Tulsa City Hall: May 2007 Archives

Thanks to a helpful reader, I managed to find a cached version of the crime position paper that had been on Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor's campaign website prior to the 2006 election. Just in case it vanishes from there, I've posted the whole thing below, in the extended entry. It would be interesting to know from police officers and other insiders how many of these proposals have been put into motion.

I can still find no sign of Taylor's campaign commercials. If you happened to capture any of them, please contact me at blog at batesline dot com.

UPDATE 2006/05/28 10:30 pm: A reader with inside knowledge of Tulsa Police Department operations e-mailed his point-by-point review of Taylor's plan -- what's been implemented and what hasn't. For ease of comparison, I've added his review below each point.

Also (hat tip to MeeCiteeWurkor), the FOP local has a page devoted to tracking Taylor's campaign promises regarding crime. I'll include their evaluation as of today below each section.

The situation with the cameras ought to be easy and inexpensive to remedy. A simple digital camera ought to be standard equipment in every squad car.

This week in UTW, I'm writing about Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor's vanished campaign promises and her failure to deliver on one of them in particular: a more collaborative relationship with the City Council. Her refusal to keep them in the loop about the hiring of an interim and a permanent police chief, her use of private dollars for public actions (like the recruitment of a new chief) to try to circumvent the Open Records act, and her unilateral decisions to commit Tulsa to radical positions on gun control and anthropogenic global warming with which most Tulsans disagree.

Two weeks ago, Kathy Taylor became the 500th mayor to sign the U. S. Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, which you can read in PDF form here, and you can read more about the agreement's development on the website of Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. And here is the Climate Protection page on the U. S. Conference of Mayors website. Taylor's action came without any consultation with the City Council.

And here's a belated link to the previous week's column about the last-minute agreement reached on Fairgrounds annexation, negotiated by Taylor behind the Council's back, and the need for the Council to defend its institutional prerogatives for the sake of checks and balances in local government. In the same column, I also covered an apology by a Tulsa Whirled reporter to the Tulsa Minuteman Project for underestimated their numbers at a Cinco de Mayo counter-rally, and I make my recommendations for Absolute Best of Tulsa Spiritual Leader and Best Family Fun Spot.

MORE: Here's an interesting thread on a national police and law enforcement forum about the Tulsa Police Department and Taylor's criteria for a new chief. The pseudonymous officer posting there claims Taylor is only looking at female candidates. If true, it would be another example of Taylor putting left-wing politics ahead of the public interest.

Tulsa Police Department's "don't ask" policy regarding illegal aliens is creating a vicious cycle -- fewer reports of crimes by illegal aliens means a perception that Federal support isn't needed.

May 24, 2007

City of Tulsa
200 Civic Center
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103

Dear Tulsa City Council,

We firmly believe that a change in Tulsa Police Department’s (TPD) “hands off” policy in dealing with illegal immigration is a vital step towards protecting Tulsa from criminal illegal aliens. We are writing to encourage you to adopt a proposal that would permit TPD to ask for proof of citizenship on all suspected illegal aliens encountered by TPD officers in the course of their regular duty. This policy change should also request that anyone who is found to be unlawfully present in the United States by TPD be reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

As you are aware, Mayor Taylor recently introduced a proposal to change TPD’s current illegal immigration policy, which unfortunately would limit the criminal offenses for which TPD officers can call the Department of Homeland Security’s Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) to report immigration violations. By only requiring officers to report illegal aliens who commit felonies, this proposal would prohibit the ability of TPD officers from reporting immigration violations of individuals involved in offenses such as DUI’s, hit and run accidents, simple assault, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, or shoplifting, just to name a few. We urge you to reject this proposal.

