Council-suer, SOT member announce picks for City Council (UPDATED)

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We're beginning to see components of Tulsa's establishment coalesce around certain candidates for City Council, the candidates they believe will best represent the establishment's interests at City Hall.

Burt Holmes and Ben Latham have selected a partial slate of candidates, according to an email from Latham soliciting contributions for their slate.

Holmes was a director of Great Plains Airlines, a Tulsa-based airline that failed at great cost to taxpayers in Tulsa (property taxpayers had to pay a $7 million debt that we didn't owe, a loan that Great Plains had defaulted on, despite earlier assurances that taxpayers would not be on the hook) and Oklahoma (transferable tax credits were used to fund the airline; the money for the credits came from the state coffers).

Holmes, a maximum donor to Barack Obama's primary and general election campaigns, was also a plaintiff, along with Nancy Rothman, in a lawsuit against all members of the current City Council for alleged violations of the Open Meeting Act, a lawsuit that was later dismissed, but not until each councilor had to hire his or her own attorney to defend the suit.

Ben Latham is head of GBR Properties and is listed as a committee member of Save Our Tulsa, the group that wants to return our city to the "good ol' days" when a small number of the well-heeled and well-connected made decisions for Tulsa without the bothersome and distracting input of the nearly 400,000 other citizens.

Given the backgrounds of the men who picked these six candidates -- David Patrick, Liz Hunt, Ken Brune, Karen Gilbert, Tom Mansur, and Phil Lakin -- it seems reasonable to suppose that these candidates may support massive taxpayer subsidies for crazy business schemes, suing city councilors, and SOT's anti-democracy "reforms" that would dilute geographical and minority representation and put Tulsa at risk for a Voting Rights Act lawsuit. If that's not the case, each candidate should speak up and publicly repudiate the Holmes/Latham endorsement.

Holmes and Latham's list of approved candidates is not too surprising. It includes three of the four publicly acknowledged clients of Karl Ahlgren (Hunt, Gilbert, and Lakin). It is somewhat surprising that Nancy Rothman, Holmes's fellow plaintiff and another Ahlgren client, is not on the list -- at least not yet. David Patrick is a long-time rubber stamp for the Cockroach Caucus. Ken Brune was attorney for Coalition for Responsible Government 2004, the group behind the unsuccessful attempt to recall Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock.

There's a disparaging mention of the "Gang of Five." Given Holmes's involvement in Great Plains Airlines, that's not surprising. Reformers on the City Council led the effort to investigate the Great Plains scheme and identify those responsible, and they resisted Bill LaFortune's 2005 effort to make the city's taxpayers cover the bad debt.

Latham says the "current city council is basically unchanged from the 'Gang of Five' that eisted when Bill LaFortune was mayor." But the Council has had quite a bit of turnover since 2006 when Bill LaFortune was voted out of office. Only three members (Henderson, Turner, Mautino) of the "Gang of Five" are still on the council, and two of them (Turner, Mautino) lost an election before successfully regaining their seats. Bill Christiansen, who was usually in opposition to the "gang's" initiatives, is the only other councilor still in office who was in office prior to the 2006 election, and he's not running for re-election. So Latham's diagnosis of the causes of City Hall disharmony and his proposed solution are ill-founded.

With all nine councilors -- representing a diverse range of personality types -- at odds with the current mayor, the heart of the problem is obvious, but it seems to have escaped Messrs. Holmes and Latham.

Here is Latham's email.

As you may know, I have been an advocate of electing an entirely new City Council with citizens who want to make a positive difference. The current city council is basically unchanged from the "Gang of Five" that existed when Bill LaFortune was mayor. They have demonstrated they cannot get along with any mayor, male or female, Democrat or Republican. It is time for them to all be voted out.

So far, Burt Holmes and I have met with most of the announced candidates. It doesn't matter what political party, gender, ethnic group, etc. that a person belongs to as long as he/she makes good decisions for our city as a whole. After interviewing the candidates we have selected the best person in each district and have 6 to recommend that we all back. Thus far, all six of these are running their campaigns in a manner we like. They all need financing, so your help is important in making a positive change to our city.

Our six so far are:

District 1: We will have no recommendation.

District 2: We are still evaluating the candidates and will have a recommendation shortly. Incumbent Rick Westcott is not running.

District 3: David Patrick (D); running against incumbent Roscoe Turner.

District 4: Liz Hunt (R) and Ken Brune (D); incumbent is Maria Barnes. Liz will be running against Blake Ewing and Ken against Maria Barnes in the primary.

District 5: Karen Gilbert (R); running against incumbent Chris Trail.

District 6: Incumbent is Jim Mautino. Anybody would be better, but we have no recommendation yet. It will be forthcoming.

District 7: Tom Mansur (R); incumbent John Eagleton is not running.

District 8: Phil Lakin (R); incumbent Bill Christiansen is not running.

District 9: We do not have a recommendation in this race, yet.

The main thrust of this effort is to find community leaders who want to get more engaged; the idea being we will all support a slate of candidates with contributions to ALL the supported candidates. We must go outside of our own districts this time, if we want to make a difference. We recommend you support the candidates directly, and not go through a PAC. This is financially more efficient, and you will be certain who you are supporting and get credit for your contribution.

At this time, I would like everyone to consider making the same contribution to all six of these candidates. Please consider $200 or more to each of these six. I am sure the candidates will appreciate whatever contribution you make. Also attached is a generic contribution form (required) that you can use to send in your contributions. I will keep you informed on the needs of the candidates.

