District 6: Jim Mautino vs. Councilor Crocs on high-speed rail

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Some time ago, Steven Roemerman sent a set of questions to all incumbent councilors to get their opinion on high speed rail, whether Tulsa needs it and how it should be funded. So far three have responded: District 2's Rick Westcott, who was reelected with a primary victory, District 9's G. T. Bynum, who faces perennial candidate Roger Lowry in the general election, and District 6's Dennis Troyer, who faces Jim Mautino, the former councilor he beat in 2006.

Dennis Troyer's responses to Roemerman's questions were almost incomprehensible, but Roemerman generously gave the councilor a chance to revise and extend his remarks. Instead of improving on his first answer, Troyer opted to send a second response as strange as the first.

You'll have to read Troyer's words for yourself, but it appears that Troyer wants to get rid of the Third Penny sales tax as a way of funding high-speed rail. (I don't get it either.)

Roemerman also gave Jim Mautino the chance to respond. The contrast is striking: Mautino's responses are thoughtful, concisely stated, and grounded in principle. I especially liked this point:

Successful rail systems rely on connections to high density population areas with strong urban Public Transportation Systems.

Mautino has traveled widely, including time in Europe and larger U. S. cities. When you take an inter-city train in Europe, the whole journey can be car-free because the stations are in major centers of activity, and there are public transit systems (bus, rail, or a combination) to connect the main-line stations to many other places in the city.

That's not the case in most of the U. S. Using a downtown-to-downtown rail link for a typical trip between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, you'd need to drive downtown, find parking, and then find a rental car on the other end to take you to your destination. Assuming the rail trip itself can be cut to an hour, there's still the added overhead of getting from your point of origin to the train network and from the train network to your real destination. It's almost always going to be faster to drive point-to-point, no matter how fast the train goes.

I also appreciate Mautino's clear position on new or higher taxes -- no -- and his clear position on priorities -- streets, public safety, education.

I might be inclined to dismiss Troyer's disorganized and unprofessional response, except that it is characteristic of his service as a councilor. Just as it would be inappropriate to wear Crocs to a formal occasion, It's inappropriate for public figure to send out a sloppy and barely considered response to a media inquiry. In fact, Troyer wears Crocs to city council meetings, but he appears to leave his thinking cap at home.

Jim Mautino's term as councilor was the only time in the history of the City Council that District 6 has had real representation -- someone there to look after the interests of far east Tulsa residents at City Hall. Mautino took time to research issues, drawing on his experience as an American Airlines maintenance instructor, quality assurance auditor, and neighborhood leader to come to a conclusion and to advocate for his conclusion in council debates.

Troyer, meanwhile, has been a rubber stamp for the mayor's office, developers, and unions. Troyer has been happy to support the continued trashing of Tulsa's front door -- I-44 between 193rd East Ave and 145th East Ave.

JamesMautino.jpgMautino not only looked out for his district's interests during his two years in office, he also worked with other councilors on strategic issues affecting the entire city. One example: Mautino pushed for sewer service to an industrial area that wasn't served by city sewer. The move allowed for further development and job growth in the City of Tulsa. Mautino was also a strong advocate for new retail within city boundaries to help generate more sales tax revenue.

I urge you to vote for Jim Mautino if you live in District 6, ask your friends in the district to vote for him, and donate and volunteer for his campaign. District 6 needs him, and so does the rest of Tulsa.

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6 Comments

recyclemichael said:

Are you sure you are not a little biased in your comments here?

You are listed on Mautino's website endorsing him...The survey guy Steve Roemerman also endorsed Jim Mautino on his website...

I call B.S. You guys probably wrote his answers for him...

No, Mr. Patton. I didn't write Jim's answers and neither did Steven. Jim Mautino actually knows how to express himself in coherent English sentences, which to my mind is an essential qualification for serving on the City Council. My only bias is my desire to have an intelligent, independent-minded councilor representing the district where I grew up and where my parents still live. Steven bent over backwards to give Councilor Crocs every chance to submit something comprehensible.

While I can't excuse the sloppiness Troyer's first email, I will say that I appreciate the courtesy of his response. I think my inability to get a better response from him might be partly due to my tone. I didn't mean to, but I think I immediately put him on the defensive. I tried to get him to provide me a second draft, but he declined.

With regard to Mautino, I am a supporter. I offered to post his response if he was interested in taking a stab at the the questions, he did, and I posted it.

If you wish, I can provide you the email chain between Mautino and I. It will at least prove that he sent the email. It doesn't necessarily prove he wrote it, however I assume when I get an email from someone, that they actually wrote it. If you are dead set against the possibility that Mautino wrote his response, then I suspect that there will be no proof that will appease you...nevertheless if you are interested in the email chain, email me at roemermanonrecord at gmail dot com, and I'll forward it to you.

recyclemichael said:

That's OK Steven. I believe you.

I just get overly critical around election time and suspicious of efforts to make a favorite candidate look better. I am sure that your candidate is better informed on this topic, partly because he knows you.

I check out your blog a few times a week and respect your work. I am also a supporter of high speed rail and any and all efforts to bring passenger rail service back to Tulsa.

Bob said:

Michael Bates and Steve Roemerman:

While it is very patient and generous of your time to give RecycleMichael the courtesy of a response to his accusations, remember that his point of view is constrained by his public sinecure held solely due to the largesse of the local power establishment, and their latitude in allowing him a livelihood.

He is allowed his sinecure, and he in turn supports the local swells, unequivocally and without hesitation.

The A Team said:

Right on Bob! You nailed it. BTW, It is a huge conflict of interest for Michael Patton to be serving on the Refuse and Recycling Task Force. It's time for the Tulsa to end it's appropriations to the Mercenary Environmentalist's Treasury, otherwise known as the M.E.T.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 11, 2009 4:58 PM.

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