Tulsa Election 2013: BatesLine ballot card

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Two elections to fill a city office and three propositions on the City of Tulsa general election ballot for November 12, 2013. Here are my picks:

Mayor: No endorsement. Can't make myself vote for either one. Neither candidate lives up to their expensively self-funded hype. I wish they both could lose. While it won't determine the winner, you can register your disapproval of the finalists in the race by leaving that section blank on your ballot. I wish we had Nevada's None of the Above option.

Auditor: No endorsement. The best choice, Josh Lewis, lost in the primary. Incumbent Clift Richards, originally appointed to his post by Dewey Bartlett Jr, faces Cathy Criswell, risk manager under Kathy Taylor. It would be nice if we could vote for an auditor conditionally. I want Richards to win if Taylor is elected mayor, but I want Criswell to win if Bartlett Jr is re-elected, so that either way the mayor has to deal with an auditor whose career he/she did not advance. Here's an interesting op-ed from business ethicist Chuck Gallagher on the ethics complaint against Clift Richards. Whoever wins will face re-election in November 2014, as city election cycles finally sync up with state and federal elections.

Proposition 1, City Council raise to $24,000 per year: Yes. This amounts to a 6% increase in inflation-adjusted dollars since the council was instituted in 1989. The workman is worthy of his hire.

Proposition 2, 1.1%, seven-year capital improvements sales tax: No. Wish I could support this, but there are too many big vague numbers, along with an unnecessary $10 million donation to another taxing entity. There's time, before the current tax is due to expire at the end of June 2014, to go back to the drawing board and fix what's wrong with this proposition.

Proposition 3, $355 million general obligation bond issue for streets and bridges: Yes. Only 52% of the amount is assigned to specific projects, but the entire amount must be spent on streets and bridges.

Read more in the BatesLine Tulsa Election 2013 archive.

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3 Comments

Graychin said:

This is the first sign of support I have seen anywhere for the pay increase for city councilors.

The original level of pay for councilors ($18,000 annually) was consistent with an expectation that Council service was a part-time endeavor. It's my view that Tulsa city government would work much better if that expectation had become reality. Instead, the history of the current charter has been of power flowing away from the Mayor, and towards a fractious Council.

Leaving the pay where it is might return City government closer to the the vision of the designers of the charter, flawed though it may have been.

The original level of pay was $12K. $18 was a later raise.

The vision of the designers of the charter was to fulfill the letter of the law -- complying with the likely court order from a Voting Rights Act lawsuit -- while averting the spirit of the law -- including all parts of the city in the decision-making process. We need strong, energetic councilors, not rubber-stamps, to act as a check on the mayor and to ensure that the needs of the entire city are addressed.

Paul said:

Looks as though you did fairly well, Michael.

Prop. 1: Check (And I'm okay with the $24,000, but wish it had been linked to some index for inflation. Will we need another election in a few years to revise the charter again? I'm not sure how the councilors will receive future raises, because I didn't take the time to read the full resolution.)

Prop. 3: Check

Auditor -- Cathy if Dewey, or Clift if Kathy: Check.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 12, 2013 12:54 AM.

Tulsa Election 2013: Proposition 1: Yes for a reasonable City Council pay raise was the previous entry in this blog.

Writing curriculum publisher explains problems with Common Core is the next entry in this blog.

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