Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Columnist Mark Steyn has a wonderful article about our fantastic state song. You can link to it here.

Yes, we have the greatest state song of any in the union. Its catchy, singable and widely known.

Thanks to my good friend Gary Bonner for the information. He's a transplanted Okie now residing in California.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tell Us Something We Don't Know

It's all over the news and in the Tulsa Whirld. Seven of our nine high schools are "dropout factories". You can read about it here.

I am frankly tired of constantly reminding you that we need more charter schools in Tulsa. Specifically, more charter high schools. And I can get one started. The problem is in finding a sponsor.

Tulsa's public education establishment is incapable of reforming itself in a real and meaningful way. They will hire more staff, reorganize, reshuffle, but the results will be limited.

Charter schools are also fully public schools that trade less regulation for total accountability. In other words, they introduce accountability into the public education system. Wouldn't that be nice?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Shepherds without a flock

Reverend Victor Orta, pictured here with two cohorts, must be a shepherd without a flock to guide. Otherwise, he should be ministering to his congregation and keep his reverend's nose out of blatant politics.

If his church has 501 c(3) status from which he is paid, the Treasury Department should investigate his church and consider revoking the tax exemption for a church engaging in political behavior to influence legislation.

He has the right of free speech, but leave off the reverend. Victor Orta should be voicing his own opinion, and not that of his church.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Education Lottery Rolls the Dice

Since the first lady of Oklahoma, Kim Henry, is an educator, and certainly much better looking, it would seem that the spin doctors at the governor's mansion should allow her to be the spokesperson for the Oklahoma Education Lottery.

Only a scant few years ago Gov. Henry touted the Education Lottery as a significant new funding source for education in all its phases in Oklahoma. They projected an additional $150 million per year for education.

It has never come close to that projection. And now the director wants to lobby the state legislature to remove the mandatory 35% payout to education for the third year of the lottery. He thinks the payouts are too small and so people don't play.


Streamline your organization
Joint marketing efforts; a free lottery ticket with each Tulsa State Fair ticket
Fire the director
Advertise in niche media for target marketing
Research your market
Provide more interesting games
Hold Governor Henry accountable for touting this funding source.

Where's the Parade?

Sinclair Tulsa Refining

Located at 902 W. 25th

Sinclair has 260 full-time employees.

Sinclair bought the refinery in 1983 from Texaco U.S.A.

The refinery was built in 1910 by Texas Co., later called Texaco.

A huge ($1 billion) expansion will increase output and lower emissions

"This is huge for Tulsa. It's astronomical and potentially the largest private capital investment this community has had in decades, if not ever," said Mike Neal, chief executive officer of the Tulsa Metro Chamber.

Officials who study the industry "estimate this expansion to be in the $1 billion range or more," Neal said.

"We will significantly boost our output of gasoline and diesel fuels, provide for cleaner air in the city of Tulsa, employ a substantial increase in full-time work force and provide business opportunities to local companies who serve
the oil industry," said Kevin Brown, the refinery's executive vice president.

Neal said Sinclair's expansion bolsters Tulsa's global presence and "is proof the energy industry is alive and well in the Tulsa region."

This is the type of economic development that Tulsa needs. We get more jobs, cleaner air, and a more abundant future supply of gasoline and diesel. And we did not have to invest one dime of public money.

This story is perhaps the biggest to ever hit Tulsa in terms of private dollars invested.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

River Tax Revelations from Randi Miller

I attended a meeting today where Commissioner Miller spoke at length about the river tax. Some of the things she said stuck with me, as I have not heard them before in this debate.

First, the City of Tulsa has $200,000,000 right now in tax funds to fix the streets of Tulsa. This is tax revenue from 3rd penny extensions as well as a passed street bond issue in the recent past. She says the problem is that there are not enough contractors to spend all this money to fix the streets, and it will take years to get through the backlog.

Second, she said that the resolution that was passed to back up the river tax has sunset provisions and an early out provision if all projects are built and funded early, and if $50 million is received from the Federal government to help with river development.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Fruit Falls Near the Tree

Norman Hsu

Gene Lum

With the recent revelations regarding Norman Hsu and his money laundering and influence peddling with the Clinton's, I am reminded of something else that happened long ago right here in Tulsa.

There was another Oriental with tons of money who suddenly appeared in Tulsa with his own oil & gas company, seemingly out of nowhere. His name was Gene Lum. PBS produced a show about this called the Fixers. The Lum's were suspected of corruption and funneling money to the Clinton's while Bill was president. It also involved Ron Brown, Mac McClarty and other Clinton cronies. And oh, btw, it also involved ONG our beloved gas monopoly here in Oklahoma.

Here are some examples:

Charles Chidiac

An attorney who claims Nora Lum bribed politicians on behalf of the Japanese mafia and took phone calls from the White House as the director of a shady Democratic fund-raising agency.

"She pays for power; she buys power."

Michael McAdams

A former Oklahoma gas company employee who claims Gene and Nora Lum said Nora was working for late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown when they allegedly fronted a transaction to protect high-ranking Democrats.

"This thing is so corrupt and so big, everybody is wanting to keep secrets quiet. Everybody's got secrets."

