A note from the Democrat Party chief


Elaine Dodd, chairman of the Tulsa County Democrat Party, sends along an amusing little note:

There are many Tulsans, both Democrat and Republican, who believe that our City Council could be doing a better job representing our neighborhoods and the needs of our residents. However, it is troublesome to me that you only recommend four Republican men to be those change agents. There are Democrat challengers to Republican incumbents (including a woman!) who offer themselves to public service on the City Council and who if elected, would be substantial agents of change and sensitive to the frustrations many citizens have had over the past two years with your four male Republicans being part of business as usual.

Dear Elaine,

I'm amused by your claim that my "four male Republicans" -- the candidates I'm endorsing in the four City Council races which are seriously contested -- have been part of business as usual over the past two years. When you look at the facts, I think you'll agree that if the voters follow my endorsements, they would keep two substantial agents of change on the Council and would replace two obstructionists with real change agents.

The opponents of the four candidates I recommended -- your four Democrats in 2, 4, 5, and 6 -- were all endorsed by the Tulsa Whirled. Do you think the Whirled would endorse anyone who would be an effective agent for change?

At least three of your four Democrats have acknowledged taking campaign money from individuals connected with F&M Bank. Tom Baker and Art Justis received large contributions from those sources. Darla Hall said she received $1,000 from F&M officials after the reporting deadline. (Has Andy Phillips received any money from individuals connected with F&M? Has Darla Hall received any more from those sources?) Do you think these donors would give money to people who will work actively for fair treatment for homeowners?

Of the candidates I endorsed, two of them have never been on the City Council. They haven't been part of business as usual. Instead, Eric Gomez in District 4 and Jim Mautino in District 6 have been active on behalf of neighborhoods. They understand the zoning and land use planning process from first-hand experience. They would be vast improvements over your candidates in those races, Tom Baker and Art Justis, who have proven by their votes that they don't want to give neighborhoods a fair hearing. Far from being innovative problem solvers, or champions of the little guy, both Baker and Justis have shown that they only want to be rubber-stamps for the bureaucrats and the power-brokers.

The other two I endorsed are Chris Medlock and Sam Roop. Throughout this campaign, these are the only two incumbent Councilors I have endorsed. These two have shown political courage in standing up for the right thing. Chris Medlock, in particular, has fought valiantly for fair treatment for homeowners during his year in office, and is working to hold the city administration accountable for how Tulsa's share of the Vision 2025 money is spent. He has taken stands that have at times put him at odds with a Republican mayor and a Republican-majority County Commission.

Sam Roop has been around a long time, but he has been pushing for positive reform when few others would stand up and be counted. He's not always as bold as I would like, but I know he understands how City Hall works and what needs to be fixed. You would have been proud of him last Thursday, when he persuaded his fellow Councilors not to certify the vote in the District 3 Democrat primary until the issue has worked its way through the courts.

All four of these Republican gentlemen have demonstrated the ability to study a complicated issue, determine a course of action, and make a persuasive case to get the job done. Some examples:

  • Chris Medlock brought different groups together to develop a Route 66 proposal for Vision 2025, and he organized the presentation to sell the concept to the Dialog/Visioning Leadership Team.

  • Eric Gomez stopped Tom Baker from plopping a fire station right in the middle of a neighborhood. Eric and his neighbors researched alternative locations and persuaded then-Mayor Savage to go with the site on 15th Street.

  • Jim Mautino has tirelessly worked with city officials to bring a nearby concrete plant into compliance with floodplain and zoning regulations. He has studied the maps and the laws and has worked closely with City public works officials to ensure that the plant isn't allowed to operate in a way that could hurt nearby homes.

I got a chuckle too out of your emphasis on the sex of the candidates I'm supporting. Elaine, when the World and the Chamber and the city establishment turned against Anna Falling, did you stand by her side? Did you support her re-election? Or did you support Gary Watts, an old white male establishment lawyer? I knocked doors and made phone calls and expended some political capital for Anna's re-election. What did you do for her? When Edith Shoals ran against Don Ross for House 73 in 2000, whom did you support? What about Randi Miller versus Bruce Ford for County Commission in 2002? In the 2000 State Senate 37 race, did you support public school teacher Nancy Riley or old white guy Lewis Long?

Well, this has been fun. Thanks for giving me a good excuse to promote those "four male Republicans", who happen to be Tulsa's best hope for a city government responsive to its citizens.

Warm regards, and thanks for writing,

Michael Bates

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 7, 2004 10:58 PM.

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