April 2009 Archives

Keep Michael Slankard

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UPDATE 2:00 p.m.: Mayor's office has delayed Rodolf nomination to next week.

UPDATE 5/1/2009: Council declined to approve postponement, then turned down the Rodolf nomination, 3-6 -- Patrick, Troyer, Bynum voting yes; Henderson, Westcott, Gomez, Martinson, Eagleton, Christiansen voting no.

Tonight (April 30, 2009) at the Tulsa City Council's regular meeting, the Council will consider Mayor Kathy Taylor's nomination of a replacement for Michael Slankard on the City's Ethics Advisory Committee (EAC). The Council should vote against the replacement nominee, which will leave Slankard in place, continuing his honorable and independent service on that committee.

Despite the urging of the chairman of the EAC and the desire of a majority on the Council, Taylor refused to reappoint Slankard. As the Council's resistance to a replacement solidified, suddenly some anonymous person brought an ethics complaint against Slankard, claiming a conflict of interest because he suggested and then participated in the investigation (and dismissal) of ethical issues surrounding Taylor giving Councilor David Patrick a ride back from Colorado on her Lear 31A, just in time to vote on Taylor's financing plan for the downtown. Slankard voted with the rest of the committee, finding no ethical violation by either Patrick or Taylor.

The complaint against Slankard was passed through City Attorney Dierdre Dexter, who is an at-will employee of Taylor. The complaint was investigated and rejected by the other members of the EAC, despite their long-standing policy against hearing anonymous complaints at all.

You can read a more detailed account of the tug of war between Taylor and the Council over Michael Slankard's reappointment in my April 15, 2009, UTW column.

This apparent attempt to use the ethics process for leverage in a political battle between the executive and legislative branches ought to make Slankard's supporters on the City Council even more determined to keep him on the EAC.

Taylor's proposed replacement for Slankard, Sandra Rodolf, was back before the Council at the Tuesday, April 28, Urban and Economic Development committee meeting. According to a couple of independent reports, Jack Henderson, Rick Westcott, Bill Martinson, and John Eagleton all indicated that they support Slankard and would be voting against Rodolf's appointment; David Patrick, Dennis Troyer, and G. T. Bynum expressed support for Rodolf; Bill Christiansen and Eric Gomez didn't say either way, but have expressed support for keeping Slankard on the committee.

Here is the summary of the discussion from the April 28, 2009, Urban and Economic Development Committee meeting. The summary appears to have been truncated by the database software:

Sandra Rodolf present. Westcott felt her qualifications were stellar; however, he feels the Mayor is using her as an attempt to get back at Micahel Slankard, and for that, he apologizes. Councilor Westcott gave the background history of the case involving Michael Slankard. Councilor Troyer commented that all the Council does is approve or disapprove the Mayor's recommendations. Councilor Eagleton echoed Westcott's comments. Councilor Patrick commented that Mrs. Rodolf was not involved with Michael Slankard and should be approved based on her qualifications only. Councilor Bynum thanked Ms. Rodolf for going through this appointment process. The Charter states what the role of the Council is during the appointment process. We should vote on her qualifications only. Councilor Henderson expressed concerned of having 3 members from District 9 on one committee. Nancy Siegel - don't believe everything you think. She was recommended solely based her background and qualifications. Mr. Slankard is being replaced due to his tenure on the board. Ethics will be highly called upon due to PW issues. This is speculation only. Henderson does not understand why the appointees have to have a legal background. Also, the City's position has been to keep the experienced appointees on the board. Councilor Martinson

Henderson raised an important point about diversity on the committee. Taylor's change would be a step backwards in terms of geographic diversity. Replacing Slankard with Rodolf would swap a resident of north Tulsa's District 3, which has few members of city authorities, boards, and commissions (known as ABCs for short) with a resident of the Midtown Money Belt, which historically is where most mayoral appointees live -- this is a long-term trend, not specific to Taylor). As last summer's PLANiTULSA survey showed, midtowners and north Tulsans have very different views about how fair city government is. Loading the EAC up with Midtown Money Belt residents would send the wrong signal to the rest of the city. There needs to be a balance.

With due respect to Councilor Bynum, he's reading something into the City Charter that isn't there. Article III, Section 1.4, paragraph G says regarding mayoral appointments to ABCs:

Appoint, subject to confirmation by a majority vote of the entire membership of the Council, the members of all boards, commissions, authorities, and agencies created by this amended Charter, ordinance, agreement, or pursuant to law, and exercise general control and supervision thereof, provided, all appointees shall, as a condition of their appointment and continued service, be qualified electors and maintain their principal residence within the city limits of the City of Tulsa

Nothing in the charter specifies the criteria a councilor must apply when voting on a mayoral ABC appointee. The councilors can apply whatever standards they deem prudent. The confirmation power is an important check on mayoral power. ABCs have significant power -- some more than others -- and in some cases, the vote on the appointment is the only input the councilors have into the way a given ABC sets policy.

When Mayor Bill LaFortune reappointed Jim Cameron and Lou Reynolds to the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority, a majority of the councilors objected, concerned about the TMUA's policies on water rates to the suburbs and whether the authority was putting the growth desires of the suburbs ahead of those of undeveloped parts of the City of Tulsa. I supported the "Gang of Five" in their effort to block the reappointment. (The effort failed when Sam Roop switched sides on the issue, shortly before LaFortune hired him to work in the Mayor's office.)

In August 2001, during the Susan Savage administration, the City Council voted against reappointing Kim Holland to the EMSA board. They were raked over the coals by the daily paper for doing so, but there was no question that they had the discretion and authority to say no to Savage's pick.

More recently, Taylor has quietly withdrawn the names of at least two of her appointees after it became clear that the Council would reject. There was speculation that the same thing would happen with the Rodolf nomination.

Once in a while the Council takes a vote that I regard as a key test of character, an indication of whether someone is willing to do the right thing in the face of pressure. These are the votes I remember and weigh when a city councilor seeks higher office. (If the persistent rumors that Taylor may be leaving for a position in the Obama administration are true, several of these councilors may be running for mayor sooner than they planned.)

The vote tonight on replacing Michael Slankard is such a test. The City Council should emphatically reject Kathy Taylor's efforts to kick an honorable, scrupulous man off of the Ethics Advisory Committee.


Liu Xiaobo, a writer and outspoken advocate for freedom of expression in Communist China, was honored by PEN yesterday with its 2009 Freedom to Write award. Liu has been "in and out of jail" since his active involvement in support of the Tienanmen Square protests nearly 20 years ago.

His most recent incarceration began nearly five months ago:

On December 8, 2008, Liu Xiaobo was arrested again, this time for his involvement in Charter 08, a declaration he co-authored calling for political and human rights reforms in his country. He has since been held under "residential surveillance" at an unknown location and is reportedly being investigated for "inciting subversion of state power."...

Liu was arrested in that foreign policy dead zone between President Obama's election and his inauguration, when the news was dominated by dire reports about the U.S. economy; China's leaders surely knew they could count on a few months of American indifference. But they must have been as delighted as human rights supporters were shocked when Hillary Clinton, in her first visit as Secretary of State in late February, not only did not publicly protest Liu Xiaobo's detention, but announced that human rights concerns would take a back seat to economic issues in the new administration.

In 2006, Liu wrote an essay calling the internet "God's present to China," recounting the many ways the network without borders has allowed Chinese dissidents to bypass the constraints of the Communist Chinese government's totalitarian rule:

With the censorship here, my essays can only be published overseas. Before using the computer, my handwritten essays were difficult to correct and the cost of sending them was high. To avoid the articles being intercepted, I often went from the west side of the city to the east side where I had a foreign friend who owned a fax machine.

The internet has made it easier to obtain information, contact the outside world and submit articles to overseas media. It is like a super-engine that makes my writing spring out of a well. The internet is an information channel that the Chinese dictators cannot fully censor, allowing people to speak and communicate, and it offers a platform for spontaneous organisation....

Chinese Christians say that although the Chinese lack any sense of religion, their God will not forsake the suffering Chinese people. The internet is God's present to China. It is the best tool for the Chinese people in their project to cast off slavery and strive for freedom.

I've read comments in recent days saying that Communism is just another ideology, just a competing way of organizing an economy, a failed system, but not evil per se. These people draw a moral equivalence between Communist countries and the West.

Total social control, even more than economic control, is the heart of Communism, and it has been under every Communist leader from Lenin to the present. However much economic freedom the Communist Chinese government allows, they still deny the fundamental freedoms enshrined in our Bill of Rights. There is no freedom of the press, no freedom of religion, no freedom of association. Any organization -- no matter how apolitical its purpose -- is viewed by the Communists as a potential rival that must be crushed. Say the wrong thing, worship in an unapproved place, form an organization without the Communist Party's approval and control, and you may be detained, beaten, tortured, possibly even killed.

Pray for Liu's release and act: PEN asks you to sign a petition to the Communist Chinese government asking for Liu Xiaobo's release.

Isn't the slogan "Free Liu Xiaobo" more worthy of T-shirt space than the symbol of the evil organization imprisoning him?

The National Fiddler Hall of Fame, based here in Tulsa, will hold its third annual gala and induction tomorrow night, Wednesday, April 29, 2009, at the Tulsa Community College PACE, 81st & US 169. (Gala tickets range from $30 to $100.)

The featured fiddler is Mark O'Connor, who will perform at the gala, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and will also hold a workshop on Thursday at 5:30 Gilcrease Museum. The workshop cost is $25, $15 for students.

Johnnie Lee Wills (1912-1984), who presided over a daily radio show on KVOO and Thursday and Saturday night dances at Cain's Ballroom for many years, will be one of the four inductees. Here's a bio of Johnnie Lee Wills by Guy Logsdon.

Western Swing on 78 has posted MP3s from some Johnnie Lee Wills transcription discs from 1950-1951. These are complete radio programs with between-songs banter along with the music.

Johnnie Lee Wills, Schmitt Transcriptions Part 1
Johnnie Lee Wills, Schmitt Transcriptions Part 2
Johnnie Lee Wills, Schmitt Transcriptions Part 3
Johnnie Lee Wills, Schmitt Transcriptions Part 4
Johnnie Lee Wills, Schmitt Transcriptions Part 5

How do you do, friends?
We're here to play for you
And sing the songs you want to hear
Before we are through.

It's Johnnie Lee and all the boys
Sending thanks to you
For your support and loyalty
And your friendship true.

arugulance.jpgI seem to have started something.

I made up a punny word for the headline of a 2007 blog post on Barack Obama's lament, at an Iowa campaign appearance, about the high price of arugula at Whole Foods Market. A few other bloggers, including Michelle Malkin and see-dubya, picked up on it. (The graphic at right is by michellemalkin.com reader Tennyson.)

The word in question -- "arugulance" -- appears to have gained some degree of popular acceptance. Barry Popik, the pop-culture etymologist who searched out the origins of New York City's "Big Apple" nickname, has traced the term from its origins to the present. It appeared in a headline over Maureen Dowd's April 18, 2009, column: "The Aura of Arugulance." The copy editor appears to have pulled it from San Francisco restaurateur Alice Palmer's quote in the story about being derided as a food snob: "I'm just put into that arugulance place. I own a fancy restaurant. I own an expensive restaurant. I never thought of it as fancy. People don't know we're supporting 85 farms and ranches and all of that." It's interesting that she uses the term without defining it, suggesting that she doesn't perceive "arugulance" as an obscure word.

A day later, Josh Friedland at The Food Section offered a definition of "arugulance":

a·ru·gu·lance (noun): a (perceived) attitude of superiority and snobbery manifested in an appetite for pricey -- yet delicious -- peppery greens.

On April 20, an alternative definition was offered by Isaac Seliger at Grant Writing Confidential:

Ordinarily, I don't read [Maureen Dowd's] column, as she is usually even too cynical for a inherently cynical and grizzled grant writer like me. This time, however, the headline caught my eye because it used the term "arugulance," which I learned is shorthand for the arrogance of the grow local/buy local/shop at Whole Paycheck movement.

The next day, Urban Mennonite called "arugulance" "one of five words with which I am newly in love."

An October 2008 entry on Target Rich Environment about Philadelphia talk radio host Michael Smerconish takes Smerconish's unfamiliarity with "arugulance" as an indicator of the host's lack of contact with conservative thought:

He's embraced the Huffington Post and other left-of-center sources for some time, and seemingly ignores all voices on the right (for example, when a caller a few months ago brought up Obama's "arrugulance," Smercommie had no idea what he was talking about).

