Which Councilors are the grownups?


The Whirled's editorial board -- the propaganda arm of the Cockroach Caucus -- pooh-poohed the efforts of the City Council to formalize the powers granted to it by the City Charter to conduct investigations into the operations of city government. The investigatory power is one of the three critical roles the Council plays in our system of government -- representing the diversity of the city, making the laws of the city, and overseeing the execution of those laws. The Whirled labeled the members of the Cockroach Caucus "the grownups on the council" for resisting progress. The real grownups are the majority bipartisan coalition which continues to work toward the maturation of the City Council as an institution, the full realization of the City Council's role in the checks and balances of city government, something that was promised to the citizens of Tulsa when we approved the new Charter in 1989.

If the Council is going to exercise its responsibility to investigate, it must be able to enforce lawful orders, such as subpoenas. "Subpoena" comes from two Latin words which mean "under penalty." In the absence of a penalty for failure to comply, a subpoena is not a subpoena.

The Whirled incorrectly states that the Council would become judge and jury in cases of contempt or disruptive behavior. That indicates the Whirledlings haven't bothered to read the ordinances. (They actually get paid for their opinions. I don't get paid a penny for this, and I still take the time to read something before I comment on it. It's not that hard, but it does mean they'd have less time for sipping whiskey and swapping stories down at the Press Club.)

For you Whirledlings reading this, I will make it easy for you.

Here is a link to the text of the proposed ordinance to define contempt of Council and set penalties for said offense: CLICK HERE, KEN!

Here is a link to the text of the proposed ordinance to define disorderly behavior in Council meetings and set penalties for said offense: CLICK HERE, JULIE!

Notice that a charge of contempt of Council is simply referred to the City Attorney, who must decide whether to press charges. If filed, the charge would be heard in municipal court. The Council merely makes the charge, the roles of judge and jury are filled, appropriately, by a judge and a jury, not by the Council.

Article II, Section 4 of the City Charter empowers the Council to issue fines for disruptive behavior. (CLICK HERE, JANET!) The proposed ordinance defines the kind of behavior that qualifies as disruptive. The terms and conditions specified in the ordinance line up exactly with the terms of the Charter.

This is a typically lazy slap from the Whirled editorial board. They're uncomfortable with the idea of a Council committed to making government work for all the people, not just a favored few. We know what kind of councilors the Whirled likes, and we're glad their choices aren't in the majority any longer.

We are hopeful that the days of Tulsa as a banana republic -- a land of Marcos-style crony capitalism -- are numbered, thanks to diligent public servants like Councilors Henderson, Medlock, Turner, Roop, and Mautino.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 30, 2004 1:23 AM.

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