Tulsa Vision2: November 2012 Archives

One of the most active social media accounts during the Vision2 campaign was @SayNotoVision2 on Twitter. I don't know who ran the account, but he or she was active on a daily basis, rebutting vague and misleading statements from proponents, and making the argument against Tulsa County's Vision2 sales tax scheme in clear, pithy comments.

@SayNotoVision2 announced on election night that there would be comments about the victory on Twitter at 10 am Wednesday morning. Here they are, in sequence from top to bottom:

@SayNotoVision2's victory speech

Anonymous Twitter account opposing Vision2 delivers a victory speech via Twitter.

Storified by Michael Bates · Thu, Nov 08 2012 11:26:28

First off, we want to thank those that worked longer hours to defeat #Vision2. Many taking time away from their families and jobs.Say No to Vision 2
You worked long hours and spent your own time and money to defeat #Vision2. Tulsa owes you their thanks.Say No to Vision 2
140 character limits don't make it easy to thank everyone individually. But, really, thank you for your efforts.Say No to Vision 2
#Vision2 was a horribly, let us repeat, horribly designed plan. Tulsans rejected it by wide margins.Say No to Vision 2
#Vision2 failed by a wider margin than the River Tax from 5 years ago.Say No to Vision 2
We respect @TulsaChamber as an organization that represents the interest of Tulsa businesses.Say No to Vision 2
We respect @TulsaChamber as a group working to create a better Tulsa.Say No to Vision 2
However, we will NEVER standby and watch our city & county governments be hijacked by special interests. #Vision2 was the epitome of that.Say No to Vision 2
We will NEVER standby and let @TulsaChamber use emotional blackmail as a scare tactic to intimidate voters.Say No to Vision 2
An honest and open approach works wonders with voters. Try it.Say No to Vision 2
We have Google, email, contacts, we know what goes on in the world and do not need you or any other group spreading falsehoods.Say No to Vision 2
It is high time @Tulsachamber & its leadership takes a long look in the mirror.Say No to Vision 2
If #Vision2 is your approach to dealing with Tulsa, you do not know this city, county, or its people. We will reject that approach.Say No to Vision 2
This wasn't about ballot language, or a PR firm, this was about a corrupt approach to solving Tulsa's problems. Voters said no.Say No to Vision 2
We know the importance of the airport to our regional economy. We value the jobs at American, Spirit, and IC Bus.Say No to Vision 2
At the end of the day, those are private businesses. Who must determine their own futures.Say No to Vision 2
Those facilities do belong to the people & a sensible plan to upgrade them must be developed.Say No to Vision 2
Tulsa County residents have 4 years to create an extension of #Vision2025 if they so choose.Say No to Vision 2
That extension is for the citizens of Tulsa County to decide. Not @TulsaChamber or any other special interest group.Say No to Vision 2
Bullying, threats, protection rackets, etc.. will not fly with us. Whether it's the Chamber or local leaders engaging in the practice.Say No to Vision 2
4 people: John Smaligo, Fred Perry, Karen Keith, and Mayor Bartlett could have prevented #Vision2. They didn't.Say No to Vision 2
Their failure of leadership has been noted.Say No to Vision 2
We will support any & all efforts to see all 4 removed from office at the ballot box. Tulsa deserves better than this.Say No to Vision 2
Until 2013, we are going hiatus. You can still tweet at us or send us a direct message.Say No to Vision 2
Again, thank you for your efforts in defeating #Vision2. We are proud of you, Tulsa, and Tulsa County.Say No to Vision 2
Until we meet again, may God bless Tulsa, and may God bless these United States of America. Thank you.Say No to Vision 2

I was in the KJRH 2 News studio election night, on a panel with news anchors Russ McCaskey and Karen Larsen and fellow analysts David Blatt of the Oklahoma Policy Institute and State Sen. Rick Brinkley to talk about state questions and other local results as they came in.

