Rich old SOTs: Who is "Save Our Tulsa"?

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Who is backing the latest effort to dilute grassroots influence over City Hall?

I took the list of 23 names in the list of Save Our Tulsa steering committee members in John Brock's email and did some research.

According to recent voter registration records, the median age is of Save Our Tulsa is 75. According to the county assessor's records, the median property value of the residences of the named steering committee members is $586,350. Here's a map showing where they live, based on voter registration and county assessor records:

View Save Our Tulsa (SOT) in a larger map

You'll notice a dense cluster of SOTs live in the wealthy section of midtown, aka the Money Belt. The map correlates well with the PLANiTULSA / Collective Strength survey from 2008 that showed Midtowners feeling more understood by city leaders and more included in the city planning process than north, west, and east Tulsans. It would seem that the SOTs don't know very many Tulsans from other parts of the city.

Many of these same people supported Tulsans for Better Government, the earlier push for at-large councilors, and Coalition for Responsible Government, the group that unsuccessfully attempted to recall Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock.

There are a few outliers. That dot in far east Tulsa is Shane Fernandez, a former chairman of TYpros, the Tulsa Metro Chamber young professionals' organization that ran the grassroots ypTulsa out of business. But according to assessor's records he and his wife (also a former TYpros chair) are also the owners of a home near 29th and Cincinnati.

Way up north, you find a dot for Pleas Thompson in Gilcrease Hills. Thompson was (or is?) head of the local chapter of the NAACP. Given the NAACP's role in moving Tulsa to district representation, it's strange that Thompson would lend his name to an effort that would dilute geographical representation with at-large council members.

Two (possibly three) SOTs are not Tulsa residents.

The dot in far south Broken Arrow (not even close to Tulsa) is former Whirled editorial page editor Ken Neal. Having spent decades espousing bad ideas for Tulsa, most of which were enthusiastically adopted (e.g. urban renewal), he has retired to a city that was fortunate to escape his influence.

Way up north in Owasso, in one of the Bailey Ranch subdivisions, that's Bishop Donald O. Tyler, pastor of Greater Grace Apostolic Church. The bishop moves around: In 2008, Tyler and his wife Marcia were registered to vote at an address in the Greens at Cedar Ridge in Broken Arrow; assessor records show the Tylers sold the house in 2008. Through most of 2009, Donald O'Neil Tyler Sr. was registered to vote in precinct 182 in south Tulsa; his wife Marcia was still registered at that address as of August 2010.

The Tylers do at least own a piece of Tulsa: Assessor records indicate that they bought about 12 acres of undeveloped land just southwest of Mohawk Park in December 2008. (He seems to have been registered to vote for the first half of this year at an address intended to correspond to this piece of property. There's nothing on it except a mailbox with his name and the house number, but the Postal Service and the city say the address doesn't exist. The mystery of a seemingly bogus address in the voter record, corresponding to the city water treatment plant, and the confusion of two roads with similar names, took some effort to unravel; it deserves an entry of its own.)

There is a James Alfred Light registered to vote on W. College St in Broken Arrow, but there's also a James Light that claims homestead on a house in Florence Park. I placed his dot at the latter location. My guess is that he lives in Florence Park but hasn't yet changed his registration. Then again, they could be two different Lights.


On Monday, October 11, 2010, KWGS aired a Studio Tulsa interview with John Brock. Again, he never cites a specific example of ward politics. Brock says that the Council should set policy and pass ordinances but not try to run the city. He also hopes that the elimination of party primaries will mean that more moderate candidates will be elected; primaries encourage extreme candidates to be nominated, according to Brock. Brock claims that having separate city elections puts the council under the control of "special interests," although he never says what those special interests are.

Rich Fisher seemed a bit confused about election dates under the current provisions of the charter, which is understandable. Currently, a city election cannot happen a week out of sync with a state election. That happened a few times in the past, usually when a spring city election was a week off from a school board election or presidential primary. But when we approved moving elections to the fall of odd-numbered years, we specified that the elections would be held on the dates authorized by state statute (26 O.S. 3-101) in September and November. In 2009, when voters approved the ill-conceived staggered council terms, a conflict was created -- no election date is authorized in September of even-numbered years. A further change on this year's ballot will fix that problem by moving the primary in even years to August.

I certainly hope that KWGS will allow an opponent of SOT's proposals to appear on Studio Tulsa. Tulsa voters should hear the downside of these amendments before they're asked to sign petitions; perhaps we can avoid an expensive and acrimonious election battle.

Also on Monday, KOTV's Emory Bryan spoke to John Brock, head of SOT. One aim seems pretty clear -- keep debate on public matters out of the public eye. (Video after the jump.)

Now the Council has been complaining, justifiably, that the Mayor will not talk to them. When he's on the Council as the Chairman, he will have to talk with them, and we believe that will create an environment where they will all hash things out before they get to the newspapers.

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Bob said:


Great analysis and commentary on the creatures inhabiting the Save OUR Tulsa PAC.

Old AND Rich, they don't like uppity nobodies like Roscoe Turner, Jim Mautino, or Maria Barnes setting city policy.

The very misguided City of Tulsa water policy that was set by Patty Eaton, wife of SOT member Leonard Eaton, to provide sanitary treated city water to Owasso, Jenks and Bixby at the same cost as charged to the ratepayers of Tulsa. Oh, and City ratepayers paid to build the pipelines, too boot.

Such lamebrained city policy subsidized phenomenal growth in the incorporated suburbs, and has resulted in the strangulation of the City of Tulsa's sales tax growth.

No wonder that former Editorial Page editor Ken Neal lives in Broken Arrow.

Thank you, Patty, for killing the city of Tulsa.
You deserve SO MUCH recognition for all the damage that you have done.

The A Team said:

"I certainly hope that KWGS will allow an opponent of SOT's proposals to appear on Studio Tulsa."

Call KWGS and tell them you expect equal air time on Studio Tulsa be made available to the opponents of Save Our Tulsa (918) 631-2577

P.S. If you donate to KWGS, be sure to mention it.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 12, 2010 11:42 PM.

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