Ronald G. Miller

A former Oklahoma gas company executive who claims Gene and Nora Lum fronted a buyout of his business to avert a potentially explosive court case and protect high-ranking Democrats.

"When they'd sit down and meet with our employees, practically the first thing that would come out of their mouth is, `We're from Washington, and we're here to help.' My secretary came to me and said, `Ron, we're getting faxes from the White House.'"

Corruption runs deep in the Clinton political machinery.

A apple tree produces apples. Corruption produces corruption.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

TSAS Top Tulsa School in ACT

Once again, TSAS shows its continued academic excellence by scoring 23.9 on the ACT. Next highest area high school was Jenks at 23.1.

See a video by KOTV here.

Tulsa needs more charter schools!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Can Iraq Be Free?

President George Bush has stated repeatedly that it is his opinion that freedom is a universal goal for all mankind.

With that statement, I do not disagree. That is because the desire or yearning for freedom is common to mankind. But there is a wide gulf between desire for freedom and the implementation and maintenance of liberty.

Our nation is a dramatic exception to most countries throughout time. Our founders created a different kind of nation based on the premise that certain rights (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) are given by the God of the Bible to people through the principle of government, which God established.

Only through Jesus Christ can mankind find true freedom. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Testament law and in John 13:34-35 gave a new commandment to; "love one another just as I have loved you, by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." Paradoxically, he also commanded his followers to love their enemies, something that is impossible apart from the Holy Spirit.

It is only through this that our nation has continued to exist for the past 231 years. As we have moved toward a progressively secular society, we have seen our freedoms restricted or infringed. Drifting apart from the God of the Bible, it is increasingly difficult to hold on to our liberty.

Shift now to Iraq. The U.S. is bogged down in a valiant attempt to project our freedom and our bastardized form of government (we have helped them set up a democracy with no freedom of religion) upon a people who openly reject the God of the Bible. They hate us. They hate each other. They have rejected the true source of man's freedom, Jesus Christ and are therefore, incapable of implementing or maintaining freedom or liberty, regardless of their desire for freedom.

We would be better served as a nation by sending in Christian missionaries for a couple of generations, so they might then have a basis for self-determination, and the chance for holding onto it.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Blog Reader Survey

I am a regular reader of Batesline.com. It was the blog that inspired me to start my own blog way back in February 2005.

Just as Batesline.com has encouraged you to take a blog reader survey, so am I.

Here is the link: Please take my Blog Reader Project survey.

Now I know it takes a few minutes, but what else do you have to do? Seriously, I would appreciated it greatly. Many of us in the blogosphere are slugging it out in the trenches, seemingly all alone. Is there anybody out there?

Please take the survey!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Keepin it in T-Town

The Tulsa Metro Chamber is sponsoring a business program to ask local businesses to switch just 5% of their business to local vendors. With all the business in our metro area, this can add up to some significant additional revenue for our local government.

Will this be successful? Will our elected leaders use the additional money wisely?

Find out more about this program at this link.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cops for Kids

In its latest attempt to address the rampant crime in the public middle and high schools of Tulsa, the TPS Board is considering establishing its own independent police force. Sadly, this is what our society has degenerated into in order to have a safe school. The plan calls for a police presence in all middle and high schools in the TPS district.

This is contingent upon a $1.9 million grant from the Federal government. The grant has already been prepared. TPS is waiting on a response.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Iconic 1957 Plymouth Belvedere

I think that whoever ends up with the rusted Belvedere should donate it to the city with the stipulation that it be encased and on display prominently in front of the BOK Arena. That's right, an iconic car in front of an iconic arena.

Actually the more I ponder it, the Plymouth is a metaphor for our beloved City of Tulsa. The true Tulsa has been sealed for decades, unknowingly collecting rust and muck. At the seemingly proper time, the rich and pseudo-famous, the media elites, all take us over and spin and spin and spin, trying to put a good face on a sad situation.

In doing so, they have taken over the details. They robbed the public of a clear view of the unearthing, and we too have been robbed by the carpetbaggers and robber barrons of Tulsa. Today, we have been robbed of the vision of our true Tulsa destiny and heritage.

What survived in the time capsule has somehow already been claimed! Where was it written that the contents of the time capsule would not also go the the winner of the car? The fat cats like to latch on to whatever looks good and take control. See here! "The items in the time capsule now belong to the Tulsa Historical Society..." who elected you the Pope?

Not that everything was perfect in Tulsa in 1957, but let's look at a few of our pressing issues. In '57, Tulsa had a street commissioner. A city employee whose job was to contruct and maintain our city streets. Today they are a disaster. 1957 saw Tulsa as a peaceful city, a fantastic place to raise a family. Today those who care have fled the city to the suburbs. Violent crime, especially homicides are an almost daily occurrence. I could go on.....

Also, I am reminded of what Jesus Christ said, some 2000 years ago. It is as true today and the day he spoke these words; Matthew 6: 19-20 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;

Happy Fathers Day!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Survey on Charter Schools for Tulsa

Am I tilting at windmills, or is there enough support for charter schools for Tulsa out there? Please click on the link for a one question survey.


Good News for Charter Schools!

