Thursday, December 14, 2006

Where Is Tulsa's Legal Department on Bixby Bridge?

Are they lost? Are we being burdened by so many nuisance suits that there are no Tulsa City Attorneys available to help the citizenry in a very public and high-stakes court action?

The South Tulsa Citizens Coalition (STCC) has a court date on December 20th in their attempt to ‘move that bridge,” that is proposed to cross the Arkansas River near 121st and South Yale Ave.

The wannabe builders of the bridge are Infrastructure Ventures, Inc. (IVI). They hope the bridge will provide a second link over the river between Tulsa and Jenks. They too, will have attorneys at the court hearing on Dec. 20th, but with one noticeable difference. IVI’s lawyers will most likely be joined by the legal eagles paid by the good citizens of Jenks.

You see, Jenks views the building of this bridge to be in their city’s best interests, so they are using taxpayer dollars to fight the home owners of South Tulsa. In contrast, STCC is having to raise money to pay for lawyers, or are depending on pro bono assistance from some of the lawyers in the effected neighborhoods.

This is shameful, bordering on SCANDALOUS!

The taxpaying home owners along South Yale have paid their taxes. Their property values are under attack by IVI, the City of Jenks and the City of Bixby. They deserve to be represented by the Tulsa City Legal department.

This might not be the case, if the following weren’t true:

  1. Mayor Taylor signed a pledge (as did most of the mayoral candidates last Spring) to oppose building the bridge where IVI and the other city’s want to build the bridge.
  2. Last Spring, the Tulsa City Council approved a binding resolution opposing the building on Yale Ave. The resolution was signed by both City Attorney Alan Jackere and then mayor, Bill LaFortune.
  3. The current City Council has not rescinded that resolution.

As such, it is the official position of the City of Tulsa that the bridge should not be built where IVI wants the bridge and where STCC does NOT want the bridge.

So why are tax paying citizens of Tulsa being forced to fend for themselves in the courthouse, rather than being assisted by the city’s legal department?

Mayor Taylor needs to get off the fence, be mindful that she gave her word, and get some attorneys down to the hearing on December 20th.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Are "The Channels" All But Dead?

Very quietly, at two meetings of Tulsa's Chapter of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, the death knells were sounded for the proposed $700 million river development known as “The Channels.”

The November guest speaker at the Republican Assembly meeting was newly elected County Commissioner John Smaligo. During his presentation, he said that he very much doubted that The Channels would ever be brought to a vote of the people due to cost and an overall lack of support.

Last night, during the December meeting of the Republican Assembly, guest speaker Fred Perry echoed Smaligo’s assertion, stating that he “very much doubted” a vote would ever take place.

Beside myself, others of note present at the meeting were former City Councilor Jim Mautino and current District 7 City Councilor John Eagleton. Both meetings were video taped, so it would be very awkward for either commissioner to back track on statements made before a group of conservative activists that make up a large part of their base.

Given it only takes two votes to kill The Channels, and given these two commissioners’ very public remarks, you can pretty much take it to the bank.

J-K Warren’s “The Channels” will remain the pipe dream of a few mid-towners who meant well, but weren’t in tune with what the public wanted.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bridge Behind Mayor's Legal Department Shake-Up?

Take a good look at the woman in the photograph to the right, because she might just be the next Tulsa City Attorney and the savior of Infrastructure Ventures, Inc.'s Bixby bridge project, if Mayor Kathy Taylor gets the support she needs from the Tulsa City Council.

Who is she? She's Nancy Jane Siegel, who currently serves as Mayor Taylor's Chief Counsel. See link.

A story in the February 28, 2006 edition of the Tulsa World, listed Siegel's live-in partner (husband?) Daniel E. Holeman, as a $5,000 maximum contributor to Taylor's mayoral campaign. On-line records show Siegel and Holeman as both residing at 115 East 24th Street, in Tulsa.

Beside being the Mayor's chief legal advisor, Siegel, is also a committee member, along with Taylor, of a posh Philbrook Museum group that specializes in wine tastings. Other members of the group include Bob and Roxanna Lorton (World Publishing), Becky Frank (Scnake Turnbo & Frank) and both Chip McElroy and Howard Barnett, who recently were leaders of a group seeking to change the make up of Tulsa's City Council to allow for three at-large councilors.

Siegel was also recently a board member of the liberal Tulsa Interfaith Alliance.

Just a week and a half after a meeting was held to discuss the proposed Bixby Bridge project, Taylor placed two vocal advocates for defending Tulsa's position in opposition to the bridge on administrative suspension. The meeting, which included Taylor, representatives of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and former Tulsa mayor Terry Young, was reportedly held to discuss what could be done to end the stalemate that has kept the public/private partnership proposed by Infrastructure Ventures Inc. (IVI) which seeks the new bridge over the Arkansas River near 121st & Yale Ave, from going forward.

Terry Young, is a principal at Cinnabar Services, which also employs IVI CEO Bill Bacon.

Today's Tulsa World story detailing [well...uh...sketching is more like it] Taylor's stunning move of placing the top two attornies [Alan Jackere and Larry Simmons] in the city's legal department on paid suspension, is a pretty strong indication that the mayor wants to name her own City Attorney. Her Sunday afternoon summoning of Jackere and Simmons was obviously timed to deliver the suspensions when City Hall was empty of other employees.

Taylor is hoping that the City Council will support her move to revise the Civil Service process to make it easier to hire City Hall outsiders, who might be more loyal to the mayor. Originally characterized as necessary to look for a new Chief of Police to replace the retiring Dave Been, the move, if approved by the City Council, would open the door for similar hires in key positions such as the city's top attorney.

In my final year on the Council, both Jackere and Simmons (who have very different styles and legal philosophies from each other), were in agreement on two major issues that I recall; the Bixby Bridge Issue and the position that repayment of a $7.5 Million loan made by Bank of Oklahoma in the Great Plains Airlines debacle would likely result in a Qui Tam action against the Council.

Mayor Taylor, then Oklahoma's Secretary of State also served on the Board of Directors for Bank of Oklahoma.

The Tulsa World's story on the proposed changes in hiring took great care to not mention Civil Service until the fourth paragraph, because such a move against the process designed to prevent political hiring might be met with resistance from her own party's Labor wing. The World wrote:
The revisions, set for a City Council vote Thursday, were written in an
attempt to clarify a policy that a district court has ruled requires internal
hiring. The city is appealing the court's ruling.

The hiring proposals also come as Taylor prepares to begin her search
for a replacement for Police Chief Dave Been, who is retiring next year.

Last week, Taylor asked the Civil Service Commission to approve her
revisions, which she calls clarifications that reflect "long-standing policy

Taylor was unavailable for comment.

Some City Hall observers postulate that next to the Mayor, the City Attorney's position in the most powerful job in Tulsa's government.

Obviously, Taylor would like to have someone in the position that is both loyal to her and more in line with her agenda.

Despite signing a pledge during the campaign to oppose the Bixby Bridge, recently Taylor has been seen as softening her position. Many postulate that she would love to see some resolution to the stalemate that would provide her political cover in advance of a speculated challenge of Rep. John Sullivan in the 2008 elections. An opinion from the City Attorney publicly advising the Mayor and Council that Tulsa's prospects of defeating the alliance formed by the cities of Jenks and Bixby would be unlikely, might give Taylor the cover she seeks.

However, it is very unlikely that either Jackere or Simmons would ever render such an opinion. As such, they have become in my opinion, a liability to Taylor's ambitions.

Nobody ever accused Jackere and Simmons of being buddies, or even loosely aligned. Simmons was one of four Legal Department employees that applied for the City Attorney's position in 2005. At the time, then Mayor Bill LaFortune made it clear that he wanted to appoint Jackere, rather than any of the four who applied for the post via the city's civil service process. LaFortune ultimately rejected the four applicants as being unqualified for the position and appointed Jackere.

Larry Simmons had wide support among the City Council [including my endorsement] and over twenty years of service to the city. This support is probably why Taylor needed to not just eliminate Jackere from his position, but also take out Simmons, who would make a very strong internal candidate.

Here's hoping the current Council sees the truth and honors their pledges to oppose the bridge issue wherever is pops up. In this case, it is masquerading as a not-so-minor change in the City's hiring procedures.

Siegel is a 1983 graduate of the University of Tulsa College of Law. Perhaps coincidentally, contentious Water Board member Lou Reynolds is 1982 graduate of TU Law.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fred Jordan Divorced By Wife

For over a year now, House District 69 candidate Fred Jordan has been selling himself as a former marine who supports conservative family values. However, he has not let voters in on the fact that his wife, Kyndra Brooke Litrell Jordan has filed for and been granted a divorce from her Jenks homebuilder husband.

In fact, sources tell me the former Mrs. Jordan quickly took up residency downtown, renting a loft in a trendy downtown development that was developed by Jay Helm. Helm, you might remember, serves on the F&M Bank Board of Directors.

