Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Cranes In The Air?

As part of his leadership to influence the citizens of Tulsa, Oklahoma into passing a new and regressive sales tax under the banner of Vision 2025, Mayor Bill LaFortune used the phrase "cranes in the air" to describe the flurry of economic development that was sure to be the result of the passage of the tax. He no doubt literally saw cranes in the air in cities like Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Kansas City on his travels and marveled at the supposed prosperity being brought to those cities.

But here we sit, more than one year later and we have nothing of note to show for all the taxes collected so far. At least the citizens of Tulsa don't. There are no cranes in the air. The only development we see is the Bass Pro Shop going in at Broken Arrow, and the retail development going in at Owasso.

An architect has a mini-scale model of the downtown arena. It was supposed to seat 18,000, but now seems to be down to 16,000. And no one seems to have a grasp of the final cost of this boondoggle. Exactly what is supposed to go on there?

Tulsa needs new leadership. That much is sure. We are dying on the vine here. We lead the nation in percentage job loss over the past several years, and things are not much better yet. Top that off with the Boeing jobs here already have just been sold and we have nothing to show for all the hoopla around attacting more Boeing jobs here as part of Vision 2025. Good thing that did not occur or things would be even worse!

Our public schools are declining rapidly. The development of housing and businesses has been passed on to our suburbs. Violent crime is rampant. We have increased gang activity. Our streets are deteriorating. Our swimming pools remain closed. Our street lights are out. Our mid-town churches are dwindling. Eastwood Baptist School is closing after many years. Eastland Mall is emptying out. These are all very basic to the fabric and quality of life here in T-Town.

City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce seem to be bankrupt of new ideas and vision to lead us forward. It's time for a change people!

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