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Posts Tagged ‘Tulsa’

Go Vote!

Today is Primary Day for Tulsa municipal offices. Many of the races have only challengers in the primary, so Districts 2, 5, and 8 will be decided today in the primary election.

Polls are open until 7pm and you have, by law, the right to take up to 2 hours off work to go cast your ballot (so no excuses!). To vote in a primary, you must be a registered member of the political party in whose primary you wish to vote.

To find out where to vote, visit Tulsa County’s precinct finder.

Last time around, I somehow managed to forget to vote and my city councilor lost a close race. If someone as politically aware as me forgot, I imagine many others did as well. So your vote, collectively, really does count – especially in local elections and even more especially in primaries for them, when turnout is very low.

Read more at the Tulsa World’s election page, the candidate responses to Tulsa Metro Chamber’s questionnaire, or the League of Women Voter’s election guide.

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The Tulsa Health Department has released its first draft of the Community Health Improvement Plan for public review and comment. The document, which culminates the Department’s Pathways to Health community planning initiative, identifies six strategic objectives to improve the health of Tulsa County citizens:

  • Decrease the prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity
  • Improve affordability and availability of nutritional foods
  • Provide safe, affordable, and healthy housing for Tulsa residents
  • Improve mental health in the community
  • Reduce tobacco use in the community
  • Increase the density and accessibility of health care facilities

Each objective identifies specific measurable outcomes and a number of suggested intervention strategies. Read the full document here.

The Department is asking for comments, feedback, and additions to the document before submitting it for approval by the Pathways to Health Partnership. You can comment on the public blog for your region or email your feed back to Alicia Plati, Program Development Coordinator, at aplati@tulsa-health.org. Comments are due Monday, August 3 – so do it this weekend!

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The Tulsa World reports that Phil Lakin, executive director of the Tulsa Community Foundation, has announced his campaign for Tulsa City Council, District 8. He will challenge incumbent Bill Christiansen in the Republican primary.

Lakin, also a Republican, said his primary responsibility as a councilor would be to represent the specific needs of the citizens, neighborhoods and businesses.

“Whether it be the need for smoother and wider streets, quality infrastructure, creek bank erosion and flood control, better transportation options or responsible growth, I will make sure I know the issues, then work to address these issues at City Hall,” he said.

I have no idea how Phil Lakin would fare as a city councilor and even if I did I obviously wouldn’t endorse anyone in this space. (And, moreover, even if I did you dear readers wouldn’t really be swayed.) I simply mean to point out that for anyone interested in improving the quality of life across the city of Tulsa – and if you’re reading this you’re almost certainly one – it’s a campaign you should keep an eye on. No matter the outcome, it is bound to have a meaningful, if complicated, effect on the goings-on at the City Council, Tulsa Community Foundation’s relationship with the city, and the forward progress of our dear city. (And I mean none of that to imply either either a positive or negative effect. I’m not smart enough to know which will carry on balance.)

And just to close by tip-toeing away from local politics (an always dangerous subject), I provide the following public service. If for some strange reason you live in Tulsa but you aren’t registered to vote (here or at all), you can access the appropriate forms here. You should register to vote no later than 1 month prior to an election, as your registration will not be processed 24 days before the election.

The City of Tulsa’s primary election will be held on September 8, which means you must register by August 14 to participate. Primaries are closed in Oklahoma, meaning you must affiliate with the appropriate political party in order to vote in its primary. You must re-register if you would like to change your party affiliation.

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If you haven’t already reviewed the PLANiTULSA scenarios and submitted the short feedback survey, then you’re doing a serious disservice to the city you call home. The deadline to participate is TOMORROW, June 18.

Seriously, this is your chance to register your vision for our future before who-knows-what will happen in the hands of the City Council.

The scenarios are these:

  • Scenario A: Trends Continue. If you like the way Tulsa has grown the past 20 years, this one’s for you. 83% of population growth goes to the ‘burbs.
  • Scenario B: Main Streets. Existing communities benefit from new development and transit investments, especially along 11th Street, Harvard, Yale, and Peoria.
  • Scenario C: New Centers. New hubs of jobs and housing concentrated around downtown, North Peoria, Southwest Tulsa, and East Tulsa. Lots of new development happens in previously neglected areas of Tulsa, but a lot of it is “green field” or open land development rather than infill or re-development.
  • Scenario D:  Centered City. Transit and housing investments concentrate on downtown and inner-midtown. The objective is to create a much denser center city.

Get to it!