Here's our last panel segment, starting at 9:24 pm if I recall correctly, talking about Vision2. The Tulsa County Election Board didn't begin reporting any local results until about 9 p.m., so this is shortly after I got the first load results from about 20 precincts, showing strong swings to the "no" side compared to the 2007 river tax vote.

As we were getting ready to talk and watching live reports from the watch parties, I was delighted to spot my wife and kids at the Citizens for a Better Vision watch party at Tally's Cafe.

(Video after the jump, and you can also find it online: Vision2 fails to pass; supporters considering similar proposals for future ballots.)

I promise, I'll have more to say about all this very soon. As you might expect, all the chores that were deferred during the campaign are demanding attention.

For your convenience, here is a list of the candidates I've endorsed, will be voting for, or otherwise recommend in the November 6, 2012, Oklahoma general election.

As I have time, I'll add links to endorsements I've already made, brief notes about those I haven't previously written about. Here's a link to the archive of BatesLine posts about Oklahoma Election 2012.

President and Vice President: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. They have a sensible plan for putting our economy back on track. Just to send the author of Obamacare -- and countless other taxes and regulations into retirement -- will give business owners the confidence to create new jobs. On the world front, the weak response to the attack on our diplomats abroad demands that we fire President Obama.

Congress, 1st District: Jim Bridenstine
Congress, 2nd District: Markwayne Mullin

Although I didn't endorse either of these gentlemen in the primaries, we need as many Republicans in the U. S. House as possible if we're to have any hope of undoing the damage of the Obama years, starting with a repeal of Obamacare.

County questions (aka Vision2):

Proposition 1: NO
Proposition 2: NO

These taxes will not go into effect for more than four years, and will still be in effect until the end of 2029. Please note carefully what the ballot says. It's not what you've been hearing in all the ads.

Judicial retention:

State Supreme Court: NO on all. They think it is their place to stop Oklahoma voters from passing legislation that might be appealed to the Supreme Court. They're wrong.

State questions:

SQ 758: NO
SQ 759: YES
SQ 762: NO
SQ 764: NO
SQ 765: YES
SQ 766: YES

Legislative races in general: Never forget that when you vote for a legislative candidate (U. S. Senate, U. S. House, state rep, or state senator), you're also casting a vote for that candidate's party to control that chamber, to appoint committee chairmen and control the flow of legislation. I urge conservatives to vote Republican in legislative races. For all the disappointments we've had with Republican leadership at the state capitol, remember that it's better than the alternative. On the sanctity of human life, Oklahoma has made significant advances under GOP legislative leadership, passing bills that were routinely killed in committee when Democrats controlled the State Senate.

House District 71: Katie Henke. It's a choice between a smart, conservative Republican and a Democrat whose job has been to push for bigger government. The opposition to Henke has run a nasty and dishonest campaign against this thoughtful schoolteacher.

Senate District 39: If Julie Hall were a pro-life conservative Republican; or if Brian Crain were a staunch supporter of neighborhoods and a staunch opponent of corporate welfare, this would be an easy decision, but they're not, and it isn't. Republican Brian Crain has been a disappointment on issue after issue, and yet he carried the pro-life personhood bill in the legislature. Hall is the more sensible of the two on Vision2, and she knows from personal experience the importance of anti-SLAPP legislation to protect our freedom of speech.

Tulsa City Council District 1: Twan Jones, the challenger, who opposes Vision2. While I've supported the incumbent in many past elections for standing against the Cockroach Caucus, it appears that he has made his peace with the powers that be, supporting a regressive sales tax that does little to help his constituents. Time for a change.

Tulsa City Councilor Blake Ewing has a blog post out today explaining his opposition to Vision2 Tulsa County Proposition 1 in great detail, addressing the "deal closing fund" and the "airport part" in separate sections, and it's worth reading in full, but here are a few highlights (emphasis added):

As I've at times been the media's poster boy for the "anti-Vision" side, I figure it best to clarify my position in the few days remaining before the vote. I apologize for not doing this sooner. It's been difficult for me to discern the best approach on this and I fear that I may have done a disservice by not being more vocal through the process. If I would have consented, our local media would have had me on TV and radio every day and I just didn't want it to be about me. Also, many of the pro-Vision folks are taking it very personally and I've been troubled by the damage my opposition has caused to some those relationships.