In order to bring more federal resources to Tulsa, more calls must be placed to LESC reporting immigration violations; they can be reached by calling (802) 872-6060. ICE has repeatedly told us that the Tulsa area has low numbers of illegal alien apprehensions by local law enforcement because proof of citizenship is often not asked for and not reported to ICE, thus depressing the perceived number of criminal illegal aliens residing in our communities. By allowing TPD to report all immigration violations to ICE during every incident with illegal aliens, this will bolster our case for a permanent ICE office and presence in Tulsa, to help alleviate the strain on our communities, and local law enforcement budgets. TPD is one of the largest police agencies in the state and the simple fact is that, without their help in reporting immigration violations to ICE, Tulsa can expect to have difficulty getting a permanent ICE presence and the increased federal resources we so desperately need.

Clearly, we welcome those who wish to come to our country to pursue the American dream through legal measures. America is a nation built by immigrants, who are vital to our culture and society. It is important to note that we are not asking for the Tulsa police to engage in racial profiling. We reject racial profiling as a means to enforce immigration law at all levels of government.

Again, we encourage you to approve this important policy change to permit the TPD to ask for proof of citizenship on all suspected illegal aliens encountered by them, as well as report those violations to ICE. Together we can make an increased ICE presence in Tulsa a reality.


John Sullivan
Member of Congress

James Inhofe
United States Senator

Dr. Tom Coburn
United States Senator

You can register your opinion with your Councilor by dialing 596-192X or e-mailing distX@tulsacouncil.org, where the X is the district number.

From the Mayor's Office to city employees:

I am pleased to announce today the selection of David Bostrom to serve as Interim Police Chief for the City of Tulsa. He will serve in this capacity beginning immediately and until I complete my review of applications and select a permanent chief. I will be making this announcement public this morning at a press conference, but I wanted to let you know prior to that announcement.

David is coming to us with outstanding credentials and will be moving from Wilmington Delaware. He has served in law enforcement for over 35 years and his career includes command roles with the City of Wilmington, Delaware and 23 years with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C.

I am very proud of our Tulsa Police Department and all that they have done to help reduce crime in our community. I have briefed David on the professionalism and qualities of all of our city employees and the many initiatives our police officers have worked to implement. Acting Chief McCrory and the command staff has met with David as well to bring him up to speed on the structure and operations at the TPD.

I want to personally thank Chief Mark McCrory for his service as acting Chief since the retirement of Chief Been. He has served with honor during a challenging time and I sincerely appreciate all of his efforts.

Thank you for all you do to support our city public safety officers and I hope you join with me and Chief McCrory in welcoming David Bostrom to Tulsa.


Kathy Taylor

MORE: From a quick Google, it appears that Bostrom is the former Public Safety Director for the City of Wilmington, Del., and that he left that post in 2000 after a newly elected mayor declined to rehire him.

This column from the Wilmington News Journal by Al Mascitti suggests that Bostrom was hired to deal with a rise in gang-related shootings, and that he tried to implement some form of community policing, but couldn't get the support of the police department, and the mayor that hired him didn't back him up:

There is no connection between a public opinion survey about Wilmington police and the news that David Bostrom will leave his city public safety post. But there should have been.

That Bostrom will depart with his boss, Mayor James H. Sills Jr., is no surprise. He's an outsider, brought here from Washington during Sills' second term, and never had a prayer of building a power base in City Hall....

Bostrom, to his credit, quickly realized the rancorous relations between the cops and the black community posed a greater long-term threat than the drug-related gunfire.

So he tried to institute community policing - a system of strengthening ties between officers and residents credited with reducing crime in such cities as Boston and Washington.

He might as well have tried breeding an attack opossum. His plans for six neighborhood "mini-stations" were foiled at every turn. Though it might be rent by problems with labor and race relations, there's one point on which everyone in the Wilmington Police Department agreed: It's safer to hunker in the bunker at Third and Walnut streets.

Mayor-in-waiting Jim Baker has indicated he intends to let them have their way on this point, and why not? He will have enough battles waiting when he takes office - why tick off the police?

Bostrom might have fared better with backing from Sills, but that would have constituted special treatment from this administration. In eight years Sills never learned how to back away from his liabilities, let alone back up his assets.

