Tulsa, OK

What makes a family?: Group home controversy still rages

July 19, 2009
A controversy over limiting new group homes has raged on since January, and no end is in sight. And whether it's intended or not, the message being sent to some camps remains unchanged: Unrelated people seeking to share housing aren't always welcome here.
     City Councilor Rick Westcott has led the effort to modify regulations governing group homes after a task force called for some changes. That task force, impaneled in 2007, was created to address concerns some south Tulsa residents raised about group homes.
     Westcott suggested that opposition is arising because "the proposed amendment is misunderstood and, once the opponents do understand, there won't be a reason for their opposition."
     He's right about the misunderstanding part. Even the lawyer for some advocates, well-known civil rights attorney Louis Bullock, is flummoxed by the proposals.
     Bullock said the draft ordinance "demonstrates very clearly they understand they are trying to cut around (fair housing) laws." He pointed to a passage defending a proposed spacing requirement "not on the basis of handicap status, but on the basis of the non-family status of the groups."

Housing project going forward

November 24, 2008
It's a project that's been mired in controversy. Tonight the battle over a proposed low-income apartment complex may be over, at least for now. The complex is set to go up near I-244 and Yale. Neighbors are concerned about the homeless moving in. Tonight FOX 23's Douglas Clark has an update on an issue in which it's been hard for people to find any middle-ground.

Judge hears case against Okla. company

September 08, 2003
A Tulsa manufacturer exploited and abused workers brought to this country from India, their lawyers said Monday in the first phase of a labor trafficking trial.
     The 52 workers, who were recruited in their home country, came to work as welders, fitters and electricians at the John Pickle Co., which made specialized equipment for the oil industry.
     "This case ... is about human trafficking for labor," Johnny Parker, attorney for the workers, told federal Judge Claire Eagan, who is hearing the civil case without a jury. The workers are seeking back wages and unspecified damages.

Klansman's  reformation

June 14, 2002
Ku Klux Klan leader Johnny Lee Clary patted his white sheet as he waited in the radio station for his debate opponent, a civil rights activist.
      Clary expected the Rev. Wade Watts to hate whites as much as Clary hated blacks. But then Watts stunned Clary. He walked into the broadcast booth, smiled and told the then-Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan that he loved him.
      Clary was stunned. He had set a fire that damaged Watts' McAlester church — a crime for which he was never prosecuted. Still, he couldn't help but shake the reverend's extended hand, despite the KKK rule against touching blacks.

Okla. textbooks to carry evolution disclaimer

November 11, 1999
A state committee has voted to require a disclaimer in new biology textbooks saying evolution is a ``controversial theory.''
    Last week's decision by the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee makes Oklahoma the latest state to officially challenge the way evolution is taught.
    This summer the Kansas Board of Education passed new testing standards, minimizing the importance of evolution. And last month, Kentucky's Education Department deleted the word ``evolution'' from its standards, replacing it with ``change over time.''
    The Oklahoma panel is charged with screening textbooks for the state's 540 public school districts. Districts may purchase only books approved by the committee.  

Unearthing ugly history in Tulsa

November 08, 1999
Dick Rowland had good reason to be in the elevator one fateful day in 1921. He needed to use the bathroom.
    For blacks in segregated Tulsa, that meant a trip to the top floor of the Drexel Building. Other public toilets downtown were for whites only.
    But Rowland, 19, never got there. The elevator lurched, a 17-year-old female elevator operator screamed, and thus began one of the worst race riots this country has ever seen.
    "The whites was saying, ‘This was a rape and somebody’s going to pay,’" recalls 96-year-old riot survivor Otis Clark. "The colored folks was saying, ‘The poor boy just stepped on the white girl’s foot.’"
    A group of black World War I veterans came to the courthouse offering to protect Rowland, who had been taken into custody, and confronted a white mob outside the courthouse jail on May 31. Within hours, Tulsa would explode. Twenty-three churches and more than a thousand homes burned, in what had been one of the most prosperous black communities in America.

Blacks, whites gather in Tulsa to remember race riots

June 02, 1998
Mabel Little had something to say to those assembled on the 77th anniversary of one of the nation's worst race riots. ``God bless you wonderful people!'' said Mrs. Little, who lost her church, her business and 35 blocks of her community when white mobs torched it in two days of rioting on June 1, 1921. Hundreds -- both black and white -- attended an emotional ``assembly of repentance'' on Monday in a bare lot where Tulsa's thriving black business district once proudly stood.
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