[List of candidate addresses deleted.]

I also request you forward this email to your own mailing list. Let's make a difference! Thank you in advance for your participation.

UPDATE: An August 16 email from Latham adds a candidate to the list of endorsements:

All,

Goods gets good. Nothing gets nothing.

If you are unhappy with the city council and want a change, you must help now. We have recruited, interviewed, and vetted excellent candidates, listed below. The candidates need your contribution NOW for the September 13 primaries. By September 1 it will be too late for them to acquire signs and other campaign materials. NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT.

We all care about Tulsa. This election may be our last chance to change the council to progressive collaborators who can move us forward, faster. The primaries on September 13 will decide the general election because there will be no serious opposition in the November general election except for districts 4 and 5. To be successful, we must support the candidates now, so they can win their primaries. As business people, we all have a vested interest in this.

Hunt, Gilbert, Steele and Mansur are the most in need of money. They, and the others, are running good campaigns, including knocking on doors in 100 degree heat.

We know you care about Tulsa, so send your contributions this week so the seven endorsed candidates can make a strong finish to the September 13 election. Ideally, we all send the same contribution to each of the seven. It's up to you to decide how much and to whom. Please consider $200 or more to each of them. I know all of them will appreciate whatever contribution you make.

Our seven endorsements:

District 1: We will have no recommendation.

District 2: We will not have an endorsement in the primary.

District 3: David Patrick (D); running against incumbent Roscoe Turner.

District 4 Ken Brune (D) and Liz Hunt (R); incumbent is Maria Barnes. Liz will be running against Blake Ewing and Ken against Maria Barnes in the primary.

District 5: Karen Gilbert (R); running against incumbent Chris Trail.

District 6: Byron Steele (R); running against incumbent is Jim Mautino.

District 7: Tom Mansur (R); incumbent John Eagleton is not running.

District 8: Phil Lakin (R); incumbent Bill Christiansen is not running.

District 9: We will not oppose the incumbent in this race.

Below is a generic contribution form that you can use to send in your contributions. Addresses to send your contributions to:

[List of addresses redacted.]

We also request you forward this email to your own mailing list. Let's make a difference! Thank you in advance for your immediate participation.

Good Gets Good!

This email had been forwarded with support from Daryl Woodard, Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr's appointee to the city's redistricting commission. It's beginning to look like the redistricting commission's radical redrawing of the lines (the adopted plan shifted over 20% of the city's precincts into new districts) is working hand in glove with the Latham/Holmes/Ahlgren effort to replace the council with Bartlett Jr rubber-stamps.

Note too that their effort to find candidates in District 2 and District 9 failed. Ahlgren approached District 9 candidate Robert Pinney, offering support for his campaign, and sought to have him meet with Latham, but Pinney, an independent-minded neighborhood leader and well aware of Ahlgren's reputation and connections, rejected his overtures. This seems to explain the change from "We do not have a recommendation in this race, yet," to "We will not oppose the incumbent in this race." Was this group aiming to knock off a potential rival to Bartlett Jr's 2013 re-election bid? (District 2's rubric changed from "We are still evaluating the candidates and will have a recommendation shortly," to "We will not have an endorsement in the primary.")

8 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Council-suer, SOT member announce picks for City Council (UPDATED).

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.batesline.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/6070

TulsaBizPac, the political action committee formed by Tulsa Metro Chamber, a city contractor, to influence the selection of the public officials who will decide whether those contracts will continue, has announced an odd assortment of full endorsements... Read More

The Cockroach Caucus consensus candidate in Tulsa City Council District 5 is Karen Gilbert, who has received the endorsement of the council-suer and SOT member who are working with Karl Ahlgren and the funding from TulsaBizPac, and the endorsement of h... Read More

Karl Ahlgren's vocation is taking money from political special interests in exchange for smearing people who are obstacles to the special interests's goals. He's done it again today, with a mail piece on behalf of Tom Mansur smearing Steven Roemerman. ... Read More

This is the ninth rematch between current District 3 Councilor Roscoe Turner and former Councilor David Patrick. The series is tied 4-4, with Patrick winning in 1996, 1998, 2002, and 2008, and Turner winning in 2000, 2004, 2006, 2009. (Turner also won ... Read More

We begin the BatesLine roundup of the 2011 Tulsa City Council primary races with an easy choice. I'm proud to endorse my friend, Steven Roemerman, for District 7 councilor. This endorsement is for both the primary and general election. While the other ... Read More

This entry post-dated to remain at top until polls close. Happy election day! Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In two districts (1 and 5), the primary will determine a winner. In all districts, the primary will determine whether we'll have good rep... Read More

Redistricting appears to played a key role in the Cockroach Caucus strategy to regain control of the City Council, according to a BatesLine analysis of Tuesday's primary results by precinct. The 2011 redistricting was the most radical since the City Co... Read More

Analysis to come (after trick-or-treat), but for now, here are the ethics reports filed by PACs, candidates, and issue committees as of 4:45 pm today. Tulsa_City_Election_2011_Pre-General_Ethics_Reports-20111031.pdf The PDF includes filings for the mys... Read More

1 Comments

Bob said:

I received a phone call this week from a campaign worker urging a vote for Tulsa Metro Chamberpot Liz Hunt, purported Republican running in City Council District 4. The caller indicated that I would be receiving campaign literature in the mail in the near future. I just let her talk...and talk.

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