April 2008 Archives

This week in Urban Tulsa Weekly, I reflect upon last Thursday's "What about Rail?" public forum, which featured panelists involved with the Denver and Austin public transit systems and the National Transit Authority, the Federal agency that manages grants for things like light rail systems. Jack Crowley, the Mayor's special adviser on revitalizing downtown, presented some details of his concept to use existing track to connect the Evans Electric / Fintube site east of OSU-Tulsa to the soon-to-be-vacated Public Works facility southeast of 23rd and Jackson on the west bank of the river. Crowley believes that building a light-rail line will attract transit-oriented development (TOD), which will in turn generate the density required to make public transit practical. (Here's Brian Ervin's detailed UTW news coverage of the forum.)

In the column, I compare Tulsa's ridership with ridership in Austin and Denver, and I make the argument that frequency of service (short headways) and hours of service will do more to build confidence and ridership for a transit system, regardless of the type of vehicle being used, than the presence of tracks and overhead wires. The A streetcar branch of Boston's Green Line, the Sand Springs Railway, and the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union Railway are all examples where the infrastructure remained in place long after the last passenger service was offered.

I was strongly denounced after my previous column about rail transit for Tulsa, with certain rail advocates all but calling me a rail-hating, car-hugging troglodyte. I expect this column will provoke the same sort of response.

When a regular contributor to TulsaNow's public forum, someone who uses the handle Chicken Little, pooh-poohed my post informing readers about the "What about Rail?" forum: "Oh, please. He's not encouraging anyone to go to the 'What about Rail?' event, he's simply using the notice as a springboard for yet another post that tells us we'd rather drive." This was my reply.

Chicken Little,

As I've said before, I like using rail. I didn't have a car in college, and I depended on the MBTA's network of streetcars, subways, and buses, our fraternity's informal jitney service between the house and campus two miles away, and my own two feet to get around.

I didn't have a car for the summer I spent in Manila, either. Although they had a single rail line connecting the airport to downtown, it didn't go near the house or the campus. Instead, I depended on a network of privately owned buses and jeepneys to get me around.

Back then, I was navigating the public transport network on my own. I could easily tolerate walking a mile in whatever kind of weather between the subway station or bus stop and where I needed to go. Walking the two or three miles between home and campus or work, at a 4 mph clip, was always an option if I had to wait too long for a streetcar or a bus.

Now, a quarter of a century later as a dad with three kids, I can't hit 4 mph walking speed very often, particularly if I have to lug a 30 lb. two-year-old whose legs are tired. If I were to try to manage getting a family around town without a car, it would be crucial that every place I needed to go were within at most a quarter-mile of public transport.

I don't see the advocates of rail in Tulsa, such as yourself, addressing the practical issues I encountered as a public transport user.

You and others seem to be saying that the presence of commuter rail will eventually result in nodes of high-density, pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented development that will make it possible for people to live most of their lives without a car. In the scenario you seem to propose, everything will be within easy walking distance of the stations, and you won't have to cross massive parking lots on foot to get between the street and the front door of a store.

What I don't hear from you is any attempt to explain how people, particularly families with small children, get from home to work to school to shopping to the doctor's office via public transport between now and when your glorious future is realized.

I want to know how you propose to make it convenient enough for people, particularly families with small children, to use public transport of any form to get where they need to go, convenient enough to forgo using their own cars.

I'd especially like to know, Chicken Little, whether you have any personal experience living without a car for more than a year.

I do not want to see Tulsa spend tens or hundreds of millions on a rail line with three trains a day before we explore more modest and practical ways of providing public transport to far more people.

Chicken Little has yet to answer my question.

I neglected to mention that as a 7th and 8th grader at Holland Hall's Birmingham campus, I rode the city bus every Wednesday afternoon from 26th St and Birmingham to downtown. I'd spend a couple of hours at Central Library then meet my dad at his office. When I lived in Brookside, I even tried using the bus system to get to Burtek on 15th St. east of Sheridan, but the transfer delays meant it wasn't worth the hassle.

Here are some supplemental links to information I used in writing the article:

Basketball boosters were quite happy to say that a relocated NBA franchise would belong to the whole state, when they were convincing credulous legislators to vote for $60 million in corporate welfare to the billionaire owners of the Seattle SuperSonics (the subject of last week's column in UTW).

Now that the deal is done, the City of Oklahoma City has announced that it will be a condition of the arena lease that the team will bear the name of the city, not the state. (Hat tip to Mad Okie.)

RELATED: Fellow "naysayer" Jim Hewgley sends along a link to a very detailed review of research on the economic impact (or lack thereof) of pro sports facilities and the history of public subsidy for them.

The article's author, Dennis Coates, is professor of economics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His own research studied yearly data for per capita personal income, employment, and wages in metro areas hosting a major league baseball, basketball, or football franchise, looking at the impact of new stadium construction or franchise relocation. He found a decrease in per capita personal income as a result of new sports facilities or teams in a metro area. Here are a couple of possible explanations for the observed decrease (emphasis added):

First, consumer spending on sports may simply substitute for spending on other types of entertainment--and on other goods and services generally--so there is very little new income or employment generated. Sports fans that attend a game may reduce their visits to the movies or to restaurants to free up finances for game tickets and concessions. Patrons of local restaurants and bars who come to watch the games on television also are likely to cut back on their other entertainment spending.

Second, compared to the alternative goods and services that sports fans may purchase, spending related to stadium attendance has a relatively small multiplier effect. This is because spending at the stadium translates into salaries for wealthy athletes, many of whom live outside the city where they play. High-income individuals generally spend a smaller fraction of their income than low- and middle-income people--and much of the spending professional athletes do occurs in a different community than where they earned it. So the money paid to players does not circulate as widely or abundantly as it would were it paid to people with less wealth and more attachment to the city.

Recall that the recently-passed expansion of the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program to sports teams includes salaries not taxable in Oklahoma in the calculation of the "rebate," thus ensuring that the team still gets a subsidy for non-resident players who are paid out of state and who therefore likely spend most of their money out of state.

Coates reviews research which uses other, more focused measures of economic activity related to projected impacts from the presence of major-league sports teams (e.g., hotel room nights and less sales tax data). He also considers when subsidizing a stadium might be justified, despite the lack of positive economic impact.

The beginning of the article looks back at the beginnings of public ownership of sports venues. The urge to build large memorials to fallen of the Great War and the need for make-work projects during the Great Depression were two contributing factors.

Coats also touches on the hidden costs of public stadium subsidy. Initial construction costs are just the tip of the iceberg.

It's worth reading the whole thing.

FOR MUCH, MUCH MORE: Here's the Heartland Institute PolicyBot's collection of links to studies on public subsidy of sports facilities and convention centers. (Thanks to Brandon Dutcher for calling it to my attention.)

A few days ago, Jon Swerens posted an entry at The Good City called "Politics can't save urbanism." Jon's point, in a nutshell, was that we can't use legislation and regulation to impose high-density urban living on a populace that believes it to be undesirable. The culture has to change.

I responded with a comment that in some ways the culture is changing and what could be done in cities like Tulsa and his hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind., to help that change along. Jon was kind enough to spotlight the comment in a subsequent blog entry. Here's what I had to say:

You make a good point about the cultural issue. Two generations have been raised to see the tidy segments of the suburbs as normal and the city as a messy mix that needs sorting out. That's starting to change, and a significant number of people have experienced the pleasures of urban living, either directly, or vicariously through TV shows like Seinfeld and Friends. (And it could be argued that the appealing depiction of urban life on those programs was made possible by Giuliani's cleanup of New York in the '90s.)

I think the starting point is for cities like Fort Wayne and Tulsa to create and preserve urban places for the many who already know they want to live there. As these areas thrive, others will see that urban excitement is possible close to home, not just on the East Coast or in Europe. Over time there may be enough demand to redevelop badly aging post-war suburban neighborhoods in a new urbanist fashion.

Politics still matters: You need councilors and planning commissioners with the courage and vision to approve a pilot project for form-based codes or special zoning with design guidelines to protect traditional neighborhood development from suburban-style redevelopment.

But mostly you need entrepreneurial types willing to reuse old buildings in traditional neighborhoods, and others who are willing to build new in a traditional style. Recreating a vital urban core will happen the same way it was destroyed: one building at a time.

Thinking further about cultural influences in support of traditional urban settings, I've noticed that a fair number of children's TV programs and books are (or have been) set in urban environments. First and foremost, there's Sesame Street, with its row houses and corner grocery. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is a traditional mixed-use neighborhood with shops and a trolley line within walking distance.

When my oldest son was small, he watched "The Busy World of Richard Scarry" nearly every day. The cartoon, which featured characters like Lowly Worm, Huckle Cat, and Bananas Gorilla, was set in Busytown, a vaguely northern European small city, filled with street-fronting small businesses like bakeries and green grocers. Here's the show's opening credits:

If you can think of other pop culture elements -- novels, music, movies, TV series -- that make urban living seem appealing, please post them in the comments below.

Michelle Malkin links to reports in the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Reno Gazette-Journal that chaos reigned at Saturday's Nevada Republican State Convention in Reno. Proposed rules of procedure were overturned by a two-thirds majority led by Ron Paul supporters. The Paulites also managed to pass their platform, according to the Review-Journal:

The party passed a 20-plank platform that stresses "a literal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution" and calls for the repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and the Patriot Act as well as withdrawal from the United Nations and North American Free Trade Agreement.

