Urban Tulsa Weekly: February 2006 Archives

The latest Urban Tulsa Weekly is online and has the first installment of the primary election preview, including an overview of what's at stake, the questionnaire we sent to city candidates, a preview of the charter amendment on the March 7th primary ballot (Independents can vote, too!), and stories on the District 3 Democrat primary, and the Democratic and Republican primaries in District 4. The story on each race includes candidate names, addresses, websites, and phone numbers, so you can get in touch, ask tough questions, and offer your help.

Next week's issue should have my stories on the rest of the races. The full text of the candidate responses is not yet online, but I'll link it from here when it is.

My op-ed this week was inspired by a form letter we received from District 4 Democratic candidate John "Jack" Wing. I take apart the conventional wisdom on Council "bickering" (as expressed in Wing's letter) as a way to explain my endorsements in each Council primary, as well as the Republican primary for Mayor.

Primaries are important. As I wrote, "If you let others weed out candidates in the primaries, you may find that they've left you with a choice between two candidates with different party labels but equally unacceptable views on how to run City Hall." Since so many races will be won, or all but won, in the primary, I've made endorsements in each of the primary races. Even though I'm a Republican, it matters to me as a Tulsan whether good men like Roscoe Turner and Jack Henderson win their nominations.

My endorsements for their respective nominations (please note that this does not guarantee an endorsement in the general election):

Mayor Republican: Chris Medlock
Mayor Democrat: To be announced
District 1 Democrat: Jack Henderson
District 2 Republican: Rick Westcott
District 3 Democrat: Roscoe Turner
District 4 Republican: still undecided -- Rick Brinkley is a good man; I'm slightly leaning to Kent Morlan for his awareness of city issues
District 4 Democrat: Maria Barnes
District 5 Republican: no endorsement; Greg Madden is worth a further look
District 5 Democrat: Al Nichols
District 6 Republican: Jim Mautino
District 7 Republican: John Eagleton
District 8 Republican: Cliff Magee
District 9 Republican: Cason Carter

See the column for the reasons why in each race. These good folks could use your help during these last 12 days of the campaign. Call or e-mail and volunteer.

Terry Simonson, in a column that seems to have been written before the FOP announced their endorsement, and long before Bill LaFortune's bizarre action to place Police Chief Dave Been on administrative leave, wants the police rank and file to go beyond issuing an endorsement and to get active on behalf of their candidate.

I'd add only that the candidate the officers ought to be getting behind is not the one their leadership endorsed. When there was an opportunity to shift funding away from gilding the lily at the Fairgrounds and building a new golf cart barn at LaFortune Park, and toward beefing up Tulsa's police force, Chris Medlock took a political risk to propose a way to increase funding for the police department, while Randi Miller opted for protecting the County's sales-tax turf over protecting Tulsans against crime. When "4 to Fix" renewal was being considered by the County Commission, Randi Miller could have shown leadership, could have said the cities need this money more than the County does, but she didn't.

On the subject of bloggers in print: As proud as I am to write for UTW, another blogger's exciting achievement today puts that into perspective. Congratulations to Dawn Eden on her first-ever byline in the Wall Street Journal, a review of the book Fired!, by Annabelle Gurwitch.

(Now that I think about it, the blogger achievement mentioned in the previous entry really puts everything into proper perspective.)

If I had read this week's UTW when it first came out, I would have known about Dwight Twilley's free Friday night gig at Boston's and a series of lectures about the renowned British author and Christian apologist G. K. Chesterton by Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society. Friday night's sleet, snow, and extreme cold probably would have kept me home anyway, but at least I would have known and could have told you all about these opportunities.

(There was an odd juxtaposition in the print version. The notice about Ahlquist's lectures was nestled between a couple of large display ads for -- well, let's just say the spot on the page would have been better suited for a meeting notice for the American Chesty Morgan Society. Readers who avert their eyes from ads featuring scantily clad models might have missed it, but you can avoid that problem by reading the events calendar online.)

