Baker proposes blue ribbon panel to establish commission to study forming a task force on charter change

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The Tulsa Whirled gave prime real estate -- the top of the Local section on Sunday -- to a story about City Councilor Tom Baker's proposal for a charter review committee:

"I don't necessarily think there is a need to make all of the proposed changes, but rather than continuing this debate, maybe we should put some of those changes through a more serious review process by a broader base of citizens and act on their collective opinion," he said.

"If they feel certain changes need to occur, then we can give it to the voters. Or, if they think not much is wrong, then let's let it ride for a while," he said.

So rather than let the Council, the elected representatives of the people, vet the proposed charter changes and pass them on to the citizens for a vote, Baker wants to gather a handpicked, unelected group to decide which reforms we the people will get to consider.

Does Tom Baker actually have any opinions of his own? Does he convene a task force when he's deciding what to have for dinner? Baker's approach to decision-making bears the marks of his years climbing to the top of a bureaucracy. It allows you to seem like a decisive leader, without actually making any decisions for which you could be held accountable.

At the end of the story, we learn that Baker has a couple of opinions about charter change: He doesn't think there's anything wrong with the recall provisions of the charter, and he doesn't think there's anything wrong with a councilor living outside the district he purports to represent.

Baker on recall:

The attempt to change the charter's provision on recall, which Baker said he thinks worked, points to the unsuccessful attempt to oust controversial Councilors Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino. A group wanted to recall the councilors, followed procedures, an election was called and the voters said no, he said.

Baker conveniently forgets the months of smears that his two colleagues had to endure, the expense of fighting to defeat the recall, and the effect that the process had on the City Council. Makes me wish they'd pursued a recall against him after all -- he might not be so blithe about it.

Baker on residency:

A change that would require a councilor to live in his or her district for the entire term is aimed at Councilor Randy Sullivan, who because of a divorce and court order had to find a new residence and moved out of his district.

It's not aimed at Randy Sullivan, but Randy Sullivan's situation pointed to a loophole that really shouldn't be there. (As I read state law, it isn't there, but it still needs to be spelled out in the charter, for our City Attorney's sake.) The proposed charter amendment doesn't make a councilor a prisoner of his district, but if he chooses to move out, he has to resign, which is only reasonable. There were plenty of places in District 7 where Sullivan could have moved after being booted from his home, but he had the gall to run for re-election after he had already moved out of the district. Anyone who supports the principle of geographical representation ought to have a problem with that.

Which is why Tom Baker doesn't have a problem with that. The hidden agenda of his proposed blue ribbon panel is to push for the addition of at-large members to the City Council, diluting geographical representation, and taking grass-roots politics out of the equation. The powers that be realize that they are losing control of the current form of city government, and they are trying to reel it back in. That's why you have a story that is not particularly timely, focused on one favored councilor, bolstered by a handpicked academic, on the front page of Sunday's local section. The Whirledlings want a council that's under their thumb, and they want an unimaginative bureaucrat as the next mayor.

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4 Comments

Dan Paden said:

That's exactly what I thought: the entire thing, if it comes to pass, will be nothing more than an excuse to come up with recommendations to go to at-large representation, so the big-pockets political donors can buy themselves a city government.

susan said:

My parents live in his district and many neighbors have been extremely dissappointed with TOM BAKER as their rep. When they had the Bond project that did major street renovations in his district, there were many problems that were not fixed by supervisors on that project. Still some that have continued to crack in the concrete poured by Keystone Concrete. Their supervisor as of a couple of weeks ago have found another person that is supposed to make Keystone Concrete come back and fixed their poor work done on this project. Just a few months after Keystone Concrete (which by the way seems to usually always win the concrete street projects for some reason! Maybe the cost saving by not giving us the best concrete? As I now look to a middle school student that seems to have been advancing in science awards to Washington in how to make sure concrete is at its best in strength so we don't end up as he started his project discovering that contractors like Keystone Concret try to cheat customers by not giving the best concrete possible. Tom Baker never came to the aid of the homeowners on the block my parents live when they had to go to the supervisors to fix problems that should have been done right in the first place. They also contacted Sullivan at that time and he was useless too. They did not even try to fix anything, which when Tulsa city employees aren't performing what they should be doing in providing service promised on Bond Projects, we need to be able to look to our City Councilor representing that district to help, yet Tom Baker was useless. However, TOM BAKER was helpful to those that DONATED A LOT FINANCIALLY TO HIS CAMPAIGN.