After 10 hours in session, the convention's lease on the facility ran out and party officials suspended proceedings to a later date. While votes had already been cast, but not counted, for the three delegates from each of three congressional districts, no ballots had been cast for the state's 22 member at-large delegation.

Here's what I gather had happened: The proposed rules would have pitted pre-submitted slates of national delegates against each other. The Ron Paul people, plus some sympathetic non-Paul delegates, wanted to open nominations to anyone who wanted to run that day. They wound up with over 200 candidates for 31 slots.

How the heck do you efficiently conduct an election with 200 candidates and 31 seats to be filled?

I suppose you could have a ballot the size of a bedsheet and use preferential balloting, but it took us long enough at the district convention to count ballots for about 25 candidates for three delegate slots and a similar number for three alternate slots.

The only method that makes sense to me is you allow full slates to be nominated with a substantial number of signatures required for nomination. The voters then pick one slate or another, with one or more runoffs if no slate gets a majority.

At least one non-Paul delegate suspected the whole point of the maneuver was to stretch the process out as long as possible until only the most fanatical were still standing:

"The Ron Paul contingent constantly nitpicks and delays things on purpose so that all the old people leave and they can take over," said Eric Tolkien of Reno.

The Gazette-Journal story describes the Paul group's organization:

Paul, who came in second in the Nevada caucuses, actively worked to ensure his supporters attended both the county and state conventions.

His contingent came to the state convention prepared for battle. They had a row of printers to print ballots for their supporters to the national convention. They set up a communications network using text messages to cell phones to make sure everyone voted correctly on motions that would benefit their effort. And they scoured the rules for opportunities to level the playing field.

Both Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, who won the caucus straw poll earlier in the year, addressed the convention.

MORE: Reno Gazette-Journal political reporter Anjeanette Damon live-blogged the convention on her Inside Nevada Politics blog. And here is a Ron Paul supporter's account of the day.

AND MORE straight from the horse's mouth -- State Sen. Bob Beers, the convention chairman, explains why the convention was recessed. This will ring true for anyone who has been involved in the nuts and bolts of running a convention.

Early in the day, the state delegates voted to depart from the way the Nevada GOP has elected national delegates for the 15 or so years I have been involved. Instead of short voice votes, the delegates wanted two separate and lengthy election processes: first, dividing the state delegates by our three congressional district, then having each third separately elect three national delegates each; second, an at-large election of 22 delegates from a list of candidates that would combine those who had applied through normal channels and those who self-nominated themselves from the convention floor. Many people who had gone through the normal channels also self-nominated themselves from the floor.

By 6pm last night:

  • we were overtime on our contract for our convention space
  • we were paying our stagehands and audio-video technicians overtime
  • our volunteers running the convention (myself included) had already put in a 12-hour day
  • only two of the three congressional district elections had been counted. The third (and largest) was about half-way done
  • our rough calculations on how long it would take to compile the results of the upcoming 22-person ballot were l-o-n-g based on the three-person ballot taking as long as it had
  • The convention secretary and party secretary (all volunteers) had compiled the 200 or so self-nomination candidates into their computer, but had not started figuring out who was on both lists and needed to be consolidated for the final, master ballot
  • Delegates, frustrated that our 5pm end time had been missed, with no end in sight, had left and were continuing to leave to execute their travel plans.

So we made the decision to temporarily stop the convention and resume it at a later date.

I was really excited to find this recent upload to YouTube. It's Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys from about 1960 on WFAA-TV in Dallas, and it features Bob's baby brother Billy Jack Wills singing his signature tune, "Rockabye Baby Blues." Billy Jack had his own band in Sacramento from 1952-1954, holding down the fort at the Wills Point ballroom with mandolinist Tiny Moore, while Bob took the Playboys around the country. (This All Music Guide bio tells the story.) This was his theme song:

That's Gene Crownover on console (non-pedal) steel guitar, and Maurice Anderson on what appears to be a pedal steel guitar. I'm not sure who the fiddler is on the wagon with Bob. Luke Wills is one of the bassists.

Billy Jack Wills' Western Swing Band was heard on KFBK, and Joaquin Records has issued two albums of the band's radio transcriptions. Billy Jack, 20 years younger than big brother Bob, took western swing in a direction influenced by jump blues and bebop. The band's recordings are a real pleasure to listen to, not only because of the tight arrangements featuring trumpet, electric mandolin, and steel guitar, but because of the vocals -- sometimes Billy Jack himself, but more often Tiny Moore, whose smooth stylings didn't get enough exposure with the Texas Playboys.

(Here's another great find! The Internet Archive has a complete Billy Jack Wills KFBK program, including ads for Standard Furniture Warehouse at 2018 I St., in Sacramento. Tiny Moore is the announcer. Toward the end you'll hear steel guitarist Vance Terry on "Panhandle Rag." )

Billy Jack penned one other baby-inspired tune (and a favorite of our family's) called "Bottle Baby Boogie." He also wrote and sang "Cadillacin' Model-A," a rockabilly-tinged song about a young farm boy off to "pick up his sweet-sweet-sweet and go honky-tonkin' at the county seat," promenading through town Cadillac-style in his old four-banger jalopy. He first recorded it with the Texas Playboys:

but here he is singing it with his own band:

But Billy Jack Wills's biggest songwriting success was writing the lyrics for an old fiddle tune called "Faded Love," which became one of brother Bob's most enduring hits and Oklahoma's official State Country and Western Song.

Here's one more song from that same TV appearance. This time it's brother Luke, Luther J. Wills, singing "Take Me Back to Tulsa":

ONE MORE: From one of Bob's westerns, Saddles and Sagebrush, here's Leon McAuliffe singing "Hubbin' It," with a nice little guitar solo by Junior Barnard. (Bob sings a little, too, as does one other Playboy whose voice I don't recognize.)

AND FINALLY: Since I mentioned him, here's a link to some of Tiny Moore's early work with the Port Arthur Jubileers on the Western Swing on 78 blog.

This notice is a bit late, but there may still be time to sign up. The Tulsa Animal Welfare Shelter needs volunteers, and there will be two new volunteer information and orientation sessions this coming Wednesday, April 30.

The first session begins at 10 a.m., the second at 6 p.m. Each session is expected to last about 90 minutes, and refreshments will be served. The sessions will be held at the city's Hartford Bldg. at 111 S. Greenwood Ave., on the 2nd floor in Conference Room A-C.

From the shelter's website, here are the ways volunteers can help:

  • Socializing/playing with the dogs, cats and rabbits;
  • Walking the dogs outside;
  • Giving dogs toys and kongs filled with food;
  • Grooming the animals;
  • Cleaning their cages quickly and filling their water bowls regularly;
  • Knowing the animals well and helping them to find an adopter that will meet their specific needs;
  • Informing the veterinary staff of any subtle changes in personality or health of the animals; and assisting the veterinary staff with procedures, such as giving medications;
  • Looking for their owners and in some cases reuniting them.

To sign up for a session or to indicate interest in a future session, contact Millicent Adu-H'Torah, Volunteer Coordinator, at 918-669-6283, or by e-mail at maduhtorah@cityoftulsa.org.

Can you imagine this kind of reaction to Paul Verhoeven's rewrite of the Gospels?

A fifth day of rioting and bombings rocked North America and Europe as the Christian community reacted to news of a controversial biography of Jesus Christ. While public officials have appealed for calm, Christian rage seemed only to escalate yesterday as Pope Benedict issued a papal bull calling for the beheading of the book's author, Paul Verhoeven. Samaritan's Purse, a Christian "charity", has announced a $3.2 million reward for anyone fulfilling the papal bull....

Christian marketing groups responded to the controversy with a line of Precious Moments figurines featuring Verhoeven alternately immolated, beheaded or stoned to death. Artist Thomas Kinkade has completed a print of Verhoeven being beaten to death at sunset in a New England fishing village. Big Idea Productions has also announced the latest in its popular Veggie Tales line of children's films -- Larry and the Big Bang.

Of course, you can't. But Conservative Intelligencer can -- click through to read the whole story.

Liotta back to school

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The current issue of the O'Collegian, Oklahoma State University's student news paper, has a nice feature story about former State Rep. Mark Liotta's return to college. After 10 years in the Legislature, Liotta is getting a Master's degree in political science.

Mark rLiotta eally ought to be the teacher, rather than the student. After a couple of failed attempts, he beat an incumbent Democrat in a majority Democratic district and held the seat for five terms, fending off several well-funded attempts to defeat him. While in the Legislature, Liotta led the effort to reprioritize spending to double Oklahoma's budget for fixing our roads and bridges, without raising taxes.

Not only does he have experience to draw upon, he has the ability to teach. Liotta has given many lectures on the nuts and bolts of grassroots campaigning to Republican Party classes for candidates and volunteers. I've been in some of those lectures; he's very good at breaking the topic down and getting his points across, often using his experience in the Army, as he does in the following quote from the story:

Liotta gained much of his leadership experience away from the classroom, however, for he served in the military as an infantry officer years before he ran for an office. The two positions, Liotta said, had a lot in common.

"A lot of what you learn as an infantry officer applies to campaigning. You take limited personnel, limited time, limited funds and target an area."

OSU would do well to bring him on as an adjunct professor.

Liotta lost the race for what would have been his final term in the State House. Since then, County Commissioner Fred Perry (to Perry's great credit) appointed Liotta as superintendent of Tulsa County Highway District 3, responsible for maintaining county roads throughout the south part of the county.

Regarding future political possibilities, Liotta says, "You never say never." I can't help but notice that he lives in a County Commission district which has an election this year, and his experience in the Legislature and at the county highway department would certainly be impressive on a pushcard....

