"And remember, the gallows built for Mordecai was used to hang Haman"

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In an Council meeting filled with Biblical quotations and allusions, this was my favorite. It was uttered by B. J. Benbow as a closing admonition to the "Bought and Paid Four." It was apt both for the date and for the analogy.

Purim began at sundown tonight, the feast that commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from the extermination planned for them by Haman. You'll find the story in the Book of Esther. The evil counselor Haman sought to destroy all the Jews because Mordecai, a wise counselor who had saved the King of Persia's life, refused to bow down to Haman. For Mordecai in particular, Haman had a 75-foot-high gallows built. Because of Queen Esther's, Haman's plot was discovered, the king had Haman hanged on the gallows that had been built for Mordecai, and the enemies of the Jews were routed. The holiday is celebrated with utter joy, undiminished by sorrow, and as the story is read out, the congregation blots out Haman's name each time it is read with boos, hisses, and noisemakers.

By ignoring the clear requirements of the City Charter in their rush to get rid of two of their colleagues, Councilors Baker, Sullivan, Christiansen, and Neal set precedents that may come back to haunt them. The City Clerk failed to fulfill his obligation under the Charter to verify that the petition signatures correspond to those in the voter registration records. The four councilors who voted to affirm the Clerk's finding of sufficiency not only made themselves complicit in his malfeasance (as Brad Colvard pointed out), but when their constituents start a recall effort against them, they've set a low standard for verifying the petitions.

The other precedent set tonight was calling a resolution by another name so that it could pass with only four votes. As attorney Steve Denney pointed out, the vote to affirm the City Clerk's finding of sufficiency qualifies under every legal definition of a resolution. Under the Charter, therefore, approval required a majority of the Council -- five votes -- not just a majority of the quorum present. The vote was 4-2 in support of affirmation for both petitions. The City Attorney's office had opined that this was sufficient for approval. The matter will likely end up in District Court.

The City Attorney's office said that the Council was bound by the charter to pass the resolutions calling for elections now that the petitions have been affirmed. Nevertheless Councilors Turner and Henderson voted against both resolutions, and as resolutions the 4-2 or 4-3 vote in favor was insufficient for passage, an obvious fact even acting City Attorney Alan Jackere can't deny. The vote against is justified because the vote to affirm the petitions was insufficient, as noted above. Turner and Henderson were joined by Chris Medlock on the final vote -- with all items pertaining to his recall already decided, he could safely participate in the discussion and vote on Jim Mautino's recall election. The votes against calling the recall elections will also no doubt find their way into District Court.

I have to give great credit to Jack Henderson and Roscoe Turner, men of character who would not be cowed by threats of lawsuits or the defaming they'll likely get at the hands of the Tulsa Whirled. They understand that they sit on the Council by the will of God and that they are there to do what is right, whatever the consequences. I dare say if either of them were Governor of Florida right now, he would not be playing "Mother May I" with Judge Greer. They understand that they have a responsibility to uphold the charter even if it means ignoring bad advice from the City Attorney.

If you didn't catch the meeting live, you should look for the replay on TGOV 24 this weekend -- Friday evening at 6 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 8 am. There were many excellent speeches, and the comments by the councilors were very revealing.

Bobby of Tulsa Topics has his initial reaction to the meeting -- "the night my faith in city government died."


Liberty said:

The following is an excerpt from the American Crisis, No. 1, written by Thomas Paine in December of 1776. Washington had the pamphlet read to all the units in his army. The words in brackets make this writing applicable to the current America Crisis facing our country.

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. [The judges in our country], with an army [of civil officers] to enforce her tyranny, [have] declared that [they have] a right (not only to [legislate]) but ‘to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER,’ and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God…
“I turn with warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out. I call not upon a few but upon all, not on this state but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but ‘show your faith by your works,’ that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and near … the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now, is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardness who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole and make them happy…
“Let them call me a rebel, and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a [drunken], stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America. There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice...
“By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils – a ravaged country… [life] without safety, and slavery [under the judges] without hope...”

We need to be delivered from our bondage of slavery to these royal judges and be led back to our Promised Land.

Ron said:

Quoting Thomas Paine verbatum may be OK for some, Liberty. But the ultimate purpose of a blog is to express *your* feelings and thoughts, not someone else's. You are a unique individual; there's no need to be a parrot for a long-dead propogandist (and make no mistake, Paine was) when I'm sure you could have done it yourself more succinctly.

soandsosfrnd Author Profile Page said:

I first want to say Thank You to Michael Bates and all the other citizens who took the time to speak out for those of us who could not attend last night's meeting. Watching the meeting at home, I could see the look of utter dismay on so many faces. In the end I believe much was accomplished.

This morning when I got up , I was thinking what Susan Neal's family must have thought last night of her and her comments last night. I would think her husband (if he has any sense about him)would come to her and say "WoW,I don't think that went to well"as my thoughts furthered .....I could not imagine that any one who watched last nights meeting could conceive that these 4 councilors thought or believed that they had to affirm those signatures. It was made all too clear to everyone that they had the ability to make a decision to either affirm or not affirm. Otherwise why did they even have it on the agenda and why was there a discussion allowed? Why not just vote on when it would be put to the voters to decide.

I then thought of Mr. Baker's comments about the fact that when you go to the election board and say I need to see the OFFICAL VOTER REGISTRATION BOOKS and you are given a scroll of names, would you not say No , I must have miscommunicated to you what it is I need. I need to see the signatures. The actual signatures.I would think the election board employee would then say Oh I am sorry. That would be the cards. It's kind of like when I tell my 17 year old son, I need to see your report card and he turns to me and says Oh I made a C in Algebra 2 , a C in English. In which I say No , I want to see the report card. In which I find that he did not have a C in Algebra , but a D.

My point is that these Councilors obvioulsy have no regard for the truth. I don't believe that they could possible think , WE THE PEOPLE are so stupid that we do not see what is going on.

I really feel good about the future of our city and I believe things are going to drastically change. I have seen studies that say for every negative experience that a consumer has with a business , they in turn pass that experience on to at least 10 others. I believe this should apply here.

Thanks Again.

Mike said:

"And the gallows which Haman had built to hand Mordecai were instead used to hang Haman."

Beautiful, poetic justice. So be it for these self-righteous, self-dealing city councilors, politically speaking. Through all four of them out next March!

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 24, 2005 11:47 PM.

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