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.


bamlock said...

And there is also the Cinnabar mess up in Stillwater with the ED threat to homeowners last Fall. You could also throw in how Cinnabar threatened landowners when the Creek Turnpike was being planned and the Jail and O'Brian Park and the homes that bought in the first buyout phase with the airport.....

Paul Tay said...

You wrote: 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?

Sound like a great idea. Except we talkin' 'bout Sand Springs FERCHRISTSAKES! And, it's a "black" church. And, it's actually a good idea. We can't have good ideas running loose in da Tulsa REGION. Man, we can grouse all day long, but, there is NO one on the horizon to really make a big shout. You left Council. And, your base is lost, casted to the wind, when you endorsed Bill. If you had at least keep yer mouth shut, MedBloc might still be a major force in '10. Right now, what I thought was gonna be MedBloc in Council, Wescott, Barnes, Henderson, are all nuthin' but Third Penny shrills. And, Kid Kirby is toast. Crapola. Well, at least, Roscoe is still around. But, he's only a stinkmaker under the radar. We need someone who will say NO Arena, while wildly jumping up and down, beating the lecturn furiously, in Council.