Tulsa: June 2005 Archives

Got a call tonight from the Tarrance Group, a national polling firm headed by native Oklahoman Ed Goeas. It was a long survey asking about Tulsa politics. Here, roughly, are the questions that were asked:

  • City going in the right direction or the wrong direction? Strongly or somewhat?
  • Favorable or unfavorable opinion of Dewey Bartlett, Jr.? Strongly or somewhat?
  • Favorable or unfavorable opinion of Bill LaFortune? Strongly or somewhat?
  • Approve or disapprove of the way Bill LaFortune is handling his job as Mayor?
  • Does LaFortune deserve to be reelected, or is it time to give someone else a chance?
  • If the 2006 Republican primary election were today, would you vote for Dewey Bartlett, Jr., or Bill LaFortune? Definitely or probably?
  • What's your age?
  • Do you consider yourself very liberal, liberal, conservative, very conservative?
  • Pro-life, pro-choice? Strongly or somewhat?
  • Employed outside the home, homemaker, or retired?
  • For verification purposes, what is your name?
  • Is this phone number listed?

It would appear that Republican former City Councilor Dewey Bartlett, Jr., who fell short in his race for State Senate last fall and made an unsuccessful run for Mayor in the 1992 special election (others in the race, including former Mayor Dick Crawford, split the GOP vote), is looking at a primary challenge to Mayor LaFortune. Had it been LaFortune testing his own re-electability, the questionnaire would have included names of other potential rivals.

Von, a commenter and diarist on RedState.org, is visiting Tulsa in July on business and has some questions about things to do, places to eat, and how to get around town. You Tulsa folks, drop by and give him some advice.

MeeCiteeWurkor visited Tulsa's Central Library today and was amazed and appalled to find that the main display area, just opposite the children's section, was given over to a "Gay Pride" display. He has posted descriptions, photos, videos, and PDFs of what he saw. He was especially disturbed by the display of the Openarms Youth Project, which encourages sexually confused ("Questioning" is the approved term nowadays) children as young as 14 to mingle with homosexual young adults.

He links to an item I wrote in December about the defeat of the library bond issue, in which I mentioned a controversy some years ago about the same sort of display. For some reason I thought the library had decided at the time not to allow the exhibit any longer, but apparently not.

MeeCiteeWurkor went on a quest to find out how one gets the privilege of using the library's display cases, but the person who could answer his questions was out. In his wanderings around the library, on a rack near a checkout counter, he came across a brochure from the Tulsa Chapter of the National Conference of Community and Justice (NCCJ -- now the reminted and independent OCCJ) encouraging inclusive prayer -- i.e., don't pray in public in Jesus' name.

Back to the gay display: It's one thing for the library to offer controversial books on controversial subjects, often with opposing viewpoints shoulder-to-shoulder on the shelves. It's another to offer prominent display space to such a controversial cause, particularly in a place so close to the children's section, and on behalf of a cause contrary to the sensibilities of most of the people who are paying for the library.

There are so many better and less controversial uses of that prominent public space, and not least among them would be more shelves for books that are now relegated to storage.

A hat tip to MeeCiteeWurkor for the thorough documentation of what he saw. If you're a Tulsan, his blog should be one of your daily reads.

Oklahoma City's Downtown Guy has posted the last installment in his series on a recent visit Tulsa, which features a photo of the demolition of the Skelly Building. He says it's been years since a significant historic building has been demolished in downtown OKC, and he mentions one badly-damaged building that the owner chose to restore because, like the Skelly Building, it sat on a prominent corner. About the Skelly, he writes:

Protests were held, much like those for the Gold Dome in OKC. But they weren’t victorious (the Gold Dome, on the other hand, was a big win for preservationists here).

Saving the Gold Dome was a hard-fought victory, but OKC preservationists had some tools at their disposal that are missing in Tulsa. The building is in an urban design review district, and the owner of the building had to seek a certificate of appropriateness to demolish the building and build the new Walgreens and bank branch to replace it. The Urban Design Commission denied all three applications, and ultimately a buyer was found to restore and reuse the landmark.

Here in Tulsa, we have nothing in our ordinances to stop or even slow the demolition of historic commercial buildings or to prevent the continued erosion of what remains of our urban streetscape. If there were a consensus among the powerful that preservation is a good thing, such laws wouldn't be needed, but the fact that we don't have such laws is a clear indication that the folks who really run this town don't get it yet. They see a new arena and a new convention center in Oklahoma City, and they think that's all we need to achieve the same sort of revitalization. What they don't notice are all the old buildings that weren't knocked down in the '60s for urban renewal or in the decades since for parking. These old buildings were available when people were ready to take risks and start businesses in Bricktown. Tulsa is starting off well behind Oklahoma City in the old buildings department. If we expect great things to happen in downtown Tulsa, one of the first steps is to stop tearing down buildings. A private effort to rescue endangered buildings, paralleled by public policy decisions to encourage preservation, are the first steps.

