Tulsa: March 2005 Archives

Herb Beattie (herb.beattie AT sbcglobal.net) sent along a summary of Tuesday night's meeting about the rights property owners have when AEP/PSO (our local electric company) comes onto the property to cut back or remove trees:

  1. The homeowner owns land within easement, subject to utilities’ rights to use the easement for the delivery of services.
  2. Within an easement, AEP/PSO has an obligation to act reasonably.
  3. Within an easement, owner and AEP/PSO have an obligation to accommodate each other.
  4. AEP/PSO have a right to access an easement to trim trees by traveling across owners land to get to the easement, but they shouldn’t injure your property when the cross or when they are working.
  5. Outside the easement, the homeowner owns the land completely, and has a right to reasonably eject trespassers (including AEP/PSO). The homeowner has a right to be free from encroachment on her lands.
  6. AEP/PSO’s representatives will tell you they can cut out to 15 or 20 feet or more from the power lines.
  7. AEP/PSO does not have a property right that allows them to cut beyond their easement - most residential easements in Tulsa are 7.5 feet on a single property.


  1. Know where your easement is and how big it is.
  2. Take photos before, during and after the cutting.
  3. When you get a card indicating that AEP/PSO will cut your trees talk to the AEP/PSO forester about where your easement is and where your trees are.
  4. Demand to be on site when the tree trimming is done. You have a right to be there.
  5. Be firm – don’t let them cut outside the easement just because they want to.
  6. If AEP/PSO persists, inform them you will call the police and press charges for criminal trespass.
  7. If AEP/PSO still encroaches over your objections, do call the police, and call your lawyer.


  1. Ask AEP/PSO to clean up the litter they create.
  2. If they don’t clean up, call your lawyer.

Thanks, Herb, for passing along the information.

Tonight on KJRH's 10 p.m. newscast, they'll air a story by reporter Glenn McIntyre on last year's audit of the Tulsa County Industrial Authority (TCIA) and what's being done to correct the problems that the audit uncovered. (KJRH is on channel 2 over the air, on channel 9 on Cox Cable.) Glenn interviewed me and at least one of the county commissioners for this story.

The TCIA is a trust created under Title 60 of the Oklahoma statutes, and among other activities, it issues revenue bonds to pay for county capital improvements. For example, TCIA issued bonds to be repaid by the Vision 2025 sales tax, to allow work on projects to proceed before the 13-year sales tax had generated sufficient dollars. The TCIA is governed by a board consisting of the three county commissioners. Hundreds of millions of dollars pass through the TCIA.

I'll withhold further comment until the story has aired. I appreciate KJRH's initiative in looking into this issue. I've often complained that local TV news departments ignore local government stories in favor of redundant coverage of national stories or local stories that have visual appeal. I give KJRH great credit for pursuing this story and showing the same kind of initiative on a number of other stories recently -- for example, looking at F&M Bank board member contributions to city councilors who were considering the bank's rezoning application.

UPDATE: The audit, which was issued last summer by a local CPA firm, said there isn't any fraud, but there are checks and balances and safeguards missing that leave the system vulnerable to fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. County Commissioner Wilbert Collins said that there's nothing for people to worry about, that plans are in the works to fix the deficiencies, and said (more or less) that we can trust the commissioners to do the right thing.

They used one brief quote from me, that even some proponents of Vision 2025 expressed concerns about putting this much money in the hands of county government. In a part of the interview they didn't use, I pointed out that opponents to Vision 2025 expressed concern about the lack of safeguards, and that Oklahoma county government, which is one-size-fits-all, was designed for paving rural roads and keeping land records, not for handling half a billion dollars.

Glenn McEntyre put together an excellent report, and I appreciate his efforts and the efforts of KJRH to put this issue in the public eye.

It's not every day I get a big hug from a County Commissioner, and I wouldn't necessarily welcome a hug from any old County Commissioner. But I was proud to receive one from Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller as thanks for my part in shining the light of public scrutiny on the competition for a nearly $100 million five-year contract to operate Tulsa County's jail. On Friday, the Tulsa County Criminal Justice Authority (TCCJA) awarded the contract to the Tulsa County Sheriff's Department.

Shortly after the vote, Miller and Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune spoke at the Tulsa County Republican Men's Club's monthly luncheon. They were exultant that control over the jail had been returned to a public official who is accountable to the voters for law enforcement and public safety, not to corporate shareholders. The Commissioner was kind enough to acknowledge me from the podium as she spoke to the club; after her speech she came over to deliver the hug.

