July 2011 Archives

After the Boehner plan (as it stood Thursday afternoon) failed to command enough votes to pass, the proposal was strengthened by adding back in to the bill a requirement that Congress pass a balanced budget amendment and send it to the states for ratification prior to any further increase in the debt ceiling. That was enough to get a few more Republican congressmen to support the plan, enough for passage, 218-210, on Friday. (22 GOP congressmen voted no. All four Oklahoma GOP congressmen voted yes; Dan Boren and the rest of the Democrats voted no.)

The addition of the balanced budget amendment is a very positive change, although I'm still uncomfortable with this select committee idea and the small amount of FY 2012 cuts.

Here's a July 29, 2011, email from Sullivan. It appears that he took heed of the negative feedback he received from 1st District constituents about the Boehner Plan and communicated it successfully to House leadership, who in turn took the negative feedback seriously. 

(That said, I think it was a strategic error on Boehner's part to put another debt reduction plan forward, given that Cut, Cap and Balance had already passed the House with bipartisan support. But having put the Boehner Plan forward, it would have been difficult to back down completely.)


I have some good news.  I told you yesterday I was not done fighting for a balanced budget amendment requirement, and I am pleased to report that its back on the table.

Following our calls yesterday, my conservative colleagues and I met with the House leadership team both last night and this morning.  I made it clear where my district stood as did my colleagues.  Speaker Boehner listened, even postponing the vote, and went back to the drawing board. 

Speaker Boehner agreed to strengthen the balanced budget amendment requirements of his budget control plan.  Now, instead of just requiring a vote on a BBA in both chambers,  the Boehner bill now requires a balanced budget amendment be passed by both the House and Senate and sent to the states for ratification before the President can get his second tranche of additional debt ceiling authority later this year. 

So now, before president Obama gets a second round of debt ceiling increase, we get both passage of a balanced budget amendment and $1.8 trillion in additional cuts (which are required to be produced by a select committee with legislative authority and passed by Congress prior to any debt ceiling increase).

I want to be clear, this is a big win for our country and a testament to the grassroots work each of you do.  Again, the Boehner bill is not perfect, but it is essential that we pass a Republican bill with spending cuts and reforms, or else we put Harry Reid in the driver seat and face a real possibility of no spending cuts at all.  Our great country cannot afford that. 

Think about where we started, President Obama demanding a clean debt ceiling increase with no spending cuts - essentially a blank check.  House Republicans are on the verge of passing a bill that completely offsets a short term debt ceiling increase with spending cuts, and  will require that a balanced budget amendment to our constitution must pass the House and the Senate and be sent to the states for ratification and Congress must approve an additional $1.8 trillion in cuts before President Obama  can ever raise the debt ceiling again.

Thank you for your time and advice.  God bless,

John Sullivan

Earlier today, I had the privilege of participating in a teleconference, along with a half-dozen other Tulsa area activists, with Oklahoma 1st District Congressman John Sullivan and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan regarding House Speaker John Boehner's proposal (officially known as the Budget Control Act of 2011) for raising the debt ceiling and cutting and capping projected discretionary outlays over the next 10 years. While I disagree with the decision Ryan and Sullivan have made to support Boehner's "two-step" plan, I appreciate them taking the time to explain their reasons.

House Republicans had passed an earlier plan called "Cut, Cap, and Balance." The bill failed in the Senate on a party line vote. CC&B would have cut $111 billion in FY 2012, placed enforceable caps on future discretionary spending, and would have required passage of the Balanced Budget Amendment by Congress (sending it to the states for approval) prior to an increase in the debt ceiling. The Senate turned CC&B down on a party line vote.

The Boehner Plan doesn't include tax increases, but it's possible (some think likely) that the commission created by the plan would propose tax increases. Assume the six Democrats on the commission are all supportive of tax hikes; all it would take is one RINO squish to give tax hikers a majority, and it seems likely to me that Mitch McConnell would feel obliged to include at least one squishy GOP senator on the commission.

The Boehner Plan (version 1.0.1) cuts $22 billion in FY 2012 and a total of $915 billion over 10 years, raises the debt ceiling by $900 billion, and provides for a commission of 12 (six from each party, six from each House) to recommend further cuts of at least $1.8 trillion. The commission's proposal would be fast-tracked for votes and would be unamendable. The Balanced Budget Amendment would come up for a vote in each chamber, but wouldn't have to pass.

(By the way, we are speaking Intraviazonian here, so "cut" doesn't mean spending less money next year than we spent this year. It means not spending as much next year as the most recent budget plan had projected.)

My takeaway from the conversation with the congressmen is that, while the Boehner Plan does not do as much to cut spending, they believe it has a chance to pass the Senate. Although Senate Democrats have announced they won't vote for the Boehner Plan, supporters in the House think they're bluffing. If the Boehner Plan fails in the House, they believe Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan (almost certain to include tax hikes) will have enough momentum to pass the Senate and get enough squishy House Republicans to back it.

While the Boehner Plan would be better than a Reid or Obama alternative, I don't believe it will pass the Senate, and I don't believe that somehow the mainstream-media-informed public will attach the blame for the failure on the President or Senate Democrats. My guess is that the Reid plan will pass the Senate but won't prevail in the House, and the Boehner plan, if it passes the House, wlll get stuck in the Senate. In that stalemate, the Boehner plan, not the tougher CC&B, will become the starting point in negotiations.

Conservatives may as well be bold on the budget, because they'll be savaged by the media regardless.

Given all that, how does it help the cause of deficit reduction to concede so much before the other side has even brought a plan to the negotiating table? As I tweeted during the teleconference, the strategery escapes me.

What bothers me most about the Boehner Plan is that it doesn't cut spending in any way that you and I would understand the term. Discretionary spending remains and grows from its bloated stimulus levels.

They say it's the best deal we can get. I say it seems unlikely we can get the deal, so why not stick to a proposal like CC&B with bipartisan support in the House and widespread support around the country?

MORE: John Sullivan's detailed rationale for supporting the Boehner Plan.

Dean Clancy of Freedom Works provides the top 10 reasons to support Cut, Cap, and Balance over the Boehner Plan.

Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute shows how spending will continue to grow under the Boehner Plan

From an email from Oklahoma 1st District Congressman John Sullivan's office regarding his support for the Boehner Plan for raising the debt ceiling and cutting the growth of federal spending. I've spread it out to the jump page, because it's a very long piece.

The Budget Control Act of 2011

I said I would not vote to increase the debt limit without cuts and I stand by that. This is not a straight debt limit increase. This bill includes full offsets in the form of spending cuts that are more than the associated debt limit increase.

House Republicans have again offered a common-sense plan that rejects the president's insistence for a blank check to pay for a debt limit increase without offsets.   

However, President Obama and the Democrat controlled Senate have clearly indicated that they will not address the true drivers of our debt and assured that we could not achieve a true solution to the debt crisis we are facing. 

The Republican House, with my full support, already passed a budget that saves over $6 Trillion in spending and we passed, with my full support, the Cut Cap and Balance Plan to show the American people where are priorities lie.

President Obama and the Democrat Senate have refused action on any of these bills that will get our nation back on a path to fiscal sanity.

That said, we will continue to fight as fiscal conservatives and we will push for the Budget Control Act of 2011 as the next step. It is not the ultimate solution to our nation's spending-driven debt crisis, but it accomplishes what we've been working for since day one:

  • It will reduce spending more than we increase the debt limit
  • It imposes no new taxes on anyone
  • It guarantees to Americans that the House and Senate will vote in the next six months on the only permanent solution to our debt crisis - a balanced budget amendment.

It is important to note, this is the first time a straight increase to the debt limit has been offset with cuts.  The last increase, in February of 2010, was a $2 trillion increase with ZERO cuts, NO vote of a balanced budget amendment and NO caps on spending.

The fact that this bill has cuts, caps and a balanced budget amendment vote is a major victory for House Republicans and a great first step toward the fiscal restraint our country must adopt going forward when Republicans control the Senate and the White House.  

In 2009, incumbent Councilor Bill Martinson was defeated by Chris Trail, a well-funded challenger, a newcomer to politics and to the city limits, funded and supported by forces that didn't like an intelligent skeptic on the Tulsa City Council scrutinizing their schemes.

I recently came across Martinson's response to the Tulsa Metro Chamber's 2009 candidate questionnaire. As a response to each question, Martinson referred forward to the following reply. Given the Chamber's involvement in this year's election -- hiring a PR consultant to recruit candidates, hiring a political consultant to "advise" them on redistricting, founding a political action committee -- Martinson's words are worth revisiting. (The only edit was to turn a URL in the text into an actual hyperlink.)

An e-mail for a July 20 fund raiser for Chris Trail was forwarded to me from several sources. The invitation and message from Susan Harris, a member of the Chamber staff, clearly validate the rumors that the Chamber supports my opponent, Chris Trail, as a candidate for the City Council. The hostess for the fund raiser has ties to Kathy Taylor and her husband, Bill Lobeck. Mr. Lobeck's attendance at the event substantiates Mr. Trail's claim that he was recruited and is being supported by the Mayor. The Chamber and Mayor Taylor have previously worked with AH Strategies (Karl Ahlgren and Fount Holland) and Mr. Trail credits her with arranging AH Strategies as his campaign advisor. As much as I appreciate receiving your candidate questionnaire, I see no need to provide detailed responses since you and your team have already decided where to direct your support.

I am a CPA with over thirty years of varied business experience and have successfully managed the same manufacturing company since 1996. In addition, I have represented the citizens of District 5 since 2005. My wife and I have owned and occupied our current home since 1981 and our kids, now grown, all attended Tulsa Public Schools. While those qualifications and credentials may fail to meet the Chamber's standards, I ran unopposed last time and my only challenger this year is your handpicked candidate who recently moved into Tulsa and rented a house in my district in order to run for the City Council. This scheme, clearly designed to influence representation on the Council, demonstrates an appalling level of contempt for the value and intelligence of the voters in District 5. Perhaps they will appreciate it is they, not you, that I hope to serve and represent.

Chamber leadership typically advocates and practices blind obedience, and this situation is no exception. You, and the Chamber you represent, are free to follow and support whomever you choose, however, your membership and visitors to your web site may learn some of Mr. Trail's history from an article, "Legal Woes Haunt Candidate", published in the Tulsa World on July 21, 2009. Mr. Trail's documented legal and integrity issues aside, I fail to see how his limited qualifications and recent relocation to the City comply with the statement in your July 20 letter that "The Tulsa Metro Chamber understands the importance of a strong, responsible city government...."; especially since the City of Tulsa is facing perhaps the most difficult financial time in its history. Your attempts to establish a shadow government may ultimately succeed, although I hope the voters prevail, for I remain enough of an idealist
to believe it is still their City.