During the third hour of the Rush Limbaugh Show today, a journalism student at the University of Oklahoma called in to tell Rush about the textbook for the History of Journalism course he's taking this semester. The student said that an entire chapter of the book was devoted to the proposition that Rush Limbaugh is a racist, sexist liar, and that the next session of the course this coming Tuesday would be on that section of the book. In the previous session, the professor asked if any of the students were "dittoheads" -- only the caller and one other student, in a class of 150, raised their hands. The professor promised to give both sides equal time. Rush said he would be calling the student on Wednesday to get a report on Tuesday's class discussion.

The student didn't name the book or the professor, so I've done some digging. There is a course called JMC 4803 History of Journalism. Here's the catalog blurb:

Prerequisite: junior standing and 12 hours of Journalism credit hours. European background and development of the colonial press. Emergence of the partisan and penny newspapers. Evolution of personal and independent journalism. Major trends in printed and other communication media in the twentieth century. (F, Sp)

This semester (according to the Spring 2008 schedule) the course is being taught by Assistant Prof. Keith Greenwood. (UPDATE: Jason, the student who called Rush Limbaugh, e-mailed to inform me that the course is being taught by Ramòn Chàvez this semester.) According to the OU Bookstore website, the text for next semester is Mightier than the Sword by Rodger Streitmatter.

Sure enough, Chapter 14 is titled "Rush Limbaugh: Leading the Republican Revolution." Page 230 features the de rigeur misdefinition of the terms "dittos" and "dittoheads":

A taste of Limbaugh's remarkable appeal came a few weeks later when a Pennsylvania caller registered her complete agreement with every word Limbaugh had ever uttered when she said simply: "Ditto." The term instantly became enshrined in the gospel of St. Rush, as disciples eagerly labeled themselves "dittoheads" and greeted him with exuberant "megadittos."

As longtime listeners will surely know, the caller actually said "dittos to what that guy just said," referring to a previous caller who had gone on and on about how wonderful it was to hear Rush's point of view on the radio and how he hoped he'd never go away. The "dittos" caller was moving on to the point of her call and was using "dittos" to express her appreciation of Rush without getting bogged down. "Dittos" has never meant an affirmation of "every word Limbaugh had ever uttered." In Rush's own words:

RUSH: All right. Here's the explanation. Back when this show started August 1st, 1988, it took the nation by storm because there was nothing like it in the national media. The national media was all liberal. Here was this conservative program that reflected the views of millions of people. As people would call in, the first couple minutes of their call, literally, they'd spend thanking me and talking about how great it was to have something like this on the radio, finally, it was so great, and I of course loved hearing it. After awhile, after about six months, it finally just grew old. It was delaying getting to the discussion of the issues. A woman called from I think it was like New Hampshire, and after just one of those calls, said, "Ditto to what they guy just said." So ditto means, "I love the program. Don't ever go away." It doesn't mean, "I agree with you." It doesn't mean, "You're always right." It means, "I love the program." Mega dittos means, "I really love -- I, mean I adore -- this program. It's the only program!" That's what mega dittos means.

I couldn't read the whole thing on Google Books, but I read enough to see the standard leftist explanation that Rush's success was built on lies and deception. I'll be very interested to tune in Wednesday to hear the student's report on Tuesday's class.

I was listening to the news on KRMG and was inappropriately amused to learn that the lawyer for District Judge Jesse Harris, who has been charged with indecent exposure, is named Allen Smallwood. Which fact inappropriately reminded me of a certain Latin legal phrase and a rather fitting limerick which ends in that phrase (after the jump to avoid scandalizing the easily offended).

From a blog called The Road Trip Destination Guide:

Sadly, few of us opt to navigate the road less traveled. During a recent side trip on Route 66 in Oklahoma, I found plenty of interest. Sadly though, I also discovered that many of the mom and pop motels and old carnival style road side attractions are falling victim to decay and abandonment. Or, worse yet, in urban area they're being torn down to make way for more fast food restaurants and other boring franchised business establishments.

Both Preservation Oklahoma and The National Trust for Historic Preservation have named Route 66 Motels to their most endangered places list. Unfortunately, city governments are often focused on developing new business no matter what the cost to the culture and heritage of the community. An article in the Urban Tulsa Weekly described one faction of the City Council as the "build anything I want anywhere I want" crowd. I'm not an expert on Tulsa, but there seems to be a rift in the city between those who would rather tear down everything old and build new, and the other camp that would like to preserve some of the character and culture of Tulsa.

The Tulsa area has lost a large number of Route 66 motels just within the last couple of decades. In other cases, wonderful neon has been replaced by boring backlit plastic. The Shady Rest tourist court on Southwest Blvd. and Max Meyer's tourist cabins between Sapulpa and Kellyville were the most recent losses. The owners probably didn't even recognize the significance of the buildings.

Tonight, Thursday, April 24, from 6 to 8, INCOG is presenting an open house on the topic of rail transportation. TulsaNow is providing snacks before hand; the presentation begins at 6, followed by questions at 7. Presenters will include:

Sonya Lopez - Principal Planner, Austin

Cal Marsella - General Manager of the Regional Transportation District, Denver

Andrew Howard - Kimley-Horn, consulting firm studying the integration of land-use and transit for the City of Tulsa Comprehensive Plan

Dwayne Weeks Federal Transit Administration, New Starts and Small Starts project review team).

The event will be held, appropriately enough, at our Art Deco Union Depot (officially the Jazz Hall of Fame at Union Station), and it's free and open to the public. Union Station is between Boston and Cincinnati, on the north side of 1st Street.

Although the rail talk has mostly been about commuter rail between downtown Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Brian Ervin has interview in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly with urban planner Jack Crowley, who is studying the idea of a light rail line connecting two potential transit-oriented development sites: The city maintenance yards at 23rd and Jackson and the Evans Electric / Fintube site north of Archer east of US 75.

[Crowley] explained that the city owns about 50 acres at 23rd St. and Jackson Ave., which is south of downtown, and about 22 acres just north of downtown, at the Evans-Fintube site just north of Archer St. between Highway 75 and OSU-Tulsa.

Also, there's already a railroad track connecting the two sites, which runs through downtown, past the new BOK Arena.

There is currently a best-use study underway for the two sites, among other city-owned plots, but Crowley supposes that three or four-story walk-up apartments would be a wise use of the sites if the city invests in a light rail system along the existing tracks.

"If you had a train station there where you could walk out of wherever you live and get on the train and go to work in the morning, or go to the OSU campus to study, how much value could you get there at that site?" Crowley asked rhetorically.

Having a permanent public transportation route would also attract retail and restaurant developers wanting to capitalize on the availability of potential customers at the rail system's various stops.

If the city leased those two plots of land on each end of the tracks to developers, it could soon make back the $50-70 million he estimates it would cost to build the rail system, and passengers wouldn't need to pay a fare.

Crowley acknowledged an argument Bates made in his piece--that there isn't currently enough population density in downtown and the surrounding areas to justify a light rail system. However, he said, the light rail system would easily attract that density after a lag time of about five or six years after it's built.

He said there is typically a 10-15 year lag time for big cities after they adopt a transit-oriented design.

Also in this week's issue, Paul Tay makes some good points in a letter calling for privatization of public transit:

Tulsa Transit is a failure as a bus system. As long as the City owns and operates the system, there's every reason to expect Tulsa Transit will be a failure as a rail operator. Tulsa Transit and its brothers all over America have NO profit motive to meet the many needs, to include utilitarian and emotional, of the traveling public. If Tulsa Transit's employee parking lot is any indication, even Mr. Boatwright, the general manager, and his employees, the bus drivers, don't ride the bus for their basic transportation needs.

If Tulsa Transit can't even make transit work for its own employees, shouldn't we look for another business model for transit? Getting government out of the business of meeting the needs of the traveling public worked great for the airlines.

Jet Blue would not be possible without airline deregulation. Stylish, 5.4 MHz cordless telephones would not be possible without deregulation either. We would still be leasing black, rotary dial phones from the old AT&T, before its break-up. Divest Tulsa Transit to private operators. Auction the curb rights, similar to the FCC's frequency sales and TV and radio licensing. Deregulate transit.

Tay closes with a reference to a Brookings Institution study: Daniel B. Klein, Adrian T. Moore, Binyam Reja, Curb Rights: A Foundation for Free Enterprise in Urban Transit, Brookings Institution Press (1997). (That link leads to a paper summarizing the argument of the book; you can preview Curb Rights on Google Books.)

MORE: Los Angeles mayoral candidate Walter Moore questions the wisdom of spending $640 million for an 8.6 mile light rail extension in that city, enough to pay for "one bus every 100 yards along the 8.6 mile route, and have over $590 million left over."

Incredible: The Republican-controlled State House of Representatives voted today to kill SB 2093, the New Hope Scholarship Act, by a vote of 40 to 57.

Fred Jordan, who represents Jenks, Glenpool, and south Tulsa, and Weldon Watson were the only Republican s representing Tulsa who voted no. (Earl Sears, who represents a small piece of north Tulsa County along with much of Washington County, and Skye McNiel, who represents Creek County, plus a small piece of southwest Tulsa County, also voted no.) I can only speculate about the motivation of Fred Jordan, a suburban homebuilder. The lack of adequate educational options in the Tulsa Public Schools district creates outward pressure that would help him sell new homes in far south Tulsa County.

A glance at the names of other naysaying Republicans reveals a number from rural and suburban areas. Perhaps they have the attitude, "What's in it for the schools in my district?" Perhaps their school board members and superintendents pressured them into voting no.