A quick check of his web site shows that he is still touting his marriage and his wife as selling points to voters. It states at the top of the home page:

A Native Oklahoman, Fred Jordan Puts Faith and Family First.

Fred Jordan returned to his roots after military service and graduation from law school. Fred and his wife Kyndra have made their home in Jenks where they attend Southern Hills Baptist Church and Fred has taught Sunday school.
But records at the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network website,, show that their divorce was final on October 20th, 2006. In fact, it was granted in a very speedy fashion, having been initially filed by Mrs. Jordan on September 26th.

You can see the divorce record at the following link:
[Photo Source:]

Don't be fooled by the initials listed. The site lists "B. Jordan" as the petitioner [the one seeking the divorce] and "S. Jordan" as the respondent. The former Mrs. Jordan's full name is as listed above, so "B" apparently stands for "Brooke," which is her middle-name. While he goes by the name Fred, Mr. Jordan's full name is Sidney Fred Jordan. Obviously, "S" stands for Sydney.

You can view OSCN.NET's file on their wedding license by clicking here.

Any speculation that this could be two separate people is swept away by the fact that OSCN.NET includes near the bottom of the page, the following notation:

61995849 Oct 27 2006 2:07:12:320PM
$ 0.00

In fact, our friends at the Tulsa World also reported the divorce filing in their September 27th edition, reporting the following:


Staff Reports, 09/27/2006
Tulsa World (Final Home Edition), Page A11 of
approx. 168 words

Rachelle v. Robert Sr.
Curley, Morio v. Christina.
Espinoza, Deborah v.
Eugene Jr.
Jordan, B. v. S.
Mai, Amanda v. Hao Le.
McCall, Donald v.
Kimberly McKee McCall.

I'll leave the readers to sort out why so much effort was expended to hide this untimely and sad ending to a marriage.

As for myself, I do think any candidate that went so far as to include a photo of his wedding in his campaign literature [so as to show Fred in his uniform, yet again] should have the decency to share with the voters the dissolution of that marriage before elections day. I also think he would remove ambiguous language touting his marital status from his web site.

But that's just me.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Oh My...Uh...Angelou? Who's Zooming Who?

Who do the Tulsa Stakeholders think they're fooling? is reporting the very impressive impact that the Oklahoma State University system has on Oklahoma's economy.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma State University has nearly $2 billion in economic impact on the state, a study released Friday says.

With 8,000 full-time employees, second in the state only to Wal-Mart if compared to private employers, and nearly $120 million generated in local and state tax revenue, the OSU system has an estimated annual impact of $1.89 billion on Oklahoma's economy.

It also accounts for more than 31,000 jobs and produces $13 in economic output for every dollar it gets from the state.
Fantastic news and "Go Pokes!"


As good as the news is for the administration of the Oklahoma A&M colleges, the numbers are far more interesting when compared with another recent story in the news. The following was reported in Friday's Tulsa World:

The proposed river development project The Channels would have a $35.3 billion long-term economic impact because it would draw in young professionals, increasing entrepreneurship and company relocations to the area, a national consulting firm says.

No specific figures or formulas were given during a Thursday news conference to explain how Angelou Economics came to its conclusion about the project's economic impact spanning a 20-year period.

The Channels' total economic impact is predicted at $38.5 billion. Of that amount, $3.2 billion would come from construction and operation of the islands over a total of 14 years beginning in 2007. An additional $35.3 billion would be generated up until 2027, the study indicates.
Do those numbers seem familiar? No? Well let's do some very easy analysis.

The entire impact of all of the universities, branch campuses, extension offices et. al., of Oklahoma State University has an annual impact on OKLAHOMA'S economy of $1.9 billion each and every year. If the figures remain constant over the next twenty years, OSU's economic impact statewide could be determined by a very easy formula [1,900,000,000 X 20 = 38,000,000,000].

$38 Billion? Isn't that the same number Angelou Economics said the fanciful The Channels would add to the Tulsa economy? Over how long a period of time? Oh...also twenty years?

Wow! The Channels, if built, will have an equivalent economic impact on TULSA's economy that a comprehensive land-grant university and all of its off-shoots have on OKLAHOMA's economy.

Well we've just got to build those islands!

This comparison alone would be interesting enough, if it weren't for one other delicious fact. The overly optimistic study done for Tulsa Stakeholders, Inc. was done by Angelou Economics out of Austin, TX. So who did the economic study for OSU?

By was Angelou Economics out of Austin, TX! KOTV further reported:

The study was presented Friday in Tulsa during a meeting of the Board of Regents for Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges. OSU paid $23,500 for the study.
It was conducted by Austin, Texas-based Angelou Economics, an economic development consulting firm with clients in Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida, among others.
OSU paid just over 23-grand for a study that seems on the surface to be accurate. How much did the Stakeholders pay the same guys for an estimate that seems wildly over the top?

Remember, it was just two weeks ago that I was on the Michael Delgiorno show on KFAQ-AM asking the Stakeholders why we hadn't been given an economic impact study. How could they expect us to support the use of $600 Million in tax-payer money without such a study?

Two weeks later? Lo and behold! Behold but don't ask us quesions on camera. Don't ask us specifics about how the number was arrived at. And for Gosh sakes, don't notice the similarities in the numbers between this study and another that Angelou did for OSU!

For those that still love the numbers, Angelou's impact study for The Channels [if it is to be believed...which is a stretch!], would mean that each and every man, woman and child in Tulsa County would see $5,000 of economic impact, EACH YEAR, for the next twenty years!

Think about it. There are just under 400,000 people in Tulsa County. For simplicities sake, round the number to 380,000. Use the basic formula [$38 billion / 20 years = $1.9 billion].

That means $1.9 billion per year in economic impact to Tulsa County. To get the per capita impact [per capita = "every man, woman and child"], divide $1.9 billion by Tulsa County's 380,000 inhabitants. [1.9 billion / 380,000 = 5,000].

So for a mere investment of $200 to $500 per year in sales tax impact to your household, a family of four [if you believe Angelou Economics] could net out $20,000 in economic impact!

WOW! How can you vote "no?"

The real question is, given the obviously fabricated economic impact study that has been laid before the citizens of Tulsa County, how could you ever trust these people enough to vote "yes?"

Thursday, October 26, 2006

You Might Be a Mid-Town Elitist If...

As I wrote the previous blog entry, I kept thinking how helpful it might be for all those Mid-Towners who think they're not elitists to have some help from the rest of us in identifying their tendencies. So, marshalling a helpful spirit...and with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy...I offer the following 20 indicators that you might be a Tulsa Mid-Town Elitist:
  1. You think Edison is a suburban High School.
  2. Instead of a cracked foundation, you have a charitable foundation.
  3. You have an 18th Century Louis XIV settee and a 10 year old, stainless steel Sub-Zero on the front acreage.
  4. If instead of a discount retail chain, you think Big Lots are what you build your mansions on.
  5. If you call your closest circle of friends, “My Brunch Bunch.”
  6. If you only venture south of I-44 to attend a Southern Hills board meeting.
  7. If the closet your cousin came out of couldn’t hold all of your fur coats.
  8. If you never go to Woodland Hills Mall, because you fear gang activity.
  9. If your Shih Tzu has a Louis Vitton doggie bag.
  10. If you think Darla Hall is a dormitory or a private school.
  11. If you know why wearing white isn’t an option at Miss Jackson’s wedding.
  12. If you think making a Major League roster pales in comparison to making the Junior League roster.
  13. If you call the local Arch-Bishop “Poppie” and he calls you “Skeeter.”
  14. If your last name is a first name and your first name is hyphenated.
  15. If you think the new network series “The Nine” is about last year’s “bickering” City Council.
  16. If your favorite ball cap is from Queenie’s.
  17. If your wife’s pet name is Betty, but her REAL name is Muffin.
  18. If you don’t watch NASCAR because there are no “Beemers.”
  19. If you’re in the Tulsa Hall of Fame but most Tulsans don’t know who you are.
  20. If you think the people in Tulsa People are the only people in Tulsa, you might be a Mid-Town Elitist.

Feel free to add your own.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mid-Town + Elitist = Mid-Town Elitist

Despite the fact that the proponents of the far-fetched project, "The Channels," are asking the taxpayers of Tulsa County to pony up over $600 Million, word has gotten back to me that John-Kelly Warren, the titular leader of these new "visionistas," is stinging over the criticism they have received from skeptics such as myself.

Note to Mr. Warren: Politics ain’t beanbag and you’ve drifted, however good-intentioned, into the political realm.

Despite this obvious fact, I have been shocked at how civil the discourse has been to this point. So far, things have gone along so civilly that the only conclusion I can draw is that nobody thinks The Channels has a chance of ever being approved, so no one has been willing to expend the effort to spew any vitriol.

The accusation that I’ve heard which most upsets J-K is that he and his friends are “Mid-Town Elitists.” Given the thousands of wannabees that flood Queenies and Suede in order to be thought of as potential Mid-Town Elitists, I’m shocked J-K and Co. aren’t comfortable with the moniker. For my part, I’ll gladly accept the title “Nay-saying South Tulsa Populist.”

