Secret charter amendments?

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On tonight's (Thursday, July 1, 2010) Tulsa City Council agenda are three proposed amendments to the Tulsa City Charter:

8. COUNCIL ITEMS c. Proposed Charter Amendment: Independent candidates will have the same filing requirements as partisan candidates, allowing either a filing fee or a petition with the required number of signatures. (Bynum) [UED 6/29/10] 10-446-7
8. COUNCIL ITEMS d. Proposed Charter Amendment: Adopt the State of Oklahoma's practices for run-off elections, requiring a majority of votes for a primary election victory. (Bynum) [UED 6/29/10] 10-446-8
8. COUNCIL ITEMS e. Proposed Charter Amendment: The City should provide for primary elections for independent candidates, in addition to those held for partisan candidates. (Eagleton) [UED 6/29/10] 10-446-9

I would like to provide you with a detailed analysis of the proposals and the pros and cons of each, but I can't. The text of the proposed amendments is not available on the tulsacouncil.org website. Ordinarily, there's a link next to each agenda item which leads to "backup material," which in this case should be the text of the proposed amendment, the proposed ballot title, and the rationale behind the proposal, but that hasn't been provided, either on tonight's agenda or on last Tuesday's Urban and Economic Development committee agenda, when the items were previously discussed.

All I know of the proposals so far has been relayed to me over the phone. Late last week I spoke to Mike Easterling for his UTW story on the three proposals from G. T. Bynum's Election Reform Task Force. When Mike called, I couldn't talk at length at the moment, but I asked him if he had something in writing that he could forward to me, so that I could look at it before giving him my thoughts. He told me all he knew had been conveyed to him in a phone call.

I'm asking the City Council not to take action on these proposals tonight. The public has not been provided with the text or rationale for the changes. The report of Bynum's task force is not available on the Council website, either.

To borrow a phrase from the Sunlight Foundation, which promotes government transparency, "public equals online." If it's not online, it's not really public. The public should have a chance to read, digest, and comment on these proposals before they're considered for the November ballot.

If the aim is to get charter amendments on the November general election ballot, the City Council has two more months before the 60-day deadline. From what little I've been able to gather about the proposals, they seem half-baked, won't address genuine problems with our current system, and may create additional problems if approved. The problems may be even worse if only one or two of the three ideas are adopted.

We're already dealing with the unintended consequences of an ill-considered charter amendment approved last fall which will require the City of Tulsa to spend the money to develop its own election infrastructure. (Because the three-year staggered terms for councilors will result in fall elections in even-numbered years on dates not authorized by state statute for elections, Tulsa won't be able to use the Tulsa County Election Board's ballot scanners, personnel, and precinct organization.) Let's not rush to put another half-baked idea on the ballot.

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1 Comments

Bob said:

My take on Councilor Bynum's proposals is to make things MUCH MORE DIFFICULT for candidates running as an Independent, pure and simple.

It is intended to discourage Independents from running.

As a result, making it easier for those local ruling Families that having been ruling Tulsa for several generations to continue their uninterrupted dominance.

Bynum's proposals mean:

It will Cost more to file as an Independent.

It will cost more in time and money to run in a Primary Election as an Independent.

It will cost more in time and money to run in a Run-off Election when no candidate wins an outright majority in the Independent Primary.

The Oligarch Families of which Mr. Bynum is a charter member of the LaFortune Family branch probably put their little puppet up to this mischief.

Wonder what the Tattaglia and Corleone Families have to say about this?

Did I mean the Rooney and Flint Families?


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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 1, 2010 11:17 AM.

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