North Tulsa Democrat Jabar Shumate was a leading advocate for the bill, which would have been a great benefit to students in his district, which is plagued with underperforming public schools, but his Democratic colleagues in neighboring districts -- Lucky Lamons, Jeannie McDaniel, Darrell Gilbert, and Scott BigHorse -- abandoned him. It's hard to understand why the first three, who represent parts of the Tulsa Public School district, would oppose a measure that would provide educational choice and thus incentive for families with children to remain in the older parts of central and north Tulsa. I suppose pressure from the OEA, the most influential interest group in the Democratic Party, was a factor. Their votes may have been good for their political careers, but they were bad for their districts.

David Derby (R-Owasso) and Eric Proctor (D-northeast Tulsa) did not vote -- they are listed under "Constitutional Privilege."

This was a very modest bill that would have created a tax credit for donations to scholarship funds. These scholarship funds would be designated for students in underperforming schools. It was too limited -- capped at a certain dollar amount each year -- but it would have provided more school choice than we currently have for the students who need it most. Shame, shame on the House members, particularly the Republicans and those who represent inner-city districts, who voted against this bill.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma continues to languish at the bottom of the school choice charts with a failing grade.

Just a reminder that tomorrow morning at 6 on 1170 KFAQ, you'll hear the first edition of the Pat Campbell Show.

This morning was the final edition of KFAQ Mornings -- Chris Medlock will be moving to afternoons, 2 to 4, beginning on May 5 -- and during the 7 a.m. hour, Chris interviewed Pat. It was interesting to learn that he started out as a talk show caller. He said that he started listening to Rush Limbaugh during the 1991 Gulf War and would stay tuned to listen to the local liberal host. No one else was challenging what the host was saying, so Pat would call in and argue with him. A couple of competing station managers heard Pat and called to offer him a tryout, impressed at his ability to debate the host extemporaneously. That's how he got his start.

I have the impression that Pat has been carefully studying state and local issues in preparation for his debut, and he's already got a good grasp of who the key players are. Even as a newcomer, he could clearly see from the opinion section in Sunday's Tulsa Whirled how hostile our daily paper is to the conservative views of the vast majority of Oklahomans.

With a new host you can expect changes. For a start, the show will begin at 6, not at 5:30 as the previous morning show had done ever since Michael DelGiorno moved from afternoons to mornings back in 2003.

I'll be sleeping later tomorrow than I usually do on Tuesdays, although I still plan to wake up in time to hear the start of Pat's first broadcast. With the change in show format, there won't be a regular time to tune in to hear me, although I'll certainly be available if Pat or Chris, or Elvis Polo, Bruce Delay, or Darryl Baskin on the weekends on KFAQ, or, for that matter, Joe Kelley on KRMG or Rich Fisher on KWGS wants to talk to me about an issue on or off the air. If I'm asked to be on one of those shows and I know far enough in advance, I'll be sure to post something about it here.

Best of luck to Pat, and welcome to town!

Modern Tulsa

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They've been around for about six months, but I just came across Modern Tulsa, a blog and an organization devoted to Tulsa's Mid-Century Modern architecture:

Modern Tulsa is a volunteer endeavor focused on enhancing the appreciation of Tulsa's 20th Century Modern Design and Pop-Culture Heritage. Operating as a committee of the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture, Modern Tulsa aims to perpetuate Tulsa's Modern Heritage via promotion, preservation and education.

The bloggers are Realtor Cole Cunningham and architect Shane Hood, who is also president of the Lortondale Neighborhood Association.

There's a launch party for Modern Tulsa coming up on May 8. Click that link for details. (Love the wood grain and avocado green on that poster.)

Weekend music

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There are still a few places left for the Tulsa Boy Singers 60th anniversary fundraiser this coming Monday night, April 21. The event will be held at Biga, 43rd & Peoria, and will include dinner and wine, a talk by the owner of Biga, a short performance by the Tulsa Boy Singers, and a copy of their latest CD. If you'd like to be a part of this grand night for singing, call Jim Craven, treasurer of TBS, at 743-3535, to reserve your place.

Also, tomorrow night (Saturday, April 19) in the Blue Dome District, it's Urban Tulsa Weekly's seventh annual NewVo event, featuring "new voices" on the Tulsa live music scene. Thirteen bands will appear at four different venues, all within a block or less from each other near 2nd & Elgin and 1st & Detroit: Blank Slate, the Blue Dome Diner, Arnie's Pub and Dirty's Tavern. Shows kick off at 9 at Blank Slate and Blue Dome Diner, 10 at Arnie's and Dirty's. No cover charge, thanks to the folks at Urban Tulsa Weekly and Z104.5 The Edge.

My column in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly is about the continuing push by the Ron Paul campaign to try to win the Republican presidential nomination for the Texas congressman, despite his failure to get above 3 to 7 percent in any primary election this year. The column explains how they plan to accomplish that goal and examines how they've implemented the plan so far in Oklahoma's delegate selection process.

It's interesting to read the comments, 13 so far, all of them from Ron Paul supporters. Although I tried to maintain a neutral tone, while explaining the antagonism between the Paul people and the mainstream conservative activists who constitute the core of the Republican grassroots, the comments accuse me of bashing, smearing, and slurring.

In the story I referred to ronpaulexposed.blogspot.com. You will also be interested in the Become a Delegate or Ron Paul Will Not Be President webpage, and the National DVDs For Delegates Project Meetup group:

Between now and mid-August, we will create, manufacture, and distribute a series of four DVDs to the mailing addresses of all identified Delegates and Alternates to the 2008 GOP Convention in Saint Paul.

This project will utilize the best of existing redistributable video content, and may require the creation of select new content.

Our goal is to use this opportunity to communicate important information to GOP Delegates. We will share media containing perspectives new to most delegates, media blacked out by the 5 mega-corporations who currently ignore the Ron Paul Constitutional Message from their news and other media coverage.

ELSEWHERE ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Columnist and mega-blogger Michelle Malkin linked earlier this week to a BatesLine entry from last August about Barack Obama's attempt to commiserate with Iowa voters about the price of an upscale leafy substance. One of Michelle's commenters, named Tennyson, has photoshopped a very funny revolutionary-style poster featuring Obama and some arugula. Click that link to see it.

Earlier in April See-Dubya had a post at Michelle's blog about other "Obamessiah Fancy Foodie Follies." And when George Will calls you a snob -- George Will! -- you're missing the common touch.

The good with the bad

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In the midst of a number of positive developments at the State Capitol over the last two weeks, there's been one grand disappointment, the sort of special deal for special interests that shouldn't happen when Republicans are in control, but all too often does.

So here's the good:

The Oklahoma Legislature overturned the governor's veto to enact an omnibus pro-life bill, SB 1878. The bill includes a provision to ensure that women seeking an abortion have a chance to learn the truth about the life growing within them while there's still time to make a better choice, rather than encountering the truth years later when the only choice is whether or not to feel remorse.

The House Education Committee and House Appropriations and Budget Committee passed SB 2093, which creates the New Hope Scholarship Credit, a tax credit for contributions to funds which give private-school scholarships to economically disadvantaged students in non-performing schools. Speaker Chris Benge and Speaker Pro Tempore Gus Blackwell personally intervened to keep the bill alive, using their position as ex officio members of all House committees to cast the deciding votes in the Appropriations Committee. Their intervention was required because one of the Republicans on the committee, Shane Jett, joined the Democrats in voting against the bill. (Jett is a past recipient of the Oklahoma Conservative PAC's RINO award.) The bill will come to the floor of the House for a vote on Tuesday.

The Legislature passed a constitutional amendment, SB 1987, limiting terms on all statewide officials. Governors have always been term-limited -- Dewey Bartlett was the first governor eligible for re-election in 1970 when governors were first allowed to serve two consecutive terms. Legislators have been term-limited since 1988, finally kicking in with the first forced retirements in 2004. The other statewide officials -- e.g. Attorney General, State Auditor and Inspector, State Treasurer, Corporation Commissioner -- are not currently subject to any limit. SB 1987 would subject them all to a 12-year lifetime limit and would change the Governor's limit to eight years total, not just eight consecutive years. Partial terms served by election or appointment to fill a vacancy wouldn't count against the total.

A voter ID bill, SB 1150, coauthored by Rep. Sue Tibbs and Sen. John Ford, was passed by the House and will come back to the Senate this week. (This link goes to an RTF file of the House amended version.) The bill requires voters to show proof of identity to the precinct judge:

The voter's valid voter identification card, driver license, passport, state identification card, a photocopy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government or tribal document that shows the voter's name and address may be used as proof of identity.

So that's all good and positive. Here's the bad:

The Legislature approved and the Governor signed SB 1819, which extends the Quality Jobs Act to apply to a particular industry: "those activities defined or classified NAICS Manual under U.S. Industry No. 711211 (2007 version)." That means "Sports Teams and Clubs." This is a special deal to pay $60 million in tax rebates to the multi-millionaires and billionaires who own the Sonics.

Usually, if Quality Jobs Act incentives are being paid out, a greater amount of income tax revenues are being paid in, thanks to the salaries being paid to those "quality jobs." But a special provision that applies only to "Sports Teams and Clubs" means the team gets the rebate for salaries even if the salaries aren't subject to Oklahoma income tax.

