't mean you're going to help tank the economy by stuffing all your excess cash into a mattress or coffee can. You'll still spend plenty of money.
The idea that it's still possible for responsible people to pursue an appropriate mix of saving and spending never enters Rall's mind either, because he's off in his usual conspiracy-filled world where the capital-fascists eagerly exploit the helpless masses. Rall's answer to debt reduction? More socialist fantasy: income redistribution, otherwise known as "let's just tax the rich some more" and the even more aggressive (and economically ludicrous) "let's pay everyone the same wage."
The only thing Rall gets right here is to assert that America has a debt problem. However, it's not because of an exploitative capitalist system maneuvering us into untenable positions, but because consumers (the individual) and the collective (government) have lost all semblance of fiscal discipline.
One possible suggestion in helping people curb their mounting debts is for government to actually practice the economic austerity that Obama seems to be preaching at the moment, thereby encouraging responsible stewardship of personal debt. After all, "government" is not some abstract entity, but a collection of individuals, whom we (supposedly) still look to for leadership. And it would help if that leadership would lead somewhere besides off the edge of the financial cliff.
(In response to "The School Bell Tolls" in the May 5-11 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
Full disclosure: I work for a company that provides services to TPS; OK Dept. of Corrections; and until several months ago, Avalon Correctional, which operates the Turley Residential Center at 61st St. N. and Cincinnati Ave.
Community relations aside -- from a logistics standpoint, I will be the first to say that it would only make sense to close Greeley instead of Cherokee, if for no other reason than they are a shorter distance from another elementary south on Cincinnati than they are from Cherokee.
As for anyone's fears about Greeley being "adjacent to a women's correctional facility" I've dealt with this place for several years. The "inmates" here are essentially on a work release program. I won't mention specifics, but if you eat out, or if you buy groceries from a certain regional chain of stores, you will see at least one or several "inmates" and probably not realize it. They tend to work at locations that are a good distance from the Turley Residential Center.
As for the Greeley site being turned over to the Dept. of Corrections, that is highly unlikely. In late February, our state legislature appropriated approx. $5 million of the $9 million the DOC asked for, to pay for employee wages, etc. All of the DOC operated (state run) facilities are continuing the furlough schedule that has been in place for well over a year now, that has 26 of the 52 weekends, Fridays through Sundays, as furlough weekends. Essentially, this means that about half of the DOC's prison guards are taking at least one of these weekends off without pay. Therefore, unless Avalon, which operates the Turley Residential Center, or possibly a nonprofit organization assumes operation of the Greeley site, it wouldn't be used for inmate education.
Move It In
(In response to "The Road Ahead" in the May 12-18 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
As a result of 1950s and 1960s city planning, most American cities sprawl all over the place. The population density of Tulsa is about 2,200 per square mile. It is not possible to cost effectively provide mass transit to a population that is so spread out.
What will actually probably happen is that as energy costs go up at a rate in excess of real earnings, people will elect to relocate so that they live a lot closer to where they work. It will become too expensive to drive long distances to work.
This will take time. I will not be alive when Tulsa is once again a compact city as it was in the 1930s.
Mass transit? Dream on.
The frackin' energy companies must find a better and safer way to find natural gas -- this extractin' method is poisonin' our precious ground water from which all life springs.
Natural gas is supposed to be a transitional form of energy to free us from outside oil sources and the troubles of dealing with foreign unstablin' religionists. However, until science can find ways to use the free natural energies we must accept that we can ever be free from all the uses of petroleum products. We must find safe ways to locate and save the finite supplies we will always need.
Energy companies must be forced to pay taxes to the governments to fund research and control pollution and environmental damages, and in exchange will receive marketing rights on the systems produced based on their percentages contributions. They are making obscene profits now and leaving all the damages to be paid for by the rest of us.
No nation in the world should provide tax havens for the reckless and feckless violators of our earth, waters, air and people. Any nations that do are the enemy of all the peoples of the world -- and their leaders must be removed by us for the good of us. Short term profits always leave long term damages to things we need to sustain all life here on earth.
--J. Ray Hunt
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