May 2008 Archives

If you're a Tulsa history buff, you know the Beryl Ford Collection, which includes tens of thousands of historic photos of our city, many of places that no longer exist. Thanks to the generosity of the Rotary Club of Tulsa, over 20,000 photos in the collection have been digitized and posted online, searchable via the Tulsa Library's online catalog.

It's a clumsy way to explore the collection -- descriptions are minimal, there are no previews of images, there's no way to search geographically, and once you call up a photo, the scan is too low-resolution to make out intriguing details which are visible on the original photograph. (I have to think the photos were scanned at a much higher resolution, but bandwidth and storage limitations forced lower-res scans to be posted on the library website.)

There's a better, Web 2.0 way to make the collection available to researchers, and I wrote the head of collections at the Tulsa Historical Society with my idea:

The Beryl Ford Collection is a tremendous resource, and I've enjoyed exploring the collection on the Tulsa Library website, but looking for specific photographs of interest can be a frustrating experience, with vague captions and clumsy search options. The low resolution of the scanned photos can be frustrating too, as intriguing details which are probably legible on the original are not discernible on the library's scans.

The ideal online presentation of the Beryl Ford Collection would have several characteristics, taking advantage of Web 2.0 technology:

  1. Each photo available in a range of resolutions, including the highest resolution possible -- at least 600 dpi.
  2. Searchable extended descriptions and tags.
  3. The ability for archive visitors to add comments (memories associated with the photo, historical details) and to add descriptive tags to aid searching.
  4. The ability for archive visitors to attach notes -- highlighting certain details in the photo that might otherwise be overlooked.
  5. The ability to search by geography -- to zoom in on a map and see photos in and around a particular location.

That last point is essential for researchers. I've begun a series on called "If Asphalt Could Talk," using Sanborn maps, city directories, and old photos to reconstruct what downtown blocks looked like before the upheavals of the last forty years. Being able to search geographically would make it easier to find photos that depict a given block.

I understand that Tulsa Library may not have the bandwidth, storage, or technical wherewithal to provide this kind of presentation. Thankfully, there is already a website that provides this kind of capability: Flickr.

I've been using Flickr for a couple of years now and have uploaded over 3,000 photos. I have a "pro" Flickr account, included as part of my AT&T DSL account, which allows me to upload an unlimited number of images. Each photo can be up to 20 MB in size. There's no limit on the bandwidth used by people viewing my photos.

I have placed about 1700 of my photos on a map. It's possible to search an area for anyone's photos, for photos from a particular user, or for photos with a particular tag.

Since Flickr is owned by Yahoo, which is partnered with AT&T, our local telephone company, they might be willing to provide an account for THS as a corporate donation. If not, a pro account is only $25 per year.

The process of uploading, describing, and tagging 24,000 images would be tedious, but I'd certainly be willing to volunteer, and I'm sure many other Flickr-literate history buffs would as well.

I'm not sure my e-mail went to the right person, but I hope someone will see this and take me up on my offer to help.

Via Mister Snitch, a beautiful collection of photos of New York, arranged chronologically, beginning with 1885, when horse-drawn carriages and trolleys dominated Manhattan's streets. Most of the pictures were taken when skyscrapers looked like steeples, turrets, and minarets, before the 1960s influx of flat-topped glass and steel boxes. (Click the thumbnails to see full-sized images.)

Mister Snitch calls them "photos of a romantic, antique, B&W New York," and I think they deserve a romantic soundtrack, so here's Charlie Spivak and his orchestra.

west side of Union Square, New York

This photo and its caption are worth highlighting:

Downtown Manhattan skyline, 1931

Union Square West. A hilarious jumble gets A+ for accidental design. These lots once held town houses. Their dainty footprints have been preserved, so the buildings have a delicate scale regardless of their height. One is a miniature skyscraper. Scale-obsessed NIMBYs take note: you need to object to a building's footprint, not its height.

A great point. The constraints of lot lines, alleys, and the street grid generate a more pedestrian-friendly experience at the ground level. Instead of one large building with a single entrance framed by blank walls or reflective glass, you have at least five building entrances in a single block -- five different window displays to catch your eye, five places to duck in out of the rain, five places to escape from a creep. Changes in construction finance provided the deep pockets to enable developers to buy out an entire block at once, rather than buying and redeveloping one lot at a time. Urban renewal cleared whole blocks at a time, and cities became willing to vacate streets and alleys to suit the demands of developers.

My biggest complaint against the proposed Bomasada development in Brookside is not its height, but the fact that it is one huge blocky building with a single entrance, and rather than creating more connections between the residential and commercial areas, it creates more obstacles. A development of individual three to four-story townhomes or apartment buildings (2 or 3 units per floor) with separate entrances, and at least one public way connecting 39th Street to the Old Village Shops, would "enhance the value, image and function of area properties" in a way that satisfies the condition on page 7 of the Brookside Infill Plan for higher-density residential development in the residential area on the boundary with the commercial area.

An edited version of this column appeared in the May 28, 2008, issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly. The published version is no longer available online. Posted online November 18, 2014.

Philip Larkin wrote, in a poem with an unforgettable and unprintable first line, that parents "fill you up with the faults they had, and add some extra, just for you," and advised, "don't have any kids yourself."

As a father of three, the fear that Philip Larkin was right (Google his poem, "This Be the Verse," if you wonder what I'm on about) has me constantly second-guessing my parenting decisions.

Am I being too strict? Too lenient? Am I overprotective? Am I teaching them to choose what is good, beautiful, and just? Am I a good role model?

But halfway between Mother's Day and Father's Day, as I think about my parents, I see all the good they built into my life, not only by precept but by example.

My parents sacrificed financially so that I could attend a private school, back in the day when that was rare for a middle class family, sacrificed to help me through MIT.

They brought me up "in the fear and admonition of the Lord," instilling a genuine faith in Christ and modeling the importance of being part of a community of believers.

They continue to show their love to me and my sister by showering their love on our children - their grandchildren. The desire to have them a constant part of my children's lives is a big reason why I've never seriously considered moving away.

They also demonstrated by their example the importance of community involvement and activism.

If you like the fact that I'm not afraid to step on toes, not afraid to speak passionately in a public forum, willing to put my name on a ballot and my opinions and reputation on the line again and again, you have my dad and mom to thank. Or to blame, if you'd just as soon I sat down and shut up.

David and Sandy Bates grew up in small towns north of Tulsa - Dad in Nowata, Mom in Dewey.

For Dad, civic involvement was an extracurricular activity; his days were spent in accounting and, later, in data processing for Cities Service for 20 years, followed by another 15 in data processing with St. Francis. Mom's activism was part and parcel of, but not limited to, the hundreds of Catoosa kindergarten students she taught over the course of 28 years.

They were and are frequent voters, going to the polls every election day and taking us along with them.

Soon after Cities Service brought our family from Bartlesville to Tulsa, we joined the little Southern Baptist church down the street.

Within a few years, Dad was asked to serve as a deacon. Both Mom and Dad at various times taught Sunday School and sang in the choir. Mom worked in the nursery and later helped with the bus ministry.

Our Baptist church provided my earliest lessons in participatory democracy and parliamentary procedure. We had monthly business meetings, and everything had to be brought before the membership for a vote. We reviewed finances, voted on appointments to committees, hired pastors and staff members, and debated over whether to move the church to a more visible location. Every baptized member, even me at age 8, had the right to speak and vote.

As chairman of the deacons, Dad served as moderator for these meetings, and was often asked to fill that role even when he wasn't chairman. He chaired the meeting in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order, keeping the meetings moving while giving everyone a chance to be heard.

Leadership meant dealing with unpleasantness, too, like the time he had to tell the pastor, on behalf of the deacon board, that it was time to look for a new job.

Dad also served several years as director of Church Training. For the non-Baptists, that was the name of the classes that preceded the Sunday evening worship service.

When I was about 13, Dad insisted on naming me as his assistant director, which meant collecting and tabulating the attendance records for all the classes (Baptists love statistics) and then delivering the attendance report at the beginning of the evening service.

As a spotty and self-conscious teen, I hated speaking in front of the congregation, but in time, I got used to it, which was Dad's intention.

Dad was involved outside the church, too. I remember being with him in the Port of Catoosa Jaycees' concession stand when President Nixon came to dedicate the port in 1971. It was a small group, but it was about all Catoosa had in the way of civic organizations, and they sponsored basketball tournaments and other special events.

In 1976, I was with him at the Republican 1st District Convention, where he was the lone Wagoner County delegate and convention secretary, a Ford man in a Reagan year. He took me along to county and state party conventions that year and in 1980, and to forums held by Cities Service's employee PAC.

Nowadays, he volunteers in the video booth at First Baptist Church and in the St. Francis Hospital gift shop. He let his beard grow out when he retired, and he spends his Christmas seasons as a Real Bearded Santa. (See for details.)

Dad exemplified servant leadership - long-term commitment to an organization, sometimes to a fault - doing jobs that no one else wanted to do, and staying with the job until it was done.

A year after we came to Tulsa, Mom went back into teaching, taking a job at Catoosa Elementary School.

The elementary school was housed in the district's oldest facilities, built by the WPA in the '30s. The high school had just moved into a new, air conditioned campus at the south end of town.

The school board was all about athletics; bond issues focused on building and improving the high school's sports facilities, while the elementary campus was left to rot. Young children sweltered through August school days - they didn't even have window units to cool off the rooms.

