Kathy Taylor returns?
There's a strong rumor circulating (UPDATE: It's official.) that former Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor will be running this year to retake her former position as queen of the Borg Cube.
You'll recall that official election records in Florida and Oklahoma showed that Kathy Taylor cast a ballot in both states (in Florida by absentee ballot, in person in Oklahoma) in the contentious November 7, 2000, general election. Taylor and her husband, Bill Lobeck, were also involved in a legal dispute resulting from their claim of a homestead exemption both in Tulsa and in Broward County, Florida. Lobeck paid taxes and penalties during the 2006 mayoral campaign, then filed a suit after the election to recover what he had paid. (Taylor and Lobeck got a mention in a 2008 Miami Herald article headlined "Homestead Cheats" and in a 2010 South Florida Business Journal article on "property tax fraud.")
(Broward County, Florida, records indicate Lobeck dropped his suit against Broward County in April 2009, and Taylor and Lobeck sold their Fort Lauderdale waterfront home in March of 2012 for $2,425,000.00. Oddly, in the Trustee's Affidavit connected with the sale, Lobeck and Taylor each listed as "homestead address" 1132 S. Lewis Ave., Tulsa, the site of a 12,574 sq. ft. commercial building constructed in 1938, which is commercially zoned and which does not have a homestead exemption, according to Tulsa County Assessor records.)
You remember the $7.1 million confiscated from Tulsa property taxpayers to pay Bank of Oklahoma to cover the default of Great Plains Airlines? Kathy Taylor signed off on the settlement that put Tulsa taxpayers on the hook (so did Dewey Bartlett Jr). Thankfully, this illegal settlement was reversed by the Oklahoma State Supreme Court.
As mayor, Kathy Taylor presided over a rapid increase in city spending during the first part of her term, when sales tax revenues had recovered after the recession at the beginning of the decade, despite calls from Councilor John Eagleton and others to limit spending growth to the product of inflation and population growth. The Taylor increase in spending made the cuts of 2009 all the more painful. Taylor didn't confront the looming 2009-2010 budget crisis (Bartlett Jr, who endorsed her for re-election, claims to have been unaware of the problem until the day he was sworn in), went on CNN to denounce city councilors concerned about strings attached to federal funds, and rather than listen to Cassandras like Councilor Bill Martinson, she appears to have orchestrated his defeat, with massive last-minute donations to his opponent coming from out-of-state businessmen with connections to Taylor's husband, Bill Lobeck.
Other highlights of Taylor's term as mayor: Joining Michael Bloomberg's mayoral gun-grabbing coalition and signing Tulsa up to global warming globaloney, while keeping the council in the dark about the hiring of a new police chief, the ill-considered and more-expensive-than-planned move of City Hall to the One Technology Center building, the massive hike in the cost of building the BOK Center, the misuse of the assessment district concept to pay for a new downtown minor league baseball park (resulting in a lawsuit).
We mustn't overlook the shabby treatment that the Tulsa Development Authority (TDA) inflicted on developers Will Wilkins and Cecilia Wilkins, who were squeezed out of the chance to develop a parcel of Brady District land when it wound up across the street from site of the new ballpark (resulting in another lawsuit, which alleges that Taylor was right in the middle of the deal; the lawsuit was settled in June 2012, just days before a jury trial was set to begin).
No, I don't want another term for Dewey Bartlett Jr, but Kathy Taylor is just the other side of the same coin.
MORE: In 2009, Irritated Tulsa ranked Kathy Taylor's top 10 ungreatest moments.
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I had hoped for some changes with the change of ownership. Today's Tulsa World story on the mayoral election and Kathy Taylor's Great Plains airlines settlement has undermined that hope. One positive change -- the pictures make all of the candidates l... Read More