Why? Because it’s synonymous with “South Tulsa Conservative,” which is what I am.

For the record, anyone that heads a multi-million dollar charitable foundation founded by his oil tycoon grandfather is going to have a hard time positioning himself as a “regular guy.” Regular guy foundations are “cracked and sagging,” not charitable.

So having established that Mr. Warren is among the elite, that then leaves the second modifier in the pejorative term that has given him so much reflux; “Mid-Town.”

Well, some of us got to wonderin’. Just what part of Tulsa have the Tulsa Stakeholders put up stakes? Are they as diverse in geographic residency as their opposition? Well, I did a little research and the answer is “no.”

Fact: All of the Tulsa Stakeholders live in an area that should be defined by even the most elite-minded as “mid-town.”

Fact: The farthest any Tulsa Stakeholder (Tom Cooper) lives from the proposed location of The Channels, is 2.8 miles. To give you some contrast, I personally live more than ten miles away. In fact, Cooper must be considered the “South Tulsan” of the group, as he lives all the way down there on 37th Street. Hang in there Tom, I’m sure you’ll get to move north into a tonier neighborhood soon.

Fact: The closest a Tulsa Stakeholder (“Rusty” Patton) lives to the proposed site of The Channels is less than two city blocks.

The map I’ve provided shows you the exact locations of the residencies of the five known Stakeholders [Warren, Cooper, Patton, Lambert and Salisbury]. The Stakeholder homes are notated with green arrows. For grins, I’ve thrown in two bonus locations, which are notated with red arrows. These are the homes of the two Robert Lortons [Jr. and III], publishers of the city’s daily “The Channels marketing brochure,” better knows as the Tulsa World.

It should come as no surprise that J-K, Robert III [the current publisher], Robert, Jr. [the former publisher] and Salisbury [the husband of Robert III's sister and Robert, Jr.'s daughter] all live within blocks of each other.

Heck, I wish my immediate family lived so tightly packed. It would make the commute on Thanksgiving delightfully brief.

Of additional interest is the fact that of the five central players, four of them [all but Patton] were born within two years of each other [1962-1964]. I would love to know, but haven’t been able to find out as of yet, whether or not they all went to the same high school. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, given that The Channels has possessed the eerie sense of being a wealthy kid’s class project.

The plain fact of the matter is, that the five central players in this very expensive proposal come from a very different place than the bulk of us who are being asked to foot the bill. Their Tulsa is different from the Tulsa--or more accurately, Tulsas--that most of us know. As such, they’ll see both the problems facing our city’s future, as well as the solutions to address those problems, very differently from the rest of us.

So far, everyone has remained reserved and respectful, leaving their criticisms in the realm of good-natured humor. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Primarily because, that would mean very few are taking this thing very seriously.

Back From Hiatus

Yeah...yeah...I know. I haven't been blogging of late.

Well, I've been busy. No...really...I've been busy.

Anyway, I'm back and digging. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

No Dinner, "Just Deserts" for Albert Haynesworth

For the record, I'm neither a Dallas Cowboy or Tennessee Titan fan. I was watching the game, more to see how well Vince Young did in his first professional start at quarterback for Tennessee.

That being said, I haven't been so insensed by a sporting event since the Russians stole the Olympic Gold Medal in basketball from the United States and Henry Iba back in 1972. Seeing Titan defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth pull off the helmet of Cowboy center Andre Gurode and then not once, but twice, stomp on Gurode's exposed head while wearing 3/4" cleats, wasn't "unsportsmanlike conduct." It was a criminal battery that should garner the immediate attention of the Nashville District Attorney.

However, no elected official will ever bring criminal charges against a hometown player who also played his college ball at the most popular university in the state: in Haynesworth's case the University of Tennessee.

Given that we are unlikely to see prosecution, what then should be done to Mr. Haynesworth?

One pimpish football writer suggested that the league should fine Albert all of $25,000, but NOT suspend him for any more games! Amazing. The message boards are calling for this guys head, including some Titan fans who think it's the only way to clear the team's good name.

Here's my read on the breakdown:

Dallas Fans: Lifetime ban from the league and loss of one testicle.
Tennessee Fans: One game suspension and five forced trips to the Grand Ol' Opry.
Others: One year suspension and Anger Management classes with Dr. Phil.

But I have a far better solution.

The league should fine Haynesworth $100,000 and suspend him for one game.

THEN...Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher should trade Haynesworth.

BUT...not just to any team.


What should Tennessee get in return?

A Bill Parcells autographed photo of the Dallas Cowboy Chearleaders, dinner for two at the Plano Marriott and a free pass to the Dallas Museum.

Oh yeah...just one more thing. Video of Haynesworth's first practice session with the Cowboys [rated NC-17 for extreme violence and abusive language].

You reep what you sow.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Modest, Half-Billion Dollar Proposal

John-Kelly Warren's dad stood up near the end of last week's pep rally to kick off the unvailing of "The Channels," and challenged the "nay-sayers" to hold back their "nays' unless they had a better idea.

Well, here's my proposal of a better idea. Please note, I doubt that I would support this proposal to the tune of $600 million of sales tax dollars, but hey...I think it's still "a better idea." I even have a conceptual!

Given that it is obvious that J-K and his buddies have reading a lot of Richard Florida's "Rise of the Creative Class," I've come to nickname "The Channels" as, "The Florida Keys." The underlying assumption of their endeavor is, that if you build the islands, the creative class will be lured to Tulsa to enjoy the "island life."

Rather than a climate controlled shopping area and a poodle park designed as a magnate for the trendy and chic, how about just building something that all real Oklahomans would flock to?

Let's build a big-honkin' football stadium!

Just think of it as Warren-Memorial Stadium, home of the "Route 66 Bowl."

Every year, during the "Route 66 Bowl" we could let the creative classes put on a half-time extravaganza, featuring Leon Russell and the GAP Band. We could award the Cyrus Avery Trophy to the winner of the game, which pits the second place team from the Sub Belt Conference against the eighth place team from the Big XII.

The creative classes could develop one heck of a parade that would run along the historic "Mother Road" [with a half-mile deviation to the trendier Cherry Street] that could feature marching bands and a Precision Briefcase Brigade of laid off mid-level managers.

Heck, if I keep ticking off the rich and powerful in this town, what a wonderful opportunity to bury me [ala Jimmy Hoffa] in one of the end zones!

On a more serious note, [more serious than being bumped off?] compare which of the two plans would have the greatest potential economic effects, if done right.

Warren-Memorial Stadium could host an annual, neutral site match up between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Arkansas Razorbacks at the same time as the Tulsa State Fair. Billed as the Illinois River Shootout, this could become one of the nation's burgeoning rivalries, which would draw tens of thousands to our fair city to swill beer on Cherry Street and to pack the Blue Dome District with chanting fans.

Each December, the Route 66 bowl could lure thousands to the area with a regional match up, just a few miles up the road from the Tulsa Hills Shopping Center. Perfect time to support your teams and shop at some "uniquely Tulsa" stores.

If the stadium can be designed with some flexibility that would allow for a wider soccer pitch, we could have a shot at landing an MLS soccer franchise. What's left of Westport, after it's been torn down for parking lots, could feature adjoining soccer fields.

If we wanted to pop for another $100 million or so to put on a retractable dome [like the brand new Cardinals Stadium in Arizona], who's to say we couldn't try to land a Canadian Football League franchise for our stadium? Hey, if Toronto can have a baseball team, we can have a football team that plays on a 110 yard field!

High school football state championships and rock festivals? Which will lure more dollars to the area?

There you have it Mr. Warren. My better idea.

Or better yet? How about 40 miles of brand spankin' new, four lane roads in our city? You know, a vision of going from worst to first in streets? That might work, too.

Yuh think?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Channels: Video That Illuminates

Spend some time viewing the slickly developed animated video located at You can learn a lot about the mindset of the promoters.

First you're challenged to "Imagine"...Tulsa. But in what is the first major gaffe of their promotional efforts, their bias pops out. You are then shown 15 seconds or more of images of Tulsa to help you "imagine Tulsa." What are the images of? Downtown Tulsa.

Then you're cued about a "Strong, Healthy Community," as you fly over a blurred out West Tulsa, looking off to the vista of, what else, downtown and the river. Magically, "The Channels" fades into the river.

I don't get the connection to strength and health, but hey, why challenge a well financed "feel good" marketing piece?

The next section is worth pressing the pause button a few times, as you see more details of "The Channels" morph into the picture. The first of three islands (let's call it the North Island) appears to have a marina and four high rise condos that seem to rival those seen along Chicago's Lake Shore Drive. If you're buying what Tulsa Stakeholders are selling, then grab a piece of paper and pencil and let's start some tick marks. The North Island yields four high rise buildings that are either Class A condominiums, Class A office complexes, or a combination of both. At the feet of the four high rises are what appear to be three to four-story condos or office buldings.

Press play again and let's move on.

