Giving Thanks During These Days Of Change

2020 has been one for the books. No one could foreseen the year Tulsa and the world has experienced in the last year. While the argument could be made for us being stronger than we thought, there is evidence there are still pockets of stubborn ignorance to the facts. This week the stock market rose to unheard of levels and oil started its slow climb out of the depths of low gas use from the corona virus. On balance, despite some resistance to progress, life appears to be heading in the right direction.

The news of vaccine has spurred the stock market as at least three vaccines appear ready to be distributed to those who want it. Because the nature of new vaccines has an unknown effect on some high risk populations, there will be some who will opt out of taking what may amount to a life-saving medicine. Unfortunately, there will be those who chose to oppose the vaccine and mandating face masks because President Donald J. Trump has made it the hallmark of his failed strategy to resist shutting down the economy. Health experts advocated efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19 which meant the painful process of everyone sheltering in until the virus could be slowed down. Nations around the world who took this approach have seen the pandemic wiped out within their boundaries. Trump and others lacked this courage to do the right thing. He was no profile in courage.

Slowly, the political and scientific will is starting to rise as the inconceivable belief in Trump strategies drop as we enter an ultra-risky time of the year. Despite millions deciding to not host Thanksgiving and avoid shopping in congested areas there are many who are acting as if there is no medical crisis.

Millions are clogging airports, bus stations and roadways to be with family. This series of super spreader events will no doubt contribute to rising infection rates. Those who are taking precautions will probably avoid problems.

Nationally, the White House coronavirus task force has been sounding the alarm on the spread of the virus. They see too many areas, quite frankly, like Oklahoma that are showing the problems associated with poor leadership and the fear of Trump to leave the state vulnerable to widespread infection. The White House has described the problems in Oklahoma as a place where the unmitigated approach has created an unstoppable spread of the virus. Oklahoma communities are going to try to stop the spread anyway before vaccines reach our borders.

Last week Sapulpa passed their version of a mandated mask policy. This week Sand Springs, and Muskogee joined that fraternity of cities trying to do what they can to stop the spread. Tulsa has enacted their version earlier in October after dropping it to please Trump. Oklahoma City voted to extend their mandated mask use as has Jenks, Claremore, and Glenpool.

The republican stronghold of Broken Arrow voted to not mandate the use of masks. That proposed resolution would have only “recommended” that masks be worn in public spaces. This in the face a reported 2,736 new cases on Tuesday of this week, 15 additional deaths and a one-day record of 1,566 people hospitalized due to the virus according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. This brings the total to 180,610 cases and 1,664 deaths reported by the health department since the pandemic began in March. Experts say these numbers are much higher as some people have not been tested and some studies say people can be infected and show no symptoms.

Crowded churches at the insane urging of Trump and concerts are not so silent witnesses to Tulsa’s weak Covid policies. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum have shown no political backbone in fighting this pandemic. They have been faithful foot soldiers for Trump in his wildly ineffective COVID-19 policies.

Hope is on the horizon. Three new vaccines are hours away from being approved and available for those who want it. This was good news for the stock market and oil prices. Higher oil prices will pump revenue into Oklahoma coffers and pockets. Experts expect a 25 percent increase in prices in the coming year. It could be more, and while this is not always good news to people struggling to put gas in their car, on balance it is good news for the Oklahoma economy.

Continue to take every precaution possible and stay safe this holiday week and stay vigilant in keeping your homes infection free.

Oklahoma Jazz Hall Of Fame Needs Another Chance

The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame does not live in a vacuum. It suffered perhaps more than some from the negative effects of Covid-19, in the form of lost revenue. That has not kept their landlord Tulsa County from pressuring them to keep up timely payments. Tulsa county, still full of the stimulus funds, is not suffering the way Tulsans are and they should be more open-minded during these tough times.

Another reason that does not show up on a cold balance sheet is the very reason there is a Jazz Hall of Fame and where it currently resides. It is historic and points to a time when jazz reigned supreme in Tulsa. Much of that music was playing during the time of the 1921 Race Massacre. Tulsa is already stubbing its insensitive toe over erasing Black Lives Matter art and throwing out the welcome mat to the most racially divisive president in recent history. Tulsa can do better and should start that process immediately.

They can start with removing  the excessive extra fees heaped on late payments made by the Jazz Hall of Fame. They are already struggling and in fact should be helped not attacked.

Tulsa County can do better and the upcoming eviction hearing should be one of hope not dread.