Tulsa District 3 Democratic primary: For Roscoe Turner

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Roscoe_driller-sm.jpgThis 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 the 1998 special election, beating Patrick's sister Synna.) Patrick has decided to be a Democrat again, after winning the seat as an independent in 2008 and losing it under the same flag of convenience in 2009.

Patrick is the favorite of the Cockroach Caucus. His contributors include TulsaBizPac, the Tulsa Metro Chamber's PAC, Bill Lobeck (Mr. Kathy Taylor), developer Joe Westervelt, Save Our Tulsa (for our kind, dahling) founding father John Brock, SOT member Ben Latham, Council-suer and Great Plains Airlines board member Burt Holmes, former Susan Savage aide Jim East, BOK chairman George Kaiser, and Kaiser's attorney and GKFF board member Frederic Dorwart.

During his last term of office (2008-2009), David Patrick was flown back on Mayor Kathy Taylor's Learjet from his farm in Colorado to vote for her downtown ballpark assessment district deal. Patrick also angered his constituents by failing to keep them in the loop regarding the Mental Health Association's residence for the long-term homeless at Admiral and Yale.

In his previous term of office, 2002-2004, Patrick was part of a secretive "working group on development" made up of himself and three-other councilors backed by the build-anything-anywhere lobby. In 2003, he backed F&M Bank's rezoning at 71st and Harvard; in his failed 2004 reelection bid, he received a majority of his contributions over $200 from F&M Bank board members. He was the lone councilor to support rezoning for a Wal-Mart at 41st and Harvard.

Roscoe Turner has been named time and again as Tulsa's most believable city councilor. He came into civic issues as a leader of Sequoyah Neighborhood Association. He has worked well with Republicans and Democrats alike.

As this election is a repeat of previous elections, I'm going to take the liberty of repeating what I wrote about the District 3 election three years ago:

Although he and I likely differ on national issues, Councilor Turner has been on the right side of most local issues, while his opponent was almost always on the wrong side, sometimes all by himself. Patrick is now calling himself an independent, but as a candidate and a councilor, Patrick has been under the control of the Tulsa Whirled editorial board, the development lobby, and other powerful special interest groups. Roscoe Turner is the true independent in this race, in that he owes his election only to his constituents, and his only ambition is to serve the best interests of District 3 and the city at large....

Looking at Patrick's donor lists from campaigns past, it's apparent that special interests from outside District 3 see David Patrick as someone who will carry their water, even when it means betraying the best interests of his own constituents.

David Patrick's 2004 donor list was dominated by board members of F&M Bank; Patrick had been instrumental in getting the bank a controversial zoning change it sought.

In 2006, Patrick's campaign accounts were filled by supporters of reducing the number of council districts and electing three councilors at-large, a change that would have diluted north Tulsa's representation on the City Council. Bank of Oklahoma Chairman George Kaiser and BOk Financial Corp. PAC gave Patrick a combined $2,500. Realtor PAC gave him $3,000, as did midtown developer John Bumgarner.

The daily paper's editorial board, the voice of Tulsa's well-heeled special interests, desperately wants what they no longer have - a City Council they could control. They can't stand a man like Roscoe Turner, who puts the interests of ordinary Tulsans ahead of special interests. They'd love to get rid of Turner, who considers basic government priorities a higher priority than frills and non-essentials.

Roscoe Turner's detractors have called him a ward-heeler, too narrowly focused on his district's priorities. But look at the record and you'll see that it's Turner's stands on citywide issues that really give the daily paper fits.

For example -- the county sales tax increase for river projects. Turner opposed it, pointing out that when Tulsa County increases its sales tax rate, it reduces the City of Tulsa's options for funding basics like streets and police.

On zoning issues, Turner has been a friend to homeowners across the city, giving them a respectful hearing and working to ensure that they're treated fairly when a controversial zoning issue comes before the Council. That's made him a top target of the "build anything I want, anywhere I want" developers' lobby.

On regional issues, like the proposed Bixby toll bridge, Turner has always put Tulsa's best interests ahead of the suburbs. While the toll bridge wouldn't directly affect District 3, Turner understands that building the south Tulsa road improvements to support the bridge will divert money that could be rebuilding streets in the rest of the city.

Roscoe Turner's citywide focus hasn't prevented him from looking out for his own district's special needs. His attention to constituent concerns throughout the district has allowed him to win avid supporters in what once was Patrick's base east of Yale Ave. For example, Turner has worked with neighborhoods near the airport to address problems with the noise abatement program, an issue that residents feel Patrick ignored.

Turner's aim is to do what is right by the people of District 3 and the whole city of Tulsa. His integrity has won the confidence of Urban Tulsa Weekly readers, who have twice voted him Tulsa's Most Believable Councilor in the annual Absolute Best of Tulsa awards.

In the Republican District 3 primary, former Oklahoma Lake Patrol officer David Bell faces Randall Reese. Bell has served as president of the Maxwell Neighborhood Association, was a volunteer for Randy Brogdon's campaign (which is how I met him), and has been endorsed by the Tulsa Area Republican Assembly. Reese, who ran for the House District 72 seat last year, doesn't appear to be campaigning actively. In an overwhelmingly Democratic district, Bell will have an uphill battle against either Turner or Patrick in the general election, but he is the better choice of the two Republicans on the ballot.

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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 representation or not-so-good representation at City Hall whe... Read More

2 Comments

Bob said:

My understanding is that the recent city council redistricting carved out several predominately black precincts from District 3 in order to disadvantage Roscoe Turner, and stuck them with Jack Henderson's District 1 where they would do no harm.

This council re-districting was allegedly vetted by Karl Ahlgren, for reasons you can easily surmise.

We'll see if this makes the decisive difference in the Roscoe Turner - David Patrick grudge match.

I knew both David Patrick and Synna for several years. On a personal level, it would be hard to meet nicer people. I have seen how they live. I have seen David working in his auto-repair business. I saw Synna working when she still had an interest in a machine shop. It was impossible then, and still is impossible for me now, to believe that either one of them would deliberately do anything unethical for personal gain. All I could think back then was that if David was "bought," he certainly should have negotiated a higher price!

Having said all that, I never liked David's decisions and was frequently mystified as to why he made them. I still live in the district and if I were a registered Democrat, I would certainly be voting for Roscoe.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 11, 2011 9:28 PM.

The 9/11 7-Eleven; the blocked Path to 9/11 was the previous entry in this blog.

Tulsa District 5: Must Karen Gilbert quit her day job with Tulsa Public Schools? is the next entry in this blog.

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