Tulsa: May 2003 Archives

Too much whimsy, lately, sorry. I've been working on a lot of serious stuff off-line, so the web has become a source for comic relief. Checked out thetulsan.com for the first time in a while, which has a little blurb about the Indian Gaming / Class III Gaming bill, labeling it Wampumgate and condemning the scandal, although he doesn't explain what it's all about. In any case, the gaming bill failed to make it through before the end of the session, as you can read in this story from KFAQ.

There's also a link to thetulsan.com's ranking of Tulsa news websites, with pros and cons for each one.



Found another interesting local website, worth checking on a regular basis. Right now thetulsan.com features an article on goings on at KFAQ, a rank of Tulsa news websites. Most usefully, there are links to stories of local interest that would otherwise be difficult to find. For example, the home page has a mention of the disappearance in Iraq of aid workers with Bartlesville-based Strategic World Impact, and a link to KFAQ's transcript of the remarks of Sen. Bernest Cain, in which he compares Christians to the Taliban and Hitler. From the links and some of the comments, the site appears to lean right. Glad to have yet another source of local news and commentary on the scene.

Pools out for the summer


Only four city pools will be open this summer -- haven't heard anything about the county's pools yet. We were hoping to have our kids take swimming lessons and then have a chance to practice what they learn over the rest of the summer. My wife thought to look into a membership at one of the private pools near our house. Some government agency (probably the City-County Health Department; don't know for sure) told one of these pools they needed $15,000 worth of work done before they could open for the summer. I don't want to see our children put in a dangerous situation, but it seems like this would be a good summer for government to find ways to let these private pools open, to take some of the pressure off of the few public pools.

Public storm shelters?


While we cowered in our "hidey-hole" during last Friday's storm, we heard a radio station tell us that certain schools and public facilities would be open as storm shelters. I'm looking forward to hearing the whole story. Who gave the information to the stations and why did no one at the stations realize the absurdity of telling people to drive for miles in a tornadic storm to take shelter?

On the way down US 75 to Jenks for my son's T-ball game, I directed his attention up Lookout Mountain to the KTUL Channel 8 studios. "That's a TV station up there." Trying to find a way to explain the significance, I asked my wife, "Does he watch anything on Channel 8?" "We see bits of the news, sometimes."

Thirty-five years ago, the Channel 8 studios on Lookout Mountain meant something to Tulsa's six-year-olds. That's where you went to be on "Mr Zing and Tuffy" or "Uncle Zeb's Cartoon Camp". It's where you wrote to get an autographed Gusty cartoon by weatherman Don Woods. Lookout Mountain meant something to local musicians too, who appeared on John Chick's morning show, and to the many fans of Mazeppa's Uncanny Film Festival. It wasn't just that these programs were entertaining or informative, it was that you or someone you knew might be on the air. Stations like KTUL were woven tightly into local culture.

That connection is gone -- my son watches Animal Planet, PBS, Disney, and HGTV. He's probably seen more TV reporters in person, at the various political events we attend, than he has on TV.

If you want to relive a time when locally-owned TV (and radio) stations reflected and contributed to local popular culture, check out Mike Ransom's wonderful Tulsa TV Memories website.

Hard to believe? Well, it's not happening here. It's happening in Oklahoma City, where Mayor Kirk Humphreys and the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce are joining forces to defeat a 0.4% permanent county sales tax sought by Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel to fund his department. The Daily Oklahoman quotes Humphreys as saying, "It's too large in the amount of money, it's too loose in accountability and it goes on for too long."

Approval of the tax on May 13 would create an oversight committee, but the members would serve at the Sheriff's pleasure. The tax will raise $30-$35 million a year. The Sheriff could spend it on anything. Mayor Humphreys says that having that kind of money to spend with no oversight would make the Sheriff more powerful than the Governor.

Competition over and coordination of tax elections takes place all the time behind the scenes, as overlapping government entities try to keep the money flowing. An ill-timed bond issue from, say, the Vo-Tech District could make it harder for another taxing authority, such as the city, to extend a sales tax. But an elected local official is usually reluctant to oppose another local official's tax hike, because he doesn't want to create enemies for the next time he must ask the voters for more money. So it's refreshing to see Mayor Humphreys break the code of silence of the Bureaucratic Brotherhood and take a public stand against a bad idea.

Here's the Oklahoman's collection of stories on the proposed tax hike.

I want to be sure that all our Tulsa readers are aware of Coventry Chorale's upcoming performance of masses by Schubert and Schumann, Monday, May 12th, 7:30 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 5th & Cincinnati in downtown Tulsa. We performed the Schubert piece at Grace Episcopal Church in Ponca City last week, and it sounded beautiful and was well received.

The Chorale's website features a couple of Eastertide selections from our CD of works by the late Thomas Matthews, organist and choirmaster of Trinity Episcopal Church -- "The Day of Resurrection" and an organ improvisation on the hymn tune "Nassau". Stop by and have a listen.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from May 2003.

Tulsa: June 2003 is the next archive.

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