Teachers' pay was appalling, and there was no budget for anything more than basic materials. Mom spent her own funds to decorate the room and purchase educational toys and books.

Mom's fellow elementary teachers were not inclined to rock the boat. Their place, as they saw it, was to keep their noses to the grindstone and to submit unquestioningly to the leadership of the administration and school board.

Mom was willing to take a stand. She found some like-minded colleagues and organized a classroom teachers' association. She brought the administration to the negotiating table and won better conditions for students and teachers. When the board was uncooperative, she helped elect new board members who shared the goal of a better education for Catoosa's children.

For her efforts she was tagged as a troublemaker and a naysayer. One administrator referred to her as a battleaxe, a label she wore with pride.

Mom was willing to challenge those in power because of the powerless little ones she taught.

She retired about 10 years ago, but she hasn't slowed down. She teaches English as a second language, helps immigrants prepare for their citizenship tests, helps in First Baptist Church's clothing room, and has gone on church mission trips to Mexico and Peru. But she spends much of her time as a doting grandma to her five grandchildren.

My kids don't get their heritage of community initiative from just one side of the family. My mother-in-law, Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe, was honored in 2002 with a President's Community Volunteer Award for the single parent scholarship program she founded in Benton County, Ark.

To you Tulsa moms and dads reading this, you have a golden opportunity this year to model civic involvement and to lay the groundwork for a better Tulsa for your children's future.

Our city is updating its comprehensive plan for the first time in a generation, and we've hired a planning firm, Fregonese Associates, that will try to build a vision for Tulsa's future from our individual dreams and desires.

We'll have a chance to provide our input through citywide workshops this fall and community workshops after the first of the year, and the chance to monitor and comment upon the work in progress online through the website. Plan now to be as involved as you can.

(To be notified of upcoming opportunities for public input, sign up at

You can lecture all you like about good citizenship, but nothing substitutes for being a model. The way my parents used their time and passion demonstrated for me the importance of caring for the community.

From Dad and Mom, I learned to step forward and lead, when others would rather sit and watch from the sidelines. They never pushed themselves forward, but when duty called they answered. When no one else would take the lead, they stepped forward. When others got bored or discouraged or disgusted and quit, they remained faithful. They persisted.

Happy belated Mother's Day, Mom. Happy early Father's Day, Dad. I love you, I'm proud of you, and I can't thank you enough for all you've done for me, particularly for the wonderful example you set of persistent and passionate community involvement.

A rich legacy

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Today is midway between Mother's Day and Father's Day, and my column in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly is a salute to my mom and dad, David and Sandy Bates, for the example they set of community involvement:

If you like the fact that I'm not afraid to step on toes, not afraid to speak passionately in a public forum, willing to put my name on a ballot and my opinions and reputation on the line again and again, you have my dad and mom to thank. Or to blame, if you'd just as soon I sat down and shut up....

You can lecture all you like about good citizenship, but nothing substitutes for being a model. The way my parents used their time and passion demonstrated for me the importance of caring for the community.

From Dad and Mom, I learned to step forward and lead, when others would rather sit and watch from the sidelines. They never pushed themselves forward, but when duty called they answered. When no one else would take the lead, they stepped forward. When others got bored or discouraged or disgusted and quit, they remained faithful. They persisted.

Happy belated Mother's Day, Mom. Happy early Father's Day, Dad. I love you, I'm proud of you, and I can't thank you enough for all you've done for me, particularly for the wonderful example you set of persistent and passionate community involvement.

In the story, I mentioned my dad's retirement career as a Real Bearded Santa; you'll find him on the web at

I also mentioned my mother-in-law, Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe, who was honored at the White House in 2002 with a "Point of Light" award for her work with the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County (Ark.).

I also mentioned a poem by Philip Larkin that derides parenthood. Numerous poetic rebuttals have been written. This is my favorite, by John J. Swift:

They buck you up, your mum and dad,
They always meant to and they do.
They give you all the love they had,
And add some extra, just for you.

'Cos they were bucked up, in their turn,
By nans and grandads, all the way
From dawn to dusk, they had to learn
To love their neighbour every day.

Nan handed on her love to mam,
Who passed it on to me, her son.
Now every blessed thing I am
Will be in my kids, every one.

I was in studio this morning with KFAQ's Pat Campbell to discuss the latest developments in the proposal to build a new ballpark for the Tulsa Drillers in downtown Tulsa, prompted by the announcement that the Drillers and the City of Tulsa are extending negotiations for 45 days. (Here's a link to the MP3 podcast.)

Here's a timeline of Tulsa baseball since the move from McNulty Park (where the downtown Home Depot is now) to the Fairgrounds.

1932: First Oilers season at the Fairgrounds.
1977: Before first Drillers season, part of grandstand at old Oiler Park collapses.
1979: County bond issue to build new park fails.
1981: Sutton Stadium opens to the east of the existing ballpark, later renamed Tulsa County Stadium.
1989: Renamed Driller Stadium.
1991: Tulsa one of five finalists for AAA expansion, passed over for Ottawa, Charlotte, and New Orleans.
1992: Camden Yards opens, heralding the neo-traditional era of ballpark construction.
1993: Oklahoma City approves MAPS, which includes a ballpark for Bricktown.
1993: Prescription Athletic Turf installed.
Mid-1990s: Discussed for possible inclusion in Tulsa Project; soccer stadium proposed instead. TP defeated in October 1997.
1998: Bricktown Ballpark opens in Oklahoma City.
1998: Tulsa not selected in AAA expansion; Memphis and Durham chosen.
2000: "It's Tulsa's Time" package for arena and convention center doesn't include ballpark.
2003: Ballpark included in feasibility study for downtown facilities, but ultimately left out of Vision 2025. Drillers uninterested in moving.
March 2006: Went Hubbard turns over majority ownership to Chuck Lamson.
August 2007: Drillers sign non-binding letter of intent with Jenks River District.
January 2008: Lamson says he wants to be in a new park by 2010.
January 23, 2008: Drillers enter into four-month negotiating period with City of Tulsa.
May 23, 2008: Drillers and City extend negotiations by 45 days.

Possible sites include the old Nordam site (4th to 6th, Frankfort to Lansing), the Hartford Building site (north of 2nd between Greenwood and Hartford); northeast of Archer and Elgin; and the Evans Electric site between OSU-Tulsa and US 75, although there are rumors that the site currently under discussion is none of the above.

Here's my UTW column about the Drillers' options for moving, along with some of their history from last August when the City of Tulsa began wooing the Drillers in earnest. And here's a more recent column, from February, about Jenks' demographic advantages over downtown Tulsa for providing a fan base for the Drillers. Also, in a February UTW op-ed County Commissioner Randi Miller discussed what might be done with the current stadium when the Drillers move.

Clayton Cramer, a conservative blogger from Idaho, is seeking the Republican nomination for State Senate District 22, opposing an incumbent Republican that he says is "out of touch with the traditional values of the district."

The primary is today, and the turnout should be strong, with the eight-man race to replace U. S. Sen. Larry Craig at the top of the ballot. The Secretary of State's website will have results after the polls close at 9 p.m. Mountain Time.

Beyond the traditional array of conservative issues (for which he offers thoughtful position papers), Cramer, an amateur astrophotographer, supports state legislation against light trespass.

It's been interesting to read his thoughts about the various aspects of campaigning, such as his decision to eschew the use of robocalls, the results of his own phone calls to voters, and the difficulties presented by supportive independent campaigns.

If all goes well, we'll be able to enjoy Cramer's take on legislative life.

Coburn in Tulsa

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Senator Tom Coburn will hold three hour-long "town hall" meetings today, May 27, in Tulsa:

10:00 a.m., Rudisill North Regional Library, 1520 N. Hartford Ave.

12:00 noon, Tulsa Community College, Metro Campus, 909 S. Boston Ave.

4:30 p.m., Hardesty South Regional Library, 8316 E. 93rd St.

Coburn will be holding town hall meetings in Midwest City and Edmond tomorrow.

Blue Dome blessings

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My column in the current issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly was about what I learned during a visit to last weekend's Blue Dome Arts Festival. As I made my way around 1st & Elgin, I had a peek at plans for Joe Momma's Pizza's downtown location, a guided tour of the under-construction 1st Street Lofts, a chat with Diversafest's Tom Green about the festival's non-profit arm, the Oklahoma Foundation for the Music Industry, and heard from Cain's Ballroom owners Jim and Alice Rodgers about their new venture on Brookside, Ida Red. It was exciting to hear about all these plans to make Tulsa a more exciting place to live, work, and play.

Something I neglected to point out in the column: Everyone of these cool new ventures is happening in old buildings. I devoted a column in April to the importance of old buildings to a lively city, and I quoted Jane Jacobs on the matter:

Chain stores, chain restaurants and banks go into new construction. But neighborhood bars, foreign restaurants and pawn shops go into older buildings. Supermarkets and shoe stores often go into new buildings; good bookstores and antique dealers seldom do....

As for really new ideas of any kind -- no matter how ultimately profitable or otherwise successful some of them might prove to be -- there is no leeway for such chancy trial, error and experimentation in the high-overhead economy of new construction. Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings.

There's an educational games website called PurposeGames. It provides a framework for setting up simple quiz and multiple choice games. In about 10 minutes, I created a quiz for identifying Oklahoma's 77 counties. As a background, I uploaded a public domain outline map of Oklahoma (created for Wikimedia by Scott Nazelrod), then placed a dot and a label over each county.

