Tulsa Election 2013: February 2013 Archives

Former City Councilor Roscoe Turner has announced his endorsement of his long-time Council colleague Bill Christiansen in the 2013 race for Mayor of Tulsa. Christiansen will face two other announced candidates, incumbent Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett Jr. and former Mayor Kathy Taylor.

From the Christiansen campaign news release:

Roscoe Turner, former Tulsa City Councilor, as the Golden DrillerIn welcoming the support of the long-time north Tulsa leader Christiansen cited the Turner endorsement as yet another sign that the people of our community are excited about the prospect of a Mayor for all Tulsa. Christiansen stated, "Roscoe has a reputation for telling it like it is and standing up for the interests of Tulsans. His confidence in me and our campaign is a great honor."

Turner stated: "I have never before publically endorsed another city candidate for office. I would not be involved in this election if I did not feel strongly that if Bill Christiansen is not elected, the people of Tulsa will suffer. Now more than ever we need a Mayor that seeks to be a servant leader - not the city boss. During his time on the City Council Bill had a great relationship with everyone he worked with. He showed genuine concern for every part of Tulsa. When he says he wants to a Mayor for all of Tulsa his words are consistent with his past actions."

Turner pointed to the recent city-wide defeat of the Vision 2 package as proof that the people of Tulsa are ready to stand up to the special interests and demand competence and accountability before supporting spending programs. Turner said, "Like the successful fight against Vision 2, I am calling on Tulsans to get the facts, and don't be fooled by big money gimmicks. We need to show up in record numbers and prove once again, the day has past when the select few can buy the votes of the people of North, East, West and South Tulsa."

The endorsement by Turner is an indication of Christiansen's political transformation from Chambercrat to populist reformer. The same Money Belt-backed push that defeated Turner in the 2002 Democratic primary also helped Christiansen unseat incumbent Todd Huston. Huston and Turner had both opposed "It's Tulsa's Time," the failed Chamber-backed attempt to raise the city sales tax for a sports arena in 2000, marking them for establishment revenge.

When Turner returned to the Council in 2004, he aligned himself with the "Gang of Five," an ethnically and geographically diverse coalition of councilors (Jack Henderson, Jim Mautino, Chris Medlock, Sam Roop, and Turner) representing the historically neglected western, northern, and eastern periphery of Tulsa. Christiansen was aligned on the other side with Randy Sullivan, Tom Baker, and Susan Neal, opposing the Gang of Five on council organization, Chamber funding, investigation of airport mismanagement, and neighborhood issues.

Bill Christiansen, 2013 candidate for Tulsa MayorIn later years, Christiansen was confronted by threats to neighborhood integrity and citizen involvement in planning. Christiansen opposed the proposed Yale alignment for a new bridge to Bixby, putting him at odds with many erstwhile allies. The treatment of neighboring homeowners in the rezoning and development of a south Tulsa apartment complex prompted Christiansen to push for and co-chair a Council task force on land use communication in 2009. That same year, Christiansen was targeted for defeat by the same establishment that had elevated him in 2002, but he successfully turned back a challenge from Tulsa Community Foundation head Phil Lakin. Christiansen opted not to run for re-election in 2011. In 2012, Christiansen came out in opposition to the Vision2 county sales tax scheme, as did Turner.

If Christiansen can sew up the support of north, south, west, and east Tulsa while Taylor and Bartlett Jr fight over their core constituency in the Midtown Money Belt, Christiansen has a strong chance of beating his wealthier competitors in the June primary. A contested special Republican primary election the same day should boost turnout in south Tulsa where it should also boost Christiansen's chances.

MORE: Bill Christiansen has opened a campaign headquarters at 3939 S. Harvard Ave.

Tulsa County District 3 Commissioner Fred Perry announced today that he will resign effective July 8, 2013, about 18 months before the expiration of his second term as a commissioner. (Read the press release at TheOkie.com.) The announcement comes three months after Perry, age 72, underwent a heart procedure; Perry cited "health reasons" as the motivation for stepping down.

Perry's political career will end as it began, with a mid-term resignation. In January 1994, Perry won a three-way, all-GOP special election to fill the House District 69 created by the resignation of David Smith. Perry was term-limited in the legislature in 2006, when he ran for the County Commission District 3 after incumbent Bob Dick announced his decision not to seek re-election. Perry advanced to a runoff in a crowded Republican primary, then defeated Tulsa City Councilor Bill Christiansen in the runoff to win the election, as no Democrat filed for the office.

Perry, who was elected to the County Commission with the support of grassroots conservative volunteers, disappointed many of his backers by voting to advance the 2007 county sales tax for river projects and the 2012 Vision2 county sales tax. Both measures were turned down by voters.

Fred Perry and I have often been at odds during his time as County Commissioner, particularly concerning the sales tax propositions he supported and disputes between the county and the City of Tulsa (e.g. annexation of the Fairgrounds and the jail agreement). To his credit, he never hesitated to make his case in writing, whether in the comments here at BatesLine or in the pages of Urban Tulsa Weekly.

During his time in office, a number of improvements have been made to the Tulsa County website. Early in his term, as chairman of the county commission, Perry arranged to distribute ex officio board memberships among all the commissioners, rather than putting the full burden on the person holding the chairmanship, which by tradition rotates annually among the three commissioners.

In his resignation press release, Perry has proposed that the special election to replace him could be held at the same time as Tulsa's mayoral election, with the special primary at the same time as the city's primary on June 11 and the general election at the same time as the city runoff (if needed) on August 13. The special county commission primary could have an impact on the non-partisan mayor's race, driving up Republican turnout in south Tulsa, Bill Christiansen's home turf.

(The latest set of city election dates is so new -- it was approved in June 2012 -- it has yet to be incorporated into the online version of the Tulsa City Charter. Here is the markup version, showing the changes approved in June 2012.)

Here's wishing Fred Perry a long, healthy, and happy retirement.

The first step toward electing county and state officials and reshaping the platform for the Oklahoma Republican Party is about to get underway. GOP precinct caucuses for Tulsa County will be held over the next three days (Thursday through Saturday, February 7-9, 2013); each precinct chairman can select the precinct's own meeting time and location within that window. Here is a document listing all the Tulsa County precincts and the meeting date, time, location, and chairman for each. Many precinct chairmen are opting to share a central location with other precincts from the same state house district. These central meetings will conduct opening ceremonies together (invocation, flag salute, announcements) then break into groups by precinct.

To find your precinct number, visit the Oklahoma State Election Board's precinct locator.

Each precinct caucus will elect precinct officers to serve for the next two years, will elect delegates to the county convention, and will vote on resolutions to be considered for inclusion in the county platform.

Something that I hope will be discussed in every precinct is whether the local Republican Party organization should hold an endorsing convention for this fall's race for Mayor of Tulsa. This will be the first non-partisan mayoral election to be held in Tulsa for 90 years or so, and there are likely to be at least two Republican candidates running, and possibly more than two conservatives. Just because there are no party labels on the ballot doesn't prohibit a party from endorsing the candidate that they deem best able to win and govern according to the party's platform. School elections and most municipal elections in Oklahoma are conducted without reference to party labels; there should be a standard process by which local parties can endorse in these races.

I also hope that precinct caucuses will consider and pass resolutions on local issues, which are often overlooked in favor of highly publicized national issues. A platform plank opposing, say, any county tax that funds municipal projects or renewal of the Vision 2025 sales tax or creation of a "deal closing" corporate welfare fund gives party officials a platform from which to speak against such proposals, even when they're put forward by Republican elected officials.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Election 2013 category from February 2013.

Tulsa Election 2013: March 2013 is the next archive.

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