Call to action: support Tulsa police, support candidates

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The Dishonorable Bill LaFortune continues his campaign to trash an honorable police chief and to try to rescue his foundering campaign for re-election. The mayor who told us "more police officers means more arrests means a higher crime rate," who appears to be campaigning on a promise NOT to add more police officers, has to discredit the police chief any way he can, because the police chief has straightforwardly said that more officers are needed.

Now LaFortune has handpicked an investigator who will likely give LaFortune the report he wants about Chief Dave Been's "outrageous" delay in presenting him an interim report about the SWAT team. Even if Frank Hagedorn doesn't tell LaFortune what he wants to hear, the investigation's deadline falls conveniently after the primary election. Why not let the auditor or the Council handle the matter, since LaFortune's judgment is at question, too?

What else has Weak Willy been up to? He's claiming that Been tried to shut down the serial rapist task force back in December. The reality is that under police contract rules and under a consent decree, police officers on a special task force have to be given the chance to go back to their normal assignments after 60 days. The 60-day deadline was approaching in mid-December, and Been was working to keep the task force going while still complying with the FOP contract
and the court order. In fact, the task force continued its work, although ultimately the break in the case came from a Crimestoppers tip.

This morning on KFAQ, Been said that he raised this issue in a staff meeting in December, and when the Mayor showed up 30 minutes late, he explained the issue again for the Mayor's benefit. I remember Been giving that same explanation on KFAQ in December, when Michael DelGiorno asked him about rumors that the task force would be shut down.

For all the talk about division in the police department, 200 FOP members turned out for its emergency meeting last night, and they gave a 100% vote of confidence to Chief Been. (Public safety unions don't always back their bosses. Sometime around 1990, the Firefighters' Union voted to censure then-Fire Chief Tom Baker for failures of leadership. That was despite the fact that Baker had once been head of that union.)

LaFortune, as usual, won't face the music on his decisions. He sent Clay Bird to talk to the police officers about the action against Been. Bird claimed that LaFortune misspoke when he said he wasn't aware of the consultant's review of the SWAT team, but the correction of the record only came out when LaFortune's signature surfaced on the authorization for the study.

And as the timeline has emerged, it appears that Been only had the interim report for one business day before he spoke to Bird about it, and it was in Bird's hands the next day, as soon as Been was back in Tulsa from a conference in the Oklahoma City area. Bird then apparently sat on the report for two days before notifying LaFortune.

Meanwhile, LaFortune is trying to take credit for the biggest police academy class in history, and trying to make voters forget that it followed two years of no academy at all, because Bill LaFortune put other priorities ahead of public safety.

Tulsans need to show their support for Chief Been and the Tulsa Police Department. We ought to be supportive always, but they need our support especially since we have a Mayor who obviously holds the force in contempt.

The FOP Auxiliary has asked Tulsans to show their support for Chief Been today by driving with headlights on. And on Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m., a rally in support of the police force, which had already been scheduled, will be held at LaFortune Stadium, on Hudson (halfway between Yale and Sheridan) between 51st and 61st. Both are important ways to let those who put their lives on the line for us know that we appreciate their service.

But if you want to make a difference for our police force, you need to do more than drive with lights on and go to a rally. You need to help elect candidates who will give make funding the police department a priority and who will also do the right thing on important issues like zoning and land use and putting Tulsa's interests first.

There are only 10 days left until the election, and these candidates aren't well funded. They won't have the Tulsa Whirled's help in getting their message out, but their opponents will.

While more voters -- like those of you who are reading this -- are getting perspective on city issues through alternative media, most of the most faithful voters still name the Whirled or local TV news as their principal source of information about local politics. Most voters don't listen to KFAQ, don't read the Beacon or Urban Tulsa or Tulsa news blogs, and don't participate in the TulsaNow forum. How will these voters hear the other side of the story unless you help take it to them?

I urge you to call one of the campaigns below today and offer as much of your time as you can between now and the elections. Maybe that's just an hour tomorrow afternoon, maybe it's a couple of hours a day. Every campaign will have people distributing flyers and calling voters and putting out signs. They have work to be done, and they need people more than anything else. Money is needed, too, to pay for last minute mailers and other means of getting the message to voters.