When she first contacted me a week and a half ago about the issue, Miller felt that deals were being worked to give the contract once again to Correctional Corporation of America (CCA), the company that has run the jail for the last five years. This time, CCA was over $2 million per year more expensive than the low bidder, but they were allowed to submit a second, lower bid, which excluded the cost of utilities, courthouse transportation, and certain medical expenses, cost shifting that would be borne by the county. It was a low bid in name only, but the sense was that CCA would have the support of five of the TCCJA commissioners. (The TCCJA includes the three Tulsa County Commissioners, the mayor of Tulsa, and one suburban mayor from each of the County Commission districts -- currently Broken Arrow, Collinsville, and Glenpool.) Miller felt she could support either the GEO Group, the low-bidder, or the Sheriff's Office, only a few hundred thousand dollars higher than the GEO Group. LaFortune was committed to the Sheriff's Office.

I'm at the Lacy Park rec center, on Virgin St. west of Peoria for a reception honoring former U. S. Sen. Don Nickles. The event has been organized by the 2100 N. Owasso Block club, in gratitude for Nickles' help in resolving environmental problems caused by inadequate sewage infrastructure in the area. The reception will be underway shortly and continue until 3 - a chance for you to express your own thanks to Sen. Nickles for his quarter-century of public service. It's also a chance to meet dedicated neighborhood activists like James & Bernice Alexander and Sam Berry, staunch allies in the struggle to make city government work for all Tulsans, not just a favored few.

Also, they're serving food, and it smells really good.

UPDATE: That good-smelling food was homemade smoked beef brisket and turkey, of which I ate way too much. There was some sort of security issue that delayed the senator and in the end prevented him from attending, but the tributes from neighborhood leaders were videotaped to be sent to him later, and it was still a good time.

I should mention for out-of-town readers that Lacy Park is in a predominantly black and predominantly Democratic part of Tulsa, so it might seem remarkable that a conservative Republican senator would be honored here, but it reflects Don Nickles' dedication to fair treatment for all his constituents, whether they voted for him or not. The area had terrible problems with aging infrastructure -- raw sewage backing up into the park, homes, and schools, and brown-tinged tap water. City Hall, then under Democrat Mayor Susan Savage, wasn't doing anything at all to help, so neighborhood leaders went to Sen. Nickles' office.

As Bernice Alexander tells the story, the senator couldn't believe things could be as bad as they were described to him, but they had documentation ready for him, and his response was that no one should have to live with such a mess. He put his staff to work, and the result was Federal oversight to ensure that the City dealt with this environmental hazard -- new interceptor lines, a new sewage treatment plant, new water lines. The determination of the neighborhood leaders and the diligence of Nickles' staff under his leadership saved the neighborhood.

In the absence of the Senator, I was asked, as an officer in the county Republican Party, to speak on his behalf. For all of his well-known accomplishments -- his years in the Senate leadership and his work on landmark legislation -- I know he'd be pleased to know that his work and his staff's work on this neighborhood issue was remembered and appreciated. While I'd rather see local issues handled by local government, this was a case where local government neglect was endangering the health of citizens of this city, and I'm glad that the Senator stepped in.

I'm glad I came. This event is another example of how the walls of suspicion between parties and races and different parts of town are coming down. People are realizing the root problem is bigger than whatever neighborhood issue that first brought them to City Hall in search of help. Democrats and Republicans are coming together to seek for fairness, integrity, and accountability in government. The people who have been using city government for their own ends ought to be very nervous.

I found a treasure trove of photos of homes and interiors in the Lortondale neighborhood, a subdivision of mid-century modern homes near 26th & Yale in Tulsa. The collection also has some great neon photos, including what's left of the Mayo Meadow sign and the Sheridan Lanes sign.

The home interior photos show that the neighborhood is attracting the interest of fans of mid-century architecture, who are decorating the interior in the same spirit.

Best eats in Tulsa?

| | Comments (2)

While I'm always happy to have your comments here on BatesLine, if you want to be part of a more interactive conversation about all things Tulsa, visit the TulsaNow Forums.

One of the forums has several active mouthwatering topics about eats in Tulsa:

There's a whole world of great food beyond the chain restaurants on 71st Street. Stop by those topics, contribute your own favorites, and learn about some places you haven't tried yet.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from March 2005.

Tulsa: February 2005 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: April 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]