Unbelievably, Governor Henry signed HB 1589 into law on 6-4-07. This was the culmination of a herculean effort by a group of dedicated parents, leaders and legislators over the past three years. HB1589 significantly improves the Oklahoma Charter School Act of 1999.

The passage was given only cursory coverage by the Tulsa Whirled as reported here. They only point out that Universities in Tulsa and OKC are now potential sponsors for charter schools.

HB 1589 was opposed by the "establishment", or the entrenched bureaucracy as evidenced by this link to a blog by Roy Bishop, whose profile indicates he is President of the Oklahoma Education Association. It took a brave effort on the part of some key Democrat legislators to get this bill passed by the House and Senate, and then to have our Democrat governor sign it.

HB 1589 is effective on July 1, 2007.

Major points:

1. The charter school law now applies to only the Oklahoma City and Tulsa School Districts.

2. The bill adds Universities or Higher Ed as potential sponsors of charter schools. Now there will be 3 potential sponsors; the local school district, Career Tech/Tulsa Tech, and Universities.

3. Funding for the state aid portion of the finances for charters will continue to flow through the local school district if they are the sponsor, otherwise, this bill changes the flow of funding for charters sponsored by Career Tech/Tulsa Tech and Universities to come through the State Department of Education (SDE).

4. A last minute compromise was to limit the number of new charters created in each district to 3 per year. (I think slow and steady growth is better than too much too fast)

5. Charter school organizers will have to complete some training (to be developed by the SDE) for all applications submitted after 1-1-08.

With these changes, I think I would rate our charter school law in Oklahoma a solid B, up from a C. We can do more, but this is a significant step forward and should open the doors for improving public education in Tulsa.

The bill as passed should have taken away the "unconstitutional" allegation by the TPS school board. And perhaps the change in the flow of funding will invite others to move forward with plans to encourage and sponsor charter schools.

I tried to download the text of the bill signed by Governor Henry, but the downloaded file was corrupted. I will try later and if successful, will post that only another blog entry in the future.

Any of my fellow Tulsans or fellow Tulsa Bloggers out there ready to roll up your sleeves?

Do you support the creation of even one new charter school in Tulsa?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Tulsa's Lucky Number Reveals T-Town's Truth

The good news is: The U.S. Census has revealed the population of Tulsa as of 6-1-07. This is the number that will be used to determine the winner of the buried 1957 Plymouth Belvedere.

The bad news is: The U.S. Census has revealed the population of Tulsa as of 6-1-07.


The official number is 382,457.

In the 2000 Census T-Town had a population of 391,908. Our population has decreased by 9,451.

The ugly truth about Tulsa, Oklahoma is that people are still leaving. I want to turn this trend around.

Note to elected city officials and policy makers; Here is a list of real priorities to seriously work on to turn the population numbers around.

1. Economic Development (Job Creation)
2. Improved public school performance (More Charter Schools)
3. Serious reduction in all categories of crime (Especially Homicides)
4. FIX THE STREETS!!!! (Bridges Too)
5. Shrink the size and scope of local government(Empower People & Get Out of the Way)

Nothing earth shattering or new here, just back to basics good local government.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Too Few Police? or Too Much Crime?

We hear the rhetoric every week. We don't have enough police.

I had a chance to have dinner with a police chief in a well known California city a few weeks back. He was just named as police chief, so naturally, the conversation turned to Tulsa's search for a police chief. He has kept up with Tulsa's situation, since he has family here.

During that conversation I told him that Tulsa has a police shortage. He was truly surprised that I said that and he quickly said he did not think that was the case. That got me to thinking, perhaps I have just accepted what everyone is saying at face value. So I decided to look a bit further.....

You can check out my research here. Maybe you would like to take the comparisons further. Let's see how Tulsa compares to other midwestern cities regarding police and total city government expenses.

First of all, Tulsa, population 391,908 has 739 police officers paid $3,246,350. We have police-other personnel of 144 paid $400,944. Tulsa spends $13,899,429 for 4,066 total city employees.

What about Wichita? Population 355,426. 601 police officers paid $2,248,042; Police-other personnel of 230 paid $608,381. Wichita spends $9,941,031 for 2,934 total city employees.

How about Omaha? Population 399,357. 775 police officers paid $4,265,264; Police-other personnel of 179 paid $568,203. Omaha spends $12,234,790 for 2,564 total city employees.

Lastly, how about Colorado Springs? Population 371,182. 644 police officers paid $3,411,068; Police-other personnel of 281 paid $1,042,973. Colorado Springs spends $27,760,295 for 6,504 total city employees.

Perhaps we are not as short of police as we have been told.

More than likely, we just have too much crime, or too many criminals in our midst.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Brother of the Brush Photos

Here's a pic of dad with his co-worker George taken in 1956. Looks like he already had a good start on that beard! This pic was taken at American Airlines, I believe. He came off the farm in Illinois and received his training in aircraft mechanics in the Air Force. He came to Tulsa in the early 50's. Tulsa had a great aviation presence at that time and he worked for Spartan, Douglas, then AA.

I love this picture! It was taken in our backyard on the North side of Tulsa on 42nd Street in 1957. Dad has his Bowler hat and full beard for the Tulsarama celebration. Mom said he was glad to shave off the beard as it was hot and scratchy.