The blogger takes it for granted that by sometime in early 2008, arugulance is already in common use on the conservative side of the blogosphere. michellemalkin.com's link in April 2008 seems to have launched the term's currency among conservatives.

It would be interesting to know the path the word took to get from Michelle Malkin and her readers to Alice Palmer. Like an underground stream, it disappeared for some distance before re-emerging. At some point it must have crossed the conservative-liberal linguistic divide. Or it may be that a lover of wordplay in Palmer's circle of acquaintances independently coined the term.

"Arugulance" won't have the impact of "blogosphere," but it fills a niche.

This coming Saturday (May 2, 2009) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., old downtown Red Fork will be home to a "Down on Main Street" festival. Red Fork was a separate town once upon a time, annexed into the City of Tulsa circa 1927. It's now home to the first "Main Street" program within the City of Tulsa.

Oklahoma has had an active and successful Main Street program for many years, encouraging restoration of historic buildings and the commercial revitalization of dozens of small-town downtowns across the state.

The Main Street program is not just for small towns. Oklahoma City has four active Main Street programs: Stockyards City, Capitol Hill, Plaza District, and Eastside Capitol Gateway; Automobile Alley used to be on the list, too. When I asked City of Tulsa officials back in the late '90s about starting it up here, the responses were oddly reluctant, as if such a thing might get in the way of tearing buildings down.

At long last, two years ago, Red Fork became the first Main Street program in the city, with hopes of bringing Southwest Blvd -- old Route 66 -- back to life. The Down on Main Street festival is part of the program to promote the area and bring the community together. From the festival flier, here are the events planned:

  • Pie contest
  • Ollie's Restaurant's Blue Plate Special
  • Live music
  • Global Garden's Kids' Zone
  • Art show
  • Farmers market with a Westside charm

The festival will take place along Southwest Blvd. near 41st St.

The deadline to enter the pie contest is TODAY (April 27, 2009). You must have your entry form and a $5 fee to the Red Fork Main Street office, 3708 Southwest Blvd, by 5 p.m. Click here for a form and more details.

Here's hoping for good weather for Saturday's Down on Main Street festival.

There's been a lot of discussion about the vote in the Oklahoma House of Representatives on whether to ratify "Do You Realize??" as the official rock song of Oklahoma. The resolution received only 48 votes in favor, three short of the required majority. Gov. Brad Henry signed an executive order making the choice of the Flaming Lips tune official.

An online poll last fall picked "Do You Realize??" over nine other finalists, getting about 51% of 22,000 cast. I can't find a reference, but I seem to recall some suggestion at the time that Flaming Lips fans were stuffing the virtual ballot box. As an active band with a devoted, tech-savvy following, they're more likely to generate that kind of support than a musician prominent in an earlier era, like Hoyt Axton, Leon Russell, Wanda Jackson, or The Ventures. In my opinion, the Lips tune rocks least of the 10 songs. (The full list of finalists is here, along with a player that lets you listen to all of them.)

In March, the Flaming Lips were invited to appear at a legislative session. On that occasion, bassist Michael Ivins (any relation to Molly?) wore a red T-shirt emblazoned with a large yellow hammer and sickle, the symbol of international communism, a source of offense to many of the legislators who voted no on Thursday's resolution. It should have been a source of offense to every legislator.

Lead singer Wayne Coyne seems to think that only "small-minded" people should be offended by a hammer-and-sickle T-shirt:

"Me, I just say look, it's a little minority of some small-minded religious wackos who think they can tell people what kind of T-shirts and what kind of music they can listen to, and the smart, rational, reasonable people of Oklahoma are never going to buy into that," frontman Wayne Coyne told Tulsa World in an interview Friday.

State Rep. Corey Holland, R-Marlow, voted against the resolution. His reply to Coyne:

The great thing about this country is he has the right to make whatever statement he wants to make.... I have the right to be offended by that.

Gabriel Malor, a former Oklahoman who blogs regularly at Ace of Spades HQ, headlined his post on the controversy, "I'm Not Entirely Convinced We Shouldn't Just Lock Them In and Set the Building on Fire," referring to the legislators who voted against the resolution.

Steve Lackmeyer, writer and blogger for the Oklahoman, likens the State House vote to county government corruption. (UPDATE: Steve's comment has prompted me to look again at how I summarized his entry, and I think I oversimplified in my haste. It would be more accurate to say, "For Steve Lackmeyer, the State House vote brought to mind legislative resistance to county government reform after the corruption scandals of the 1980s." But just read his entry for yourself.)

Oklahoman editor Ed Kelley slams the legislature in a catchall video condemnation that is ignorant in multiple dimensions, and I don't say that lightly. He claims that the legislature wants to punish hardworking immigrants, implying the word illegal by his reference to "their children who are American citizens," but not using the word. (The legislature, and an overwhelming majority of Oklahoma citizens, welcome legal immigrants, but support sanctions against employers who use illegal labor and support cooperation between local law enforcement and Federal immigration authorities.) He refers to Ivins's T-shirt as bearing a "symbol of the old Communist Party, which went out of business with the old Soviet Union almost two decades ago." Hey, Ed, tell the oppressed people of China, Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam that the Communist Party "went out of business." Tell that to Chinese civil rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, still missing after being taken from his home by Chinese security forces on Feb. 4.

For that matter, Ed, does the fact that the Nazi Party has been "out of business" for over 60 years mean that no one should be offended by it any more? Had Ivins shown up in a red T-shirt with a white circle and a foot-wide black swastika, we wouldn't be talking about the legislature's vote. We'd be reading about venues canceling Flaming Lips tour dates, about their record sales plummeting, about denunciations by civil rights groups. It would have been a career-ending move, and rightly so.

Hey, Ed: Timothy McVeigh has been permanently out of business for about eight years now. Would it have been OK by you for Ivins to show up at the State Capitol with a McVeigh T-shirt? God help us if there's ever a day when that would be considered the latest in ironic hipster wear.

Tens of millions have been killed and billions have been enslaved in the name of Communism over the last century. Billions still suffer under its yoke.

The most disturbing aspect of this fuss is the realization of how little Americans realize the inherent inhumanity of Communism. It can be summed up in a single image, from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four: "a boot, stamping on a human face -- forever."

With May Day coming up -- the traditional holiday for the international Communist movement -- it's as good a time as any to refresh our memories and educate the younger folks about those who suffered and died as a result of Communist policies -- not torture and imprisonment simply employed in the name of Communism but inherent to the Communist worldview. Look for several posts on the topic here at BatesLine this week. I hope other bloggers will join me in raising awareness of how deeply evil Communism was and still is.

MORE: Brandon Dutcher weighs in:

Now, I know nothing about Mr. Ivins. It appears that at the very least he needs some education on the matter, and indeed I suspect it goes deeper than that. My guess is that (to borrow from another band) he still hasn't found what he's looking for. In any case, for now I think it would be useful simply to juxtapose Mr. Ivins' silliness with the seriousness of the great man himself:

Click through to hear Ronald Reagan calling on the Communists to stop treating their citizens as prisoners.

Brandon also links to The Black Book of Communism, the definitive catalog of the devastation wrought by this evil philosophy:

The authors, all distinguished scholars based in Europe, document Communist crimes against humanity, but also crimes against national and universal culture, from Stalin's destruction of hundreds of churches in Moscow to Ceausescu's leveling of the historic heart of Bucharest to the widescale devastation visited on Chinese culture by Mao's Red Guards.

As the death toll mounts--as many as 25 million in the former Soviet Union, 65 million in China, 1.7 million in Cambodia, and on and on--the authors systematically show how and why, wherever the millenarian ideology of Communism was established, it quickly led to crime, terror, and repression. An extraordinary accounting, this book amply documents the unparalleled position and significance of Communism in the hierarchy of violence that is the history of the twentieth century.

Chamber Music Tulsa and Barthelmes Conservatory are hosting a residency with the Cypress String Quartet. On Thursday, the quartet did workshops at Edison Preparatory School involving students from nine elementary and middle schools.

On Friday, the quartet did a strings seminar with Barthelmes Conservatory student ensembles. My wife and son were there and my wife writes, "The ensemble workshops focused on creativity, active listening, knowing who was your 'partner' at appropriate times, and much much more. It was fun to watch an ensemble that literally spent less time looking at the music, than they did watching others for cues. "

Tonight, the Cypress String Quartet will present a multimedia production called "Inspired by America," featuring music by Antonin Dvorak, Charles Ives, Samuel Barber, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, and several pieces by living American composers written for the Cypress String Quartet. There's even a string quartet by Benjamin Franklin to be played with bow only (no fingering).

Here are the details:

Inspired by America
The Cypress String Quartet
Sat., April 25, 2009, at 7:30 pm
Booker T. Washington High School Auditorium
1514 E. Zion St. (near Peoria and Apache)

Produced by the Emmy-winning director Michael Schwartz, this 90 minute journey through the history and the conscience of America, as narrated by the author of "The American Soul", Dr. Jacob Needleman, takes the audience on an artistic examination of what America stands for.

This deeply reflective look at the unique greatness of this wonderful country, in spite of those chapters of our history that challenge our ideals, uses great live chamber music, narration, and imagery to have us ponder those things essential to build an enduring and positive future for America in the world.

Following the performance, the Quartet will be available to talk to audience members and to autograph programs.

Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults. To purchase tickets, please call Rose McCracken, Chamber Music Tulsa at 587-3802.

The Inspired by America website includes a trailer, an extended preview, and audio clips. The program notes, with a list of pieces and movements that will be performed, are also online.

Former Tulsa City Councilor Maria Barnes is seeking to return to the office she held from 2006 to 2008. In 2008, she lost a close race to City Councilor Eric Gomez. Because of a charter change approved at the 2008 election, Tulsa city elections now occur in odd-numbered years, and the next election for mayor, council, and auditor will occur the second Tuesday in November, with a primary the second Tuesday in September.

Barnes is holding her campaign kick-off party this Sunday afternoon at an art gallery on 15th St. Here's the press release:


Tulsa, OK-- On Sunday, Maria Barnes will announce that she will seek to return to her former position as City Councilor for District 4. Her official announcement will be at her kick-off party on April 26th, from 2 to 4 p.m., at Joseph Gierek's Fine Art Gallery on Cherry Street. Food will be provided by Lambrusco'z To-Go. Expected in attendance will be key supporters of Maria's, including Oklahoma House Representatives Jeannie McDaniel, Eric Proctor and Seneca Scott.

According to Maria "I am running for City Councilor for District 4 because I want to represent you at city hall. I want to continue my long history of helping the citizens of Tulsa."

Maria says her record will show that she has consistently supported "downtown development, as well as the neighborhoods in District 4. I will continue my support, but I would like to also focus my attention on small business development. Now we need more support for the small businesses downtown and throughout District 4 that are the fabric of our city."

Maria promises to make smart decisions during this time of economic change and to be fiscally responsible with how taxpayer's dollars are used. She will strive to make city government more transparent, and work to represent all of her constituents.

Maria also believes that "a clean and healthy environment is essential for our growth as a world class community. In order to compete for federal and state funds we need to be environmentally compliant. Protecting our environment will be good for large and small, new and established businesses. "

Maria is currently serving as the Mayor's appointee to the PlaniTulsa Advisory Board and the Mayor's Police and Community Coalition. Working for the least served in our community is a priority for Maria since she also serves on the boards of Educare and the Crosstown Learning Center and as a Human Rights Commissioner.

Maria's campaign slogan, REPRESENTING YOU, reflects her grassroots support, and her commitment to be a bridge between her constituents and city hall.

In related news, Eric Gomez made the cover of the April 2009 issue of Tulsa Crime Monthly for his threat (now dropped) to sue neighborhood leader Julie Hall. The issue is on sale at independent convenience stores around midtown and north Tulsa. (I got my copy at the convenience store at 18th and Cincinnati.)

Far-left-wing political cartoonist and syndicated columnist Ted Rall has been laid off from his job as acquisitions editor for United Media. (Rall's column appears in Urban Tulsa Weekly.) On his blog, Rall writes in a comment on his blog that he will continue to draw and write, but the loss of the day job will be a financial blow on top of the "political reprisals [he suffered] during the Bush years:

The cartoons and columns will go on, though they appear in far fewer places than they used to.

