Charter amendment snafu: Any accountability?

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Who's to blame for the mistake that forced the Tulsa city charter amendment off the ballot? The mistake, if it was a mistake, meant that the unanimous will of Tulsa's elected officials was thwarted, with only two ways to undo the damage: Schedule another city-wide election at a cost of $100,000, or delay the amendment until next March's city general election. Mayor Bill LaFortune's administration has given conflicting answers and doesn't seem anxious to pursue sanctions against the person or persons responsible for the damage to the democratic process.

The proposed charter amendment, which would restore a requirement that a Council supermajority must approve zoning changes when enough nearby property owners file a protest petition, was placed on the April 2005 special election ballot by a unanimous vote of the Tulsa City Council. The Council had promised to fix the problem after the City Attorney's office nullified an ordinance that gives property owners some protection against arbitrary and capricious zoning changes.

The charter amendment had to be advertised in a local newspaper for so many days within a certain window before the election. The legal notice for the bond issue, scheduled for the same election, made it into print. The legal notice for the charter amendment did not, and the City Attorney's office insisted that the amendment had to be pulled.

On Tuesday morning, when Clay Bird, the Mayor's chief-of-staff, came down to City Hall's 2nd floor to convey the news to the City Council, he blamed someone in the City Clerk's office for failing to place the ad. By Thursday, the story changed: The Mayor told the Council that the Tulsa Commerce and Legal News was at fault for not publishing the ad.

Don't you imagine that if the bond issue had been delayed because of such a mistake, heads would roll. When the will of the people (represented by the unanimous vote of the Council and the approval of the Mayor) that this item should be on the ballot is thwarted, the response should not be "oopsie!" The fact that that has been the only response makes me believe that the omission was deliberate and the Mayor, the City Attorney, and their controllers in the Cockroach Caucus are quite pleased with the result.

Previous, related entries here, here, and here.

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PLEASE ATTEND THIS CITY COUNCIL MEETING ON 71ST AND HARVARD: This Thursday, at its 6:00 p.m. meeting, the City Council will determine whether the restrictive covenants associated with the proposed Final Plat for F & M Bank’s planned unit development... Read More

Looks like the City Council Meeting tonight may shape up to be an interesting one. The good folks over at (Homeowner's For Fair Zoning) are asking the neighborhoods to show up for this meeting. Here's a snippet or two... Read More


David S. said:

Shouldn't papers like these require a signature from the receiver , when accepted?

Jeff Shaw said:

I would look for an denial from the publisher they made a mistake. It is my view and experience that these type of accidents don't happen on the publication end of things. Legal publications are very very important with regard to due process of law, and they take it very seriously. It's tantamount to malpractice.

Jimmy Chapman said:

Wouldn't you say this is typical for our distinguished city thing after the other......

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 28, 2005 12:49 AM.

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