The girl is my older sister. I think she is holding an old Brownie camera with the flash attachment. I'm sure it is still around somewhere....

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tulsarama and the "Brothers of the Brush"

"Tulsarama, " was Tulsa's contribution to the Semi-Centennial (1957). Local men, called "The Brothers of the Brush," were encouraged to grow beards. Beards were rare in the 1950s and always gathered attention. The beards would then be shaved off during the festivities.
You can learn more about the Tulsarama here.

My dad was one of the Brothers of the Brush. Here is his certificate of membership.

My dad died over 8 years ago. Mom is sure that he made a guess about the population of Tulsa in 2007 that just may be included inside the buried 1957 Plymouth Belvedere that will be unearthed at noon on 6-15-07.

I know there are some old photos I remember seeing of my dad with a beard. I will try to find some and post them later. By the way, the men also wore bowler hats as well.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Brother of Joel Hinrichs Arrested

Does lightening strike twice in the same place?

Apparently the brother of Joel Henry Hinrichs has been the subject of an FBI investigation for some time, and now he has been arrested. Read about it here.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Too Much Government Interference

I happened to take an old shortcut through my mom's neighborhood a few days ago. I turned down Darlington, my mind on automatic pilot. I came to my senses just in time to see a stop sign that was not there before. I traveled a couple of more blocks and there was another one! A total of 3 stop signs on Darlington Avenue in the space of one mile, where there used to be one. So much for the shortcut.

The same thing has happened in my neighborhood, and I assume it has in yours. Now, people do tend to drive too fast in neighborhoods, but wouldn't a yield sign do just as well? By far, most of the time there is no one to stop or yield to.

I think this is a daily reminder that we have too much government. This is intrusive into our lives. It wastes gasoline and time. The signs also have a cost to the city.

How can we get rid of some of these neighborhood stop signs?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

States I Have Visited

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

This was a fun exercise. I think I remember most of the places to which I have travelled. I'm not including those states that were just layovers for airline travel.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Has Ken Neal Even Visited a Charter School?

I wonder if Ken Neal has ever taken the time to visit a Tulsa charter school? Do you think he called to verify his facts before launching this diatribe?

A central point he missed that is germaine, is the fact that CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS! As such they are entitled to state funding as part of our constitutional mandate to provide a free and appropriate public education.

Mr. Neal foresees an explosion of charter schools if this legislation is passed. Is that a bad thing? But more to the point, in the same time frame (since 1999) when the Oklahoma Charter School Act was passed, we can see what might have happened in Tulsa, by looking at what did happen in OKC. Due to the TPS Board and Tulsa Technology's refusal to sponsor any charter school, Tulsa has just 3 charter schools, and OKC now has 10. This is a point I have made before.

What constitutes an explosion? I would foresee perhaps a half dozen in the next few years. And I do believe that there needs to be an incubator to provide some leadership on establishing and running of charters. I have the background and experience to help with this.

Ken Neal gets to the point though by stating that the "explosion" will lead to a drain on existing schools. Show me the money..... A charter schools' enrollment is included in the districts' totals for state funding allocation purposes, so the district is actually a pass-through entity. The district has no responsibility to educate any of the charter school students. What's the rub? For little effort they can keep up to 5% of the funding.

The plain fact is that the Tulsa charter schools are doing a better job, with substantially less funding. Charters have to rent or otherwise find suitable facilities for their school buildings with no additional funding, while we homeowners continually subsidize the traditional public school buildings. To help make up that difference, our government needs to find a funding source for charters to the tune of an additional $750 per student to help bridge that gap.

Contrary to what Ken Neal says, this bill is a step in the right direction. We need more potential sponsors for charter schools. What's wrong with Oklahoma Higher Education being a sponsor? Don't you think they have a strong interest in seeing a steady stream of qualified students entering their institutions? Perhaps Ken Neal doesn't understand the role played by the sponsor. It is a role of hands-off oversight and basically is a financial conduit between the state funding to the charter school. Unlike the situation we now have, under this bill, charters may actually find a sponsor that is favorable and nurturing to the charter school, instead of an antagonistic, adversarial relationship that now exists between school and sponsor.

The Tulsa Chigger urges you to contact your state senator and to throw their support behind this bill.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Memorializing Joel Henry Hinrichs III

Is appears OU has taken a step into the twilight zone by placing a paving stone on campus memorializing Joel Henry Hinrichs, III.

Will OU-Tulsa be next?

There are far too many unanswered questions about this case like: TATP, the attempted purchase of 22 bags of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, a large cache of explosives found in his apartment, 2 years unaccounted for after dropping out at OU in 2002 only to re-enter in 2005, his muslim roommate, etc.....

I feel for his family and rue the loss of this potentially gifted young man.

This was a poor decision by OU.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Urge your Representative to Vote YES on SB 661

SB 661 is the Oklahoma State Senate version of an amended Oklahoma Charter School Act. It passed the Oklahoma House as HB 1589 easily and earlier passed the Senate in its third reading. It comes to the floor of the House tomorrow, Friday 4-20-07. Time is of the essence.