As for my finances, basically I used to make a great living as a cartoonist, talk show host, columnist and freelance illustrator, not to mention feature writer for magazine.

I lost the talk radio gig when Clear Channel bought my station and fired me for being liberal. I lost my feature writing gig with POV magazine when that mag went under and no other editors seemed interested in what I do. Freelance illustration dried up next. Freelance cartoons have all but gone away, especially magazine gigs like Time, Fortune, etc. That left editorial cartoons and columns, with a client list that shrunk with closures and budget cuts and political reprisals during the Bush years.

Fortunately, I landed the United Media gig in 2006. That replaced a lot of my lost income. But now that's gone.

Obviously I'll use the free time to scavenge for more freelance work, but there's precious little of it left. So I'll keep on keeping on unless and until something comes along that takes me away from it entirely. I do love cartoons so much; it would be hard to give them up. But everything ends at some point, especially if no one's willing to pay for it.

I was surprised to learn that Rall was responsible for "finding new talent--comic strip artists, columnists and writers of puzzles--to syndicate to newspapers" for one of the largest syndicators of newspaper features in the world. It may not be, as Rall notes, a good time to sell new features to newspapers, but signing on with United Media would give a cartoonist his best shot at finding an audience. It would appear that for the last three years one of the biggest newspaper feature syndicates had a left-wing extremist acting as gatekeeper.

If your aim as a syndicate is to discover new content and offer it to newspapers to help them broaden their appeal and gain readers, wouldn't you want to hire someone with mainstream views and a talent for drawing, rather than someone who equates American soldiers with suicide bombers?

TulipGirl linked to this post on a blog called Quiet Garden. It's a letter from one mom to another on making the shift away from some of the controlling, behavioristic parenting methods popular in evangelical circles and toward a way of Christian parenting that reflects God's fatherly grace towards his children. It is packed with helpful and convicting insights. Here are just a few:

I started questioning all of the things I had been taught about "christian parenting", and I did word studies in the Bible on things like "obedience" and "discipline". I was shocked at what WASN'T in there... none of the harshness or retribution I expected; instead, obedience was almost always linked to *love*, especially in the New Testament. "If you love me, you will obey me"... not "if you don't obey me, you will suffer". It was obedience based on relationship, not fear of punishment, which was a totally foreign concept to me. I guess in my mind I thought it was "if you obey me, then I can love you".

I had to really look at how I viewed my relationship with God... is that the way I thought he saw me? If I was obedient, he would love me and be nice to me, but if I wasn't, he would make bad things happen to me? I couldn't find that idea anywhere in scripture. Instead I found him saying "if you focus on loving me, you will WANT to be obedient". The focus was always on my relationship with him, my obedience was supposed to be a natural product of my love for him.

When I started asking God to show me how to parent, it didn't happen the way I expected. Instead of getting "Holy Spirit parenting tips" on how to make my kids behave, I started getting convicted for my OWN behavior. When I started to get angry at them for something they were doing, I would be reminded of a situation where *I* was doing the exact same thing my child was doing, only in an adult context....

If I wanted them to handle frustration calmly and reasonably, then I had to demonstrate self-restraint and not fly off the handle and yell at them when they ticked me off. The idea is not just to *tell* them how to act, but to *show* them what it looks like. After all, how can we expect them to do something we can't?...

If I could not behave better than my child, how could I be so arrogant as to stand in judgement over him and be less merciful than I would want God to be to me? God showed me all of the times I made excuses for myself for my bad behavior, for being crabby or impatient or selfish, or just plain rebellious towards him. It was so easy to rationalize my own behavior, but my children, who were immature and still learning were expected to jump to it, never have a bad day, never make mistakes?...

Take your cue from the Holy Spirit... one who is called along side to help. Instead of MAKING your kids do what you want, work on finding ways to HELP your kids do what you need them to do. Don't see yourself as standing over them, but be someone who comes in alongside them and helps them do what they need to do. More kindly coach/mentor and less crabby old school teacher.

There's more. She unpacks the description of love in I Corinthians 13, turning each phrase into a question for parents to ask ourselves about our motivations in how we direct and discipline our children.

We read the Ezzo books before our oldest was born. Many of our friends -- good, loving Christian people -- recommended them to us. I regret it. That approach to discipline alienates parents from children, and sets mom and dad up as scorekeepers and penalty managers. I found myself denying myself the enjoyment of time with my brilliant, funny, and beautiful kids for the sake of teaching them a lesson. And a child's natural desire to please mom and dad turns to despair -- the feeling that nothing he does will ever be good enough, so why bother trying?

It is hard to ditch the Ezzo mindset. You're confronted with regrets over years wasted and damage done, as the letter on Quiet Garden discusses. There's also the inner Ezzo nagging you that you're being too lax, too lenient, that you're spoiling your kids. But I'm starting to think that the worst kind of spoilage would be if my child no longer felt connected to me, if my child felt alienated from me, no longer identifying with my values, uninterested in my advice, unwilling to learn from my experiences.

I'd rather work alongside my children, enjoying their company, sharing laughter, and guiding them down the right path -- not like the guy back at the gas station who gave you directions but like the sherpa who is with you step-by-step up the treacherous mountain trail.

When BC Lee (whom I met at the Oklahoma Republican State Convention on Saturday) said he looked forward my opining about the weekend, this is what I posted on Facebook in reply:

My opining in a nutshell: Very happy about Gary Jones winning re-election, unhappy at the defeat of the caucus proposal, even more unhappy at the tone of the debate on both sides of the issue, and perplexed that I had an easier time bending the ear of a Democratic legislator at a coffeehouse on Friday than in having a substantive conversation with any Republican legislator at the Republican convention on Saturday.

The caucus proposal was sound and well-thought-out, but it wasn't promoted well. I was very annoyed by the speech that one opponent gave -- a tall thin man with white hair, didn't catch his name or his county. His speech was filled with mischaracterizations of the proposal, and his tone communicated disrespect toward caucus supporters. But then I was so embarrassed by caucus supporter Tom Roach's overly emotional rebuttal that I walked out of the hall.

I wish in hindsight that I'd spent some time setting out the case for returning to the caucus here, but I was most concerned about getting Gary Jones reelected, and I hadn't seen all the specifics of the rules amendments.

There was another proposed rule change, coming from the Woodward County convention. The proposal seemed to add a convention in 2010 and a standing rules committee to propose changes that would be considered at that convention. The proposal did not specify which state rules were being amended or provide the new language that would go into the state rules. (The caucus proposal was very thorough in that regard.)

There were some issues (specifically State Sen. Tom Adelson's anti-SLAPP legislation) that I'd hoped to discuss with my friends in the legislature, but I didn't get the chance. The convention was an intense event, not quite as high stakes as last year, but there were a couple of big decisions to be made and a governor's race to get launched, and that may explain why people spent more time in the convention hall and less time schmoozing in the lobby, which in turn would explain why I didn't have much contact with legislators beyond a quick handshake. It didn't help that I got there at 9:10 and spent the next 40 minutes in line to register. I would have had more time to talk with people if I'd gotten there earlier. Unlike years past, I opted not to drive down the night before. The ticket price for the gala plus the cost of a hotel room was more than I wanted to pay.

Earlier I posted my Twitter feed during the convention. This link leads to my photos from the convention.

John Williams nominates his wife Cheryl Williams for Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican PartyHere's Michelle Byte's commentary on the convention. She has a good summary of the caucus debate. She also reveals why she banned John Wiliams, husband of state chairman candidate and former vice chairman Cheryl Williams, from the GetRightOK forum. John Williams was engaged in a bit of sockpuppetry on the forum and inadvertently gave himself away. (I can't look at that photo without thinking, "How about a nice Hawaiian Punch?")

I wholeheartedly agree with these comments:

There is one elected official, however, that stands above the rest. One who is willing to pitch in and help, and doesn't think of herself as above doing work. That person is Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy. What a wonderful lady! She worked with us in registration getting people's name badges for them on Friday night, and then on Saturday helping to control the line and again fetching name badges. I don't think you would see many any other elected officials serving others in that way. In fact, I didn't. So, Dana Murphy is awesome....

I wasn't able to see any of the speakers in the morning, but I did see Randy Brogdon's speech on youtube. It was excellent!...

I LOVED John Wright. He was a great convention chair and he made it fun.

State Rep. John Wright presides at 2009 Oklahoma Republican Convention

The Oklahoma House voted Tuesday to prohibit state government funding for the destruction of embryos for the purpose of stem cell research in the state. (The legislation does nothing to hinder the many other forms of stem cell research -- marrow, cord blood, various forms of adult tissue -- which do not require the destruction of a human life.)

SB 315 passed by a wide bipartisan majority of 85-13. The version passed by the House now goes back to the Senate for final approval. If a business is involved in "nontherapeutic research that destroys a human embryo or subjects a human embryo to substantial risk of injury or death," that business does not qualify for any Oklahoma income tax credits or incentive payments. The bill prevents tax dollars from directly or indirectly funding the destruction of human life.

The 13 naysayers were Auffet, Brown, Cox, Hoskin, Kiesel, McAffrey, McDaniel (Jeannie), Nations, Renegar, Roan, Scott, Shelton, and Smithson. Christian, McPeak, and Morrissette were excused from the vote. Everyone else voted yes.

The Tulsa Metro Chamber and the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce have been lobbying Gov. Brad Henry to veto any such legislation when it reaches him. In response, pro-life legislators boycotted a legislative event hosted by the two chambers.

State Rep. Pam Peterson (R-Tulsa) said today, "The idea that Oklahoma should condone the destruction of innocent human life in the name of 'economic development' is indefensible. Our law clearly states that human life begins at conception. Now the chambers are advocating the destruction of a legally recognized life in exchange for research dollars, saying the state should determine the best use of a person's life for the state's purposes. That's a huge paradigm shift that runs contrary to the basic values of our nation."

I'm happy that pro-life legislators are voicing their objections to the Chambers' crass and callous stand on this issue.

But if you're a Chamber member, and you oppose the destruction of innocent human life for the sake of economic development, you need to take a stand, too. You need to e-mail Gov. Henry, tell him to sign the bill, and tell him that your Chamber of Commerce doesn't speak for you on this issue.

Then you need to make some calls and do some legwork to find out who authorized your Chamber to speak on this issue. Find out when the board voted on it, which board members voted which way, then make your displeasure known to the executive director (Mike Neal here in Tulsa) and the pro-killing members of the board.

Finally, the pro-life majority on the Tulsa City Council should refuse to continue to give millions in city tax dollars to an organization that advocates using tax dollars to kill people for profit. The Council has the power to end the City's exclusive deal with the Tulsa Metro Chamber for economic development and convention and tourism promotion. Put the contract up for bids in a full and open competition and use our City hotel tax dollars to hire a more competent outfit -- that needed to happen anyway.

Here is the full statement from Rep. Pam Peterson (R-Tulsa):

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City and Tulsa chambers of commerce support for embryonic stem cell research, which requires the killing of human embryos, will damage Oklahoma 's reputation as a state that values life, state Rep. Pam Peterson said today.

"The chambers' support of embryonic stem cell research as an 'economic growth' tool is a shocking violation of the public trust and basic moral values," said Peterson, R-Tulsa. "The chamber is effectively advocating the worst kind of discrimination based on age, size and place of residence."

In the past week, both chambers have urged Gov. Brad Henry to veto legislation that would make embryonic stem cell research illegal in Oklahoma . Both groups argue the ban will hinder economic development, be an embarrassment for the state and make it hard to attract "researchers."

"The idea that Oklahoma should condone the destruction of innocent human life in the name of 'economic development' is indefensible," Peterson said. "Our law clearly states that human life begins at conception. Now the chambers are advocating the destruction of a legally recognized life in exchange for research dollars, saying the state should determine the best use of a person's life for the state's purposes. That's a huge paradigm shift that runs contrary to the basic values of our nation."

The ban was supported by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in both the state House and Senate.

Even as they have worked to outlaw embryonic stem cell research, state lawmakers have also voted to provide millions for adult stem cell research. Unlike embryonic stem cell research, adult stem cell research does not require the destruction of human embryos.

Adult stem cell research also has a proven track record of results - there are more than 70 research treatments that use adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cell research has been plagued with failure.

"If the chambers were serious about economic development and growing Oklahoma 's biotech industries, they would only support research with a proven track record requiring no moral compromise - our adult stem cell plan," Peterson said. "It's clear that these organizations care more about catering favor from radical groups than improving our economy."

