Tulsa City Hall: September 2006 Archives

Ron Turner's last dig

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It was just days before he would be replaced on the Tulsa Airport Improvements Trust (TAIT) and Tulsa Airport Authority (TAA), having been rejected behind the scenes by the City Council for reappointment to another term. Nevertheless, at the board's meeting last Thursday, September 14, lame-duck Ron Turner jumped right in to nominate Meredith Siegfried for another year as TAA chairman, breaking the precedent of rotating the chairmanship. Not only did he make the nomination, but he cast the deciding vote. Although he wasn't legally obliged to abstain, it would have been decent and honorable to allow his replacement, Dewey Bartlett, Jr., to participate in the selection of a new chairman.

Siegfried, as chairman, seconded her own nomination.

Siegfried and Turner are both Nordam board members and have tended to vote in lockstep on TAA and TAIT. Perhaps, by keeping her in the chairmanship, Turner figures he can keep a hand in running the city's airports.

Not only is it a breach of precedent, it's a bit presumptuous to appoint Siegfried to a year as chairman when her TAA/TAIT term expires midway through her term as chairman. There's no guarantee that the Mayor will reappoint her or that the Council will confirm her.

The nominations were approved by a 3-2 vote, with Don Himelfarb from the Mayor's office casting a vote in favor. Himelfarb was attending his first TAA/TAIT meeting and acknowledged, in response to Siegfried's question that the Mayor had not given him any direction regarding the selection of a new chairman. Nevertheless, he voted. It's not clear whether he was there as a formal proxy for the Mayor, and therefore entitled to vote on her behalf, or just present as her eyes and ears.

(Where was Mayor Kathy Taylor? There's a rumor that she was out of the country -- in Paris with her husband. If she was running the city long-distance, it might also explain why she was caught flat-footed by the controversy over police pay.)

David Schuttler has posted the meeting video at Google -- you can find via this entry on his site. The vote on officers for 2006-7 occurs within the first eight minutes.

The Tulsa Police Department has had a blog for a few months now, but they've recently added a new blogger.

Casey Mankin is one of twenty recruits in the current TPD Academy. Mankin, 32, is a C-130 pilot in the Oklahoma National Guard. He's married, and they're expecting their first baby in January. He began blogging his experiences starting with his orientation back in June.

Mankin's blog entries are collected in the "Academy Life" category of the TPD blog.

Other recent TPD blog entries of note:

There's a map that shows the City of Tulsa divided into drainage basins, named after creeks that carry stormwater runoff to the rivers. It's interesting because it also illustrates where the city's ridges and high points are, such as the major divide between the part of the city that drains directly into the Arkansas River (via Crow, Joe, Haikey, Fred Creeks, among others) and the part that drains into the Verdigris (via Mingo, Bird, and Spunky Creeks, among others).

I've seen these maps at the State Fair and at neighborhood meetings, but I've never been able to find it online. Can anyone point me to a digital copy?

Money for that police raise

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Mayor Kathy Taylor is busy trying to wash her hands of any tough decision-making on giving Tulsa police officers the raise that the arbitrator says they deserve. In the Tulsa Whirled today she's quoted as saying:

"So far, I'm pretty disappointed that the police haven't come to help me develop a solution to this problem," the mayor said. "We need to work as a team to figure it out."

She said the "easiest thing would be to accept the raise and not figure out how to pay for it long term, but that is not the fiscally responsible thing to do."

Taylor said she has asked Police Chief Dave Been and the FOP leadership to provide information by Sept. 1 on how to pay for their raise, but hasn't gotten a detailed analysis. She said she plans to call on them again.

"This shouldn't just be up to the mayor to figure out when the FOP and the chief are running the Police Department," she said.

It's hard not to hear a peevish, passive-aggressive tone in that comment.

It's the Mayor's job, as head of the City's executive branch, to allocate the City's financial resources to fit our priorities and meet our obligations. She has a finance department to help her with that task. She's already punted once on serious budget work this year, opting for a utility rate increase instead of limiting the growth of the city budget to the rate of inflation.