It's always interesting to see your city through other eyes. OKC-based blogger The Downtown Guy spent some time in Tulsa recently as a tourist and has a few thoughts to share on what we have going for us, and where we fall short.

Part 1 is actually an Urban Tulsa article from the latest issue on why downtown Tulsa doesn't work.

In Part 2, he notes Tulsa's high ranking in salary value, and tells us we ought to cherish and celebrate Cain's Ballroom. (By the way, I love the evocative Flash intro to Cain's website, but I want to hear the whole song!)

In Part 2 1/2, he passes along some exciting news about plans for the East Village area -- mixed-use development including a $500 million production facility. (TulsaNow forums has a discussion thread on the topic here.)

Part 3 is about where Vision 2025 went wrong. He observes Bricktown-type synergy occurring, but it's happening on the riverfront in Jenks.

He promises more commentary tomorrow.

A couple of comments:

He's right about Cain's Ballroom, and I don't think enough of Tulsa's civic leaders fully appreciate what we have in Cain's and in the heritage of Western Swing music. It's almost as if the Chamber Pots are embarrassed by the grubby, gritty blue-collar and barely-tamed side of Tulsa. I see that attitude reflected in the way the two cities promote themselves to tourists.

The tourism brochure that the Chamber puts out (the one you'll find at hotel tourist brochure racks all over this region) paints Tulsa as a high-class, high-culture cosmopolitan city. The brochure highlights our world-class art museums and our opera and our ballet and shopping at Utica Square, all wonderful and worthy of attention. Even the tiny font of the Tulsa brochure suggests that Tulsa is an acquired taste for the discriminating palate. Next time you see a rack of tourism brochures, contrast Tulsa's with Oklahoma City's. OKC's has big type, big pictures of horses, cowboys, and Indians, and a big map showing at a glance where all the good stuff is. It's the sort of brochure that says "We're proud of who we are," not, "We're East Coast wannabes." And OKC's brochure is designed to grab a kid's attention -- "This looks cool! Can we stop there, please?"

Getting back to Western Swing, Tulsa ought to make it easy for visitors to find Cain's, maybe work with ownership to allow tours when there aren't any events, be sure that Western Swing has a place at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, and help Western Swing fans visiting Tulsa find that kind of music. Coming to Tulsa as a Western Swing fan and not being able to find it performed anywhere would be like going to Vienna and being unable to find anyone playing Strauss waltzes. And while we're at it, let's make north Main Street a link between downtown, Brady Village, and OSU-Tulsa, which owns the land just on the other side of I-244 from Cain's. OSU-Tulsa ought to be encouraged, pressured even (since the city gave the school the land), to build out their campus in an urban fashion, not more of the suburban mall approach they've used so far.

Regarding Jenks and the river -- some of the development Downtown Guy mentions is actually on the east bank in Tulsa, like the Creek Casino. But his main point is that this development is off the beaten path, not easy for out-of-towners to find, and far from downtown. He says Tulsa had twice attempted to pass a MAPS-type program, but that's really not so. Tulsa's plans were always focused on the arena and convention center, while MAPS involved a variety of projects, still mostly downtown, but MAPS also included the Bricktown canal, the art museum, the library, and the music hall. There's a synergy in Bricktown which will be difficult to achieve in downtown Tulsa. I'll be interested to read his next installment and would love to know what he thinks about the arena's location relative to other downtown activity centers, the impact of the Inner Dispersal Loop, and ongoing downtown demolition.

Bill Bartmann profile


In the latest Urban Tulsa Weekly, G. W. Schulz has a fascinating profile of Bill Bartmann, one of the more colorful characters in Tulsa's business community over the last decade or so -- where he came from, what happened with CFS, and where he's headed.

Time to catch up with the Tulsa bloggers on my blogroll. It's a diverse bunch.

Don Singleton is tracking blog commentary on treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo.

MeeCiteeWurkor has figured out how to use built-in features and the Adblock extension of Mozilla's Firefox browser ("the Internet, your way") to block most of the annoying, slow-loading features of the KOTV website, but he's still stumped by the Javascript ad ticker.

