Anna Falling launches mayoral campaign

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Former City Councilor Anna Falling announced her campaign for Mayor of Tulsa at a press conference this morning at North Peoria and Latimer Pl, at the north Tulsa campus of Cornerstone Assistance Network, the ministry founded in 2000 by Falling and her husband Chris Beach. Falling will run in the Republican primary, where she will face two other former city councilors, Dewey Bartlett, Jr., and Chris Medlock.

(Bartlett filed on Monday. Medlock officially filed his candidacy today just before noon.)

Falling served as councilor for District 4 from 1998 to 2000, winning an open seat. She was defeated for re-election in 2002 by the former incumbent, Gary Watts. In 2006, she ran for District 1 County Commissioner, finishing first in a crowded Republican primary but losing the runoff to State Rep. John Smaligo, who went on to unseat incumbent Wilbert Collins.

The backdrop for Falling's announcement was a group of blue-T-shirted volunteers painting a metal-walled warehouse at Latimer Pl. and N. Owasso Ave. which will serve as the Community Sharehouse, the Furniture Bank of Tulsa County. The center connects surplus furniture with those who need it, so they don't have to spend meager resources on "rent-to-own" furniture. According to Beach, the volunteers are young people and sponsors from the Presbyterian Church USA's Synod of the Sun. The organization has provided volunteers for the last several summers to make improvements to CAN's facilities.

During her remarks, Falling listed the difficulties facing the poor in Tulsa and spoke about the development and expansion of CAN, which provides resources and networking to help churches the poor gain self-sufficiency. She said she is running to help mobilize the churches of Tulsa to address the issues at the root of the city's problems:

Tulsa needs a new day, and today I'm announcing my intention to seek the office of mayor to facilitate a new old solution, as churches stand ready to empower their congregations to walk side by side and transform this city from the inside out. Together we can reverse the effects of single-parent homes, crime, poverty, below-average education, bursting budgets, and broken solutions. We cannot take life so lightly. Life is too short. We must embrace our purpose sooner rather than later. Join me today as we look to cultivate a new future for Tulsa.

Asked about controversy during her term on the Council, Falling said, "I love to step on toes, and I will look forward to the opportunity to bring about the right change in this community."

When I asked who was on her campaign team, Falling replied, "God is on my campaign team. How about that, Michael? I have a great crew of people on my campaign team. I have a great group of men and women who have been excited to stand behind me to do this race, and I would welcome any more that would like to do so."

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David Van Author Profile Page said:

According to your reporting, it appears this is more of a publicity stunt, at the expense of an important city turning point.

Anna, I'm sure, knew you were a part of Medlock's organization. But you may have just given her enough rope to..., well we'll see what the less-amicable media does with it.

This will, in contrast; make Medlock look even more like a thoughtful & protocalled(is that a word?) civic leader.

I recall that Michael DelGiorno was a big supporter of Falling's initiatives. He gave her a lot of free media exposure.
Mind you, I support the charitable initiative, but in the long run bad publicity may even hurt her social cause.

For the record, I'm not a part of Medlock's organization. I consider both Chris Medlock and Anna Falling to be friends of mine, and I have supported both of them in previous campaigns. Each has his or her strengths and weaknesses as candidates and as leaders.

In my April Fools' Day column I set out a platform for Tulsa. While my hints of a candidacy were in jest, my policy suggestions were sincere. I want the next mayor to be someone to carry those ideas forward. I'm concerned that, without a runoff, we're in for more of the same, with one Midtown Millionaire or another in the Mayor's office.

My speculation last night about the intent behind Falling's press conference was just that -- speculation. An e-mail asking the obvious question went unanswered. I don't think her run for mayor is a PR stunt; I thought last night that she might use the heightened interest of the filing period to get the media to come out for the announcement of a non-political initiative.

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

She sounds like a nice person. I didn't read publicity stunt in this post.

David Van Author Profile Page said:

I guess, in defense of my assertions,

1st: I must explain that Chris Medlock has been rather open and public about how much he has consulted Michael in the past 2 months(see podcasts). To me, being a candidate's close consultant is sort of a de facto part of an informal organization. I think that's good. Michael is a very valued voice in municipal govt. issues.

2nd: I read several media acct.s of Faalling's event. According to all reports she spoke more about charitable initiatives that municipal policy.

I'm very glad she's passionate about the ministry she oversees. Her ministry is no joke. Its vital to many hurting Tulsans. She just doesn't seem focused on the mayor's office. We need a mayor who's focused and dedicated.

We've had part time mayors in the past (from both parties). We need another Mayor Inhofe. I remember he arrived at city hall every morning at 5am.

Shadow6 said:

LaFortune 43 percent
Medlock 34 percent
Miller 22 percent
Harper 1.5 percent.

I always speculated that Randi Miller was running to dilute the Medlock vote. If I remember right, she appeared to have a credible campaign until it the election was safely in the bag for LaFortune, and then the money dried up.

Anna Falling came out of the blue. I think Anna Falling is the 2009 version of "Deny Medlock anythng resembling a fair shake anywhere on the planet."

We don't have a runoff, so you must win. Multiple candidates with any name recognition dilutes the ability of an underdog to prevail. If Falling is in the race, and gets over 7% of the vote, Medlock is finished. So frustrating.

shadow6, I share your speculation re: Randi Miller and 2006. Having known Anna Falling and her husband, Chris Beach, for over 10 years, I don't believe that that is behind her decision to run. When they say they believe God is calling them to run, I believe they are speaking sincerely. (Whether God actually did call them to run is not something which I am in a position to judge. I have a different view of how God guides Christians in making decisions, but that is a subject for another time. Read Garry Friesen's book Decision Making and the Will of God if you want to know more.) Nevertheless, your analysis of the political math is correct: A grassroots populist/reform candidate already has an uphill climb against a candidate with a famous name and $750,000 of his own funds to spend. Add another candidate who appeals to a part of the same segment of the electorate and it makes it even more difficult.

Jeff, Anna is a nice person, and Tulsa CAN does good work, based there in your old neighborhood.

David, I agree with your appreciation of Mayor Inhofe, although I didn't follow local politics as closely back then. And while I think it's right and important to address root causes of our city's problems, a candidate for mayor also will need to spell out how to handle the crises at hand.

Moogle Author Profile Page said:

Looking for Anna Falling versus Paul Tay in the final. As Judy Tenuta would say: It could happen!

Brooksider Author Profile Page said:

I'm concerned that good people with very valid concerns and initiatives look to the mayor's office or the city council as the platform for specific kinds of change or programs.

The mayor's office is not the venue for a ministry of any kind. I wish her well with those efforts, but not as an elected official.

Karl Schneider said:

Just what we need, an insane creationist who denies science to bring us into the 16th century.

Mary Ann said:

Anyone with Tax exempt status should have nothing to do with public office.
Don't forget that churches can't maintain their
tax exempt status if they appear to support political affiliation.
Please, please! Press and all appropriate!
Watch for this very important American Principle.
You pay taxes...if she wants to participate in Public life...make sure she pays taxes.

Felicia Author Profile Page said:

Mary Ann, I assure you Anna Falling and her husband pay taxes like everybody else. Cornerstone is not a church, is exempt, and Falling pays her taxes.

Anna Falling the Christian is running for Mayor, not Cornerstone Assistance Network.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 14, 2009 11:46 AM.

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