Bartlett Jr vs. Bynum IV: Tweedle-dee vs. Tweedle-dum

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Tulsa Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett Jr. has announced his intention to run for a third term. Federal lobbyist and City Councilor G. T. Bynum IV has announced his intention to run against Bartlett.

My one-word take:


Tulsa needs better choices. (I won't say "deserves better"; as Mencken wrote, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.")

If these are our choices, I'll be sitting this election out, as I did in 2013. Neither candidate is a conservative. G. T. Bynum has been a leading proponent of leftist social policies at City Hall; Bartlett has offered no resistance to those policies. Both men are besotted with the expensively foolish idea that "water in the river" is the key to Tulsa's future prosperity. Bartlett endorsed the explicit corporate welfare of Vision2 Proposition 1; both endorsed Proposition 2, which was a bad financial deal for the City of Tulsa.

Neither have been advocates for sound urban design and land-use policy. Bartlett has promoted the idea of converting 12 acres of park land on the river to a massive parking lot surrounding a big-box store; when the Council voted on the Comprehensive Plan changes to enable the development, Bynum recused himself. Both are residents of Tulsa's Money Belt, the tiny ultra-wealthy section of town with an insular mindset that has been home to almost every mayor of Tulsa.

Bynum deserves credit for a couple of positive fiscal changes, such as the enactment of a city rainy day fund, but, as much as I dislike Bartlett's performance as mayor, Bartlett may be marginally preferable on the principles of harm minimization and "Stick to the devil you know." While Bartlett will go along with leftist social policies, he is not likely to initiate them; Bynum will likely feel obliged to make Tulsa "more progressive" in hopes of attracting young professionals. Bartlett is near the end of his political career and unlikely to pursue higher office. Bynum is young and ambitious and more likely to use the Mayor's office as a springboard to higher office, where his advocacy for leftist social policies and useless and expensive public works projects can cause considerably more damage.

2016 is looking to be the year of the outsider in presidential politics. Perhaps it could be the year of the outsider in local politics as well.

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Today begins the three-day filing period for the City of Tulsa 2016 elections. All nine councilors, the mayor, and the auditor are up for election this year. Anyone who wishes to compete must file a notarized declaration of candidacy along with a $50 c... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 24, 2015 10:34 PM.

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