"Vision 2025" isn't forward thinking


Just came across a thoughtful post on TulsaNow's forum, pointing out the lack of vision and foresight in "Vision 2025".

I haven't studied the "peak oil" issue and won't comment on the merits of those points, but the broader point is well-taken: A real vision process would have included a study of long-term challenges that our community will face -- challenges which will affect every city such as energy availability and the aging of the population, along with challenges specific to our region. Communities like Salt Lake City have undertaken such comprehensive studies. You might argue with the conclusions they drew in Salt Lake City, but at least they addressed the issues. That didn't happen in Tulsa.

And note the great point in the last paragraph. [Emphasis added.]

I recently moved back to Tulsa. I was one of the "youths" that left in disgust, but I always knew I would return eventually because in spite of it's flaws, Tulsa is quite liveable. Many of my friends have also returned.

I only recently learned of the visioning project, and I have been trying to educate myself about its history, so I skimmed over the original list of proposals submitted by citizens. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised by the bulk of community input. Unfortunately, lots of good ideas didn't clear the city government, a few big porkers were added belatedly, and completely unrelated items were lumped together. That's not acceptable. Some folks advocate just passing it so we can at least "do something."

The problem with 2025 is it isn't forward-thinking at all. If it passes and achieves all the desired effects, we will be poorly aligned for 2050 and beyond. Growth is an outdated mantra.

The effects of Peak Oil are already becoming evident. By 2025, the situation will worsen substancially, and by 2050 we will all be in serious trouble. If you aren't familiar with the issue, check:


You are all welcomed and envited to dispute this, but one of the effects will be fealt this winter by spikes in natural gas prices. We can't drill our way out of it: in fact, we already drilled out. Oil capitol no longer.

Despite some of the assertians of some posters to this site, Tulsa is not an intellectual or industrial backwater. We have a highly educated skilled workforce. They haven't all moved away yet, but they do need work.

We have a surplus of vacant industrial warehouses. We should be attracting renewable energy generation manufacturers to locate here. Not stinky obsolete floundering airline manufacturers that regularly lay off their workers. We need a growth industry with a future. Demand for airliners fluctuates; demand for renewables will only increase in the next century. We can be the Energy Capitol, with vision.

As for the rest, passing this bill as written won't help. Probably won't hurt much, but setting low standards is counterproductive. Rewriting it without the tricky picks will be easy. So don't presume this is the last chance to "do something." We can rewrite it. Haste makes waste.

Talk about damning with faint praise -- spending $1 billion like this "probably won't hurt much!" For a billion dollars and a 13 year tax we ought to be taking bold strides into the future, not pursuing old-style economic development strategies (bribe big companies to come, build arenas), and funding projects that are nice, but not strategic.

As the writer notes, it would have been easy for our leaders to do this right. On September 9, we can tell them to get back on track for a real vision for our region.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 19, 2003 8:26 PM.

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