The largest of the three islands is the Center Island, which is the more public and commercial of the three, from appearances. This is where we find the unique "canopy" that will lend some degree of "climate control" to the outdoor market. Despite being the largest of the three islands, this mock up only shows two high rise buildings. Tick mark...Tick mark. Now we're up to six high rise buildings out in the middle of the river. Hey...what's that white frothy stuff just to the east? Is that a big fountain? Do we get the big fountain for our $600 million in public funding?

Press play and let's look at the South Island.

Whoa! Goes by fast, but I counted 9, if not 10, high rise buildings. Tick...tick...tick. How many high rises does that make?

I count no fewer than 15 skycraping, rent generating monolyths of the future. That's a bunch. And we're not talking about some stubby little buildings, either. These babies appear to be between 15 and 30 stories high. Quite an assemblage of new skycrapers we're getting for our $600 million in public funding, huh?

The rest of the animation shows "quality of life" enhancements that we should all get to enjoy after we've sunk 15 years worth of tax money into their development. That is, if you can find parking...which I never see in the conceptuals. Brick pathways...wind mills generating clean, renewable energy to power our future...a wind surfer throwing caution to the wind and saying, "dirty brown salty water don't scare me, I'm a 'strong' and 'healthy' member of the 'community'"...vibrant shopping amidst flying Frisbees™ that would never dream of bonking an elderly, yet strong and healthy shopper in the head.

You don't even have to "Imagine," because their marketers are doing it for you.

All told, a minute-and-a-half of what a mere half-billion tax payer dollars, might get you.

Now let's go back to those tick marks we were keeping, because they should have you thinking seriously about what you're being sold.

Fifteen new Class A residential and/or office properties. Wow! How do you think Maurice Kanbar and Henry Kaufman are feeling now about the values of their multi-million dollar investments in downtown Tulsa's older office buildings? How about the myriad of other owners of downtown and other Class A properties that are looking at such a serious over-saturation in new properties?

Here's Test Number One regarding the bill of goods we're being offerred:

If the developers of The Channels truly believe their fancy conceptualizations are what you're really going to get when this project is completed, then anyone seeking funding for the "Vote No" campaign need look no further than the current owners of Tulsa's nicer office and condominium properties as a funding source.

Why? Because they're going to see their investments dwindle to next to nothing, coupled with the reality that Tom Baker of the Mayor's office still is pushing to have their buildings retro-fitted for sprinkler systems, which will cost them hundreds-of-thousands of dollars.

So what's the test?

If these investors remain silent, then you know that they've been assured that the high rises are just part of the "bread and circusses" that are being sold to the public to get the tax money approved. If these investors don't help fund an opposition effort, then that fancy animation is just "sizzle," and you're not going to get the "steak" you saw on the menu.

Come on folks. The reality of our real estate markets in this town is that we're over saturated in everything. The home builders have glutted the residential markets and are feeding off of the suburban flight movement that is just getting fired up [remember the Bixby Bridge, our other public/private offering?]. The reason you're not seeing cranes in the air atop new office buildings is there is no demand for new buildings.

Construction of fifteen or sixteen new towers will deflate the property values of existing Class A properties the same way every new housing project in the suburbs deflates the value of existing homes in the city.

I'm guessing though, Tulsa Stakeholders doesn't really think any of those fifteen structures will be least not until the marketplace could support them, which is in ten to fifteen years at best.

So, what will your children get, while they're waiting for the new towers that your children's children are going to get? Vacant park land, that's what.

But vacant park land in a conceptual drawing doesn't elicit the requisite "Oh boy...gotta have that!" response that will get you to separate yourself from your tax dollars. Not like "pie in the skyscrapers" will.

Next time you see a "Stakeholder" ask 'em about the buildings.

Let the dialogue continue.

But "I Already Have a Park To Take My Dog To"

Want to change "The Channels?" Don't even think about it.

I've just returned from the grand unveiling of Tulsa's latest visionary solution to what ails us. I've come away with so many thoughts and observations, it's obvious I'm going to have to share them in multiple installments. However, one suspicion was overwhelmingly confirmed.

Your're going to hear a lot about the community "having a dialogue," but via the speaker Tom Cooper's slip of the tongue, it's obvious this train has left Dialogville and is heading full of steam, toward Rhetoric City.

What was his slip? Cooper, who is one of the six principles in Tulsa Stakeholders LLC, who has spared no expense to provide us with this great vision, while speaking about the multiple "dialogues" the group wants to have with various civic groups around the city, said they hope to visit with as many of us as possible to "educate" and "pursuade." defines "dialogue" as follows:

1. conversation between two or more persons.
2. the conversation between characters in a novel, drama, etc.
3. an exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue, esp. a political or religious issue, with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement.
4. a literary work in the form of a conversation: a dialogue of Plato. –verb (used without object)
5. to carry on a dialogue; converse.

6. to discuss areas of disagreement frankly in order to resolve them. –verb (used with object)

It was obvious to me that Mr. Cooper was far more interested in merely Definition 1, than he was in Definitions 3 or 6.

Those of you expecting a process by which to offer alternatives, or to suggest meaningful changes to the project will be politely pushed aside for "one-on-one" discussions "later." As Mr. Cooper said to one questioner from the audience, "I'm not going to get into a debate with you in front of everyone here."

Sure would be a shame to ruin a good pep rally with honest debate or real dialogue.

Before ending this entry and returning to the Doubletree to retrieve my digital camera I left under my chair, let me make a couple of more observations about the Question and Answer period that ended the presentation.

1. There were more negative questions than positive; two-to-one by my reckoning.

2. There were over thirty rows of chairs in the hall, but no positive questions were offered from any rows, except the front four, where the insiders sat.

3. The Q&A went SO poorly, in fact, that frantic supporters tried to get in "just one more question," so that Bill Warren, John-Kelly Warren's father, could stand up and give an impassioned speech about why this had to happen [More on this later I hope].

Finally, my favorite question out of all of them came from a young women who identified herself as Claire. She was twenty-something and shared that she was a lifelong Tulsan. Before asking a fairly fair question about why we weren't building on the assets we already have as a city, Claire retorted Mr. Cooper's argument that animal lovers should support the half-billion dollars of public investment in their "pet" project. Animal lovers? Why is that? Because animal lovers would have a great "pet park" to take their dogs to, Cooper explained. Claire opened her remarks by saying:

"I already have a park to take my dog to...Woodward Park."

Thanks Claire!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

BatesLine: FAA letter regarding Jones Riverside Airport

Over on, Michael Bates has an entry on a recent letter sent by Ed Chambers, of the Federal Aviation Administration in Fort Worth, informing the Tulsa Airport Authority and Airport Director Jeff Mulder, that they are not treating fixed base operators at Jones/Riverside Airport equally.

I've been familiar for years with the development of this story, and know many of the players, at least by name. Even so, I found the story tough to follow, because it's a complex issue. However, I recommend that you take the time to wade through Bates' piece, because it's going to be a major issue in this town in the coming months.

One issue of note to add to what Michael Bates has written.

He tells of two hangars being built on potential sites for a future airport tower. Kent Faith of Roadhouse Aviation was required to have a memorandum attached to his lease stating that he would tear down his building, at his own expense, should the FAA choose that site for a new tower. The two new hangars don't have the same caveat.

Faith's restriction was argued for and secured by TAIT board member Ron Turner, who was selected for his position in 2002 by Mayor LaFortune at the urging of newly elected City Councilor Bill Christiansen. Bates reports that the two new hangars that don't include the restriction on their leases are for business owned by that same Bill Christiansen and another JRA tenant, Ray Booker.

Why would Airport Director Mulder not insist on Christiansen and Booker having the same restriction as Kent Faith? Perhaps it has to do with who hired him?

On April 2, 2005, the Tulsa World's D.R. Stewart wrote a story announcing the hiring of Jeff Mulder, who had previously been the airport director at Outagamie County Regional Airort in Appleton, Wisconsin. Needless to say, the Tulsa job was quite a step up for the relatively young Mr. Mulder.

So how was Mr. Mulder selected for this career advancing position? Then Mayor LaFortune hired him based on the recommendation of a five-person committee who selected Mulder from a list of three candidates.

And who was on that committee?

The selection committee was comprised of Gen. Stephen Cortright, federal security director in the Tulsa office of the Transportation Security Administration; Interim Aiport Director, City Clerk and City Finance Director, Mike Kier; LaFortune, Mayor of Tulsa; and get this, Gen. Ron Turner [Christiansen crony] and LINDA BOOKER, wife of RAY BOOKER.

In Stewart's story, he wrote the following about LaFortune's gratitude to the search committee:

"I am grateful for the time and effort each of the members of the committee gave to this important selection," LaFortune said. "Together they brought a vast amount of expertise and experience in commercial, military and general aviation to the process. The committee's work has been focused on the greater good for Tulsa."
Given that Turner [the former head of Tulsa's Air National Guard] and Cortright [the former Adjutant General of the Oklahoma National Guard] were already pretty tight, and that LaFortune had named both Turner and Kier to their posts at the airport, only Mrs. Booker lacked a direct relationship to the other four. So they apparently brought more to the table than just a "vast amount of expertise."

