Hitch a Ride
(In response to "Slow Moving Target" in the May 19-25 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
How about this: scrap the bus transit system completely. It's clear that no one cares enough. I've tried to get my friends to park their cars and ride the bus to their destinations and they just laugh. Their reasoning is funny too: They don't want to be associated with the people that ride the bus, or they think they'll get dropped off and get robbed. It's disgusting how small minded people are about the city they live in, never mind the rest of the country and even the other countries.
I lived in N.Y. for three years and rode the bus and train everywhere. I sold my vehicle because I did that so much. Granted, density of population has a lot to do with accessibility. Well here's a solution: If the transit system would market a "Park and Ride" campaign aimed at the people with cars and those who work downtown, who commute from South Tulsa, we would have a lot more riders. If we can spend all this money on 5320 or whatever that stupid (albeit clever) campaign was then we can do it for the transit system but then that highlights my first point. No one cares, so scrap it and quit talking about it.
(In response to "Breaking the Bank" in the May 19-25 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
It's interesting what passes for "core" services these days. In modern parlance, a "core" service is anything the government wants to spend money for. When it comes time for money to be spent on actual core services -- roads and bridges are the only ones Hamilton lists -- the kitty is dry.
Hamilton predictably gnashes his teeth about corporate welfare (a core service of every column he writes). He's unhappy children can't get wheelchairs because we're passing out too many tax breaks to corporations that can't respond with a single job created as a result.
Two points. One, there is absolutely no guarantee the revenue a corporation can rescue from taxes will translate into new jobs, at least not immediately or directly. That money might be reinvested in infrastructure, saved as cash for future use or used to pay for a myriad of other things, including incremental salary increases for existing employees (not just executives) above and beyond a cost-of-living raise.
Two, a core service should meet a litmus test of whether or not it provides a benefit to all taxpayers, or at least a majority of them.
Spending for roads and bridges meets this criterion. And while it tugs at the heart-strings to publicly fund wheelchairs for disabled children, funds to provide them don't pass that test.
Hamilton wants to end tax breaks for a special interest group he despises -- corporations -- and redistribute that revenue to special interest groups he favors, such as the mentally and developmentally disabled. There is no fiscal logic being applied here.
We should have a sensible, triage-type system to determine priority services. Funding needs for those services should be met first. Whatever remains can be spent on what's left. Otherwise, we can keep driving on dilapidated roads and crumbling bridges, as government continues to fail to meet even its primary obligation to taxpayers.
(In response to "Ask a Mexican" in the May 19-25 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
Dear Mexican, I have a comment for MMA regarding pride of race. By being proud to be Mexican, black, white, Jewish or any other race doesn't make you a racist. It's only showing pride for what you are. If someone has a tattoo across their chest or on their back that says black, white or brown pride, means their happy and proud of their roots. It doesn't mean I'm racist against the other race. Capiche? It's like if I say I'm proud to be Aztec. I do not mean I hate Aztláns, Incas, or Apaches. It's not being racist, it is being proud of what you are. I'm proud to be AZTEK.
(In response "Preparing for the Big One" in the May 26-June 1 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
Tulsa is really bad at natural disasters. I understand the weather is very fickle and it can be bigger than anyone can handle but Tulsa doesn't even handle the normal size disasters well. For example, when the electric went out in this city for about a week a few years ago, it was up to each individual to figure out how they were going to cope on their own.
My apartment was all electrical and I was left without any form of communications so I sat there waiting for the electric to come back on. No one came to check on me. I had to finally find batteries for my radio to find out what was going on and I had to figure how to find shelter with heat. The apartment management only came around a few days later to collect rent. That was the only thing they were worried about.
Example two: The blizzard of 2011. I did everything I could do, went out and got food, stayed home during the storm, and then two days later I got the phone call that said "time to come to work." I have no car and the buses were few and far between so I had to walk to work about two miles. NO problem except people in this city don't shovel city sidewalks, so for six days I had to walk in the street praying that the cars would not run me down like they did that poor lady walking to work late at night and could not use the sidewalks because people in their wisdom said that it is a city problem and not theirs.
So, this is a very bad city to survive anything bigger than a minor disaster and unless you have friends or family you are on your own. The single people, elderly people and handicap people will surely die.
Pat on the Back
(In response to "Preparing for the Next Big One" in the May 26-June 1 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
This is an exceptional article about both Tulsa's history and current planning for disasters. Good work, Mr. Easterling. You put together a fantastic overview.
(In response to "Feeding Frenzy" in the May 26-June 1 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
Combine one part Internet, one part second-hand information and you end up with a misunderstanding that goes "viral".
The folks at Coffee House on Cherry Street are good people and pretty open-minded, so it sounds like one mad mom missed the point: poop and food do NOT belong in the same room.
The CHOCS' baker was brilliant and very clever! Cleavage cookies, anyone?
--Eric F. Scholl
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