This wasn't a bill passed by Democrats with a few RINO supporters. This bill had the enthusiastic support of Speaker Benge and Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, the Republican leaders of the Legislature. Coffee's support is understandable: He represents Oklahoma City, which will enjoy any economic benefit from the Sonics' move. But Benge is a Tulsa representative, and it's hard to figure why he wants to tax his constituents in Tulsa for something that won't benefit them at all. It's hard to figure why any Tulsa representatives voted yes for this bill.

Benge spoke about how, with an NBA team, Oklahoma's name would be heard each game night as the sports scores are read on TV. Maybe he missed this, but that's been going on for years, as we always have a team in the college football Top 25 and almost always have a team in the college basketball Top 25. A mention on ESPN seems like a poor return on investment for $60 million. Even if it raises Oklahoma City's profile, it's hard to see how that benefits Tulsa or the rural parts of the state.

David Glover, at his Reverse Robin Hood website, has a list of the seven lobbyists who were hired by The Professional Basketball Club LLC (the group that owns the Sonics). Most of them are with CMA Strategies, a Republican firm that grew out of Cole Hargrave Snodgrass, U. S. Rep. Tom Cole's political consulting firm. Former State Rep. John Bryant (R-Tulsa) was also on the list. Sad to see consultants and politicians who once fought for fiscal sanity now lobbying for special deals for special interests.

Here's the final roll call vote in the House, and here's the Senate roll call (PDF).

Some of the same legislators who sponsored and supported the good legislation I list above were also supporters of this wasteful example of welfare for millionaires.

So we take the good with the bad with Republican control of the House and shared control of the Senate. Some of the Republicans who voted for the NBA subsidy are friends of mine and candidates that I've helped in elections past. Most of them are good legislators on balance and deserve re-election.

None of the supporters of SB 1819 are likely to pay come election day -- the benefits are concentrated and the costs are diffuse -- but I will be keeping this vote in mind should any of them seek higher office. How someone voted on SB 1819 is an indication of that legislator's susceptibility to lobbyist pressure and view of the proper role of government in economic development.

Tulsa Straight Ahead

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Good news! SB 1878, an omnibus bill containing several related provisions regarding abortion, was passed into law today as both houses of the Oklahoma Legislature voted to override Gov. Brad Henry's veto. The bill had passed both houses with veto-proof majorities (80-12 in the House, 38-10 in the Senate). In the override vote, only one Senator shifted from yes to no, for a vote of 37-11, while the House override passed 81-15.

This bill has five key provisions, according to Oklahomans for Life:

SB 1878 has five parts:

1) protecting health care professionals' freedom of conscience and right to refuse to participate in the taking of an innocent human life;

2) regulating the use of the dangerous chemical abortion pill RU-486, used when the unborn child is about two months old;

3) ensuring that a mother's consent to an abortion is truly voluntary, and safeguarding against coerced abortions;

4) providing a woman an ultrasound of her unborn child which she may view prior to undergoing an abortion; and

5) fostering respect for children with disabilities by disallowing wrongful-life lawsuits which claim that a baby would have been better off being aborted.

(This link is to SB 1878 in Rich-Text Format.)

According to NewsOK.com, this is the first time the legislature has overridden Henry's veto. Congratulations to all the lawmakers who supported this, but particularly to Sen. Todd Lamb and Rep. Pam Peterson who shepherded the bill through their respective houses.

Here's what the junior senator from Illinois said, in response to a question from ABC's George Stephanopoulos during tonight's debate (click here to see the full transcript):

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, if you get the nomination, you'll have to -- (applause) -- (inaudible).

I want to give Senator Clinton a chance to respond, but first a follow-up on this issue, the general theme of patriotism in your relationships. A gentleman named William Ayers, he was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings. He's never apologized for that. And in fact, on 9/11 he was quoted in The New York Times saying, "I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough."

An early organizing meeting for your state senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem?

SEN. OBAMA: George, but this is an example of what I'm talking about.

This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.

And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George.

The fact is, is that I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.

Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn's statements? Because I certainly don't agree with those either.

So this kind of game, in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, is somehow -- somehow their ideas could be attributed to me -- I think the American people are smarter than that. They're not going to suggest somehow that that is reflective of my views, because it obviously isn't.

Coburn got a lot of flack for some of the offhand comments he made during his 2004 Senate run, but I believe his friend and colleague from Illinois has surpassed him in the last seven days.

(Via TulsaNow's public forum.)

MORE: Coburn responds: "'Barack Obama is my friend,' said Coburn, when asked if he was offended by Obama's comment. 'We're not all necessarily happy with everything we say.'"

If city officials want to bring families with children back to the older parts of our city, they ought to be lobbying the legislature to expand school choice -- more charter schools, vouchers, tuition tax credits. Here's a recent example from the Cincinnati area of the positive effects of school choice on the revitalization of older neighborhoods:

The homes are square and solid, like the dark-red bricks from which they're built. Old steps and wrought-iron railings lead to small porches shaded by big trees. The uneven sidewalks, postage-stamp yards and 1950s styles look like so many neighborhoods in Cincinnati's aging first-ring communities.

But something is happening on the quiet, clean streets that straddle Golf Manor and Amberley Village: It's a mini-population boomlet.

While most of the city has been losing families to suburbs that offer more land, newer houses, lower taxes and better schools, this neighborhood is a magnet for young professionals with large, growing families.

A recent inventory of new residents includes an ophthalmologist, a Procter & Gamble manager, an Internet entrepreneur, a journalist, two in real estate, two in construction, two in the nursing home business, a restaurant owner and seven rabbis.

Nearly all of these Orthodox Jewish families were attracted by two things: Cincinnati Hebrew Day School, and vouchers provided by Ohio EdChoice.

The vouchers are especially important to young parents who are still working on advanced degrees or medical school, said Rabbi Ben Travis, development director at the Hebrew Day School on Losantiville Road, which has become "the cog around which the community revolves."...

Tuition at Hebrew Day School is $6,365. Students in neighborhoods with failing public schools are eligible for private school vouchers up to $4,375, depending on income, Motzen explained. Families usually pay more of their tuition as their careers take off, Travis said.

The two communities mentioned are called "first-ring suburbs" -- bedroom communities, just outside the limits of the core city, set up to accommodate the post-war baby boom wave of new home buyers. Fifty or sixty years later, these inner-ring communities have long since been passed over by families in favor of newer suburbs further out. Often the infrastructure, housing stock, and retail stock has aged badly. They're in a kind of no-man's land -- lacking the amenities of the core city and newness of the newer suburbs.

The nearest examples of inner-ring suburbs can be found around Oklahoma City -- e.g., Midwest City, Del City, Warr Acres. Because of the annexation policies Tulsa pursued in the '40s and '50s, we don't have these kinds of communities as separate municipalities. (Highland Park -- 31st to 36th, Yale to Hudson -- was one, but was annexed by Tulsa. Tulsa used its water supply and much higher rates for out-of-city customers as leverage to bring new neighborhoods into the city.) But we do have neighborhoods with similar characteristics -- e.g., along Peoria north of 36th St. N. and the 21st and Garnett Area. Some are in better shape than others, but in many of them, homes that once housed families of four or more now house singles and couples. The density is no longer there to support the level of retail that once existed in these areas.

School quality is the major deterrent to attracting families back to these areas. In this case from Ohio, vouchers are giving young families the ability to have affordable housing and high-quality schooling at the same time.

(Hat tip: Brandon Dutcher. Crossposted at Choice Remarks.)

MORE: State Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre and State Rep. Jabar Shumate, both Democrats who represent north Tulsa, including the area I mentioned above, are receiving national recognition for their support for school choice in the Oklahoma Legislature. Here's syndicated columnist Star Parker's salute to McIntyre and Shumate. An excerpt:

No Child Left Behind allows parents to move their child to a performing district public school if the child's school is failing and does not improve for three consecutive years. But this provision is effectively meaningless because rarely is there an available public-school alternative.

The Tulsa and Oklahoma City School Districts have 7,000 students in such failing schools.

Graduation rates in Oklahoma City and Tulsa are 47.5 percent and 50.6 percent, respectively.

Legislation is now moving through the Oklahoma legislature that would allow a 50 percent tax credit to individuals or businesses contributing to a fund that would provide scholarships for low-income kids in failing schools to go to a private school.

The heroes here are two black Democrats -- Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre and Rep. Jabar Shumate. Going against the grain of their party, and against the Oklahoma union and public-school establishments, these brave souls are championing this initiative.

The bill is SB 2093, the New Hope Scholarship Act. Here's a rebuttal to some of the attacks against the proposal. And one of the sponsors, State Sen. James Williamson, explains the proposal in an op-ed in today's Oklahoman.

The best place to follow the school choice debate is at Choice Remarks, the blog of Oklahomans for School Choice.

I found out last night; the promos started running today: Talk Radio 1170 KFAQ's search for a morning show host is over, and the new man is Pat Campbell, formerly of WFLA 540 in Orlando. As I noted a month ago when Pat was in town to try out, he seems to be a solid conservative. In 2006 and 2007, he was named one of Talkers Magazine's 250 most influential talk show hosts. Pat's first day will be next Tuesday, April 22.

Elvis Polo will stay on in the mornings as Pat's producer. Chris Medlock will move to afternoons from 2-4, starting in May, and Brent Smith will run the boards for him. (Chris's show will displace "Brian and the Judge.")

MORE: Pat announces the move on his blog: "I was just blown away with my visit to Tulsa. Journal has put together a top notch team led by Randy Bush and Brian Gann. I have all the tools needed to make a real ratings splash. I'm surrounded by a team of professionals that will help us take KFAQ to the top." Pat also mentions that his contract with Journal is a three-year deal.