As a result of the chamber's call for vetoing the embryonic stem cell ban, Peterson and other pro-life lawmakers will not attend a legislative event tonight jointly hosted by the Oklahoma City and Tulsa chambers.

MORE: HB 1326, which has similar language, was passed by large majorities in both houses last week (82-6 in the House, 38-9 in the Senate) and is on the governor's desk. This morning, State Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-Owasso) called on pro-life business owners to express their support of this legislation:

State Senator Randy Brogdon called on the Pro-Life members of the Tulsa and Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce to join with him in support of HB 1326, which outlaws embryonic stem cell research.

"It's simple," said Brogdon. "HB 1326 says that we won't let Oklahoma businesses profit from the destruction of human life."

Brogdon, a co-author of HB 1326, continued, "And it's a travesty that the Oklahoma City and Tulsa Chamber leadership are more concerned about profit than the protection of human life."

"And I'm sure if the Pro-Life members of the Tulsa and Oklahoma City Chamber knew what HB 1326 entailed, they would not be happy knowing that their leadership was lobbying for Governor Henry to veto this bill," said Brogdon.

"That's why I am calling on the Pro-Life business owners of the Tulsa and Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce to join with me in support of this bill and call on their leadership to halt their lobbying against this Pro-Life legislation," said Brogdon.

Relocate-America.com has named Tulsa the best place to live in America for 2009.

Throughout the calendar year, we accept nominations for cities & towns throughout the country to be considered as a "top place to live". The nominating parties must include their own reasons why they feel their city should make the list. The nominations, along with key data regarding education, employment, economy, crime, parks, recreation and housing are reviewed, rated & judged by our editorial team. Special consideration is taken on the Top 10 Cities as they are listed in a ranked order of America's Top 10 Places to Live.

The top 10:

  1. Tulsa, OK
  2. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
  3. Pittsburgh, PA
  4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
  5. Huntsville, AL
  6. Houston, TX
  7. Albuquerque, NM
  8. Lexington, KY
  9. Little Rock, AR
  10. Oklahoma City, OK

Jenks also made the top 100 -- a specific ranking wasn't provided.

This honor is a good excuse to publish the following. My dad received an e-mail from a fellow Santa containing a Tulsa TV jingle from the 1980s:

There's a feeling in the air that you can't get anywhere except in Tulsa.
I'll taste a thousand yesterdays and I love the magic ways of Tulsa.
From the green countryside, we share the glowing pride
Each time we touch the sky.
From where the rivers flow, where all good feelings grow
With all good neighbors passing by.

Makes no difference where I go,
You're the best hometown I know.
Hello, Tulsa.
Hello, Tulsa! TV 2 loves you......

(Turns out the "Hello News" package, written by prolific jingle composer Frank Gari, has been used in 36 markets in the U.S, and in Australia, Canada, and Latin America, with local references built in for each. More about the Tulsa and Dallas deployments of the theme on Tulsa TV Memories. Gari is also responsible for two recruitment jingles: "Be All That You Can Be" and "Be A Pepper.")

918, the area code for Tulsa and most of Oklahoma's Green Country, will run out of phone numbers by the end of 2011, and Oklahoma will need a fourth area code. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates telephone utilities in the state, has information and a survey on the two alternatives for handling "number exhaust" in the 918.

The choices are to split the area code geographically into two regions, with one region keeping 918 and the other being assigned a new area code, or to overlay a new area code for the same area. In an overlay, all existing 918 numbers would keep the same area code, but newly assigned numbers would receive the new area code.

In a split, each area code would continue to have seven-digit local dialing. In an overlay, all calls would require dialing ten digits.

The typical pattern in a split is for the urban area to keep the old area code and the outlying rural areas to get the new code. One of the questions in the OCC survey is whether, in a split, metro Tulsa would get 918 or the new area code. The "inner circle" covers nearly all of Tulsa, Wagoner, Rogers, Okmulgee, and Creek Counties, the southeastern half of Osage County, the eastern half of Pawnee County, and Washington County south of, but not including, Bartlesville. It corresponds to the toll free dialing area around Tulsa. The proposed split leaves an awkward shape for the outer area -- not a tidy, contiguous outer ring.

To my mind, an overlay makes sense in a metro area like DFW or New York where people are already using ten digits for many of their local phone calls -- calling from Dallas to Arlington or Brooklyn to Manhattan -- or where the area code that needs splitting is already a small area and there are no clean breaks between exchanges. Those conditions don't obtain here in Oklahoma. It makes sense to do to the 918 what was done many years ago to 405 -- keep the existing code for the urbanized area and assign a new code to the outer area.

The Corporation Commission wants your opinion on 918 number exhaust. Read all the facts and make your voice heard.

UPDATE: Charles G. Hill has a lead on the likely candidates for Oklahoma's new area code.

According to the NANPA 2008 annual report (59-page PDF), 580 and 405 are forecast to hit "number exhaust" by the end of 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Yesterday afternoon, the five of us thoroughly enjoyed Augustine Christian Academy's performance of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Every year the sets and costumes are more elaborate, and the acting, singing, and dancing more skillful. ACA's annual musical embodies the school's pursuit of excellence and exuberant creativity, and we're blessed to be a part of the ACA community.

This coming Tuesday night is an open house focused on the school's lower grades, an opportunity for you to learn more about what ACA has to offer.

Be Our Guest!
Elementary Open House
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 6:00 - 8:00 PM

  • New Home School Program
  • New Electives, including Performing Arts
  • Come meet Belle, the Beast, and the other Enchanted Characters
  • Free Refreshments

Augustine Christian Academy
6310 E. 30th Street
Tulsa, OK
(918) 832-4600

From the school website:

Augustine Christian Academy is a small, independent, Christian classical school dedicated to training students to take the lead in their personal lives, in their educations, and in their communities. Augustine Christian boasts a climate that is truly conducive to the free exchange and development of ideas.

A few words about the school from my wife:

ACA offers both a full time curriculum from K-4 through 12th grade, and part time options for homeschool students. Most core curriculum classes are offered to homeschoolers for the sixth grade and above. This year, elementary homeschoolers will be offered the chance to participate in some of the school's Fine Arts Curriculum. Please come and Be Our Guest! - THIS Tuesday night. We are all still singing from this weekend's amazing production of the Beauty and the Beast. Come visit with a few of our stars as well!

If you want to get the flavor of our school, please visit the website at www.acatulsa.org. There are two links below with short video clips as well.

ACA senior Haden Brewer won this year's Tulsa Rotary's 4-Way Test Speech Contest. This speech will give you a glimpse into student life at ACA. (Click here to watch the speech.) An excerpt:

I attend a small private school of just over 150 students. We are not a wealthy school, and this fact produces much of what I love most about it. Because of our financial status, there are certain privileges we don't have that other schools see as a common necessity; for example, a janitor. Yes, there are parents who have volunteered to clean the restroom and kitchen facilities, but the rest is accomplished by other means. Each student is assigned a task to work on 20 minutes after lunch that involves cleaning the building. By cleaning our classrooms ourselves, we build a sense of respect for the school. Now we put away our chairs, clean the tables, and sweep the floors after eating lunch without thinking twice about it.

Here's a six-minute promotional video for Augustine Christian Academy:

ACA Promotional Video from ACA on Vimeo.

Tomorrow is the 2009 Oklahoma Republican Convention in Oklahoma City. It should be an exciting day. We'll be voting on whether to re-elect as chairman a proven servant-leader, Gary Jones, and we'll be hearing from some of the folks who want to carry the GOP banner for governor next year, including State Sen. Randy Brogdon, who is expected to make his formal announcement tomorrow.

While I don't plan to tote my laptop around, I will be able to post brief updates to the BatesLine Twitter account. You can also see my latest five tweets near the top of the right-hand column on the BatesLine homepage. Several other folks plan to Twitter about the convention as well, and the consensus is that we'll tag tweets about the convention with #okgop. Follow that link, and you'll see the latest bulletins from the Oklahoma Republican Convention.

UPDATE: My #okgop tweets:

(To clarify one of the entries below -- not all anti-caucus speakers were rabble-rousers, but a couple -- people I didn't recognize -- were, and their tone was unhelpful to the debate. Chairman Gary Jones spoke against the caucus, but he did so respectfully, although I disagree with his position. I didn't hear Tom Coburn's speech, in which he opposed the caucus, but I assume he too was respectful in opposition.)

  1. Greg Hill: Caucus gives voters incentive to participate in caucus & convention process #okgop
  2. Disappointed in anti-caucus rabblerousers - disingenuous and insulting #okgop
  3. Excellent point from Tom Roach - pres cmpgns will drive people to caucuses, build grssrts rolls #okgop
  4. LaPlante vice chair by acclamation #okgop
  5. Williams did not submit nomination for vice chair - ruled out of order #okgop
  6. Anthony Platt, Tulsa Co Ron Paul backer, wants Williams to stay as vice chairman #okgop
  7. Jones 1282.4 Williams 461.6 #okgop
  8. Alfalfa Coal Roger Mills Kiowa Choctaw Johnston Okmulgee Ottawa Pushmataha not here #okgop
  9. Corrected Tulsa Co Jones 104-59 #okgop
  10. Split leaning Jones Canadian 32-27 Wagoner 11-7 #okgop
  11. Logan Cty Jones 14-11 #okgop
  12. Split delegations Creek Rogers Cherokee #okgop
  13. Okla Cty Jones 141-64 #okgop
  14. Cleveland co Jones 66-40 #okgop
  15. Williams best counties LeFlore Texas Hughes
  16. Jones winning rural counties almost unanimously #okgop
  17. Tulsa Co prelim count Jones 103 Williams 59 #okgop
  18. Fran Moghaddam loves Cheryl Williams! #okgop
  19. Jones big standing O - Williams maybe 20% #okgop
  20. Corrected total 1208 delegates. #okgop
  21. Official count: 1197 delegates! #okgop
  22. Reese for Labor Comm: priority to open up Labor Dept for public scrutiny - well received #okgop
  23. Brogdon 2/3 standing O on finishing + loud chanting & cheering #okgop
  24. Brogdon intro stdg O from about 1/3 of crowd. #okgop
  25. Coffee gets warm standing O #okgop
  26. Anthony: We're supposed to follow the law and listen to the evidence. #okgop
  27. Anthony: I've been opposed by metro dailies - we're not supposed to listen to the bosses. #okgop
  28. Bob Anthony cites Dana as example of what grass roots can do. #okgop
  29. Dana Murphy - thx to delegates for helping her overcome money and millionaires in Corp Comm race #okgop
  30. finally in the convention hall - fallin speaking #okgop
  31. Had to park 3 blocks away #okgop
  32. Headed to #okgop - last outpost of civilization #QT in rear view mirror

Follow Friday has become a tradition for many Twitter users, who take time each Friday to point their followers to at least five other Twitter feeds worth following. Now John Hawkins of Right Wing News is launching the same idea into the blogosphere. Here are my five for this week:

Right Wing News: Frequently updated commentary and links by team of insightful conservative bloggers, led by John Hawkins. (Hey, this was John's idea, why shouldn't he get some links from it?)

news from me: Mark Evanier has spent a long and varied career as a writer in Hollywood for comedy shows and cartoons. Each day he shares anecdotes and clips from classic TV and movies. Here's a clip of the Cone of Silence scene from the pilot episode of Get Smart.

Ida Red: The owners of Cain's Ballroom launched this "rock and roll boutique" in Tulsa's Brookside District last year, specializing in the works of local musicians and local artisans, classic sodas and classic candy. Their blog will tell you about special events and special items on offer, but more importantly they have video from their weekly Thursday night artist sessions. Here's Rockin' Acoustic Circus from April 9 performing "Bethany," "The Tracker," and "A Filly and a Pack of Mules." Here's a bonus video of "The Little Man."

Fear an Iarthair: "Man of the West" offers intelligent commentary on culture and politics. He often shares excerpts from what he's reading; today he offers an excerpt from Russell Kirk's six canons of conservative thought from The Conservative Mind.

New Geography: A website about the economy, demographics, and politics of places. Today the site features the movement toward greater public participation in local land-use decisions:

We have found that the best engagement efforts invite the most diverse and representative group of residents possible, give them information from a variety of perspectives, and facilitate discussions in such a way that forces participants to wrestle with the issues in the same way planners, city managers, and city councils must.

