Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tulsa poised on 'edge'?

Evidently the pizza Mad Okie ate over the weekend has not complete digested, or else the reality of what's going on in his beloved Tulsa is sinking into a deeper level of his psyche, because he lets loose today with a broadside on the Powers That Be of present-day Tulsa. Most needed, he says, is a change of leadership.

Can't say we disagree with him, even though we live in the 'burbs. It serves no one's purpose for a major metropolitan city to find its growth stifled by people who have so little appreciation for the process that built the city in the first place. Too many of the PTB have a narrow vision of the future -- they see it only insofar as they can control the process and profit from it. They are distrustful of the average Tulsan, thus they attempt to guide the city's future growth in secretive ways, and they look at any attempt to shed light on the process as an attempt to wrest power from their hands.

People who say they have nothing to hide should also have nothing to fear.

For instance, a thorough public airing of what happened with the Tulsa airport authority, the financing of Great Plains Airlines and what caused its eventual collapse: all this should be exposed, even if in the exposure it breaks some eggs and forces actions to be taken against some parties.

It's going to come out sooner or later, either voluntarily or involuntarily. The image of Tulsa is not being protected by this process being protracted. Coverups usually cause more damage than what is being covered up. It is obvious that something terribly wrong took place. What is not obvious to the casual observer or average citizen is that it is nothing to worry about. We do not wish to be told, "Nothing happened here folks, move along, move along." We know something happened, and we know that injustice is being done.

What we do not know -- who benefitted from the process, who walked away richer than before -- is what we believe everyone needs to know before justice can be served and healing can begin.

City officials owe this to the citizens, the people who ultimately pay all the bills. Until the citizens start hearing truth, and lots of it, they will become increasingly reluctant to cooperate on new projects that involve taxes. They will stay reluctant when the Powers That Be attempt to force "special projects" like the toll bridge in south Tulsa, a bridge that could be built elsewhere but instead is being rammed down the throat of residents who didn't ask for it in the first place.

Until the citizens start hearing the truth, which is what they deserve, and start getting respect from Tulsa leadership, they will continue to murmur and mutter about the new business centers that are going to Jenks and Broken Arrow, and worry about each new business closing that erases jobs and sends people packing to other parts of the country.

This is not about liberal or conservative issues. It's not even about Democrats and Republicans, since it is apparent that the same elitist mindset governs many PTB regardless of party.

It's about transparency in government. It's about trust. Explanations. Consultation. It's about equal opportunity, in advance. It's about keeping first things first. And first things for a city should be good streets, safe homes, good schools.

Anything that takes away from priorities, or that diminishes trust and transparency should be fixed, if possible. If it cannot be fixed it should be isolated and avoided. And the public should know why.


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