Tulsa Election 2013: March 2013 Archives

Today, March 23, 2013, the Tulsa County Republican Party held its biennial convention at the Jenks High School Performing Arts Center. In the spring of each odd-numbered year, Oklahoma Republicans gather in precinct caucuses, where they elect precinct officers and elect delegates to the County Convention who elect a county party chairman and vice chairman, two State Committee members, and two Congressional District Committee members to a two-year term. The county convention also elects delegates to the state convention, where a state chairman and vice chairman are chosen for a two-year term. 375 delegates were present.

(There is also a quadrennial series of meetings at the precinct, county, district, and state level, for the purpose of election national convention delegates and members of the Republican National Committee.)

Because of a change in the state party rules, there are no longer any gender quotas in precinct, county, and state Republican offices. Where we used to elect a state committeeman, state committeewoman, district committeeman, and district committeewoman, we now simply elect two members to each committee, which changes the political calculus considerably. All nominees for a particular committee were on the ballot for both seats. A coalition of Ron Paul supporters and Tea Party supporters united around a consistent slate, to the point that the candidate designated for the second seat voted against herself and for the designated first-seat candidate when the first seat was up for election. They had a near-majority in the hall with enough other supporters to prevail.

Here are the results:

Chairman: Mike McCutchin, the current vice chairman, was elected chairman without opposition.

Vice Chairman: Joanne Tyree, a long-time party and campaign volunteer, was elected vice chairman without opposition.

State Committee: There were six candidates for two seats: Bruce Baker, Rachel Brewer, Joanna Francisco, Charlotte Harer, Chris Medlock, T. C. Ryan. Ryan, 28, and Francisco, 44, were elected. Both were active in support of Ron Paul for president, and Ryan was also very involved in the successful Stop Vision 2 campaign.

Ryan fell just short of a first-round victory for the first seat with 48%; Francisco and Baker were eliminated and Medlock withdrew in support of Harer. Ryan received 60% of the vote on the second round to win. For the second seat, Medlock, Brewer, and Baker withdrew and urged support for Harer; Francisco won.

District Committee: The winners were Don Wyatt, 66, one of the incumbents, who also runs Boondoggle Blog, and Amanda Teegarden, 57, of OK-SAFE. The other candidates were incumbent committeewoman Donna Mills and Aaron Brewer.

A straw poll was taken in the Tulsa Mayor's race and the Tulsa County Commission District 3 special election, which will both be on the June 11 primary ballot. Although the mayor's race is officially non-partisan, Bill Christiansen and Dewey Bartlett Jr are both registered Republicans; Bartlett Jr was even a leading member of "Republicans for Kathy [Taylor]" in 2009; and both are vying for the support of Republcans. The District 3 race is likely to be settled in the primary, as it was the last time the seat was open in 2006. The results:

Tulsa Mayor: Former City Councilor Bill Christiansen 114, Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr 56.

Tulsa County Commission District 3: Ronda Vuillemont-Smith 102, Ron Peters 24, Don Crall 17, Terry Simonson 6. Vuillemont-Smith heads the local 9/12 Project chapter and was a leader of the opposition to Vision2. Ron Peters is the former State Representative for District 70. Don Crall is from Bixby. Terry Simonson is former county commission chief deputy and chief of staff to Dewey Bartlett Jr.

Brandon Perkins announced his candidacy for the District 3 seat at the convention; his name was not on the straw poll ballot. I believe that he is a member of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission and the brother of Mark Perkins, who ran as an independent for mayor of Tulsa in 2009.

The convention voted overwhelmingly to approve the report of the Platform Committee and voted to send all county convention delegates as Tulsa County's delegates to the state convention.

There were some technical hiccups with registration which delayed completion of the credentials report, but we managed to adjourn at about 5 p.m., an hour later than planned but well before our move-out time.


Randy Krehbiel reported on the convention for the Tulsa World. 375 delegates checked in Saturday morning and were issued credentials; Krehbiel gave the number as 300. While I'd agree that the contested elections were a better indication of the shifts in the party than uncontested elections, having served four years as Tulsa County's state committeeman, I don't agree that the "state and district committee members... are ultimately responsible for party policy," at least not to the level of influence that that statement implies. They are indeed members of the county party central committee, along with the chairman and vice chairman, but the chairman has the power to appoint the executive committee, and he is the party's public face, and it's the county committee, consisting of all the precinct chairmen and vice chairmen, that officially governs the party between conventions.

Both the state committee and district committee are mainly focused on the nuts and bolts of party governance -- holding conventions, filling vacancies in party offices, making recommendations on rules changes -- rather than on governmental policy. The state committee is the governing body of the state party between conventions, but Tulsa County's two votes are a mere drop in the bucket; every county has two members, and all the Republican legislators, members of Congress, and statewide elected officials are also members of the state committee. The state committee meets quarterly, mainly to hear reports on party fundraising and activities. If the chairman or vice chairman resigns, the state committee elects a replacement, and that's happened fairly often in the last 10 years. The state committee meets right before the state convention to vote on whether to recommend proposed state rules changes to the convention, which must approve any rules changes.

