Arkansas River: July 2007 Archives

Michelle sees something amiss with all the getting ready for company in advance of the PGA:

Okay, let me get this straight - we don't have the money to fix our streets or hire enough police officers, but we have the money to take police away from their main job (fighting crime) to direct traffic around Southern Hills for the PGA? Does anyone else believe that our mayor is all image and no substance? We want to look good for Tiger, Phil and their crowd, but who cares about the people that live here day in and day out? I guess we don't matter.

Steve Roemerman has posted some photos that his great-grandmother sent to his grandfather while he was in the South Pacific as a Seabee during WW II. They're pictures of Roemerman Feed & Implement in Blakesburg, Iowa. He also has photos of the remodeling of old Eastland Mall.

Mad Okie's front end is out of whack:

and I can't afford to fix it because of all the taxes I'm having to pay... but at least we have water in the river!

That's the reality of the situation. our "leaders" have thrown so much money around trying to find a "quick fix" that they have neglected the basic needs of the city. Roads and Cops. So what is their plan? Throw money into the river... literally.

Will Tulsa approve of it? Probably, for some reason we have either given up, or we have bought their lies... hook, line and sinker.

The truth is we have already approved a tax for the river in Vision 2025. If we don't hold them to what we voted for, then they will be emboldened to do whatever they please with the money we entrust to them.

Jeff Shaw has his own take on the new "I Am... Tulsa" ad campaign. And he's set up a website for his portrait photography business.

Roemerman and meeciteewurkor have been having fun with Photoshop and Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor, but the first photo in this entry is no fake -- there really was a FSBO sign on the reception desk at the Mayor's office. Mee has Kathy as Borg queen with her new Borg cube City Hall, and the Mayor keeping the Council in line.

Tulsa Chiggers is hosting a Blog Reader Survey for his readers.

(The BatesLine blog reader survey is still open for a few more days too. I'll be giving away at least two $10 Amazon gift certificates selected at random from those who have participated. Thanks to all who have done so already.)

This comment on an earlier entry by S. Lee was so well-made that I thought it deserved spotlighting here:

Rather than be accused of a being a "nay sayer" (which, as we all know, is almost as bad as being a fan of Ann Coulter), I would suggest using Cleveland, OH as an example of how buying stuff does not constitute economic development. Cleveland is a great example of a city population that was sucked into to voting for tax increase after tax increase to pay for stuff that would magically transform the city into greatness. Instead, all they got was rapid population loss, high taxes, and a crime rate even higher than Tulsa's.

Much of what is being hustled to Tulsa voters and the method of hustling looks like Cleveland deja vu all over again. Take a look at Cleveland's web site. If stuff was what made a city, then Cleveland ought to be solid gold. But it ain't. People are moving out of Cuyahoga county over to Lorain county ... where the taxes are lower (probably crime too). Brothers and sisters, can I have a Homer Simpson "Doh!"

Note a web page about living downtown; and (egad!) a waterfront project.

I've read comments about how full the Arkansas river has been lately, and wouldn't it be nice if it were always like that. I wouldn't know since you can only see the river from a very, very small part of Tulsa where I've not taken the time to go so I can see a river. Wow! A river! I'm sure I missed out on the thrill of my life -- but I sure have seen a lot of bad roads. I'll trade some better roads and lower crime for a sandy river (that I don't often see) any day, any time.

It might be interesting, at one of the county meetings, to get a show of hands of how many people know what kind of convention center and city offices Charlotte, NC has. How many people at the meeting care about what other stuff Charlotte has bought lately? If they got a job offer in Charlotte, would they be asking what kind of stuff has Charlotte bought lately; or would they be more interested in mundane things such as transportation, crime rate, and schools?

Some folks are just so stinkin' boring.

