Tulsa Election 2011: General election day

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IVoted.jpgThis entry post-dated to remain at top until polls close.

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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 has already determined a winner for want of any candidates filing from the other party. In the other seven districts the Republican nominee faces the Democrat nominee today.

Voters throughout Tulsa, in every district, may vote on four charter amendments. I have endorsed the defeat of all four.

The Tulsa County Election Board has a precinct locator which will tell you where to vote and which City Council district you're in. 42 precincts -- about 20% -- have been moved to a new district this year, so there are decent odds that you've been moved.

The Tulsa City Council website has a Google Maps search: Enter an address, and it'll show your address in your new council district.

Once you know your precinct, you can find your sample ballot here.

Key information as you weigh your decision:

Archive of all BatesLine entries on Tulsa Election 2011.

My endorsements, with links to more information:

I urge you to vote AGAINST all four ballot propositions.

I'm only endorsing in one council race. I enthusiastically support Blake Ewing for District 4 City Council.

In the other districts, while I believe we'd be better off without the candidates backed by the Cockroach Caucus (Patrick, 3-D; Steele, 6-R; Mansur, 7-R; Lakin, 8-R), I have reservations about their opponents.

I was impressed with the thoughtful and philosophically conservative answers given by William Suliburk (8-D) to many of the questions on the OK-SAFE questionnaire, a questionnaire that Phil Lakin (8-R) refused to answer, but I don't know Suliburk or his politics well enough to endorse him. I believe he deserves serious consideration by conservative voters in far south Tulsa.

I've expressed my displeasure with incumbent Councilor G. T. Bynum (9-R) on a number of issues, but he knows city issues, and he deserves credit for some fiscal reforms, including proposing the charter amendment that established of a city rainy day fund. His opponent, Mike Batman (9-D), is sincere in his love for Tulsa and admirable for his small business success. Batman has a good heart, but he doesn't seem knowledgeable about City Hall issues.

Dave Bell (3-R) is certainly conservative -- we met while volunteering for Randy Brogdon for governor. He's also prone to knee-jerk reactions, such as his curt and offensive dismissal of Preserve Midtown's polite request for a response to their survey about zoning and planning. I agree that the District 3 councilor needs to look after District 3's needs first, but the issues Preserve Midtown deals with affects every neighborhood more than a few decades old -- code enforcement, for example. If elected, a grassroots candidate like Dave Bell will have to forge bonds with councilors and neighborhood leaders from across the city in order to help the people of his district. David Patrick (3-D) has always been a reliable vote for the Cockroach Caucus and hostile to neighborhood protection, even in his own district.

At one of the Tulsa Press Club forums, Robert Gwin (6-D) showed himself to be more knowledgeable about city government than his opponent (Byron "Skip" Steele, 6-R), but Gwin, an erstwhile Republican candidate for council and mayor, is these days a hard-core lefty, touting his affiliation with moveon.org and using his Facebook account to defame tea party members as Nazis and promote the left-wing view of social and economic issues. (CORRECTION: I was apparently thinking of this post, on October 23, a table calling tea party members "racist, bigoted, and xenophobic," and which said that the Tea Party is "what fascism looks like." The table was accompanied by Gwin's one-word comment "TRUTH." Contrary to my recollection he did stop short of calling tea partiers Nazis.) He seems determined to offend as many conservatives as possible, even though he can't win without their support in this majority Republican district.

Neither Tom Mansur (7-R) and Michael Rainwater (7-D) impressed me as thoughtful or informed with their Tulsa Press Club performances, but at least Rainwater has experience as a neighborhood leader and is not backed by "Working Tulsans," TulsaBizPAC, or the Latham/Holmes/Ahlgren combine.

I don't know what to think about 2. I like Jeannie Cue's (2-R) roots and lifelong involvement in the west Tulsa community, but I have been unimpressed with her grasp on the issues. Her support from Working Tulsans, even if without her knowledge and consent, is worrisome as well. Philip Oyler (2-D) is a serious and respectable candidate.