The main concern of the district committee -- which consists of two members from each county in the district -- is putting on the quadrennial congressional district convention that elects three delegates and three alternates to the national convention. The district committee also elects a district chairman and vice chairman. In Oklahoma, congressional district chairmen have traditionally been involved in candidate recruitment for state legislature, an especially important role in the 1990s when the GOP was in the minority.

I'll be on 1170 KFAQ Wednesday morning at 7 with Pat Campbell to talk about mayoral candidate and former Tulsa mayor Kathy Taylor's record during her term from April 2006 to December 2009.*


Taylor is claiming to have "cut wasteful spending," but in fact the general fund budget under her reign climbed from $215,413,000 (LaFortune's last budget, FY2005-2006) to $255,271,000 (FY2008-2009), an 18.5% increase in just three years, about twice the rate of inflation over the same period. Her final budget ($244,511,000 for FY 2009-2010) was only slightly lower in response to the worldwide fiscal crisis, despite Councilor Bill Martinson's warnings, only 4% below its high water mark; spending had to be cut more drastically after she left office.

I'm sure we'll be talking about Taylor's budget record and about her decision to join Mayor Michael "Nanny" Bloomberg's Mayors against Illegal Guns, a group that wanted the federal government to be able to keep records of lawful gun purchases, and her pledge for local implementation of the provisions of the Kyoto Treaty on global warming, among other low-lights of her term. Almost certainly we'll talk of how Taylor surrendered to a questionable lawsuit so as to force Tulsa taxpayers to pay $7.1 million owed by defunct Great Plains Airlines, a locally based carrier that claimed it would fly non-stop jets from Tulsa to the coasts but which never got farther than Albuquerque. The Oklahoma Supreme Court set aside the Tulsa-Great Plains judgment in 2011.

What we cannot forget, however, is that Dewey Bartlett Jr., the current mayor, was OK with Kathy Taylor's record. In 2009, when Taylor was running for re-election -- before she decided to bail out -- Dewey Bartlett Jr endorsed Kathy Taylor for re-election:

Dewey Bartlett Jr endorses Kathy Taylor for Mayor of Tulsa

"Tulsa has always had a history of great leadership from the business community. Kathy's tireless, visionary style is yet another example of non-partisan leadership that focuses on the future of Tulsa. I am proud to support her re-election efforts." Dewey Bartlett Jr., President Keener Oil and Gas Company

Recently, Dewey Bartlett Jr was asked by KFAQ's Pat Campbell, whether he would endorse fellow Republican Bill Christiansen if he himself failed to make the runoff. Bartlett Jr's reply: "Absolutely, I think the Republican philosophy of conservatism... is the type of philosophy we need to run this city... we have to have that." And yet in 2009, Bartlett Jr supported re-electing a Democrat, specifically a big-spending, gun-grabbing believer in anthropogenic global-warming malarkey, without even waiting to see who her Republican opponent might be.

And not only did Dewey Bartlett Jr endorse the Kathy Taylor who improperly gave away $7.1 million in our taxes to Bank of Oklahoma, Dewey Bartlett Jr actually praised Taylor and BOK for this Great Plains Airlines raw deal, and then he voted for it, as a member of the Tulsa Airport Improvements Trust. (Click the link to watch the video.)

Dewey Bartlett Jr, Tulsa mayorI don't know how to account for the cognitive dissonance between Bartlett Jr's 2009 endorsement of a big-spending, leftist Democrat running for re-election and his 2013 statement that we need the "Republican philosophy of conservatism" running Tulsa. I'd call him Dewey Gump, but I think it'd be an insult to Forrest Gump, who was a better judge of character and seemingly more aware of his surroundings.

MORE: Taylor for Tulsa has been running misleading Facebook ads to juice up the number of "likes" for Kathy Taylor's campaign page. The ads tell you to click "Like" if you like little baby ducks, old pick-up trucks, slow moving trains, and rain, among other things. A recent example -- a picture of the Tulsa skyline with the caption "Click 'Like' if you support a mayor committed to reducing crime in Tulsa." This is a misleading ad, and should be reported as such by clicking the X that appears when you hover your mouse over the ad, then click "Hide this ad," then click the circle next to "Misleading."

*The odd length of term was the result of the switch from mayoral elections in the spring of even numbered years to the fall of odd numbered years.

Former House District 70 representative Ron Peters has announced his candidacy for the Tulsa County Commission District 3 seat being vacated by retiring Commissioner Fred Perry.

In 2003, Peters was one of six Republicans to support a state lottery, breaking ranks with the vast majority of the GOP caucus. Had Peters and one other Republican voted no, the lottery would have failed. In 2004, Peters was one of only five Republicans supporting casino gaming, and once again, had two of the five defected to the other side, the measure would have failed.