It's been a while since I've been to Cleveland, but I attended two weddings in Cleveland and a third in Canton back in the early '90s. I remember going with some friends down to the Flats and eating at (ho hum) TGI Fridays on a Friday night. (It was May 1992 and the night of Johnny Carson's last tonight show.) The Flats is a former industrial / warehousing area on the banks of the Cuyahoga River which was converted into an entertainment district, much like Bricktown in Oklahoma City or Laclede's Landing in St. Louis. I was surprised to read not long ago that the Flats are now under re-re-development.

County Commissioner Randi Miller has scheduled her one and only public meeting on the $282.25 million river tax plan for tomorrow -- Sunday, July 29, at 2 p.m., in the at the east end of the QuikTrip Center (formerly known as the IPE Building and as the Expo Center). That probably means it's in the cafeteria building, a smaller brick building attached to the east end of the bigger structure.

The information was in Saturday morning's Whirled, buried on page A17, in the least read edition of the paper. That's a good way to make sure that, say, county employees know to show up, but citizens with questions and concerns don't get the word.

There will be three other meetings on the topic, all hosted by County Commissioner Fred Perry. Here is the complete list from the Whirled:

Sunday: 2-4 p.m. at the east end of the QuikTrip Center (formally known as the Exposition Center) at Expo Square; Commissioner Randi Miller will give a PowerPoint presentation.

Monday: 7 p.m. at Hardesty Regional Library, 8316 E. 93rd St; discussion hosted by Commissioner Fred Perry.

Tuesday: 7 p.m. at the CityPlex Towers, 81st Street and Lewis Avenue, on the second floor of the atrium building; discussion hosted by Perry.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. at Central on Main, 210 N. Main St. in Broken Arrow; discussion hosted by Perry.

Come and make your voice heard. Word is they'll vote on putting the tax on the ballot on Thursday.

If I'm able to go, I have two three things to tell the county commissioners:

(1) They promised to construct two low-water dams and to improve Zink Lake as part of Vision 2025, and they promised that the projects on the ballot would be fully funded before any new projects are considered. They need to keep that promise and fund the construction of low-water dams and Zink Lake improvements from Vision 2025 money. It's wrong for the County Commissioners to make us tax ourselves twice to get what we've already paid for.

(2) It is irresponsible for the County Commissioners to send a tax hike to a public vote when they haven't given due consideration to funding these projects without a tax increase.

(3) If the County Commissioners say they can't find a way to fund the low-water dams with Vision 2025 money, they are saying that there isn't enough money in Vision 2025 to complete all the promised projects.

MORE: Ken Neal's Sunday Whirled column is already on the web. Neal praises Commissioners Fred Perry and John Smaligo for having become more open-minded about tax increases and accuses City Councilor John Eagleton of trying to delay river development for many years. And Ken's notion that borrowing against future revenues would be like a second mortgage is just plain wrong. Tulsa County has been borrowing against future Vision 2025 revenues all along, with the intention of completing all projects in the first half of the 13 year period of the tax.

STILL MORE: TulTellitarian, writing at, has been crunching numbers, too. He makes some different assumptions but comes to the same conclusion: There's enough money in Vision 2025 to pay for the low-water dams and Zink Lake work that was promised, enough even for all the essential pieces of the new proposal. (By the way, he used Google Documents to embed spreadsheets in the blog entry. For that reason alone, if you're interested in web technology, it's worth clicking through to see how that works.)

Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller held a press conference today to explain why she absolutely has to have a higher sales tax rate in order to build the low-water dams that she promised would be built by the existing Vision 2025 tax.

Miller was responding to a proposal by Tulsa City Councilor John Eagleton, who called for paying for river plan implementation from the existing Vision 2025 sales tax, asking voters to extend that tax if its necessary to complete the projects, rather than increasing the tax rate.

