Time to take a stand


Tonight (Wednesday the 29th) at 6 pm, four of the five members of the Tulsa City Council's bipartisan Reform Alliance majority will give their perspective on the state of the city. The Mayor's "state of the city" address was delivered at a fundraising luncheon for the Tulsa Metro Chamber. The Reform Alliance's remarks will be in a public place -- Aaronson Auditorium on the first floor of the Central Library, 5th & Denver downtown -- to the general public, with free admission.

Councilors Jack Henderson, Chris Medlock, Roscoe Turner, and Jim Mautino will be speaking. Sam Roop, the fifth member of the alliance, has a conflict with a college course he's taking, so he'll be speaking at a town hall meeting the next night. Roop's absence will also help alleviate any possible issues with accidentally having a quorum present in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

It is important that everyone who supports their efforts on our behalf show up tonight and show that support publicly. As Michael DelGiorno said this morning, it's no longer a time just for praying and forwarding e-mails, it's time to show up and stand up. You might even want to bring a small sign -- emphasize the positive, why you support what these councilors are doing.

These five councilors have been under a sustained and coordinated attack. Why? Simply for doing their job -- asking questions, exercising oversight over city departments and boards and commissions. Like a dentist discovering a rotten tooth, the Council's gentle probing has produced screams of pain as it finds pockets of decay.

And yes, the Whirled's spinning notwithstanding, the probing has been gentle. Watch the Council meetings and committee meetings on TGOV channel 24. (This week's schedule is here.) The Reformers ask their questions and raise their concerns politely and with a calm demeanor. When questions are dodged, the Reformers press for answers firmly, but without losing their cool. They have demonstrated grace under intense pressure, and I think all of them would credit God's grace for sustaining them through all of the attacks.

Last week's debate over the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority's (TMUA) $18.5 million revenue bond issue is a great example. (You can catch this one last time Thursday morning on channel 24 -- the rebroadcast begins at 8 am, and the bond issue discussion starts about an hour or so into the meeting.) The Reformers asked questions of Paul Zachary from the Public Works department, Owasso City Manager Rodney Ray, Tulsa Deputy Mayor Steve Sewell, and the head of Owasso's economic development agency.

In the course of the questions, Chris Medlock and the other Reformers made it clear that they do not want to cut off water to the suburbs, and they are willing to sell more water to the suburbs, but they want to ensure that it is at a rate that is fair to Tulsa. At the Mayor's request, the Council voted to delay considering the TMUA bond issue for at least two weeks. Some councilors wanted to proceed with approval for the non-controversial items and defer consideration of the suburban water lines only. After receiving assurances from Paul Zachary that the two week delay would not jeopardize critical projects such as dam repair to Lake Spavinaw and Lake Eucha, the Council voted 6 to 3 to continue the issue to a future meeting. The Reform Alliance split on the issue, with Medlock and Roop agreeing to delay the issue, Henderson, Turner, and Mautino not wanting to delay the projects that have unanimous support, demonstrating that these men are truly exercising independent judgment, not marching in lockstep.

Of course, the Whirled editorial board found a way to spin this into more criticism of Medlock:

Later Thursday Roop broke ranks with the Gang of Five and voted against sabotaging a water revenue-bond package that contains a new water line to Owasso.

But Poe's remarks apparently fell on deaf ears where the other members of the cabal were concerned. Medlock, who reluctantly went along with the water bond vote, otherwise was up to his usual tricks. For example, he badgered a speaker who appeared before the council on the Owasso issue.

Medlock and his most loyal minions might have ignored Poe's message but let's hope the rest of Tulsa was paying attention.

The Whirled continues to hold out the false hope that Roop will soften and come over to the Dark Side, so even though Roop and Medlock agreed, they invent a pretext to make Roop look reasonable and Medlock and the others look unreasonable. There was no sabotage on the part of Mautino, Turner, and Henderson, just a desire to move ahead where there was agreement. Medlock was gracious in his willingness to cooperate with the Mayor's request, given that the Mayor had echoed Bob Poe's attacks on the Council in the state of the city address. (The Mayor, for his part, has now issued a press release and signed another statement opposing the recall effort.)

For the Whirled, asking questions and bringing important facts to light -- some pertinent information about Owasso's economic development plans -- constitutes
"trickery" and "badgering". Watch the tape, and compare the Whirled's wild description to the mild reality of the situation.

(And if you want to see some real badgering, click here. Warning: That link is a bit of comic relief and has nothing to do with Tulsa City Government. Hat tip to Lileks.)

Tonight, we need the Whirled and its minions to understand that the people of this city support what these five councilors are doing: trying to make Tulsa city government work for all Tulsans, not just a favored few.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 29, 2004 12:45 AM.

Called on account of volcanic ash was the previous entry in this blog.

More Poe is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]