When you play the game, as each county name is shown, you click on the appropriate dot. You get three guesses before you're shown the answer. It's fun, and a great way to memorize geography. During storm season, it pays to know where Oklahoma's counties are.

Memorial Day

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I can't mark the day better than Ron Coleman has, who recites two stanzas of the Navy hymn, "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," and calls us to remember those who placed themselves in mortal peril on sea and land and in the air, to free us from fear of "the peril that our ancestors, in whatever place they were, lived with at every moment in their own homes -- the perils of tyranny, of arbitrary violence and of comprehensive destruction of their entire worlds."

This Memorial Day we are morally obliged to thank them, to remember them, and no less the God that has given so much victory and might to their hands and to ours; and to live our lives to and demand of our civilization a standard of moral and civic quality that merits the bestowing of such grace today and tomorrow.

Here's a reminder that tonight at 7:30 is the second and final performance of the Tulsa Boy Singers spring 2008 concert at Trinity Episcopal Church, 5th & Cincinnati, downtown Tulsa.

I went Friday night and heard some wonderful music -- both classical and modern, sacred and secular. They opened strong with a challenging piece by Benjamin Britten. The text, "Rejoice in the Lamb," was written by Christopher Smart, described in the program as "an eighteenth century poet, deeply religious, but of a strange and unbalanced mind." Here is one lovely section of the poem, sung as a treble solo tonight by Jacob Davis:

For I will consider my cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the living God.
Duly and daily serving him.

For at the first glance
Of the glory of God in the East
He worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body
Seven times round with elegant quickness.
For he knows that God is his saviour.
For god has bless'd him
In the variety of his movements.
For there is nothing sweeter
Than his peace when at rest.

For I am possessed of a cat,
Surpassing in beauty,
From whom I take occasion
To bless Almighty God.

Other highlights include anthems by English renaissance composers Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, an arrangement of "Loch Lomond" (with a solo by my son), and a medly from the musical Oliver!. TBS also performed a song in Hebrew which they sang at the Holocaust Remembrance Service a few weeks ago.

In addition to wonderful music, there is a silent auction to raise money for TBS. The twenty donated items are impressive, and include tickets to Tulsa Opera's La Boheme, gift certificates for the Melting Pot, the Polo Grill, and Billy's on the Square. There will also be a raffle with five items to give away. And as always, following the concert there will be a reception with food, wine, and punch.

Treat yourself to a wonderful evening of music in a beautiful setting (pictured above).

Here is video of another song on the program, Mi Shebeirach, which TBS also performed at this year's Holocaust memorial service at Temple Israel a few weeks ago.

This is the first installment in what may be a regular series.

Have you ever looked at a parking lot downtown and wondered what used to be there? I'm going to try to use old fire insurance maps and street directories to piece together the past lives of parking lots and other parcels drastically transformed since downtown's mid-20th century heyday.

Up first is Block 107 of Tulsa's Original Townsite, between 2nd and 3rd Streets, Cincinnati and Detroit Avenues. Today this block is one 90,000 sq. ft. surface parking lot just east of the Performing Arts Center. The block slopes downhill from 3rd to 2nd. I estimate the drop at about 15 feet.

The map below uses the 1962 Sanborn fire insurance map as a base, with my notations in red indicating businesses that were listed in the 1957 Polk City Directory for Tulsa. (I used 1957, because that's what I had available, from my 1957 researches last year.) Click on the thumbnail to pop-up the full 1800 by 1800 image.


The block consisted of three-story buildings facing 2nd St. on the north and 3rd St. on the south. The upper two stories of these buildings were hotels or rooming houses: The New Oklahoma Hotel, the Oxford Hotel, the Annex Hotel, the New Miami Hotel, and the Grand Hotel. In the middle of the block on the west side was a parking lot and car rental; the mid-block lot on the east side was a Vandever's warehouse. (The 1939 Sanborn map shows two garages, capacities of 30 and 45 cars each, with steam heat, electric lights, a concrete floor, and steel truss roof.)

A note about blocks in downtown Tulsa. The Original Townsite was laid out as 300' by 300' blocks, with 80' wide right-of-way in between. (The right-of-way includes both sidewalks and streets.) Each block was bisected north to south by a 20' wide alley, and the halves thus created were split into three lots numbered, for a total of six lots, 100' wide along the avenues by 140' deep, numbered 1 through 6, clockwise from the northeast corner.

Those alleys were sacrosanct. As far as I can tell, only the train station, Central High School, and Holy Family Cathedral were allowed to build over the alleys until the urban renewal approach to redevelopment began to emerge in the '60s. The existence of the alleys limited buildings to a 42,000 sq. ft. footprint.

While the intention behind the Original Townsite plat seems to have been for frontage along the avenues, parallel to Main, many blocks, particularly closer to the railroad tracks, developed with frontage along the streets, parallel to the railroad.

That's the case for Block 107. The two mid-block lots were used for parking and a warehouse. The lots at the corners were divvied up into buildings mainly aligned to what should have been the side of the lot. Lot 3 (SE corner) was filled by two separate three-story buildings, each with rooms on the upper stories, and each subdivided on the 1st level into narrow storefronts. 42' appears to be the typical width.

Here are some photos from the Beryl Ford Collection showing this block. This photo, taken August 29, 1961, is looking south (up hill) on Cincinnati from just north of 2nd Street. (Click to see the full size.)

(Photos from the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society.)

There's the Oklahoma Tire and Supply Store No. 1 in the foreground left, on the northwest corner of Block 107, southeast corner of 2nd and Cincinnati, with the Bell Hotel on the upper two stories. (Sanborn map calls this the New Oklahoma Hotel; there's no entry in the 1957 Polk Directory for a hotel at that address.) Further south is a sign for the Rent-A-Car agency, and behind that is the three-story building on the northeast corner of 3rd & Cincinnati that housed the New Miami Hotel, the Annex Hotel, Beneficial Finance, Filter Queen Vacuums sales and service, Acme Electric, Tulsa Elevator, several answering services, and a couple of print shops.

Further down Cincinnati on the left you can see two buildings that are still standing: the KC Auto Hotel and steeple of First Baptist Church. On the right (west) is the Hotel Tulsa, now the site of the Performing Arts Center.

Here's a much earlier photo of the Oklahoma Tire & Supply Co.

If you want to get a sense of the height and scale of the three-story hotel/retail buildings that lined the north nd south edges of this block, look at the Pierce Building on the NE corner of 3rd and Detroit. Now home to TV station CW 19, this building also had a hotel on the upper two stories. Imagine similar buildings lining 3rd and 2nd, the same kinds of buildings that house El Guapo and McNellie's. Imagine what might have been if those three-story buildings hadn't been razed for parking.

One fact I'd like to know, but don't: The population for this block in 1950 or 1960.

(UPDATE 2008/06/10: This was the most populous block in downtown Tulsa in 1960 -- population 199.)

If you have stories about Block 107, please post them in the comments or e-mail me at blog at batesline dot com.

MORE: Found a few more photos that show other parts of Block 107, after the jump. And commenter Mark compares the 1957 listings to his 1947 Polk directory and finds that much had changed in the course of a decade.

Here are the Powerpoint slides presented by planning consultant John Fregonese at last Tuesday's kickoff of PLANiTULSA, the city's first comprehensive planning effort in a generation. It's only the slides, unfortunately, and not the audio, but it will give you the gist of what was presented.

I especially liked slides 29 and 30, which outline the traditional approach to planning, certainly the approach that has been followed in Tulsa: Decide, Educate, Announce, and Defend -- that spells DEAD, and you'll notice that there's no place in the DEAD process for public input. The enlightened make the decisions and then tell the public why they should approve what has been decided. The TCC bond issue and millage levy was the most recent example of this process at work.

The following two slides are in the same vein. We plan, fund, and build projects, but we skip what should be the earlier three steps in the process: Values (what do people want?), Vision (How will our city provide it?), and Strategy (How do we implement the values and vision?).

Mayor Kathy Taylor also spoke at the kickoff, and I was disappointed to hear her describe this process as one that began in 2007. In fact, this new comprehensive planning effort has its roots in Mayor Bill LaFortune's vision summit of July 2002 and the efforts of Councilors Chris Medlock and Joe Williams in 2003 to establish a Future Growth Task Force. Unfortunately, Mayor LaFortune cooperated in the degeneration of the vision process to the development of a laundry list of disconnected projects designed to generate enough votes to get an arena tax approved by Tulsa County voters. He also stymied the Future Growth Task Force, refusing to support it unless eight of nine councilors were also on board. (Art Justis, Randy Sullivan, and Bill Christiansen withheld their support.)

Nevertheless, it was during the LaFortune administration and with pressure from the Gang of Five that the new comprehensive plan was launched, with the initial development of the process included by the City Council in the TMAPC's work package for the 2005-6 fiscal year.

While Mayor Taylor deserves credit for keeping the progress moving, and a great deal of credit for putting the process under the planners at the City Urban Development Department rather than the land-use bookkeepers at INCOG, it would have been gracious for her to acknowledge the foundation laid by her predecessors at City Hall.

(Taylor also expressed pleasure in working with the City Council over "the past month" -- a back of the hand, hopefully unintentional, to departing Councilors Roscoe Turner, Maria Barnes, and Cason Carter who served with the Mayor during the first two years of her term.)

Heartbreaking news from Stroud: Route 66 News reports that the historic Rock Cafe was destroyed by fire last night:

Dawn Welch, who has owned the Rock Cafe since 1993, called us late Tuesday to let us know about the blaze. As of this writing, shortly after 1 a.m., firefighters were still working to contain the fire. Only the restaurant's stone walls were still standing.