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The City of Tulsa’s Working in Neighborhoods department (WIN) will be offering free classes on a variety of topics throughout the summer and fall to help improve your neighborhood. All classes will be held at the Central Center at Centennial Park, 1028 E. Sixth Street. Contact the WIN Department liaisons at 596-1292 to RSVP.

May 21, 2009       Thursday 6 to 8 p.m. – Leadership: Communication and Motivation – WIN Liaison

June 04, 2009       Thursday 6 to 8 p.m. – Alert Neighbors Program – Crime Commission

June 11, 2009       Thursday 6 to 8 p.m. – Beautification & Safety of your Neighborhood: Public Works – Graffiti Painting, Curb painting, Clean-up, & Dumpster program, Up with Trees and M.e.t. Recycling

June 20, 2009       Saturday 9 a.m. to Noon – C.A.R.E. (Compassion Around Residents in our Environment) Program – WIN Liaison Church of the Madalene

June 27, 2009       Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Leadership: Dealing with Conflict – Early Settlement Mediation Office and WIN Liaison

July 16, 2009        Thursday 6 to 8 p.m. – Neighborhood Event Planning /Volunteer Neighborhood Code ComplianceProgram – WIN Neighborhood Services Liaison

July 18, 2009        Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. -Where can I get volunteers? -Volunteer Central

July 23, 2009        Thursday 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Crime Issues in our Neighborhood: Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA) (Tentative)

July 25, 2009        Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Why and how do we set up a 501 C3? – Patience A. Crowder,Director, SEED Law Project at TU College of Law.  Class is community education forum and not legal advice.

Aug. 08, 2009       Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Aging Issues and Assistance – WIN Dept. Area Council on Aging

Sept. 10, 2009      Thursday 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. -Storm Water, Runoff, etc. – City of Tulsa

Oct. 17, 2009        Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – HOA Workshop *Tentative *– Community Associations Institute. Seeking Sponsors to defray travel expenses for presenters and HOA’s to defray cost of $50 book. Content Sample: Legal Foundation, Finances, Creation and Enforcement of Restrictions, Risk Control and Insurance

Nov. 19, 2009       Thursday 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Planning and Zoning Questions – City of Tulsa Planning Department

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The Tulsa Health Department’s Pathways to Health program is a community planning process for improving the health and quality of life in neighborhoods across Tulsa. Part of the process was an extensive survey, which they have used to identify priorities and strengths in every Tulsa zip c0de. You can view the priorities for your area by entering your zipcode here. My zip code, 74120, is located in the “Central West” region (as is the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood), where our strategic issues are:

  • Chronic diseases on the rise
  • Mental health and substance abuse must be treated as health issues
  • Obesity
  • Improper ER utilization

The second and fourth bullets, in particular, make sense to me. My zip code is home to St. John’s and Hillcrest, where the emergency rooms are absolutely slammed, and Parkside Psychiatric Hospital. (On the other hand, I haven’t noticed the prevalence of obesity in this area – we’re a relatively young set and are in a walkable area.)

Go type in your zip code to find out what your neighbors are identifying as important to their quality of life. You’ll notice that this feature is part of the website’s blog function, and you can actually post your own blog posts on your zip code’s page. I don’t see that anyone is taking advantage of this, but if you’ve got something to say you should head over there and start the conversation!

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Mayor Kathy Taylor announced that the city’s printers will now be set to two-sided printing by default, saving an estimated (and astounding!) $41,400 per year. This is a great example of what Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein call “nudges.”

One well-known nudge is default enrollment into 401(k) programs, which can boost enrollment rates up to 90 percent. Usually (including at CAP, sadly), you have to opt-in to an employer retirement program, causing even people who know better to delay and forget to do so. Default enrollment flips the choice – you are automatically enrolled and you are left with the freedom to choose to opt out.

Behavioral economists and their ilk call these nudges “choice architecture,” or the ways in which we can encourage people to make better (or different) choices by changing the context in which they make the decision. The idea is that we can get better choices without actually constraining anyone’s freedom to choose for themselves.

(You can read more in Thaler and Sunstein’s book Nudge as well as on their blog. We’ve also mentioned them here and here.)

The Tulsa Initiative, and CAP more generally, has been thinking a lot about how to leverage behavioral research to obtain better outcomes for the people we serve. How can we change the context in which people make decisions so that its just a little bit easier to save some money, pay the bills on time, get kids enrolled in Sooner Care, etc?

Image used under a Creative Commons license from flickr user herby_fr.

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