TulsaNow forum live blogging

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We've got a makeshift blogger's row here at the back of the OSU-Tulsa auditorium for the mayoral candidate forum sponsored by TulsaNow and the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa. Bobby of Tulsa Topics will be liveblogging the event, and David of Our Tulsa World is videotaping the event. I'll be here for the opening statements, but I then have to skedaddle.

In the audience: 212 people, filling most of the seats.

On the dais from the audience's left to right: Prophet Kelly Clark, Bill LaFortune, Kathy Taylor, Randi Miller, Don McCorkell, Chris Medlock, Benford Faulk, and P**l T**.

Rich Fisher from KWGS is the moderator.

What follows is very rough notes.

Opening statements:

Clark: Starts by quoting John Locke and John Stuart Mill. If democracy is at stake, your freedom is at stake. "Don't let it slip into F-A-S-C-I-S-M."

LaFortune: Acknowledged wife, thanked sponsors. Want to build on economic momentum, finish what we started. All the projects that are in or right around downtown -- almost $250 million through Vision 2025. We had a downtown that had not had any public improvements for three decades, four decades.

Taylor: Talked about Governor Henry's EDGE -- last time she was in this auditorium. "I was a business leader." Business leadership is absolutely transferable to government. Talks about historic preservation, Main Street programs increasing retail, is happening in Oklahoma City (Capitol Hill, Stockyards City), same thing can happen in Tulsa. Support form based zoning. Preserve our history. Preserve our arts.

Miller: We need leadership, we need a plan, we need a direction. Mentioned her turns as chairman of council, county commission. Cites crime rate, ninth worst streets. Need quality of life, low crime, good infrastructure. Need a leader who will make tough decisions. Completely avoided topics of the forum.

McCorkell: Says he won KWGS Haiku contest two years ago. Cites Jane Jacobs and Richard Florida. Wife serves on AHCT board. Cites legislative experience. Proud that his subcommittee was first to fund Main Street program. Had to seek financing out of state because Oklahoma is too dominated by those interested in preservation of capital not the creation of capital.

Medlock: Staunch defender of neighborhoods. Trained to be a strategic planner. We have good first tastes of planning: Brookside, Kendall-Whitter, 6th Street. We need plans and an administration that has the discipline to stick to that plan. Council came together to support a replacement of our 30-year-old comp plan. Realities of retail -- 30 years ago Frougs, Anthony's -- today, it's big box stores, and no one wants to live next to big box stores.

Faulk: In auditing/accounting business for many years. Moved to Tulsa in 1974. Illegal immigration may not seem like the mayor's job, but since the state and federal government won't do anything about it.

T**: "I am the poster child for all things weird Tulsa." Talked about street sign law, putting signs. "I didn't mean to be infamous. I didn't mean to be arrested." Good to be out of jail -- no need to put your head next to the toilet unless you hear the slogan "I'm excited" one too many times. (Got a laugh.) "Show me the plan. Show me the plan. Show me the plan."

Downtown attractions:

LaFortune: Cites making arena a work of art, master linkage plan, Kanbar/Kaufman's vision for 5th Street corridor from Denver to Cincinnati.

Taylor: Recognize that we have three college campuses in downtown. Encourage businesses to have outdoor venues.

Miller: Downtown Tulsa has to grow.

McCorkell: Need to understand the concept of critical mass. Jenks as an antique capital works because there's more than one antique store. Arts district needs 15-20 galleries. Guerrilla tactics -- build housing for OSU professors here, so they'll have take the bus to Stillwater to teach, rather than Tulsa students to travel to take classes.

Medlock: Chicken and egg situation. We have sidewalks, but there's nothing there. Having people live in the IDL is critical. Current downtown housing efforts are focused on luxury end of the market. OSU-Tulsa is key. Multi-family housing for students in walking distance of Blue Dome district.

Faulk: A little seed money is OK, but developers should repay it if they succeed. Arena is a nice thing to have, but we can't afford to maintain and operate.

T**: "Popsicle test" -- ran out of time.

Clark: Build a business friendly downtown. Free parking for downtown. Bring in world largest shopping mall. Monorail system, subway.

Gotta run -- more later


Bobby Author Profile Page said:

Michael, I officially nominate you as the "official" note taker of the group! Awesome "live blogging" notes on the Tulsa Now Mayoral Forum. The only thing that would have made the setup better would have been the availability of power taps in the area.

Mike said:

I was there last night. Among the "major" candidiates, I agreed most with the comments of, in this order, Medlock, McCorkell and (surprising myself) Taylor. Mr. Faulk said some sensible things as well, and I, like much of the audience, chuckled several times at P**l T*y.

LaFortune at least twice referred to Mssrs. Kanbar and Kaufman, and their major investment in downtown Tulsa real estate. He seemed to want to claim them as his own, as if none of this would have happened, had we not been building the "iconic" arena. In my view, Kanbar and Kaufman are astute investors who see a market opportunity to buy low, invest, hold, and sell higher. I'm glad they have chosen to invest in downtown Tulsa; however, I don't believe their decision was influenced in the least by our pending "Pellidome".

Joseph Wallis said:

It is laughable that LaFortune's platform is basically "Lets finish what we started". Question is, is what "we" started a good thing? This platform reminds me of the 2004 presidential race.....and wow that was a great decision. Let's not have voter's remorse twice.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 21, 2006 6:05 PM.

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