The restaurant was a favorite stop for our family with happy memories.

Watch Route 66 News for updates on the situation. We sure hope owner Dawn Welch rebuilds.

UPDATE: Route 66 News has photos and video. The roof has collapsed, the interior is gutted, but the rock walls are intact, as is the neon sign, and Dawn intends to rebuild.


The Tulsa Boy Singers will present their 60th Anniversary Spring Concerts Friday and Saturday, May 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 5th and Cincinnati, Downtown Tulsa.

Music will include:

Rejoice in the Lamb - Benjamin Britten
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in G - Charles V. Stanford
Panis Angelicus - C├ęsar Franck
Salvator Mundi - Thomas Tallis
Locus Iste - Anton Bruckner
Loch Lomond - Arr. Jonathan Quick
Medley from "Oliver!" - Lionel Bart

Before each concert there will be a raffle and silent auction with wine and cheese at 6:30 p.m. Proceeds go to support Tulsa Boy Singers. There will be a reception following each concert.

Admission is $5.00 per person or pay as you can.

Underwriting for these concerts is provided by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the Assistance League of Tulsa, Primeaux Kia, and Trinity Episcopal Church.

Here is a video from their June 2007 tour of Britain, performing "O Nata Lux" by Thomas Tallis and "Lord, For Thy Tender Mercies' Sake" by Richard Farrant:

There are two big rezoning cases on the Wednesday, May 21, agenda for the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (TMAPC) involving infill in midtown Tulsa. Affected neighborhoods are meeting in advance to discuss the rezonings and strategize about the upcoming hearing.

One involves a 240-unit apartment building proposed for 39th & Rockford in Brookside, behind Food Pyramid and the Old Village Shops. Area residents will meet early this evening, May 19, at 5:30 p.m., at Wright Elementary School. Called the Enclave at Brookside and developed by Bomasada Group of Houston, the four-story building would replace two single-story apartment courtyards along 39th Street and some barracks-like post-war duplexes along Rockford. While higher density infill development is to be expected in the business areas of Brookside, as designated by the Brookside infill plan, this development is into the Brookside residential area, and is at a larger scale than would be consistent with the terms of the plan. The plan does allow higher densities of residential development along the boundary between residential and business areas "if (a) appropriate design elements and improvements are provided in conformance with area design guidelines to enhance the value, image and function of area properties and (b) if consistent with District 6 Plan goals, objectives, policies and guidelines." Whether this project meets those criteria is at the heart of the debate.

The other concerns the 21st & Harvard QuikTrip. QT seeks to expand all the way west to Gary Place, replacing two duplexes, a single family home, and a two-story commercial building. On Tuesday, May 20, at 7:00 p.m., Florence Park neighborhood association will host a joint neighborhood meeting along with Florence Park South (southwest of the intersection), Jefferson Terrace (southeast), and Sunrise Terrace (southeast) to discuss flooding in the area and the proposed rezoning.

Some swing for your weekend: Bruce Springsteen in concert in Milan, Italy, May 12, 2006, performing a boogie-woogie, Western swing version of "Open All Night":

(Hat tip to Richard Hedgecock.)

One of the oddest of the latest batch of Tulsa City Council campaign contribution reports was Bill Martinson's ethics report.

Martinson, the councilor for District 5, was one of three unopposed candidates. The other two, Rick Westcott and John Eagleton, spent nothing on their campaigns. Westcott filed a statement of inactivity. Eagleton returned the handful of contributions he received.

But Bill Martinson raised and spent almost $11,000. That's not much below the amounts spent by candidates in competitive races. Eric Gomez and Maria Barnes in District 4 and Roscoe Turner and David Patrick in District 3 each spent between $12,000 and just over $13,000.

$9,001.15 of Martinson's spending was for "Personal services," $418.88 was for printing, and $1,323.77 was for "Advertising - general." The rest is listed as "Miscellaneous."

I could see an unopposed candidate putting out a single mailing to constituents saying thank you for another term and listing his accomplishments in the previous term. But who would you be paying $9,000 and what would that person be doing for that kind of money?

Lassiter & Shoemaker Photography, 3235 E 21 St., Tulsa

This week in Urban Tulsa Weekly, I review the controversy over the digital billboard ordinance, approved last week by the Tulsa City Council and look ahead to next Wednesday's hearing before the TMAPC on plans for an expanded QuikTrip convenience store at 21st & Harvard.

Here is a link to the case report on the QuikTrip rezoning. Here is a description from the case report of the proposed screening along Gary Place:

An 8 foot high, brick screening wall will be constructed along the South Gary Place frontage, angled at the northwest corner of the property and extending east to the front set-back of the residence to the north. The screening wall will be constructed of brick to match the wall color of the brick on the west wall of the store. The wall will be set-back 13 feet from S. Gary Place right of way and approximately 25 feet from the east curb of the street. The height of the wall will drop from 8 feet to 3 feet, 41-feet north of the southwest corner of the property to permit acceptable visibility of traffic leaving the store on East 21 st Street and for traffic entering East 21 st Street from South Gary Place. The location of the screening wall is shown on Exhibit A, Site Plan and the design on Exhibit C, Landscape Details and is subject to detail site plan review.

The second element of the screening plan is a combination of 12 feet high at planting pyramidal Leland Cypress evergreen trees and 12 feet high semi-evergreen Wax Myrtle trees as shown on Exhibit C, Landscape Details.

Landscape features accent planting areas at the northwest angle of the 8-foot high wall and at the south end of the screening wall. Chinese Pistache trees 12 feet high and Crepe Myrtles will be planted on the interior of the wall to add to visual buffer as indicated on attached Exhibit C, Landscape Details. Additional shrubs will be installed as shown on Exhibit C, Landscape Details. The remainder of the landscaped area outside the tree and shrub areas will be Bermuda sod.

Beyond the screening wall would be a second parking lot for the new QuikTrip, so this would be a two-entrance store; it just wouldn't have the back entrance on Gary Pl., as I'd suggested in my column. The new QT would be larger than the existing building and just to its west, roughly where the Lassiter & Shoemaker Photography building and the backyards of the residences being removed.

Last month I took some photos of the 21st & Harvard intersection, since there are major changes proposed for the northwest and southwest corners.

From far-off Hoboken, N.J., Mister Snitch! celebrates the landslide election victory of 19-year-old John Tyler Hammons as Mayor of Muskogee with the lyrics from the famous Merle Haggard song, linked to a wide variety of photos -- sweet, nostalgic, and funny, and almost all connected in some way with Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA.

Some of the photos are from the annual Renaissance Festival at The Castle on the north edge of Muskogee. Here are photos from our family's visit to this year's Oklahoma Renaissance Festival.

Here is an overview of the post-general election Form C-1 ethics reports filed with the Tulsa City Clerk's office by 5 p.m. Monday, the deadline for the post-general filing for the April 1 Tulsa City Council general election.

Perhaps the most interesting report wasn't from a candidate. It was from Build PAC, the developer lobby's political action committee. Build PAC filled out an incomplete report which did not list the names of contributors or amounts of contributions. It did list the candidates which received its largess:

Emanuel Lewis (District 1 Democrat) - $500
David Patrick (District 3 Independent) - $1,500
Eric Gomez (District 4 Republican) - $1,500
Dennis Troyer (District 6 Democrat) - $750
Bill Christiansen (District 8 Republican) - $1,000
G. T. Bynum (District 9 Republican) - $1,000

It was a good year for Build PAC. They elected five of the six candidates they supported, and they timed their donations to avoid being an issue in the campaign. Note also that most of these candidates also received contributions from the ABC PAC (Associated Builders & Contractors) and the Realtors PAC.

Now that we know who the Build PAC Boys are, we'll be watching to see if they toe the development lobby's line or if they demonstrate some independence between now and the next election. This city's future is too important to let it be decided by those who are only out for short-term profits.

Please note that the numbers for Eric Gomez do not include any of the contributions from his May 5th breakfast fundraiser at the Chalkboard Restaurant. Even without those donations, he was able to raise more than he spent.


Jack Henderson (D)

Contributions this period = $2,700.00
Contributions over $200 = $2,400.00
Contributions $200 or less = $300.00
Expenditures this period = $6,360.72

Total contributions for campaign = $14,228.69
Total expenditures for campaign = $14,173.32

$750 - Tulsa Firefighter Local #176
$500 - Jack Henderson, Roy Ashley
$400 - Mary Blendowski
$250 - DPF PAC Local #523


Rick Westcott (R):

Filed a statement of inactivity.