(Here are my Firefox puzzlers. 1. How can I get back the right-click "Send Page" option that I had in Mozilla? Firefox only gives me "Send Link", and then I have to attach the page manually to the e-mail message. 2. I can put my blogroll in my sidebar in Firefox, but if I click on a link, Firefox tries to open it in a frame in the sidebar, not in the main window, which is how it works in Mozilla. What's up with that?)

Ladies and gentlemen, Voyager 1 has left the solar system. (HT: Steve Roemerman.)

Steve has also been writing about parenting, along with a number of other Tulsa bloggers. Steve has set up a magnetic "responsibility chart" for his two-year-old.

Bowden McElroy writes about the goal of parenting: "The goal, when raising children, is NOT to have a precious 2-year-old, or a precocious fifth-grader, or a model teenager. The end goal is to raise independent, fully functioning, adults who love Christ with all their heart, soul, and mind." The previous two entries are also about parenting and discipline, and if you go back even further you'll find some insights on being a father of three daughters.

Marsupial Mom is expecting baby number four and says she looks farther along than she is.

Her husband Swamphopper asks if we're trying to raise good kids or redeemed kids:

It sounds so simple, but I must keep reminding myself that my first priority in parenting is not helping my children be good but helping them understand the gospel. Of course I have a responsibility to educate, instruct, and protect. But first and foremost I must rehearse, explain, model, demonstrate, and reiterate their need and my need to trust in Jesus Christ.

First of all, we do our children a disservice if we point them to truth (or to Jesus for that matter) to primarily safeguard them from the pitfalls of life. History is replete with examples of good, moral people who respected Jesus but rejected His Lordship. Learning about Jesus is more than just learning about his life and teachings. We do well to take our children to church, to protect them from negative influences, and to encourage good behavior; however, our hope really rests on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.

Swamphopper and Marsupial Mom have a joint blog about family life called Little House, where they go by Pa and Ma and they call their girls Mary, Laura, and Carrie. The blog features lovely, funny slices of home life.

Something I meant to blog about at the time, but never finished, so here's the link anyway: Marsupial Mom had an excellent entry a couple of months ago about the dangers in the idea that everyone has a soulmate or One True Love -- one perfect match among billions, and if you don't find your soulmate, you're doomed to a life of misery. She writes about the approach she took to making the decision about who to marry. Her entry was inspired by a longer article on the topic by Jollyblogger. (My headline for the entry: "Happily ever after is not a beshert thing." Beshert is Yiddish for destined one, soulmate, and you have to Americanize the pronunciation of the second "e" for the pun to work.)

Bobby of Tulsa Topics has been visited by the utility company's Angel of Tree Death. (Update here.)

Don Danz wonders if the Strawberry Nirvana from Jamba Juice isn't a bit too good.

Dan Paden writes of a friend who wants to go back to school to get an education. Dan says his friend is better educated than most college graduates he encounters -- particularly when it comes to basic logic.

Doug Smith reflects on a day of prayer, laying hands on the walls of the Tulsa County Jail. (Yes, the post is a month old, but worth reading.)

Over on the LiveJournal community "Tulsa Time", we learn that the Parks Department has installed a labyrinth at Hunter Park, and that Backwoods in The Farm Shopping Center has maps of the Illinois River, Robbers' Cave and other such places printed on bandanas.

Bitweever has a job and will be staying in Tulsa.

Joel Blain has built a very, very big tire swing. And he discovers just how unpleasant it can be to be sitting next to the last empty seat in the theatre. (The soundtrack for the latter entry should be Weird Al singing "Another One Rides the Bus.") He's also got a cool link blog in his sidebar, powered by del.icio.us.

Linda Carlton is on a mission trip to Guatemala, but should be back posting in the next day or two. In earlier entries, she writes about an adventurous three-year-old who got into the toy-grabbing crane game at Wal-Mart, and she reflects on how God has used her children's genetic medical condition and her husband's computer skills to minister to other families in the same situation, helping to answer questions and save lives.

Linda's husband Danny responds to an ESPN writer's nasty jab at homeschooled kids.

Update your links: Greta "Hooah Wife" Perry has joined a group blog called Elephant in My Coffee. Her blog-partners are also her partners in a business called We Surf for You -- they do personalized Internet research, blog setup, transfer, and customization, website design and critique, and they have a large collection of favorite family-friendly web links.

Did I miss anyone?



Kristen, an 18-year-old young woman from Maine who is a fan of the band Hanson, flew to Tulsa to see the band perform during Mayfest. Her journal of her visit to Our Fair City is a fun read -- she had "an AWESOME time in Tulsa."

About this Archive

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

Tulsa: May 2005 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: July 2005 is the next archive.

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