Bartlett Jr showing his TfBG loyalties?

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What are the odds? After protesting loudly during the mayoral campaign that he wasn't a member of Tulsans for Better Government and had no idea how his name got on that list, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr is now talking sympathetically about the concepts -- at-large councilors and non-partisan elections -- that TfBG have circulated as initiative petitions for Tulsa City Charter amendments. From this week's UTW:

"I believe the members of the City Council, if they disapprove of the actions I'm taking, in three and a half years can help vote me out of office," [Bartlett Jr] said. "That's their right. I think if the council wants to look at changing the form of government, they should look at other forms of government, as well.

"I've heard people say they'd be more comfortable with a group of city councilors who are elected at-large. They'd still have to live in their district, but they'd be elected by people all across the city, and that would make them more beholden to the city of Tulsa instead of a particular area."...

Bartlett said he believes most cities the size of Tulsa operate under a strong-mayor form of government, while smaller cities operate well with a city manager style. A prominent exception to that, he pointed out, is Oklahoma City, which proponents of the city manager-style of government like to cite as an example.

"I agree with them that Oklahoma City is an example of a city that's run well," he said.

But Bartlett noted that hasn't been the case until recent years. For many years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the City Council there was split almost evenly between two factions, and whichever faction held power at any given time would hire its own city manager. The result was a revolving door in that office.

"They were having a terrible time keeping city managers and keeping the City Council engaged in a forward-thinking way," he said.

Bartlett said he has spoken to city officials there at length about what turned the situation around, and he said they told him it is their belief that two things make the situation in Oklahoma City different.

The first is the fact that the city holds nonpartisan elections, meaning candidates do not run under a party affiliation -- an idea strongly espoused by Mark Perkins, a Republican who ran as an independent in the mayoral campaign against Bartlett last fall, earning 18 percent of the vote....

Before last fall's city election, Stephen Roemerman wrote about his conversation with Bartlett Jr regarding Tulsans for Better Government and at-large councilors:

Last Sunday, I was a part of a small group who met with Mr. Bartlett to ask him questions (This will be another post). I told Mr. Bartlett that one of my primary concerns regarding his candidacy was his involvement with the Tulsans for Better Government. I told him that I found the idea for at-large councilors extremely concerning. The implication in my statement was that I could not support anyone who wanted to take control of the City Council in a way that would focus power in downtown and midtown, and disenfranchise the other parts of the city.

What he said, shocked and confused me. With regard to his involvement with Tulsans for Better Government, he said that he did not know about the at-large councilor push, that it was tendered without his knowledge. He suggested that he was asked to joined the group years ago but never really had anything to do with them, and certainly had nothing to do with the idea of at-large councilors. I asked him what he thought of at-large councilors and he said the he did not think it was a good idea, and that our form of government should not be changed.

In an October 2009 open letter to Republicans, then-nominee Dewey Bartlett Jr made a number of commitments to Republicans in an effort to win their support. Many Republicans felt that, however flawed Bartlett was as a candidate, they now had him making an on-record commitment on issues important to conservatives. The e-mail included a postscript that Bartlett Jr had signed the pledge opposing non-partisan elections.

That list of commitments is worth re-reading. It includes his pledge to "hire more police." And there's this gem (emphasis added:

We cannot ignore any part of town. We must improve our entire city and be sure that each part has proper investment and service. I will work with, not against, the city councilors to achieve this goal.

The at-large councilor proposal that Bartlett Jr mentions positively is even more radical than TfBG's original proposal to mix three at-large seats with six district seats. Even if the councilors lived in nine different districts, they would either have to be personally wealthy enough to sustain a city-wide campaign or be beholden to groups with a financial stake in manipulating city government. Grassroots campaigns to win a council seat would have a very slight chance of success, which I suspect is the whole point of the idea. Under at-large voting for the council, there would still be a District 1 councilor, but he'd be the sort of District 1 councilor that District 9 residents would find acceptable.

Question to the readers: Has Dewey Bartlett Jr turned out to be the kind of mayor you were led to believe he would be?

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5 Comments

The A Team said:

There has never been a Tulsa Mayor more worthy of a recall. I don't think Tulsa can endure much more of Dewey Bartlett's failed leadership of mental, ethical, and legal lapses; be they motivated by immoral intent or just plain incompetence. Even if lying about the grant were ignored there's still a long list of Mayoral indiscretions like unreported travel donations by the Metro Chamber of Corruption among others to be ignored.

Don't blame me, I voted for Tom Adelson.

In related news, here's an interesting upcoming Council Agenda item:

Committee Meeting, Urban & Economic Development
7/13/2010
10:00 AM
175 E. 2nd St., Tulsa, OK 74103
Room 411, One Technology Center

23. Discussion regarding the relationship between the City of Tulsa and the Norman, Wohlgemuth, Chandler, & Dowdell law firm over the past five years, including but not limited to specific contracts, payments made to the law firm for each case or contract, outstanding encumbrances, the nature of the representations, any current instances the law firm is representing the City of Tulsa, and the firm’s decision to represent the Mayor regarding the recent investigation. (Westcott) [UED 7/13/10] 10-517-1

Bob said:

Dewey, Jr. is the posture-boy of a RINO:

Republican In Name Only.

How ON EARTH could a real Republican ENDORSE Mayor Kathy Taylor? TWICE!

That endorsement spoke VOLUMES about Jr.'s true political colors. All he had to do to win was run as the Anti-Adelson, a strong Democrat who gave the maximum campaign contribution to one of Oklahoma's least favorite politicians:

Barack Hussein Obama.

Jr.'s a Mid-town Trust Fund Baby that inherited his wealth from his oilman father Dewey, Sr. He's thus been available to be a city councilor, OTA member, on various other boards and Mayor of Tulsa because his small oil production company employs professional managers and engineers to keep him and his trophy second-wife living the lifestyle that he was born into.

He was born on Third-Base, and thinks he hit a triple.

Another three years of Dewey and I'll need to obtain a Nexium Rx......

I never expected that Mr. Bartlett would be a mayor I'd like. He struck me during the campaign, and strikes me now, as one of a group of Tulsans whose loyalties to one another far outweigh their loyalties to political parties and principles.

BobInTulsa Author Profile Page said:

Yes, Dewey Bartlett, Jr. has turned out to be the kind of mayor I was led to believe he would be. That is why I voted for Chris Medlock.

Laramie Hirsch said:

"There has never been a Tulsa Mayor more worthy of a recall."

I could think of a few who are worse: LaFortune, Savage, Taylor. They were all horrible.

I think that with Bartlett, it is the talk about him that is worse than his actual effect on the city. In other words, everyone's bark is worse than Bartlett's bite--so far.

He is a boob, but at least he isn't radically transforming the city or wasting millions at the present moment. Better a silly ineffective mayor for now, than a reckless arena-builder. Hey, remember when we had to worry about the damned city building an island in the middle of that sewer that is our river? Yeah, that was a great time.

I voted for Chris Medlock in the primary. He would have been best, and it is clear that there was manipulation to get him out of the race.

As for Mr. "I voted for Tom Adleson" A Team, hooray for you and your democrat vote. Don't worry, history has shown that in America, democrats always get their way in the end. This city will be completely bankrupt eventually, just as you desire.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 12, 2010 12:32 PM.

Oklahoma! OK, but Discoveryland could use a spruce-up was the previous entry in this blog.

The 2005 recall: Five years later is the next entry in this blog.

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