Tulsa's "golden rectangle"

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The "Money Belt" made an appearance, under a different name, in an article in the Sunday paper about the different sections of Tulsa and where the dividing lines are. It came in an observation from southeast Tulsa resident and downtown Tulsa worker Brice Bogle:

A math lover, Bogle tried to teach us about the golden rectangle, which is supposedly the "perfect rectangle," he said. Citing Wikipedia for part of the definition, "many artists and architects have proportioned their works to approximate the form of the golden rectangle, which has been considered aesthetically pleasing."

Midtown is like Tulsa's golden rectangle, he said, an area he defines as from the northwest corner of the Inner Dispersal Loop to Skelly Drive in the south, and Harvard Avenue on the east.

"When the leaders of Tulsa talk about doing things for the benefit of Tulsa, it seldom means an area outside of the golden rectangle," Bogle said. "To many outside of the rectangular area, it often seems that those inside the area do not think of Tulsa really being anything beyond it."

I would adjust his boundaries slightly -- shave off the less prosperous parts of southern and western Brookside and northeast of the Broken Arrow Expressway -- to come up with what I call the "Money Belt," but the attitude Bogle describes is spot on, and it manifests itself in election results, mayoral appointments, council-packing schemes, survey results, even water usage. That's not to say that all Money Belt denizens are afflicted with this insular attitude, or that those who are are bad people -- they just need to broaden their horizons. To them, the rest of Tulsa is something you drive through to get to Grand Lake or the airport.

But Money Belt blindness to the needs and concerns of the rest of Tulsa has real consequences. It's why it's important to provide some geographic balance on the city's boards and commissions, rather than drawing most appointees from this golden rectangle. It's why it's important for city councilors to advocate forcefully for their district's concerns; no one else in a position of power will. I applaud the councilors who rejected yet another golden rectangle resident for appointment to the planning commission and are pushing for representation on the commission from other parts of the city. (Oklahoma City's planning commission has a member from each city council district.)

(P.S. No, I don't think the Money Belt is a conspiracy. It's a demographic phenomenon, a mindset, a subculture. What makes it especially interesting is that it's a subculture that wields a good deal of political and economic power.)

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 11, 2010 11:24 PM.

Southern Republican Leadership Conference straw poll was the previous entry in this blog.

Eagleton on City Attorney Deirdre Dexter: "not competent in the field of municipal law" is the next entry in this blog.

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