Trail won but, having served the ends of Taylor and the Chamber to eliminate Martinson, has been cast aside in favor of Karen Gilbert, who is Ahlgren's client in the race this year. I feel sorry for Chris Trail, who seems like a nice person who didn't fully appreciate how he was being used as a tool of revenge. I feel worse for Tulsa, having to make do without Martinson's analytical and financial strengths on the Council.

tgg_9655_110x165.jpgOn July 17, 2011, the Tulsa World ran a story on the 2003 appeals court ruling that levied attorney's fees on Tulsa City Council District 2 candidate Nancy Rothman because of her contemptible attempts to alienate her sons from their father and to smear her ex-husband's reputation.

(The story ran four days after the BatesLine story on the district and appeals court determinations that Nancy Rothman had plotted to have child pornography planted on her ex-husband in order to eliminate his visitation rights entirely.)

The World story reported Rothman's comments about her financial problems:

She also told the World that the handful of financial issues that she has had - including her 2006 bankruptcy, the 2005 foreclosure on her home and a 2001 tax lien that was later released - were related to her divorce.

BatesLine research into District Court records, Bankruptcy Court filings, and County Clerk records involving the home Nancy Rothman lost in foreclosure reveal large amounts of credit card debt and an ever-increasing amount borrowed against the growing value of the home she won in the divorce.

In an October 26, 2001, hearing to determine whether Nancy Rothman would be required to pay attorney fees to her ex-husband, John Rothman, for the contempt and custody trial involving her involvement in a plot to plant child pornography on her husband, John Rothman's attorney Russell Carson quantified the divorce award to Nancy Rothman:

Now, Your Honor, the September 10th, 1999 decree awarded Mrs. Rothman approximately $1.2 million in both real and physical assets. The Vanguard account was in excess of 400,000. The home, according to Mrs. Rothman's own appraisal, was 650,000. The furnishings approximately 60,000. She's got an alimony judgment of $227,000. That's $1,387,000. She has the means and the ability to pay a judgment for attorney fees in a case where every dime of attorney fees incurred on behalf of my client were incurred because of her conduct and no other.

In her June 13, 2006, bankruptcy filing, downloaded today from the uscourts.gov website, Nancy Rothman listed assets of $918,375 (including the home she won in the divorce, valued at $900,000) and liabilities of $1,030,932.35 including

  • $850,000.00 first mortgage,
  • $40,000.00 second mortgage,
  • $35,904.46 in judicial liens,
  • $80,967.66 owed on seven credit cards,
  • $10,080.00 owed in child support,
  • $10,083.14 owed to the IRS from 2000.

In a mere seven years, including nearly five years living on her own without custody of her children, these records suggest that Nancy Rothman went from at least $1,259,850 in the black to $112,557.35 in the red, a drop of over $1.3 million. (In that $1,259,850 figure, the $127,150 mortgage filed in August 1998 has been deducted from the appraised value quoted by Carson above.)

Online county clerk records point to repeated refinancing of the home for ever-larger mortgages.

The 5,423 sq. ft. home on the northwest corner of 27th St. and Zunis Ave. was purchased by John and Nancy Rothman on November 17, 1995, for $530,000 and mortgaged for 80% of its value. The mortgage release was filed on February 25, 1998, apparently leaving the house free and clear at that point.

On March 20, 1998, the deed was transferred to a trust, listed as Nancy Troub Rothman, Trustee, and John D Rothman, Trustee. On August 21, 1998, the house was mortgaged to Harry Mtg Co for $127,150. John Rothman filed for divorce on October 19, 1998.

The divorce was final and a quit claim deed filed on September 10, 1999, leaving Nancy Rothman's trust as the sole owner. At this point, county clerk records appear to indicate that the 1998 $127,150 mortgage was the only secured debt against the property.

In the subsequent five years, another eight mortgages were filed against the property:

  • December 12, 2000: Wells Fargo Fin Okla Inc, $53.827.47
  • September 27, 2001: Popular Fin Services LLC, $350,000.00, followed on October 8, 2001, by a release of the Wells Fargo mortgage.
  • March 19, 2002: Federal Bankcentre, $250,475.09, followed by the June 13, 2002: Release of the 1998 mortgage.
  • March 31, 2003: Indymac Bk, $637,500.00, followed on April 21 and 28 by releases of the 2001 and 2002 mortgages.
  • October 29, 2003: Long Beach Mtg Co., $712,000.00.
  • November 13, 2003: Cit Groupp Consumer Finance Inc, $46,500.00, followed on November 24, 2003 by release of the 2003 Indymac mortgage.
  • June 29, 2004: MERS Inc, two mortgages totaling $841,500.00, followed on September 1 and 27, 2004 by releases of the two fall 2003 mortgages.

Taking into consideration the delay involved in releasing a mortgage following a refinance, the total mortgaged amount appears in County Clerk records to have jumped in six distinct leaps, the largest being nearly $400,000:

  • September 10, 1999: $127,150.00
  • December 12, 2000: $180,977.47
  • October 8, 2001: $477,150.00
  • June 13, 2002: $600,475.09
  • April 28, 2003: $637,500.00
  • November 24, 2003: $758,500.00
  • September 27, 2004: $841,500.00

The divorce decree ordered John Rothman to pay Nancy Rothman alimony of $6,500 per month for 35 months, for a total of $227,500, child support of $2,250 per month until the children reached the age of 18 and graduated from high school, private school tuition and books for the two children of up to $15,000 per year, and all medical and dental insurance and expenses for the children.

Two obligations were imposed by the court on Nancy Rothman following the 2001 decision that found her guilty of contempt of court and gave her ex-husband custody of the children: $140 per month child support and $70,376 in attorney's fees and costs. At the time that the court awarded attorney's fees (December 7, 2001), the court found that Nancy Rothman had a gross monthly income of $8,500.

I watched the entirety of the agenda item on Tulsa City Councilor Jim Mautino's proposed revision to the animal control ordinance, from the Tuesday, July 19, 2011, Public Works Committee meeting. I'm guessing that's more than the editorial board of the daily paper or their caricaturist bothered to do before portraying Mautino as a baby throwing a "hissy fit."

Here's the video of the committee meeting on the TGOVonline website. It's also embedded below, (after the jump if you're reading this on the home page).

The entire discussion lasted 50 minutes. Of that 50 minutes, there's about 30 seconds where Mautino raises his voice, and that came after mayoral aide Dwain Midget raised his voice, three times interrupting Mautino when Mautino had the floor. Twice Councilor Roscoe Turner gavelled down Midget's interruptions, the second time saying, "Mr Midget, I'm asking you one more time; I don't intend to ask again." After Midget's third interruption, Turner told someone in the room to "call Security."

The discussion went on peacefully and productively for another 30 minutes, at which point a meeting of all concerned parties was set for Friday. That aspect of the meeting didn't get much attention.

You'd think that Midget, whose outbursts interrupted the councilor who had the floor, ought to have been the subject of the editorial and cartoon, but it seems our entrenched city bureaucrats can do no wrong in the eyes of the daily paper, particularly when they can turn the story to further the inaccurate "bickering council" meme.

Since his return to the City Council in 2009, Mautino has been pursuing a revision to Tulsa's animal control ordinance, so that outrageously abusive situations can be effectively dealt with by city animal control officials and the city prosecutor. Mautino has met repeatedly with city officials involved in monitoring, licensing, and prosecuting cases of animal abuse.

After a year and a half of talk, Mautino is pushing forward with a revised ordinance that distinguishes between licenses for hobbyists and for rescuers and which requires someone seeking a license to engage the support of neighbors. The intent is to make the ordinance somewhat self-enforcing, important because of the city animal welfare department's inability (or perhaps unwillingness) to enforce the current ordinance.

In Tulsa, you can have up to three dogs and up to five total cats and dogs without any special exemption. To have more, you must have a hobbyist exemption from the city. You must also have a hobbyist exemption if you don't wish to spay or neuter your pets -- for example, if you show your dogs and are required to keep them intact for that purpose.

What I've heard is that the terms of the exemption are practically unenforceable, particularly in this time of budget shortfalls.

In addition, it's my understanding that animal control calls must now go through 911, rather than to a separate animal control dispatch number, and because of that, Tulsa police must respond first to any animal control issues, even though the police department is not equipped to deal with animal control incidents. The result is an added burden on an already overloaded 911 system and police department.

Jim Mautino's eastside District 6 is more vulnerable to animal control issues than many parts of town. Large undeveloped areas provide habitat for feral dogs and cats and are tempting spots for irresponsible owners to dump unwanted pets. The east side is home to many newcomers to Tulsa, who come from places, like rural Oklahoma or foreign lands, where animal control laws are non-existent or unenforced.

But rather than help find a solution to meet the concerns of Mautino's constituents, the city bureaucrats responsible for animal control are working to undermine his efforts. Mautino read from emails, obtained via an Open Records Act request, from Jean Letcher, manager of the city's animal welfare department, rallying citizens against Mautino's efforts.

Instead of berating Mautino, Mayor Bartlett Jr should have been calling some of his own employees on the carpet for their uncooperative attitude.

What I saw in that Tuesday meeting fit a pattern that I've seen often during 20 years of involvement in local politics. A city bureaucrat looks at the certificates on the wall and his years of service and assumes he is the authority not merely about how things are done but the authority on what ought to be done.

So a new city councilor or a new member of an authority, board, or commission comes into office with a concern that isn't being effectively addressed by city government. The first answer from the bureaucracy is rarely, "Gee, why didn't we think of that?" It's almost always, "Nothing can be done," or, "We've never done it that way." And that answer is supposed to be the end of it.

If the councilor (or commissioner) persists, the bureaucracy attempts to re-educate the councilor, in the most condescending manner possible, to understand that his ideas are impossible to implement. Rather than saying, "Let's see how we can meet your concerns," the bureaucracy delivers the message, "Your concerns are ignorant and illegitimate."

What happens next depends on how the councilor deals with the initial rebuff. Some simply back off and tackle another issue. Some, like Tom Tuttle from Tacoma, become fully assimilated to the point where they'll defend the status quo and attack any other councilor who challenges it.

Then you have the councilors who do their own research, who dig into ordinances and budgets and case law and what other cities are doing, and they persist in asking "why not?" and presenting alternatives. From a bureaucrat's point of view, such a councilor is a pain in the posterior, a threat to their comfortable, stable existence, and must be taken down. If you can use your lack of cooperation to provoke the councilor, passive-aggressively, to the point of expressing his irritation, you win.

Since this sort of inquisitive, pro-active councilor also poses a threat to other entrenched interests, the aggrieved bureaucrat can usually find a helping hand from the various organs of the Cockroach Caucus, who miss the days when all one had to do was pull on their strings to get the councilors to do their bidding. The obligatory unflattering photo, misleading headline, twisted caricature, and tut-tutting editorial follow in due course.

It's a misunderstanding of the nature of bureaucracy to think that bureaucrats will be supportive and encouraging of a councilor's ideas for new ways to solve a problem, if only the councilor will be polite and patient. (People seeking public office really should read Jim Boren's books first.) It's not that bureaucrats are bad people, but it's a profession that tends to attract the risk-averse. You don't climb in a bureaucracy by taking risks. The exceptions to the rule are there, and they're real treasures because they're rare. Too often, bureaucrats will try to wait the councilor out -- keep holding meetings, keep delaying a final plan, until the councilor gets interested in another project or gets voted out of office.