KFAQ, with its emphasis on local talk and its motto of "Standing Up for What's Right," means a great deal to many Tulsans who for many years were frustrated by the one-sided way the mainstream local media outlets framed the issues. I'm happy that KFAQ has found someone of Pat's caliber to carry on that legacy, and I'm sure I speak for many others in the "Q nation" in wishing him a warm welcome

RELATED: Last month, KFAQ's parent company, Journal Broadcast Group, announced a special election year emphasis for its TV stations and news/talk radio stations during the month before November's general election:

"Our stations are always committed to providing comprehensive, high-quality news coverage of important local stories. This year we renew our initiative to provide viewers and listeners in each of our markets with the best we have to offer in election coverage," said [Doug Kiel, President, Journal Communications Inc. and Vice Chairman and CEO, Journal Broadcast Group].

The Journal Broadcast Group's "2008 Red, White and Blue Election Initiative" on television newscasts and news/talk radio stations includes:

  • A minimum of five minutes of news coverage daily, Monday through Friday, in the 30 days prior to the general election. This coverage will be broadcast in the afternoon and late evening newscasts on television and in high listener time periods on radio.
  • The coverage will be focused on candidates running for office in federal, state and significant local elections.
  • Coverage will consist of interviews, profiles and viewers' questions.
  • Debates will be offered where appropriate.
  • Stations will run public service announcements encouraging viewers to get out and vote.

This Wednesday, April 16, immediately following the regular meeting of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (TMAPC), the commissioners will go into a worksession to discuss whether to move forward with public hearings that could lead to a Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) enabling ordinance for the City of Tulsa. The TMAPC will also discuss a proposed sidewalk ordinance.

Although the public won't be allowed to speak at this worksession, the development lobby, the "build anything I want, anywhere I want" bunch, which opposes any form of NCD, is sending out e-mails to have large numbers of their people present in hopes that they can "put this issue to rest for good," as Martha Thomas Cobb put it in a recent e-mail.

It's important for the TMAPC members to hear from the rest of us, those of us who believe the character of our older neighborhoods is worth protecting, those of us who think our zoning code should distinguish between a neighborhood built in the '30s in midtown and one built in the '80s in south Tulsa.

I've said before that the current draft NCD enabling ordinance is extremely mild. It only deals with residential property. Many cities, including Oklahoma City, Austin, and San Antonio, also protect commercial areas, where simple rules are put in place to require new commercial development to match the pedestrian friendly characteristics that already exist in older retail areas like Cherry Street. But that won't happen at all if we can't even get authorization for a much more basic type of conservation district.

The issue before the TMAPC at this point is whether any sort of NCD ordinance will happen at all. The naysayers want to kill the concept in its crib. Reasonable people need to be at the meeting if possible, or to contact the TMAPC by sending an e-mail to its secretary Barbara Huntsinger (bhuntsinger@incog.org), to ask the TMAPC to let the process move forward on NCDs.

The meeting will be held in the City Council chamber -- the small two story building in the City Hall complex. It will immediately follow the regular TMAPC meeting, which begins at 1:30 pm tomorrow (Wednesday) and is likely to be quite short.

The Tulsa Boy Singers celebrate their 60th season of music this year, and this coming Monday night, April 21, they're holding a fundraising banquet at Biga, 4329 S. Peoria. The evening includes dinner and wine, and a Q & A with Biga owner Tuck Curren. The Tulsa Boy Singers will perform, and diners will receive a copy of their latest CD.

The cost is $60 per person. Seating is limited -- this will be a cozy, relaxed atmosphere for listening to the boys perform. Reserve your spots by sending a check to Tulsa Boy Singers, P.O. Box 52692, Tulsa OK 74152, and write "Biga" on the memo line.

TBS needs funds to continue to grow in its mission to offer musical and citizenship training to boys and young men and to continue to offer beautiful music to Tulsa. Your participation next Monday night will treat you to a wonderful dinner and wonderful music and the satisfaction of helping Tulsa's oldest choral society off to a good start for its next 60 years.

A couple of additions to the sidebar:

The Conservative Intelligencer is a new blog on politics, culture, and religion.

The Conservative Intelligencer features tough-minded, conservative commentary on the day's events, as well as value-added research to put these events in context. Check here for news and analysis of the War on Terror, immigration reform, Campaign 2008, conservative activism, and the conservative movement. Be sure to check in for Fun with Fisking!

The latest post: Scientology Is weirder than you think. I already thought it was pretty weird, but I learned something new.

Sarah of A Glass of Chianti (first linked on BatesLine here for her musical puns and western swing references) not only took up housekeeping with the blogger formerly known as Mansfield Fox, the two took up blogkeeping together as well. Last fall, after a year of marriage, they returned to the blogosphere at a new address: Dwyeropolis is now the cyberhometown for the bloggers now known as Angus and Sarah Dwyer and their beautiful baby girl Prudence. The blog features cute baby pictures and cultural and political commentary, but mostly cute baby pictures.

LA Weekly reports on a new constituency opposing the Los Angeles Police Department's sanctuary city policy. Special Order 40, a policy forbidding police from running immigration status checks when someone is arrested, served as a model for similar policies in many other cities. It was already under legal attack as a violation of a 1996 California law banning sanctuary city policies.

Woo-whee, the testimony was riveting this morning before the Los Angeles City Council when a group of black residents pleaded with the 15 elected council members to rescind Special Order 40, the longtime local rule protecting illegal immigrants from arrest by the LAPD.

The black residents are seeking a decision by the council to enact the so-called Jamiel's Law, named after Jamiel Shaw, a promising and law-abiding 17-year-old high school student allegedly shot by an illegal immigrant, 18th Street Gang member Pedro Espinoza. The noxious Espinoza, who has a massively long rap sheet, was arrested by cops in Culver City, and then released by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department jailers, shortly before he allegedly murdered Jamiel.

Jamiel's family members cried openly in the ornate Council Chambers, asking the council to allow cops to check on the illegal status of people like Espinoza so they can be deported rather than released.

Mayoral candidate Walter Moore, proponent of Jamiel's Law has on his website Special Order 40, the proposed Jamiel's Law, and more about Jamiel Shaw's life.

And in 2005, Heather McDonald of the Manhattan Institute testified before a congressional subcommittee on the importance of running immigration checks whenever the opportunity arises in order to curb gang activity:

Immigration enforcement against criminals should also not wait upon a major federal-local gang initiative. The majority of opportunities to get criminals off the streets come from enforcing misdemeanors and quality of life offenses. While the police are waiting to make a major federal case against an illegal criminal, they are far more likely to have picked him up for a "petty" theft or an open-container offense. Officers should be empowered at every arrest or lawful stop to check someone's immigration status. If a suspect is committing an immigration offense, the officer should be empowered to arrest him immediately for that offense.

(Via Mickey Kaus.)

Streets forum

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Our local Unitarians at All Souls Church at 30th & Peoria have an interesting approach to Sunday School. In place of Alongside Bible study or theological discussion, they present public forums on issues of civic importance. It might not be the most spiritually profitable way to spend Sunday morning, but it's often the only place that both sides of an issue get aired in an evenhanded town hall atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to speak last October before the river sales tax election in a forum moderated by Clayton Vaughn with Kevin Stubbs of U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Jenks Mayor Vic Vreeland, and Ken Neal editorial page editor emeritus of the Tulsa Whirled.

This Sunday, they're featuring the issue of Tulsa's streets and how best to fix them. Two members of Mayor Taylor's blue ribbon tax force, former Councilor Dewey Bartlett, Jr., and former Water and Sewer Commissioner Patty Eaton, will be there to argue for their plan to increase taxes by $1.5 billion. Councilor Bill Martinson has his own plan, reprioritizing existing revenue streams as much as possible. Former Streets Commissioner Jim Hewgley III emphasizes the need for short-term action in the form of a paving program.

The public is invited to attend. Here are the details:

Public Forum: Tulsa Roads

Sunday, April 13
10:00-10:50 a.m.

All Souls Unitarian Church
2952 South Peoria Ave.

This Sunday, All Souls Unitarian Church will host a public forum on the issue of Tulsa's crumbling streets. The Complete Our Streets Advisory Council recently delivered its report, and the public debate now turns to specific proposals for addressing this urgent problem. Come hear a distinguished panel of community leaders discuss the state of our city's streets and how to pay for their rehabilitation.

Our panel:

  • Dewey Bartlett, Jr.--Former Tulsa City Councilor and member of the Complete Our Streets Advisory Council
  • Patty Eaton, Former Tulsa Waterworks Commissioner and member of the Complete Our Streets Advisory Council
  • James Hewgley, III--Former Tulsa Street Commissioner
  • Bill Martinson--Tulsa City Councilor, District 5

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Brian Cross, adult religious education coordinator, at 743-2805, ext. 503.

(Modified in response to a comment from RecycleMichael. Modified again -- changed "listen in" to "attend" -- in response to a comment from Don Singleton.)

Sexless in print

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I met Anna Broadway at a blogger party in New York City the Thursday before the 2004 Republican National Convention, hosted by Karol Sheinin. We had an enjoyable conversation, which involved shouting into one another's ears to be heard over the very loud music.

A few years ago I wrote: "Anna is an MK (missionary kid), a fellow survivor alum of Campus Crusade for Christ, and a very witty writer. Her blog [Sexless in the City] is about her romantic misadventures in New York, and what she's learned about courtship, dating, chastity, and real, lasting love in the process." Although dating is far in my past, it's in the not-too-distant future for one of my children, and her more contemplative blog entries have helped me reflect on my own experiences and the lessons I'll pass on to my children.

