Related topics

Precede TULSA, Okla.

February 16, 1985

CLEVELAND (AP) _ A survey of American cities mistakenly listed Tulsa, Okla., last in two of the 10 categories, the professor who authored the study said Friday.

″To err is human; to forgive is divine, but I doubt Tulsa is going to be very forgiving,″ said Joel Lieske, associate professor of political science at Cleveland State University. ″Please give my apologies to the citizens of Tulsa.″

Tulsa Mayor Terry Young said such studies can ″cause irreparable harm.″

″These unsolicited, unauthorized surveys about good and bad elements of cities are potentially devastating,″ Young said. ″The economy of every city, especially these days, is a delicate balance.″

He said he doubted the nation’s business executives would forget the first results of the widely publicized survey - even though they have now been recomputed and show Tulsa as a pretty decent place to live.

Lieske issued his survey, ″The Quality of Life in U.S. Metropolitan Areas,″ last month after what he said was five years of work.

He and student volunteers compiled statistical information on 150 different indicators from 243 metropolitan areas around the country, although information was not available on all cities in each category.

In the original survey, Tulsa was ranked last of 243 urban areas in economic welfare of minorities and last of 142 areas in concern for quality of community life, from environmental protection issues to good schools and government.

Lieske now admits those ratings were errors, brought about when a student volunteer punched a wrong key in preparing for a computer run of statistics.

He recomputed Tulsa’s scores and found the city to rank 130th of 142 cities for concern for community life, from environmental protection issues to good schools and government. Tulsa ranked 61st of 243 for racial minorities. Among the 142 cities for which Lieske had all information, Tulsa ranked 98th, he said.

″My purpose is not to put down any city,″ Lieske said. ″We improve the human condition in learning more about it.

Young was not consoled.

″I hope we can get a bandwagon going of cities trying to stop this sort of thing,″ Young said. ″Let the cities rate themselves.

Some reports published about the study were accompanied by charts, with Tulsa shown prominently at the bottom. It was the only city ranked last in two categories.

″That hurt, particularly when it is not true,″ the mayor said.

Update hourly