It's a pretty good indication that a city councilor is doing what he ought to be doing if he's getting shot at by the bureaucracy and the daily paper. Jim Mautino is a good councilor, and if District 6 voters want an advocate for their interests who won't be deterred by bureaucratic foot-dragging, they'll return Jim Mautino to office this fall.

Jennie Lloyd makes her debut this week as the new city reporter for Urban Tulsa Weekly with two interesting stories about downtown Tulsa, past, present, and future.

The first is about the mysterious goings-on involving the massive portfolio of downtown buildings owned by Maurice Kanbar, for example:

In December 2010, Clay Clark, the marketing director for Fears & Clark Realty Group (at the time, responsible for leasing and public relations for Kanbar Properties), announced that a "wedding mall" inside the Executive Center at Fifth and Cheyenne would open soon. Clark said six vendors had signed on and two others were in negotiations.

As part of Kanbar's plan for redeveloping downtown, the new permanent bridal fair would be a place where Tulsa florists, DJs, limo services and photographers can converge to offer one-stop wedding shopping.

When the mall debuted in January, Clark showed KOTV News on 6 around what appeared to be fresh renovations, paint and signage on the third floor of the Executive Center.

Now, only six months after its grand opening in the Executive Center, the collective of wedding vendors has moved to a new location. Al Hornung at Omni Lighting cited "problems with the landlord" as the reason the mall had to find a new home. Clay Clark, media director for Fears & Clark Realty Group, said the location was awkward and parking was difficult.

Epic Photography, Cherished Traditions and DJ Connection now office at 1609 S. Boston Ave., while Omni Lighting, Icing on the Top and Galaxy Limousines remain involved but without permanent offices, Clark said.

Lloyd's story makes reference to a BatesLine story about Maurice Kanbar and Kanbar Properties, particularly about forcing Barthelmes Conservatory to vacate its location in Kanbar's Avanti Building.

In a story on downtown Tulsa's social clubs, Lloyd dives into the history files to depict the glamour that once was the Tulsa Club and the soon-to-be-defunct Petroleum Club and the ongoing success of the Summit Club and the Tulsa Press Club.

The 11-story Tulsa Club Building offered six floors to its members (the first five were home to the Chamber of Commerce) of leisurely and luxe offerings, including an athletic department, separate men's and ladies' lounges, a barber shop, rooftop "sky terrace," and private dining rooms....

The athletic department was one of the first and most complete gymnasiums in Tulsa. Only for men, the gym offered "handball and squash racquet courts, golf practice court, Turkish bath, steam room, dry hot room, electric cabinets, Swedish body massage, diathermy, whirlpool bath, ultra-violet treatment, infra-red treatment, physical therapy, informal dining room and slumber room."

Holland Hall's Dutchman Weekend prom was held at the Tulsa Club in 1979, when it was still an elegant facility. The next time I saw it was shortly after the club closed when they were selling the remaining fixtures, after the place was nearly stripped bare but before the vandals arrived.

Finally, what may be outgoing reporter Mike Easterling's final story for UTW on the beginning of the beginning of the first piece of the Pearl District / Elm Creek basin stormwater mitigation plan. The city has applied for funding for one of two retention ponds planned for the area.

Happy trails to Mike. Good luck and congratulations on a great start to Jennie.

Johnnie-Lee-Wills-Rompin'-FrontUG.jpgThis Thursday night, July 21, 2011, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame will host a Tulsa western swing reunion to pay tribute to fiddler and vocalist Julian "Curly" Lewis, who performed for many years with Johnnie Lee Wills and His Boys, Leon McAuliffe's Cimarron Boys, and Hank Thompson's Brazos Valley Boys. Up until recently, Lewis regularly played fiddle with the Texas Playboys for the annual Bob Wills Birthday bash at Cain's Ballroom.

(That's Curly on the right on the cover of Rompin' Stompin' Singin' Swingin', a Bear Family LP collecting Johnnie Lee Wills' 1952 and 1953 recordings for RCA.)

Western swing historian John Wooley interviewed Lewis recently for the July 2011 issue of Oklahoma Magazine about his long career, beginning with his victory in a Bob Wills fiddle contest at the Coliseum (which was on the east side of Elgin between 5th and 6th) in 1936, when Lewis was 11 years old.

Not only a fine fiddler, Lewis's smooth voice was featured on many of Johnnie Lee Wills' singles in the 1950s. Here's one of my favorites, the 1952 novelty tune "The Thingamajig."

And here's one more Curly Lewis vocal, Blackberry Boogie:

Tickets are $15, available online at okjazz.org.

MORE: The Schmitt Transcriptions were 15-minute radio programs recorded by Johnnie Lee Wills and His Boys (including Curly Lewis) in 1950 and 1951. You can download many of the programs from the Western Swing on 78 blog:

Johnnie Lee Wills radio programs part 1
Johnnie Lee Wills radio programs part 2
Johnnie Lee Wills radio programs part 3
Johnnie Lee Wills radio programs part 4
Johnnie Lee Wills radio programs part 5

A word of praise for Joe Momma's Pizza:

The actors in Encore! Theatre Company's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had a two-hour break between the end of the Saturday matinee and call for the evening performance. Proximity, pizza, and video games made Joe Momma's the obvious place to get a bite to eat and hang out until the kids were allowed back into the PAC. My wife called ahead to give them warning, and they set aside the back room for our group of 40 or so.

One waitress, a thoroughly tattooed young woman, took all the orders and kept them all straight. There was an above-and-beyond moment, too. My in-laws avoid wheat gluten as much as they can, so they ordered a 10" pizza with a gluten-free crust. A few minutes after the order the waitress came back to tell them that the alfredo sauce had gluten as well, and asked if they'd like to order a pizza with red sauce instead.

So not only did Joe Momma's offer gluten-free pizza, the staff was alert enough to catch an inconsistency between crust and topping and brought the issue to the customer to resolve it to the customer's satisfaction, rather than bring out a pizza that wouldn't have met the customer's requirements. Well done to the waitress and kitchen staff.

And now a complaint for the Tulsa Parking Authority and their operator for the Williams Center South garage, Central Parking System:

When we came to see the final performance of Charlie, I opted to park in the underground garage right next to the PAC, rather than leave the car out in the hot sun. Saturday and Sunday parking costs only $4, not the usual $8, or so said the ticket.

When I reached the pay machine at the exit, the machine, which seemed to be shiny and new, failed in three separate ways:

"Please pay with a credit card or cash."

[ iInsert credit card.]

"Credit cards are not accepted. Please pay with a credit card or cash."

[Grumbling, I Insert $20 bill. Machine returns $11 in dollar coins. Receipt shows $8 charge for parking, despite ticket and signs to the contrary.]

So the machine wouldn't take a credit card, despite saying it would, the machine charged me the weekday rate, twice the rate I should have been charged, and the machine short-changed me. I'm out five bucks.

An attendant was in the booth, but she couldn't help me. She could see what was wrong, but she didn't have the authority or the means to correct the problem. She told me her name and wrote the Central Parking System number on the back of my receipt. So I get to decide whether to waste at least $5 of my time to get my $5 back. (Since the machine wouldn't take a credit card, they won't be able to credit my account, so I'll wind up with a check that will be sent through the mail and that I'll need to deposit.)

This is not the sort of parking experience we should be providing for downtown visitors.

events~~element283.jpgToday (Sunday, July 17, 2011) at 2 p.m. is the final performance of Encore! Theatre Company's production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, part of the SummerStage Festival at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Encore! is a 501(c)(3) non-profit

The show stars Encore! artistic director Josh Barker as Willy Wonka, Blake Simpson as Charlie Bucket, Reed Probst as Mike Teevee, Victoria Hannath as Veruca Salt, Abby Casciaro as Violet Beauregarde, Anthony Conroy as Augustus Gloop, and Mark Casciaro as Grandpa Joe. The director is Mindy Barker, who also plays Mrs. Beauregarde. The cast of 39 includes a dozen Oompa-Loompas.

Following the performance, there's a special treat: "Children who attend the show will receive a FREE chocolate bar, five of which will hide a GOLDEN TICKET to win fun prizes! (While supplies last.)"

events~~element356.jpgeventselement322-fix.jpgThis production has been a major part of our family's summer, with our older two kids rehearsing almost every night for their first Encore! production and my wife helping to sew Oompa-Loompa costumes.

Despite (or perhaps because of) all the hard work involved in preparing for this production, our kids have enjoyed the experience, and it's been especially exciting for them to have the opportunity to perform at the PAC. The Barkers put a huge amount of effort, creativity, and skill into the sets, costumes, sound effects, and choreography.

The show begins at 2 p.m. at the John H. Williams Theater downstairs at the PAC. (Use the 2nd Street entrance, just west of Cincinnati. Tickets are $16 for adults $16, $13 for seniors $13, $11 for children under 12. No convenience charge if you buy the tickets at the box office, which opens at noon.

The organization TulsaNow will celebrate its 10th anniversary tonight, July 15, 2011, with a reception at Harwelden, 2210 S. Main. Refreshments and hors d'oeuvres from Lambrusco'z at 5:30, presentation begins at 6. The organization will unveil plans for the future and will hand out a few awards to the winners of a vote by members of the TulsaNow email newsletter list.

I've been involved with the group since before it had a name, although travel and other busy-ness has had me less involved in the last couple of years.

TulsaNow was organized in 2001 following the defeat of the "It's Tulsa's Time" sales tax increase in November 2000. Back in a 2007 UTW column, I detailed the history of the TulsaNow organization to that point:

TulsaNow has its origins in early 2001, with a gathering of friends who were discouraged about the defeat of another flawed civic improvements sales tax package. ("It's Tulsa's Time," November, 2000.) The four founding members were all active in community organizations, but none of them were in positions of power and influence. They began working their networks to find other Tulsans from all parts of the community who shared their sense of urgency to get Tulsa moving again.

I was invited to participate a few months later and have been involved ever since, for the last few years as a board member. (So there's that disclosure out of the way.)

TulsaNow attracted many people who were frustrated that Tulsa's elected officials and Chamber of Commerce leaders suffered from a cargo-cult-like fixation on building a new arena as the solution to all our problems, while places like Kansas City and Salt Lake City were using their long-term community visioning efforts to address neighborhood integrity, historic preservation, land-use policies, suburban sprawl, and revitalization of the urban core--all issues that matter to a city's livability and long-term vitality.

Members of the group were involved in the process that led up to the Vision 2025 vote, helping to facilitate the discussions and tabulate all the responses at Mayor Bill LaFortune's July 2002 vision summit and participating in various task forces. (The complete vision summit report--with the presentations and all of the responses from the participants--is still online at http://www.tulsanow.org/summit/index.htm.)

TulsaNow's October 2002 "Battle of the Plans" brought out big crowds to hear from enthusiastic Tulsans present their dreams for the city.

Although members differed as to whether the final package was worthy of our support, TulsaNow's involvement did at least encourage the inclusion of funds for downtown residential development, a trail of historical markers (the Centennial Walk), neighborhood enhancements, and river improvements. And TulsaNow hosted what was perhaps the most substantive debate during the sales tax campaign.

