Tulsa suburbs Category

IVoted.jpgMunicipalities across Oklahoma are holding city council elections today. Today is also runoff day for school board seats that weren't settled in February. Below are some of the local races. It's encouraging to see that so many of the elections are contested. In Skiatook, every single seat is on the ballot, giving the voters the chance to clean house if they so choose.

As always, polls are open until 7 p.m.

I've heard of some upset in Jenks over whether incumbent councilors should be held accountable for their decision to put a tax on the ballot that was defeated. Defenders of the incumbents say they didn't raise taxes, they just gave the voters a chance to vote. (Sort of like Aaron in Exodus, "I just put the gold in the fire, and out came this calf!") Putting a tax on the ballot is not a neutral act. Elected officials have a responsibility to listen to their constituents before putting something on the ballot. Officials should only propose projects that will have the support of an overwhelming majority of voters. Too often councilors and commissioners listen only to those with a special, vested interest in the outcome (both inside and outside of government), and develop a proposal that pleases those special interests but will require massive campaign funding to persuade a narrow majority of voters.

Ward maps for Tulsa County municipalities


Berryhill school board, Office 3: Sandra Pirtle, Doc Geiger

Glenpool, Ward 1: Timothy Lee Fox (i), David Freeland, Keith Jones

Jenks, Ward 2*: Lonnie Sims(i), Darlene Williams
Jenks, Ward 3: Kevin Rowland(i), Philip Morgans
Jenks, Ward 4: Brian O'Hara, Joshua M. Wedman
Jenks, Ward 6: Greg Bowman(i), Steve Murtha
Jenks, at-large: Paul E. Harris, Kelly Dunkerley(i)

Skiatook, Ward 1: Debbie Cook(I), Connie Clement, Herb Forbes
Skiatook, Ward 2: David Sutherland, Nate Myers, Damon Pace,
Skiatook, Ward 3*: Moe Shoeleh, Joyce Jech (i)
Skiatook, Ward 4*: Skylar Miller, Patrick W. Young
Skiatook, Ward 5: Susan Reed-Hardesty, Richard Barnes, Patty Pippin Ceska, Randy J. Sien (i)
Skiatook, Ward 6*: Steve Kendrick, Shawn Martin, Kevin D. Paslay
Skiatook, at-large*: Leon O'Neal, Eugene Jones, O. L. Bud Ricketts

Sperry, at-large (vote for 2): Marvin Baker, William F. Butler, Robert Morton, Kelly Wensman

An asterisk, *, marks elections to fill an unexpired term.

Incumbent Owasso Mayor Doug Bonebrake is being challenged for his City Council Ward 5 seat by J. B. Alexander, the outgoing Tulsa County Republican Party chairman and a leader of the Owasso Taxpayers Alliance, which has successfully elected two members to the five-member council. The non-partisan election will be held next Tuesday, March 5, 2013. Because only two candidates filed for the seat, the race will be decided on Tuesday.

In October 2011, the Owasso Taxpayers Alliance (OTA) led the record turnout that inflicted a landslide defeat of three Owasso bond issue propositions. Two of the propositions failed to get 20% of the vote; the proposition for roads fared little better with only 22.5%.

The latest edition of the Owasso Reporter has a color ad in which five county officials, a state senator, and a state representative have endorsed Bonebrake. Five of the officials are Republicans, two are Democrats, but none of them live in the City of Owasso. The ad also attacks Alexander.

Six of the seven endorsers live in the City of Tulsa and the other lives in Broken Arrow. Sheriff Stanley Glanz lives in east Tulsa, County Commissioner Karen Keith, State Rep. Eric Proctor, and State Sen. Brian Crain live in midtown Tulsa, County Treasurer Dennis Semler lives in far southeast Tulsa, County Commissioner Fred Perry lives in Broken Arrow, and County Commissioner John Smaligo lives in Tulsa's Brady Heights neighborhood, a short walk from downtown Tulsa.

Another thing most of them have in common with each other and with Bonebrake: They endorsed Vision2. Bonebrake endorsed corporate welfare proposition 1, but did not declare a position on pork barrel proposition 2. Smaligo, Keith, Perry, Semler, and Crain endorsed the entire package. Glanz was reported to have appeared in uniform in a pro-Vision2 ad with Karen Keith. (I am unable to find a record of Proctor taking a stand one way or another on the issue.)

An Evite online invitation seems to show that a fundraiser for Doug Bonebrake was held at the Summit Club in downtown Tulsa on Thursday, February 21, 2013, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The "Message from Host" stated "Please join us in showing support for Owasso Mayor Doug Bonebrake's re-election and to keep Owasso a strong regional partner for continued success and growth throughout Tulsa County" and was signed "Tulsa County Republicans." Because of the timing of the event and Oklahoma's antiquated ethics reporting laws, contributions from the fundraiser won't have to be reported until after the election. (Click to see a screenshot of the Doug Bonebrake for Mayor Summit Club fundraiser invitation.)

The two Vision2 propositions received just under 40% of the vote in the Owasso area precincts (750 through 760), which may explain why the ad was silent about that issue. J. B. Alexander, as an outspoken leader in the opposition to Vision2, is more in line with the views of his Owasso neighbors than his opponent is.

J. B. Alexander, Owasso city council candidateJ. B. Alexander showed a great deal of courage in personally opposing Vision2 and allowing the Republican County Committee to vote to take a stand on Vision2, when he was undoubtedly under a great deal of pressure to at least remain silent for the sake of the Republican officials who voted to put the misbegotten corporate welfare and pork barrel plan on the ballot. I imagine those officials might feel some resentment toward Alexander for his role in their plan's defeat, and that might motivate support for his opponent.