In the end, with nothing else to do, Bostrom was reduced to measuring the public's perception of its safety. The $30,000 University of Delaware study found slightly more people felt safer at night in their neighborhoods in 1999 than in 1998. Fittingly, the increase wasn't considered statistically significant.

A story about the new mayor's decision not to rehire Bostrom tells more about his background and the controversy with the police department:

Bostrom said he was not surprised when he received his letter. Baker had said during the campaign that he likely would not keep Bostrom as public safety director.

Mayor James H. Sills Jr. appointed Bostrom in 1997. He came from the Police Foundation, a nonprofit research group. He also served on the Washington, D.C. police force for 23 years.

"I live in the city, so of course I hope the Baker administration is successful in accomplishing all the things they want to get done to improve Wilmington," Bostrom said.

Bostrom oversaw the police and fire departments. Baker has not yet indicated whether Bostrom will be replaced or whether he will instead deal directly with the chiefs of those two departments.

Bostrom's tenure included a clash with the police union over his plan to patrol the city's neighborhoods. An arbitrator in 1998 ruled the plan was discriminatory and based on race. The plan was replaced with one that assigned officers based mostly on their seniority.

Some summer 1995 stories in the Washington Post identify Bostrom as a an inspector in Washington's Metropolitan Police Department and the commander for the 2nd District. Earlier in the year he was identified as commander of the MPD's special operations division. In 1990, Bostrom was identified as director of the planning and research division. In 1983. he was identified by the Post as a captain and assistant commander of the youth division.

An organization called Street Law lists Bostrom as a member of its board of directors and lists his affiliation as International Association of Chiefs of Police. In the 2002 program for the IACP convention, Bostrom is listed as Manager, Community Policing Consortium, part of the IACP's Programs and Research Directorate.

UPDATE: Someone e-mailed MeeCiteeWurkor with the information that Bostrom shows up in the city's computer network address book as "Chief of Police." Is the interim title just a way around legal complications from the lawsuit filed on behalf of the three internal candidates?

INTERESTING THEORY on why an interim has been appointed:

My guess is that he is being hired as a sort of short-term 'hatchet man' - someone to implement possibly unpopular policies. Then after those changes are implemented and the hubbub over them has died down, a new, permanent chief is brought in to maintain things.

A permanent new chief coming from the outside right away and changing things a whole lot would probably only find dissension and low morale after six months. After all, there were 3 people working for you that were qualified and wanted your job.

I think this may be a good move by the mayor.

To use a sports analogy:

Many times the head coach that is hired to replace a long-time head coach has difficulty making it simply because the players and fans are used to the old coaches system. These replacement coaches frequently do not last long, but their replacement typically does because the players and fans are now accustomed to change.

UPDATE: The Street Law program, of which Bostrom is a board member, is an initiative of the Soros Foundation. Hat tip to commenter G. Hanna.

Chris Medlock has his ear to the ground regarding Mayor Kathy Taylor's plan to sell 18 holes out of 36 at city-owned Page Belcher golf course for private development. His latest blog entry has an aerial view showing the area in question, which extends north and south of 71st Street west of Union, very convenient to the newly improved 71st Street and US 75 interchange and the Tulsa Hills retail "power center."

Whether or not you think the city should be involved in the golf business, this is why you ought to be concerned:

Regardless of your position on whether or not the golf courses should be shut down to save money, it is quite troubling to hear that Mayor Kathy Taylor may be planning to offer the highly valuable land to only one, highly connected, developer.

If sold, the city should ask for Requests for Proposals (RFPs) from the entire development sector. How else will we ever know if the citizens are getting the best deal possible on their tax dollar investment? How else will we know that special favors haven’t been granted for future favors?

If there is only one developer involved, it's likely that this plan didn't just happen, but has been in the works for some time and has nothing at all to do with solving the city's tight finances.

