Tulsa County races


There are only two Tulsa County races on the ballot tomorrow -- the other officials whose terms are expiring (District Attorney, Sheriff, Court Clerk) were re-elected without opposition.

Republican Earlene Wilson is running for re-election as County Clerk, winning her first term in 2000 upon the retirement of Joan Hastings. Wilson has a solid record of accomplishment, continuing the long-range project of computerizing all county land records. I support Earlene Wilson's re-election. My only knock against her is that she is opposed to making land records available over the Internet, citing cost and security concerns. Many jurisdictions provide wonderful online land record browsing capabilities -- I've written about systems provided by Savannah, Georgia (developed with OU's help) and Wichita, Kansas. So for now, records will only be available at libraries, or if you're willing to pay a hefty subscription fee.

Wilson's Democrat opponent is David Donnell, who seems like a nice guy, but admits to running just as a way to get started in politics. At a candidate forum, he was more interested in talking about global and national issues than what he would do differently as County Clerk.

Residents of County Commission District 2 -- mostly Tulsa County west of the river, plus midtown Tulsa (map here) -- will vote to give a full term on the commission to one of the candidates. Incumbent Republican Randi Miller, currently the commission chairman, was elected in a special election in 2002 (after the resignation of predecessor John Selph). Patty J. Dixon finished just ahead of Miller in the 2002 Republican primary and just behind Miller in the runoff -- she's running again this year, but as an Independent. Max Givens is the Democrat nominee.

I've had my disagreements with Miller, particularly over Vision 2025 and the reappointment of Baker Horner to the TMAPC, but she's taken some important steps to improve openness and accountability at the County Courthouse. For example, the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority (aka the Fair Board) now does all its purchasing through the county's central purchasing office. Miller has played a key role in straightening out the County's budget mess and in trying to find cost savings in the operation of the County Jail. While I like Patty Dixon and appreciate her passion for county government, I do not want to see her split off enough of the Republican vote to bring about a Max Givens victory. Max Givens does not seem knowledgable about county government and would not push for needed reforms. At a candidate forum, he seemed to blame Miller for the fact that the County's budget problems didn't come to light until she became a commissioner. Miller deserves credit for putting the focus on the County's budget process and addressing the problems, rather than pretending that they aren't there. I'm voting for Randi Miller for County Commission District 2.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 1, 2004 12:04 AM.

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