I've only known J. B. for about four years, from when he was first elected as GOP county vice chairman in 2009. What I've seen is that he is a hard worker, a committed conservative, and he has bent over backwards to be fair to everyone, notwithstanding the vocal complaints of the Big Government minority in the party. His day job involves ensuring that taxpayers get their money's worth on government construction contracts; he inspects the work to ensure that it was completed to specifications, without skimping on material or workmanship. Sometimes that means a contractor gets upset when he's told to redo work in order to fix a deficiency. It's not surprising that someone devoted to the best interest of taxpayers would be on the receiving end of darts from the political class.

MORE: J. B. Alexander's Facebook page, where he discusses specific issues and answers voters' questions.

More commentary on Owasso City Hall politics at Owasso Matters and Rossviews.

I've started to put together a series of fliers explaining why Vision2 hurts Tulsa County's municipalities and how these cities would be better off enacting a city sales tax to replace the Vision 2025 county sales tax when it expires on the last day of 2016. Here are the first three, for Broken Arrow, Glenpool, and Owasso.

You'll notice that most of the reasons are the same from city to city. The key difference is in the money each city would get from Vision2 vs. how much they would get from a city tax of the same rate and duration. This tax would go into effect as soon as Vision 2025 expires, so that the overall sales tax rate wouldn't change.

The Vision2 amounts for each city are those that the proponents have publicized. The estimate of money that could be raised by a city sales tax of the same rate and duration is based on each city's sales tax receipts for the 12 months from October 2011 through September 2012. (One year's sales tax receipts / sales tax rate * 0.6% * 13 years.) I've rounded all numbers to the nearest million.

One of the big drawbacks of Vision2 for a growing suburb is that its percentage of the Vision2 Prop 2 tax receipts is frozen in time, based on its share of county population in 2010, no matter how much they grow in population and retail sales. By contrast, a city sales tax would grow as the city grows.

Click each image to download a corresponding ready-for-printing PDF. Opponents of Vision2 are welcome to copy and hand these out as long as you don't change it at all.

Vision2 vs. BrokenArrow

Vision2 vs. Glenpool

Vision2 vs. Owasso

All images Copyright 2012 by Michael D. Bates. Limited license granted to opponents of Vision2 to copy and distribute without alteration prior to November 7, 2012.

Jenks and Owasso voters turned down property tax increases (general obligation bond issues) by overwhelming margins on Tuesday, while Broken Arrow school district voters approved a reallocation of an existing bond issue that involved no tax increase at all.

According to KRMG News, the Owasso tax increase would have amounted to about $170 annually on a $100,000 home, while the Jenks increase would have been about $25 per $100,000.

Complete but unofficial results from the Tulsa County Election Board:

City of Jenks

Fire equipment, police headquarters
Yes 288 32.99%
No 585 67.01%
City of Owasso

Proposition 1: Youth sports facilities
Yes 676 14.02%
No 4146 85.98%

Proposition 2: Streets
Yes 1,088 22.53%
No 3,742 77.47%

Proposition 3: Parks and aquatic center
Yes 779 16.21%
No 4,026 83.79%

ISD-3 (Broken Arrow)

Yes 2,671 78.19%
No 745 21.81%


It appears that voters want their elected officials to focus on the basics and even then they want to see good stewardship of existing revenue streams rather than higher rates.

This is the make-do era. We are paying down debt, delaying major purchases, taking few risks, making the most of what we already have. In the current environment, transferring money from homeowners to heavy construction companies for the sake of some nice-to-haves doesn't make much sense.

Tulsa's establishment and elected officials will probably take the wrong lesson from the result and assume a marketing failure. Hire the right PR firm, the right political consultants, and any tax hike will pass. It worked in 2003. It almost worked in 2007.

But not now, not for a long time to come.

Oklahoma towns and cities with a statutory charter (which is to say, no charter at all; they are governed by the default provisions of Oklahoma Statutes Title 11) and some charter cities have elections today, Tuesday, April 5, 2011. Some school board seats will have a runoff, if none of the candidates received 50% of the vote back on February 8.

Here in Tulsa County, Broken Arrow, Glenpool, Jenks, Sand Springs, and Skiatook each have city council or town trustee races on the ballot. It's encouraging to see that nearly every seat up for re-election has been contested.

Broken Arrow and Bixby electorates will each decide four municipal bond issues. Broken Arrow's bond issues cover streets, public safety, parks, and stormwater. Bixby votes on streets, public safety, and parks, and an amendment to a street project approved in a 2006 tax vote.

Tulsa Technology District (vo-tech) Zone 2 has a runoff between former Tulsa Police Chief Drew Diamond and Catoosa school superintended Rick Kibbe (both registered Democrats). The two candidates each received less than 100 votes in the snowbound February primary. Skiatook has a runoff between Linda Loftis (registered as a Republican) and Mike Mullins (registered as a Democrat) to fill an unexpired term for seat 3.

Oklahoma City has a high-profile council runoff, too, between a candidate backed by the shadowy Momentum committee and physician Ed Shadid. Shadid seems to be drawing support from a wide range of Oklahoma City bloggers; the list of endorsers includes Charles G. Hill of Dustbury, Oklahoma City historian Doug Loudenback, young urbanist Nick Roberts, and slightly older urbanist Blair Humphreys.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Tulsa suburbs category.

Tulsa Recall 2005 is the previous category.

Tulsa Vision 2025 is the next category.

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