This bill basically amends the Charter School Act to allow for other potential sponsors for charter schools. Right now the TPS School Board has a monopoly on sponsorship. And earlier this year they extended their self-imposed moratorium on new charter schools for Tulsa. Vo-Tech passed on sponsoring 3 charter schools in 2004 and walked out of mediation on the issue. Without the teeth of binding arbitration Vo-Tech cannot and will not be compelled to sponsor a charter school. The result: Tulsa has been stuck on 3 charter schools, the last one sponsored in 2001. OKC, by comparison, has at least 10 during the same time period. SB 661 would allow for the State Department of Education, certain higher education institutions, and even city councils as potential sponsors for charter schools.

It is the Tulsa Chiggers informed opinion that this is a good amendment to the Charter School Act and should be passed. Urge your state Representative to vote YES!

You can find your senator by following this link.

End the "shotgun wedding" that now exists between TPS and the Tulsa charter schools.

Guns Don't Kill People, People Kill People

At the top, I want to make it perfectly clear, that I am not trying to further the side issue of gun ownership in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre. That heinous crime was the result of a very disturbed and evil young man.

But, in watching the coverage of the massacre on both CBS and ABC, for some inexplicable reason, they did.

I find it a tough pill to swallow when the free press whose existence is a constitutional guarantee, uses it's freedom to suppress the second amendment guaranteed freedom to keep and bear arms. It's as diabolical as the 9-11 suicide bombers using our jet airplanes as missiles against us.

I have thought about guns and our society in the wake of the massacre and have this opinion. In order for us to continue to ensure the second amendment right to keep and bear arms, I believe that gun safety and marksmanship should be made a compulsory part of our public education.

Also, in those areas designated as "gun free zones" like Virginia Tech, they amend their laws to allow professors to be trained and to carry a concealed weapon.

While these measures would not have prevented the massacre, it would have minimized the casualties. Of that, I am certain.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Skittish David Boren

Skittish OU President David Boren locked down the OU campus yesterday in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre. Someone was spotten on campus with something suspicious. Come to find out, it was an umbrella!

Perhaps that umbrella was like the one the Penguin had on the old "Batman" TV series. That one was full of bat-gas, ready to subdue the caped crusader.

More than likely, Boren is still reeling from Joel Henry Hinrichs III and his TATP. Boren led the cover-up of this obvious terrorist-in-training incident.

Yes, David Boren is looking over his shoulder and is afraid of his own shadow. He knows way more that he lets on. His experience in Senate Intelligence no doubt make his blood run cold, knowing who is in our college campuses and what they are planning to do.

Monday, April 16, 2007

TPD Get's Their Man-Leaves 200 Criminals Behind

The Tulsa Police Department finally extricated Rico Starks from the apartment he had holed up in after a no-doubt scary situation last night at the Morningstar Apartments.

After a routine traffic stop, Starks fled the scene and barricaded himself inside an apartment, while an angry mob of about 200 gathered around. This lawless bunch threatened the police by its presence, with rocks thrown and shots fired. This was confirmed not only by police, but by TV news reporters, one of which was roughed up by being grabbed by her hair and pulled to the ground.

I too am glad that the incident ended with Starks arrest and no one being seriously hurt. But I question why the TPD only arrested one young man on outstanding warrants and left behind up to 200 other people who had committed crimes like assault, battery, and rioting. Do we allow people to assault our police and walk away unhindered, thinking they have gotten away with something?

Thank goodness they got one off the street, but I think they left 200 behind. How were the citizens of Tulsa best served?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The demise of the "Cram-alot" Inn?

There is something fishy about this story. Without exception in every account on radio or TV, never do they mention who actually owns the Camelot. Consistently, they are referred to as "the owners". Isn't the ownership of this property a key component of the story?

After all, it is the responsibility of the owner of the property to keep it up. And they should be fined by the city for allowing it to get in such a state of disrepair.

What happens if a homeowner doesn't mow their lawn? The city will eventually do it for you and slap a lien against the property.

Now mayor Taylor is getting creative to solve this problem. Have the TIA (Tulsa Industrial Authority) loan the money to "the owners", with the promise they will tear it down and repay the loan from the sale proceeds of the property. Is there also a promise to actually sell the property after the demolition?

Why the media blackout on ownership? It is my understanding that at least several years ago the owner was the Transcendental Meditation non-profit church (you get my drift, I don't know the exact name). Anyone know if that is still the case? Why shelter the stigma of poor stewardship and poor citizenship by this group toward the City of Tulsa? Perhaps the bad publicity avoidance is also part of the "deal".

Also, look out for this one too. The Camelot has asbestos! Now just saying that increased the cost of demolition 5 fold. Here come the guys in the moon-suits. And I will bet one of the "good-ole boys" will "get" the job. All conveniently paid for by the up front money of the TIA, a public financing entity, in other words, YOUR MONEY! How conveeen-ient!

One last thing. As a native Tulsan, I and my friends have always called the Camelot, the Cram-alot. There is a part of me that will be sad to see it go. But in this case, it may be for the best to demolish it. The "owners" either won't or can't put any money into it and it is an eyesore thanks to them.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Not Another Traffic Light?!

Someone explain this to me, please!

