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.