This week's UTW column topic: The Mayor's proposed FY 2008 budget has been released, and it includes some unpleasant surprises. As the old arena is converted to ballroom space and the new arena isn't open yet, convention and arena revenues will vanish for the year, while start-up administrative costs appear with a vengeance. The net result: A $1.7 million hole in the General Fund, which the Mayor proposes to plug by shutting down 27 holes of golf and cutting a police academy, resulting in a net loss of officers. (The suggestion that golf savings will be funding northside pools is a smokescreen. The Mayor didn't actually say that that would happen, and in fact one fewer pool will be open this year than last.)

There was a typo -- my fault -- in the section of the column about the pools. Last year nine pools were open -- four funded by the city and five by private sponsorships, not four.

Also this week, a few thoughts on the result of Oklahoma's vote for a state quarter design. How did we miss out on an American Indian theme?

One of the images I suggest might have been a better choice is Willard Stone's sculpture "Exodus". Follow that link to see a picture of it.

Elsewhere in the current issue, Brian Ervin has a story on the problem of sinkholes caused not by geology but by aging underground sewer and stormwater pipes. (Take a look at the downtown stormwater management master plan -- it's in the government documents section at Central Library -- and note the section on "subsurface voids." That's where there's a gap between the relatively thin layer of concrete and asphalt and the solid ground beneath.)

The second installment to UTW's guide to summer events and activities is in this week's issue. Here's a link to the first installment.

Also, nominations are in order for Urban Tulsa Weekly's Absolute Best of Tulsa awards. Click the link to enter your choices online, or pull a ballot out of a paper copy and mail it in.

Dear Mayor Taylor,

I read about your compromise proposal -- the City waives sales taxes on the Arabian Horse Show, the County allows the City Council to vote on any zoning changes at the fairgrounds, the County handles permitting at the fairgrounds.

Do you realize that none of this makes any sense unless you approve annexation? If you veto annexation, you lose any leverage you have over the county on the terms of this agreement. The county could renege tomorrow, and you'd have no recourse.

But if you sign the annexation ordinance, then you and the Council could approve sales tax waivers, permitting waivers and any other relief that you deem appropriate to address the County's concerns.

You're holding all the cards. Why are you folding?

And why didn't you include any of the city councilors in the negotiations with the County? They had to learn about the agreement through the news media. If you truly want to work with the council as fellow teammates working for Tulsa, it won't help if you show more deference to officials of another government than to the elected representatives of your own citizens.

I was disappointed when you won, but I consoled myself in thinking we were at least getting someone who was tough, someone who would aggressively represent the city's interests. Guess I was wrong.

And about that comment in the letter from the County Commissioners, saying that you could blow off the city councilors because they'd soon forget. I think you know better.

Of the five who voted for annexation, I've known four of them for many years. They aren't going to forget. This isn't like the legislature where they vote on thousands of bills in a four-month session. This was a major issue, and these councilors spent some political capital because they believed annexation was best for the City and would have no adverse effect on the County. You led them, and us, to believe that you agreed with them, and then you went behind their backs to cut a deal that leaves the City empty-handed.

This was a telling comment:

"She's been scared of the county since day one. First day she talked about it she was trembling, saying, 'They've got all the money,' " [Council Chairman Roscoe] Turner said.

That's the real problem here, isn't it? Your predecessor was so determined to get approval for a downtown arena that he handed the county the keys to the cash box. You had to go hat in hand to get extra money for the arena, and you'll probably have to go back again.

But the City Council has control of a lot of money, too. Do you think they're going to be inclined to vote for your utility rate hike when you just walked away from at least $300,000 in revenue?

Bill LaFortune put this city at a serious disadvantage, all for an arena that we didn't need and won't be able to afford to run.

At some point City officials have to stop being pushed around by the County and the suburbs. I'm not saying you have to go to war, just that you have to defend the City's interests without apology.