I made a similar proposal in this week's column in Urban Tulsa Weekly. Tulsa County voters were promised three river related projects as part of Proposition 4:

Construct two low water dams on Arkansas River the locations of which will be determined in the Arkansas River Corridor Plan -- $5.6 million

Zink Lake Shoreline Beautification -- $1.8 million

Design and construct Zink Lake Upstream Catch Basin and silt removal -- $2.1 million

Last week on KFAQ, Vision 2025 project manager Kirby Crowe said of these funds, only $275,000 has been spent, to cover the cost of environmental paperwork that must be completed prior to constructing the dams. The rest, he said, is "unspent and protected."

In my column, I point out that these dams were promised as a part of Vision 2025, and that County Commissioners committed to completing all the projects as promised, and as quickly as possible. (I do find it interesting that neither of the two Whirled stories, about Eagleton's idea and Miller's response, mentions that construction of the dams were promised as part of Vision 2025.)

Matching funds or not, County officials made a commitment to complete the projects that were promised. In a July 23, 2003, story in the daily paper about the potential for revenues to exceed expected project costs, County Commissioner Bob Dick said that the Vision 2025 package was structured to be sure that no project would be left incomplete. Commissioner Dick was quoted as saying, “I think the worst thing you could do is promise you are going to build something and then not have enough money to build it.” So any surplus was intended first to be used to finish the promised projects.

Miller claims that we can't predict if there would be enough surplus, and if there is any, it's already been promised to the suburbs for unspecified projects.

But I'm told that no such projects have been approved by the Tulsa County Vision Authority and no such commitment was made. Mayor Taylor denies that any such promise was made. Such a promise would directly contradict something Miller was quoted as saying later in the interview:

The commissioners' primary responsibility is to ensure that the Vision 2025 projects promised voters are delivered, she said.

And that means building the low water dams and refurbishing the Zink Lake dams has to come before any new projects are undertaken.

In fact, the ballot resolution makes a formal commitment to that effect:

While the cost estimates shown above are believed to be accurate, it must be recognized that the exact cost of each project may vary from the estimate shown. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners of Tulsa County, Oklahoma, that all projects shall be completed as funds are made available. If the Board of County Commissioners of Tulsa County, Oklahoma, determines that all of the projects listed above will be completed with existing and projected funds and that excess funds will be available for additional projects, such excess funds shall be expended for caputal improvements for community enrichment (which does not include appropriation of any such funds to any other entity for such purpose), as determined by a public trust having Tulsa County, Oklahoma, [and all Tulsa County municipalities], as its beneficiaries.

Emphasis added. No new projects until all the listed projects are fully funded to completion.

Miller also claims that we can't get to any of the surplus money until near the end of the tax period, around 2015 or so. But as she knows, Vision 2025 is not a pay as you go project. She and her fellow commissioners have issued revenue bonds, borrowing money against future revenues so that the projects could be completed early, long before we raise the revenue.

I don't know how much has been borrowed all ready, how much has been spent, and how much is committed in the near term, but if the river is a priority, I'm sure some projects can be delayed to so that money already in hand could be used to start work on the dams. I'm sure more could be borrowed against anticipated Vision 2025 revenues. If John Piercey doesn't think he can do it, perhaps we could put the financing out for competitive bidding and find someone who can make it happen without charging us an arm and a leg.

Interesting: According to this, the river projects and all other Vision 2025 projects should have been funded in the second bond issue. The first bond issue was for $242,150,000:

Program manager Kirby Crowe said officials plan to have just one more bond issue to fund the rest of the Vision 2025 projects.

The Arkansas River projects, Broken Arrow's funding for downtown and neighborhood beautification, construction costs for the downtown Tulsa arena and renovation of the Maxwell Convention Center -- as well as the rest of the funding for projects that were only partially funded in the first bond issue -- are anticipated to be funded in the second.

Here's Randi Miller from June 2005:

While they aren't ready to act on projections for what the 13-year, sixth-tenths of a penny sales tax will bring in, Commissioners Bob Dick and Randi Miller both believe the Arkansas River is a likely candidate to see additional funding.