The street engineers of Tulsa have just placed yet another traffic light just North of the I-44 overpass on Sheridan Road. The only thing I can figure is that they are about to make the access road that goes up the hill past the masonic lodge and TTC two-way instead of one-way as it is now.

Or else they just installed it so they can control traffic and make the through traffic have to stop or slow down.

Where did they find money to do this in the face of a city funding crisis?

Am I alone in being peeved by the poliferation of traffic lights between major intersections? I am all for removing about half of them and let the traffic flow.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Tulsa's Public Education Crisis

Nothing really new here in T-Town.

We are not exempt from the issues facing public education by cities around the country. At least the courts haven't taken over public education, like they did in Kansas City a few years ago.

Anyone out there that still believes that public education can heal itself?

If you do, just plan on more stories like the national chamber of commerce giving all of Oklahoma public education a grade of F.

Nothing has changed my mind. Tulsa's public education is incapable of reforming itself in any meaningful way. It will have to have reforms imposed upon it. And I hope we have non-academic types involved in that process.

Lobby your state elected officials to expand the sponsors for charter schools and change the funding to be distinct from traditional public education.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Second Anniversary!

It escaped my notice that last Saturday, February 24th, marked my 2nd anniverary of blogging. My cause was then and is now parental choice in public education, especially charter schools for Tulsa.

In a vacuum it is hard to stay motivated to keep on blogging. I get my encouragement from my fellow Tulsa Bloggers that are the real citizen journalists.

It's hard to believe that two years has gone by so quickly. Many things have transpired in those two years. As far as Tulsa is concerned, I don't see any meaningful turnaround yet.

I am dismayed at the reports of Bell's being disassembled and Zingo being torn down.

I am saddened to hear that Glenpool is making overtures to the Tulsa Fairgrounds to move there.

I am shocked that the bridge over 161st E. Ave. and I-44 is literally falling apart and no one in authority will use common sense and just fix it!

I have grown insensitive to the outrageous murder rate and overall high crime rate of Tulsa. Our fine police force is truly in a crime investigation mode and not a crime prevention or crime solving mode.

Our public education has probably leveled off from its downward spiral over the past 2 years, with no significant improvements. But the moratorium on new charter schools was definitely not progress.

Our churches continue to be ineffective as they have generally conformed themselves to the world and have not been transformed by the Word of God. We expect the lost to darken our doors and we are not willing to seek the lost wherever they may be.

We know we have too many firefighters, yet our elected officials are floating a trial balloon about yet another tax for a fire district!

Will I be motivated to continue blogging another year?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Brenda Barre's Biography

As a public service, here is Ms. Barre's bio:

Brenda Barre Candidate for TPS Board of Education

For more than 30 years, Brenda Barre affected thousands of students in a very positive way as an educator who went beyond “teaching at students.” Brenda taught by connecting the individual to the course. She taught for 29 years at Booker T. Washington High School, one year each at Roosevelt Jr. High School and Wilson Public School in Wilson, OK. Over a two year period, Brenda was a substitute teacher at Central High School.
Brenda is married to Kenneth Byrd and has one son, Jason, 29. She graduated from Sand Springs High School, has a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Oklahoma Christian College and a Master's in Education from Oklahoma State University. She was the recipient of the Robert Coe Fellowship in American History at Stanford University and the Leadership in Education Fellowship, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Brenda is also a graduate of Leadership Tulsa XXV. Currently, she is a real estate broker and owner of Tulsa Realty.
Brenda is president of the Country Club Square Neighborhood Association and serves on the boards of the Tulsa Women’s Foundation, The North Tulsa Community Development Corporation, and The Center for Racial Equality. She has previously served on the Alzheimer’s Board of Oklahoma.
Brenda’s efforts to foster student success are on-going. She has filed her candidacy for the Tulsa Public Schools Board. The election is slated for February 13th. Brenda seeks to represent District 1 which includes Addams, Chouteau, Emerson, Eugene Field, Lee, Park, Remington, Robertson, Roosevelt, and Mark Twain elementary schools; Clinton and Madison middle schools; Central and Webster high schools.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Vote For Brenda Barre!

I concur with Michael Bates of Urban Tulsa that voters this coming Tuesday in District 1 should cast their ballot for Brenda Barre for the TPS School Board. You can link to his excellent article here.

Her opponent, Gary Percefull, as the incumbent, has acted like he is biding his time and his service on the TPS Board is mere window dressing. No doubt he has aspirations for some type of high paying gig on the government dole. He has served his time and now the "good ole boys" are just waiting to welcome him with open arms. Well done, my good and faithful waterboy!

I personally interviewed Ms. Barre and do believe that she will be a real asset to the Tulsa community. I applaud her willingness to take on this thankless challenge.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sleep Well Tonight

A good friend of mine sent me this link about global terrorism. It is a map showing incidents around the world that have the fingerprints of terrorism on them.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Minuteman Project Founder Visits Tulsa

Be sure and take advantage of this opportunity. Jim Gilchrist, the Minuteman Project founder, will be speaking this evening at the Brady Theater for free. The starting time is 7:00.

There is a virtual media blackout on this event.

