Saturday, August 16, 2003

Word on the Street on Vision 2025

The pro-Vision 2025 campaign in Tulsa seems to be gaining steam as more and more Tulsa County voters realize what is at stake for the county. Just judging by what I overhear in the city my perception is that people that don't normally get politically active are finally determined to put a stop to the decline of Tulsa and the surrounding cities. One elderly lady I overheard today said that she had voted against the previous two efforts but was going to vote "yes" this time because her children asked her to "for my grandchildren's sake."

Some of the reasons I've heard for voting "no" on Vision 2025 leave me cold. My neighbor said she was going to vote "no" because her children have already grown up and moved away. "Why should I pay for other people's kids?" she said. When I asked her why her kids moved away from Tulsa she said it was because they couldn't find the jobs they wanted in Tulsa. She doesn't see the connection between quality of life and jobs - or between infrastructure and quality of life. I think her attitude displays an all-too-common selfishness among us. If it doesn't directly benefit ME then I'm against it. Where is the sense of community with these people?

Another blogger expresses sympathy with the "no" folks because he thinks Tulsa should be unique and not seek to duplicate what Oklahoma City has done. What is left unsaid is that Oklahoma City, by investing in its infrastructure over the past decade, has succeeded at improving its quality of life and spurring economic development. Just take a look at the number of quality companies that have opened new operations in OKC this last year - and compare it with Tulsa. Tulsa should not be too proud to want to duplicate that kind of success. To be uniquely underdeveloped is no vision for a great metro area like Tulsa.

There are two kinds of businesspeople, those who invest in their business and grow it and those who don't - and slowly kill it. A city or county is no different. You've got to invest in it if you plan on maintaining it or handing it off to your children someday.

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