Sand Springs "informational forum" audio

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Meeciteewurkor has a guest post from someone who attended a river tax informational forum today, sponsored by the Sand Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. Ken Neal, former editorial page editor of the Tulsa Whirled, and Ken Levit, director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, were the main speakers.

It was billed as an informational meeting, but turned out to be more of a pep rally. No opponents of the tax were invited to speak. The post has audio, photos, and a summary of the gathering.

Neal said, "People accuse us of having pretty pictures. That's true, but you have to have a concept. At this point, nobody can develop detailed specification. I might just say, that if this happens, if we approve this tax, then we will have the money to start the specifications for each dam.... This is a concept."

Now, weren't we told that there was at least enough money in Vision 2025 to pay for engineering for these dams? In fact that's what Terry Simonson tried to claim all the Vision 2025 money was spent on (before he disappeared). And we can't even start the lengthy Corps of Engineers approval process until the engineering is complete.

I think it's interesting that Neal completely glosses over the $90 million for the "living river" and downplays the "downtown connector" ($15 million) and the pedestrian bridges at 41st and 61st Streets ($30 million), none of which is in the INCOG plan. Nevertheless, he ascribes the large amount of public input in the Arkansas River Master Corridor Plan development to this hastily thrown together county river tax plan.

Neal also claims that fishing will improve "a hell of a lot" because of the new dams.

In his remarks, Ken Levit said that "this is a plan that INCOG built with years of community input." He needs not to say that, because it isn't true. The Arkansas River Master Corridor Plan was built by INCOG with years of community input. But close to half of the cost in the plan on the ballot October 9 is for items that were not in the ARMCP -- the items I listed above.

(I don't know this for sure, but since GKFF hired Bing Thom to do a river study for the area south of 21st Street, I wonder if it was Thom -- the man behind the islands in the middle of the Arkansas River, that came up with the "living river," the pedestrian bridges, and the "gathering places.")

There was also an interesting answer to a question about the charitable money and whether any of it might end up in Sand Springs. Levit emphasized that none of it was earmarked. That's funny because almost all the talk about gathering places and improvements funded by these charitable contributions has focused on the east bank of the river south of 31st Street in Tulsa.

They only answered two questions, and Neal tried to finesse a question about this morning's Whirled story about the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service's concerns about the proposal. Again he tried to wrap the county river tax plan in the mantle of the ARMCP, going even further and claiming the Corps of Engineers imprimatur. "Do you suppose the Corps is going to approve its own plan? Whatta you think?" While the Corps has been heavily involved in the development of the ARMCP, half of the plan on the October 9th ballot is not found in the ARMCP.

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4 Comments

Mike B said:

Since when do we need to vote on a tax increase for only a "concept"??? This is just another royal boondoggle being perpetuated on Tulsa County!

sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

This whole mess proves the need for a charter change. the capital spnding process should require economic analysis for a project to be added to the appproved list. no project not on such a list can be put to the voters

In addition, the city finance department should prepare the analysi and it should be reviwed and commented on by the city auditor. City council chould approve projects added to the list. the mayor should have no part in the process.

s said:

Has anyone gotten their vote "yes" pr info in the mail?

The store beauty supply owner now has the "no river tax" signs at the 9lst and Sheridan location. He mentioned some concerns today on the Chris Medlock and Gwen 1170 radio show this morning about strong possibilities of stagnant water ending up in certain areas like Jenks and Bixby and questioned the velocity of the flow if the vote did pass. There are still many unanswered questions so why should we be rushed for the vote yes in October? Plans thought to be great ideas from the rich have not been thoroughly thought out before with proven facts. Remember how badly the Great Plains bankruptcy failed and how Tulsa World as well as many investors also thought that was a terrific money making idea for them to get rich on? Well, it failed and didn't the BOK (check out how George Kaiser is related)want to get reimbursed when they took the loan risk on the Great Plains and it ended up going into bankruptcy?
This entire forced rush to vote in October 2007 should concern everyone -- we all would like to see those sand plants gone and the river developed without any more casino additions. Let the rich developers use their own money and not the citizens of Tulsa County to pay for it with taxing us as we will already be paying taxes and them benefitting from all the tax the shops/restaurants, development from our purchases there.
Can the needed yale bridge be completely funded by this October tax vote so that when the Sheridan Arkansas bridge or Yale location bridge is decided money would already be in place to have this 100% funded which will bring all those people that will be shopping and bringing money into these Jenks/Bixby/Tulsa developers areas?

The Memorial bridge is not enough and there really is a need or another bridge at the Yale or Sheridan location. No one wants to pay a toll for crossing the new bridge and that private bridge plan for wanting them to be in charge of that building that bridge was never well thought out either.

George Kaiser and the George Kaiser Foundations needs his yearly tax breaks because of the huge amount of income he has every year from all of his investments and he certainly is able to give in 2008 to wait for well thought out plan instead of forcing a tax vote to raise taxes.

On the pr it claims there will be "WHITEWATER RAFTING"! Come on! are you kidding? how far are they actually talking about for those used to whitewater rafting and many do end up swimming or being tossed into the river with the force of strong water and the skill of those in those doing whitewater rafting which who will enforce the head gear that many require because people can get hurt if they get knocked in the water while doing that sport ...while Fred Perry seems to have been quoted as saying we should not eat the fish in the same river after the tax vote or swim in the river. We already have running and biking and shopping towards the 8lst, 9lst and 101ar and riverside location so we don't have to "imagine" that since it's already in existence. The Public Relations on this whole river tax is wrong. I have been white water rafting ...in clear water where I can easily see the bottom...in other states so let's not give a false impression of what the water on this river tax vote is going to end of "white crystal clear water" while our Arkansas river is muddy and filthy appearance.

sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

lets say you're a TYPRO. A "terrific yuppie professional" in another city or town in a flyover county of Oklahoma. You look around for potential population centers to live and advance your career. You get a flyer in the mail about Tulsa River developement. THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN WAITNG FOR. You go to the city, drive around Tulsa proper. You see, through a dust cloud, the BOK center under construction. You see ads about voting yes on a river plan that doesn't exist yet. But, our souls are renewed and the future is bright. So you go to personnel agency to hunt for a job. After months years of interviews, you finally get an offer and move. You by a house in Jenks to be near the Riverwalk and its vibrant entertainment district, great schools, and stable property values.

The Arena? Too far to drive. House in Tulsa? Can't compare to Jenks. Downtown TUlsa for a night out? Too far and too expensive. A day by the Tulsa RIver Park? Why, Jenks and Bixby already have ones of their own. And by the way, the Drillers are only a ten minute drive from the house.

The above scenario is to point out that if TUlsa is to make the River a wise investment, it damn well better keep the Drillers in a place they want to be. It better get Branson Landing locked up in a place they want to be. The River Tax money better go for infrastructure and land acquisition for the BL Folks. Is this Randi Miller's plan? Does she have drawings of the developement? Are contracts signed or RFP's prepared? If not, vote know.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 10, 2007 10:39 PM.

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