While many elected officials considered the passage of Vision 2025 to be the end of the discussion about Tulsa's future, TulsaNow's leaders saw much work to be done in shaping a genuine and comprehensive vision for the city, an attitude reflected in its mission statement:

"TulsaNow's mission is to help Tulsa become the most vibrant, diverse, sustainable and prosperous city of our size. We achieve this by focusing on the development of Tulsa's distinctive identity and economic growth around a dynamic, urban core, complemented by a constellation of livable, thriving communities."

My column went on to mention several of TulsaNow's public discussions, such as the 2005 "Passing the Popsicle Test" forum on form-based codes as an alternative to traditional use-segregated zoning and another forum on zoning and land use in September 2006. TulsaNow sponsored city candidate forums in 2002, 2004, and 2006, and a public debate on the 2007 county river tax proposal. In 2008, TulsaNow stole a march on the city's official, paid downtown promoters by launching the DowntownLive website, a catalog of downtown merchants and restaurants.

I think it's fair to say that TulsaNow, particularly through the public events the group has sponsored, helped stimulate public discussion about land use and planning, laying the groundwork for the successful PLANiTULSA process. PLANiTULSA's focus on public engagement wouldn't have worked without a large segment of the public that understands the importance of land use and planning to our city's ongoing quality of life and our city government's ability to pay its bills.

While the adoption of a new comprehensive plan represents a milestone toward the goals that drew many of us to TulsaNow, we still need the principles in the comp plan implemented in the zoning code, and we need a planning director, planning commission, and elected officials willing to be guided by our new plan. Perhaps TulsaNow still has a role to play in bringing these ideas to fruition.

The filing period ended at 5 p.m. today. The Tulsa County Election Board has the official list of Tulsa municipal candidates on its website, but here's a list for handy reference. I've added (MON), (TUE), or (WED) to indicate the day on which each candidate filed.

CITY AUDITOR-2 (Two) Year Term

Floyd Clift Richards, 7834 S. College Pl., Tulsa, OK, 74136, 02/07/1940 (incumbent)

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 1 -- 1 (One) Year Term

Jack Ross Henderson, 2014 N. Rosedale Ave., Tulsa, OK 74101, 04/22/1950 (MON) (incumbent)
Twan T. Jones, 628 N. 26th West Ave., Tulsa, OK 74127, 04/21/1971 (TUE)
Jason V. Trent II, 4956 N. Frankfort Pl., Tulsa, OK 74126, 01/28/1966 (WED)

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 2 -- 2 (Two) Year Term

Nancy Lynne Rothman, 2812 E. 81st Pl., Tulsa, OK 74137, 08/29/1957 (MON)
Matthew Foster, 1739 W. 83rd St., Tulsa, OK 74132, 12/06/1986 (MON)
Judith Adams, 7357 S. Trenton Ave., Tulsa, OK 74136, 11/22/1946 (WED)
Jeannie Cue, 5313 S. 32nd Pl. W., Tulsa, OK, 74107, 01/22/1954 (WED)

Phillip Edward Oyler, 7740 Riverside Parkway, Apt 107G, Tulsa, OK 74136, 01/29/1987 (WED)

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 3 -- 3 (Three) Year Term

David W. Bell, 1312 N. Canton Ave., Tulsa, OK 74115, 05/24/1945 (WED)
Randall Lee Reese, 3803 E. King Pl., Tulsa, OK 74115, 10/06/1957 (WED)

Roscoe H. Turner, 3415 E. Haskell St., Tulsa, OK 74115, 02/16/1932 (MON) (incumbent)
David Edward Patrick, 5712 E. Tecumseh St., Tulsa, OK 74115, 04/22/1951 (MON)(former incumbent)

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 4 -- 1 (One) Year Term

Rocky Frisco, 1332 S. Florence Pl., Tulsa, OK 74104, 07/26/1937 (MON)
Liz Hunt, 1144 S. Newport Ave., Tulsa, OK 74120, 07/28/1971 (TUE)
Blake Ewing, 523 S. Marion Ave, Tulsa, OK 74112, 11/25/1978 (WED)

Maria Veliz Barnes, 1319 S. Terrace Dr, Tulsa, OK 74104, 07/28/1960 (MON)(incumbent)
Kenneth L. Brune, 9 E 4th St, Suite 900, Tulsa, OK 74103, 08/23/1945 (MON)

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 5 -- 2 (Two) Year Term

Christopher Eric Trail, 4872 S. 70th East Ave., Tulsa, OK 74145, 01/29/1970 (MON)(incumbent)
Sam Roop, 1869 S 106th East Ave., Tulsa, OK 74128, 02/02/1951 (MON) (former incumbent)
Karen Gilbert, 4611 S. Maplewood Ave., Tulsa, OK 74135, 08/09/1968 (TUE)

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 6 -- 3 (Three) Year Term

James Savino Mautino, 14628 E. 12th St., Tulsa, OK 74108, 05/11/1932 (MON)(incumbent)
Byron William Steele III, 13380 E. 33rd St., Tulsa, OK 74134, 10/16/1949 (TUE)

Robert Arizona Gwin, Jr., 3113 S. 130th East Pl., Tulsa, OK 74134, 06/18/1973 (MON)


Steven H. Roemerman, 7406 S. 109th East Ave., Tulsa, OK 74133, 06/29/1976 (MON)
Thomas D. Mansur, 10927 E. 76th St., Tulsa, OK 74133, 10/15/1946 (MON)
Elliott Leroy Parker, Sr., 3406 S. 94th East Ave., Tulsa, OK 74145, 09/30/1953 (WED)

Bobby Lawton Bookout, Jr., 4925 S. 94th East Pl., Tulsa, OK 74145, 08/09/1965 (WED)
Michael Alan Rainwater, 8520 E. 47th Pl., Tulsa, OK 74145, 09/06/1949 (WED)

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 8 -- 2 (Two) Year Term

Phillip Lawrence Lakin, Jr., 4915 E 104th Pl., Tulsa, OK 74137 08/05/1967 (MON)
George Gibbs, 9143 S. Canton Ave., Tulsa, OK 74137 03/02/1954 (WED)

William P. Suliburk, 6438 S. Pittsburg Ave., Tulsa, OK 74136, 09/20/1947 (WED)

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 9 -- 3 (Three) Year Term

G.T. Bynum, 3607 S. Florence Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74105, 08/28/1977 (MON) (incumbent)
Robert Dale Pinney, 1326 E. 32nd Pl., Tulsa, OK 74105, 02/13/1962 (WED)
Kimberlee Flake Whiteman, 1394 E. 44th St., Tulsa, OK 74105, 02/09/1978 (WED)
Doug Rucker, 5717 S. Louisville Ave., Tulsa, OK 74135, 05/31/1952 (WED)

Mike F. Batman, 4136 S. Birmingham Pl., Tulsa, OK 74105, 07/05/1956 (TUE)


Congratulations to Clift Richards, chosen by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council to complete Preston Doerflinger's term as City Auditor. He's been elected without opposition to a full two-year term. Now he can relax and go on a summer holiday, no more working for a week or two, fun and laughter on a summer holiday, no more worries for me or you, for a week or two. (Right, Clift Richards, not Cliff Richard. But can we call the auditor's staff "The Shadows"?)

I was pleased to see that none of the council races are uncontested, particularly District 8 and District 9. Phil Lakin will face civil litigation defense attorney George Gibbs in the primary; the winner will face William Suliburk in the general.

The District 9 Republican primary is crowded, with three challengers to incumbent G. T. Bynum, including former Brookside neighborhood president Robert Pinney, Kimberlee Whiteman, and Doug Rucker. The Republican primary winner will have to defeat Batman -- convenience store owner Mike F. Batman.

Seven of nine council races will be decided at the November 8 general election. District 1 will be decided in the Democrat primary, as five-year incumbent Jack Henderson faces two challengers Twan T. Jones and Jason V. Trent II. In District 5, the Republican primary will determine whether incumbent Chris Trail, having been used and discarded by forces that only needed him to rid City Hall of Bill Martinson, can defeat his old consultant's new client (and therefore presumably the Cockroach Caucus's champion) Karen Gilbert, as well as 1996-2005 incumbent Sam Roop.

The list could still change. Candidates have until Friday to decide to withdraw, if, perhaps, they decide they could be happy supporting one of the other candidates in the race. There's also the possibility of a challenge, if it turns out that a candidate is ineligible to run.

Some interesting names on the list of candidates:

Judith K. Adams, Ph.D., is a family therapist and is a long-time conservative activist in the Republican Party. She has an surprising connection to another candidate in the District 2 Republican primary.

Republican Jeannie Cue is the sister of former District 2 City Councilor and Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller. Cue has deep roots in west Tulsa, but District 2, once dominated by west Tulsa, is now about evenly split between west and east

In DIstrict 4, Blake Ewing, owner of Joe Momma's Pizza, Back Alley Blues and BBQ, Boomtown Tees, Max Retropub, and the Engine Room PR, filed on Wednesday for the Republican nomination. He will face PR professional Liz Hunt and Rocky Frisco.

Americans for Prosperity is encouraging citizens concerned about the budget deficit to visit the district offices of key congressmen at noon on Thursday, July 13, 2011. A vote on a federal balanced budget amendment, H. J. Res. 1, is expected next week.

Here in Oklahoma AFP is focusing on persuading the state's lone Democrat, Dan Boren of the 2nd District, to support the amendment. Boren's four district offices:

  • Muskogee Office, 431 W. Broadway, Muskogee, OK 74401, (918) 687-2533
  • Claremore Office, 309 W. 1st Street, Claremore, OK 74017, (918) 341-9336
  • McAlester Office, 25 East Carl Albert Parkway, Suite B, McAlester, OK 74501, (918) 423-5951
  • Durant Office, 112 N. 12th Avenue, Durant, OK 74701, (580) 931-0333

From the press release:

Muskogee-- We Need Congressman Dan Boren to Support a Balanced Budget! Oklahoma families understand that they must balance their budgets. Politicians in Washington, DC don't. That's why AFP supports a Balanced Budget Amendment.

This Thursday, July 14th, we are asking you to visit Congressman Dan Boren's district offices and encourage him to support a Balanced Budget Amendment. Take 15 minutes out of your day and make a difference!

The Oklahoma chapter of the free market grassroots group Americans for Prosperity will join a huge coalition of conservative and tea party organizations in a nationwide effort to visit U.S. House Members' district offices. The grassroots message this coalition will carry is that representatives must support a balanced budget amendment to U.S. Constitution that has spending caps and a requirement for a supermajority vote to raise taxes.

"Our grassroots are really worked up about the need for this balanced budget amendment, with tough limits on spending and taxes. State and local governments all need to work each year to bring their books into order and it's long past time that the federal government take similar steps," said Oklahoma State Director Stuart Jolly. "We're going to visit Congressman Boren's district offices because he needs to know how important this amendment is to free market grassroots activists all across this country."