Endorsements and questionnaires from various groups:

Tulsa Area Republican Assembly: Of their primary endorsements, only District 3's David Bell remains in the race.
Tulsa 912 Project: They endorsed Bell and Ewing in the primary.
OK-SAFE candidate questionnaire
Preserve Midtown questionnaire on zoning and planning

The City Manager-City Council proposal

Complete charter as revised if council-manager proposition (left side of ballot) is approved

Comparison of Proposed Council-Manager Charter Amendment to the Current Charter: Paragraph by paragraph

The Save Our Tulsa (for Our Kind, Dahling) propositions

Initiative Proposition No. 1 (At-Large Councilors; Mayor as Council Chairman)
Initiative Proposition No. 2 (Two-year terms, to coincide with state and federal elections)
Initiative Proposition No. 3 (Non-partisan elections)

Video and audio

KOTV News on 6 interviews with the candidates and the Tulsa Press Club forum for Districts 2, 7, and 8
KWGS Kiwanis Club debate for Tulsa City Council District 4

Who's trying to buy a set of City Councilors?

Scans of all pre-primary contribution and expenditures reports
Scans of all pre-general contribution and expenditures reports

Who are Ben Latham and Burt Holmes? They've given money to Patrick, Brune, Steele, Mansur, and Lakin.

Who is behind Working Tulsans? George Kaiser, Stacy Schusterman, Jay Helm, and council-suer Burt Holmes are the biggest contributors.

Who is Karl Ahlgren (and why you should care)? Ahlgren is consultant for Steele, Mansur and Lakin. His firm sent mailers before the primary on behalf of "Working Tulsans" in support of Cue, Patrick, and Steele. In an email, Ahlgren has endorsed Democrat Ken Brune in the general election.

What is Save Our Tulsa? Where do Save Our Tulsa supporters (median age: 75) live? Why do Money Belt denizens complain about SOT's proposals privately but refuse to denounce them publicly? (SOT's charter change proposals are on the November ballot, and SOT supporters have been active donors in the city council races.)

What is the "Midtown money belt"? Brice Bogle calls it "Tulsa's Golden Rectangle":

... an area he defines as from the northwest corner of the Inner Dispersal Loop to Skelly Drive in the south, and Harvard Avenue on the east.

"When the leaders of Tulsa talk about doing things for the benefit of Tulsa, it seldom means an area outside of the golden rectangle," Bogle said. "To many outside of the rectangular area, it often seems that those inside the area do not think of Tulsa really being anything beyond it."

My take on the Money Belt:

I would adjust his boundaries slightly -- shave off the less prosperous parts of southern and western Brookside and northeast of the Broken Arrow Expressway -- to come up with what I call the "Money Belt," but the attitude Bogle describes is spot on, and it manifests itself in election results, mayoral appointments, council-packing schemes, survey results, even water usage. That's not to say that all Money Belt denizens are afflicted with this insular attitude, or that those who are are bad people -- they just need to broaden their horizons. To them, the rest of Tulsa is something you drive through to get to Grand Lake or the airport.

But Money Belt blindness to the needs and concerns of the rest of Tulsa has real consequences. It's why it's important to provide some geographic balance on the city's boards and commissions, rather than drawing most appointees from this golden rectangle. It's why it's important for city councilors to advocate forcefully for their district's concerns; no one else in a position of power will....

(P.S. No, I don't think the Money Belt is a conspiracy. It's a demographic phenomenon, a mindset, a subculture. What makes it especially interesting is that it's a subculture that wields a good deal of political and economic power.)

The original use of the term "Cockroach Caucus"

I have struggled with what to call this cluster of special interests which has been trying to run the City of Tulsa without public input, and preferably without public debate....

They don't like the light of public scrutiny, so they conduct their business in the dark. But just because we can't see what's going on, it doesn't mean that they aren't there, contaminating public policy out of sight.

Why don't they like the light? Here's a link to reputable 2000 year old opinion on the subject. They know they aren't serving the interests of all Tulsans. They're serving the interests of a favored few, but they don't want us to know that.

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1 Comments

I have read the story, and the section involving me. True I used to be a republican and now i'm a democrat. Yes I am with move-on.org. no, I don't defame tea party members as Nazis, that's a bit of a overstatement. I do think they are are wrong on several national issues. This is a very local issue race though, throwing out national politics for a bit. I am a fighter for the people of district 6 and a fighter for Tulsa, my opponent is a cockroach caucus member that fights for the Chamber's wishes. I want to listen to my constituents and do what they want, regardless of my personal politics, if elected, I will do what they want. That is why you when reading this should vote for me. If I were running for congress or senate I would agree my views warrant merit, but in local races they don't. I would be honored with your vote today in district 6

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 8, 2011 7:00 PM.

Tulsa Election 2011: Blake Ewing in District 4 was the previous entry in this blog.

Tulsa Election 2011: A win for Ewing, a beatdown for at-large is the next entry in this blog.

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