The committee's work may have focussed on "the greater good for Tulsa," but human nature being what it is, I'm sure there might have been some sidewards glances to some more personal and private agendas that the right hire might bring.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that Mr. Mulder would, a year later, fail to hold Christiansen and Booker to the same draconian conditions as Gen. Turner had insisted be placed upon Kent Faith and Roadhouse Aviation.

After all, he owed them his job.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Island of Lost Taxes

Since writing my entry on Sunday regarding the Tulsa World and Commissioner Randi Miller, I've been receiving some pretty interesting information from some very diverse, but reliable sources.

I've gotten word from more than one source inside City Hall that the central project that is to be sold to the public [very soon I might add] is a project that I supported before we added point-six percent in new taxes to build an arena in the wrong place and before we renewed the un-needed Four-To-Fix the County tax. What project?

Well I alluded to it in Sunday's entry. It's an island that will be built as a public/private partnership, right smack dab in the middle of Zink lake.

Even wilder is the claim that a new low-water damn would be built that would include hydro-electric turbines that would be used to power all electricity on the island.

"Sure...the taxes are high...and you don't really need an island at that price...but support it anyway, because it's earth friendly."

Only time will tell if my sources are blowing smoke up my skirt [I don't really wear a skirt, although I am Scottish-American].

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Point-Four Percent Solution

Ready or not, here they come!

For those of us who entertain themselves by being sensitive to potential portents in the paper, Sunday's Tulsa World should have Vision 2025 critics girding their loins, and preparing for battle.

There are two stories which appear to be the “tells.”

First, the Tulsa World chose this week to put a front-page, above-the-fold story and photograph on the BOK Center’s progress. The tax-and-spend crowd have been waiting patiently for months to be able to show progress on the arena, far enough from last Spring's devestating, but inevitable announcement that the project was well over budget.

Second, is the story and photo (sans waders) of District 2 County Commissioner Randi Miller, who interestingly states, “'I’m willing to fall on the sword. If we have private money step up, then I’m willing to say we will meet you with public funds because that is what the citizens I represent want,'"

Boy, look at all the questions such a statement begs.

What public funds? What private money? What citizens? What sword?

Oh yeah…one more…when?

As for the first question, we can deduce (rather safely) that the spinmeisters at Schnake- Turnbo and the Tulsa World would not have subjected Commissioner Miller to the possibility of infection from water borne dermatophytes, if the plan wasn’t for Tulsa County to be the source of ‘public funds.” Surely you remember that .4% of penny tax that was approved by the voters for Boeing during the Vision 2025 vote, but never levied because Boeing never ventured outside of the Seattle area?

That money (and it is sizable) has been burning a hole in the pockets of many a county commissioner and their cronies. It has never been a question of “if” they would put together a package for voter consideration, but merely a matter of when, which is the last “begged question” I listed.

The gathering P.R. storm that is showing on my radar says, “Soon…very soon!”

Tactically, the county’s advisors have always preferred the holiday season for their tax-raising experiences. Remember the failed Tulsa City/County Library vote in December, 2004? Remember the successful Four-To-Fix the County vote in December, 2005?

The formula works great for passage. One part busy voters more concerned with finding parking close to the mall than finding fault in a tax proposal, two parts worn out conservatives fresh from doing statewide battle to win back the Governor’s office and trying to end a century long Democrat monopoly of the State Senate, topped off with evenings that come early, limiting the effectiveness of door-to-door grassroots campaigning.

Look for the question to be put to voters some time between December, 2006 and February, 2007.

Then there’s the question of who gets to commingle their “private funds” with the “people’s money?” Let’s examine some more of what Commissioner Miller told the Lorton Gazette:

“This is the right time for us to dive into the
river. It’s time for the private sector to step up
and for the public to help support that,” Miller

“The private sector can’t do it all alone; the
public sector can’t do it alone; and what we’ve
done so far just isn’t enough. It is going to take
everyone joining hands. It’s about everyone making
the investment for our future. That’s what will
make river development work,” she said.
Everyone? Do I get to invest? Does the average citizen get a piece of the pie? Well sure we do! We get to invest our taxes! The beauty of "everyone joining hands" is, it makes it easier for the bureaucrats to pick your pockets.

All this raises more questions. If you're developing the river, then you're developing river property, right? Who owns the property now? Who is going to own it after the taxpayers have flooded millions into private property?

Even if you build in the middle of the river, there are questions. Building a big, "pleasure island" in the middle of the Arkansas River [an idea I like, with private money] makes one wonder to what extent the indian tribes might have to be dealt a hand.

There was talk during my last months on the City Council, that Mayor LaFortune and Commissioner Miller had held talks with Roger Hardesty about selling the cement batch plant near the West Festival Grounds. Good plan. Use of tax payer dollars to secure developable land, at a fair market price, works for me. But what other properties are being looked at?

Can you imagine the County serving as a long term landlord, securing land inside the City of Tulsa, and issuing leases to private developers? That would be a disaster.

The bottom line to all of this is, the County has no place in raising, directing and overseeing additional sales tax revenues. By pursuing higher County sales taxes, the City of Tulsa will lose available potential taxes that might have to be called on in the event of a public safety crisis. Add to this, the fact that the County serves as both the Executive and Legislative branches of government and you have a bad prescription for the funneling of nearly $1 Billion of tax payer money.

But that won't deter those that have been waiting patiently to get their hands on all that Boeing money.

Gird those loins folks, it's going to be a hectic holiday season.

A Metaphor Too Hard To Ignore

If a picture says a thousand words, then this photograph I took Thursday, pretty much sums up the current condition of my elective political career.

The photo is from the Creek County Landfill.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Just Released to the Media

Press Release

Chris Medlock to Seek House District 69 Seat

Former Tulsa City Councilor and Mayoral Candidate Joins a Crowded Field Seeking the Seat Being Vacated by Rep. Fred Perry.

Tulsa, OK, Friday, May 19, 2006:

Former Tulsa City Councilor Chris Medlock confirmed Friday that he will seek Rep. Fred Perry’s House District 69 seat, that Perry will be vacating at the end of this year, due to term limitations.

Medlock joins an already crowded field, which may include as many as four other Republicans, by the time filing closes on Wednesday, June 7th.

“We know we’re getting a late start,” Medlock acknowledged, “but we have been very encouraged by the reception we’ve received from the people in the district I’ve contacted.”

Citing his sixteen years as a resident in the district as one factor that sets him
apart from most of the announced candidates, Medlock vowed to serve the
citizens of District 69, with the same dedication and time commitment that he
gave to his constituents as a Tulsa City Councilor.

“I know what it’s like to live in this district, the importance of strong schools and strong neighborhoods,” Medlock said. “Our household is dealing with the chaos that comes from having a Senior graduating from Jenks High School, this month. I know first hand how important it is to keep the districts’ schools healthy and strong.”

“I am committed to working towards a day in the immediate future,” Medlock stated, “on which we can end the state income tax that puts Oklahoma at a decided disadvantage in competing with states like Texas, for new, quality jobs.

“Proven conservative leadership, the kind Sen. Coburn is exemplifying in Washington,” Medlock added, “could very well bring about the reforms necessary to end the state’s income tax in the very near future.

Other issues Medlock plans to make the center of his bid for the legislature include, many of the standard issues that make up the GOP platform, such as meaningful tort and worker’s compensation reform. However, he intends to use his previous experiences, both in business and government, to lend a unique perspective to the new Republican House Majority.

“Fred Perry was one of the strongest voices in dealing with the new realities, many of them disturbing, that come from the growing influence that the Internet is having on our society,” Medlock said. “Many people don’t realize it, but I’ve mastered over twenty-four software packages, as a result of my career. I believe I can bring much more than a layman’s knowledge to the issue.”

Medlock will also continue his leadership in securing the rights of individual property owners, from the threat of government use of eminent domain, for private development.

Our homes are, for most of us, the single largest investment we make in our lifetime, “ Medlock said. “Government should not be able to take our property for anything but a clearly defined public purpose, such as roads or waterlines.”


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"Bridge Builder" Battles Blight In Sand Springs

Today's Tulsa World has a story on Sand Springs efforts to use Vision 2025 monies to clear a "blighted" area of town for future commercial use. The effort has received national attention, not for the progressiveness of the project, but because Sand Springs officials have been hinting at using their powers of eminent domain to seize and demolish a black church.

In a recent meeting, the Sand Springs Development Authority scheduled no condemnation action against the Centennial Baptist Church, 123 W. Morrow Road, which has refused a city offer for its property. The church' s pastor has said in the past (including on Fox News Channel's "Hannity and Colmes Show") that they have no intention of moving.

However, the US Supreme Court's decision last year in the case of Belo vs. New London, CT., leaves open the possibility that the SSDA could use eminent domain to force the church to sell.

