City Attorney torpedoes anti-at-large resolution

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From a reader who was at today's Council Committee meeting, at which a resolution was to be considered, opposing the proposal to dismember three council districts and replace them with three supercouncilor seats elected citywide to four year terms:

The Jackal is up to his dirty tricks again. The resolution was pulled from the agenda by Susan Neal because [City Attorney] Alan Jackere called giving his opinion that they were not legally able to vote on a resolution that might affect the outcome of an election. How interesting considering that the Council just passed a resolution last week to support the school bond vote. Oh, the irony of it all!

Can't vote on a resolution that might affect the outcome of an election? In the first place, an election hasn't even been called, and they've only begun to collect petition signatures. Second, as my reader points out, just last week they endorsed the school bond issues, which was intended to affect the outcome of Tuesday's election. And I seem to recall that the Council voted back in 2003 to endorse Vision 2025. Third, what is the controlling legal authority for Jackere's advice? Did he dig out another obscure citation from some obscure jurisdiction -- Nunavit ice fishing regulations, perhaps? Hoyle's rules for canasta? And, finally, every vote the Council takes could have an impact on the outcome of an election. It's a political body, for Pete's sake!

Would Jackere allow the Council to vote on a resolution that expressed opposition in principle to the idea of at-large seats for the council? That wouldn't be about any specific proposal that is now or will be before the voters.

What happened is apparent: Poor Susan Neal doesn't want to go on record supporting this proposal, even though she almost certainly supports it, and her district is the base for most of the support. Or perhaps she's trying to protect potential mayoral candidates Tom Baker and Bill Christiansen from having to go on the record in support. So rather than say she doesn't want to go on the record, she gets cover from Jackere. This bunch is all about shielding public officials from accountability to the voters for their views and actions.

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In an article which you can link to here, Michael Bates commented on the City Attorney's attempt to squelch a resolution by the City Council related to the initiative petition of Cititzens for Better ("Badder") Government. Greg Bledsoe, a civil... Read More

6 Comments

W. Author Profile Page said:

No, the reason Jackere made this recommendation is because of conflict of interest. The council proposal directly affects councilors, as opposed to the school proposals.

For a good explanation of this, check out Michael C's posts at the TulsaNow forum:

http://www.tulsanow.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2520&whichpage=3

Alan Jackere said:

An interesting state law that applies to the initiative process follows. It is on that basis that I asked that the resolution be pulled...to have the Council attorney look into the matter before it was considered.

Title 26 Oklahoma Statutes provides:

Any official in this state who shall direct or authorize the expenditure of any public funds under his care, except as specifically authorized by law, to be used either in support of, or in opposition to, any measure which is being referred to a vote of the people by means of the initiative or referendum, or which citizens of this state
are attempting to have referred to a vote of the people by the initiative or referendum, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and the office held by such party shall be adjudged vacant and shall be filled in the manner prescribed by law.

I'll take a vague misdemeanor over your legal opinion any day Mr. Jackere.

Do you offer legal opinions only when it suits your needs? You still didn't answer this:

"Second, as my reader points out, just last week they endorsed the school bond issues, which was intended to affect the outcome of Tuesday's election."

W. Author Profile Page said:

Please note that the law cited officials "who shall direct or authorize the expenditure of any public under his care." The city council has no direct effect over school funding. So the school bond issue endorsement doesn't run afoul of the law.

But the reconfiguration of the city council definitely is related to the council's funding and activities. If nothing else, such a resolution is certainly a conflict of interest.

Those who spurn a legal opinion should do so at their own risk and not complain if doing so lands them in court or jail.

susan said:

What was the interest rate on the BOK loan in the Great Plains Airline and how much has BOK already charged for interest?

If Bank of Oklahoma wants to do good things for Tulsa as they say they do (SO FAR TALK IS CHEAP!) Bank of Oklahoma should 'WRITE OFF' the bad loan BOK agreed to (as most banks do when they make bad committee decision making loans or as in this case and another little twist to it all some have felt they just plain got bad legal advise!) Instead of trying to grab selfishly "Naming Rights" that makes it appear as though the BOK owns the TULSA TAXPAYER PAID arena, Bank of Oklahoma wants the public relations to take all the credit to those visiting Tulsa from out of this city of Tulsa
to think of themselves as the owner of that building and the hero that provided that for the downtown area of the city of tulsa. Honestly,
don't you know this is PUBLIC RELATIONS AND GREED AT ITS BEST.
What do you think will be seen in "attraction" magazines and places that Tulsa offers???? Will it see BOK's name on the arena or will it see a name that fits who paid for the Tulsa taxpayer paid arena? When they see the airport, will they plaster their name all over that mess too?

What does this make the deal makers and the Bank of Oklahoma look like? GREEDY!

FixedOn66 Author Profile Page said:

Please note that the law cited officials "who shall direct or authorize the expenditure of any public under his care." The city council has no direct effect over school funding. So the school bond issue endorsement doesn't run afoul of the law.

Better read back over that law again. (So should Jackere). The law prohibits "direct[ing] or authoriz[ing]" the funds under their care for "support of, or in opposition to" an initiative petition or referendum.

The funds they have control of are city funds. Would the resolution have directed or authorized any funds to be used to oppose the initiative petition? I don't believe so. The only way someone could accuse the City Council of doing so is by claiming that the extra paper used to print the resolution would be extra funds used for this purpose. I would argue that Mr. Jackere wastes ten times more paper every time he opens his mouth.

The law seems to be intended to keep government officials from using public funds to defeat a referendum of the people presumably trying to overrule those very officials actions or lack of actions. The resolution in question uses no funds so it should be legal to approve.

The fact that the School Bond issue was not an initiative petition or referendum allowed the council to make a resolution without even bringing up this law. This distinction does show why Jackere didn't bring up this law for the School Bond issue.

However it DOESN'T explain why a non-lawyer like me could read through this law in about 2 minutes and see it doesn't apply if funds are not used and yet Jackere has to put this whole issue on hold to review the law. That's BS. He's simply stalling for his Good 'ol Weenie Buddies.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 9, 2005 1:31 AM.

At-large council opposition launched was the previous entry in this blog.

You've graduated from that ol' sucker stage is the next entry in this blog.

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