Her less contemplative entries are just fun to read. There's something about living vicariously through stories of singles in the big city that strikes a chord in popular culture, as evidenced by Seinfeld, Friends, and, yes, Sex and the City.

In the last couple of years, she moved from the East Coast to the West Coast and her blogging pace has slowed considerably, but in a good cause -- turning those misadventures, experiences, and reflections into a book: Sexless in the City: A Memoir of Reluctant Chastity. Its official release date is April 15.

From the publisher's blurb:

Anna Broadway's "Sexless in the City" blog has become a popular Internet destination, attracting readers with its amusing tales of romantic misadventures and candid, far-from-prissy reports on the difficulties of trying to reconcile Christian beliefs with the mores and temptations of the modern world.

In SEXLESS IN THE CITY, Broadway offers a lighthearted, yet unflinching, look at the realities of life as a twentysomething urbanite. She writes about her youthful ambition of writing or editing bodice-rippers, struggles with debt and loneliness, the pleasures and perils of meeting men in singles bars, and other urban outposts, and about her friendships with women searching, as she is, for a good man to spend the rest of their lives with. Guided by her trust in God and the teachings of the Bible, Broadway navigates romantic entanglements with the Harvard Lickwit, Hippie the Groper, Ad Weasel, 5 Percent Man, and various others who wander in and out her life--but never into her bed.

Anna has also compiled a soundtrack for Sexless in the City, downloadable at 99 cents a song from iTunes. The 19-song playlist, while sadly bereft of western swing, includes selections from Miles Davis and John Coltrane, three songs by Etta James ("Stormy Weather," "I Just Want to Make Love to You," and "At Last"), and Dean Martin singing "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You." There's also a favorite of mine, Louis Armstrong singing "A Kiss to Build a Dream On." (KFAQ listeners may recall me singing this a capella during one of my weekly appearances; host Michael DelGiorno had challenged co-host Gwen Freeman to a "KFAQ Idol" sing-off, and I insisted on participating. KFAQ producer Elvis Polo still tweaks me by playing it from time to time.)

Congratulations to Anna on the publication of her book, and best wishes for many printings. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Good news from the State Capitol -- State Rep. Pam Peterson and State Sen. Todd Lamb's omnibus pro-life bill is on the way to the Governor's desk.

Via Steve Fair:

Today the Oklahoma State Senate passed SB 1878 authored by Senator Todd Lamb(the former Secret Service Agent, not the race car driver), R-Edmond, and Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa. It passed the Senate 38-10 with a bipartisan vote. The bill contains several pro-life initiatives. By combining various pieces of legislation from Lamb and members of the House, the bill now creates the Freedom of Conscience Act which protects the rights of healthcare providers to refuse to take part in the destruction of human life.

Via Mike McCarville:

By combining various pieces of legislation from Lamb and members of the House, the bill now creates the Freedom of Conscience Act which protects the rights of healthcare providers to refuse to take part in the destruction of human life (SB 1878--Sen. Lamb, Rep. Peterson); regulates the use of the dangerous chemical pill RU-486, used when the unborn child is about two months old (HB 2181--Rep. McNiel); ensures the mother's consent to abort is truly voluntary, and protects against coerced abortions (HB 3059--Sen. Williamson, Rep. Hamilton); provides a woman with an ultrasound of her unborn child which she can view prior to undergoing the abortion (HB 3144--Sen. Lamb, Rep. Billy); cultivates respect for disabled children by banning the wrongful-life lawsuits that claim a baby would have been better off aborted (HB 2814--Sen. Crain, Rep. Sullivan).

While the bill had bipartisan support and will probably be signed by Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, such a strong pro-life bill would not have made it this far when the Legislature was fully under Democratic control. Republican leadership (complete in the House, shared in the Senate) means that pro-life advocates control the flow of legislation in both houses. While some individual Democratic legislators are pro-life, their leadership hasn't been pro-life for many years.

Red alert!

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In a bit of online video oneupsmanship, CBS has posted all 79 episodes of Star Trek (the Original Series) as streaming video on the web -- free. These are the original Original Series episodes, not the remastered versions with new CGI special effects.

The sound and video quality is amazing and the buffering was utterly smooth. There are only a handful of very brief commercial breaks. CBS is also offering the first seasons of MacGyver, Hawaii Five-O, and Melrose Place, and the first and second seasons of The Twilight Zone.

They've still got a ways to catch up in the classic TV department with Hulu, NBC Universal and Fox's joint venture which features plenty of classic and current TV, including the first two seasons each of The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Dragnet (1967), and the first seasons of I Spy and The DIck Van Dyke Show.

Remind me again why I'm paying for cable?

My most recent Urban Tulsa Weekly column is about the correlation between urban vitality and the combination of good urban form and older buildings, factors that are actively protected in cities like Austin and San Antonio, cities that Tulsans frequently say they wish to emulate. Those factors seem to make the difference between a lively riverfront, like San Antonio's, and a commercially inactive riverfront like Austin's.

As I mentioned in the column, I visited Austin and San Antonio recently. You can find the photos I took in downtown San Antonio on Flickr. I've geocoded each picture and explained what I found interesting, particularly from an urban design perspective.

Here are some links where you can learn more about San Antonio and Austin's zoning and land use policies:

Twelve years ago, on a week-long business trip to Silicon Valley, I came up with the idea of doing a column for UTW that I would have called "Urban Elsewhere," describing the good and bad examples of urban design that I came across in my travels, describing vibrant districts and trying to explain why they work and how we might apply those examples to Tulsa. It took a few years, but through this blog and my column in UTW I've been able to do that from time to time, which gives me a lot of satisfaction. Perhaps some day our city leaders will draw lessons from other cities that don't involve massive tax increases for major public projects.

By the way, the Austin electronics store I mention at the beginning of the column is a branch of a store I first came across during that trip to Silicon Valley -- Fry's Electronics. It's Nerdvana -- like a Best Buy + CompUSA + Radio Shack on steroids. It's Bass Pro Shops for technogeeks. Every part or gadget you could imagine, you can find it at Fry's. Having a Fry's, or something like it, in Tulsa would do more than acorn lamps along the river to convince tech-heads that they want to live and work here.

On April 24, INCOG, the regional planning agency, is presenting a program to "begin a community dialogue about transportation options, including rail," although from the description, it looks like rail will be the predominant topic:

What about RAIL?

Public Open House
Jazz Hall of Fame at Union Station
Tulsa, OK
April 24, 2008
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

What would it take to implement a successful regional transportation system with multiple transportation options, including rail?

What is the relationship between development and rail?

How have other cities addressed these questions?

You are invited, along with experts from Denver, Austin, Portland, and the Federal Transit Administration, to discuss these questions and others to begin a community dialogue about transportation options, including rail.

at Union Station
111 E First Street
Tulsa, OK 74103
Map and Directions

Refreshments provided by Tulsa Now

6:00 p.m. - Open House Begins
6:15 p.m. - Formal Presentation
7:00 p.m. - Discussion and Questions
7:45 p.m. - Closing Remarks

That's a Thursday night, so our City Councilors won't be able to attend.

As I've said before, I'm a rail fan. I went car-free during my years in the Boston area, relying on the subway system, buses, and my own two feet. As I wrote in a January column about rail transit, Tulsa doesn't have the urban form to make it possible for Tulsans to plan their lives around a commuter rail line. You would need frequent service and a feeder network of public transit lines -- whether bus or streetcar or jitney -- to take people between the commuter rail station and within comfortable walking distance of where they want to go, anytime they want to go there. Otherwise, people will prefer to use their cars, even if it means an increasing piece of their budget goes to buy gasoline.

MORE: Paul Weyrich, a founding father of the modern American conservative movement, served on the Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, and he supports their recommendation for "an increased role for public transportation, including electric rail and bus vehicles." The commission was authorized by the latest Federal transportation act, and its final report was submitted to Congress on January 15, 2008. You can read the STPRSC's final report, "Transportation for Tomorrow," online. Weyrich has a website devoted to streetcars and light rail: The New New Electric Railway Journal.

A deferred dream is finally being realized. Blake Ewing set out about three years ago with an idea to open a great pizza restaurant downtown. It made better sense to take some baby steps first, so he took over an existing Simple Simon's Pizza place at 61st and US 169 and turned it into Joe Momma's Pizza.

Last fall he announced he was ready to pursue a downtown Joe Momma's, and the new place is nearing completion. It will be in the Blue Dome District downtown on Elgin, between El Guapo's, which is on 1st St., and Dirty's Tavern, which is on 2nd. On the mommaiscoming.com website, he says that the new place will serve brick-oven pizza and healthier choices, along with beer and wine. It will be open late "so the boozers can sober up before driving home." They'll have free wi-fi (the 61st St location already has it), "old-school arcade and pinball games," big screen TVs, and live music. The aim is to be open by D-Fest, in July.

Blake has found a niche that needs filling downtown. I'm looking forward to hanging out there.

This recent Red State Update had me almost rolling on the floor. They've overdubbed the clip of Bill Richardson with Barack Obama, when he announced his support for the Illinois senator and related his awkward conversation with Hillary Clinton about his endorsement of Obama. The revoiced Richardson has a childlike simplicity and throws out non-sequiturs left and right, reminiscent of Danny DeVito's character Owen in Throw Momma from the Train.

The part that had me laughing to the point of tears is toward the end, when Richardson tells about his phone call with "Mean Pants Lady."