The Keystone Corridor project, which is mainly funded with Vision 2025 dollars, could be substantially delayed by the church's intransigence. However, the city hasn't, as of yet, seemed willing to negotiate with the church as to a mutually agreeable solution.

What could be mutually agreeable? How about building the church a new facility as part of the commercial development. Wouldn't this be an elegant way of solving the problem? Would a neighborhood church, incorporated into the master plan of the commercial development, be a bad thing? After all, isn't that an example of the types of "mixed use" planning that most urban design types are saying need to be pursued in the future?

I imagine two things are holding Sand Springs, and more importantly the money people hoping to cash in from the shopping center to be built, back; the church is predominantly black and the infamous Cinnabar is handling the acquisitions.

The last part of today's story in the World quotes Cinnabar's Bill Bacon at length. But I find it interesting that our newspaper of record refers to Bacon as the SSDA's "program manager for condemnation," and not as the city's hired gun from the infamous Cinnabar. In fact, nowhere in the story is Cinnabar even cited.

Cinnabar, you will remember, is the company that had the contract for the federal noise abaitment program around Tulsa International Airport, but was run off last year by the Tulsa Airport Improvements Trust.

Throw in the fact that Mr. Bacon is also a principle player in the Bixby Bridge controversy, this time in his capacity as a partner in Infrastructure Ventures, Inc., and you've got to wonder why the paper wouldn't think that their readers would find these connections interesting?

Why is it that our city's monopoly daily seems more interested in not helping its readers connect the dots with regard to Bill Bacon and his partners, Bob Parmele and former Mayor Terry Young? The World's "sins of omission" are becoming painfully obvious to those of us that follow these issues closely, but I'm sure the publishers are very aware that that there are a relatively small number of us, as compared to the vast number of potential voters whom they can continue to influence to vote the paper's way.

But gee, isn't the purposeful withholding of pertinent information, resulting in the weakening of information exchange, but the strengthening of one's political position, a blatant form of bias? In fact, I find the World's bias shows far more in what they don't say in a story, than in what they do say.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that bias is inevitable. I just find it more palatable when we know the flavor before it's fed to us.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Link Problems Fixed

For those of you who may have had problems using the Title Links for this site, I've fixed the code and all should be working. Thanks to all of you who alerted me to the little bugs that need attention.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Principle of "Cause and Effect," Beyond Tulsa World's Grasp?

Basic Principle: A Rose By Any Other Name Is Not a Rhododendron.

Yesterday the Tulsa World flashed this headline on its front page:

State economy grows in April

Great news, right? Let's read on:

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma's economy continued to grow in April, helped along by major increases in oil and gas taxes.

If you're a liberal, you've just read this and thought, "So what's so wrong with that?" If you're a conservative, you may not be able to put your finger on it, but there's something in that statement that doesn't quite sound right. There's a good chance you conservatives read this lead paragraph and tilted your head to the right, causing you to resemble that dog in front of the phonograph megaphone on the old RCA logo; "his master's voice."

So let me answer, for our liberal friends, what's "so wrong" with the World's lead paragraph.

How was Oklahoma's economy helped along by "major increases in oil and gas taxes?" Increases in taxation are generally a burden on an economy. Does the writer, Angel Riggs, mean that the state's oil and gas taxes were increased, which fueled an economic recovery? Does the writer mean Oklahoma's current oil and gas tax collection rates resulted in higher revenues due to greater gross revenues that are the result of higher prices at the pump and on the average citizen's utility bill?

Let's read on:

Preliminary reports showed that the state's general revenue fund collections for April were $688 million -- $134.8 million, or 24 percent, above the same month last year.

Oh wait! Now it's becoming clearer.

When the headline writer wrote, "State economy," they weren't talking about the whole state. They didn't mean all of the small mom and pop businesses, or even the mega-corporations like Chesapeake. When a liberal paper like the World writes about "revenue fund collections," such statements must be translated into the conservative equivalent, which is "tax collections."

So here is how the statement should have read:

Preliminary reports showed that the state's general tax collections for April were $688 million -- $134.8 million, or 24 percent, above the same month last year.

Good. Now we're getting somewhere.

Let's review one final paragraph from this front-page, above the fold story and then sum up:

[Meacham] attributed steady improvement in Oklahoma's economy since mid-2003 to price increases for natural gas and oil.

Hmmm...Maybe I don't read so well, but here's my take on this comment. Oklahoma's State Treasurer is "attributing" the steady improvement in gross "tax collections" to an improvement in the state's economy, AND that he attributes the improvement in the state's economy to steady improvement in the increased costs being charged to the consumer for natural gas and oil.

Gee...I feel better all ready.

This story smacks of how the press in the former Soviet Union used to tell the masses, "Good news from the steppes, comrades! The Ministry of Agriculture reports that this year's wheat harvest set another record." This would then be followed by the standard party rhetoric designed to indicate that socialism was working, completely ignoring that bumper harvests are more the doing of the farmers who tended the crops, and God who provided the weather.

Implying that results of one industry's toil and Divine providence as indicators of successful governmental policy, stretches credulity like it was Laffy-Taffy.

The chief reasons Oklahoma's economy is in recovery are factors that lie completely outside of state's locus of control. Oil and gas prices are up because of the war and instability in the Middle-East and the fact that our elected officials in Washington, D.C. can't seem to agree on a federal energy policy that makes us less dependent on foreign sources. As such, it is beyond ironic, that Oklahoma's Democrats may be successful in maintaining control of the Governor's Mansion and the Oklahoma Senate, because Democrats in the minority in the U.S. Senate are using the threat of philibuster to block drilling in A.N.W.A.R. and other energy related reforms. But that's for another column, because I promised to sum up.

First, the World's editorial should have read;

State's Tax Coffers Grow in April

Why? Because Oklahoma's economy is not the same thing as Oklahoma's tax collections.

Secondly, the first paragraphs of the article give the casual reader the appearance that this growth is due to our tax policy.

Thirdly, as a conservative, the only good news I'm seeing in the World's story is that the argument is growing every month for the state to begin to wean itself off of the Income Tax completely. I would say do it now, but unfortunately, all it would take is peace in the Middle-East or Congress getting its act together on energy policy for us to be back in deep "item."

I'm not going to be comfortable taking a bold, conservative step like that, until I know that we have bold conservatives at the helm of the ship-of-our-state, to implement such reforms.

As for now, wouldn't it be nice to mandate that reporters and headline writers actually understand the issues they are reporting on? If not the issues, at least the basic concept of cause and effect?

Until then, they're going to try to sell us that a rose by any other name, could
be a rhododendron, if this is an election year.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Cheers and Jeers I

Cheer: Kudos to Mayor Kathy Taylor for her selfless (but let's be honest, mostly symbolic) decision not to collect her $105,000 salary. Despite the fact she has her own jet and lives in a house that costs more than the homes of my immediate and extended families combined, it is a nice gesture.

Jeer: A great big "Boo-Hiss" for Tulsa World writer P. J. Lassek for her work in reporting Mayor Taylor's decsion to forego her salary. Not content with trying to score PR points for the new mayor with her legitimate action to save taxpayer dollars, Lassek decided to attempt to sell the fact that Taylor is better than previous mayors, because of the way she communicates with city employees.

This may or may not be true. However, Lassek chose City Council aide Cheral Crossland for several quotes to make the point. Here's how Lassek's work appeared in print.

"Several city employees contacted by the Tulsa World on Saturday said they thought the e-mail was a positive gesture by the new mayor.

"City Council aide Cheral Crossland said she was impressed and the news was more sincere because it was released quietly to the employees.

"To me, she's really doing the job because I think she wants to make a difference," Crossland said.

She said Taylor may be the first mayor who regularly communicates with the employees. "Before there was no communication, we always had to read what was going on in the newspaper," Crossland said.
On the surface, this seems innocuous enough, right? But what pushes these paragraphs to the edge of "Propaganda Canyon" are the facts that Lassek doesn't share with the reader.

First, Lassek doesn't tell you that Cheral Crossland's husband is a major player in the Public Works Department. Dan Crossland is Tulsa's Street Maintenance Manager, making him one of Charles Hardt's top lieutenants. Given that both halves of this double-income family derive their salaries from the city, is it any wonder that Ms. Crossland is willing to gush?

Secondly, Ms. Crossland is a friend of Ms. Lassek's. More than once, I've had to turn around during committee meetings to give the pair a "do you mind" stare, because they were so vociferously chatting behind me. Ms. Lassek is also a frequent visitor to Ms. Crossland's office, (the most tucked away and hidden office on the second floor of City Hall).

Thirdly, and perhaps most significantly, Ms. Crossland spent the previous four years as the Council aide to two councilors who have just this year left the Council. Who you ask? Why none other than former District 4 Councilor Tom Baker and former District 9 Councilor Susan Neal. "BakerNeal," as they were known to the Gang of Four (because they almost NEVER voted differently) are of course the latest acquisitions by Team Taylor. In fact, it appears the two occupy her top two staff positions.