In a 2006 UTW column, I singled out Peters as an incumbent in need of a Republican challenger, mainly for his bills that would have damaged local control and homeowner input into land use and zoning issues. That year, Peters co-sponsored two bills (SB 1324 and HB 2559) to interfere with city policy on special exceptions and historic preservation districts.

Ron Peters, who represents House District 70 in midtown, is one of those who need to go. Off the record, his Republican colleagues will tell you that he is one of the least cooperative, least trustworthy, least principled members of their caucus. They'd be happy to see him go.

Peters was one of a half-dozen Republicans who broke with the party to support the lottery and the introduction of full-fledged casino gambling, with all their accompanying social ills.

SB 1324 and HB 2559 are not his first assaults on homeowners' rights and local control of land use issues. In 2005, Peters and Crain co-authored HB 1911.

In addition to the Board of Adjustment provisions that made their way into SB 1324, the earlier bill would have removed notice requirements for property owners within a redevelopment (i.e., urban renewal) district. Owners would not have had to be notified about public hearings regarding redevelopment plans affecting their property. It also would have removed a requirement for redevelopment plans to be approved by the City Council.

Peters hasn't had a challenger since he first won the seat in the 2000 Republican primary. A conservative Republican challenger could unseat him, if only one would step forward.

Peters' list of endorsers on his announcement press release reads like a who's-who of midtowners who regularly push for higher taxes and less democracy. Don Walker was co-chairman of the failed Vision2 Tulsa County sales tax scheme. Larry Mocha, has an op-ed in the Sunday paper pleading for Oklahoma to implement Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.

Many on Peters' list supported the failed and divisive 2005 recall attempt against Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino; compare his supporters to the list of donors to the pro-recall Coalition for Responsible Government 2004. Or compare the list on Peters' press release to this list of supporters of "Save Our Tulsa" and this list of advisory board members for "Tulsans for Better Government," both groups that pushed for the election of at-large city councilors, a move that would have concentrated power in wealthy midtown neighborhoods at the expense of the rest of Tulsa.

The first name on Peters' list is Bob Dick, the former County Commissioner for District 3. Conservatives were happy to see Dick retire in 2006. In 2005, I wrote a column for UTW cataloging the County Commission's fondness for sole-source contracts under Bob Dick's leadership. In 2002, the Tulsa World reported on Dick's "dear friend" John Piercey and the loans he had obtained through the Tulsa County Industrial Authority (whose board consists of the three county commissioners) to buy apartment complexes.

Based on his record and his list of supporters, I'd suspect that Peters will vote to put another county tax on the ballot, will work against transparency and competitive bidding in county government, for gimmicky approaches to economic development, will support the appointment of anti-neighborhood types to the three county seats on the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, and will subordinate the needs of unincorporated Tulsa County to the wants of Midtown Tulsa's Money Belt. Those of us who believe in limited, transparent, and responsive government will be looking for a better candidate for the Tulsa County Commission District 3 seat.

Last year the City of Tulsa changed the secondary disinfectant used in our drinking water from chlorine to chloramine, a derivative of ammonia. The change was to meet EPA regulations intended to eliminate a carcinogenic by-product of chlorine disinfection (trihalomethanes), but the replacement method has its own unpleasant side effects: Chloramine-treated water can't be used in fish ponds or for dialysis, it can cause rubber plumbing parts to deteriorate, may leach lead from old pipes, and there are concerns that it hasn't thoroughly been tested for health effects on humans.

A group called Tulsans Against Chloramine attempted unsuccessfully to persuade the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority to stop the conversion to chloramine and opt for a safer method of disinfection. Since the conversion, TAC has been continuing to work to educate the public about their concerns and building pressure to reverse the decision.

Tulsans Against Chloramine have invited candidates for Tulsa mayor to attend their meeting this Tuesday night, March 12, 2013, at 6:30 at Hardesty Regional Library, 8316 E 93rd St, Tulsa. The speaker will be Robert Bowcock, an expert on the use of chloramines in public water supplies.

Join Tulsans Against Chloramine for a meeting to discuss the CHLORAMINE in our water supply and what WE can do to reverse the decision. The Tulsa Mayoral candidates have been invited to attend this meeting. We feel it is important for them to know our concerns and to have the most up to date information regarding Chloramine.

Let's make Tulsa a city that does the right thing for the health and property of its people as well as our environment.

Our guest speaker is Mr. Robert Bowcock, who is a national water specialist and an American Water Works Association member for over 30 years. He conducts environmental investigations with Erin Brockovich. Mr. Bowcock is working with TAC to stop the use of Chloramine and move towards a safer alternative for the Tulsa area.

Please join us to make a difference in our community.

About this Archive

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

Tulsa Election 2013: February 2013 is the previous archive.

Tulsa Election 2013: April 2013 is the next archive.

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