None so blind as those who will not see

| | Comments (6)

This morning's Tulsa Whirled features the usual clueless column by Ken Neal, this time about the recall and Tuesday's special meeting where lack of a quorum stopped the Cockroach Caucus from rushing the recall to a May election date. Neal's column confirms something I wrote about him and his colleagues last month:

To the Whirled editorial writers, and their allies in the Cockroach Caucus, city politics is utter simplicity. If it's a "Chamber deal," it must be good, and of course, "everybody in town" thinks it's a good idea. Anyone who disagrees is by definition a naysayer, an anti-progress crank, and therefore is beneath notice, no matter how well he can argue his position. The result is an inbred intellectual environment with imbecility as a predictable result.

Let's just take apart his latest offering, line by silly line. Ignoring the throwaway opening, here's the first substantive point:

The latest maneuvering over setting an election on the recall of Councilors Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino makes it clear that the Medlock bloc will not agree to an election on the matter short of a court order.

"Medlock bloc"? Very catchy, but Chris Medlock is out of the picture when it comes to setting an election date, as is Jim Mautino, both of whom have been required by the City Attorney's office to recuse themselves because they are the targets of recall. Whether the City Clerk's finding of sufficiency is upheld and when the election is set is a matter for the remaining six councilors to decide.

Well, OK. The recall effort, although probably justified, is not worth the expense and the further disruption of city business that it will cause. The forces behind the recall should drop the effort and concentrate on finding and supporting candidates to sweep City Hall clean next spring at regular city elections.

"Probably justified"? On what grounds, Mr. Neal? Because they don't vote the way you want them to vote? And who are these "forces behind the recall"? Do you know? Why doesn't your newspaper let the rest of us know?

"Sweep City Hall clean" is Ken Neal's way of saying "fill the place up with cockroaches once again."

Medlock's and Mautino's buddies, Roscoe Turner and Jack Henderson, boycotted a council meeting called specifically to set the recall election for May 10, at the same time a successor to Sam Roop, a councilor who resigned to join Mayor Bill LaFortune's administration, will be selected.

Yes, the meeting was called by non-Councilor Randy Sullivan specifically to make the deadline to place the recall on the May 10 ballot. Sullivan did not bother to confer with his fellow Councilors to determine if his proposed time would be convenient or if they had prior commitments. Given that the elections in Districts 2 and 6 will cost the same whether or not they happen the same day as an election in District 5, there was no good reason to call a special meeting in order to make the deadline.

Nor was there a good reason to separate the debate on the recall from the vote on the recall, by scheduling the debate during a mid-morning committee meeting and the vote in a special meeting in the middle of the afternoon. The point of that weasely maneuver was apparently to prevent the attorney for the anti-recall group Tulsans for Election Integrity from being present during the questioning of City Clerk Mike Kier. Rick Westcott, chairman of TfEI, had already cleared his court schedule to be present for the afternoon meeting when Sullivan pulled his second surprise.

Given Sullivan's obvious contempt for his colleagues (not to mention the constituents he abandoned), why should Councilors Turner and Henderson have cooperated with his maneuvering?

Despite mutterings to the contrary, the City Charter leaves the council little legal recourse to calling the election. Its language says the council "shall" set a recall election if petitions seeking the recall are judged sufficient by the city clerk.

Wrong, Ken. Here's what the charter actually says in Article VII, Section 4: "If the City Clerk finds the petitions are sufficient and the requirements of this Article have been met, and such finding is affirmed by the Council, or if the Council shall reverse the finding of the City Clerk that the petitions are insufficient, or that the requirements of this Article have been met, then the Council shall call an election at the earliest time allowed under the laws of Oklahoma." The Council has to decide whether to affirm the City Clerk's finding that the petitions are sufficient. There is nothing in the Charter that compels the Council to affirm the City Clerk's finding. Since we know now that the City Clerk chose not to fulfill the requirements of the Charter, the Council has good reason not to affirm his finding of sufficiency. And if the Council does not affirm the petition's sufficiency, there is no requirement to call an election.

We hope this dysfunctional council has taught Tulsans that ignoring City Hall is dangerous. This council has proved that a relatively small group of determined, disgruntled people can exert influence far beyond their numbers on city government.

Repeatedly, the people upset over a couple of zoning matters have attended council meetings to cheer Medlock Inc. and jeer his opponents. Their noisy presence is supposed to show that "the people" are behind the dissenters and against about every established operation in Tulsa.

Here we begin to see Ken Neal's willful blindness to reality. He prefers to comfort himself with the myth that the 2004 city election was a fluke -- the Silent Majority, lulled into complacency, stayed home from the polls, allowing a tiny number of naysaying cranks to elect an irresponsible majority. That's far more comforting to Neal and his fellow Cockroaches than the possibility that Tulsans are beginning to understand, thanks to alternative sources of information, how the Cockroaches have run this city for their own benefit for years.