Joe Kelley Author Profile Page said:

We have a couple calls into Mr. Baker's office to arrange an on-air interview. We haven't heard back from him. Keep your fingers crossed...

susan said:

The Bond project I am referring to focuses on street rehabilitation work. I talked with the Keystone Concrete owner's son whom he says he is part-owner too and he said Keystone Concrete gets sued all the time. Joe Kelley, can you have your resources look up in the last six years how many times Keystone Concrete has been sued and for what reason? Poor workmanship or what? One person said that Keystone Concrete owner's son is a hot head. A worker on the Keystone Concrete crew while doing street rehabilitation work hit my parents gas line in February a cold month. It was clearly marked so it was not ONG's fault. From the careless work of the Keystone Concrete worker, it knocked out my parent's home air and heating unit that was working perfectly before the damage from the Keystone worker hitting their gas line that in turn instantly knocked out their heating and air unit. It was such a huge damage in the gas line that Keystone Concrete had to immediately tear up the sidewalk so ONG could instantly fix the ONG gas line. Keystone Concrete knew of the damage yet they have never paid for the damage. City of Tulsa hired Keystone Concrete. Keystone Concrete at the time of the hit is not your ordinary business. They aren't in the business pages of the Tulsa phone book yet they constantly win contracts for street work! Save money on quality of the concrete and I guess Keystone Concrete has figured out how to beat the competition everytime if there really is a decent bidding process when Keystone wins so many jobs with the City of Tulsa for projects. Keystone Concrete made such damage to my parents air/heat unit that it had to be replaced. Residents on these street renovation projects should have the City of Tulsa do the negoatiation and repair when damage is done since they hired Keystone Concrete. The residents did not hire Keystone Concrete. The City of Tulsa hired them yet the City of Tulsa on this particular street renovation project in F.Park had irresponsible contract workers and city supervisors since they would blame different departments of not fixing the problems created on this very big Bond project. Yes the supervisors on this project are well aware and have done nothing about it. It is all documented on the ONG report where a supervisor from ONG had to go into my parents house to make sure they were all right(they are very elderly and cannot go to City Hall and a wait for a judge to make the City get their act together and pay for the damage and poor repairs that were done on this project)(why should anyone be forced as an innocent homeowner that has their property torn up from a Bond project have to come up with the time and resources and money to file a complaint when the City of Tulsa when their TOM BAKER does nothing to help either).
The driveway on my parent's house part of it had to be replaced because of the careless work by contract workers on this street renovation project. They kept hitting the driveway and cracking it with the backhoe and other large equipment. They tore up their terrace and left it for months when they were promised immediate help to fix it. When they finally got around to repairing the terrace they were supposed to repair it how it was before the street renovation project with the rich dark dirt and beautiful grass. Instead they tossed in clay and lots and lots of rocks and they angled the terrace incorrectly. One supervisor saw it and saw all the rocks and poor work as it looked like a roller coaster it was so unevenly and poorly done. Still that has not been fixed right. They poured concrete to fix the driveways on three residential driveways from them damaging on this project. Keystone Concrete was the contract winner on this concrete job and soon after it starting cracking. It was reported and ignored as usual by the City of Tulsa workers on this project. Not only that, the supervisors that once took care of things seem to have quit or are in hiding -- maybe they are working for Sam Roop since hiring at the City of Tulsa doesn't seem to go through the normal standards of may the best person qualified for the job win!
I was in a restaurant and this person said her mother was very active in the election of Mayor LaFortune. Her mom worked for the City of Tulsa now in a new job. I said really? Doing what? She told me and I said is she qualified for that job? What work has your mother done or degree to qualify her for such a position that paid nicely too. (A little under the Sam Roop $90,000/year instant job offer from his city council get me off as a swing voter sweet and instant deal) Well, her work experience was on the campaign and her mom had not done that type job before but she still got the job -- suggesting once again -- some City of Tulsa employees get hired without making sure in all probability her mom was the most qualified for the job. And this is the City of Tulsa H.R. Reminds me of another H.R. Supervisor at F/S that got away with bias, conflicts of interests, among other unethical standards by far where the H.R. Director should have been fired for just to get her boyfriend and former husband the job contract he wanted so desperately. There was a brand new g.manager that was also hoodwinked, let the h.r.director get away with it. Where's the standards?
Could luck with an on-air interview. I have the e-mail I sent to TOM BAKER and received no phone call or written response as to fixing the
poor work on the Bond project. Another neighbor has documented the times and dates she has also called with no response. Another neighbor down the street also has gotten ignored on this project with the problems they encountered from the poor workers allowed on the street renovation project. ALSO TO NOTE THERE WAS MONEY LEFT OVER FROM THIS BOND PROJECT, SO THE CITY DID HAVE THE MONEY TO FIX THE PROBLEMS YET
THEY DID NOT.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 18, 2005 11:25 PM.

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