At their worst, such "participatory planning" campaigns are pre-ordained and, therefore, manipulative. Organizers can hold this control whether they're inside government, or, like environmental groups and developers, outside of it. Explicit stakeholders, from developers to environmentalists to city officials, are most effectively engaged in the early stages, serving as an "advisory group", helping to formulate the information packets and option sets that will be presented to the general public.

A press release from the Tulsa Police Department:

On April 19th and April 26th at 9:00 p.m., the Tulsa Police Department's Homicide Unit will be featured on an episode of the Interrogators, as seen on the Biography Channel. This is an opportunity for the citizens of Tulsa and individuals around the country to see the outstanding job that our Homicide Unit does. The Tulsa Police Homicide Unit is continually above the national average in solved homicide cases.

The viewer will be able to see detectives as they interview homicide suspects in an attempt to gain the suspects confession. These are not actors.

Viewers should check with their local satellite or cable provider for the location of the Biography Channel.

The Biography Channel is on Cox Digital channel 164. You can find clips of the episodes featuring the Tulsa police department online here. Direct links to the clips:

Sgt. Mike Huff shows the TPD interview room.

Sgt. Mike Huff and Det. Mike Nance sitting in Elmer's Barbecue, talking about being on duty 24 hours a day.

Preview of Episode 5 featuring TPD Det. Mike Nance.

Preview of Episode 6 featuring Det. Vic Regalado, who talks about a murder scene on 6th St. See if you can figure out the name of the business, which has been blurred.

TulsaNow, a civic organization concerned with city design and urban revitalization, is taking its show on the road in an effort to connect with Tulsans beyond the midtown/downtown area, with its Community Forum Tour. First stop is next Wednesday, April 22, from 6 to 8 at TCC's northeast campus. The main speakers should be very interesting. Jack Crowley has been working on a new plan for downtown, and Theron Warlick is one of the Tulsa planners coordinating the PLANiTULSA comprehensive plan effort.

Here are the details:

In the spirit of community involvement, TulsaNow is bringing its Community Forum Tour "on the road" to a neighborhood near you!

The first in a series of public forums will be held at the TCC Northeast Campus on April 22nd. Topics will include: downtown development, new forms of transit, PLANiTULSA (Tulsa's citywide Comprehensive Plan)...and how it all relates to the city as a whole, and north Tulsa in particular!

Informative presentations will be followed by open discussions with local community leaders.

Jack Crowley, Special Advisor to the Mayor on Urban Planning
Theron Warlick, City of Tulsa Planning Department

Reuben Gant, Greenwood Chamber of Commerce
Rose Washington Rentie, TEDC Capital
Reggie Ivey, Tulsa Health Department
Demalda Newsome, Newsome Community Farms

This diverse group of panelists and speakers will field questions and discuss how collaborative efforts can create a brighter future for ALL Tulsans.

Expect an evening that is both exciting and informative!

WHEN: Wed, April 22, 6:00-8:00 PM
WHERE: TCC NE Campus Auditorium
3727 E. Apache
MORE INFO: info@tulsanow.org
COST: Free!

Beginning tomorrow, April 17, Coffee House on Cherry Street (15th & Rockford in Tulsa) will host an exhibition of the photography of Jason Sales. Sales is best known for his vivid images of rock performances. You can see more of his work on his Flickr photostream.

The opening reception will be held tomorrow night, Friday, April 17, at 8 p.m., at the Coffee House on Cherry Street. Nashville singer Tayla Lynn (she's Loretta Lynn's granddaughter) will be performing starting at 8:30 along with Tulsa songwriter and guitarist Jesse Aycock.

Tea Party notes

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I didn't make it to any of the Tulsa Tea Parties. I had a quick lunch so I could get home in time to have a nice dinner out with my wife on her birthday -- just the two of us. (We went to Bangkok at 33rd and Harvard. It's a Thai buffet. Wonderful, spicy, tasty food and a wide variety of choices. No MSG, everything is clearly labeled, they put small portions of each dish out at a time so it stays fresh.)

Here are reports from the various Tea Parties around Oklahoma, Tulsa first and in chronological order:

Chris Medlock on the 11-1 downtown event with talk radio host John Gibson (with photos):

Reasonable estimates for the event place the peak attendance at between 750 to 1000.

Chris has also posted a Washington Post graphic that explains at a glance why Obama's budget has engendered so much more grassroots unrest than Bush's budgets.

KFAQ's website has photos of the downtown event. Bland Bridenstine has more photos here, including photos of the 5 - 7 pm event at Veterans Park.

The Tulsa Tea Party blog has a thorough report with photos.

Joe Kelley on the 12-2 LaFortune Park event with Congressman John Sullivan (with video):

The Tulsa Police put the crowd size at 3200 and a petition that was passed gathered in excess of 3000 signatures.

Joe Kelley has also posted some helpful links about the Tea Party movement and resources for taking further constructive action, including the After the Tea Party website.

Here's Jenn Sierra's report and photos of the Veterans' Park event.

Muskogee Politico says there were 220 at that city's event (video and photos to come).

Tyson Wynn has audio of the Claremore rally (and explains the cool way he was able to post it live using his iPhone).

The Red Dirt Reporter was at the State Capitol for the Oklahoma City event:

Well over 5,000 people crowded onto the south plaza of the Oklahoma State Capitol Wednesday, taking part in the Tax Day Tea Party movement that has swept America, with 2,500 Tea Parties reportedly taking place nationwide.

This grassroots gathering was amazing in that it drew people from all walks of life and political backgrounds. All agreed that the federal government has taken things too far in regards to taxing the American people and bailing out Wall Street and the banks.

NewsOK.com has video and photos and quotes an Oklahoma Highway Patrol estimate of between 4,000 and 5,000. (Via dustbury.com.)

Kick the Anthill has more photos of the Oklahoma City event. Videos are here on the OKC Tea Party website.

RELATED: Randy Brogdon, who may have been the only prospective candidate for Governor at any of the Tea Parties, succeeded in raising $15,000 in a single day today for his exploratory committee.

MORE: CNN reporter Susan Roesgen drops any pretense of objectivity in her coverage of the Chicago Tea Party. Michelle Malkin compares Roesgen's reporting today to Roesgen's coverage of an anti-Bush rally.

And to those who claim that Tea Party-goers are just out to attack Democrats, Michelle Malkin reports that the Sacramento Tea Party organizer acknowledged the California GOP chairman, who was present at the event, then denounced him for "waffling on massive tax hike ballot measures."

Will this make the MSM coverage? It doesn't fit the narrative. But it's yet another demonstration that this movement is not partisan and equal opportunity when it comes to holding politicians' feet to the fire for fiscal irresponsibility and fecklessness.

This instructional film from the 1950s explains the mistakes young people make in dealing with relationships via Facebook. Dig the steampunk computer and camera:

(Via Christian Clark on -- what else? -- Facebook.)

Last fall Novus Homes LLC, W3 Development LLC, and principals of the two companies filed suit against Tulsa Development Authority for breach of contract involving TDA's termination of the exclusive negotiating period with Novus Homes LLC for redevelopment of the vacant the half-block west of Elgin Avenue between Archer and Brady Streets. Novus Homes planned a lofts and retail development on the site, which is now part of the land the stadium donors plan to redevelop in connection with the new downtown stadium for the Tulsa Drillers. On Tuesday, the suit has been expanded to include the City of Tulsa as a defendant, citing actions by Mayor Kathy Taylor which, the plaintiffs allege, resulted in the early termination of the exclusive negotiating period for the land.

According to a story in today's Journal Record, "Through the discovery process, the developers said they learned of Taylor's alleged interference in TDA business and procedures, leading to termination of their exclusive deal in her quest to complete the ballpark deal."

Here's a link to the OSCN page on the suit, CJ-2008-5713. Here is the amended petition for the lawsuit (PDF). It includes the following allegation:

30. Beginning in late May, 2008, City of Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor began inserting herself into TDA operations related to this downtown Tulsa location, without TDA approval. The TDA viewed Mayor Taylor's interference as "irregular," and TDA Commissioners were "concerned" and "surprised" by her "irregular" interference in their operations. See, e.g., Transcript of Deposition of TDA Commissioner John Clayman, Tulsa County District Court Case No. CJ-2008-5713, at pp. 40-48 (November 11, 2008).

31. Mayor Taylor was, without consulting or obtaining approval from the TDA, personally renegotiating and amending existing TDA contracts, conveying TDA-owned properties in exchange for properties the City of Tulsa and the eventual Tulsa Stadium Trust desired, and influencing existing TDA relationships, all to enable the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Stadium Trust to procure the real property necessary for the proposed new downtown baseball stadium and surrounding development.

32. Mayor Taylor's actions were in violation of O.S. §11 38-107, whereby powers of the Urban Renewal Authority (TDA) "shall be exercised by the commissioners thereof."

Here's the press release from Novus Homes:


Two Tulsa development companies and their principals have filed a lawsuit against the City of Tulsa alleging that the City, and specifically Mayor Kathy Taylor, unlawfully interfered with their exclusive contractual rights to develop a downtown property. The developers allege that the City's interference was part of the Mayor's effort to relocate the Tulsa Drillers baseball stadium to the downtown Brady District.

On April 14, 2009, Novus Homes, LLC, W3 Development, LLC, Will Wilkins and Cecilia Wilkins added the City as a second defendant to their lawsuit originally brought against the Tulsa Development Authority (TDA). The developers sued the TDA on August 14, 2008, one week after the TDA prematurely terminated the developers' exclusive negotiating right on this property, situated on the half block west of Elgin between Archer and Brady, known as 120 Brady Village.

Since filing the original lawsuit, the developers learned through the discovery process that the City of Tulsa, and specifically Mayor Kathy Taylor, had irregularly interfered with TDA business and procedures in violation of Oklahoma statutes, which led to the TDA's unlawful termination of its exclusive deal with the developers. The developers allege Mayor Taylor unlawfully inserted herself into TDA operations in her quest to relocate the Drillers stadium to a site directly across the street from the property on which the developers had an exclusive right to negotiate.

As part of the stadium relocation effort, Mayor Taylor recruited a group of private donors which included herself and her husband through the Lobeck Taylor Foundation. These donors funded a significant portion of the project, and in return, were awarded the construction and financing of the ballpark project and the surrounding properties, including the property for which the developers had an exclusive right, under a self described "master plan."

Mayor Taylor's decision to rush this project through during the summer of 2008, bypassing normal process and due diligence, has resulted in multiple lawsuits and threatens to tie the City up in litigation for years to come.

Previous BatesLine entries and Urban Tulsa Weekly columns on this topic:

As one of his assignments for his homeschooling program, Classical Conversations, my son Joseph wrote a biographical essay about Samuel Adams. I learned many new facts from it, and on Tax Day, on Tea Party Day, I thought it deserved a wider audience. So, without further ado, meet "the most dangerous man in Massachusetts," the original rabble-rousing, naysaying tax protester.

As we begin, it's April 18, 1775, and a battalion of around 700 British soldiers are marching to Lexington to capture Sam Adams and John Hancock:

"I have a bad feeling about this, Crumshaw. Sending a whole battalion to capture two rebel leaders in Lexington--what was the Colonel thinking? The rebels are bound to notice something's up."

"Ah, James, you worry too much. Besides how are they going to alert those two rebels we're coming when they would have to pass by us, and we haven't seen a single horseman all night, not even not even so much as a coach. I still don't understand what all this 'most dangerous man in Massachusetts' rubbish is all about. How dangerous can a single politician be?" As the two men were talking a shout came from the front of the line, "Ah! What was that?!" It was Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith. He had heard a noise in the brush on the side of the road. Suddenly a large group of men jumped out of their hiding places on either side of the road.

"We're under attack, sir. A bunch of rebel farmers, we should be able to take them!" Then there was a gunshot. "I didn't ask for your opinion! Just the facts, now FIRE!"

Not many people have heard of Samuel Adams, let alone the fact that he was the one that instigated the Boston Tea Party. He was also called by many important revolutionary figures the father of the American Revolution. He preferred not to be recognized by people for his works, in fact preferred to let others take credit for his actions.