"It's too soon to start spending money above those things that have already been identified," Dick said. "But there's one real easy one, to say if we do have that, I think a high priority would be on the river."

The $5.6 million allocated in Vision 2025 for river projects only pays for a portion of two low-water dams. It is supposed to be used along with federal funds, but Miller said officials may need the extra money to make sure the dams get built.

"If there's any money that's available, in my opinion because we do not have enough for the dams, then I'm going to go with river development," she said.

From the same article, John Piercey provides an early estimate of a surplus and is game to try to make it available early:

Vision 2025 financial adviser John Piercey, a senior investment banker with Capital West Securities, said that virtually all of of the $65 million surplus will be collected in 2016 and 2017.

"The question becomes: Is there a way to have those funds early? We're working on that," he said.

And as recently as this January, Piercey said:

"It looks like they'll (local officials) be able to deliver everything they promised to voters, and then some."

Make it so.

TAKE ACTION: If you want County Commissioners to keep their promise and fund the low-water dams from the Vision 2025 tax, you need to let them know. The vote to put a new tax on the ballot could come as early as next Thursday. Here are phone and e-mail contacts for each:

District 1, John Smaligo:, 596-5020

District 2, Randi Miller:, 596-5015

District 3, Fred Perry:, 596-5010

An edited version of this piece was published in the July 25, 2007, issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly. The edited, published version of the piece is online, but badly formatted. Posted on the web November 3, 2012.

Out of Whole Terry Cloth
Simonson says, but it ain't necessarily so

What would you think of a merchant who sold you something, then told you you'd have to pay for it again to get what you've already paid for?

When Tulsa County voters approved Proposition No. 4 of the Vision 2025 sales tax, they approved $9.5 million to pay for the following items, spelled out very specifically in the ballot resolution passed by the Tulsa County Commission:

Construct two low water dams on Arkansas River the locations of which will be determined in the Arkansas River Corridor Plan -- $5.6 million

Zink Lake Shoreline Beautification -- $1.8 million

Design and construct Zink Lake Upstream Catch Basin and silt removal -- $2.1 million

Now Terry Simonson, the chief deputy and mouthpiece for Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller, is trying to convince Tulsans that we need to raise our taxes again to get what we thought we had already paid for. County Commissioners are likely to vote August 2 to put a $282 million sales tax increase on an October special election ballot.

Last week in UTW, Simonson tried to persuade readers that the line items you see above (and which you can see for yourself by following the Proposition #4 link at weren't really there.

Simonson wrote, "Though some may believe that Vision 2025 included funding to build a series of low water dams on the Arkansas River, this is not the case."

Simonson went on to claim that the $5.6 million was spent on "the study and environmental analysis by the Corp [sic] of Engineers." He correctly notes the amounts for the two improvements to Zink Lake, and claims that, "All of these are completed or, substantially engaged."

Simonson repeated these assertions last Wednesday morning, July 18, on 1170 KFAQ. Morning co-host Chris Medlock, who was on the City Council when Vision 2025 was put to a vote, called Simonson on his erroneous information, pointing to the official ballot resolution and promotional articles published in the daily paper at the time.

For example, on August 24, 2003, the daily paper published a column by editorial writer Julie DelCour, intended to deflect criticism that Vision 2025 neglected the public's interest in Arkansas River development. Taking up most of the front page of the Sunday opinion section, DelCour's piece was accompanied by full color illustrations showing a river full of water and mixed-use development on its banks. The caption on one drawing read, "Passage of Proposition 4 would provide funds to 'prep' the river for future, expanded uses."

Official campaign literature and other stories at the time hammered home the idea that a "yes" vote on Vision 2025 would put water in the river and make it suitable for the riverfront development that Tulsans were demanding.

Kirby Crowe, the project manager whose job is to track Vision 2025 funds and to make sure they are spent as promised, called KFAQ during Simonson's interview and told listeners that of the $9.5 million designated for dams and lake improvements, only $275,000 has been spent. That's a far cry from Simonson's claim that the projects were "completed or substantially engaged."