David Patrick (I):

Contributions this period = $9,600.00
Contributions over $200 = $8,000.00
Contributions $200 or less = $1,600.00
Expenditures this period = $8,936.80

Total contributions for campaign = $12,421.13
Total expenditures for campaign = not listed

$2,500 - Tulsans for Truth, P.O. Box 4503, 74159
$1,500 - Build PAC
$1,000 - Realtor PAC; ABC (Associated Builders & Contractors) PAC, 1915 N. Yellowood Ave., 74102
$500 - Margaret Pellegrini, Jeff Parell, Thomas Kennedy, Barry Benoit

Roscoe Turner (D):

Contributions this period = $1,725.00
Contributions over $200 = $1,100.00
Contributions $200 or less = $600.00
Expenditures this period = $4,924.00

Total contributions for campaign = $12,999.37
Total expenditures for campaign = $12,927.25

$500 - K. Anderson
$300 - P. Feist
$250 - Mark Darrah


Jason Eric Gomez (R):

Contributions this period = $10,700.00
Contributions over $200 = $8,300.00
Contributions $200 or less = $2,400.00
Expenditures this period = $10,057.76

Total contributions for campaign = $13,700.00
Total expenditures for campaign = $13,127.01

$2,500 - Ed Leinbach
$1,500 - Tulsa Build PAC
$1,000 - Realtor PAC, ABC (Associated Builders & Contractors) PAC
$500 - River City Development LLC, Albert Mendel
$300 - Caleb Raynolds
$250 - Peter Walter, Robert & Jill Thomas, Ridge Kaiser, William Thomas

Maria Barnes (D):

Contributions this period = $2,130.00
Contributions over $200 = $750.00
Contributions $200 or less = $1,380.00
Expenditures this period = $4,752.28

Total contributions for campaign = $22,211.71
Total expenditures for campaign = $12,481.41

$500 - Just Progress PAC
$250 - Steve & Norma Turnbo


Bill Martinson (R)

Contributions this period = $8,550.00
Contributions over $200 = $8,050.00
Contributions $200 or less = $500.00
Expenditures this period = $10,923.88

Total contributions for campaign = $10,967.62
Total expenditures for campaign = $10,923.88

$2,000 - Stan L. Johnson
$1,500 - Bruce Norton
$1,100 - Jeff Stava for City Council
$1,000 - Stacy Schusterman
$700 - Phil Frohlich
$500 - Mike Case, Howard G. Barnett Jr., George B. Kaiser
$250 - James G. Norton


Kevin Boggs (R)

Contributions this period = $1,300.00
Contributions over $200 = $1,150.00
Contributions $200 or less = $150.00
Expenditures this period = $2,078.23

Total contributions for campaign = $2,573.23
Total expenditures for campaign = $2,523.23

$550 - Kevin & Christy Boggs
$350 - Bill Bickerstaff
$250 - April & Jeff Cash

Dennis K. Troyer (D):

Contributions this period = $7,200.00
Contributions over $200 = $6,000.00
Contributions $200 or less = $1,200.00
Expenditures this period = $5,659.44

Total contributions for campaign = $13,634.90
Total expenditures for campaign = $11,984.34

$2,000 - W. E. Lobeck [Mr. Kathy Taylor]
$1,000 - Transport Workers Union, Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors
$750 - Home Builders Association [Build PAC]
$250 - Jim East, J. L. [Jody] Parker, GBK [George B. Kaiser] Corp, 6733 S. Yale, Larry Mocha, Dan Schusterman


John Eagleton (R)

Contributions this period = $1,790.00
Contributions over $200 = $800.00
Contributions $200 or less = $990.00
Expenditures this period = $1,790.00

Total contributions for campaign = $1,790.00
Total expenditures for campaign = $1,790.00

$300 - J. & P. Rice
$250 - L. Mocha, M. Barkley

[Expenditures consisted of refunding all contributions to the contributors.]


Bill Christiansen (R)

Contributions this period = $7,710.00
Contributions over $200 = $5,250.00
Contributions $200 or less = $2,460.00
Expenditures this period = $6,319.49

Total contributions for campaign = $21,830.23
Total expenditures for campaign = $13,140.38

$1,000 - Build PAC, Realtors PAC, Mike D. Case
$500 - Ronald E. Davis, Mike Krimbill, Martin Keating
$250 - Laurie L. Ross, Michael B. Fretz, Ernest & Jeannine Terry


G. T. Bynum (R)

Contributions this period = $9,850.00
Contributions over $200 = $8,650.00
Contributions $200 or less = $1,200.00
Expenditures this period = $10,556.82

Total contributions for campaign = $58,284.14
Total expenditures for campaign = $29,489.65

$2,000 - Joseph & Kathy Craft
$1,000 - ABC PAC, Build PAC, Realtors PAC
$500 - W. H. Helmerich, Dave Hentchel
$350 - Mary B. Sullivan
$300 - Steve Austin
$250 - Arnold & Pat Brown, Frank & Bonnie Henke, Rosa Lee LaFortune, Richard B. Pringle, Mollie B. Williford, William H. Davis, Fred Daniel Jr., Julie Pringle

More analysis of these reports on Thursday.

Congratulations to Tulsa County voters: KTUL is reporting that the TCC bond issue failed 45-55 and the TCC permanent property tax increase failed 43-57.

And congratulations to John Tyler Hammons. The 19-year-old OU freshman poli-sci major won a runoff tonight to become Mayor of Muskogee, defeating the incumbent a former mayor in a landslide. (Hammons said he would transfer from OU to nearby NSU if elected.) Hammons will also be a delegate to the Republican National Convention; he was on the slate approved at the May 3 state convention.

A reaction from "Kiah" to the TCC tax defeat at TulsaNow's public forum:

Can we now officially retire the Chamber/World's cynical approach to local governance (i.e. hide the ball; the fewer voters the better, and the less they know, the better -- in short, don't worry your pretty little head about it, let the grown-ups handle the details . . . .)

UPDATE: Thanks to Jamison Faught for the correct description of Hammons's opponent -- the incumbent, Wren Stratton, didn't seek another term; Hammons defeated a three-term former mayor, Herschel McBride. The final vote total was Hammons 3,703, McBride 1,616.

PLANiTULSA, the city's first comprehensive planning effort since the 1970s, will be launched today at 4:30 at the Central Center at Centennial Park, on 6th Street west of Peoria. The festivities will include a presentation at 5 p.m. by John Fregonese, head of Fregonese Associates, the firm that was hired to develop Tulsa's plan.

Fregonese was involved in Dallas's first-ever comprehensive plan, Forward Dallas:

ForwardDallas! identifies Dallas' most critical land-use issues: the need for more area plans and fewer planned development districts; the desire for an updated parking ordinance; and demand for a simpler, more transparent development process.

To implement ForwardDallas!, detailed specific area plans were outlined to be pursued in the coming year. Eight small area plans were developed in various parts of the city for ForwardDallas! These plans were used to develop specific policies and actions for ForwardDallas!...

Like every plan on which Fregonese Associates works, ForwardDallas! offers a framework for the future rather than a blueprint.

You can read more about the PLANiTULSA process on the City of Tulsa website.

The intention of the City's Urban Development Department is to have a great deal of public involvement in the development of this plan. Knowing many of the people in that department, I believe that intention is sincere. So whether or not you can be at today's kickoff, plan to be involved in the process. Tulsa's future is too important to be left to those who are only concerned with short-term profits.

P.S. Don't forget to vote today!

Tulsa County voters will decide today whether to grant Tulsa Community College a permanent property tax increase of 1.7 mills for operations and maintenance (a 23% increase over the current level of 7.21 mills) and, in a separate proposition, a temporary seven-year property tax increase of about 3.1 mills to fund a $76 million bond issue for construction and remodeling.

My column in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly urges a vote against the two propositions. In short, TCC is in good shape and has plenty of money to accomplish its mission. Our priority ought to be fixing what needs the most improvement: Our city's grade "D" streets. We can't afford to let other taxing entities use up the public's limited tax tolerance. There isn't an overall local budget authority that oversees the City, the schools, the County, TCC, and other local government entities. It's up to us as taxpayers and voters to set funding priorities among these various agencies and governments.

You'll find more links about the proposed TCC tax hike in this earlier blog entry. To read the other side of the issue, you'll find a pro-tax-increase website at You'll find much more about TCC and the tax vote at Stan Geiger's website, including this recitation of all the tax increases we've been asked to approve over the last 8 years.

All Tulsa County polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

MORE: No surprise: The Tulsa Whirled never met a tax it didn't endorse. I love the way they minimize the tax increase by putting it in terms of dollars per month. They don't tell you that it means a 67% increase in TCC's take from he taxpayers. Hardly "modest property tax increases." Of course, the Whirled would never concede that the other side might have a point:

They are anti-tax, antigrowth, anti-prosperity and anti-community. They don't care what they tear down, so long as they don't have to pay for the conveniences of living in a civilized society. They've already got theirs and could care less about the other guy.

Who's tearing down? Most "antis" on this tax are generally pleased with TCC; they just think TCC has enough money to do its job, and there are better places to allocate that additional millage.

The Whirled can't defend the tax increase on the merits, so they have to resort to propaganda techniques. Their argument boils down to: "You don't want to be like one of those nasty, angry anti-taxers. You want to be progressive and foresighted, like us."

The Whirled would have more credibility if they at least conceded that there are valid concerns on the other side of the issue. If once in a while, they called a proposed tax increase "ill-timed" or "larger than necessary," they might make more of an impact when they endorse a tax.

Can anyone think of a tax increase the Whirled has opposed?

BY WAY OF CONTRAST: Oklahoma County is voting on five bond issues today, covering courthouse renovation, a new building for the cooperative extension program, improved record retention facilities, and flood control. The big ticket item is to purchase the old GM plant in Midwest City so that it can be leased and perhaps sold at some future date to the Air Force for Tinker AFB expansion. Room for expansion is a factor weighed by the DoD's Base Realignment and Closure commission. The total property tax increase will be 1.521 mills over 15 years. (Via Dustbury.

Tulsa County has been using sales tax for these kinds of projects; it's interesting that Oklahoma County has no county sales tax, leaving sales tax for the cities to use as they see fit.

