Cities: April 2009 Archives

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.

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.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Cities category from April 2009.

Cities: March 2009 is the previous archive.

Cities: May 2009 is the next archive.

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