The "established operations" haven't brought economic development to our city. The "established operations" have blighted the city, which once claimed to be America's Most Beautiful, with ugly, ephemeral development. The "established operations" are turning downtown into one big parking lot. The "established operations" are all about taking care of the "Money Belt" that stretches from Utica Square to Southern Hills, while ignoring the rest of the city.

Tulsans are in the process of dumping the "established operations," and building a city government that will serve all of us, not just a favored few. We started the job in 2004, and we'll finish it in 2006.

But it is unlikely that most citizens are sympathetic to their parochial, often petty causes or approve their "questioning" tactics. Certainly, the elected officials of neighboring cities, treated to the arrogance of this council majority, have threatened to sever connections with Tulsa over water supply and growth questions.

Interesting shift in this paragraph. Ken really doesn't know or care what most citizens think. He cares about suburban elected officials, who are threatening to cut off their noses to spite their faces.

Medlock Inc. and supporters have used time-tested political and propaganda methods. Crowd a council room with supporters to intimidate your opponents. Create an atmosphere in which "the people" speak even if it is the same relatively few people appearing over and over.

Ken, I don't think anyone is as good at propaganda as you and your colleagues. Facts are selected, modifiers are applied, quotes are sliced and diced to put the reform councilors in the worst possible light in the news pages, which gives you the perfect setup to condemn the councilors in your editorials. Anything that detracts from the picture you are trying to paint goes in the Saturday edition next to the classifieds, if it gets published at all.

We weren't there because Chris Medlock told us to be there. We were there because we weren't going to let those meetings go forward in secret. If our presence was intimidating, it was only to those who were doing wrong and prefer not to be confronted with that fact.

"Relatively few"? There were at least fifty there during the morning committee meeting and at least 100 for the 2:30 meeting. Had the meeting been held at night, the turnout would have been even greater. Most of the faces were unfamiliar to me. You just don't know, Ken, and you'd probably soil yourself if you understood, the depth and breadth of discontent in this city with the "established operations" you defend.

If the rest of Tulsa does not wake up, the political tactics of a few unhappy people will take the city even deeper into decline.

If the rest of Tulsa wakes up, Ken, your newspaper is destined to line the Birdcage of History. If the rest of Tulsa wakes up, the Cockroach Caucus, which has misled this city through decades of decline, will finally be replaced with progressive leadership.

It is a time-tested fact that in politics, unhappy people turn out to show their unhappiness. People who approve of their political bodies do not crowd council rooms to repeatedly tell officials of that approval.

So tell me, Ken, where are all those people who are unhappy with Henderson, Medlock, Mautino, and Turner? Where were they on Tuesday? Do they exist, beyond Jon Davidson, Herb Haschke, Josh Fowler, Jay Clemens, John Benjamin, Jim Burdge, and Ken Neal?

That's enough. You don't need to see the rest, and I don't need to bother to write about it.


Anon said:

Does Ken Neal (aka "Kneel") make so much money that he would so viciously support this group with words so far from the truth?

Every time I see him in print these days, I wonder how much I'd have to be making to do that.

No man could be this blind. One wuold need be blind, deaf, dumb and a quadraplegic on oxygen. (Or, what the Cockroach Caucus calls a "voter")

Anon said:

BTW, I provided an example of a "Scriveners' error".

You'll notice how it doesn't change the definition of my comment.

Edward B Harkins said:

Ken Neal is neither blind nor stupid, he just hopes we are. Thank you, Michael, for unpacking the Neal speal. For as long as the World continues to cast its' shadow on the city, the light of truth will continue to expose the cockroaches.

Mike Nash said:


I happened to real Ken Neal's drivel tonight. I sent him an e-mail telling him, among other things, that reading his garbage served as a good reminder of why I canceled my subscription to The Whirled, after nearly 30 years.

We need to all work hard to continue to take this city back. In 2006, we in District 4 need to send that goon Tom Baker packing.

Sue Larkin said:

M. Bates, we think you're great. Just found your blog after watching you speak sense to the Council on 03-24-05. We are Kucinich/Kennedy-type Democrats but back you, Medlock and Mautino 100%. This is so anti-American, anti-democracy, we don't see how anyone of any political party could be for the recall. I believe this city will take back the Council in 2006. My counselor is on the wrong side and will certainly not get our vote next time. Keep up the good work. It's time the people of Tulsa came together and took back our city; it's time the people of America did the same because Washington is full of the same corruption.

Sue, thanks for your kind words. The fact that Reagan Republicans and Kucinich/Kennedy Democrats are coming together for city government reform should have the bad guys quaking in their boots.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 13, 2005 12:25 AM.

How I got started was the previous entry in this blog.

How to punish the Home Builders 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?]