Bartlett enters mayor's race

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Earlier this week, Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr., who represented District 9 on the Tulsa City Council from 1990 to 1994, announced that he is running for the Republican nomination for Mayor of Tulsa. Bartlett has run for office two other times. He finished second in the August 25,1992, 54-candidate free-for-all special election to replace Rodger Randle; that election was won by acting mayor Susan Savage. In 2004 he ran for the open State Senate District 33 seat. Tom Adelson, seen as the likely Democratic nominee for mayor, won that election 51.5% to 48.5%, a 910 vote margin.

Bartlett made his announcement at the Tulsa Press Club, but the event wasn't open to the public. A friend tells me that she was told to leave by Karl Ahlgren, one of Bartlett's campaign consultants. Ahlgren is the A in AH Strategies; Fount Holland is the H. Both men used to work for Tom Coburn during his time in the U. S. House, but Coburn's principles don't seem to have rubbed off on them. The two have followed the money in recent years, working for campaigns to raise taxes on Tulsa County residents. Holland was involved in a nasty smear campaign against Republican District Attorney Tim Harris on behalf of Brett Swab, who was running against Harris in the primary.

I lived in Brookside for most of Bartlett's tenure on the Council. At the time, he seemed to be supportive of neighborhood concerns, backing Brookside's objections to commercial encroachments into the neighborhood and winning passage of an ordinance designed to hinder the proposed six-laning of Riverside Drive north of I-44. The ordinance, Title 10, Chapter 3, requires any proposal to fund the widening of Riverside or Houston to be put on the ballot as a separate proposition.

More recently, however, Bartlett has taken a number of disappointing public stances. In 2005, he lent his name to the effort of "Tulsans for Better Government" to reduce the number of council districts to 6 and create three city-wide at-large council positions. The proposal would have diluted representation for north, west, and east Tulsa. The three at-large councilors would almost certainly have come from the Midtown money belt, overrepresenting those priorities at City Hall.

According to reports of Bartlett's announcement, he has nothing but praise for Kathy Taylor's tenure. Bartlett enthusiastically endorsed Taylor's re-election prior to her decision not to run again.

At his announcement, Bartlett trotted out the usual blather about "partisan bickering," which always seems to translate to "councilors should shut up, hurry up, and do what I say." It suggests to me that he intends to treat the City Council with the same degree of contempt as the current mayor. The opposition to Taylor's budget and the ballpark assessment wasn't borne of partisanship, but it was motivated by concern for fairness and sound fiscal policy. I appreciate councilors who are willing to stand on principle, even when there's a political price to be paid, and I want a mayor who will respect council opposition instead of trying to steamroll it.

Using the phrase "partisan bickering" pretty much guarantees you won't get my support. Using it is a sign that either you haven't been paying attention or you don't appreciate vigorous public debate of the issues.

Bartlett says he wants to increase city revenues by increasing Tulsa business, not by raising taxes, which is interesting because I can't remember a tax increase he has opposed in recent years. In fact, I'm pretty sure he endorsed a couple.

Today at a Tulsa County Republican rally, I spoke to Jarred Brejcha, who is working on Bartlett's campaign. (I didn't see Bartlett at the event.) I told him that Bartlett has some fences to mend if he hopes to win grassroots Republican support. When Brejcha told me that Bartlett is open to listen to all sides of an issue and all parts of the city, I replied that what matters is whose advice Bartlett will heed when it comes time to make a decision.

Bartlett's name gives him a huge advantage, as was demonstrated in 2006, when Robert Bartlett (no relation) won the Republican nomination for Tulsa City Council District 4 without actively campaigning. Older Republicans fondly remember his father, Dewey F. Bartlett, Sr., who served one term as Governor of Oklahoma (1967-1971 -- defeated by David Hall for re-election in 1970 by two thousand votes), then served a single term in the U. S. Senate from 1973 to 1978. The senior Bartlett died of lung cancer in 1979 at the too-young age of 59.

The rumor around the rally is that Councilor Bill Christiansen will make his formal announcement a week from today. There's also a rumor that Christiansen has hired campaign media consultant Fred Davis. (I spotted Davis last Monday on United's non-stop flight from LAX to Tulsa.)

The only other announced Republican candidate is small businessman Clay Clark, aka DJ Clayvis.

MORE: Chris Medlock notices an interesting similarity between Bartlett's campaign logo and Kathy Taylor's.

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8 Comments

I didn't know anywhere near as much about the man as you do, but the instant I heard his voice on the radio talking about "partisan bickering," I knew I wouldn't support him.

What a mindless phrase.

David S. Author Profile Page said:

Bartlett was also appointed to the Tulsa Airport Board by Taylor. Of course his first accomplishment/agenda was to get the Pike Pass into business with the airport.

Paul Tay Author Profile Page said:

Vote JEW! Adelson announcing Wednesday, 0800, Braden Park, 5th/Erie. FINALLY, a fellow JEW, cyclist, and Obamaniac!

If truth be known, I have really been secretly ANNOYED at all these "christian" family men, as if there are NO Jewish, Islamic, or Buddhist family men.

Where are the conservative "christian" family men now? Disappearing off the face of the planet and goofin' around with some floozy from Argentina!

Paul Tay Author Profile Page said:

And, if I heard another TIRED cliche to "unify" North, South, East, and West Tulsa AGAIN in this campaign, I am SERIOUSLY gonna PUNCH the jerk in the snot.

As for Vision Without New Taxes, READ MY LIPS. SHUT THE **** UP!

Edited by site owner

Paul, mind your language, or expect to be banned.

Paul Tay Author Profile Page said:

Whoops. Sorry, Bates. Dat loudmouthed kid's really getting on my NERVES. Kinda like nails on chalkboard.

I sincerely do respect Mr. Bartlett as a business leader and as a conservative Republican. With that being said, it is my understanding that he wishes to continue with the Mayor Taylor agenda.**If this is not the case, then I have been misinformed**

If Mr. Bartlett is in favor of the Mayor Taylor agenda, then nothing is going to change and government is going to continue taking more and more of our money and spending it on more and more "investing in tulsa-related" projects.
I don't know about you, but I feel that everyone of us would be better with more money in our pockets and less money in the city government's pockets. This city government has built an arena and is building a new stadium while the lights remain off in north Tulsa. As our roads crumble, these same government geniuses are working tirelessly to get that ballpark done.

We need to get focused on priorities. Streets, Bridges, Police, Fire, Lights for North Tulsa, cutting spending...

If you want to see real conservative priority focused change check out our campaign website.
If you want to see government raise taxes yet again, while ignoring our necessities and the growing illegal immigration problem do not visit our site.

- Clay For Mayor Dot Com

Paul Tay Author Profile Page said:

Keep up the good work, kid. No hard feelings, k? Bates, endorse da kid ALREADY, willya?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 28, 2009 12:07 AM.

Martinson responds to FOP was the previous entry in this blog.

Bryan Osborne running for District 8 City Council is the next entry in this blog.

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