Key features of the proposed amendment:

  • Outlays must match revenues unless three-fifths of each House of Congress votes otherwise.
  • Spending is capped at 18 percent of GDP unless two-thirds of each House of Congress votes otherwise.
  • No bill shall increase taxes unless two-thirds of each House of Congress votes otherwise.
  • The debt limit cannot be raised unless three-fifths of each House of Congress votes otherwise.
  • The President must propose a budget to Congress where outlays match revenues.
  • This amendment may be waived during a military conflict if a majority of each House of Congress approves, and then only spending for that military conflict may exceed the amendment's requirement for balance.

The text of the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment:

Section 1. Total outlays for any fiscal year shall not exceed total receipts for that fiscal year, unless three-fifths of the whole number of each House of Congress shall provide by law for a specific excess of outlays over receipts by a rollcall vote.

Section 2. Total outlays for any fiscal year shall not exceed 18 percent of economic output of the United States, unless two-thirds of each House of Congress shall provide for a specific increase of outlays above this amount.

Section 3. The limit on the debt of the United States held by the public shall not be increased unless three-fifths of the whole number of each House shall provide by law for such an increase by a rollcall vote.

Section 4. Prior to each fiscal year, the President shall transmit to the Congress a proposed budget for the United States Government for that fiscal year in which total outlays do not exceed total receipts.

Section 5. A bill to increase revenue shall not become law unless two-thirds of the whole number of each House shall provide by law for such an increase by a rollcall vote.

Section 6. The Congress may waive the provisions of this article for any fiscal year in which a declaration of war is in effect. The provisions of this article may be waived for any fiscal year in which the United States is engaged in military conflict which causes an imminent and serious military threat to national security and is so declared by a joint resolution, adopted by a majority of the whole number of each House, which becomes law.

Section 7. The Congress shall enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation, which may rely on estimates of outlays and receipts.

Section 8. Total receipts shall include all receipts of the United States Government except those derived from borrowing. Total outlays shall include all outlays of the United States Government except for those for repayment of debt principal.

Section 9. This article shall take effect beginning with the later of the second fiscal year beginning after its ratification or the first fiscal year beginning after December 31, 2016.

Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel has added a cool new feature to his office's already very useful website.

It's a Google Maps application showing boundaries of Tulsa County subdivision plats filed between 2001 and 2010. A subdivision plat defines blocks, lots, and easements for streets and utilities. It establishes a simple way to define a parcel for purposes of establishing ownership, value, and tax status. Much easier to refer to Lot 5, Block 3 of Shady Acres subdivision than to use metes and bounds as the legal description for a piece of property.

Subdivision plats also serve as a useful proxy for new development. Clicking on the years in sequence reveals where the interest and activity has been -- and what areas have been passed over.

Most of the plats represent brand new subdivisions on previously unplatted land. Some represent resubdivisions of previously developed land -- for example, the gated communities or townhouse developments that have sprung up in the Midtown money belt replacing single-family ranch-style homes on large lots.

The application allows you to pick and choose individual years in any combination and whether to look at commercial, residential, or tax-exempt plats, or any combination of the three. The developer is to be commended for providing that degree of flexibility. Since it's a Google Maps app, you can zoom in and switch between satellite and map view.

Thanks again to Assessor Ken Yazel and his team for this increasingly helpful website.


1. Despite all the development activity in the Midtown money belt over the last decade, and despite the fact that more often than not, new development appeared to be denser than what it replaced, Council District 9 lost population, which suggests that all infill development is not created equal when it comes to maintaining the city's population and sales tax base. My suspicion -- the new Midtown housing is much more expensive than what it replaced, targeted to DINKs and empty-nesters, out of reach for families with kids, particularly families paying private school tuition or homeschool expenses rather than moving to suburban schools. The discrepancy between plats and population could also mean that the new developments simply didn't sell.

Keep in mind that a plat is just a definition of lots; it doesn't guarantee that streets or homes will be built. Max Meyer (Lewis Meyer's "Preposterous Papa") platted part of his land near Kellyville in Creek County, but the imagined subdivision was never built. In the days before ubiquitous satellite map imagery and the Census Bureau's TIGER database, I could always tell the lousy map companies because they showed platted but non-existent streets in east Tulsa. (Some of the map makers even assumed that Mingo went all the way through between 11th and 31st St, likely mistaking the imaginary north-south section line for an actual street.)

2. The year-by-year table of plats and lots shows 2006 as the peak for new residential development, a 50% increase in lots over the previous year's level. The number of lots fell off by 20% sharply in 2007, but was still higher than the 2003-2005 plateau. I wonder if that rang any alarm bells in the development community. It certainly didn't seem to penetrate through to the budget planners at City Hall.

3. Most residential subdivision development in the Twenty-Naughty-Naughts occurred outside the Tulsa city limits, around Broken Arrow, Bixby, Jenks, and Owasso. This explains why homebuilder association support for a Tulsa City Council candidate should be viewed with suspicion. They don't necessarily have the City of Tulsa's best interests at heart. It also explains why homebuilders objected so vehemently to the Gang of Four's (Henderson, Medlock, Turner, Mautino) insistence that City of Tulsa resources should be used to build infrastructure to develop the City of Tulsa.

tgg_9655_110x165.jpgAn Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals decision provided to BatesLine reveals that Nancy Rothman, Republican candidate for Tulsa City Council District 2, lost custody of her minor children and was required to pay $70,099 of her ex-husband's court costs and attorney fees in the custody battle because she had been "actively engaged in a process of alienating the children from their Father."

In 2001, the District Court found that Nancy Rothman engaged in conduct that "was arbitrary and capricious, and exacerbated the litigation." The trial court specifically listed (emphasis added):

a. Reporting false allegations of abuse to the Department of Human Services.

b. Contemptuous and continuous denial of visitation even after numerous warnings from this Court.

c. Contemptuous and deliberate efforts to alienate and negatively influence the minor children from their father.

d. Attempts to injure and harm the Plaintiff's business, reputation, and his relationship with the minor children by attempting to "setup" the Plaintiff with illegal child pornography.

e. Filing a frivolous emergency motion when this Court ordered a one week visitation.

Regarding items a. and d., the Appeals Court wrote (emphasis added):

Among other acts of sabotage, Wife reported that Husband had sexually abused the younger child. This allegation was determined to be unfounded. The last straw was when Wife and her friend "hired" a man to spy on Husband and to find a female who would attach herself romantically to Husband, receive a key to his condo, and plant child pornography there.

A footnote to this paragraph states, regarding the man "hired" to spy on Mr. Rothman:

He testified that he agreed at first as a favor because Mrs. Rothman was helping him with his divorce. After he realized the criminal intent of the plan, he tape-recorded the next conversation, took it to Mr. Rothman who, with his attorney, gave the tape to the Tulsa Police Department the next day.

The Court of Civil Appeals affirmed the District Court's ruling, writing (emphasis added):

The overwhelming evidence supports a finding that Husband never abused or neglected his children but was falsely and intentionally accused. Wife's behavior is reprehensible in a parent....

...the record supports findings that Wife's actions endangered the mental welfare of the children; that she demonstrated a high degree of self-interest to the point that hurting the children was a casualty of her main goal, and she created unnecessarily vexatious litigation. Although Husband has greater income, Wife's is sufficient to support herself and sufficient to pay for her bad acts.

Other documents in the district court case show that in 2008, Nancy Rothman pled guilty to a contempt citation for failure to pay, over a seven-year period, court-ordered child support of $140 per month. Rothman was sentenced to six months in jail, a $500 fine, and a loss of all her licenses; the sentence is suspended as long as she complies with the court-ordered payment schedule for back child support.

Prior to posting this article, BatesLine verified that the document received was a true copy of the 2003 Court of Civil Appeals decision and that the named defendant/appellant in the case, Nancy T. Rothman, is the same person as Nancy Lynne Rothman, candidate for City Council District 2, date of birth August 29, 1957. (The "T" evidently stands for Traub, Ms. Rothman's maiden name.)

Rothman serves on the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women (appointed in 2008), serves on the Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women, and served as the president of the Tulsa County Republican Women's Club. (The photo above is from the City of Tulsa website, on the webpage for the Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women, and as a government work is presumed to be in the public domain.)

Here is a link to the OCIS Case Summary for the appeals court case, John D. Rothman, Plaintiff/Appellee, v. Nancy T. Rothman, Defendant/Appellant, No. DF - 97229, and a link to the Case Summary for the District Court case, FD-1998-4312, John D. Rothman, Plaintiff, v. Nancy T. Rothman, Defendant.

UPDATE 2011/07/16: Fixed links to District Court case summary.

Below is the text of the appeals court decision, extracted from the PDF document by optical-character recognition, and formatted for the web. Every effort was made to correct any errors made by the OCR software. (If viewing on the home page, click "Continue reading" to see the text of the decision.)

At the end of day one of filing for the 2011 Tulsa city elections, two districts had a single candidate with no announced opponent preparing to enter the race.

Phil Lakin is the sole candidate so far in far south Tulsa's District 8. Lakin, CEO of Tulsa Community Foundation and a trustee of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, ran a close second to incumbent Bill Christiansen in the 2009 Republican primary; Christiansen is not running for re-election. His pre-election ethics filing that year showed that Lakin received 71% of his funds from out-of-district donors, primarily (41%) from District 9.

I had plenty of differences with Christiansen, but he grew to be a solid advocate for homeowner concerns in planning and development over these last few years, and I was happy to see him re-elected in 2009. There are some strong homeowners' associations in District 8; a neighborhood association president or South Tulsa Citizens Coalition leader willing to knock doors could beat Lakin, despite Lakin's likely massive financial advantage. Voters may well feel that the massive resources of TCF and GKFF give Lakin enough of a seat at the city's policy-making table. Given a choice on the ballot, south Tulsans may reasonably prefer to entrust their seat at the table to a neighborhood leader focused on the basic quality of life issues that concern them.

In District 9, G. T. Bynum is so far unopposed for reelection to his third term. Bynum has not yet had to run hard in his political career, but that may -- and should -- change.

I like G. T., and he's always been accessible to respond to questions. I appreciate his leadership on the city's "rainy day" (economic stabilization reserve) fund and the proposal to require city lawsuit settlements above a certain value to come to the City Council for approval. He loves public policy and respects the City Council's institutional role in city government. But I've got concerns.

Bynum's defection from conservatism on a key cultural issue, equating sexual orientation to race and ethnic origin in city HR policies -- a capitulation to the cultural imperialism of the Left -- ought to draw a primary challenge from a social conservative. Bynum's support for the County River Tax increase and the inequitable downtown ballpark assessment undercuts his claim to libertarianism as well. Bynum's backing for the Economic Stabilization Reserve (Rainy Day) Fund deserves praise, but it's puzzling that Bynum never backed Councilor John Eagleton's efforts to hold departmental budget increases to the rate of inflation.