For those that need a refresher, "propaganda" is defined as, "The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause."

When a reporter uses a personal friend who is very closely tied to a new mayor's top aides, and who has a vested interest via her job, to "propogate" information advocating the efficacy of an elected official who is a close friend and neighbor of the publisher of that reporter's newspaper and employer, then I'd say a reasonable argument can be made that this definition has been met.

Don't you think?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Whose Bread I Eat -- His Song I Sing

I've just returned from having attended the Dan Keating for State Treasurer party held at the IPE Building at the fairgrounds. While the turnout was a little sparse, no doubt due to the rain, the President speaking at the OSU Commencement, the Blues Festival and other events, the highlight of the event, as expected, was the speech by U.S. Senator Tom Coburn.

Coburn acknowledged that he does very few endorsements for other candidates. His primary qualification for such an endorsement is that the candidate must have a vision for what he wants to accomplish in the office. He will only support those that "want to do something, not to be somebody."

Dan Keating should be very honored that Sen. Coburn has such faith in him.

However, the highlight of the speech was a story he read from a source he didn't reveal. Given that the events were an unknown storyteller's recollection of a political speech he heard as a boy growing up in rural Georgia, most surmised that the writer must be former Georgia Senator Zell Miller.

My curiosity was such, as was the power of the very simple tale he shared, that the instant I got home, I "Googled" some of the key word I remembered and "lo and behold," there was the story, simply entitled, "Whose Bread I Eat -- His Song I Sing," by J. G. McDaniel, M.D.

I won't comment much on the story, because commentary would merely dilute the simple message. I would just encourage you to take five minutes, at the most, to read this story.

Click Here.

Friday, May 05, 2006

SB 1324: My E-Mail to the Senators

Thought I'd share a copy of the e-mail I sent to each member of the State Senate regarding SB 1324.


As a former Tulsa City Councilor and recent candidate for mayor, I can assure you that the issue of land use and zoning regulations are a hot-button issue in Tulsa. Attempts by a rogue element of our local development community to control both the planning commission and the Boards of Adjustment have energized citizens across party lines.

Having failed to win the support they need at the ballot box, these developers are now trying to co-opt the State Legislature to do what they couldn’t do locally; force the average home or business owner to face the specter of hiring an attorney to fight unwelcome developments that are poor fits for the area.

Local government should be granted latitude by the state to pursue development guidelines that fit the goals of the local community as a whole. Sweeping legislation that restricts a community’s ability to pursue unique policies will leave Oklahoma with cookie cutter cities and towns.

I urge you to defeat SB 1324. Let each community govern itself. This bill is destructive to that end.

Chris Medlock
I only have received two response so far. Sen. Nancy Riley wrote a succinct, "Thank you for your input."

Sen. Randy Brogdon of Owasso wrote,

Thanks for the heads up. I have already talked to the
attorney about this situation and plan on voting NO.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Martinson Cronies Say, "Stop Stalling."

It hasn’t even been a year yet, so it shouldn’t be hard for most of you to remember.

Then District 7 City Councilor Randy Sullivan said the “process” was a distraction. As such, he was calling for an election on the earliest possible date in which another election was already scheduled.

District 8 City Councilor Bill Christiansen said an election date needed to be set so that the city could “move on with its business.”

“If we delay [setting an election date], it will just cause more dissension in the city," Christiansen was quoted as saying.

Christiansen continued by asking the candidate in question, “What is he afraid of?” He asked if the candidate feared giving the matter to the voters.

Then District 9 City Councilor Susan (the Most Reasonable) Neal said there were “citizens on both sides of this issue with strong feelings and it will embroil the community and council in a controversy that I don't think we need right now.”

The Tulsa World editorialists were rending their garments and calling for an end to politically motivated stall tactics. Let the voters decide! Let’s get this behind us and move on!


All of this occurred just before the recall election date was set. More of note, all of this was said before the judges had ruled on the validity of the process and other questions.

Oh yeah! At the same time, then candidate Bill Martinson, as part of the special election to name a replacement following the departure of District 5 councilor Sam Roop, was making the rounds at the forums and debates, saying what an embarrassment the council was, and how he would insist on civility and decorum.

All this makes it ironic, now, to see Sullivan, Christiansen and Neal’s good buddy Bill Martinson, using stall tactics (after a judge has ruled) as transparent tactics designed to assure the re-match election between him and Jon Kirby will occur on as expedient a day as possible.

I might be shocked by this, but then, logical and intellectual consistencies are not traits that one uses, if one wants the logically and intellectually inconsistent Tulsa World to continue to refer to you as “reasonable.”

In the rough and tumble game of politics, employing such a strategy in order to attain political advantage is the norm. As such, I will refrain from criticizing their use in this matter.

What is Martinson stalling for? Most likely to ensure that the election occurs on the party runoff date scheduled for August. Given the nature of Martinson’s council district, it is very likely there will be some competitive runoff races for statewide seats. It is equally unlikely such will be the case with the democrats. In a race that was separated by 25 or so votes, this could give Martinson a substantial advantage in getting out his base.

However, I can’t let this opportunity go by without crowing just a bit, now that the shoe appears to be on the other foot. Amazing how such efforts to unseat a public official is a “distraction” when you’re the public official. Amazing how stalling can be come a legitimate tactic to save one’s job.

Then there’s Martinson’s legal eagles. The Scheme Team includes such luminary attorneys as Wilson (Where’s the Red Meat?) Busby and Paul (Just what IS your relationship with Chris Medlock, Mr. Westcott?) Prather, and you have a surreal prescription for a bad case of “who you calling a cartel?”

What’s next? Bob Poe speaking before the Press Club, holding up a photo of Jon Kirby and declaring, “powdered wigs went out of style in the late 18th Century, and we’re not going to tolerate Mr. Kirby’s attempts to bring them back?”

As for me, I’ll just keep chuckling.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Kill the Bill Vol. 1324

Coming Soon to DVD.

Getting An Aspartame High?

Yesterday, Monday, May 1st, 2006, was more than just the national Day Without Immigrants. It happened to be the day that my waste measurement, taken in the morning, equaled exactly 1000 millimeters. Yep…that would be a waist measurement of exactly one meter or 39.37 inches.

I have always considered one of my personal measures for basic fitness to be, that my waist measurement should be less than, or equal to, my inseam measurement, which is 36 inches. I’ve never had to work too hard at maintaining that standard and on the rare occasions when I’ve drifted above it, I’ve had to do very little to get back under the mark.

Well, I’ve officially had enough. I was successful in the month of January in using the South Beach diet to drop fifteen pounds, but they’ve all come back. The pressures of a mayor’s race, with the accompanying diet of pizza and donuts, undermined the effort, so that I now find myself worse than when I started.

It wasn’t always like this. Before getting into office three years ago, I looked and felt six years younger. I weighed, to my recollection, about 185 pounds. Yesterday, I tipped the scales at a whopping 218.5! It’s not just the more than 30 pounds I put on that is of so much concern. Having lost the free time I used to have to go to the gym with regularity, I have lost at least fifteen pounds of muscle. Do the math. That means I’ve put on, since becoming a city councilor, nearly 50 pounds of fat.


I recently saw a news magazine…I think it was 20/20…that showed the best way to diet is to make a very public declaration of your intention to lose. As such, I am declaring today that by this time next year…April 30th, 2007 to be exact…it is my intention to either lose thirty pounds in total weight (188.5 pounds) or to reduce my waist measurement from its current 39.37 inches, to 33.5 inches.

I am allowing myself the wiggle room with the waistline, because I recognize one of the traps to diet and exercise to be concentrating solely on pounds, and not recognizing that exercise adds healthy muscle. Being officially middle-aged, I know it will be tough to add back the fifteen pounds of muscle, but I’m hopeful.

For those of you who are my frequent critics, please consider this an open invitation, should I fail to achieve this goal, to view this as a determinant of my character. If I fail, flail away.

So there you have it. Check back periodically and see how I’m doing, and wish me Godspeed and lot’s of sugar-free treats.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

With Friends Like These...

Somebody over at the Tulsa World needs to tell the headline writers to keep up with the current spin for the publisher's friends.

I went to a great deal of trouble last week showing my readers how Kathy Taylor had attended a "Gun Control Summit" in New York City, rather than a "Crime Summit" as had been reported by the Tulsa World. If I'd just waited a few more days, I would've had an easier time making my case.

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne (a liberal) wrote an opinion piece on the summit, which you can read for free, here. Dionne's column is syndicated and carried by the World, and as such, was printed in full as part of Saturday's Opinion Section.

The column's headline in the post read:

A New Gun Argument: Mayor's Turn the Political Issue to Saving Lives

The Tulsa World's headline for the same piece read:

There you have it folks! Even the Tulsa World has come around to admitting Taylor was in the Big Apple to explore tougher gun control.

You Can't Be the "I Told You So" Crowd, Unless... were right in the first place.

Kookie Ken Neal is at it again, twisting logic with a torque wrench.

