POSTED ON NOVEMBER 16, 2011:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
One other thing to consider with these old buildings, they exist where infrastructure already exists (Okie Money, Nov. 3-9 issue). Within a block or two of 5th St. and the Mayo Hotel, there are and have been many renovations of old buildings into hundreds and hundreds of homes, several hotels, many new restaurants and businesses, etc.
Not one new road was built, not one new road needs to be maintained, snow plowed from it, lights added, potholes constantly fixed, etc. Now contrast that to us spending taxpayer dollars to help private development in some South Tulsa field for example. Imagine how many roads, sidewalks, intersections, curbs, etc. have to be built for hundreds of suburban style homes, multiple hotels, businesses, restaurants, etc. Then all of that forever maintained -- snow plowed, potholes fixed, eventually widened, lighted, trash picked up from, etc. Let's not forget that some of those rehabilitated buildings downtown can have enough new homes in them to be considered small neighborhoods in their own right, but without the cost due to sprawl. Not going to argue which form is better or more efficient cost wise, but let's not forget that they BOTH can have their costs.
I am so pleased to hear that $1.12 of my oppressive tax burden is being used to fund OETA. I love documentaries, old movies, Antique Road Show, news shows like Frontline, and watching "Barney" with my Granddaughter. Arnold Hamilton's feature "Forbidden Fantasy" (Nov. 10-16 issue) has just informed me that Representative Sally Kern and the other Oklahoma Christian Taliban Representatives want to cut Oklahoma State funding to OETA because it is pro-liberal and anti-conservative.
My Oklahoma Mother was a good southern Christian woman, so I cannot put in print what I am really thinking. She took me to church to learn the scriptures, and school to learn science, and depended on public television to entertain me and inform me about those who were culturally different than our family, and how a bill makes it to Congress, and what a conjunction did when you sandwiched it in a train.
She also made us watch the Watergate hearings that dreadful summer and said "Keep an eye on your elected officials." So State House find some other funds to cut and leave OETA alone. Hopefully some kid in rural Oklahoma is being educated, informed and entertained by OETA, and will grow up to replace Sally Kern and her kind. Thanks Arnold for exposing yet another "how to make Oklahoma look dumb" scheme.
Words to Remember
Thank you for the article "Dream Assassins" (Oct. 27-Nov. 2). I am going to laminate it. God is speaking to me through your words.
Mr. Hamilton's argument on sales tax and larger government falls in line with some health care studies ("Behind the Times," Nov. 3-9 issue). They showed that if doctors and clinics listed the cost of each procedure where consumers could see them, and customers were responsible for at least part of the bill, the cost of both offered and total provided services went down compared to the much more anonymous insurance-pays-all approach.
There's a good book I've been reading, "The Lean Startup" by Eric Reis... It discusses, among other things, how in many large businesses separate departments come to demand more and more of the pie, and sabotage other departments. In other words, office politics. Wouldn't it be nice if we could dispense with the bickering between dogmatic politicians, and concentrate on what works? Reis offers a way out that he shows can apply to all types of organizations, from business startups, to innovation centers in large companies, and to government and non-profit agencies.
Further, his suggestions for innovation "sandboxes" may show the way to improve the outcomes of the "technology incubators" that so often provide more promise than results. If Oklahoma were to consider this approach, it might get more people off the dole and back to work quicker. It would even help just to have state support in paying fees for Provisional Patent and Trademark Applications at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
In the interest of full disclosure, I live on disability and the State dole. I have three engineering degrees and a Ph.D., all currently useless. I'm stuck on the dole because if I earn just one dollar more a month, I suddenly lose many more dollars in state benefits that add up to $160 to $170 a month in expenses. A hit I can't take. This is no myth. A nice lady at DRS laid it out for me.
What if the state, using all the methods advocated by Reis, started doing small scale experiments in changing DHS rules and OSBDC programs to see if more people could get off the dole, and create jobs and businesses. Wouldn't it be worth a try? It's called split-testing, and has been proven to work in business. It wouldn't be kicking people off the dole or cutting benefits to save money. It would using some seed money to find the best ways, plural, to get the American dream back on track. Whatever works. How could either political Party rationally disagree with that?
I've heard that the Legislature is considering changes in DHS rules. If you have read Reis' book and happen to agree, please feel free to print this out and send it to your State and Federal representatives, along with your own comments.
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