But perhaps the biggest problem with Bynum as a councilor is his day job as a lobbyist. Bynum founded a Federal lobbying firm, G. T. Bynum Consulting, in 2009, with Williams & Williams, his former employer, as his first client. Sometime this year, Bynum's business name on disclosure forms changed to Capitol Ventures Government Relations LLC, a name registered with the State of Oklahoma in 2009; Bynum's title is now listed on disclosures as managing partner.

In 2010, Bynum's single biggest client, according to U. S. Senate lobbying records, was the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which had Bynum and his partner Stuart McCalman lobbying Congress regarding female incarceration rates, the OSU Medical Center, trail rehabilitation, and Arkansas River low-water dam development. At least two of those items have direct public policy implications for Tulsa city government. (Bynum's lobbying relationship with GKFF came to an end last December.)

As I wrote last year:

To clarify my concern about Bynum representing GKFF as a lobbyist and serving on the City Council: GKFF is actively engaged in civic and governmental issues here in Tulsa, as are closely related individuals and entities. George Kaiser is a significant political donor in local elections, as is the BOK Financial Political Action Committee. Kaiser and GKFF were heavily involved in the 2007 Tulsa County sales tax increase for river improvements and in the downtown Drillers stadium deal, to name two recent examples of their engagement in local political issues. I cannot think of another example of an elected official at one level of government simultaneously serving as a lobbyist at another level of government. It would be a different matter if Bynum limited his lobbying practice to organizations and businesses that had no interest in City Hall affairs.

Bynum now lobbies on behalf of Family and Children's Services, a Tulsa non-profit, regarding female incarceration rates, one of the issues that Bynum worked on for GKFF. Family and Children's Services are 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 recipients of Emergency Shelter Grant funds, a federal block grant that the City Council allocates.

None of this is to condemn Bynum's clients or his work on their behalf, but there is the potential for a conflict of interest when a city councilor serves as a federal or state lobbyist for clients who have a substantial involvement in local public policy. The question is unavoidable -- just what do your clients think they're buying?

Potential opponents may be deterred by Lakin and Bynum's access to funds, but you can beat money with sweat in a city council race. In 2009, despite the mayor's race on the ballot and a very competitive council race, only about 5,000 were cast in the District 8 primary. Other GOP primaries that year drew less than 2,400 votes each. Turnout is likely to be lower with no mayor's race this year. For less than $2 per household, you can make contact by mail with every likely voter in your district; $10 a household buys you a barrage of postcards, push cards, and yard signs; spend more than that and you're throwing money away.

While District 9 has historically contained the core of Tulsa's "Money Belt," several Money Belt precincts were moved into District 4, and District 9 gained six precincts to the south and east from District 7, including the home precinct of District 7 incumbent John Eagleton. This area could provide a base of support from which a primary challenge could be launched.

Residents of the districts and the city as a whole would benefit from vigorous, competitive campaigns in District 8 and District 9.


UPDATE: Small businessman Mike Batman, a Democrat, filed on Tuesday for the District 9 seat. Batman is the owner of Batman's Good Food and Convenience Store at Pine and Mingo and Batman's Auto Sales east of Yale on 11th St. No other candidates filed for District 8 on Tuesday.

The Tulsa County Election Board has the official list of Tulsa municipal candidates on its website, but here's a list for handy reference:

CITY AUDITOR-2 (Two) Year Term

No candidates.

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 1 -- 1 (One) Year Term

Jack Ross Henderson, 2014 N. Rosedale Ave., Tulsa, OK 74101, 04/22/1950 (incumbent)

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 2 -- 2 (Two) Year Term

Nancy Lynne Rothman, 2812 E. 81st Pl., Tulsa, OK 74137, 08/29/1957
Matthew Foster, 1739 W. 83rd St., Tulsa, OK 74132, 12/06/1986

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 3 -- 3 (Three) Year Term

Roscoe H. Turner, 3415 E. Haskell St., Tulsa, OK 74115, 02/16/1932 (incumbent)
David Edward Patrick, 5712 E. Tecumseh St., Tulsa, OK 74115, 04/22/1951 (former incumbent)

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 4 -- 1 (One) Year Term

Rocky Frisco, 1332 S. Florence Pl., Tulsa, OK 74104, 07/26/1937

Maria Veliz Barnes, 1319 S. Terrace Dr, Tulsa, OK 74104, 07/28/1960 (incumbent)
Kenneth L. Brune, 9 E 4th St, Suite 900, Tulsa, OK 74103, 08/23/1945

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 5 -- 2 (Two) Year Term

Christopher Eric Trail, 4872 S. 70th East Ave., Tulsa, OK 74145, 01/29/1970 (incumbent)
Sam Roop, 1869 S 106th East Ave., Tulsa, OK 74128, 02/02/1951 (former incumbent)

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 6 -- 3 (Three) Year Term

James Savino Mautino, 14628 E. 12th St., Tulsa, OK 74108, 05/11/1932 (incumbent)

Robert Arizona Gwin, Jr., 3113 S. 130th East Pl., Tulsa, OK 74134, 06/18/1973


Steven H. Roemerman, 7406 S. 109th East Ave., Tulsa, OK 74133, 06/29/1976

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 8 -- 2 (Two) Year Term

Phillip Lawrence Lakin, Jr., 4915 E 104th Pl., Tulsa, OK 74137 08/05/1967

CITY COUNCILOR OFFICE NO. 9 -- 3 (Three) Year Term

G.T. Bynum, 3607 S. Florence Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74015, 08/28/1977 (incumbent)

Three previously unannounced candidates filed on Monday: Kenneth L. Brune, who appears to live in an office building at 4th and Main; Thomas D. Mansur, an environmental engineer running in District 7; and former Councilor Sam Roop, running to regain his District 5 seat.

Roop won the seat in 1996 and stepped down in 2005 when Mayor Bill LaFortune appointed him to be the City's Chief Information Officer, a job that terminated with LaFortune's re-election defeat in 2006. Later that year, Roop ran an unsuccessful campaign for Tulsa County Commission District 1, finishing third in the primary behind former District 4 Councilor Anna Falling and State Rep. John Smaligo.

Four announced candidates have yet to file: Democrat Twan Jones in District 1, Republicans Blake Ewing and Liz Hunt in District 4, and Republican Karen Gilbert in District 5.

It's interesting that between filed and announced candidates, there are primary opponents for all three Democrats on the City Council. So far only one Democrat, Robert Gwin, a former Republican, is challenging an incumbent Republican or running in a Republican-held seat.

Off-again, on-again District 3 Councilor David Patrick is trying to recapture his seat as a Democrat once again. In 2008, he recaptured the seat by running as an independent, after two straight Democratic primary losses to Roscoe Turner. In 2009, the independent strategy failed Patrick, and Turner went back to City Hall. The new City Council boundaries cost Turner three loyal, vote-rich precincts on the western edge of his old district. Turner's opposition to tax increases and support for neighborhood concerns has won him fans across the political spectrum; Patrick doesn't enjoy the same intensity of support, but he reportedly believes the demographics of the precincts added to the district favor him and hurt Turner.

There is only one announced candidate each in Districts 8 and 9. More about them in a later entry.

We're off to a rough start.

Of the 16 candidates that filed on Monday, six filed improperly by not specifying their names as they appear in the voter registration record. The deviations are all minor -- using an initial or nothingat all instead of the middle name, using a nickname, dropping the generational suffix -- and none of the filing names will be difficult to match to the voter registration records. Article VI, Section 3.1 of the Tulsa City Charter states:

Any person who desires to be nominated by a political party as its candidate for a city office shall file with the Election Board of Tulsa County or its successor a Declaration of Candidacy which shall contain:

A. The name and residence street address of the person as it appears on the voter registration records;

And again in Section 3.2:

Any person who desires to be an independent candidate for a city office shall file with the Election Board of Tulsa County or its successor a Declaration of Candidacy which shall state:

A. The name and residence street address of the person as it appears on the voter registration records; and

Or as I paraphrased yesterday:

A candidate for city office must file using his name as it appears in his voter registration, no matter how silly his middle name may be.

If your middle name is especially silly, you can run under your initials if you had first changed your registration to use your initials. I have to wonder which is sillier though: G. T. Bynum's given first and middle names or listing his first name in the voter registration records as "G T" -- not first name G, middle name T, but first name Gee-Space-Tee, no middle name. Database engineers everywhere are softly weeping at the intrusion of a non-alpha character in the name field.

I think the strict interpretation of the charter language was first enforced in 2006, if I recall correctly. There's no such requirement in state law:

The name of any candidate for any office shall be printed on the official ballot as said candidate signed his Declaration of Candidacy; provided, however, that no candidate shall have any prefix, suffix or title placed before or after his name.

Prior to 2006, you could file for city office using nicknames, initials, dropping a JR or SR suffix, with or without your middle name -- they didn't enforce the requirement. When I filed in 1998 and 2002, I filed as MICHAEL D. BATES, although I'm registered to vote under my full middle name.

What of the six who filed under variants of the name on the registration record? i suppose they need to go down to the Tulsa County Election Board between now and 5 pm Wednesday and file an amended (notarized, of course) Declaration of Candidacy.

The filing period for the City of Tulsa's 2011 city election begins tomorrow, Monday, July 11, 2011, at the Tulsa County Election Board and runs through Wednesday, July 13, 2011, at 5 p.m.

For the last time (at least until the charter is amended again), all nine council seats will be up for election at the same time. Councilors for Districts 1, 4, and 7 will be up again in 2012; District 2, 5, and 8 councilors will have a two-year term, expiring with the mayoral election of 2013; and District 3, 6, and 9 councilors will serve three years. This is a transition to the staggered three-year-term charter amendment approved (foolishly) by voters in 2009.

Tulsans will also vote for a City Auditor. Preston Doerflinger was elected to a two-year term in 2009, but left for Oklahoma City to serve as Gov. Mary Fallin's Director of State Finance. The incumbent, appointed by the mayor and approved by the City Council, is Clift Richards. In the 2011 election, for the first time ever, a candidate for City Auditor must be either a Certified Internal Auditor or a Certified Public Accountant. The City Auditor will continue to serve two-year terms.

(NOTE: I'm not going to write "his or her" over and over again or use "their" incorrectly as a singular possessive adjective. "He," "him," and "his" are used below in its traditional, generic sense.)

A candidate for city office must file using his name as it appears in his voter registration, no matter how silly his middle name may be. A candidate for a party nomination must bring with his notarized filing form a deposit of $50, in the form of an official bank check, or a supporting petition signed by 300 registered voters in his district. The $50 is refunded if the candidate receives 15% of the vote or wins his party's nomination. A candidate running as an independent (and you can run as an independent even if you're a registered Republican or Democrat, as Mark Perkins did in 2009 and Patty Eaton in 1986) can only file by petition, but he gets a bye to the general election.

You may be wondering which district you're in. If you remember from the 2009 election, there's a good chance you're wrong. 42 precincts were moved by the Election District Commission from one district to another in order to hurt Roscoe Turner's chances of re-election and completely draw John Eagleton out of his district as punishment for Eagleton's conscience-driven effort to oust Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr from office for violating his oath of office and dereliction of duty. (Other precincts were moved between Districts 2 and 9 to try to hurt Rick Westcott's chances for re-election, but District 2's boundaries were restored after Westcott opted not to run again.)

