Tulsa: January 2005 Archives

School board elections


Oklahoma school board elections are a week from tomorrow, February 8.

Here's what you need to do:

Enter your address and find your precinct and school board district here.

Now that you know what district you're in, go here to look at sample ballots (or see the direct links below) and see who's running and what issues are on the ballot in your district.

Here are the school board seats:

Bixby, Office 5
Berryhill, Office 5
Liberty, Office 5
Tulsa, Office 2
Tulsa, Office 3
Union, Office 5

Everyone in Union district also has a bond issue to vote on. Here's that ballot.

In addition to the races for common school board seats, there's a race for a seat on the board that governs Tulsa Technology Center. The district is mainly south and west of the Arkansas River and I-244, plus far south Tulsa and north Bixby -- you can see a map here and you can see a profile of the incumbent board members here.

Tulsa Vo-Tech, Office 7

If you're a candidate for one of these offices, write me at blog at batesline dot com, supply me with your contact information and a brief summary of why you're running, and what you'd change about your school system, and I will post your information on this site.

Neon blooms on 41st Street



It was nice to see the lovely neon sign belonging to Argie Lewis Flowers installed and lit up at the florist's new location on the southside of 41st east of Sheridan.

Argie Lewis was, until last fall, our neighborhood florist -- the photo above was taken at dusk in February 2003, when the store was still at Mayo Meadow Shopping Center. It was one of four interesting neon signs at the center -- the Center's own sign, the Better Price Store (neon and running incandescent lights), and Huey's Shoes. The end is apparently near for Mayo Meadow -- the center's neon sign, once scrupulously maintained in working order, has been allowed to go dark one element at a time.

Mayo Meadow Shopping Center, designed by architect John Duncan Forsythe, may just reach its golden anniversary. A Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market is slated to replace the center, with an outbuilding to house Yale Cleaners, the only current tenant that will remain. Huey's Shoes has closed forever, the shoe repairman is moving, Better Price has reopened as Marc's All-Mart in the old Woodcraft Furniture location at 51st and Sheridan, Ming Palace is now Ming's at 73rd and Memorial, in an old McDonald's store.

KFAQ: streaming for what's right


By the way, you can now listen to KFAQ online. (Hooray!) You have to be running Internet Explorer to install the application that lets you listen. (Booo!) It's a proprietary system called SurferNetwork, which is a bit disappointing; if it were RealAudio, I could use various means to record it to disk. Still, I can listen when I travel, which hasn't been possible before. I think that SurferNetwork addresses some rights and advertising issues that might have prevented us from having the feed at all.

Thanks to Brian Gann and KFAQ for making it happen.

KFAQ broadcasts the Michael DelGiorno show live between 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. (Central Time) then rebroadcasts the most recent show over and over again until the next show begins. You should be able to hear my Monday morning bit live at 6:40 a.m., then again at 10:10 a.m., 1:40 p.m., 5:10 p.m., 8:40 p.m., then Tuesday in the wee hours at 12:10 a.m., and 3:40 a.m.

State of the city


Jamie Jamieson, developer of the Village at Central Park and outgoing president of TulsaNow has written a letter reflecting on the state of the city and the state of TulsaNow to mark the end of his term of office.

Jamie reviews some of 2004's positive developments, including the emergence of other civic-minded groups like Homeowners for Fair Zoning, SaveTulsa.org, and Young Professionals of Tulsa.

He has some choice words for the recall attempt:

TulsaNow exists to stimulate objective civic debate that leads to intelligent strategic decisions about our community’s future. Among the less enlightening of 2004’s small-town politicking is the ongoing ‘recall’ effort to eliminate two of the City’s more inconveniently opinionated Councilors, Medlock and Mautino. This self-serving initiative - denounced by virtually everyone, including the Mayor and Tulsa’s GOP – has the aroma of a rancorous and rattled old boys’ club that’s run out of ideas but resents the harsh light of day intruding into the comforting fug of the locker-room. We see those Councilors as elected representatives asking good questions. Let’s spend more time on the issues in 2005 and less on character assassination.

(If you're wondering, a fug is "a thick, stuffy, smelly atmosphere, especially that of a crowded, poorly-ventilated room.")

Jamie goes on to talk about TulsaNow's 2004 focus on land use issues and focus that will continue into 2005:

Land Use policy affects our health, taxes, traffic congestion, transit options, pollution, zoning, schools … you name it. Our present policies are out-dated and uncompetitive. They’re inefficient, expensive and socially divisive. Bureaucratic rivalries serve to hinder rather than encourage change. Acrimonious ‘Developer vs. Neighborhood’ disputes are just one symptom of the growing pains we’re facing that relate to land use.

He closes with an appeal to get involved:

Now more than ever we need imagination, courage, clarity of vision and a cooperative determination to carry through. The visionaries of the 1920s and 30’s are gone, and we can no longer depend on our founding philanthropists to decide what’s best for us. It’s up to informed citizens to take charge of our own destiny. TulsaNow aims to help by organizing and invigorating working groups of people who come to the table with ideas and solutions.

I was about to say ‘Watch this space’. Don’t. Get involved instead. Start by joining us at www.Tulsanow.org. Here’s to a ground-breaking year of visible progress and rational, purposeful, civic discussion.