So Councilor Ewing is experiencing first-hand what happens when you rock the boat in what I've called Tulsa's yacht-guest subculture.

Ewing makes some great points about what the push for a deal-closing fund says about Tulsa:

Trying to grow our city's employment base by paying companies to come here (or buying or building things for them), ensures that we'll attract the kind of companies who can be bought. I'm just not into building Tulsa's economic future on the backs of companies we lured here with money. Better to meet a nice girl and settle down than to... pay for one... right? I'd rather see us be the best city in the world to start a business, grow a company, raise a family, etc. There are things we could be doing to grow new industries, support small business development, inspire entrepreneurship, etc., and we won't have to worry about those folks packing up and leaving for the highest bidding community because they have roots here.

Last point on this one: Does it bother anyone else that our area leadership seems to be of the opinion that the only way to grow business in our area is to pay companies to come here? It's depressing to me... and it's not the kind of leadership Tulsa deserves. Expect better from the people you elect... and from the people tasked with growing Tulsa's business community.

Ewing also explains why this is on the ballot now, four years before the tax goes into effect and before we have any clarity on the future of bankrupt American Airlines. If you thought it was cynical political manipulation, you guessed right (emphasis added):

There is simply no good reason why we're voting on this now except that the people who put it together wanted to capitalize on the community concern for job loss and the timing of the presidential election, with the emphasis being on the latter. They stated repeatedly in the two meetings I was in that the consultant said the best chance of passing something like this is in a large election. The reason being, a well-funded campaign over a short period of time can beat unfunded and disorganized opposition if you can pound the lightly informed masses with media in the weeks leading up to the vote. We rushed this whole thing so it could be on the November ballot. Nobody at the airport was pressing for this timeframe. That came straight from The Chamber....

Spirit and Navistar didn't even ask for the upgrades. The Chamber asked them to make a list of their needs so that we weren't just putting American Airlines improvements on a list. While there are some needs at those two plants, they were not considered to be pressing. With all of the things in our community that we could be doing to promote and encourage job growth, investing in facilities for employers who weren't even asking for it to provide PR cover seems...

Ewing confirms what I suspected: Our local mis-leaders were following the advice of former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste, and what I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you didn't think you could do before." The Chamber has been wanting a big pile of money to play with for years, and they're using worry about jobs to get one.

Something Ewing doesn't mention: County commissioners have said they won't release the funds if they don't get iron-clad commitments from the beneficiary companies. If the authority that oversees the Prop 1 money can't come to terms with the intended recipients, if American, Spirit, and Navistar don't want the strings that come attached to the improvements and equipment, guess where the airport improvement money goes? Into the deal-closing fund. (Read the ballot resolution carefully. There's no minimum amount that they've promised to spend on the airport.)

All sales tax revenues in excess of the amounts necessary to complete the above listed projects (not to exceed $254,000,000.00 in total) plus any advance funding costs associated therewith shall be used to fund land, buildings, infrastructure and other capital improvements for the purpose of promoting economic development within Tulsa County, Oklahoma, including funding job creation programs....

Thank you, Councilor Ewing, for taking a bold stand in opposition to this mess.

One possible outcome of Tuesday's vote is the defeat of Proposition 1 and the passage of Proposition 2. Many voters hear about proposed projects and think, "what the heck."

There are plenty of reasons to turn down Prop 2. Here are just a few:

We're voting in 2012 on a tax that won't be collected until 2017. Only debt-laden advance-funded projects will be started before then. We don't know who will be president, what state the economy will be in, or what our greatest needs will be more than four years from now. We should wait until 2016 to make any decisions about a tax to replace the Vision 2025 tax that expires at the end of that year.

We're tying up revenue until the day before 2030. If Vision2 passes and a more urgent needs arises between now and then, we'll have to raise taxes to meet it.