According to Crowe, none of the money for shoreline beautification and silt removal has been spent, in part because the master plan came up with a better approach to silt removal involving modifications to the Zink Lake Dam.

Crowe said that Phase 1 and 2 of the Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan was funded by municipalities and private contributions, not by the Vision 2025 sales tax. The $275,000 was to fund the Phase 3 work on environmental paperwork for the low-water dams, a necessary prerequisite for construction.

The remaining $9,225,000 for those three line items, Crowe said, is "unspent and protected."

Simonson claims that Hurricane Katrina siphoned off the hoped-for federal matching funds that would have paid for the dams. But Katrina didn't hit until September 2005, almost two full years after the Vision 2025 vote.

The real reason we didn't get the matching funds was reported by KOTV before the Vision 2025 vote even took place. The cleanup of the environmental disaster at Tar Creek, in the Tri-State mining area north of Miami, Okla., was using all Corps of Engineers funds available for Oklahoma.

Had our congressmen put river improvements ahead of Tar Creek remediation, it would have been like buying yourself a boob job and a tummy tuck when your kid needs chemotherapy.

Matching funds or not, County officials made a commitment to complete the projects that were promised. In a July 23, 2003, story in the daily paper about the potential for revenues to exceed expected project costs, County Commissioner Bob Dick said that the Vision 2025 package was structured to be sure that no project would be left incomplete.
Commissioner Dick was quoted as saying, "I think the worst thing you could do is promise you are going to build something and then not have enough money to build it."

So any surplus was intended first to be used to finish the promised projects. Already, the Tulsa County Vision Authority, a seven-member body made up of the three County Commissioners, the Mayor of Tulsa, and three suburban mayors, has authorized $45.5 million in additional funds for the BOk Center and improvements to the Maxwell Convention Center.

Vision 2025 revenues are running well ahead of projections. If you were to take the roughly $54 million in actual revenue over the last 12 months, project it out over the remaining nine-and-a-half years, assuming a modest 2.5% annual growth rate, and add it to what has already been collected, the Vision 2025 tax would raise a total of $768 million, a surplus of $233 million.

Subtract out the extra money for the arena and convention center, and there is still a surplus of nearly $188 million, far more than we need to fund the two low water dams and the improvements to Zink Lake that were promised to Tulsa County residents if they approved the Vision 2025 tax.

While I'd like to see the Vision 2025 tax ended as soon as possible, the Tulsa County Commissioners have a moral obligation to complete promised projects. It would be far preferable to use an existing tax to complete those projects than to force voters to approve a new tax increase - one likely to be renewed ad infinitum - in order to get what they thought they had already paid for.

The rest of the projects in the proposed $282 million tax package, such as the downtown-to-river connection and the pedestrian bridges at 41st and 61st, are city-specific. Each city along the river could choose to fund those improvements - or not - based on their priorities. Tulsa's city leaders might decide that our appalling violent crime rate or the atrocious condition of our streets deserve more direct attention.

It's essential that the land acquisition for riverfront development be left to the cities. There is a real danger that City of Tulsa residents could vote for this package expecting that money to be spent toward riverside commercial development in Tulsa, only to have it designated instead for a suburban project.

Between the items already promised in Vision 2025 and the items that are specific to individual cities, there's nothing left that needs to be funded through the County. The only reason for the County Commissioners to put a tax on the ballot this fall is if they are intent on expanding their burgeoning empire.

I shouldn't be too hard on Terry. He's just saying what he's been paid to say. During his appearance on KFAQ he frequently reminded us that he wasn't around when the decisions regarding Vision 2025 were made, and he urged us to let go of the past and look to the future instead.

But Commissioner Randi Miller, whose water he is carrying, was around then, voted to send Vision 2025 to the voters, and campaigned for its passage. She of all people has a personal obligation to ensure that the projects that she and her colleagues promised, the projects that were approved by the voters, are delivered without burdening her constituents with higher taxes.

