Rewriting Tulsans for Better Government history

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Still too swamped for a detailed analytical post, but I must at least point out the misstatements at the end of last Friday's story in the daily about the initiative petition filed by Tulsans for Better Government in support of a charter change for non-partisan elections. The original web story was more accurate than the version published on July 31. Tulsans for Better Government existed before the Citizens' Commission on City Government was formed, and the City Council did not ignore all of the commission's recommendations -- one of the three recommendations (fall elections) has already been approved by the voters and a second (appointed city auditor) will be on November's ballot. The third -- non-partisan elections -- did not have the unanimous support of the commission.

Tulsans for Better Government was actually formed in 2005 to promote the idea of at-large councilors -- reducing the number of districts from nine to six and adding three at-large seats. The effort was a reaction to a City Council with a majority of councilors who actually sought to represent the interests of their districts. It was seen as an attempt to boost representation for the wealthier sections of Tulsa -- under the old at-large commission system, nearly all city officials came from the Money Belt -- and to strip political power from the north, east, and west Tulsa. Dewey Bartlett Jr. and Mayor Kathy Taylor lent their names to the cause as members of the advisory board. The group circulated an initiative petition in support of their proposal.

Tulsans for Better Government suspended its petition effort when Mayor Bill LaFortune announced the formation of a "Citizens' Commission on City Government," assigned to study the City Charter, including terms and number of councilors, partisanship, etc. In their final report, the commission strongly rejected Tulsans for Badder Government's at-large councilor idea. The report made three recommendations, two of which have already been sent to the voters by the City Council, as noted above.

The third recommendation, non-partisan elections, did not enjoy as strong a level of support:

It should be noted that this recommendation is not made unanimously. Some suggested that no change should be made while others embraced an idea advanced by local commentator Michael Bates, known as multi-partisan elections. Still others recommended that the system simply needed technical changes to enable higher participation levels. For example, one thoughtful suggestion was a response to the situation where candidates of only one party file for a council race in a particular district. In those situations, a few task force members recommended that such an election be converted from a primary election to a general election.

More info at the following links:

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The clubby insiders are doing all they can to oust County Assessor Ken Yazel. It might be because he's the only county official who has opposed county tax increases for frivolities. It might be because he insists on assessing fair market value for ever... Read More

3 Comments

XonOFF said:

You're correct, of course.

The Whirled is indeed attempting to change history.

Now, since it takes less than 4,000 signatures for an initiative petition (assuming Mr. Keir agrees, which is not a given), then we should plan a fall campaign to get instant runoff elections on the ballot, too.

Jamison said:

I'd like to hear more on this multi-partisan idea; do you have a previous post on it?

David Van Author Profile Page said:

If the misinformation was made against a publisher, we'd probably be seeing a lawsuit (again).

"Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you"

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 3, 2009 7:49 AM.

RESCHEDULED: Red Fork "Down on Main Street" festival this Saturday was the previous entry in this blog.

Taylor accuses city councilors of playing politics with stimulus money is the next entry in this blog.

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