Is it for the children? Is it for the young professionals?

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Those are two questions about two major thrusts of the campaign for the proposed Tulsa County sales tax increase for river-related projects. In this week's column in Urban Tulsa Weekly, I ask whether this river tax plan is what we need to do for the sake of Tulsa's children and young adults.

In response to the first question, I deal in passing with one river tax cheerleader's active involvement in destroying a place of fun and happy memories for Tulsa's children, and pass along a suggestion, made by my wife, for how you could protest Bell's eviction from the Tulsa County Fairgrounds, should you decide not to boycott this year's Tulsa State Fair entirely:

In addition to the obvious -- don't spend money on the Murphy Brothers midway -- here's a homemade idea for those who go to the fair but wish to protest Bell's eviction: Wear bells to the fair. You can buy a big bag of jingles at a craft store for a few dollars. Thread a bunch on a ribbon to wear around your neck. Bring extras to give to friends or fellow fairgoers.

And if you want to make the point explicit, stick a nametag on your shirt with the slogan that's been spotted around town: "No Bell's. No fair."

Bells3-web.pngAccompanying that suggestion on page 7 of this week's UTW is the first published work by a budding young cartoonist named Joe Bates, depicting a weeping Bell. He's got some more political cartoons in the work. The demolition of Bell's is something my two older kids saw happening on an almost daily basis, and it saddened them both greatly. I'm proud to see my son express his sentiments so eloquently in art. He's already working on some more cartoons.

I mentioned in the column that skipping the fair entirely is hard for a lot of people from Tulsa and the northeastern Oklahoma. Going back to the '40s my great-grandmother and grandmother would enter the craft competitions, and in recent years my two older children have had fun submitting their own creations. Joe has won two blue ribbons, one in 2004 for an acrylic painting and one last year for a convertible built with Legos. Both he and his little sister plan to enter some items again this year. To us, and to a lot of families, the Tulsa State Fair was here before Randi Miller and Clark Brewster and Rick Bjorklund, and it'll be here when they've all moved on to other things. But I can certainly understand those who plan to abandon the fair altogether.

Regarding young professionals, in my column I mention a recent visit to Orlando and a Saturday evening spent on lively Orange Avenue, between Church Street and Washington Street in that city's downtown:

Downtown Orlando has shiny new skyscrapers, a basketball arena, and a beautiful 23-acre lake with a fountain. But I didn't find the crowds around any of those. There were only a few people walking the path around the lake, and the sidewalk along Central Boulevard next to the lake was empty except for me.

Instead, the throng of twenty-somethings was promenading up and down four blocks of Orange Avenue, a street lined with old one-, two-, and three-story commercial buildings. The storefronts of those buildings were in use as bars, cafes, and pizza joints. The same kind of development stretched for a block or two down each side street. There were hot dog stands on every corner. Pedicabs ferried people to and fro. The numbers of partiers only grew larger as the little hand swept past 12.

An observation from that visit that I didn't include in the column: The block of Orange between Pine and Church Streets has these old commercial buildings crowding the sidewalk on the west side and a spacious plaza framed by two modern, round, glass and steel buildings on the east side. Where do you suppose people chose to walk? 90% of the foot traffic stayed next to the old storefronts and avoided the big modern plaza.

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Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

THAT is an award winning cartoon.

XonOFF said:

For the kids, so young professionals will crave Tulsa, the tax promoters seem to have a bi-polar problem.

Lately, there's been a substatial increase in name calling. Idiots, backwards, stupid et al, chanting about anyone who disagrees couldn't possibly be anything close to a young professional at anything.

And, I noticed on the latest edition of the kids-yes ad last evening, they've tacked on an ending clip of a kid saying, "If you vote NO, you're holding us back".

This 'plan' has serious issues. None of which are being addressed by the yes folks. Just do it, for the kids. Right.

Does anyone yet realize that by voting "FOR RIVER DEVELOPMENT" that you'd also be voting "FOR TAKING DEVELOPMENT OF THE RIVER AND ALL CONTROL OF ANYTHING RIVER AWAY FROM THE CITY OF TULSA". Your elected City of Tulsa Council will have ZERO involvement in ANYTHING RIVER if this passes.

The City of Tulsa couldn't put a bus stop there without approval of the County (via the new County Authority, of which Tulsa has only 33% representation, but pays 70% of the tax).

This deal is as bad as any I've seen in many years in Tulsa, and there's been some bad ones.