Although bits and bytes are its bread and butter, no major studio better embodies humanity in film than Pixar. A recent interview with Pixar director Brad Bird presents ten ways that Pixar promotes innovation. (Hat tip to Joe Carter's Evangelical Outpost.)

I found two points especially interesting. This one ought to interest Forrest Christian, who has been writing about adult underachievers over at his Requisite Writing blog:

Lesson One: Herd Your Black Sheep

The Quarterly: How did your first project at Pixar--The Incredibles--shake things up?

Brad Bird: I said, "Give us the black sheep. I want artists who are frustrated. I want the ones who have another way of doing things that nobody's listening to. Give us all the guys who are probably headed out the door." A lot of them were malcontents because they saw different ways of doing things, but there was little opportunity to try them, since the established way was working very, very well. We gave the black sheep a chance to prove their theories, and we changed the way a number of things are done here.

Later, Bird explains how geography contributes to creativity.

Then there's our building. Steve Jobs basically designed this building. In the center, he created this big atrium area, which seems initially like a waste of space. The reason he did it was that everybody goes off and works in their individual areas. People who work on software code are here, people who animate are there, and people who do designs are over there. Steve put the mailboxes, the meetings rooms, the cafeteria, and, most insidiously and brilliantly, the bathrooms in the center--which initially drove us crazy--so that you run into everybody during the course of a day. [Jobs] realized that when people run into each other, when they make eye contact, things happen. So he made it impossible for you not to run into the rest of the company.

There are urban design parallels: The layout of some cities makes chance encounters likely; in others a serendipitous meeting is all but impossible. Chance encounters enable the cross-pollination of ideas, which makes the whole city smarter.

If you are walking to work, riding the bus, hanging out a neighborhood coffeeshop, walking across downtown for a meeting, you're more likely to bump into someone you know and have that conversation you've been meaning to have when you get some time. If you're going from place to place in your car, you might wave at someone you know, but you're not going to stop for a chat.


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A week ago Saturday afternoon about 3:30, I had just finished attending the Oklahoma Republican State Convention at the Renaissance Hotel. I was hungry, parched, and in need of wi-fi. Cosmo Cafe, on the west side of Memorial at 68th Street, came to mind as a place nearby where I could get a cold beer, good food, and an Internet connection. While I love our Tulsa coffeehouses, I'm not always in a coffee mood.

It took a good 15 minutes to travel the two and half miles down 71st Street, but it was worth it.

At the bar, Angela greeted me with a friendly smile and asked for my name and drink order. A pint of Harp, the Asian chicken salad, and Angela's choice of music -- Sam Cooke, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra -- made Cosmo an oasis of cool on a hot day. (She even played a few Jim Morrison ballads. When The Doors' frontman wasn't howling, he was a pretty good baritone crooner.) An LCD screen at the bar showed scenes from Monty Python's And Now for Something Completely Different. (It was muted with closed captions, but I could supply the audio track from memory.) I posted a blog entry and checked e-mail. While I don't enjoy fighting the traffic in that part of town, I made a note to stop in the next time I was nearby.

Be aware that Cosmo is a place of multiple personalities. After about 10 at night the lights are turned low and the music gets loud as Cosmo switches from café mode to bar mode. Beyond that, the music varies with tastes of the bartender. Also, although Cosmo advertises a 2 am closing time seven days a week, they'll close earlier if business is slow. (If you really need wi-fi at that hour, I'm told the Denny's across the street has it.)

The combination of good beer, good food, free wi-fi, smoke-free, and late hours isn't as common as it should be in Tulsa, but Cosmo has set a solid standard for others to follow.

Friday afternoon, my daughter and I attended a brief reception at City Hall to honor the three departing members of the Tulsa City Council: Roscoe Turner, Maria Barnes, and Cason Carter. They were each presented with a plaque honoring their service. The plaques were read and presented by their colleagues. They were also presented with their nameplates from the Council dais, and Turner, as a former Council Chairman, was presented with a gavel plaque.

Councilor Jack Henderson presented the following plaque to outgoing Chairman and District 3 Councilor Roscoe Turner:


This very special award is presented to ROSCOE TURNER. Throughout his years of distinguished public service, Roscoe Turner has lived by those insightful words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

During his multiple terms on the City Council, Roscoe Turner led the effort to establish a code of ethics for public officials, identify and implement alternative energy sources, explore alternative methods for governmental funding, establish a government access television channel for Tulsa, and support the concerns of neighborhoods bordering the airport. He has always been a staunch advocate of the citizens of Tulsa's north community. Throughout his years of service to the citizens of Council District 3, Roscoe Turner consistently demonstrated an abiding passion for fairness, openness, and candid public disclosure.

The City of Tulsa, Tulsa City Council, City Council Staff and all the citizens of Tulsa deeply appreciate Roscoe Turner for his dedicated and distinguished service. Tulsa will genuinely miss his voice of inquiry on the City Council.

Councilor John Eagleton presented the following plaque to outgoing District 4 Councilor Maria Barnes:


This very special award is presented to MARIA BARNES. Throughout her years of distinguished community and public service, Maria Barnes has lived by those insightful words of Alan Autry, "The key to truly rebuilding out central city on a vital and sustainable foundation is people."

During her tenure on the City Council, Maria Barnes led the effort to update the community's comprehensive plan, institute the conservation district approach to neighborhood development and rejuvenate mid-town Tulsa. She has always been a staunch advocate of responsible and responsive government. Throughout her years of service to the citizens of Council District 4, Maria Barnes consistently demonstrated an abiding passion for civility, rational thought, and fairness over political convenience.

The City of Tulsa, Tulsa City Council, City Council Staff and all the citizens of Tulsa deeply appreciate Maria Barnes for her dedicated and distinguished service. Tulsa will genuinely miss her voice of compassion on the City Council.

Councilor Rick Westcott presented the following plaque to outgoing District 9 Councilor Cason Carter:


This very special award is presented to CASON CARTER. Throughout his years of distinguished public service, Cason Carter has lived by those insightful words of Abraham Lincoln, "Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm."

During his tenure on the City Council, Cason Carter led the effort to revitalize the Brookside district, was a staunch supporter of Tulsa's Tree Advisory Committee, was instrumental in seeing the Camelot Hotel site readied for redevelopment and the adoption of the Mayo Hotel tax increment financing project. He has always been a devoted advocate of rational and fiscally responsible government. Throughout his years of service to the citizens of Council District 9, Cason Carter consistently took the lead in objectivity, right reason and compassion towards the citizens of Tulsa.

The City of Tulsa, Tulsa City Council, City Council Staff and all the citizens of Tulsa deeply appreciate Cason Carter for his dedicated and distinguished service. Tulsa will genuinely miss his voice of reason on the City Council.

In addition to the aforementioned councilors, Councilor Bill Christiansen was present and said a few words, mentioning how he and Maria Barnes would crack each other up during committee meetings to the point of tears or having to leave the room to compose themselves. New Councilor G. T. Bynum was also in attendance.

Toll on the Muskogee Turnpike: $1.20.

Tank-full of gasoline: $52.50.

Tickets to the Oklahoma Renaissance Festival: comped.

Digital camera: $329.

Having that digital camera handy when you run into a co-worker in full Renaissance Festival costume?



I don't have much for you tonight because we spent the day at The Castle in Muskogee, and we had a great time. My two older kids completed their "quests" -- scavenger hunts that take you to all parts of the grounds. They both tried the rock wall -- the seven-year old made it to the top; the eleven-year-old tried the more difficult "jackpot" path, but didn't quite make it. We saw the joust and a falconry demonstration. My eleven-year-old son decided he wanted to go in costume. He looked like young Wart in Disney's The Sword in the Stone.

There are some new linkblog entries on your left. Stan Geiger has a bunch of new posts up about Tulsa Community College's spending habits and doubtful enrollment figures, things to keep in mind for Tuesday's TCC property tax hike election, so be sure to pay him a visit.

Reader Ted King writes to tell me about a film well worth seeing. It's showing at Tulsa's Circle Cinema through May 15.

It's called The Singing Revolution, and it's about Estonia's struggle for independence in the late 1980s, and the role that patriotic songs played in that successful overthrow of Soviet rule. From the film's website:

Most people don't think about singing when they think about revolution. But song was the weapon of choice when Estonians sought to free themselves from decades of Soviet occupation. "The Singing Revolution" is an inspiring account of one nation's dramatic rebirth. It is the story of humankind's irrepressible drive for freedom and self-determination.

You may find yourself getting choked up watching the trailer. I did.

Here are the remaining showtimes at the Circle Cinema:

Friday, 5/9: 2:00pm, 5:45pm
Saturday, 5/10: 4:00pm
Sunday, 5/11: 2:00pm, 5:45pm
Monday, 5/12 & Tuesday, 5/13: 3:30pm, 7:15pm
Wednesday, 5/14: 5:15pm
Thursday, 5/15: 3:30pm, 7:15pm

Circle Cinema is located at Admiral and Lewis in Whittier Square, an area on the upswing. Just next door to the Circle is a soon-to-open French coffeehouse called Alisée MoMo. It looks very cool.

(Happily, the dirty bookstore on the opposite corner is gone.)

The Club for Growth's 2007 congressional ratings are out, and Oklahoma Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe and 1st District Congressman John Sullivan were named as Defenders of Economic Freedom for scoring above 90%.

Coburn had a 97, just behind S.C. Sen. Jim DeMint, who had the only 100. Coburn was tied for second with N.C. Sen. Richard Burr. Inhofe's 91 had him ranked fifth in the Senate. Arizona's John Kyl and Nevada's John Ensign were the other two Senate Defenders, Republicans all.