Samuel Adams was one of the most influential yet forgotten figures of the revolutionary war. He was born at noon on Sunday, September 27, 1722, to Samuel "Deacon" Adams and Mary Fifield Adams as their tenth child. His father, who was deeply involved in politics, started the Caucus Club when Sam was a young boy of three or four, and Sam would sit and listen to the men talk about politics. His father, as his nickname implies, was an accomplished clergyman. Sam also found church engaging. His favorite part of the three to four hour service was the singing. He had a fair voice, and he found the simple hymns engaging. At the age of four or five he was sent off to a "dame school" where he was taught the basics of reading writing and arithmetic. At the age of seven he attended the Boston Latin School and completed his primary education.

At the age of fourteen he left to study theology at Harvard University. Their days began at 5 am. Breakfast at 6 was bread and ale. Lunch was the same, and the only thing that was any different about dinner was that the boys were allowed meat. Saturdays were spent studying theology and Sundays were spent attending church services. Some of the subjects Sam studied were Latin, Greek, Hebrew, philosophy, natural philosophy, writing and speaking.

During this time Samuel was greatly influenced by the writings of John Locke. According to Locke's writing, all men were born with natural rights like "life, health, liberty, or possessions." The government was there to protect these rights for the people. So enthralled by the political theory of Locke and others, Adams wrote his master's thesis on "whether it be lawful to resist the Supreme Magistrate, if the Commonwealth cannot otherwise be preserved." Sam graduated with a Master of Arts degree.

Sam Adams was not what you would call a tenacious employee. Oh, he was a tenacious person, but he preferred to spend his work hours discussing local and national politics with his fellow workers. Rather than employing his own son as was custom, Deacon Adams had Samuel hired at Thomas Cushing's counting house. The one thing Sam liked about working there was the one hour lunch break. He would spend it in the local pub or tavern trying to talk political sense into some stubborn farmer who cared about nothing but his crop. The downside to this was that even though Sam was able to do what he liked best, discuss politics, he always managed to get back to work at least half an hour late. The owner was soon forced to fire Sam. Sam was not angry nor did he beg for second chances. In fact he was almost happy that he was out of a job. After this, Sam's father gave him $2000 to start a new business. he ended up lending half of it to a friend who never paid it back and he spent the other half on this and that and once again he was broke. In a way, Sam's financial downfall led to him meeting one of his closest and richest friends. John Hancock was of the same mind as Sam and even helped fund the Boston Tea Party.

Sam was a politician so naturally he objected to the Townsend Acts, and he opposed every other tax no matter how small. He did not oppose the taxes because they made things expensive -- the tea tax was so inexpensive that it made British tea half as expensive as the smuggled Dutch tea -- he opposed them because they were a symbol of Parliament's ability to tax them without the colonies having any say in it. He knew it was only a matter of time before they used their power over the colonies to tax them as much as they wanted -- not just one or two taxes but if this continued everything would be taxed and outrageously so. Slowly but surely, he gathered followers who agreed with him, and formed an organization called the Sons of Liberty. They gathered under an old elm called the Liberty Tree and held meetings and protests. At some of the protests they burned effigies of important British statesmen and sometimes they even raided stamp officials homes. Sam even organized the Sons of Liberty to throw the tea from three British ships into the bay.

Another way he protested the British taxes was to write pseudonymous letters to dominant American newspapers, calling for independence. He was such an influential figure of the revolution that he was called by Parliament "the most dangerous man in Massachusetts" and by the colonists, "the Grand Incendiary." Not many people are aware of this, but Samuel Adams was one of the triggers of the battle of Lexington. The British troops marched on Lexington in an attempt to capture Sam Adams and John Hancock. Luckily Paul revere rode to warn them and they escaped. John Hancock wanted to stay but Sam managed persuade him that they were not warriors but writers and politicians.

In 1776 Sam was elected to the 2nd Continental Congress. As soon as his friends found out they cornered him and forced him to be measured for a new suit replace his extremely shabby raiment. He was one of the first men to sign the Declaration, and he was also one of the drafters of the Articles of Confederation which governed the US until the Constitution was written. He went on to become governor of Massachusetts after John Hancock and also drafted the Massachusetts Constitution. He died in 1803 at the ripe old age of 81. After his death he slowly faded into the shadows, the forgotten father of the revolution.

Of recent note in local blogs:

At Choice Remarks, Brandon Dutcher salutes State Rep. Jabar Shumate (D-Tulsa) for his efforts to expand school choice with a bill that will allow tribal governments to sponsor charter schools.

Tulsa Chigger has posted a 1934 Chicago Tribune cartoon lampooning the New Deal, headlined "Planned Economy or Planned Destruction." In the corner of the cartoon, a Trotsky-esque fellow writes a placard: "Spend! Spend! Spend under the guise of recovery -- bust the government -- blame the capitalists for the failure -- junk the constitution and declare a dictatorship." Chigger writes, "Strangely similar to our situation now, isn't it?"

Chris Medlock writes about State Sen. Randy Brogdon's upcoming announcement as a candidate for governor and the impact of a Scott Pruitt candidacy on the race.

Owasso blogger James Parsons wonders about the conservative credentials of another GOP gubernatorial possibility, former Congressman J. C. Watts, who has spent the last seven years as a corporate lobbyist.

Yogi gets quote of the week honors: "I love little 'creases' in time and space." Me, too. He's referring to unexpected places like an Italian mining community in southeastern Oklahoma named Krebs that boasts legendary Italian food. Yogi recounts a recent visit to Pete's Place -- it's been too long since my last meal there.

OKDad is working on a mystery: A statue of a farmer, erected for the American Bicentennial in 1976 and currently under restoration, turns out not to be a bronze after all, but "some sort of hardened concrete-plaster hybrid." "He was planned as a bronze. Molds of him were made in preparation for a bronze. Funds were apparently raised for him to be cast in bronze. The papers from July 4, 1976 (the day he was dedicated and unveiled) clearly state he is a statue of bronze stature. So, where's the bronze?" The mystery is still unsolved, but here's the latest development.

Rod Dreher has posted an 1999 article by Russell Hittinger about how a Benedictine monastery came to be established in Cherokee County. (Driving directions on the monastery website include prayers to St. Jude and St. Benedict in the event of high water. Irritated Tulsan might advise prayers if you decide to follow the restaurant recommendation on the same page -- I've eaten at said restaurant three times and never had a problem.)

Irritated Tulsan's Tulsa Tuesday post last week on The Lost Ogle: Tulsa's Worst Remodels, including a Pizza Hut turned adult novelty and lingerie shop, a Wal-Mart-to-church conversion and a KFC (complete with bucket on the sign) turned chiropractor's office. (I wonder if you can still get a chicken wing there -- either the food kind or the wrestling kind.)

Down the turnpike:

Steve Lackmeyer has posted a series of videos featuring urban planner Jeff Speck's comments on downtown Oklahoma City. The latest segment hits a harsh reality in Speck's comments: When you optimize a street for moving cars at high speeds, you inherently make it hazardous for pedestrians. Here are the three earlier entries in the series:

Jeff Speck Video No. 1 on urban parking
Jeff Speck Video No. 2 on giving people what they want
Jeff Speck Video No. 3 -- outlook for downtown

JenX67 has a gorgeous photo of nightfall in OKC's Plaza District.

Nick Roberts has an interesting chart showing Oklahoma City's population by decade since its founding. Noting the massive growth the city experienced in the 1920s and 1950s, he wonders whether, despite great rankings in a variety of categories, OKC will ever again be a place to which people flock.

Finally, congrats to Blair Humphreys and the MIT design team for their victory in the 2009 Urban Land Institute design competition. The design is for a transit-oriented development to replace big-box and strip-mall retail in Denver.

If you're an evangelical Christian who has struggled finding a church where you feel at home, my friend Forrest Christian has a webinar scheduled for next Sunday, April 19, at 8 p.m. Central time, called "Why You Hate Your Church" that could help you understand why and what you can do about it (other than grim endurance).

Is this you?
  • You feel a personal faith but you have just become so disappointed in your church. Or any church.
  • You used to feel a strong sense of belonging in church, but now feel alienated just by showing up.
  • You feel like no one wants to talk with you, and indeed they really don't.
  • People at your church don't bother calling you for a party, but always call you when something goes wrong.
  • Your Christian friends assume that you have lost your faith in Christ when to you it feels like you lost your faith in the church, not God
  • After awhile, you've just gotten plain bitter about the whole "church thing".

Forrest Christian is a career consultant and a writer on the subject of the way individuals fit (or, more often, don't fit) into the companies that employ them. He's also an evangelical Christian, and he began recently to explore how these ideas on management and job fit apply to churches:

As I examined the dominant ways that evangelical leaders are taught to organize their churches, I realized that these organizational rules show how their very success can marginalize thoughtful and spiritually-oriented Christians.

Although the webinar is designed for disaffected evangelical Christians from "Generation X" (born 1961 to 1978), those from other Christian traditions may find it useful. Forrest adds that, "Church leaders and those who minister to cranky parishioners will find value in learning how to better minister to them."

Because this is a seminar dealing with a matter of faith, Forrest is waiving his usual webinar fee and offering "Why You Hate Your Church" on a "pay what you want" basis. Space is limited. Follow this link to sign up and for more details.

Although I don't hate my church, I plan to participate in this webinar. The "symptoms" Forrest lists call to mind past frustrations with churches and religious organizations, frustrations that I expect my children will experience as they grow older.

There's plenty more information at the webinar link, and be sure to check out Forrest Christian's blog, Requisite Writing.

This morning, Christians will gather in freedom across America and throughout the western world to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, His victory over death. Although our faith is the object of ridicule and contempt, none of us in the west need fear arrest, imprisonment, or torture because of our faith.

But we have brothers and sisters who are suffering even as we celebrate. In many nations, particularly in those nations still in thrall to Islam and Communism, Christians are subject to persecution by the government. In other countries, freedom of religion exists, but mobs threaten Christians who are open about their faith.

Let me call your attention to one prominent case. Gao Zhisheng, 44, is a Christian and a human rights attorney in China. Once a member of China's Communist Party and hailed in 2001 by the justice ministry as one of China's ten best lawyers, Gao helped his fellow citizens defend themselves against corrupt local officials.

In 2004, Gao began to dig into the persecution and torture of members of Falun Gong. In October 2005, he wrote a letter to the leaders of China urging an end to this persecution. His law firm was shut down. He quit the Communist Party in December 2005. He was abducted by secret police in August 2006 and later that year convicted of subversion. In 2007, after urging a boycott of the Olympic Games, he was again abducted and tortured for two months. (Here is a link to Gao's open letter, in which he details the torture he suffered during this period.)

On February 4, 2009, security police took him from his home. He has not been seen since. His wife and children are now in the United States under political asylum.

Voice of the Martyrs, based in Bartlesville, Okla., is seeking to call world attention to Gao's fate in hopes of pressuring the Chinese government into releasing him. They have joined with China Aid in setting up the Free Gao website, where they are soliciting signatures on a petition to the Chinese Ambassador to the U. S., e-mails to Chinese officials, and funds to help defend Christians in China:

We will deliver a printed copy of all the signatures collected to the Chinese embassy. Add your voice, and encourage your friends to sign the petition, to make the Chinese government aware that the world is watching this situation and to call them to account for their inhumane treatment of Gao Zhisheng.

Officially, China claims to have freedom of religion and a system of law that protects human rights. During the Cold War, public attention and pressure in the West brought about the release of many dissidents in the Soviet Union. The hope is that public attention to Gao's cause will not only result in his freedom, but will help all who suffer religious persecution in that country. I urge you to join me this Easter in praying for Gao, for his family, and for all those who share in Christ's sufferings around the world. And I urge you to take action.


New Yorker blog entry from April 3 about Gao's disappearance
A description and excerpts from Gao's book, A China More Just
A Facebook "fan" page for Gao Zhisheng -- a way for Facebook users to show support and raise awareness

A couple of nice accolades:

Forbes named Tulsa the 5th most livable city in America, just ahead of Oklahoma City in 6th.

The top 10:

  1. Portland, Me.
  2. Bethesda, Md.
  3. Des Moines, Ia.
  4. Bridgeport/Stamford, Conn.
  5. Tulsa, Okla.
  6. Oklahoma City, Okla.
  7. Cambridge, Mass.
  8. Baltimore, Md.
  9. Worcester, Mass.
  10. Pittsburgh, Pa.