Since it was revealed earlier this month that Tulsa's iconic arena is going to cost at least $32 million more than what tax payers were led to believe, Ken Neal has developed a mild case of amnesia (forgetting to mention that the reviled Gang of Four councilors were asking questions about arena overruns for nearly a year) and now seems to be making excuses for the very people he supported throughout the arena's development.

In the first two paragraphs of Neal's Sunday editorial, he writes:

Tulsans should be concerned that the major bids for the arena downtown were $32 million higher than expected.

Cause for concern, yes. Wrongdoing or deliberate misleading by public officials? No.
How do you know Ken? Do Tulsa's public officials fill you in on everything they do behind closed doors? Isn't it logical to assume that if some public officials were seeking to deliberately mislead the public, they wouldn't inform the editor of one of the city's newspapers? Isn't it possible, Ken, that you were duped like tens-of-thousands of your fellow citizens?

I haven't run the math, Ken, but maybe the $32 million in cost overruns isn't due to the escalation of building material costs due the explosive growth of the economies of China and India. Maybe it's because Bob Poe was right, and the "Gang of Five's" holding up of the condemnation of Peggy Jones' Denver Grill reall DID cost the city $10,000 per day?

No wait, that allegation, trumpted by the Tulsa World editorial pages, was proven wrong within days of it being "dropped" by the bombastic Mr. Poe.

It's amazing how smoothly Neal can construct such simple sentences which have such gargantuan implications. Try this one on for size:

Not that $32 million is a minor matter, but there are ways to reduce that amount or find the extra money for the project.
Oklahoma City reduced the cost of its arena by about $10 million when it faced cost overruns. The result was that some of the upper floors are pretty bare bones. Trying to slice out $30 million is likely to leave Tulsa's arena unpainted, without a roof, air conditioning and seats, don't you think?

We all know, economizing isn't really an option. They're just letting you believe that until after the Third Penny Sales Tax vote next month, to lessen the potential for a tax payers revolt, if the truth were known.

What is the truth? That the only two viable choices are, cease and desist building the arena or come back for more tax dollars. That's it. There are no other possible options.

Oh no...don't go there! Don't try to say that using the overage dollars from the current Vision 2025 thirteen year tax wouldn't be a tax increase, because it would. As justification for approving the arena, the voters were given a dollar figure of $122 million. Somehow, that got moved to $141. But using the overage for cost overruns would prevent the tax from being ended early, which is the preferred position taken by the Tulsa County Republican Party's platform.

If the tax could be ended in twelve years, rather than requiring thirteen years, then any action that caused the tax to be collected for thirteen years has effectively raised taxes.

Neal also reasons:

Yes, it will cost more than public officials hoped. There are reasons for that. Let's not point fingers of blame.
Why not, Ken? You're fond of pointing fingers of blame when the news doesn't break your way!

First of all, the "professional engineers and professionals in the construction business" you cite as being hired to design and build the arena have known about the likelihood of such overruns since November. My source? Mayor Taylor as reported by Omadelle Nelson and KJRH (or is TV News the "fringe" media?).

Secondly, we have been chasing down tips from "insiders" who are telling us that back in early January of this year, both Matrix and Tulsa Vision Builders had worked up budgets that showed the arena project was already over budget, but that they were being "instructed not to release this information until at a minimum after the mayoral primaries." They were also directed to perform cost studies "to try to pin all of this on the "Katrina factor." We have been told that Matrix was reporting the project as still being on budget, but the Tulsa Vision Builders was developing grave concerns.

Let's be perfectly frank here, Ken. The politics around this project have stunk for years. This project has NOT been handled in the full light of day. Dollar figures have changed, advisory panel ballots have disappeared and concerned elected officials have been stonewalled and villified.

Politics, by its nature is often about pointing fingers and assigning blame. If the people guiding the arena project were as competent as you say, then we'd have been getting answers to our questions about potential overruns long before the elections, and Neal's paper wouldn't have been trashing the questioners.

Finally, I am tickled by Mr. Neal's slip as noted in the title of this posting. In trying to trash County Commissioner Randi Miller, who has been critical of the arena project of late, Neal writes:

Tulsa County Commissioners Bob Dick and Wilbert Collins who were the driving force behind Vision 2025 have been rational and responsible in their comments about the arena bids.

But not District 2 Commissioner Randi Miller, who has been bleating and blaming and making empty promises about the situation. She is smarting from a lopsided defeat in her primary run for mayor and still is pandering to the "I-told-you-so" crowd. She managed to be for and against the original 2025 plan.
No one says "I told you so, unless they're pretty danged sure they've been right all along.

"I told you so, Ken!"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Taylor Made Gun Control?

Sure it was unlikely to have been literally true, but if there were some of you in this town that thought Kathy Taylor’s tough-on-crime rhetoric during the mayoral campaign made her the likely nominee as Tulsa’s most recent version of a “Pistol Packin’ Mama,” it looks like you’re going to have to rethink that image of our new mayor.

Mayor KT spent the early part of this week in the Big Apple hobnobbing with other big city mayors at New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Gun Summit.”

Even though Bloomberg is officially listed as a Republican, readers should not assume that his kind of gun summit would consist of avid gun owners and hobbyists wearing fashionable “camo while standing around a table littered with ammo, clips and self-loader kits, talking about the most effective way to bring down a six-point buck with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun. Remember that Bloomberg is the Republican mayor of a city that is obscenely liberal and democrat.

New Yorkers like Republican mayors because they seem to be tough enough on crime in the big city to keep Gotham’s creative-classes safe while hailing a hack or purchasing a pierogi from a street vendor. To the average New Yorker, buying a hot glue gun one might use to attach fabric remnants to a Moroccan dining room canopy, as seen on Christopher Lowell’s show, is dangerously close to an activity requiring a permit and a three day waiting period to take possession. In New York City, talking about serious gun control is considered talking tough on crime.

So who attended the Bloomberg Gun Summit? According to the Associated Press, “Bloomberg said organizers cast a wide net to a number of cities and the mayors set to attend are those who were able to work it into their schedules.

Flashback to Tulsa’s reality. Chief Been hasn’t been re-instated, the arena is massively over budget (and no, it should have surprised on one), the FY07 city budget is due on Monday, we have two massive legal judgments that are waiting to be paid, her staff hasn’t been selected, we’ve got two open seats on the TMAPC that are going to draw fire no matter who is named to them and the FAA is now less than a month away from releasing its report on Tulsa, and Mayor Taylor had time to fit a gun control summit into her schedule?

Just the sheer learning curve of the job should keep junkets out of the picture for six months at least. This is especially for junkets, the purpose of which, are wildly out of touch with your community's values.

For those of you who are reading this and thinking that our mayor went to an Illegal Gun Summit, instead of a Gun Control Summit, read on.

The AP’s Desmond Butler writes, “Bloomberg has focused on gun control as a priority for his second term.”

In calling this summit, Bloomberg has teamed up with Boston mayor, Thomas Menino, who has recently begun studying the idea of limiting the sale of ammunition in his city, possibly limiting the amount of ammo one could by at a time. Menino’s team is also looking into micro-stamping, a new technology that could trace bullets to their owners.

All of this sounds wonderfully logical and pro-active, but ignores the simple fact that most liberal policy ignores; criminals, by definition, do not obey the law.

Bullets can be bought over the Internet. Bullets can be bought out of state. Bullets can be stolen, so that when a local Crip or Blood decides to participate in a drive-by shooting, it is likely that the cops will be standing at my doorstep at 3AM, holding a micro-stamped shell casing I got for Christmas last year, while asking me if they can search my garage for a blue, 1968 Chevy Impala.

It will be interesting to see how the Erling/Turnbo spin machine sells this trip to the public. I’m sure they will center in on the “brainstorming” that took place among the bi-partisan assemblage of big city mayors. Can’t you just hear billionaire Bloomberg brainstorming with millionaire Taylor?

Bloomberg: “Okay…but we tried to limit gun ownership by making everyone take a class on gun safety in order to get a carry permit, but record numbers of citizens went out and too the classes and now they’re packing heat on the street!”

Taylor: “Ooh-ooh! I’ve got an idea. Let’s change the law so that you have to take the course in gun safety, but afterwards YOU don’t get to carry a gun. Only your chauffer can carry the gun and only when they’re driving YOU!”

Bloomberg: “Gosh Mayor Taylor…I sure do love that down home, Oklahoma savvy. It’s almost “street smart.”

Aside from fitting this gun control junket into her schedule, I’ve spoken with two city councilors, neither of whom remembers the mayor getting her travel authorized, which is required of all city employees. Not that it will break the Lobeck/Taylor bank account, but failure to get authorization from the Council means that Mayor Taylor will be footing the bill for her travel out of her household soap account. It will be interesting to see if such self-financed trips become a common occurance.

It will be even more interesting to see if she submits a bill to the Council upon her return, as if she had a corporate expense account. I could see the Council forgiving her one such trip, but travel such as this, with the budget so tight, is not something the public should allow our new mayor, if she plans to bill the tax payer.