River tax election eve roundup

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If I don't collapse at the keyboard, I've got maybe two River-related posts left. First, this roundup of news stories and comments and then, for the late deciders, a summary of the issue and links to key pieces that I've written.

The vote yes side has dodged all televised debates on the issue. KJRH canceled the planned League of Women Voters debate. Too embarrassed to show up, I guess.

KOTV had the story tonight about Monday's press conference by Broken Arrow Mayor Wade McCaleb and other Broken Arrow leaders, denouncing the misleading postcard that the vote yes campaign sent to voters in that city. As I write this, it's still the number one story on the KOTV website. You'll recall that the vote yes postcard featured a concept drawing with the words "Broken Arrow Riverfront." The story featured what may be Randi Miller's unintentionally funniest moment:

"Do you see how that is misleading?" News On 6 reporter Emory Bryan asked Commissioner Miller.

"No, because it not once says this is what is going to happen," Miller responded.

In addition to video of the story, KOTV has web extra video -- an extended clip of their visit with Miller on this issue, and comments by Charles Buxton, head of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.

(From down the Turner Turnpike, Charles G. Hill had a pithy response to the bogus Broken Arrow postcard.)

Fox 23 has brief interviews with two representatives from each side, responding to questions from the TV audience. The yes side is represented by County Commissioner Randi Miller and her deputy Terry Simonson. The no side is represented by State Sen. Randy Brogdon and Dr. Warren Blakney. The last video in the series of three is a critique of one of the vote yes commercials, debunking their claim that the tax will improve the roads that lead to the river.

(While I have the chance, I plan to download all the TV spots and other video content on the "Our River Yes / Rock the River" YouTube account. You might want to do the same, using a tool like KeepVid. That'll be useful no matter which side wins tomorrow. Campaign videos have a tendency to disappear quickly.)

You can watch the two hour Tulsa Now forum on the river tax featuring financial adviser John Piercey and PMg environmental manager Gaylon Pinc on the yes side, and City Councilor John Eagleton and Colin Tawney on the no side.

While notulsarivertax.com is the official opposition website, someone anonymous has set up a well-organized site called Enough Is Enough. I hesitated to link to it, because the webmaster wouldn't identify him/herself, which can sometime mean unpleasant surprises later, but it's turned out to be an attractive and colorful site explaining why this tax should be voted down.

Now, some blog comments from hither and yon:

Steve Roemerman sets forth his reasons for voting no...

...as does Notes from Polecat Creek:

Typically, Notes From Polecat Creek is positive in its' endorsements of public works projects and the taxes needed to pay for them. However, this one is a little too grand, smacks of making a few developers and contractors very rich and doesn't seem to recognize the fact that Tulsa has a backlog of road, sewer and other less glorious projects whose last price tag was estimated to be in the near one billion dollar range in total.

Dan Paden hasn't changed his mind:

I know little of how the proposed low-water dams would work. I know little of what the Corps of Engineers has to say about the proposed river development. What I do know is that history gives me precious little reason to believe that these "investments" will pay off as promised, or that the taxes funding them will ever actually be allowed to expire.

Dan also takes issue with the claim that our improving economy can be credited to Vision 2025:

I'm not at all certain that it is so simple to sort out just why Tulsa's economy has improved. It seems to me that there are other factors involved--like an economy that is improving nationwide--improving nationwide, ironically, in large part due to tax cuts. I also seem to recall our economy improving statewide--in large part due to rising oil prices. There are other things, like certain legislative developments statewide since 2003, that make me think attributing Tulsa's improved economy to Vision 2025 isn't quite the slam-dunk [so-and-so] seems to think it is.

Anyway, Dan, John Benjamin says we're drifting and in need of a transformative event, so Vision 2025 must not be all that after all.

This is from a while back, but worth mentioning: Randi Miller's claims that the City of Tulsa has a $200 million pile of money for streets just sitting there but there aren't enough contractors to spend the money. Ken Neal had a conflicting version of that at the All Souls event, saying the problem was that the city wouldn't raise the millage soon enough to be able to sell all of the bonds that have been approved.

Mad Okie has his top 10 reasons for voting no including:

County gov't has no business collecting sales tax. As the cities grow, [counties] have less to take care of, they shouldnt be growing!

David Schuttler has restarted his blog, using WordPress, and in a photo-illustrated entry wonders whether Branson Landing is really the sort of thing we want on our riverfront because of its "disconnection with the water":

Last night I decided to take some pictures from the water side of the Landing and a few others. When you really think about it, Branson Landing would probably get the same result if it had been built in a different part of Branson.

I wondered about the same thing last December:

It was odd, though, that here was this waterfront development, and yet the water was mostly hidden from view. Only seven retail spaces--all restaurants--face the lake. The boardwalk which runs alongside the lake mainly faces the backs of shops and a service road. While having shops facing each other across a narrow street is good urban form--pedestrians feel enclosed rather than exposed--I would hope that a riverfront retail development would have more frequent vistas to the water, at least one every hundred yards (the width of a downtown Tulsa block), and that there would be retail spaces on the waterfront.

There's an Our River Yes blog, but it's perhaps more accurately described as "our river, yes, but this sales tax increase, no."

Jason Kearney explains the reasons for his no vote, reacts to the Hanson brothers' endorsement of the tax increase, and relays a bit of wisdom from (wait for it) Randi Miller:

"Under no circumstances should sales tax exceed current levels."

Asks Jason: "Ms. Miller, what happened that you changed your mind?"

Michelle predicts that if we say no, this won't be the last attempt at passing a river tax. And her husband Mark, a newly-minted blogger, has had quite a bit of his own to say about the river tax and our local government officials. Two I liked in particular:

There is Good In Our City, and
If You Really Loved Me You'd Say Yes -- will the County Commissioners respect us in the morning?

This ploy reminded me of a high school kid trying to score with his girl friend. I could've sworn I saw a football jock with his cheerleader honey in the back seat of his car..."But Honey, if you love me you'll say yes" Anybody with an ounce of life experience knows what the jock really wants. It's the same with our city; the leaders won't respect us any more than the cheerleader's "boyfriend."

Finally, Jeff Shaw provides us with our "moment of zen" in the form of a photo with an interesting juxtaposition of sign and skyline. And Jeff asks:

Which side wins? Will it be platitudes, silly unmeasurable promises, threats of drying up money and cute pictures? Or will it be facts and figures?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 8, 2007 7:31 PM.

All Souls Unitarian Church river tax forum was the previous entry in this blog.

River tax election day notes is the next entry in this blog.

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