A couple of people have suggested a source of funds worth considering: The money currently used to pay the Tulsa Metro Chamber for convention and tourism promotion and economic development. Not all of the money, mind you, just the additional percentage of the hotel/motel tax that the Chamber has been granted every year since the late '80s.

It is reasonable to argue that nothing is more important to Tulsa's ability to attract conventions, tourists, and new businesses, and to retain existing businesses and attract the labor pool they need to grow and thrive, than to get violent crime in Tulsa under control. And to do that we need to retain our best police officers and attract high-quality additions to the force.

I'm pleased to see that four of the City Councilors are backing the raise. It seems to me that the Council could on its own initiative pass a budget amendment to make the funds available for the raise, then appropriate the funds. If the Mayor approves the budget amendment and appropriation, the raise would go in without the need for an election. The election would only go forward if the Mayor vetoed the raise.

They told you so

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Those meddlesome City Councilors told us that these members of the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority (TMUA), Messrs. Cameron and Reynolds, were arrogant and uncooperative. They declined to support their reappointment to this authority which controls Tulsa's water system, and whose policy decisions affect the future growth of Tulsa and its suburbs.

In July 2004, as these two men were up for reappointment, the Council had questions about the policy of the TMUA for prioritizing the extension of water lines to unserved parts of the city ahead of extending new lines to the suburbs. Rather than respect the Council's concerns and delay any significant decisions until the issue could be addressed, the TMUA voted the next day to extend a new water line to Bixby. That action was an expression of the TMUA's high-handed contempt for our elected representatives on the City Council.

The Council responded with the only tool they have for keeping authorities, boards, and commissions in line with the will of the public. Five councilors -- Henderson, Mautino, Medlock, Roop, and Turner -- voted against both of them. Their action drew howls of outrage from the Mayor's office, the suburban development industry, and the Tulsa Whirled. Two of the five were targeted for recall. Medlock was specifically told that if he approved the reappointment of Cameron and Reynolds and new water lines to Owasso, the recall effort would be dropped.

After months of lobbying and pressure, Sam Roop flipped his vote, going back on a signed commitment not to support the reappointment of Cameron and Reynolds under any circumstances. Shortly thereafter, Roop was appointed to a high-level position in Mayor Bill LaFortune's administration. Cameron and Reynolds were back in for another three-year term.

Saturday's Whirled had a story about Mayor Kathy Taylor's concerns about the TMUA. Decisions about the board's lobbyists and attorneys were made without consulting the board. She was left out of the loop on the change in lobbyists. One TMUA member, Richard Sevenoaks, has been excluded from membership on any of the TMUA's three committees. (The board has only seven members.)

If I'm not mistaken, Cameron and Reynolds should be up for reappointment next year. The Mayor should replace these two with board members who will look after the City of Tulsa's best interests first, who will be deferential to policies set by the city's elected officials, and who will not regard the TMUA as their personal fiefdom.

And sometime soon, the Tulsa Whirled, among others, should apologize to Henderson, Mautino, Medlock, and Turner for all the nasty things the paper wrote about them for opposing the reappointment of these two board members.

UPDATE: Tultellitarian has given Cameron and Reynolds the GOBble award.

Tulsa City Council Weekly Bulletins


Every week, Tulsa's City Councilors receive a bulletin with a list of upcoming city and county board and commission meetings, with hotlinks to the agendas for each, plus links to other news and articles worthy of our councilors' attention. The current weekly bulletin and an archive of back issues are available on the City Council website.

Of note in the latest issue: A 1950s photo of 71st and Memorial, back when it was a county road intersection, and a summary of the latest population trends. Metro area population grew 7% from 2004 to 2005, but the City of Tulsa lost 2.4%, dropping down to 370,447.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa City Hall category from September 2006.

Tulsa City Hall: August 2006 is the previous archive.

Tulsa City Hall: October 2006 is the next archive.

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



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