In the House, Sullivan scored a 95, putting him in a three-way tie for 20th with Randy Neugebauer of Texas and Eric Cantor of Virginia. 49 House members scored 90 or better, all of them Republicans.

The highest ranking Democrats were Rep. Nick Lampson of Texas, ranked 193rd with 26%, and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, ranked 47th with 21%.

The lowest ranking Republicans were Rep. John McHugh of N.Y., close to the median score with 15%, ranked 217th, and Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, ranked 66th with 12%.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton flunked out -- goose eggs for both of them. Ron Paul scored 80. John McCain scored a 94, but isn't ranked because he didn't cast enough votes on the specified issues.

The scorecards list the specific votes that were counted. Here is the Club for Growth House Scorecard and the Club for Growth Senate Scorecard. This entry explains how the rankings were calculated.

Stan Geiger has a few blog entries up about next Tuesday's vote on Tulsa Community College's proposed property tax increases. (See my previous entry for links to my column on the topic and sources for additional information.) Here are some excerpts from Stan's latest -- click the links to read the whole thing:

TCC Launches Media Assault:

TCC is pushing the tired notion that more tax money for higher education equals a stronger local economy. Man, if only that were true.

The Tulsa area is up to its butt in public-subsidized higher education. TCC has 4 campuses---plus an office building for executives. We have an OU-Tulsa, an OSU-Tulsa and a Langston-Tulsa. We have a Northeastern State campus in Broken Arrow. And what was once a junior college in Claremore is now a 4-year school called Rogers State University under the auspices of the OU Board of Regents.

If pouring tax money into higher education resulted in economic prosperity, Tulsa would be a freakin' boomtown.

The Hits Keep Coming:

Well, 50 bucks a year might not be a big deal to educators. But to an average working person that has a real job out in the real world and is facing wolves at the door, 50 bucks is a lot of money.

Property Tax: The Ever Growing Tax, referring to an earlier comment by XonOFF, who notes that TCC currently gets almost as much property tax in a year as the City of Tulsa, and if the tax increase and bond issue pass, TCC will receive more property tax annually than Tulsa County government. Stan relates some budget research he did 10 years ago:

In 1997, TCC's budget figures showed property tax revenue of $15.3 million. Reports say the last permanent millage increase voted to TCC came in 1994. So in a 10-year span of time, in the absence of any increase in the tax rate, the amount of property tax revenue flowing into TCC doubled.

The property tax is not a static tax. It grows. If you vote an increase today, whatever it is, 50 bucks, a hundred bucks or whatever, it will be a bigger tax increase next year, and the year after that and the year after that.

Tulsa Chiggers has some TCC facts for voters to weigh:

Did you know that space is available, especially at the Northeast Campus? ...

Did you know that TCC has been operating with a surplus for years?

TulsaNow's public forum has a thread about the TCC tax hike, and it's interesting to see that many regulars there who usually support tax increases are balking at this one.
Commenter "waterboy" writes:

I received one of their calls last night. For the first time in my life I am voting against an education proposal.

TCC is a poor administrator of tax dollars [in my opinion].

I believe they practice age discrimination.

Their human resources dept. is inept. and unresponsive. (I know this has become common throughout the business world but this is tax dollars)

They cannibalized the areas surrounding the downtown facility for asphalt lots.

Wage disparity is embarrassingly out of balance. Read their classified ads.

I told the caller that at some point TCC will have its attitude with the public reflected back towards them. For me, this is that point.

Commenter "swake" replies:

I also am voting no for the first time.

TCC is a poor downtown citizen, works to block 1st and 2nd year classes from being offered by OSU and OU Tulsa and isn't the higher education entity that we need to work to grow.

This week in Urban Tulsa Weekly, I preview next Tuesday's special election for a permanent property tax increase and a temporary property tax increase tied to a $76 million general obligation bond issue for Tulsa Community College. All of Tulsa County will go to the polls. If approved, the permanent millage rate would increase from 7.21 mills to 8.91 mills, with a temporary seven-year boost to about 12.2 mills while the bonds are being repaid. In the column, I make the case that, in the absence of a body with authority over all the different local taxing entities, it's up to us, the voters of Tulsa County, to set priorities among the requests from these various agencies.

Here are links to some of my research helps:

TCC page about the May 13 proposals. (Here are direct links to their fact sheet, publicity piece, and newsletter.)

Sample ballot for the May 13 TCC election

Property tax apportionment in Tulsa County

An explanation of the color-of-money problem from the Defense Department perspective

The following reports cover all the schools in the Oklahoma higher ed system -- research universities, regional universities, and community colleges, among other institutions:

I never would have guessed it, but one of the most fun things about having small children is watching their language skills develop, seeing the changes as they learn to parse more of what they hear, as they incorporate new rules into their own speech and assimilate all the special cases and irregularities that we take for granted. And there are those bittersweet moments when they finally get something right, but it means a cute, funny mistake is gone forever.

In the last couple of weeks our little one -- 28 months -- has been adding final consonants. He gives us a very clear "ssss" at the end of words -- often closer to "sssssh." "Yah" has become "yessssh." S with another consonant at the beginning of a word is still elusive. That's been true with all three of ours; I suspect they just don't hear that initial S sound as part of the word but as incidental noise.

Initial S before a vowel is still a voiceless velar fricative -- like the "ch" in the Scottish word "loch" or the initial H in Hanukkah. So before we put on his shoes, he will say, "I nee chhh-ocks and tsoos."

Final T is everywhere, mostly where it doesn't belong, especially after a final N. "I faw downt." (I fall down.) "Dah-ee is a mant." (Daddy is a man.) Train used to be "tsoo-tsoo-wayne," now it's "tsoo-tsoo-waynt." (Also, "int" for "in.")

Tonight, we were talking about the idea of "part" -- your finger is a part of your hand, your hand and your fingers are parts of your body.

I told him that the roof is a part of our house.

"Isss nah a paht!" (It's not a part!)
"Yes, it is."
"Isss nah iz!" (It's not is!)
"Yes, it is."
"Isss nah iz!"

MORE: Some other funny verbalizations:

"Bah-mum" for "bottom."
"Mom-mom" for "mama."
"Ran-ma" for "Grandma."
"gr" for "dr": "Benagrill," "gry" for "dry."


"kr" for "tr": "kruck" for "truck"
He adds an extra "f" to "flower": "flau-fur"
Brother and sister are "Jo-jo" and "Ka-runt."

I finally figured out why he objects so strongly to "a part" -- he's hearing it as "apart" i.e. "not together." So the idea of the roof being apart from the house or his fingers being apart from his hand would be somewhat upsetting.

I'm told by someone who had been invited that there was a breakfast fundraiser for new District 4 City Councilor Eric Gomez Monday morning (May 5). It was headlined by Congressman Sullivan.

That's interesting timing. The cutoff date for the next ethics report (due May 12) was May 1, so any contributions after that date don't have to be reported until October. (See 51 O.S. 315, paragraphs 4 and 5.)

Still, I would hope Councilor Gomez would see the virtue in including these contributions on his May report. Making the earliest possible disclosure of his list of contributors would help to defuse any concerns or suspicions.

While the letter of the ethics act allows him to delay reporting, the spirit of the law is that the voters should know, preferably before the election, but certainly as soon as possible afterwards, who funded a candidate's campaign and thus might influence his decisions as a public official.

(Cross-posted from a discussion thread on TulsaNow's public forum.)

Some context from my election post-mortem column in UTW:

The result just to the south in District 4 was a surprise, given where the two candidates' finances stood as of the last ethics report. Incumbent Maria Barnes had raised more than $20,000, while challenger Eric Gomez was reporting slightly under $3,000 raised as of two weeks before the election.

If I hadn't seen the reports myself, I would have thought the fundraising advantage belonged to Gomez. Barnes put out a couple of two-color postcards; Gomez mailed expensive glossy four-color brochures. Gomez bombarded voters with robocalls; Barnes had a single automated call, voiced by Mayor Kathy Taylor....

[Gomez consultant Jim] Burdge may have repeated a trick he pulled two years ago. Robert C. Bartlett, no relation to the famous political family, won the 2006 Republican primary in District 4 despite the fact that he had stopped campaigning, probably because of his famous name. As of two weeks before the general election, he had only raised about a thousand dollars, most of which had been spent on photocopied flyers.

Then, suddenly, Bartlett was sending out glossy full-color mailers, was sending out robocalls (including one voiced by Eric Gomez), and had two-color yard signs popping up all over midtown. Clearly the money came in after the final pre-election reporting deadline, so that the source of the money -- probably the development lobby -- couldn't be used as an issue in the campaign.

Post-election reports, including all money raised and spent during the two weeks immediately before the election, are due on May 12. We'll be watching closely to see that the reports are filed and will be very interested in what they reveal.

I guess we'll need to keep an eye on the reports due in October and in January as well.

A commenter on my brief summary of the Oklahoma Republican State Convention took issue with my account and helpfully provided a link to another, written by a Ron Paul supporter, on a site called "coup by memo". (It's unclear if the commenter is the author of this other webpage.) This other report is wrong in nearly every respect, but it was interesting to explore the rest of the website and learn about the values held by some members of the Liberty Values Coalition. (I will address that in a later entry.)