Hopefully my fellow Tulsa Bloggers will be there and will provide sound and video.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Keating Says No

Today Frank Keating the former 2 term Republican Governor of Oklahoma said he will not seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2008.

Too bad. Many of our recent Presidents, both Republicans and Democrats have formerly been Governors of states. Presidents Bush, Clinton, Reagan and Carter all come to mind. Frank has the credentials. He is a conservative and could have led the Republican Party back toward the Reagan-Republican side of things. As a relative unknown he may have been just the type of candidate that is capable of capturing the top spot.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Some Top Legislators Weigh In on Charter Schools

For your convenience I thought it would be good to post the article brought to my attention by an anonymous commenter to my previous blog. Here it is:

House & Senate Education Leaders Disappointed by Tulsa Board Action

CONTACT: State Rep. Tad Jones
Capitol: (405) 557-7380
Claremore: (918) 342-5899

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 10, 2007) – Three of the state Legislature’s top education leaders say they are disappointed by the Tulsa Public School board’s recent decision to limit the growth of charter schools in the Tulsa area.

On Monday, by a 4-3 vote, the board passed a resolution placing a moratorium on new charter schools within the Tulsa Public School system and restricting the growth of the three charter schools already in the district.

State Rep. Tad Jones, who chairs the House Education Committee, state Rep. Jabar Shumate, another member of the committee, and state Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, co-chair of the Senate Education Committee, say the board’s actions not only limit a parent’s ability to choose the best school for their child, but also limit the range of options for individuals working within the education system.

"I was very disappointed by the actions of the four school board members who voted for these restrictions," said Jones (R-Claremore). "Charter Schools are good for the administrators and teachers who want to be more innovative, and for the parents and students who want new opportunities. These four school board members have denied them those chances."

In 1999, the Legislature passed the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act, which allows charter schools in certain school districts around the state, primarily in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas.

But according to news reports, Tulsa School Board President Matt Livingood, who introduced Monday’s resolution, says the 1999 act may be unconstitutional, as it effectively places limits on specific school districts. Livingood says the Legislature has not helped to solve the issue.

Jones introduced House Bill 2578 last year to do just that. It would have allowed the Oklahoma Department of Education to sponsor charter schools, which would have adequately addressed the Tulsa School Board’s concerns.

But after the measure passed the House last year, it died in the state Senate. Jones plans to reintroduce his legislation this year.

Either way, though, Shumate (D-Tulsa) says the four school board members who voted in favor of Monday’s resolution are just searching for excuses to limit charter schools.

"We must protect charter opportunities," he said. "Students are succeeding in the charter schools and we are going to allow new sponsors who want to allow these opportunities for the students."

McIntyre (D-Tulsa), praised the members who opposed the charter school restrictions, saying, "I applaud the three school board members who voted against the resolution. They get it – it’s about allowing new opportunities for the students to succeed."

Under current state law, only individual school districts and CareerTech boards may sponsor charter schools. The Legislature will consider higher education as a sponsor, and other states have even allowed cities and counties to sponsor charter schools.

My apologies for misspelling the names of certain legislators.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Here's Your Chance to Improve Public Education


Right now you have your opportunity to strike a blow and help turn the tide toward the positive in public education.

Here are the names and emails for the board members for TPS who are considering a resolution TONIGHT to effectively put the brakes on charter schools in Tulsa.

District 1 Gary Percefull board1@tulsaschools.org

District 2 Oma Jean Copeland board2@tulsaschools.org

District 3 Lana Turner-Addison board3@tulsaschools.org

District 4 Bobbie Gray board4@tulsaschools.org

District 5 Cathy Newsome board5@tulsaschools.org

District 6 Ruth Ann Fate board6@tulsaschools.org

District 7 Matt Livingood board7@tulsaschools.org

Please, please email each of them and express your opinion that they should REJECT the proposed resolution they are considering tonight.

If you don't know anything about charter schools, I understand. That's really your fault since they have been around Tulsa for 7 years now.. Essentially they are publicly funded but operate with their own board and staff. For more general information go to my link on the Oklahoma Charter School Association.

Charter schools have proved themselves to be excellent public schools that fit a certain segment of our population. They deserve to be expanded in Tulsa, not restricted or banned! I tell you all confidently that they have the potential to actually improve public education in Tulsa. But the existing public education establishment perceives charter schools as a threat and wants nothing more than to quell these upstart schools.

The meeting is at the Education Service Center, 31st and New Haven beginning 7:00 pm tonight. To speak you have to sign in early before the meeting starts. The charter school resolution looks to be at the end of the meeting.

Please email and show up to the meeting.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

TPS Board Considers Attack on Charter Schools

The relationship between charter schools and Tulsa Public Schools has been described as a "shotgun wedding". It was a bad idea to only allow the local school districts to be the sponsor of charter schools. But at least we got the charter school act passed and it has been the law in Oklahoma since 1999.

As I have pointed out before, Tulsa has been stuck on 3 charter schools since the laws enactment and OKC has at least 10. Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences, Dove Science Academy and Deborah Brown Elementary are the 3 Tulsa charter schools. They are exemplary! TULSA NEEDS MORE CHARTER SCHOOLS!

