What happened at City Hall

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Busy and strange night tonight.

While a special Council meeting to consider rescinding the denial of the 71st and Harvard F&M Bank final plat was going on on the 2nd floor of City Hall, opponents of the recall gathered on City Hall Plaza to rally support for Councilors Mautino and Medlock. There were at least 100 people present on the plaza and more had already gone inside to the Council chamber. Standing on one of the empty plinths on the plaza, I spoke to the crowd about their opportunity to speak before the Council, reiterating the main objections to the recall -- the failure of the City Clerk to fulfill his obligations under the charter being the foremost. Rick Westcott, chairman of Tulsans for Election Integrity, spoke briefly and emphasized the need for decorum during the meeting itself. Mona Miller led us all in some chants before we began to file into the chamber, many carrying NO RECALL bumper stickers and yard signs, and a few with homemade signs.

The chamber was standing room only -- every seat taken, and people lined up along all the walls. As we signed up to speak on the recall-related agenda items, the Council staffer informed us that the items had been pulled from the agenda. Medlock was standing next to me as I heard this, and he corrected the staffer, saying that the items would be pulled only if there were no objection from a councilor. It was clear that he was prepared to see the Council proceed to vote on recall and wanted the assembled citizens to be given a chance to speak.

As the Councilors took their seats, Medlock and Mautino received standing ovations. Bill Christiansen and Randy Sullivan received hisses and boos.

A couple of simple zoning issues were moved earlier, without objection, to accommodate an attorney who had a death in the family. Sullivan asked unanimous consent to remove the recall items from the agenda, to be postponed until after the April 5 bond issue election. Medlock objected, but was advised by Council attorney Drew Rees that he could not participate even in the discussion of whether the item concerning his fate would be on the agenda. Henderson then objected, saying something about having reached a deal with Sullivan on postponing the matter, but wanting to defer to the people present who wished to be heard. So the items remained on the agenda.

New appointments and reappointments to the Sales Tax Overview Committee were approved. Then came the "Mayor's Items" section of the agenda. For the Mayor's Report, Sullivan, chairing the meeting, asked if the Mayor was present, which drew laughter from the crowd. (Apparently the Mayor was out on the plaza at the time.)

Then Sullivan called the next two items together -- affirming or reversing the City Clerk's finding on the sufficiency of the recall petitions. Medlock and Mautino recused themselves. Rees was asked about the time allowed for each side (30 minutes under Council rules) and before the first speaker could be called, Henderson and Turner stood up and walked out without a word. The crowd cheered. Without a quorum present, Sullivan had to adjourn the meeting, leaving some routine matters -- event permits and the like -- for another day.

I was stunned, and so was Rick Westcott, who was standing next to me. I had assumed, from Henderson's objection to dropping the recall from the agenda, that at least the vote to affirm or reverse would go forward tonight. I was so busy looking through my notes and thinking through my remarks that I almost missed seeing them walk out.

The mood among the gathered crowd was exultant, and people lingered for 20 minutes or so in the chamber and out on the plaza.

What happens next? Someone uttered the hope that the recall backers would quietly withdraw the petition and let the matter drop. The repeated strong showings in support of Chris and Jim and the absence of visible support for the recall ought to make the Cockroach Caucus consider whether they want to be humiliated at the polls.

If they aren't that sensible, we can expect to see these items back on the Council agenda sometime in the near future.

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EDITORIAL BY JOHN S. DENNEY, COUNSEL FOR HFFZ: The turnout by those opposing the recall of Councilors Mautino and Medlock at last night's City Council meeting was great. The room was full of "NO RECALL" signs and banners. For those... Read More

    Channel Ate claims it is so. The article describes how nearly nothing got done at last night's city council meeting.  Two councilors apparently walked out over a dispute about the recall vote.  The article then goes on to... Read More

3 Comments

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

All of these contortions are a lesson in what happens when you loosely interpret laws and statutes that defy the plain meaning and spirit of a law, especially when those interpretations infringe upon a citizen's right and duty to vote. We shouldn't even be having a recall. "For cause" in the city charter doesn't mean "For [any] cause" it means "For cause" according to the laws of the state, as the charter goes on to state. Oh what tangled web we weave....

David S. posted this comment earlier today, but for some reason it hasn't appeared on the site yet, even though he is registered with TypeKey, so I'm posting it on his behalf:

From the whispers of Jackere behind me last night, it sounded like Mr. Henderson could have repercussions for leaving? I wasn't able to clearly make out what was being said as he was talking to their new? long haired friend as Henderson was talking to Drew.

I can acknowledge first hand now that Jackere is full of himself. After the responses I received asking him why he was being noisey by opening his pop can during the council prayer.

I was very upset over the course of events last night. I was all geared up to speak to agenda items 3b and c. Jack Henderson stated that even though we did not get to speak our voices were heard by virtue of our presence. I donít buy that, I feel my voice would be better heard if I were allowed to speak.

Mautino and Medlock wanted this to proceed so their constituents could speak on their behalf, not to mention their lawyers who needed to address the council. Henderson and Turner should get their act together before they act on behalf of district 2 and 6.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 17, 2005 10:02 PM.

Recall petitions on Thursday Council agenda was the previous entry in this blog.

Arbitrary and capricious is the next entry in this blog.

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