There's a lot going on around Tulsa, and you'll find nearly all of it -- lectures, plays, concerts, art exhibits, craft workshops, poetry slams -- announced each week in the events listings of Urban Tulsa Weekly. Don't wait until you've missed half the week -- pick it up on Wednesdays! It's free!

In the meantime, don't miss the current issue. My column this week is about the collective rump-smooching that took place at the Tulsa Real Estate Coalition (TREC) mayoral forum, an event from which Republican candidate Chris Medlock was excluded. (You'll find video of the forum and of many other candidate events over at David Schuttler's Our Tulsa World blog.) And Barry Friedman mentions the ORU campaign e-mail scandal at the end of this week's Double Take on the Sooner State.

By the way, UTW is to blame for my blog silence the last few days, as I've been preparing content for this week's city primary election preview issue. Candidates provided some thoughtful responses to a challenging questionnaire, and I think you'll find the results enlightening.

A vision is a "compelling description of your preferred future," not a collection of public construction projects. This week's column is about comprehensive planning and developing a real vision for Tulsa's future. Tulsa's comprehensive plan is about 30 years old, but the process to get a new one is underway. Kansas City redid theirs in the '90s, and they have an ongoing effort to implement it. Dallas has unveiled a draft comprehensive plan with a strong theme of making more of Dallas pedestrian-friendly. Tulsa could learn a lot from these cities, but the scorched-earth approach of the development lobby may stop Tulsa from having the kind of visionary leadership we need.

I first learned about the Dallas plan thanks to this topic on the TulsaNow forum.

Some supplemental links:

The report of Comprehensive Plan Process Task Force: transmittal letter, draft report, and draft process.

Tulsa City Council's resolution adopting the recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan Process Task Force.

ForwardDallas, Dallas's comprehensive planning effort.

ForwardDallas's draft comprehensive plan documents.

The urban design element of ForwardDallas (14.5 MB PDF).

Dallas Morning News (free registration required) story on the plan: "Pedestrians, not cars, star in draft of plan, but code changes sought"

Dallas does moratoriums, too. One example: building permits and certificates of occupancy within 1000 feet of a section of Fort Worth Avenue were halted for four months, to allow time for a development study to be completed. This is much stricter, although shorter in duration, than the eminent domain moratorium being proposed for Tulsa.

The big infill development battle in Dallas has been over McMansions -- tearing down smaller homes in older neighborhoods and building houses that fill their lots and dwarf neighboring homes. Here's a blog devoted to the fight against McMansions. (In Tulsa, it's been more typical to replace a sprawling ranch home on a multiple-acre lot with several multi-story houses.)

DallasBlog.com is an interesting community blogging effort at creating an alternative news presence online. I intend to explore it further.

Here's the home page for FOCUS Kansas City.

The latest issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly is online, and for the first time, I've written the cover story, a feature story about Tulsa's news bloggers, with sidebars about what blogs are, the history of news blogging, a sampling of other local blogs, and how you can start your own blog -- it's free and easy. I'm grateful to my fellow Tulsa news bloggers for providing such interesting responses to my questions -- sorry I couldn't include more detail.

There's one correction I need to make: Bobby Holt wrote to remind me that it was Paul Romine who set up the Tulsa bloggers e-mail group, not Bobby. I regret the error.

My op-ed this week revists the question of public investment in downtown. With private investment in downtown growing, conditions have changed, and we need to rethink our decade-old approach.

Over at the TulsaNow forum, there's a lively discussion about the current state of Urban Tulsa Weekly, led off by someone who says it's turned into a "right-wing rag." Agree or disagree, you might enjoy jumping into the discussion. I've posted a few comments there myself.

TRACKBACKS: My friend Scott Sala, whom I mentioned in the story, blogged about it at Urban Elephants NYC. And the Blogging Journalist, who covers the relationship between blogs and mainstream media, linked to the cover story.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Urban Tulsa Weekly category from February 2006.

Urban Tulsa Weekly: January 2006 is the previous archive.

Urban Tulsa Weekly: March 2006 is the next archive.

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



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