They told you so

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Those meddlesome City Councilors told us that these members of the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority (TMUA), Messrs. Cameron and Reynolds, were arrogant and uncooperative. They declined to support their reappointment to this authority which controls Tulsa's water system, and whose policy decisions affect the future growth of Tulsa and its suburbs.

In July 2004, as these two men were up for reappointment, the Council had questions about the policy of the TMUA for prioritizing the extension of water lines to unserved parts of the city ahead of extending new lines to the suburbs. Rather than respect the Council's concerns and delay any significant decisions until the issue could be addressed, the TMUA voted the next day to extend a new water line to Bixby. That action was an expression of the TMUA's high-handed contempt for our elected representatives on the City Council.

The Council responded with the only tool they have for keeping authorities, boards, and commissions in line with the will of the public. Five councilors -- Henderson, Mautino, Medlock, Roop, and Turner -- voted against both of them. Their action drew howls of outrage from the Mayor's office, the suburban development industry, and the Tulsa Whirled. Two of the five were targeted for recall. Medlock was specifically told that if he approved the reappointment of Cameron and Reynolds and new water lines to Owasso, the recall effort would be dropped.

After months of lobbying and pressure, Sam Roop flipped his vote, going back on a signed commitment not to support the reappointment of Cameron and Reynolds under any circumstances. Shortly thereafter, Roop was appointed to a high-level position in Mayor Bill LaFortune's administration. Cameron and Reynolds were back in for another three-year term.

Saturday's Whirled had a story about Mayor Kathy Taylor's concerns about the TMUA. Decisions about the board's lobbyists and attorneys were made without consulting the board. She was left out of the loop on the change in lobbyists. One TMUA member, Richard Sevenoaks, has been excluded from membership on any of the TMUA's three committees. (The board has only seven members.)

If I'm not mistaken, Cameron and Reynolds should be up for reappointment next year. The Mayor should replace these two with board members who will look after the City of Tulsa's best interests first, who will be deferential to policies set by the city's elected officials, and who will not regard the TMUA as their personal fiefdom.

And sometime soon, the Tulsa Whirled, among others, should apologize to Henderson, Mautino, Medlock, and Turner for all the nasty things the paper wrote about them for opposing the reappointment of these two board members.

UPDATE: Tultellitarian has given Cameron and Reynolds the GOBble award.


Bob said:

Yes, Councilors Medlock, Mautino, Henderson & Turner, the Gang of 4.5 did try to tell us something back in 2004. They tried to show us a FAVORS-TRADING NETWORK nested on our City Boards, Commissions and Authorities.

What Tulsa city boards, commissions and especially Authorities do is spend our money. Therefore, it behooves those entities who are recipients of this money or recipients of BENEFITS to try and control these Authorities.

The Airport Authority and TAIT controls millions of dollars in annual airport spending. Spending that directly benefits certain favored construction companies, engineers & architects, attorneys, etc.

The TARE recycles our tax dollars to benefit SUNOCO with subsidized steam prices, making our local trash rates the highest for any major metropolitan area in a five state area. Subsidized with our trash rates for the past 20 years.

The TIA benefits the bond underwriters who make a living underwriting their Tax-Exempt bonds. And, it also benefits certain land holders and investment groups. I believe that the Warren's Montreau at Warren Woods high priced retirement community received $100 million in TAX-EXEMPT financing from TIA. Is Montreau a For-Profit venture? Hmmmmh?

Regarding TMUA:

TMUA was given a wonderful, wonderful bequest by our city visionary ForeFathers: Spavinaw Resevoir, and the AB Jewell Water Treatment plan. Clean treated water is very, very valuable for a city's future, all paid for by Tulsa taxpayers.

And this clean treated water also very, very valuable to suburban developers, builders and realtors to get their sticky little fingers on.

It therefore behooves the Home Builders and GTAR to exercise control over the TMUA members.

That is why they backed the RECALL of Councilors Medlock and Mautino.

TMUA has the POWER to make relatively low value farm land increase many-fold in value by TMUA deciding to run a treated water line nearby. Like the water line they approved to subsidize BIXBY's growth. Then, the water line they approved to OWASSO to subsidize Owasso's growth.
While parts of EAST TULSA in former City Councilor Jim Mautino's district still lack city water, since being annexed by the City of Tulsa many decades ago......

If you just happen to be a suburban builder adjacent to where the new treated water line happens to run in Owasso or Bixby, your have instantly become much, much richer, thanks to the policy actions of TMUA. And, to make them even richer, TMUA decided that Tulsa Ratepayers will PAY for the water lines......

I believe it is actually OKAY for TMUA to sell surplus treated water to these suburban communities. HOWEVER, they should pay a hefty premium to compensate Tulsa for the erosion of Tulsa's TAX BASE. They are getting a free ride.

I believe that both Attorneys Cameron and Reynolds are Land Attorneys.

I hope that Mayor Taylor soon asks for their resignations.

Maybe Jim Mautino or Chris Medlock would be willing to serve on TMUA in their places.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 17, 2006 10:38 PM.

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