The Vision2 Prop 2 tax can only be spent on capital improvements. Cities can use Vision2 money to build things, but not to maintain or operate them. If instead a city passed a city tax to replace Vision 2025, the city would have the flexibility to decide how best to allocate the money between building new stuff and fixing and maintaining what we already have. Remember that it was the cost of operating our swimming pools that led Mayor Bill LaFortune to shut most of them down.

Specific to Tulsa County's list of projects:

Tulsa County included the juvenile justice facility in the 2005 4 to Fix 2 package. They said they could meet that urgent need for $2.5 million. Instead they sat on it and are now asking for $38 million to build a brand new facility. They should do what they promised with the revenue we've already given them.

Tulsa County taxpayers have put tens of millions of dollars into Expo Square over the past decade. Now all the facilities are new or significantly modernized. Expo Square has just reached a very lucrative deal with the Creek Nation. It's time for Expo Square to use its operating revenue to fund the kind of minor improvements slated for Vision2.

Specific to the City of Tulsa's tentative list of projects:

The plan for spending the Vision2 money was thrown together haphazardly, based more on how many supporters showed up at the meetings than on the strategic impact of the proposed project.

Tulsa would have more money to spend and could spend more time developing a strategic plan to spend it if we vote down Vision2 and plan to vote in our own city tax to replace Vision 2025 when it expires at the end of 2016.

$5 million for Gilcrease Expressway is a token amount, not enough to accomplish any significant progress on a road that will cost around $800 million to complete as designed, but apparently just enough to buy the support of a few gullible politicians.

Tulsa Children's Museum may be a worthy cause, but it's a private organization, not a public entity. Why should money be taken from me by coercion to support a private organization? (Personally, I think better kid-friendly exhibits at existing museums would do more to get children excited about art, science, history, etc., than a separate museum that tries to cover all topics and does none of them well.)

Tulsa Library, TCC, OU, OSU, Langston -- all worthy institutions, but all of them already have their own sources of taxpayer dollars. The amount designated for each seems arbitrary, not linked to specific projects that need a certain amount to complete. Why divert money to them that could instead be used toward the City of Tulsa's own massive capital improvement backlog?

There are a couple of serious flaws with the Vision2 poll that was published today in the Tulsa World and conducted by SoonerPoll.com. The results weren't too surprising, and they may very well match what we see on election day, but nevertheless the results should be taken with a big grain of salt.

I commend SoonerPoll.com for being transparent enough about their approach that the limitations imposed by that approach can be discussed. Here's their disclosure:

A poll of 440 likely voters was conducted by SoonerPoll.com, using a random digit dialing technique that included both cell phone and landline telephone numbers.

Interviewers collected the data Oct. 25-Nov. 1. Results were weighted by gender and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both). The poll was sponsored by the Tulsa World.

The margin of error is plus or minus 4.67 percentage points. This poll conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.

In SoonerPoll.com's detailed description of their methodology, they write:

A detailed methodology that discloses sampling errors and statistical tests of significance will be made available for every survey conducted by SoonerPoll.com. Among other data, SoonerPoll.com's methodology reports will include sample sizes and disposition reports.

So far, they don't seem to have published sample size and disposition reports for this survey.

The biggest problem first: You can't simply add independent samples and use the total as the margin of error of the aggregate. In their disclosure, SoonerPoll.com effectively tells us that they took a sample of six separate populations, then weighted them according to their estimate of the percentage each subset contributes to the total electorate.

Margin of error is mathematically tied to sample size. (You can find a margin of error calculator here.) As your sample size gets bigger the margin of error decreases. The MOE for a sample of 440 from a homogeneous population is indeed plus or minus 4.67 percentage points.

But what we have here are samples of six separate populations (men with cell phones, men with land lines, men with both, women with cell phones, women with land lines, women with both) that together add up to 440 respondents.

