Over 6,000 individual Tulsans took their opportunity seriously when invited to attend numerous workshops and have their opinions heard openly during the past two years of PLANiTULSA. The result is a world class Comprehensive Plan proposal that an unprecedented number of people have helped create in a healthy, open, engaging, and democratic process. It has been inspiring and refreshing.
This process didn’t happen behind closed doors. It’s not the product of special interest deal making. It didn’t happen by following the old familiar back scratching methods we’re all familiar with and with which many are vaguely uncomfortable but generally accept as “the way it’s done.”
If you are a member of one of the groups just now opening your door and coming out to delay, derail, or dilute the work of thousands of people over thousands of hours, you are demonstrating exactly the behavior that creates a vast divide between “us and them”.
If you didn’t accept your many invitations to participate in this unprecedented opportunity to share your concerns and vision for Tulsa, shame on you.
I’m not alone in these feelings. Michael Bates talks about it in his blog and includes a letter from Jamie Jamieson on the subject. There are many others of us who have served on the Citizens Committee who feel the same way. There are many more of us who are fairly confident this is a slam dunk and there’s no more reason to speak up. WRONG! If left unchallenged, the old methods will continue to be effective in their tried and true, subversive ways.
Part of the paradigm shift that has already occurred through the PLANiTULSA process includes fundamental changes in how we approach the process of public engagement. There is a renewed expectation that everyone has a place at the adult table and if you want to be part of the discussion, you need to show up on time and have your say.
It is absolutely crucial that as many of us as possible make it clear to the TMAPC that we want them to recommend approval of our new Comprehensive Plan – as we created it, with a solid and well documented background of vision development and citizen input.
So if you have participated in any way – attended one workshop, submitted one comment, took one poll in the past two years of the PLANiTULSA process, PLEASE, PLEASE take a few minutes to write a note, send an email or best of all, come to the next and likely final TMAPC hearing Tuesday March 23, 2010, 6:00 p.m. It’s in the Council Chambers, 2nd Floor City Hall, One Technology Center, Northwest corner of 2nd and Cincinnati.