Monday, November 07, 2005

Rx For An Ailing Arena: SUMO

From all indications on the blogs more knowledgeable than the Tulsa Indy Gazetter, Tulsa's new Arena is shaping up to be the biggest white elephant since Great Plains Airlines. We certainly hope the pundits are all wrong. Here at TIG, we want to look at the positive. How can we make the Arena work?

First, we have to look at the underlying problem. Under the current business model, the BOK Arena will be competing against other big cities for a fast shrinking pool of potential venue of big conventions, concerts, and professional sports. We are Tier III market. We can't compete. Tulsa needs a new paradigm, a new vision, stepping out of the box, and all that.

TIG proposes Tulsa use the Arena to do business with the world, not compete against other American cities for same old tired venues. After all, we operate in the global economy. Which begats global entertainment. We will focus specifically on sports for now.

It's no secret that professional teams bring some measure of prestige to any city. But, the usual diet of football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and even hockey is not enough to sustain the Arena. The Arena needs sports which are not already up for grabs by other cities.

Let's open our eyes to global sports such as sumo wrestling, bicycle racing, and maybe even cricket. All sports which are huge in countries Tulsa should be poised to do business with. Cricket from India and Pakistan. Bicycle racing from China, Europe, and Japan. And, of course, sumo wrestling.

Let's compare the three sports for that shizzle factor. Which of these has got the TIG goonies' blood boiling up to a fever pitch. One word: Sumo. The dreams for Arena should be just as oversized as the athletes. Tulsa was the Oil Capitol of the world once, because of the wildcatters who risked everything and usually came up with a dry hole. But, every once a while, the gushers saved the day. Imagine Tulsa, the Sumo Capitol of America! SUMO SUMO SUMO!!!

But, before we call on Fitzcarraldo to bring the opera into a backass jungle, let's have some fun!

We are going take bicycle trips through the neighborhoods of Tulsa to the Arena and publish our experiences here. If anyone wants to join us, give us a shout.

The starting points are the residences of the following movers and shakers of Tulsans for Better Government. If you are on the list, no ill will is intended. Only just some good-natured fun to make the BOK Arena work. If we left out someone, it's because you don't live in Tulsa. Tough. Are you with us?

9 - Chip McElroy, 1964 E. 45th PL -- CEO McElroy Manufacturing, supporter of Mayor Lafortune, hosted campaign kick-off rally, Trustee Univ. of Tulsa.

9 - Ted Sherwood, 3802 S. Delaware Av -- trial lawyer.

9 - Len & Patty Eaton, 2617 E. 26th PL -- Len, former Pres/CEO BOk, Patty former Water & Sewer Commissioner under at-large system, ran unsuccessfully for Mayor as independent in 1986 against Tom Quinn and Dick Crawford.

2 - Howard Barnett, 6742 S. Evanston, just south of SHCC -- former chief of staff to Gov. Frank Keating, investment banker, managing director of TSF Capital, LLC.

9 - Robert LaFortune, 4444 Oak Rd -- former Mayor under at-large system 1970s, uncle of present Mayor and on his campaign committee.

9 - Ray & Nancy Feldman, 2120 E. 46th St. -- Ray lawyer, Nancy

2 - Tom Hughes, 6887 S. Evanston Av, just south of SHCC, Dist. 2 -- CEO Hughes Lumber, Member Tulsa Metro Chamber Board.

9 - Jim Hewgley Jr., 2454 E. 30th, -- former Mayor under at-large system, member LaFortune reelection committee.

2 - Norma Eagleton, 3210 E. 65th St, next to SHCC, Dist. 2 -- lawyer, former Corporation Commissioner, former Finance Commissioner under at-large system, on board of Tulsa Co. Juvenile Trust Auth, along with Jack O'Brien; the authority is represented by Riggs Abney law firm.

9 - Paula Marshall-Chapman, 2427 E. 41st, CEO Bama Pies, Trustee Univ. of Tulsa, Member Metro Chamber Board, Co-Chair Finance, LaFortune reelection committee, contributed $5000 to pro-recall group.

9 - C.S. Lewis, III, 2932 Woodward Blvd. -- lawyer Riggs Abney law firm, which represents numerous government entities - mainly Tulsa County related, former OU Board of Regents and former general counsel and member of the Executive Committee of the Metro Chamber.

9 - Dewey Bartlett, Jr., 50 Woodward Blvd. -- President, Keener Oil, District 9 City Councilor, 1990-94, unsuccessfully ran for Mayor against Susan Savage 1994 & against Tom Adelson, State Sen. Dist. 33, 2004.

9 - Sid Patterson, 2642 S. Columbia Pl, former Street Commissioner under at-large system in 1950s and 1970s, founder and first president of Up with Trees.

9 - Rob Johnson, 2539 S. Birmingham PL, lobbyist, Public Opinion, Inc.
(, represents Tyson Foods & others, former State Representative, Dist. 71 (overlaps much of Council District 9).

9 - Kathy Taylor, 2805 S. Columbia PL, lawyer, current Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce & Tourism, married to William Lobeck, CEO Vanguard Car Rental, former CEO Thrifty-Dollar Car Rental, both are Trustees of the Univ. of Tulsa.

9 - Joe Coleman, 2645 E. 41st, former Street Commissioner under at-large system and Architect, supporter of Tulsa Project 2001.

7 - Jack O'Brien, 5926 E. 53rd St., Dist. 7, former Finance Commissioner under at-large system, 1960s and 70s, member with Norma Eagleton on Tulsa County Juvenile Trust Auth., which is represented by Riggs Abney law firm.

2 - Randi Miller, 6924 S. 32 W. Ave, current Tulsa County Commissioner, former City Councilor, Dist. 2.