"And I think that any speculation on a vice presidential pick is premature. It's premature to speculate..."

"An egg is a premature chicken."

"Uh huh, OK, technically, Bill, I think that..."

"Hueeeeevos Rancheeeeeros."

"Mm-hmm. Allllll right...."

FIXED the missing close angle bracket on an object tag which was flummoxing IE 7.0. Thanks to Michelle for pointing it out. I'm amazed that none of the other browsers seemed bothered by it.

Not really. But there's a parody news story about Randi Miller sending the big guy packing on a new blog called Irritated Tulsan. Here's how it starts:

The Tulsa County Fair Board continued their un-expansion Tuesday with the eviction of the Golden Driller.

"The Golden Driller was unable to provide us with a solid business plan," said Randi Miller, Tulsa County Fair Board Chairman, "He has to be let go."

With Bell's eviction, the upcoming Driller's move and the renaming of the EXPO center to the Quiktrip Center, the TCFB continues to disappoint taxpayers of Tulsa County....

The bill for the eviction will cost taxpayers $5 million.

"I know that seems like a lot of money," [Expo Square CEO Rick] Bjorkland said, " but a least it's not mine. Seriously, $5 million is nothing compared to what I've wasted."

The construction of the parking lot in the former Bell's location cost $25 million. The glowing lights on top the Quiktrip center cost $600,000, and only worked for one year.

$25 million doesn't seem right to me, but the overall cost to the taxpayers of evicting Bell's Amusement Park was quite high.

Irritated Tulsan also has a couple of funny shopping rants (just be warned that Irritated Tulsan drops the occasional foul word -- not for kids): his own about the horror that is the Admiral and Memorial Wal-Mart and one from a reader about the scooter people.

He has some opinions about our streets, too:

If you don't live in Tulsa, you may not be familiar with our roads. There are six potholes for every square foot. A group of dedicated city employees fills the same holes over and over again. Each time it rains, there's a small breeze, the sun shines, a cat meows or an angel farts, the pothole reappears. I think it's because a mixture of pudding and oatmeal is used for road repair.

How to complete our streets? Borrow a tactic from cash-strapped schools:

The whole "Complete Our Streets Task Force" could bake. They claim more than 150 committee members.

If not a bake sale, how about the "World's Finest Chocolate?"

We sold those candy bars to raise money for our elementary school, why can't the city sell them too. The committee could go door-to-door, stand outside Reasor's and sell candy-bars at work.

We've been pimping out our kids with the "World's Finest Chocolate" for decades, and now it's time to pimp out our city leaders.

If for no other reason, Irritated Tulsan deserves a link here for calling attention to the B-52s' new album Funplex -- you can listen to the whole thing at MuchMusic.

Paul plot

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John McCain has enough delegates to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot. All other candidates have either withdrawn or suspended their campaigns, conceding to McCain.

That appears to be the case, based on primary results and on the rules, which vary from state to state, that allocate delegates based on the primary results. But some hardcore Ron Paul supporters don't see it that way. They still have hope of getting the nomination for "the only man who can save America," and they have a strategy for making it happen.

You see, in Oklahoma and in many other states, there's no connection between the primary vote and the selection of the men and women who will go to the national convention as delegates and alternates. State law requires that our delegates vote at the national convention for the candidate supported by a plurality of primary voters in the state or in each congressional district. Based on that law, six members of the Oklahoma delegation are bound to Mike Huckabee and 32 are bound to John McCain.

But the campaigns don't select the delegates who will cast those votes. The delegates and alternates are elected by the five congressional district conventions (3 delegates and 3 alternates each) and the state convention (on May 3, electing 23 delegates and 23 alternates). For example, if I ran for delegate in this Saturday's 1st Congressional District Convention and was elected, I would be bound to vote for Mike Huckabee at the national convention even though I had been a Fred Thompson supporter. If Huckabee formally withdrew and released his delegates, he would encourage his delegates to rally around McCain, but I would be free to vote for Thompson, myself, or anyone else.

The Ron Paul plan is to exploit this situation by flooding these conventions, being stealthy about their intentions, running for delegate positions but not identifying themselves as Ron Paul supporters. They will try to elect their people to uncommitted seats (principally in caucus states) or to delegate positions that are bound to candidates that have withdrawn or suspended their campaigns. In some states they will seek to alter the party rules so that all delegates are unbound, notwithstanding the primary result, then elect their people to the delegate positions. In other states, the delegates will be unbound if no candidate has a majority on the first ballot at the convention. If they can break off enough delegates from McCain using these strategies to deny him a majority on the first ballot, many more delegates will be released to vote for whomever they wish. This web page, "Ron Paul will STILL win, the GOP can't possibly STOP US ALL!" lines out the strategy:

So, lets lay it out REALLY simple. How can YOU become a delegate? FIRST thing you need to do right NOW is to call your local county GOP, pay up your dues ($25/yr for me), and tell them that you want to become a delegate. Tell them that the reason you want to is because you don't want to see either Hillary or Obama as your president. The last thing you want to do is mention Dr. Paul. If you have to LIE, tell them you support McCain, then if you make it to state just say you changed your mind! Be cordial, and ask also if there is any way you can help or volunteer. My last meetup group was VERY informative. It was explained to me that the GOP is just a SHELL of itself. The APATHY of the voting process in many states has taken it's toll on the Republican Party. What this means is that voter apathy, while once thought of as our biggest obstacle, is now our ACE IN THE HOLE my fellow revolutionaries! We can TAKE OVER the Republican Party, quite easily, and UN-BIND the delegates in our respective states (this is one of the policies that delegates vote on) and nominate Dr. Paul at the Republican National Convention!

A reader has forwarded to me a link to a site called Ron Paul Exposed, with a list of the members of the Oklahoma Ron Paul Meetup group and excerpts from some of the group's chats about convention strategy. So far the Ron Paul people have dominated two congressional district conventions here in Oklahoma, getting several of their people elected as delegates and alternates to the national convention.

Remember that Paul only received 3.34% of the vote in the presidential preference primary. He received about 20% of the vote in a straw poll taken during the Tulsa County precinct caucuses. His supporters will succeed in getting elected as delegates only if the non-Ron Paul supporters don't bother to show up at the convention, assuming that this year's conventions will be like past years'.

Less than 5% of Republican primary voters nationwide supported Paul. It would take years, probably decades, of concerted effort to transform public opinion to line up with his views. Paul's supporters should run for office, volunteer for campaigns and to man party headquarters, and otherwise participate in public life. They should ally with other political groups when a common goal can be found. It took 16 years for conservatives to get from Barry Goldwater's landslide defeat to Ronald Reagan's landslide victory and even then Reagan's ability to change Washington was limited.

Ron Paul's supporters are welcome to participate in the convention process. If they do so in a constructive and open way, they can have an influence on the future direction of the party. If they instead use stealth and deception, they will fail and in the process demolish any possibility of building coalitions and moving incrementally toward the kind of changes they seek.

Price a great pearl

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Congratulations to our friend Roger Price, professor of music at the University of Tulsa, who has been unanimously selected as the 2008-09 Distinguished Teacher of the Year by the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association. The nomination for the award was orchestrated by his current and former students:

"I have never met a fellow student of Dr. Price that was not in complete awe of his abilities on the stage and in the studio," said Karl Johnson, a junior music composition major from Tulsa. "In addition to a great passion for his craft, he has an even greater passion for his students as human beings, and that has been the most inspiring and encouraging part of being in his studio."

Price has composed, performed and premiered his own piano concertos in Europe, an extraordinary accomplishment for an American. In addition to his numerous appearances as a recital soloist and collaborative musician, he has performed with such orchestras as the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra led by Jerzy Swoboda, the New York Solisti with Ransom Wilson, and the Tulsa Philharmonic with Bernard Rubenstein. Price also has gained national recognition as a church music composer through his works published through St. James Music Press. This spring, his new composition "Winds, Flames of Fire" for piano duet (two performers at one piano) is receiving its world premiere in Cyprus and Ukraine.

By virtue of this award, Price is also the Oklahoma nominee for Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) 2009 Distinguished Teacher of the Year.

You can hear samples of Prof. Price's performances and his compositions on his website. You can hear him most often on Sunday mornings, playing the prelude and postlude and accompanying the congregation at Christ Presbyterian Church.

No fooling. Today's election day in the City of Tulsa. All precincts will be open because of two charter amendments on the ballot. Districts 3, 4, 6, 8, and 9 have general elections for City Council seats.

I've assembled my blog entries on this year's election into a single category, Tulsa::Election2008, which includes links to relevant Urban Tulsa Weekly columns and links to other blog entries and columns on the issue of Neighborhood Conservation Districts, which has become one of the key issues in this election, particularly in the Council District 4 race between incumbent Maria Barnes and challenger Eric Gomez.

I'll be on KFAQ with Chris Medlock this morning from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., going through the races and the issues at stake.

We'll also preview this Saturday's 1st Congressional District Republican convention, at which three delegates and three alternates to the Republican National Convention will be chosen, along with one of the seven members of Oklahoma's Republican slate of presidential electors. The Ron Paul Revolution continues as his supporters seek to get elected as delegates and alternates and to control the platform and rules process at the State Convention, coming up in May.

UPDATE: 1 p.m. turnout reports from a couple of District 4 polling places suggest that we're on track for the same turnout as the last non-mayoral election four years ago -- about 2,600 voters in District 4.

MORE: David Schuttler reports that electioneering material supporting David Patrick was left out in plain sight at a polling place -- the UAW union hall.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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