The Tulsa County Election Board has several resources to help you find your district:

If you're interested enough in local politics to read this far, please keep an eye on the filings as they unfold on Monday and Tuesday. Perhaps you should consider throwing your own hat into the ring.


On Thursday, I drove down to Oklahoma City, to Pro-Fab, Inc., for a briefing and a short flight in a cockpit demonstrator for the new F-35 Lightning II, the Joint Strike Fighter built by Lockheed Martin Aerospace in Fort Worth, in partnership with Northrup Grumman, BAE, Pratt & Whitney, and hundreds of smaller suppliers like Pro-Fab.

The event was part of a tour, bringing the cockpit demonstrator (a fixed-base simulator that can be transported in a semi trailer) and Lockheed Martin officials to the sites of suppliers and military bases around the US and in the nine partner nations. The point of the tour is to thank suppliers for their contribution to the success of the F-35 program and to educate supplier staff and local elected officials about the F-35's contribution to the local economy. After the presentation, State Rep. Colby Schwartz took the first ride in the cockpit demonstrator.

Oklahoma State Rep. Colby Schwartz flies the F-35 cockpit demonstrator, SD001267 by Michael Bates, on Flickr

Pro-Fab, located on the western edge of Oklahoma City, south of Lake Overholser, employs about 150 people, producing ultra-precise machining for the military and civil aerospace industry. 60 to 70 are involved in work for the F-35, producing wing spars, bulkheads, pins, and specialty bolts from materials like titanium and aluminum.

Wingspar and bulkhead made by Pro-Fab for the F-35, SD001271

Parts made by Pro-Fab for the F-35, SD001273

Pro-Fab is one of seven F-35 suppliers in Oklahoma. According to Pro-Fab program manager Ryan Russo, aerospace employs 150,000 Oklahomans, is the state's number one export industry, producing 10% of the state's output.

The F-35 is designed to serve several different missions for the three services that fly fixed-wing aircraft -- Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps. The plan is for 2400 F-35s in three variants to replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II, AV-8B Harrier II, and older (A-D) variants of the F/A-18 Hornet. The Air Force will fly the conventional takeoff-and-landing F-35A, the Marines will fly the short-takeoff, vertical-landing F-35B, and the Navy will fly the carrier variant, the F-35C with beefed-up landing gear for their routine controlled crashes onto the carrier deck.

Despite the differences in airframe and engines, the three variants have identical cockpits. It's something of a coup to get the zoomies, jarheads, and squids all on the same page when it comes to cockpit layout. Maximizing the number of common components between the three variants should reduce the cost of keeping the aircraft flying over decades to come. There are huge savings to be found in replacing four different aircraft from three different manufacturers, with all the distinct parts, tooling, and skilled technicians required to maintain them, with one aircraft, able to use common parts, tooling, and technicians for all three variants.

Another advantage of the common cockpit is that a simulator can be used to train any of the three variants without any delay to swap out hardware or run a different software program.

The F-35 replaces aircraft nearing the end of their design life, increasingly difficult to support. The A-10 came online in 1976, the F-18 came online in 1978, the F-16 in 1979, and the AV-8B in 1984.

During the presentation, we heard from two Lockheed Martin officials, Daniel Conroy, director of the F-35 program, and Graham Tomlinson, test pilot. Conroy highlighted the improved stealth capabilities of the F-35. Although he didn't draw an explicit comparison to first generation stealth aircraft like the B-2 and the now-retired F-117A, he said that the F-35 has ruggedized stealth -- it doesn't have to be treated with kid gloves.

Tomlinson, an RAF veteran, drew analogies from the world of Harry Potter -- stealth was the F-35's "cloak of invisibility" and the cockpit display was the pilot's "Marauder's Map," synthesizing information about friendly and enemy aircraft from both the aircraft's own sensors and location data transferred over secure datalink from other fighters or AWACS in the battlespace. In current generation fighters like the F-16, the pilot was required to combine in his head his own observations from radar and other sensors, observations from his wingmen and AWACS, communicated by radio. The result can be what Conroy called a "helmet fire" -- pilot information overload. In the F-35, he can see on his screen where the bad guys are and which targets have already been claimed by his wingmen.

Tomlinson compared the "ridiculous" ease of flying the F-35B STOVL to the "tricky" complexity of the AV-8B Harrier II it is due to replace. The Harrier requires three hands to fly, he said -- stick, throttle, and nozzle control. Thanks to fly-by-wire controls, computers allow the F-35B pilot to handle normal flight, hover/vertical landing, and the transition between the two in an intuitive way using just throttle and stick.

F-35B hovering for vertical landing, courtesy Lockheed Martin

For my turn in the cockpit demonstrator, I flew a carrier takeoff, flew 90-degree bank, 7 G turns to sneak up on the bad guys, shot down two enemy aircraft, did a celebratory aileron roll, and stuck the landing on the carrier. I was impressed with how easy it all was.

On the carrier landing, graphics on the heads-up display showed me exactly where I needed to aim, as I lined up the aircraft icon with the landing point on the approach. To pick a target, I touched the screen to show a display with aircraft in the area, used a cursor on the throttle to designate a target, then hit the red button on the stick. I watched the missile track and kill the target, then the display showed the aircraft's cameras' zoomed view of the target's fall from the heavens.

Engine instruments and caution lights, which dominate old-style cockpits, are tucked away. A touch on an icon on the screen will display them, but most of the time they're hidden so the pilot can focus on flying and shooting down the bad guys.

In the F-35, a pilot no longer needs to swing the nose of the aircraft around to see what's happening below and behind him. If I need to check my six, all it takes is glancing back. Instead of seeing the back of the seat and tail of the aircraft, the visor display shows the camera's view behind the fighter. Look down, and it's like being in a glass-bottomed boat. (Or Wonder Woman's invisible plane.)

Of course, as easy as it seemed, I wasn't actually pulling 7 Gs (and risking G loss of consciousness), and I had a simulator operator talking me through the mission step by step and occasionally putting a guiding hand on the stick. Still, compared to recent experiences flying tanker and transport simulators, the F-35C was a piece of cake.

While the F-35 has suffered some setbacks, all three variants are running ahead of the current test schedule. As acquisition ramps up by 50% a year to full production, suppliers like Pro-Fab will need to expand to meet the demand for engineers and skilled machinists and technicians.

If the F-35 lives up to its promise, it should allow the US to maintain air superiority more safely and affordably for decades to come.

durer_praying_hands.jpgI have a list of 15 topics that I want/need to write about, but this afternoon it seemed more appealing to work with my five-year-old to pick up and put away the Hot Wheels, Magformers, Puzzibits, Lego and Duplo pieces littering his bedroom floor.

The long list of topics I need to tackle, far from energizing me, fills me with despair. But what makes it harder is that we are nearing the official start of Tulsa's 2011 campaign season. In the coming days, weeks, and months, I'll be writing some things that voters need to understand, but they're things that will likely cost me some friends and make me a target.

Over the last seven years, going back to the historic 2004 election that ushered in a grassroots majority on the City Council, Tulsa citizens have increasingly had a voice and a seat at the table at City Hall. The PLANiTULSA process that shaped Tulsa's first comprehensive plan in a generation from the input of thousands of Tulsans is perhaps the zenith of the progress we've made over the last seven years.

Unfortunately, the bunch that used to have unchallenged control of city government -- a group I've nicknamed the Cockroach Caucus for their aversion to the sunlight of public scrutiny -- is trying for a comeback. Between now and November, you will see a well-funded, coordinated effort to seize control of City Council and shut out the priorities and concerns of regular, working Tulsans. You can expect well-produced TV and radio ads and slick postcards that will use misdirection and misinformation to try to warp your perception of the issues and the candidates. You can expect a rerun of the "Momentum" campaign in Oklahoma City, funded with money funneled through a series of organizations to hide its origins, spent on ads that used national issues in an unprincipled and inconsistent way to elect its preferred candidates. The Tulsa version involves some of the same people, appears to be using the same funding strategies, and has already used its pull to get its preferred set of council district boundaries enacted.

If they get their way, the gains of the last seven years will be halted and reversed. We'll be back to the days of puppet city councilors that only pretend to listen to the concerns of their constituents. The key issue of this campaign: Will city government be run for the benefit of all Tulsans, or only for the benefit of a favored few?

As I look ahead to the coming election season, I feel overwhelmed. I worry about communicating the danger I see in an effective and compelling manner. I worry because many of my friends and allies who have fought the good fight these many years are on the sidelines this year, exhausted and bruised from the attacks they've endured. I worry whether I can write as much as I need to without neglecting the demands of my day job or the needs of my family.

So I'm asking for your prayers, and not only for me, but for bloggers, candidates, and campaign volunteers. Pray for endurance, perseverance, and encouragement. Pray for insight in analyzing issues and candidates and clarity in expressing that analysis to the voters. Pray for "malice toward none... charity for all... firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right." Pray that God would raise up reinforcements -- candidates, activists, and bloggers who will fill in the gaps left by those who have stepped away from the battle lines to bind up their wounds. Pray that these people would have the financial and personal support they need to bring their message to the public.

As for the Cockroach Caucus: Pray that God would "confound their politics, frustrate their knavish tricks," that their deceptive tactics will be clumsily executed and easily exposed. Pray for chaos and dissension in their ranks. Pray that some insiders would have an attack of conscience and expose the Caucus's inner workings to the public.

Finally, pray for the voters, that they would have the wisdom to see through deception and misdirection.

P. S. I expect there will be a lot of eyes on this site in the days and weeks to come. Election seasons always bring a readership peak. There are two great ad spaces available -- your ad will appear at the top of every BatesLine page. Ads start at $20. In June, according to the awstats analysis of my server log, BatesLine served 516,504 pages to 72,786 visitors, and that's likely to increase as interest in city elections rises.

The Tulsa City Council is hosting a special town hall meeting tonight, July 7, 2011, 6 p.m., at City Hall, 2nd and Cincinnati, to discuss a proposal to switch to a city manager/council form of municipal government. Under the proposal, a mayor, elected citywide, would sit on the City Council and be able to cast an extra vote in the event of a tie. City Attorney, City Clerk, City Auditor, and City Manager would be appointed by the City Council and removable by the council with a 2/3rds vote.

You can read the current draft of the proposal and find a considerable amount of backup material on the Tulsa City Council website, including analyses of the structure and charter language of other city governments using the council/manager form.

The town hall will be held in the 2nd floor City Council meeting room. If you can't attend in person, you can watch on Cox Cable channel 24 or online at tgovonline.org.

