Council approves bandaid for stab wound


As expected, the City Council voted to approve Councilor Randy Sullivan's resolution to have the TMAPC study ways to keep the rezoning of 71st & Harvard's southwest corner from setting a precedent for similar rezoning on the other three corners. The item was discussed in committee, but added last minute to Thursday night's agenda. I got word of the meeting late that afternoon. Neighborhood activist Herb Beattie and I spoke to the Council.

I laid out the points I mentioned here in a previous entry, and added this point. There is no way the Council can avoid setting a precedent for the other corners. Its approval of the F & M Bank rezoning has already set a precedent. Suppose a developer applies for a zoning change to the northeast corner to build an office building of similar size to the F & M facility. If the TMAPC or Council rejects that rezoning, the applicant is sure to take the matter to district court and is sure to win his case against the city. Approving an office rezoning on one corner and not an another would clearly be regarded as "arbitrary and capricious", and the court would reverse the decision. The big campaign contributions given by F & M board members to councilors would be an issue in the case -- the clear motive for granting special consideration to one rezoning applicant.

I was pleased to see that my soundbite made the Whirled's coverage. I called the resolution "a cynical exercise in political posterior coverage."

Herb Beattie spoke next, calling the proposal meaningless and saying that it missed the point. If the councilors really wanted to understand the concerns of homeowners, they should attend Monday night's neighborhood rally, 6 p.m., at Wright Elementary School.

In the end, the council voted 7-1 (Williams was absent) to approve the meaningless measure. Randy Sullivan said his motive wasn't political, he just wanted to protect the neighborhood. (Of course, he didn't support neighborhood protection when it really mattered.) Councilor Susan Neal couldn't see the harm in passing the resolution. I offered to explain, but she wasn't interested. Sam Roop agreed with Herb that the resolution was meaningless, but said he would end up voting for it anyway.

That left Chris Medlock, bravely standing alone on principal, refused to go along with this sham, although he didn't say anything as undiplomatic as that. He deserves the enthusiastic support of homeowners across Tulsa in his re-election bid.

I hope you're making plans to join us Monday night at Wright. Doors open at 5, there's a press conference at 5:30, and the rally proper at 6. Attorney Louis Bullock and neighborhood leader Mona Miller will be speaking -- and I'll get to say a few words as well. Be there, invite your friends, and let the powers-that-be understand that Tulsa homeowners expect fair treatment in the zoning process. Let's demonstrate our strength with our numbers.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 13, 2003 6:19 PM.

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