The criteria:

To form our list, we looked at quality of life measures in the nation's largest continental U.S. metropolitan statistical areas--geographic entities defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for use by federal agencies in collecting, tabulating and publishing federal statistics. We eliminated areas with populations smaller than 500,000 and assigned points to the remaining metro regions across five data sets: Five-year income growth per household and cost of living from Moody's Economy.com, crime data and leisure index from Sperling's Best Places, and annual unemployment statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Tulsa's best stats were in income growth (50th out of 379 metro areas) and unemployment (21st). We may have been helped by timing -- mid-2003 is when we began climbing back up after the bursting of the tech bubble. Our worst stat -- the only measure that had us below the median was crime: 4,462 per 100,000 population, ranking 250th.

40 miles to the north, Bartlesville made American Cowboy magazine's list of the top 20 places to live in the West. (Via proud Bartian Brandon Dutcher.)

I just received an e-mail saying that Jim Norton, president of Downtown Tulsa Unlimited, is leaving for a job in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. If I recall correctly, Norton is originally from the Tarheel State. He has been head of DTU for almost 20 years. My source says his last day on the job here is not known, but will be no later than June 1.

I learned today that later this month Bear Family Records is about to issue a new CD compilation of music by Leon McAuliffe and His Cimarron Boys, titled Tulsa, Straight Ahead. McAuliffe was the first steel guitarist for Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys; after a stint as a flight instructor during WW II, he returned to Tulsa and formed his own band

Bear is a German reissue label beloved by "completists." They've put all of Bob Wills' commercial recordings, plus studio outtakes and alternate takes, in two massive $300+ box sets. Two years ago, Bear released McAuliffe's work in four sessions for Dot in 1956-1958 (26 tracks) on Take Off & More.

Tulsa, Straight Ahead: Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight contains 31 tracks recorded for Columbia between 1949 and 1955. That link has the full track listing. You can pre-order the disc on Amazon for about $24.

Bear Family has here collected the cream of McAuliffe's six year tenure with Columbia, including a never-issued alternate take of 'Panhandle Rag', and several other unissued tracks. Highlights include the unissued first -- and considerably hotter -- version of the hard-swinging blues 'Hard-Hearted Girl'. There are steel guitar classics like 'Mr. Steel Guitar' and 'Cimarron Rag'. A fantastic take on the early rock 'n' roll classic 'Sh-Boom', as well as what was arguably the best among the twenty-odd versions of the 1950 smash 'Rag Mop'.

Some of these tracks are on a Jasmine Records compilation, Take It Away, the Leon Way, but Bear is bound to improve on the sound quality and to provide a well-documented sessionography in the liner notes.

One song that wasn't on that Jasmine release but will be on Tulsa, Straight Ahead is "The Three Bears," written by Bobby Troup. It'll be nice to hear a cleaned-up version -- the YouTube clip below is the only way I've heard the song.

(According to YouTube commenters, that's Keith Coleman as Papa Bear, and Chet Calcote as Mama Bear. Calcote still plays bass in and around Amarillo, in a western swing band called the Magic City Cowboys and in a jazz combo called Pizzazz.)

Again, no time to comment much, just to note the situation.

Tulsa has three Taxpayer Tea Party events scheduled for April 15:

  • Civic Center Plaza, 5th and Denver, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • LaFortune Stadium, on Hudson north of 61st St., between 12 noon and 2 p.m.
  • Veterans' Park, 18th and Boulder, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

From the tulsateaparty.org press release:

A group of citizens in Tulsa, OK, the Tulsa Tea Party, are organizing two Tax Day TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party protest rallies on Wednesday, April 15th, 2009, the day tax returns are to be mailed, in the downtown Tulsa area....

The TEA Party is part of a national movement formed to protest the spending of trillions of dollars, which will leave our great-grandchildren a debt they must pay, and to restore the basic free market principals upon which our country was founded. This is a grassroots, collaborative volunteer organization made up of everyday American citizens. This is not about Democrats and Republicans. It's about the defending the Constitution and loving America.

Tax day rallies are being held in over a thousand cities across the nation and are being promoted by Americans for Prosperity, American Family Association, 912 Project and several national radio and television programs, among others.

While the multiple events at different times and locales will allow more people to participate, there's also some talk radio tug-of-war going on as KFAQ hosts are emceeing the Civic Center and Veterans' Park tea parties, and KRMG is promoting the LaFortune Stadium tea party.

Chris Medlock, who "no longer [has] a dog in this fight," has an interesting analysis of the Tulsa Tea Party situation (and a great graphic -- rockem-sockem radio stations) and how it could work in the protest movement's favor. The post has already generated 17 comments, including one from "joe.kelley," although I have trouble believing it was really written by the KRMG morning host -- the tone is way out of character.

Jai Blevins, who organized the February Tea Party at Veterans' Park and is organizing the Civic Center and Veterans' Park events for next Wednesday, seems to have found the whole experience eye-opening.

I've been around grassroots organizing for a long time -- neighborhood organizations, political parties, campaigns, and other causes. I've seen many people like Jai, who get passionate about an issue, get motivated, and seemingly come out of nowhere to get something going. We need people like Jai, who haven't yet become worn down, jaded, and cynical, who still believe that it's possible to make a difference.

These freshly-minted grassroots leaders often learn, to their shock and displeasure, that the biggest challenge to their movement's success may not be from outside opposition but from internal dissension, as some people seek to use the movement to promote their own agenda. Sometimes that agenda is hidden, sometimes it's right out in the open -- as it is with the radio stations and their understandable desire to use the tax party movement to promote their own business prospects.

But from the perspective of someone like Jai Blevins, this isn't a time to jockey for advantage, but a national emergency that demands patriotic cooperation from people who might otherwise be at odds. To call him a whiner or to say that he's insincere and doesn't believe in free-market competition is to misunderstand his motives.

Eventually, an activist learns how to deal with individuals and companies that are trying to use his movement. He learns to use them to promote his movement's agenda. They achieve a kind of symbiosis, but there's an understanding that the relationship is one of convenience, not permanent and grounded in principle. In the process of coming to terms with that reality, you lose some of your idealism.

Like Chris, I don't have a dog in this fight either. I haven't been invited on either station for months, and I don't expect that I'll ever be invited on either one again. I hope all three events draw big, enthusiastic crowds and get plenty of media coverage.

As for which one I'm attending -- it's also my wife's birthday, so I doubt I'll be able to get to any of them.

MORE: American Majority, which provides training for prospective political candidates and activists, is offering to help you learn how to make an ongoing difference after the tea parties are over.

No time to analyze or comment, but you need to be aware of Red Dirt Report's series on Adair County and a discord on the county commission, centering on Republican newcomer Russell Turner and his efforts to ensure that the county fulfills its functions in accordance with state law. So far three stories have been published. They involve allegations of arson and intimidation, questionable handling of road funds, and county paving of non-governmental roads.

RDR: Adair County Blues - Part 1 in a series

RDR: Adair County Blues - Part 2 in a series

RDR: Rep. Auffet says folks are frustrated by dispute in Adair County

Andrew Griffin is doing some very thorough reporting. Keep an eye on Red Dirt Report for future installments.

Today, I learn from Ron Coleman, is the once-in-28-years recital of Birkat Hachama, the Blessing of the Sun, on the day when, according to the Talmud, the sun returns to the starting point in its cycle, the same place it was when it came into being on the fourth day of Creation.

As explained in the Talmud, there is a tradition that the Sun was created in its vernal equinox position at the beginning of the springtime Jewish lunar month of Nissan.[18] The sages of the Talmud settled disputes over the halachic definition of the vernal equinox by establishing it on March 25 of the Julian calendar. Because both the Julian calendar and Jewish tradition define a solar year as exactly 365.25 days, the halachic vernal equinox historically fell out on March 25th every year. This halachic equinox now falls about 17 days after the true equinox, with the error increasing by about 3/4 of a day per century.

In summary, Birkat Hachama is recited when the halachic vernal equinox (the position at which the Sun was created) occurs at sundown on a Tuesday (the time at which the sun was created).

The blessing to be recited at the sight of "the sun at its turning point" is "Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the Universe who makes the works of Creation."

According to Wikipedia, the service of observance includes the first six verses of Psalm 148:

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

The next occurrence is April 8, 2037.

Given that life would be impossible on Earth if the sun were closer, further away, or not there at all, the least we can do is to say a little prayer of thanks for its existence once every 28 years.

A cool web app at xtranormal.com lets you take a script, assign it to a character, voice, and setting, and have the Lego-like character read it.

For a test, I had this Australian fellow with the cowboy hat read the North Carolina guidebook excerpt about the Self-Kick-in-the-Pants machine from the previous entry:

The air quotes are a nice touch.

MORE: In the comments, Mick links to the xtranormal version of Leon Russell's "Home Sweet Oklahoma".

Yesterday, while catching up on yard work, I wished that I had had a chance to look through the appropriate Federal Writers' Project guidebook prior to a recent business trip. When I have free time during a trip I try to see the unique places around me, to get away from the interstate and the suburban hotel. The older neighborhoods (Tulsans, think Cherry Street and Brookside) usually have the most interesting, locally owned restaurants and most interesting streetscapes. If I have a car, I like to figure out where the main highways into town used to run and follow them, looking for old neon and roadside architecture. The Federal Writers' Project American Guide Series books, one for each state, mostly published in the late 1930s, provide a wonderful, detailed snapshot of American travel before interstates and chains and are useful today in figuring out where the interesting local stuff can be found.

It hit me that since the original editions are out of copyright and were funded by the taxpayers anyway, the Federal Writers' Project books ought to be fully available on Google Books. That isn't fully the case yet, but many of the state books are online.

Here's an interesting snippet from North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State, tour 28 (U. S. 70 from Durham to Atlantic):

At CROATAN, 157 m. (28 alt., 29 pop.), a FOREST FIRE TOWER (R) affords a wide view of the surrounding forest and marsh.

The SELF-KICK-IN-THE-PANTS MACHINE (public invited; no questions asked), set up by Tom W. Haywood in front of his filling station in July 1937, has worn out four shoes in its service to tourists and citizens. If you feel that you deserve "a good swift kick," turn the handle; the cable will be pulled and a huge shoe laced to an iron "leg" will administer the boot.

When you come across something like that in an old guidebook, the next step is to see if it's still there.


Haywood's machine was donated to the North Carolina Museum of History, but a replica stands on the old spot. From the Fall 2008 issue of Tar Heel Junior Historian (48:1):

Ever do something so dumb that you just wanted to kick yourself?

Tom Haywood, of Croatan, knew that feeling and figured other folks might sometimes feel that way, too. So during the summer of 1937, he and local handyman Wilber Herring built a contraption that would deliver a good, swift kick to the seat of the pants of any willing recipient.

The simple machine consisted of a hand-operated crank connected by a belt and pulleys to a wheel. Four spokes, each with an old shoe attached, jutted out from the wheel. To get the boot, the operator just bent over and turned the crank.

A Craven County commissioner, Haywood said he intended the kicking machine for his personal use, "to perform the needed rebuke to my conscience." He kept it behind his house. But so many folks heard about the machine and wanted to use it that Haywood finally moved it to a shelter in front of his general store. The shelter stood at the roadside on U.S. 70, about ten miles east of New Bern.

According to old newspaper accounts, the kicking machine got a good workout on Sunday afternoons from motorists going home from the beach. But at nighttime, the machine really got cranking. "A lot of folks don't want people to know they need a kick, so they wait until I close up at night and then come around," Haywood said. "Late at night I can hear the machine just a squeaking outside."...

These days a replica of the original kicking machine stands in front of Haywood's old store, now an antiques shop. Heading east toward the coast, it's on the right side of U.S. 70 just before its intersection with Catfish Lake Road in Croatan. So if you ever feel like you need a kick, go give it a try.

This looks like it might be the home of the self-kick-in-the-pants machine.

I happened across a discarded copy of the paper for the Sunday before last at a restaurant. As I paged through the funny pages (officially known as the Opinion section), I came across a piece by syndicated Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr., with this pull-quote prominently displayed:

No, only the local paper performs the critical function of holding accountable the mayor, the governor, the local magnates and potentates for how they spend your money, run your institutions, validate or violate your trust.

But what if your local paper is run by the local magnates and potentates? What if your local paper chooses instead to perform the function of tearing down anyone who might challenge the power of the magnates and potentates?

And I'm trying and failing to recall the last time the local paper held our current mayor or governor accountable for anything. (They regularly held the previous mayor accountable anytime he showed signs of listening to conservatives and outsiders.)