Tulsa Public Schools is holding a public forum on Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 6 to 7 pm, regarding the sale of Wilson Middle School, one of 14 school buildings closed at the end of the last school year as part of the district's cost-cutting plan. The forum will be held at Kendall-Whittier Elementary School, 2601 E. 5 Pl. Here's the news release with the details:


PRESS RELEASE: Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What: TPS to host 'Neighborhood Connection' forum to discuss sale of Wilson building
When: Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 6-7 p.m.
Where: Kendall-Whittier Elementary School, 2601 E. 5 Pl.
Contact: Chris Payne at 918-858-4680 or cpayne@saxum.com

TULSA, Okla. - Tulsa Public Schools has announced it will host a Neighborhood Connection meeting to open dialogue with the community regarding the sale of the former Wilson Middle School property located at 1127 S. Columbia Ave. The meeting is open to TPS parents, students and the community at large and will take place Tuesday, July 12, from 6-7 p.m., in the media center of Kendall-Whittier Elementary School, 2601 E. 5 Pl. in Tulsa.

Wilson is among the 14 properties that have been or will be closed as a result of Project Schoolhouse. Proceeds from the sale of these closed properties will add to the projected $5.6 million in savings from Project Schoolhouse and will help the district weather recent cuts to educational funding by the state legislature.

"As we look at the potential sale of some of these school buildings, we want to have a dialogue with the community to ensure we are protective of these neighborhoods," said Dr. Keith Ballard, superintendent of TPS. "It's important that we get feedback and input regarding potential uses from TPS parents and homeowners at the Neighborhood Connection forums. We look forward to hearing what the community has to say, as we investigate the possibilities regarding the sale of Wilson."

Trish Williams, TPS chief financial officer, and Millard House, deputy superintendent, will represent TPS at the July 12 forum. They will explain the bidding process as mandated by state law and the general category of prospective buyers that are participating in the bid process for the Wilson property. They will learn the public's wishes through the discussion and will answer questions. Consultant Chuck Jackson will serve as facilitator of the forum.

The other properties that have been or will be closed as part of Project Schoolhouse include Addams, Alcott, Bunche, Cherokee, Chouteau, Barnard, Franklin, Fulton Learning Academy, Grimes, Lombard, Roosevelt and Sandburg elementary schools, and Cleveland Middle School.

For additional information about Tulsa Public Schools, please visit the TPS website, www.tulsaschools.org.

(Photo retrieved from the Wilson Middle School website.)

Although I didn't go to school there, the building holds fond memories for me, as the cafeteria was where I participated in my first forum as a candidate for City Council in 1998, hosted by the Renaissance Neighborhood Association. I returned for other neighborhood association and coalition meetings and candidate forums there over the next several years.

As you can see from the photo above, Wilson is an impressive building. While its playgrounds border an arterial (11th Street, historic Route 66) and a neighborhood collector (Delaware Ave), the main entrance is on Columbia Ave, in the heart of Renaissance Neighborhood.

It is my hope that TPS would make preservation and adaptive reuse of the main building a condition of sale, along with an insistence (perhaps in the form of a covenant that runs with the land) that the future use would be compatible with its location in the heart of a single-family residential neighborhood. It would be a wonderful location for a charter school, a great new home for a private school, or a permanent home for some newly planted church. With the passage of the Oklahoma Opportunity Scholarship program, there's an opportunity to fill attractive, historic buildings like Wilson, Barnard, Roosevelt, and Franklin with excellent and affordable private schools that will help draw families back to Midtown, an area that, despite its revival in many regards, has lost population over the last decade as Midtown families have moved to suburban school districts.

While it would be nice to keep the property in one piece, It might be appropriate to allow mixed-use or neighborhood commercial development (think Cherry Street) on the fields that face Delaware. Here again, TPS could insist on design guidelines to ensure neighborhood compatibility.

I hope TPS board members will keep in mind that the neighboring property owners bought with the expectation that this land was a school and would remain so into the distant future. Replacing Wilson Middle School with another big parking lot or warehouse for Bama or TU would add insult to the injury neighbors have suffered with the school's closing.

In a brief interview about strikes by public sector unions Labour Party leader Ed Miliband answers each question using different permutations of the same set of talking points:

I've had more intelligent conversations with a See-n-Say.

Damon Green of ITV News was the pool reporter. Green posted a lengthy account of his attempted interview with Miliband and considers how this sort of behavior by a politician harms representative government:

If news reporters and cameras are only there to be used by politicians as recording devices for their scripted soundbites, at best that is a professional discourtesy. At worst, if we are not allowed to explore and examine a politician's views, then politicians cease to be accountable in the most obvious way. So the fact that the unedited interview has found its way onto YouTube in all its absurdity, to be laughed at along with all the clips of cats falling off sofas, is perfectly proper.

Charlie Brooker, in the Grauniad, notes two other recent examples of this type of political interview, explains why this happens, and offers a hopeful solution:

The reason for the Speak-and-Spell tactic is obvious: in all three cases (Miliband, Osborne, Darling) the PR handler responsible must have figured that since the interview would be whittled down to one 10-second soundbite for that evening's news bulletins, and since they didn't want to risk their man saying anything ill-advised or vaguely interesting, they might as well merely ignore all the questions and impersonate an iPod with just one track on it....

Clearly an intervention is necessary. Next time you pass an MP being interviewed on the street, set off a party popper. Jump in and shriek. Get your bum out. Anything. Just to prompt some kind of authentic human reaction from either side.

And if you don't get an authentic human reaction, you might get something more spectacular:

Oklahoma State Rep. Rusty Farley died Monday, July 4, 2011, of a pulmonary aneurysm. He was 57.

Farley was responsible for one of the most surprising upsets in the 2010 Oklahoma elections, in McCurtain County, the southeastern corner of Oklahoma, deep in Little Dixie, traditionally home the state's staunchest Democrats.

No one remembers House District 1 ever electing a Republican, but in 2010, Rusty Farley of Haworth ran on a shoestring budget and beat incumbent freshman Democrat Dennis Bailey, who had beaten Farley in 2008. According to the Oklahoman:

Although Republicans made tremendous gains last year in statewide and legislative elections, Farley was given little chance of winning. He spent only $70 of about $170 he raised, state Ethics Commission records show.

The money was used for an advertisement in a local newspaper.

"I didn't really campaign a whole lot," he said in November. "I can honestly say I don't owe anybody any favors for getting elected."

Farley served on the Haworth School Board for 18 years. He unsuccessfully ran against Bailey in 2008.

Farley won with 50.8 percent of the votes in the 2010 election, receiving 134 votes more than Bailey of the 8,102 cast. About 81 percent of registered voters in the district in November were Democrats.

The Oklahoma Republican Party is plagued with consultants who fancy themselves latter-day Boss Tweeds, intimidating Republican candidates into hiring them, convincing candidates that they can't win without raising (through the consultants' connections) and spending (with the consultant taking a cut of every dollar spent) $100,000 to persuade 10,000 voters.

Rusty Farley was a reminder that you can win without the money if you have a record of community service with integrity. Spending $70 on a newspaper ad, he beat an incumbent who spent about $23,000 and enjoyed the advantage of the same party affiliation as 81% of the electorate. (That $23,000 doesn't include another $8,000 spent in 2009 from Bailey's 2008 campaign funds.)

There are some lovely tributes from friends and neighbors on Rusty Farley's Facebook wall.

MORE: Whirled makes an oopsie (emphasis added):

Farley, who ran unopposed in 2010, raised only $170 for his election campaign and spent $70 of that, according to archives.

From the Oklahoma State Election Board website:

FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT NO. 1                    31 OF   31
          RUSTY FARLEY                  REP     4,118   50.83%
          DENNIS R. BAILEY              DEM     3,984   49.17%

If you've ever been curious about that hole-in-the-wall bar on 4th Street between Boulder and Cheyenne Avenues in downtown Tulsa, there's a fascinating story in the latest issue of This Land about Orpha's Lounge. Natasha Ball (of Tasha Does Tulsa fame) paints a vivid verbal picture of the bar's founder, Orpha Satterfield, her namesake Lounge, the single-room occupancy hotel (the last in Tulsa?) on the two floors above, and the staff that keep the place running.

(I was especially pleased to see that Natasha included historical details culled from old street directories and phone books. Those books are a great source of contemporaneous documentation of the way Tulsa once was.)

Well done and congratulations to Natasha, who's now the associate editor of This Land.

An early Happy Independence Day to one and all!

There are fireworks somewhere around Tulsa every night this weekend, and Tasha has the definitive list of Tulsa's 4th of July 2011 fireworks celebrations, with links to parking and traffic information for the bigger displays.

There's more to the weekend than just fireworks, and Tasha's got that list, too. One interesting Saturday item: Gilcrease Museum is screening 1776, the movie version of the musical about the writing of the Declaration of Independence. Full of memorable lyrics and melodies, it's one of our favorite musicals. ("Someone oughta open up a window!")

I hope all of us will take the time this weekend to remember the reason for the season. My wife pointed me to a blog entry about Independence Day as recorded in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little Town on the Prairie:

Consider this passage from the story in which a local politician is chosen to read the entire Declaration of Independence to the crowd:
Laura and Carrie knew the Declaration by heart, of course, but it gave them a solemn, glorious feeling to hear the words. They took hold of hands and stood listening in the solemnly listening crowd. The Stars and Stripes were fluttering bright against the thin, clear blue overhead, and their minds were saying the words before their ears heard them.
As I read this passage to my family, I realized that these pioneers took it for granted that the Declaration of Independence would be read in its entirety every July 4th. More than that, they assumed that everyone in the crowd had it memorized and would be silently reciting the words along with the reader. Having this annual celebration and a shared cultural document makes this a crowd of ardent patriots, and binds them together in a unified community....

For Laura Ingalls Wilder, the combined reading of the Declaration of Independence and the singing of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" sparked new thoughts about freedom as she contemplated words which were old and familiar.

The crowd was scattering away then, but Laura stood stock still. Suddenly she had a completely new thought. The Declaration and the song came together in her mind, and she thought: God is America's king. She thought: Americans won't obey any king on earth. Americans are free. That means they have to obey their own consciences. No king bosses Pa; he has to boss himself. Why (she thought), when I am a little older, Pa and Ma will stop telling me what to do, and there isn't anyone else who has a right to give me orders. I will have to make myself be good. Her whole mind seemed to be lighted up by that thought. This is what it means to be free. It means, you have to be good. 'Our father's God, author of liberty--'The laws of Nature and of Nature's God endow you with a right to life and liberty. Then you have to keep the laws of God, for God's law is the only thing that gives you a right to be free.

Blogger Jennifer Courtney points out that this sort of insight is the product of the traditional emphasis on memorization in the early years of school, the grammar stage of the classical trivium:

This transition for Laura is a perfect illustration of a child moving from the grammar stage (memorizing and reciting the songs and the Declaration) to the logic stage. Her solid foundation in American history gave her a firm basis for later thinking big thoughts about the idea of freedom. She reasons out the source of freedom and rightly draws conclusions about the both the liberties and the restrictions of handling freedom properly.

Rote memorization has been trashed by progressive educators for a century or so, but learning texts like these by heart helped children internalize the ideals contained within and made them resistant to those who would undermine our founding principles. (Maybe that's why progressive educators trash memorization.)

So amidst the heat of the day and the celebrations, remember our founders, and their bold resolve to make our nation free.

And keep safe. Stay away from the blue-green algae.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2011 is the previous archive.

August 2011 is the next archive.

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