Shadow6 said:

Wear jingles? Wow, that's brilliant. Imagine if the word got out to the youth of Tulsa. They'd do it. What a bunch of pests they would jingling all over the midway. And people could ring jingle bells at every live TV newscast. You would just have to ring them as you went past.

s said:

Joe Bates, I love the cartoon! How about drawing some river tax jokes.
Channel 6 and Fox news should do a news story on Michael Bates great reporting on this vote.

Tulsa World should have reported these facts first but Michael Bates won again by showing Michael outranks all of the Tulsa World newspaper reporters!

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

Here's some questions I'm throwing out.
A little speculation, if it is indeed "for our future"

What does the jobs campaign look like after all of the V2025 and the River development projects are completed?

How does the City, The County, The Chambers of Commerce make these amenities work to attract high paying jobs?

How will our projects compare to what is already in place in other cities, that are striving to compete for jobs in this manner?

s said:

Michael, can you post where private funding amounts are coming from and how much? Is it
$50 million -- Kaiser
??? million -- Tim Remy (developer in Bixby --he will be making a lot of money if River Tax is approved)-- making his large donation pay off as a tax write off
Quick Trip -- probably plans to put more QT's where development is passed -- making their donation pay off
Many cities have beautiful water where the Arkansas is filthy brown -- it's not suggested we swim in so white water rafting they are advertsing with their blue water making it seem to Tulsa voters the water will suddenly turn clear with no mud and blue and kayaking (yep people fall in and flip over -- hope they don't swallow the water)
They say 9,450 jobs will happen -- do they have firm commitments that will happen since they flopped with Boeing on the Vision plan?

Greg said:

River development, why not?

I pay taxes specifically for police protection for my family, myself and my property. But the police can’t be depended upon because there are not enough of them; so I pay for a sophisticated alarm system. But my sophisticated alarm system was not good enough for the City of Tulsa, so I must pay more taxes (I’m sorry, “alarm certificate fees”), in order for the police to triage my sophisticated alarm system, only if they have time (remember, there aren’t enough of them to go around so they aren’t reliable).

Now I live in South Tulsa (81st and Sheridan) and while I’ve only been broken into twice, and my house was only shot at once (it was only about $17,000.00 damage so I’m not really complaining), I thought it wise to take my level of protection just a little further and decided to obtain a concealed carry permit and a weapon, but, oh well, here it is in summary:

1) I pay general sales tax for police protection which isn’t quite good enough since there are not enough police officers.
2) So I paid for a sophisticated alarm system.
3) And of course, I had to pay sales tax for my sophisticated alarm system.
4) Then I must pay a fee and a service tax for someone to monitor my sophisticated alarm system.
5) And since there are not enough police officers to respond to the sophisticated alarm system I installed that was not good enough for the City of Tulsa, I must pay an “I don’t know what the heck” tax (again sorry, the City of Tulsa calls it a “fee”) for a “first response certificate” for my sophisticated alarm system so the police will “first respond if they have time”. Now that I’m “really convinced” my City and County are protecting me and my best interests,
6) I pay to take a concealed carry course, and then pay yet another tax for (sorry, I guess I should get used to calling it a “fee”) a concealed carry permit.
7) Once I received my permit, then I paid for a firearm.
8) Of course the City and County require that I pay a sales tax for the firearm.
9) Then of course the firearm is useless unless I pay for ammunition.
10) And to no surprise I paid sales tax for said ammunition for said firearm.
11) To be safe (no pun intended) and to follow legal precedence, I pay for a firearm safe.
12) And of course, you guessed it; the firearm safe is taxed also and, needless to say, since the firearm safe is so heavy, I need to pay another fee to have it delivered to my home.
13) Furthermore, I pay property taxes on the property I’m trying to protect using items 1 through 12 above.
14) And then I pay personal property taxes on items 1 through 12 above that I’m using to protect items 1 through 12 above.
15) And finally, I pay for insurance to insure items 1 through 12 above, along with my home, other personal property and, I must admit my life, in the “unlikely case” items 1 through 12 above somehow fail to protect me (fat chance?).

River tax, why not, I’m already paying so many fees and taxes now what’s another 4/10 of a penny. But most important, the river is not that close to me; hopefully when the crime level increases down there, it will decrease around me.

Thank God for fees, taxes and Kathy Taylor, without them, I wouldn’t feel safe.

don't have one Author Profile Page said:

To Greg,
Not only have you paid all of that, but we all have paid taxes just to live, sleep in a bed, brush our teeth, take a shower, watch tv, etc.etc. It just goes on and on! At least let's stop this one!

Lucretia Higgins said:

Let's send a message to the county and to the Murphy Brothers. Boycott the Tulsa State Fair. Hit them where it hurts, in the pocketbook.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 21, 2007 12:57 AM.

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