Mayor opposes recall


Thanks to Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune for speaking publicly and unequivocally in opposition to the effort to recall Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock. The Mayor spoke Tuesday at lunchtime at a press conference at the Fountains Restaurant, in front of the monthly luncheon of the Tulsa County Republican Women's Club with Mautino, Medlock, and Councilor Sam Roop. The Tulsa Whirled story (jump page here) quotes the Mayor at length. To the Whirled's credit, they put the story on the front page, albeit below the fold.

"It does not paint a true picture of the city of Tulsa," the mayor said at a news conference. "We, the citizens of Tulsa, have worked together to get where we are today. The recall hampers our efforts to find real solutions to the problems facing our city."

LaFortune said the city did not have time to spend on a protracted effort to recall the councilors.

"We do not need three, four or five months of argument," he said. "Instead, we should be using that time to work at City Hall to move Tulsa forward." ...

LaFortune said all members of the City Council "make decisions that they think are in the best interest of Tulsa."

"They are good men and women . . . Their hearts are in the right place for the city of Tulsa," the mayor said. "I do the same thing. I make decisions, which I believe are in the best interest of Tulsa."

Government should be "constructive, not destructive," LaFortune said.

"We may disagree, but removing elected officials from office should only be the solution chosen when there has been a crime or a breach of fiduciary duty," he said.

The mayor said he is not seeing public support for a recall.

"Just today I've been to three different groups and I've asked just average citizens what they think," LaFortune said before speaking at a luncheon of the Tulsa County Republican Women's Club. "To the person, they said it is not good for our city; we don't like seeing it."

LaFortune stressed that he continues to reach out to all nine councilors, encouraging them "to meet on common ground and use a democratic process to solve our differences."

The Mayor is exactly right when he says we don't have time to waste on this divisive issue. To push this issue, especially now, would be selfish and arrogant on the part of the recall supporters. It would be disastrous if a recall were on the same ballot as the general obligation bond issue. I'm glad he said publicly, on camera, and with Medlock, Mautino, and Roop next to him, that he opposes the recall in the strongest possible terms. That should send a strong signal to the organizers.

The press conference almost wasn't a press conference. It was scheduled to be held prior to the Women's Club luncheon, but when the Mayor and Councilors arrived only KFAQ was there, and KFAQ had been alerted by Medlock that the event would occur. Phone calls were made to other media outlets, and it was learned that none of them had received the press release that was supposed to have gone out that morning. So the press conference was delayed for half-an-hour to give reporters time to arrive. Only KTUL didn't show up.

There is concern that some of the Mayor's own staff was working to undermine the impact of the Mayor's statement by ensuring that it happened without the media present. The failure to issue the release may have been an innocent mistake, but it is a crucial mistake, one that could have undone all the good will rebuilt between the Mayor and the Council majority in the last couple of weeks, so crucial a mistake that he would be unwise simply to excuse it. While the Mayor is limited in his control over civil servants, he has the ability to hire and fire his personal staff, and he would be better served by someone loyal to his interests, rather than a holdover from the Savage administration.

I note that the Mayor's press release has not been posted with the press releases on the City of Tulsa home page, or anywhere within the Mayor's portion of the city website.

I assume that all six Republican councilors were invited to participate in the press conference. Wonder why Bill Christiansen, Susan Neal, and Randy Sullivan weren't there.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 14, 2004 2:17 AM.

Inquisitive councilor epidemic spreads was the previous entry in this blog.

Recall backers lay low 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?]