And Miller needs to make sure her spokesman has his facts straight before sending him out to flack for her tax hike.

It's always fascinating when you get civic and business leaders speaking more candidly than they normally would in public. Back in February, the Journal Record published a transcript of a panel discussion concerning Arkansas River development in Tulsa.

It was the Square Feet Real Estate Roundtable, and the discussion involved Steve Walman of Walman Commercial Real Estate Services, Gaylon Pinc, an engineer formerly with INCOG and now with PMg, William B. Smith, vice chairman of the Oklahoma Floodplain Managers Association and president of Hydropower International Services International Consultancy, Susan Neal, from Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor's staff. The roundtable was moderated by Bob Parker, vice president of retail leasing and marketing with GBR Properties.

Walman has been involved in two riverfront developments: Riverwalk Crossing on the Jenks side and King's Landing on the Tulsa side. He expressed a sense of betrayal about Vision 2025:

I think the problem I have right now, and for a lot of Tulsans is, in Vision 2025 I voted for a river and I got an arena. I sat three years ago with a city hydrologist when we were doing Riverwalk and considering King's Landing and I said, 'Listen, with $27 million of private money going on this river, it's imperative to know when this low-water dam's going in that was the No. 1 priority of Vision 2025 and is so critical to the catalyst that's going to come.' And we were never sold the reality of the process. As simplistic as my mind works, I think a lot of people thought that 2025 was going to get a low-water dam. What that did was pay for a plan to get a low-water dam and for the last three years we've been told all the reasons why it's not happening.

I don't care for the reasons why we don't get it done. I voted for it. I won't vote for another thing before that low-water dam gets built. And I don't think any Tulsan will. Remember how long it took to get 2025 passed? Nobody had faith that somebody can pull that off. Until we pull that off, I don't think anybody's going to have faith that we're going to do anything else.

Maybe that's cynical business, but every week I've got $27 million worth of shopping centers on a sandbar. And I was told three years. This is a Tulsa problem, not a personal agenda issue. If in 2025 you'd said this is a 10-year process and you don't have the money, it's going to require a lot of these things and there's federal mandates, I'd put a dollar down 2025 wouldn't have passed.

Steve, some of us tried to point out that Vision 2025 was all about the arena, and there wasn't much river funding in the package, and the river funding that was there was contingent on federal funds that were unlikely to materialize. That last point was the subject of a report on KOTV. Not many people listened.

According to Gaylon Pinc, the arena is still getting in the way of river development (emphasis added):

There were two low-water dams envisioned in 2025, but a third of the money that was budgeted, if you will, was hoping that the feds would provide the other two-thirds, with our congressional delegation as powerful as they were. The election has turned that upside down. We will no longer have as much power and influence as we would have, and Congress did not act in time to pass the legislation that would have benefited us.

And then, when the overage went to the arena, that was very disappointing, because early on the overage (referring to Vision 2025 tax revenue rising beyond projections) was really talked about going to the river. And that would have made up the gap. And it's a severe gap. We don't have enough money in Vision, if we used all the money to build even that one south low-water dam. So we need more money from the public to do that, and if we don't get that, it will be much longer than that three-year process that it would take to get it permitted, designed and then start construction.

I am very hopeful, and I will remain optimistic that we will get that money because the public wants river development. I would hope they would understand enough to know the money was short to begin with and we will need more. And all the things that caused the multimillion-dollar overage on the arena - concrete, steel, electrical, manpower - will plague us on the low-water dam costs, too. But we have a couple of years to get to that point.

But Pinc says the money is already there to fix an immediate problem -- the Zink Lake Dam (emphasis added):

The Tennessee Valley Authority is working with the Corps in finding ways to improve dam safety. Zink Dam is a killer dam; firemen, policemen, rescue folks hate it because it is so inviting. So we have Vision money to improve Zink dam and add safety, actually reface the weir downstream. Along with that we have the opportunity to do a whitewater park launching from Zink Lake, and the plume that would also double as a fish passage.