The TPS Board will consider a resolution regarding charter schools this Monday evening that will make more Tulsa charter schools impossible. Here is the text of the resolution:


I move that the Board of Education adopt the following resolution as to charter
schools and the Tulsa School District:

WHEREAS, the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act (the “Act”) provides that charter schools
may only be sponsored by certain Oklahoma school districts; and

WHEREAS, the school districts which are required to consider sponsoring charter
schools are limited in number based on student population in the school district and
population of the county or adjacent county in which the school district exists (i.e., only school districts that have an average daily student membership of 5,000 students or more, and that are located in Tulsa County or Oklahoma County OR in a county that is contiguous with Tulsa or Oklahoma County can serve as a charter school sponsor); and

WHEREAS, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, there are only
20 school districts in the State of Oklahoma that meet the population limits provided for in the Act; and

WHEREAS, of these twenty school districts, five are located in counties that are not
contiguous with Tulsa or Oklahoma County and thus are not subject to the terms of the
Charter Schools Act; and

WHEREAS, the Charter Schools Act expressly exempts two school districts (the
Norman School District and the Yukon School District) from coverage of the Act even
though these two districts would otherwise be subject to the terms of the Act; and

WHEREAS, as a result, only thirteen school districts in Oklahoma are required to
consider charter school applications for sponsorship; and

WHEREAS, the Oklahoma Constitution specifically prohibits the legislature from
passing "special or local" laws regulating the affairs of school districts; and

WHEREAS, due to the population, geographic and specifically-named exemptions, the
Charter Schools Act is an unconstitutional "local or special" law; and

WHEREAS, Tulsa Public Schools made an effort in 2006 to bring these concerns to the
attention of the Oklahoma Legislature with the intent of correcting the constitutional defects of the Act; and

WHEREAS, the Oklahoma Legislature made no changes to the Act in 2006 relevant to
the constitutional defects of the Act.

WHEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that effective immediately and continuing until
such time as the Board of Education rescinds this resolution, the following shall govern this Board's actions towards charter schools in this District.
Pending the final resolution of the constitutionality of the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act by either legislation or litigation:

1. The Board of Education will consider charter renewals, for a period not longer
than three (3) fiscal years, for schools currently under charter with Tulsa Public
Schools pursuant to the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act; provided, however, that
any such renewed charter must contain a provision that, following any final
decision by a court of competent jurisdiction that the Charter Schools Act is
unconstitutional, the existing charter shall immediately be null and void with all
funding obligations by the District to immediately cease.

2. The Board of Education will not consider requests for renewal of existing charters
to the extent that they propose to expand operations to serve more students than
are provided for or permitted under the current charter.

3. Subject to the limitations in this resolution, future requests for renewal of an
existing charter will remain subject to review, amendment, approval or denial (as
may be appropriate to each request) as provided for under standards of Tulsa
Public Schools as they may change from time to time.

4. The Board of Education will not consider a charter school application for any
school not under charter with Tulsa Public Schools as of the date this resolution
is adopted.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the renewal of any existing charter does not
waive this School District's right to challenge the constitutionality of the Charter Schools Act at any time in the future, whether in response to litigation initiated by other parties or on its own initiative through an appropriate legal challenge authorized by the Board of Education.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that on the District’s receipt of any charter school
application, the Superintendent of Schools, or designee, shall promptly notify the
applicant, in writing, that the application has been rejected and shall provide the
applicant with a copy of this Resolution which shall serve as the reason for the rejection.

Approved this _______ day of January, 2007.

TPS and their lawyers continuously pound the drum with the mantra that the Oklahoma Charter School Act is unconstitutional. Courts have had several opportunities in the past few years to find just that, but they have side-stepped the issue, or as in the case last year, a similar case was found to be constitutional. Its high time the legislature stepped in and solved this issue.

The current act is a test case and it has been proven that charter schools can and are excellent public schools and worth of public support and expansion. Expand the charter school act to the entire state and see the entrepreneural spirit of Okies come alive!

Allow the State Department of Education, higher education institutions, and city councils to also be charter school sponsors, and have the public funding be a distinct allocation from the traditional public school by the legislature, like career tech is now.

In the meantime, make plans to go the the Education Service Center on Monday evening and sign up to speak in support of the Tulsa charter school effort. It's high time Tulsans got up and spoke out about such an important issue.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fantastic Tulsa Films

Hopefully you had the opportunity to see Jack Frank's one hour program on PBS last night at 9:00 pm. It aired statewide on public television due to sponsorship by ARVEST BANK.

I was riveted to my TV and tears welled up in my eyes several times while viewing it. My teenage son sat and watched with me. We are both native Tulsans. We both agreed we want to be downtown later this year to see the 1957 Plymouth Belvedere unearthed from its 50 year old vault.

This film is a treasure
. Jack Frank has done us all a tremendous service by compiling, editing, and narrating this film. It is a collection of old home movies and videotape spliced together in a flow of Tulsa's history. And there's more to come!

I think this should be required viewing by all Tulsa Public School children.

We have a glorious past. There are famous moviestars and politicians, downtown parades, beauty queens, long lost and forgotten airstrips, early Mohawk Park and the Tulsa Zoo, IPE and the Golden Driller, and much, much more.