In the best case scenario, they got 73 responses from each group. That's a MOE of 11.47 for each of the six samples. You can't simply add six separate samples with an MOE of 11.47 and magically get a lower MOE when you combine them. At best, your MOE is plus or minus 11.47 percentage points, but then there's also the potential for error in the weight you assign to each sample.

Legal Insurrection has a good overview of polling sample size and margin of error.

The next problem: How do you know your respondents are really likely voters?

Let me acknowledge that it is far more difficult for candidates to get information to the voters and for pollsters to get information from the voters than it was in the days when everyone had a landline, no one had a mobile phone, no one had caller ID, and almost everyone had a listed number. Today, you might get a phone to ring, but no one will pick up because they don't recognize the number. I hear that the ratio of completed responses to dialing attempts is typically less than 10%.

There is a great deal of debate in the polling community as to how to compensate for these challenges. One approach, which Sooner Poll has taken here, is to dial numbers randomly, then ask a series of screening questions to determine whether the respondent is likely to vote. Each pollster has his own set of screening questions. Some may be as simple as asking the voter to rate his own likelihood of voting, some may involve asking the voter if he knows where his polling place is.

The other approach is to use past voting history to identify likely voters. In Oklahoma and in most other states, the election board keeps a record of the elections in which you voted and by what method (in person on election day, absentee by mail, absentee in-person at the election board). A pollster can match voter records with phone numbers and then call only registered voters, or screen more tightly based on past voting frequency and recency of registration. There are problems with that approach too -- voters without landlines, voters who move but continue to vote at their old address, ambiguities in matching voter names to phone subscriber names.

Pollster John McLaughlin (not the TV pundit) explained the problems with random-digit-dial polling about a month ago in the context of the presidential race:

So recently it was revealed by the Daily Caller that Obama's most senior campaign strategist David Axelrod has been lobbying Gallup Poll staffers saying that their polls were "saddled with some methodological problems". Dick Morris reported that Axelrod was upset at Gallup for "generating polling data negative to the President." Gallup didn't change their methods and by coincidence found the Justice Department suing them with an unrelated lawsuit. You only have to wonder if these other media pollsters received emails, calls and visits about the correct Axelrod methodology.

So what's the common Axelrod methodology that causes the media polls to under count Republicans? Are they calling registered voters from the publicly available lists with actual voter history? Those lists easily reflect the 130 million voters who turned out in 2008, or 2010, or have registered since those elections. They truly represent the actual voter population. Good scientific sampling would say pull a random sample of voters from the actual population of voters.

However, David Axelrod has been urging pollsters to randomly dial phones exchanges and cell phone exchanges and merge them somehow without regard to voter affiliation. The 2010 Census said that the American Voting Age Population was over 230 million adults. About 40% don't vote. Calling the 100 million eligible adults who choose not to register, or are registered, but don't vote, waters down enthusiastic Republicans. Who knows if the person who is talking to the NBC pollster is really registered to vote? Overall there's about a quarter of a million landlines in the United States that could be called. Plenty more than actual voters. However, if that doesn't dilute the Republicans enough, there's over 330 million wireless cell phone connections in the United States that can be randomly dialed.

So these swing state media pollsters are just randomly dialing the phone book and cell phone listings to water down Republican votes. The deck is stacked. Regardless how Mitt Romney does tonight he can't win the post debate polls - unless they call voter lists and make sure the demographics match the real voter file for age, gender, race geography and even party.

Then there's the duration of the survey period: It took them a full week to collect a sample, by which time the first people they contacted may have changed their minds.

Finally, they haven't disclosed how the questions were worded. Voters won't see words like "Vision2," "deal-closing fund," or "low-water dam" on the ballot, and they might have a different reaction to the pollster's question than they would to the actual ballot language.

It may be that all these flaws cancel each other out, and I don't mean to cast blame on SoonerPoll.com, which is no doubt doing its best to gauge public sentiment in an increasingly difficult environment. We'll find out on Tuesday.