Pinc also talked about the environmental obstacles to a 71st or 81st Street dam and to many possible development sites:

The corridor master plan really only has eight potential dam sites, all of which could be feasible. Some have more challenges than others, such as the ones downstream of I-44 and 71st Street and 81st Street have a Tulsa wastewater plant upstream. No way can you build a dam where it's dominated by wastewater. So, at some point Tulsa might want to think about moving that plant that's past its day.

You know, there are major projects that could hinder riverfront development in certain corridors and that 71st corridor is one of those areas. With Helmerich Park (just south of 71st) the public owns a lot of land, there's a lot of land for development, but the bio-solvents facility across river takes away a lot of developable land for a public use that's probably no longer appropriate for that type of urban setting. But it takes a couple hundred million dollars though to move those facilities to a less visible public location. So who's going to put up that money? It's going to take higher water rates, sewer rates, to do that, but that is going to be an obstacle.

Here's Susan Neal on how Riverwalk Crossing falls short of the ideal of riverfront development (emphasis added):

But it's interesting to me how the community defines riverfront development. If they define it by Riverwalk, which is a wonderful project, acceptable to most people - well, that's different from what many of us around Tulsa County view as real riverfront development, which actually lets you interact and recreate with the river. And that's what makes it costly. If you are dining, you are dining on the river. It's not just a restaurant that you look out and you can see the river. And I think that if it were easy, it would have already been done. But until we can play on it and interact with it, walk alongside it, have a dinner beside it, navigate it on a boat and fish on it, I think we are missing the boat on riverfront development.

This little detail in the piece's introduction of Gaylon Pinc raises all sorts of questions:

When Tulsa County took over that guidance role from INCOG last year, Pinc moved to PMg to continue his participation in the next phases of river studies.

This is no reflection on Pinc, who simply moved where he needed to move in order to stay involved with a project he cares about. But who decided that INCOG would be relieved of its involvement in the plan? Did City of Tulsa officials agree to the change? And when was there a competition to decide who would provide engineering services to the County for the river plan?

My new UTW column is up, despite the holiday, and it's a first look at the new river tax proposal. A closer look at details will come in a later column; this is a big-picture analysis of the concepts and the politics of the situation.

I want to remind readers that I do not write the headlines or taglines for my columns, and I do not agree with the harsh, sarcastic tone of the tagline written for this column. I am grateful for the willingness of George Kaiser and other Tulsa philanthropists to contribute to the well-being of this city, and my suggestion that direct investment, rather than matching contributions, may be the best way to make the river the kind of place Tulsans want to enjoy is a suggestion made in earnest.

MORE: Last issue OSU political science professor J. S. Maloy wrote a response to my column about Greenwood, its post-riot recovery and its destruction by urban renewal. In this issue, my reply appears, in which I set out the sources on which I relied, should he want to verify what I wrote.

My reply was edited somewhat. Specifically, a different first paragraph was substituted for what I wrote, setting a more pompous and pugnacious tone than I intended. Here is my original first paragraph:

I'm always pleased to know that someone has given one of my columns a close and critical reading, as OSU Political Science Professor J. S. Maloy has done with my column on the rise and fall of the Greenwood district. This aspect of Tulsa history is important but overlooked, so I welcome his interest. I empathize with his disappointment that so little of Greenwood remains. My column was an attempt to use available evidence to explain why things are the way they are.

The rest of the piece appears unchanged, except for a mention of St. Monica's Catholic Church in a list of things that are still standing in "upper Greenwood" -- the few blocks of Greenwood just south of Pine.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Arkansas River category from July 2007.

Arkansas River: April 2007 is the previous archive.

Arkansas River: August 2007 is the next archive.

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