I write for (and read, of course) a weekly paper, and I used to love reading daily papers. I can appreciate the history and tradition and convenience of the newspaper form. But I fail to see what makes ink and paper magical when it comes to holding the powerful to account.

Pitts writes, in the sentence after the pull-quote, "If newspapers go, no other entity will have the wherewithal to do that." Where did that wherewithal come from? Newspapers were for many years the most efficient and convenient way to deliver both content and advertising to a wide audience. That gave them the ability to charge high rates for advertising which could then fund better content which increased readership which made ads even more valuable.

When radio came along, it created another avenue for disseminating content and advertising. But it didn't kill newspapers. Radio can't show pictures, and as a linear medium it can't convey detailed information -- whether baseball box scores, stock prices, or department store sale items -- as well as print. Except for TV's ability to show pictures, it suffers from the same restricted ability to present complex and detailed information. Radio and television are sequential; newspapers are "random access" -- you can stop, skip around, come back, re-read.

Enter the internet, and specifically, the world-wide web. Not only can the web match the "random access" capability of newspapers, it improves upon it with the ability to hyperlink related content, search content, save and organize favorite content, and mix a variety of media types together in one place. Not only can I see an ad for a restaurant on a news website, I can click on a link and visit the restaurant's website and look at the restaurant's menu. Where once a newspaper was a business's best hope of raising public awareness, the internet makes it easier for potential customers to find you and makes possible a variety of niche businesses that could never hope to find enough customers via traditional media.

What the web doesn't offer (yet) is the convenient form factor of the newspaper for reading over a meal, on the front porch, or on the airplane during those dread times when electronic devices must be stowed. And there's still a serendipity factor with a paper -- there are articles that I'd never click to read on the web that will catch my eye in print. And of course, you can't easily underline or annotate web articles. (Yet.)

If newspapers are no longer the most efficient and convenient way to deliver both content and advertising to a wide audience, then how will they maintain the wherewithal to hold the powerful to account? (Assuming they choose to do so.) Who will have the wherewithal to gather, summarize, and distribute the volume of news that we came to expect during the golden age of newspapers?

Newsgathering may not be as expensive as it once was, thanks to the internet, but whether the reporter is sitting in City Hall or watching the Council meeting over the web, you won't have a report unless the reporter (whether paid or volunteer) takes the time to watch it. You may be able to Google the Federal budget, but someone has to take the initiative to do it, to sift through the wealth of information to find the significant, newsworthy fact.

If someone discovers newsworthy information, blogs make it easier that ever to publish it in a way that interested people can find it. But it can still get lost in all the noise. And, as I noted in last week's column, in Oklahoma, publishing information that holds the "magnates" accountable may also subject you to legal action designed to drain your finances and your morale.

It's hard to see how you can have the scale of newsgathering needed to create the kind of accountability Pitts talks about without a source of money. It seems clear that the old paradigm that made newspapers possible is now broken. As Clay Shirky pointed out in a brilliant, must-read, much-linked essay, the new paradigm has yet to emerge:

Round and round this goes, with the people committed to saving newspapers demanding to know "If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?" To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke.

With the old economics destroyed, organizational forms perfected for industrial production have to be replaced with structures optimized for digital data. It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves -- the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public -- has stopped being a problem....

In craigslist's gradual shift from 'interesting if minor' to 'essential and transformative', there is one possible answer to the question "If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?" The answer is: Nothing will work, but everything might. Now is the time for experiments, lots and lots of experiments, each of which will seem as minor at launch as craigslist did, as Wikipedia did, as octavo volumes did.

Journalism has always been subsidized. Sometimes it's been Wal-Mart and the kid with the bike. Sometimes it's been Richard Mellon Scaife. Increasingly, it's you and me, donating our time. The list of models that are obviously working today, like Consumer Reports and NPR, like ProPublica and WikiLeaks, can't be expanded to cover any general case, but then nothing is going to cover the general case.

Society doesn't need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That's been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we're going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead.

When we shift our attention from 'save newspapers' to 'save society', the imperative changes from 'preserve the current institutions' to 'do whatever works.' And what works today isn't the same as what used to work.

I've only quoted a small piece of this -- you really need to read the whole thing.

An edited version of this column appeared in the April 1, 2009, issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly. The published version is no longer available online. Posted online June 15, 2016.

Election Day 2009 is a mere seven months away, and a credible opponent to Mayor Kathy Taylor's bid for re-election has yet to emerge.

It is usual to set out one's reasons for seeking office in some form. In the U. S. we call such a document a platform; in the U.K. it's known as an election manifesto.
In that spirit, here then, on the 1st day of April, 2009, is my mayoral manifesto.

Transparency and accountability

We begin by acknowledging the financial constraints our city is under. The ideas listed below represent my priorities for spending the funds that we have. We will not propose or promote any measure that would increase the tax burden on the citizens of Tulsa, particularly in this time of financial uncertainty.

We will make the best use of the money that has already been entrusted to city government to provide basic services - police and fire protection, streets, water, sewer, trash, and stormwater. We will find the funds to conduct a thorough performance and financial audit of city government. We will insist on implementation of the recommendations and replace any department head that drags his feet.

We must increase the size and budget of our underfunded City Auditor's department. A properly-funded fiscal watchdog should be able to find more than enough savings to offset the additional cost.

To encourage transparency and accountability, a Bates administration will make as much city government information available on the internet as the law allows. A TGOV website will offer access to both live and archived video of public meetings.

A geographical information system (GIS) will make it easy for city workers and citizens alike to find information on zoning, crime, and construction in an area of interest. Accessible information will make it easier for citizens and media (both old and new) to keep an eye on city government and to uncover waste, fraud, and abuse.

Partnerships for progress

I pledge to build a collaborative relationship with the City Council, to respect their standing as the elected representatives of the citizens of Tulsa, and to treat them as partners, not adversaries.

If a councilor wants my ear, he won't have to go through three layers of underlings to get to me. If I'm attending a meeting or planning a project in a councilor's district, the councilor will hear about it ahead of time from me. Instead of sending out a flak-catcher, you'll see me at council committee meetings and delivering the weekly mayor's report. I won't agree to expensive legal settlements without the knowledge and consent of the Council.

Surveys have revealed a disconnect between City Hall and the citizens, particularly citizens in our less affluent neighborhoods in north, west, and east Tulsa. We need a sound civic infrastructure to keep citizens informed and to help citizens make their voices heard by city leaders.

One possibility is the district council plan used in St. Paul, Minn. My administration will survey best practices across the country and will work with the Council and neighborhood leaders to identify the model best suited to Tulsa's circumstances.

Membership of the city's authorities, boards, and commissions has been dominated by Tulsa's most affluent neighborhoods in midtown and south Tulsa. I will broaden the pool of mayoral appointees, starting by reaching out to the thousands of PLANiTULSA workshop participants.

I will collaborate with my suburban counterparts whenever appropriate, but I will never lose sight of the fact that I was hired to serve the citizens of Tulsa.

Planning and zoning

The PLANiTULSA process has been a great success to date, with thousands of Tulsans participating in citywide and small-area planning workshops. We should see the adoption of a new comprehensive plan prior to the city general election.

But the plan's adoption is only the beginning. Full implementation will almost certainly require modifications to Tulsa's zoning code. It will also require the political will to stick to the plan as individual zoning and planning decisions are made.

Tulsa's land-use planning system should be characterized by transparency, inclusiveness, consistency, clarity, and adaptability. Our land-use laws should allow as much freedom as possible while protecting against genuine threats to safety, quality of life, and property values.

We must get away from a one-size-fits-all zoning code. Development suitable for 71st and Memorial may not be right for 15th and Utica. Tulsa should establish special districts - some cities call them conservation districts - where rules can be customized to the neighborhood's circumstances. Form-based rules should be available for neighborhoods that want them.

Tulsa should do what every other city in the metro area has already done and establish our own city planning commission, one with a balanced membership that is geographically representative and not dominated by the development industry. All Tulsans have a stake in how our city grows, not just those who stand to make a buck on new construction.

We'll bring land-planning services in house as well, ending our contract with INCOG. (We will continue to collaborate with INCOG on regional transportation planning.)

Economic development

The city's approach to economic development would change in a Bates administration. Some of Tulsa's biggest employers and biggest draws for new dollars started small and grew.

Instead of spending all our economic development funds luring large companies to relocate to Tulsa, we should emphasize removing any barriers to small business formation and expansion.

One of those barriers is the cost of a place to do business. We'll revisit rules that hinder operating a business out of your own home. While many neighborhoods will prefer to remain purely residential, others would welcome the live-work option, with a broader range of permitted home occupations. Here again, Tulsa can customize rules to fit the diversity of our neighborhoods.

We cannot afford to leave behind those Tulsans who are at the bottom of the economic ladder. We will partner with non-profits to help Tulsans develop basic financial life skills - the habits that enable someone to find and keep a job, spend his earnings wisely, and build assets over time.

Tulsa should become known as a city of educational choice from pre-K to college for families of all income levels, not just the well-to-do. I will work with the Oklahoma legislature to expand access to charter and private schools for Tulsans. My administration will seek a cooperative relationship with private schools, homeschooling families and support organizations, and all seven public school districts that overlap our city boundaries.

Under my administration, the city will hold a full and open competition to choose a contractor to promote our convention and tourism industry. The Tulsa Metro Chamber will be welcome to compete, but no longer will it enjoy sole-source status. Tulsa is home to many innovative marketing firms that could do a better job of communicating Tulsa's unique appeal.

The city center

There's been a great deal of focus and hundreds of millions of dollars in public investment in downtown over the last decade. The aim of that investment was to bring downtown back to life, not to turn more buildings into surface parking lots. I will push for adoption of the Tulsa Preservation Commission's "CORE Proposals," including an inventory of downtown buildings, a demolition review process, and standards for new development that reinforce downtown's walkable, urban character.

But Tulsa's urban core doesn't stop at the Inner Dispersal Loop. Downtown's long-term prosperity and revitalization depends on the vitality of the nearby neighborhoods.

Tulsa offers many choices for those who prefer a suburban lifestyle, but we also need to provide a viable urban living option for individuals, couples, and families who want to live close to work, shopping, school, church, healthcare, and entertainment.

There should be at least one part of our city where you can go everywhere you need to go without needing a car. Central Tulsa was built with the pedestrian in mind. New development should reinforce its walkable character.

The city's role would be to protect stable and historic single-family neighborhoods, improve regulations and raise awareness of tax incentives to encourage adaptive reuse of historic buildings, and encourage higher-density, urban infill development in neighborhoods that desire it.

Getting around town

In the future, it may make financial sense to build a light rail system. Right now, we can make better use of the transit system we already have by focusing on frequent, dependable bus service from early morning to late night within this pedestrian-friendly central zone.

Where it's impractical to provide frequent bus service, entrepreneurs should be allowed to fill in the gaps. It ought to be possible in Tulsa for someone with time and a vehicle to make money helping their neighbors get around town. We'll study what other cities have done to encourage privately-owned, publicly-accessible transportation like jitneys, taxis, and shuttles.

Preparing for the future

A Bates administration will not only focus on the near term but will plan for the future as well. Disaster preparedness is a part of that job. One area that deserves attention is the security of Tulsa's food supply. A food crisis could be triggered by financial collapse, soaring energy prices, or a terrorist attack on America's food supply system.
City Hall should study ways to help connect local farmers and growers with local consumers so that our region can attain a degree of self-sufficiency and insulation from an external crisis. We'll make sure that city regulations don't get in the way of community gardens and farmers' markets.

If elected, I will govern with the expectation that I will only serve a single term. I will reckon myself a political dead man, having stepped on so many toes that millions will be raised to prevent my re-election as mayor or my election to any other office.

Finally, my fellow Tulsans, as you find yourself elated or, more likely, outraged at the thought of a Michael Bates mayoral run, remember the old Roman motto: Caveat lector kalendas Apriles.

The time has come:

Election Day 2009 is a mere seven months away, and a credible opponent to Mayor Kathy Taylor's bid for re-election has yet to emerge.

It is usual to set out one's reasons for seeking office in some form. In the U.S. we call such a document a platform; in the U.K. it's known as an election manifesto.

In that spirit, here then, on the first day of April, 2009, is my mayoral manifesto.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: For the non-Latin speakers, Caveat lector kalendas Apriles means, "Let the reader beware of the Calends of April." As for my mayoral campaign, launch date is set ad kalendas Graecas.

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