I can't speak to what occurred during the morning session, as I was in and out of the convention hall, waiting for my chance to work with credentials committee chairman Pam Pollard to get the tally spreadsheet set up. (During the afternoon voting, I sat at a laptop and entered numbers in an Excel spreadsheet as the roll call of counties was read.) Because of this, I was able to see up close what was happening during the credentials process, and why it took so long.

The check-in process went on at least 40 minutes longer than scheduled to accommodate the huge crowd. There were a number of people who were somehow left off of the list of delegates submitted by their county party chairman and so weren't in the database when they went to check in. The credentials committee acts as an appeals board for cases like these. Of the more than 1000 delegates, about two dozen were added by this process.

Once this was done, Pam Pollard went to the podium to read the preliminary credentials report, county-by-county: How many authorized delegates (based on a formula established in the permanent state party rules), how many delegates had signed in, and the maximum number of votes. That last number is the minimum of the number of authorized delegates and twice the number who signed in. In other words, the number of people (warm bodies, if you will) is weighted to match the authorized vote count, with a maximum weight of 2.

For example, consider a county that has 15 authorized votes:

  • If 45 people sign in, each of those 45 people count as 1/3 vote, for a total of 15 votes.
  • If 20 people sign in, each of those 20 people count as 3/4 vote, for a total of 15 votes.
  • If 15 people sign in, each of those 15 people count as exactly 1 vote, for a total of 15 votes.
  • If 9 people sign in, each of those 9 people count as exactly 5/3 vote, for a total of 15 votes.
  • If 5 people sign in, each of those 5 people count as exactly 2 votes, for a total of 10 votes.
  • If 2 people sign in, each of those 2 people count as exactly 2 votes, for a total of 4 votes.

At the end of Pam's report (it was about 11 a.m. at this point), those county chairman who wished to challenge the preliminary report went to the sign-in area. I saw about two dozen people lined up. The main problem was that some people who had signed in and received their credentials (a pre-printed badge and a button with the county's name) weren't showing up in the database as checked in. The problem was operator error -- a box wasn't checked by the clerks. This affected about 40 people.

In the meantime, I'm told that parliamentarian State Rep. John Wright ruled that it was permissible for business to proceed following the preliminary acceptance of the credentials report, and so the permanent convention organization was approved and the rules were debated and approved before the recess for lunch.

The claim that there were 500 more delegates present after lunch is based on (at best) misinterpretation of what was happening. The room was as full before lunch as after. There was no credentials activity during lunch, except to distribute ballots to the county chairmen and to get me set up to keep score.

At roughly 11, the total number of delegates (warm bodies) that had signed in was reported to the convention as 1003, according to my notes. That was the preliminary report I mentioned earlier.

The total number of raw votes cast in the three roll call votes was 1050 in the up-or-down vote on the Executive Committee delegate slate, 1032 in the National Committeewoman election, and 1035 in the National Committeeman election. That's the actual number of ballots submitted by delegates to their county chairmen during the roll call votes. So it appears that about 50 delegates were added after the preliminary credentials report, and nearly all of these had actually signed in and received credentials; they just weren't noted in the database has having checked in and so weren't included in the initial count.

The confusion of Mr. or Ms. coup-by-memo may be that the total for each roll call vote was announced as the weighted total -- the weighting being done in accordance with the process above as specified by the rules. Someone new to the process might have assumed there were suddenly 500 more delegates than before.

On whether to approve the Executive Committee delegate slate, the raw vote (number of warm bodies on each side) was yes 700, no 350. The weighted vote was yes 1105.5, no 554.5.

On the National Committeewoman vote, the raw vote was Carolyn McLarty 718, Denise Engle 314. The weighted vote was McLarty 1152.7, Engle 499.3.

On the National Committeeman vote, the raw vote was James Dunn 520, Steve Curry 515. The weighted vote was Dunn 833.6, Curry 824.4.

(Note that in each case, there is an almost identical proportion for raw and weighted, which you would expect. Mathematically, the only way the weighted vote would skew significantly from the raw vote is if many counties with roughly half their authorized delegates present voted differently from the general trend of the convention.)

Coming up next, probably tomorrow, a look at the values associated with the Liberty Values Coalition, and a comparison of their slate to the Executive Committee's slate.

P.S. I neglected to mention in the earlier entry: Tulsa County was the largest delegation present, and we had nearly as many delegates as we were authorized.

One other note: We finished just slightly after our hard-cutoff time of 3:00 p.m. The hotel gave us a few minutes of grace, and as soon as we adjourned they opened up the walls to the other half of the ballroom and began blaring music to get us out. They had to set up for an event at 7 p.m.: Vince Gill was giving a private performance to a SemGroup event.

The 2008 Oklahoma Republican State Convention adjourned about an hour ago, having completed its agenda, electing a slate of 23 delegates and 23 alternates, 2 presidential elector nominees, a national committeewoman, and a national committeeman.

The convention approved the rules recommended by the convention rules committee, approved the slate of delegates and alternates nominated by the State Executive Committee (of which I am a member), and the two elector nominees recommended by the State Executive Committee. The convention elected James Dunn, the 2006 nominee for Attorney General, and retired Woodward veterinarian Carolyn McLarty to the Republican National Convention. (Incumbents Lynn Windel and Bunny Chambers stepped aside after 12 years.)

A group calling themselves the Liberty Values Coalition -- an alliance of Ron Paul supporters, paleoconservatives, and conspiracy theorists, with a number of long-time party activists who, for one reason or another, are disaffected with party leadership -- attempted to get one of their own elected as convention chairman, attempted to defeat the proposed rules, and attempted to defeat the Executive Committee slate, failing in each case. The group distributed a proposed slate which mixed selected members of the Executive Committee slate with a number of Ron Paul supporters.

Former National Committeewoman Mary Rumph was one of those nominated for delegate on the Executive Committee slate who was also listed on the Liberty Values Coalition flyer. When she told the convention that her name was appropriated by the LVC without her consent, the loud and long applause told the story: The "non-Pauls" had the majority at the convention.

More later.

Oklahoma-based but internationally-renowned blogger Lynn Sislo hits the half-century mark today, and she's rather pleased about it, because it gives her an appreciation for technological advances that the younger set merely takes for granted:

You have to be my age (or nearly so) to understand how seriously cool and awesome all this stuff is. I don't want to be old but I'm glad I'm old enough to get it. And I can hardly wait to see what they come up with next.

Even as young as I am I claim the right to be a curmudgeon and to talk about how we did things back in the day and to say we were right, because we were. I know; I was there. I claim the right to be a know-it-all and to give unsolicited advice because I do know more than most folks. One of the benefits of being 50, you see.

Go wish Lynn a happy birthday.

BatesLine is five years old today. Although that doesn't come close to Dustbury's longevity, five years of fairly consistent and continuous blogging is pretty impressive in a world where blogs start and end at an alarming rate, if I do say so myself.

Here is the Wayback Machine's first snapshot (in August of 2003) of my first month of posts.

Blogging has been a wonderful thing for me. It has given me an outlet to express my interests and opinion and to connect with other people -- here in Tulsa and around the world -- who share those concerns.

The whole thing really started out as, "SInce we're switching from dialup to DSL, maybe I should buy a domain so we can keep our e-mail addresses if we change ISPs." One of the best prices for domain hosting was a company called BlogHosts (RIP), which came with Movable Type 2.6.3 pre-installed, so why not give this blogging thing a try?

I had the good timing to start blogging just as Vision 2025 was gaining public attention. I had plenty of local politics to write about, although it wasn't my original vision for BatesLine that it should be dominated by local issues.

My blogging caught the attention of KFAQ's Michael DelGiorno, and right after the Vision 2025 election, Michael and his co-host Gwen Freeman took me to St. Michael's Alley (RIP) to pitch the idea of a weekly follow-up on Vision 2025. That broadened over time to cover the full scope of local politics. At some point we switched from Monday to Tuesday, and if I missed any weeks through the four and a half years, it was only one or two. Serving as a guest analyst on election night 2004, participating in election post-mortem roundtables, and filling in with Gwen when Michael was off are among some of the highlights.

(Although the regular weekly guest slot on KFAQ is no more, you may be hearing me on the radio again before too long.)

Being on the air every week caught the attention of Urban Tulsa Weekly reporter George Shultz, who wrote a profile of me in July 2005. Through that, Keith Skrzypczak brought me on to write a column for the paper. That began in September 2005. To bring things full circle, the column's tight focus on local politics allowed me to restore a broader focus to BatesLine. The linkblog allowed me to pass along links of interest -- blogging in its fundamental form -- with a minimum of fuss.

I'll stop there for now, but later today look for some highlights from the past five years, and an appreciation of the many wonderful blog-pals I've made.

Thanks for reading and celebrating this milestone with me.

UPDATE: Thanks for all the lovely well wishes. I'm sorry, but I didn't get anything more added today. I did attend a wonderful event: The Holocaust remembrance at Temple Israel. There was an overflow crowd. (Well over a thousand, I would say.) My son sang with the Tulsa Boy Singers. The featured speakers were Dr. Leon Bass, an American World War II veteran who was one of the liberators of Buchenwald, and Robbie Waisman, a survivor of Buchenwald. There was an emphasis on honoring those who had fought against fascism and had liberated the camps. Seven World War II veterans were given the honor of lighting remembrance candles at the end of the service. My son knew the basic facts of the Holocaust, but hearing these speakers tell their personal stories brought it home to him. Mr. Waisman was about the age my son is now when his secure and loving home was torn apart by the Nazis. Only he and a sister survived; five brothers and both parents were put to death.

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

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