Why does it matter? Poll results can be used to create a bandwagon effect, particularly when an issue isn't strongly partisan. Without any strong sense of what to do, some voters will go along with whichever side they see in the majority. That's why, if you're in opposition to Vision2, you need to post it on your Facebook wall, put a sign in your yard, and send an email to friends explaining why you're voting no.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife is opposed to new dams on the Arkansas River, according to a Public Radio Tulsa news story on the impact of low-water dams on the river's water and wild animals. The Tulsa City Council has included $71 million for modifying the Zink Lake dam and for construction of a new dam near Jenks in their tentative list of projects to be funded by the Tulsa County Vision2 sales tax scheme.

Chris Whisenhunt, fisheries biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife, says the Department is opposed to any new dams on the river.

He says that sediment buildup in Zink Lake has created water quality that's too poor for some of the river's most important species fish. He says Zink Dam should be improved if possible, because it's a safety concern, and because updates might improve water quality.

He also says the Department would welcome better dam designs, but that it's skeptical whether that would actually happen.

"Currently our only example of what will happen to the Arkansas River is what Zink Lake is right now," he said, "and that is a very poor habitat for most of our sport fish."

The only unequivocally positive comment in the story about new dams comes from Gaylon Pinc, who works for PMg, the company hired sole-source by the Tulsa County Industrial Authority to provide program management services for Vision 2025 and other Tulsa County tax packages and which would likely be hired for the same purpose should Vision2 be approved by the voters.

Pinc reportedly attempts to perpetuate the revisionist myth that voters were only voting for studies of building dams in the 2003 Vision 2025 vote.

2025 didn't include enough money to construct any additional low water dams on the Arkansas, just to study their possible environmental effects.

The "vote yes" bunch tried to make this claim back in 2007, when the county river tax was on the ballot, but a look at the Vision 2025 ballot propositions and the way the tax was sold to the voters makes it clear that voters were led to expect dams to be built if Vision 2025 passed. See my blog entry, "Randi's river revisionism", and my column from the same week Dams, not studies, promised in Vision 2025, for a thorough rebuttal.)

The Public Radio Tulsa story also cites concerns from the head of the Tulsa Audubon Society about the impact of new dams on wildlife habitat:

Fifteenth and Riverside, looking out over the Arkansas River, doesn't exactly feel like the kind of exotic locale where you'd expect to find an endangered species.

As it turns out, however, there is a threatened bird that makes its home right here on the river, at least for part of the year.

John Kennington, president of the Tulsa Audubon Society, points out Zink Island, "which is a sand island in the middle of the Arkansas River."

"This is an area that the least terns use to nest on," he said.

That's interior least terns he's talking about, Tulsa's very own endangered bird. The tern is a small species of bird that's currently flown South for the winter.

But Kennington says, when they're here, "they like to nest on a sandy gravelly open area, so the Zink Island gives them some really good habitat for their nests."

You won't find that kind of habitat on a river like the Mississippi. That's because the Arkansas River, in our area at least, is a special kind of waterway, known as a "braided prairie stream."

While I can understand the feelings of those who would like to see a lake in place of the river that we have, I have to wonder whether it makes enough of a difference to make it worth the investment. The changes of the river over the year have a certain fascination. When the water level is low enough, you can see the shelf of shale, right at the bend of the river, that was once a natural ford.

Of course, it's silly for the "vote yes" bunch to claim that Vision2 will "put water in the river." The best we can hope for is to detain water that comes to us from upstream.

Will water in the river really attract the Creative Class to Tulsa, as some claim? Austin has dammed up the Colorado River to form a narrow lake, but it isn't the major draw for young creatives. On my visits to Austin, I observed a small number of joggers and cyclists, but no large gatherings drawn by water in the river. What keeps Austin weird is to be found away from the river on South Congress, Sixth Street, and especially on and near the University of Texas campus.

Wichita has water in their river, but no significant development alongside it. The big draws for young adults are Old Town and East Douglas, not the river.