In most cases, these candidates don't have paid help or even full-time volunteer help to handle all the details of a campaign, so they're having to be both candidate and campaign manager, while balancing that with duties at home and at work. John Eagleton is not only campaigning, he's having to keep up his law practice and be Mr. Mom to his sons while his wife has been called up by the Navy for active duty. Rick Westcott has been representing clients in jury trials this week, some of them out of town. Maria Barnes had the flu and was under doctor's orders for bed rest for 10 days.

The races below are the most strategic and most in need of volunteer support.

Chris Medlock for Mayor, 269 - 2822, or stop by HQ at 69th and Canton (north of 71st and Yale QuikTrip)

Rick Westcott, District 2 Republican, 639-8542, e-mail

Roscoe Turner, District 3 Democrat, 834-7580

Maria Barnes, District 4 Democrat, 510-5725

Al Nichols, District 5 Democrat, 663-9432

Jim Mautino, District 6 Republican, 437-2642

John Eagleton, District 7 Republican, 496-0706/584-2002, or meet at 62nd and Irvington at 9:00 a.m. Saturday

Cliff Magee, District 8 Republican, 747-1747


Joseph Wallis said:

Everyone vote for Magee. ANYTHING to get rid of Christiansen.

'how about: contact many different candidates, find out who really does care about the issues that you are concerned about, and vote for them?

you're asking people to call and support only the candidates that bates likes. ...a bit biased, no?

It's my blog, after all, and I have researched every primary candidate, looked at their records, read their responses to the Urban Tulsa questionnaire (which should be online later today), and these are the candidates who really care about the issues I care about.

If you share my goals for city government -- transparency and openness, making crime a priority, looking after Tulsa's interests first, land use policies that are forward-thinking and serve the interests of homeowners and developers alike -- then these are the candidates you ought to help.

If you prefer behind-closed-doors government, prioritizing bread and circuses over basic city services, putting the aims of the suburbs ahead of Tulsa's needs, and our current broken land use system, then you might rather vote for someone else, but you don't need to volunteer for them, because they probably have plenty of money to spend.

Joseph Wallis said:

Well, I know Christiansen's views on the issue I care about, illegal aliens invading my district.....but he made his views clear by the inaction he took on my request to enforce residential zoning codes to get rid of the illegal boarding houses.

Therefore, vote this guy out before he lets district 8 turn into a haven for illegals.

Roger A. said:

I must commend the accuracy of your entry in reference to the Chief Been incident. I was present at the union meeting when Clay Bird spoke. He wanted us to believe that Been holding a "preliminary" report for 2 business days and Bird then holding it for 2 days, warranted a suspension of Chief Been. He also wanted us to believe that Chief Been was doing a "cover up" despite Clay Bird admitting that Been did send the report to SWAT Personnel for comments and that Been was the one that ordered the investigation. Clay also admitted that Been did discuss the investigation with him at a December Management meeting and that the Mayor was not present. Bird admitted that he never relayed the information to the Mayor but the Mayor DID sign the contract for the investigation.

Let me explain how important reports are to the Mayor's Office. The department spent hundreds of thousands to get CALEA Accredidation and the report that came out was the largest report detailing our department in history. That was in August and the Mayor's Office has yet to read it or comment on it....and that was a "final" report.

David S said:

The Mayor is even taking credit for TPD getting accredited by CALEA .

James Barnes said:

Mr. Bates, there is a growing trend in North Tulsa, That nobody is noting. Yards with Medlock and Turner signs. I talk to some of the nieghbors in that area. Yes they are Democrats, but they love Chris. If Chris passes the primary, I think North Tulsa will put Medlock in office. Just My 2 cents worth.

forrest w camp said:

love your blog!!am dispatcher for tpd/tcso and, I hate to say it, but i didnt think ole bill had it him to mess to Chief Been, but just goes to show how desperate a man he is, my only fear is that if he actually wins that would really suck. I just hoping the citizenry see this for what it is and not vote for him..

Have a fine day all

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 24, 2006 11:45 AM.

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