Thanks, Jamie, for loving Tulsa enough to get involved and do all that you do to make it a better place to live.

The letter is not up on the TulsaNow website, yet, but I'm sure it will be. (UPDATE: Here it is.) For now, I'll post the full text in the extended entry.

We've long suspected it, and Ken Neal admitted it in his Sunday Whirled column:

It is a common accusation that the World “never saw a tax it doesn’t like.” There is a lot of truth in that statement.

The point of the editorial is to push for the proposed fuel tax increase for roads and bridges. No one doubts that some of our roads and bridges are in dire shape, but many of us doubt whether giving an ever-larger share of the wealth and income of Oklahomans to state government is going to fix that problem.

Ken Neal regularly advocates for a bigger share of the pie for government. I wonder what percentage of the state economy he would consider to be the limit beyond which government should not be allowed to grow. At what point would he say that the state has as much as it should have and needs to learn to live within its means.

Rather than increasing the state's share of the pie, we need to grow the pie.

Don't anybody say I've never said anything nice about the Tulsa Whirled. That was a lovely story they ran Saturday on the front of the local section about Dr. James D. Green's retirement. (Article starts here, jump page here.)

Tulsa physician James D. Green has never been a typical doctor — he makes house calls, prays with his patients and doesn't have a computer on his desk.

In an age of standardized care, Green believes in tailoring his
medical practice to meet the needs of his patients.

To many people, he might sound like the perfect doctor, but
alas, he isn't accepting new patients. After more than 43 years of
practice, Green, 71, is closing his office and going into semiretirement.

We've gotten to know Dr. Green and his family through church -- they are wonderful folks. (Dr. Green and I sometimes sit next to each other in the choir, and we share an appreciation for traditional hymns sung to familiar tunes.)

The article mentions that Dr. Green will continue to visit some of his homebound patients, and the Greens plan to travel to Ukraine (as they've done before) to work with clinics and hospitals. Our church has a connection with Ukraine going back about 10 years, when some of our church members did year-long stints as short term missionaries in southern Ukraine, as part of the "CoMission", a cooperative effort among denominational and independent missions agencies and parachurch groups to reach the old Soviet Union with the gospel.

May Jim and Betty Jo enjoy a long and fruitful retirement.

"Call the Editor", RIP

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On New Year's Day, the Tulsa Whirled announced the demise of the long-running "Call the Editor" feature, which the paper inherited after it drove the late, lamented Tulsa Tribune out of business in 1992, the Whirled having refused to renew their longstanding joint operating agreement.

"Call the Editor" worked like this: People called and left brief, anonymous comments on the news on an answering machine. Someone would then weed through the comments and a selection would be published each day.

The very act of selection creates an opportunity for bias. If calls in support of the City Council majority outnumbered calls in opposition by a 100-1 margin, the paper could publish one of each and claim they fairly represented both sides of the issue, although they would have misrepresented the relative intensity of opinion. Then again, anonymous calls to an answering machine don't represent a scientific sample of opinion. It could make for entertaining reading, but it was never one of my must-read features.

Anyway, "Call the Editor" is an outdated approach to commenting on news articles. So are letters to the editor. Blogs and message boards make it possible for anyone to comment publicly on any Whirled article, and to do so immediately, whether or not the Whirled wants to publish that comment. The only problem now is knowing where to look for that commentary. Someday, someone will set up a website to let you view a newspaper article in one frame and comments on that article in another. For now, I encourage people to register and use the TulsaNow forums.

(And before someone shouts "hypocrite," I plan to add non-anonymous comments to this blog as soon as I can install software to prevent comment spam. This being a one-man operation, I don't have time to be a comment cop. It probably won't happen this week, though. And in the meantime, you can comment all you like over at the TulsaNow forums.)

If you really want to call the editor, you still can: Many of the editorial board members are listed in the phone book, and they all have voice mail at the newspaper.

Here's the reason the Whirled gives for discontinuing the feature, with helpful translations in brackets:

With the addition of Datelines, however, we say goodbye to Call the Editor. Since 1992, when The Tulsa Tribune ceased publication, Call the Editor has been a mainstay on A-2 of the Tulsa World.

We believe that it is time to take a more positive approach to commentary in our community. [We are sick and tired of all of you telling us how rotten the paper is.] Despite careful editing [censorship], we believe — and many of you have told us — that Call the Editor has become extremely negative and divisive within our communities. [Our feelings are wounded. Get the iodine.] Call the Sports Editor, which appeared in the Sports section, also has been discontinued.

We still want to hear from you and give you an opportunity to express your views on everything from the Tulsa World to the world at large. However, we ask that you write your comments to our Opinion section. [That way we can sit on them for three weeks until no one can remember the article to which you responded.]

There, you'll be given the opportunity to put your name with your comments and stand up for your point of view. [If we agree with it.] Editorial Pages Editor Ken Neal plans to run more of your letters [through the shredder], and we look forward to carrying on Call the Editor's history of commentary in those letters.

If the Whirled really wants to end anonymous, destructive, negative, and divisive commentary, they should begin by firing the entire editorial board.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from January 2005.

Tulsa: December 2004 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: February 2005 is the next archive.

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