Old buildings seem to be a stronger draw than water features for young people. Back in 2007, I wrote about a visit to downtown Orlando, Florida, on a Saturday night:

Downtown Orlando has shiny new skyscrapers, a basketball arena, and a beautiful 23-acre lake with a fountain. But I didn't find the crowds around any of those. There were only a few people walking the path around Lake Eola, and the sidewalk along Central Boulevard next to the lake was empty except for me.

Instead, the throng of twentysomethings was promenading up and down four blocks of Orange Avenue, a street lined with old commercial buildings in use as bars, cafes, and pizza joints. The same kind of development stretched for a block or two down each side street. There were hot dog stands on every corner. Pedicabs ferried people to and fro. The numbers of partiers only grew larger as the little hand swept past 12.

Let me spell it out for you. In the heart of this modern, sprawling tourist mecca, in the midst of sparkling office towers, a sports arena, and a palm-lined lake, crowds of young people were drawn to 100-year-old buildings which had managed to escape the wrecking ball. The popularity of these buildings did not seem to suffer from being nowhere near the water.

These buildings were the exactly the sort of you find in Tulsa's Blue Dome, Brady, Brookside, South Boston, and Cherry Street districts, the sort that were demolished by urban renewal in Greenwood and where the Williams Center now stands.

The same dynamic, one documented by Jane Jacobs in her 1960 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, is at work in Orlando, Tulsa, and cities from coast-to-coast: Old buildings provide a place for new businesses to take root. They provide an opportunity for people with dreams and ideas but not much capital to get something started and improve it over time.

TulsaNow, which has announced its opposition Tulsa County's Vision2 tax scheme, has developed Vision 2029, a detailed example of an alternative, showing one possible scenario of what the City of Tulsa could accomplish if Vision2 is voted down and the City of Tulsa enacts a tax of its own to go into effect when the Vision 2025 tax expires. The Vision 2029 plan spends $511 million of about $558 million that a 13-year, 0.6 cent City of Tulsa sales tax could generate. From the introduction:

We believe the successor to Vision2025 should be better planned, more thought out, and have wider reaching goals. However, it's easy to dismiss those statements as pipe dreams, so we thought it would be easier to show you. We put together a package that would meet the same general funding criteria as Vision2, but ours would only tax the City of Tulsa. This means our example actually collects less than Vision2, but we think it can show how you can do so much more with it....

This is only an example, but we think this is a great way to show how you can do much better than Vision2. Do you want a safer, cleaner, more sustainable city? Then vote NO on Vision2 and tell your City and County leaders you want a Vision for 2029, not a Vision for 2 years from now.

Rather than fund tenant-specific equipment (e.g. an engine test cell for American Airlines), TulsaNow would fund the "majority of the facility improvements requested... but no purchasing of equipment for work that may never be performed in Tulsa." That brings the price tag down from $254 million to $95 million. TulsaNow's Vision2029 still has money for infrastructure to help new job creators, but the fund would be limited to "water, sewer, roads, site cleanup" and would "be controlled by city council following a strict set of guidelines."

TulsaNow's Prop 2 includes almost all of the city's Vision2 wish list, plus much more, including student housing to serve the OSU-Tulsa and Langston campuses, Red Fork Main Street redevelopment, the Art Deco Museum, and bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements.

Vision2 includes money for building new things, but no money to run them and keep them going. TulsaNow would dedicate 0.1 cent of the 0.6 cents for operational costs -- $60 million (about $5 million a year) to make bus service more frequent, $20 million for additional public safety personnel, and $5 million for parks, mowing, and greenspace maintenance.

Personally, I'd prefer a city replacement for Vision 2025 to include much more for basic infrastructure, and I'd hope we wouldn't simply hand out money like candy to the colleges "just because."

But that's not the point of TulsaNow presenting an alternative. TulsaNow is saying that there's something much bigger and much better for Tulsa if we will vote down sloppy, hasty Vision2 on Tuesday, then have a serious and strategic look at our city's needs, leading to a package that nearly every Tulsan can support with enthusiasm. There's time to do this right.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Vision2 category from November 2012.

Tulsa Vision2: October 2012 is the previous archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]