I hoped we'd elect a Mayor in 2006 that would do that. Chris Medlock and Don McCorkell would have. I thought you might, but evidently I was wrong. I guess we'll have to wait for 2010.

I want to call your attention to three relatively new links on the sidebar:

TPD Blog, the blog of the Tulsa Police Department, has had a lot of interesting content lately. They link to articles in local media about TPD, and provide regular updates on the progress of the latest academy class. In one recent entry, Off. Will Dalsing expresses his opinion of the personnel and financial challenges faced by the TPD:

So here is the problem: while it is true that we are back to being at, or slightly above, our "authorized strength," that number is terribly low. The Tulsa Police Department has been at that number for over twenty years. True, the population has not significantly changed in numbers, but the calls for service (the amount of calls that the officers must respond to) yearly has gone up in the tens of thousands....

Imagine that you are having a bit of a problem in the neighborhood. Kids are out at all hours of the night being loud and tearing stuff up. Maybe there are some houses with what appears to be a lot of traffic…. maybe someone is selling drugs there. Or maybe there are some scary looking people whom you are pretty sure are calling themselves a gang. You would call the police right?

So the Police Captain at the local division assigns a whole squad of seven or eight cops to your street. The Captain tells them "saturate that neighborhood for a few days….I don’t want anyone to so much as spit on the sidewalk without having to talk to an officer because of it."

Is that a dream? It is in Tulsa. See we don’t actually have enough staff to take the calls for service. We "hire-over" nearly every shift at every division. It’s hard to be pro-active when you are always back "on your heels." So even thought we do have a squad at some divisions for "Directed Patrol," it may be still at the expense of our response to calls in the field.

Or let’s say you are building a new structure in your downtown that will likely bring tens of thousands of people to the area several nights a week. The area is in the process of revitalization. Foot traffic is going up. The bars and restaurants are popping up. For tourism, safety, and the well being of everyone involved, more cops are needed. In fact, the business owners are so decisive on the matter that they are willing to give their own money to help equip officers to work in the area. Can we give them a squad of officers? Not currently.

We know we must be pro-active for Tulsa’s new arena and for the downtown district as a whole. A part-time bike squad is in the works but how will we have the manpower to staff the area full time?

The second link is Stop the Chop, a website about protecting Woodward Park's trees from indiscriminate removal. You can read the history of the controversy, view relevant documents, and learn what you can do to help.

The final link is not Tulsa-specific. It's a web community for conservative activists throughout the State of Oklahoma, and it's called GetRightOK.com. The site includes a blog, a forum, an events calendar, and other community networking tools. It's intended not just to be a place to chat and trade insults but to network for the purpose of taking constructive political action. I've written a guest piece for them, yet again about the Oklahoma Republican state convention, but with a focus on the state chairman and vice chairman's races, with some historical background.

Fairgrounds annexation: Still no action from the Mayor, who has until the end of this week to sign or veto. The scrivener's error that reset the 15-day clock was a failure to specify to which council district the newly annexed territory would be assigned. I supposed everyone thought that was obvious, as it's surrounded by Council District 4 on all four sides.

City budget: The Mayor will submit her proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2007-08 to the Council at the 10:00 a.m. urban development committee meeting, with a full presentation to follow at the regular meeting on Thursday night. With the fire district tax dead (a fact the Whirled didn't get around to reporting until Saturday), there will have to be some creative juggling to get the books to balance. Rumors are that proposed spending will grow faster than the rate of inflation and that the arena operating costs will be worse than previously acknowledged.

Also on the council committee agendas: During the 8:00 a.m. meeting, a presentation on the FY '08 operating budget for the BOk Center. During the 10:00 a.m. meeting, Councilor Turner's proposal to require the public display of sales tax permits, the rezoning of the SE corner of 11th Street and 161st East Ave. for residential and commercial use (currently the Brashear Stables; the TMAPC voted 4-4 on the rezoning in a rare tie), a discussion of the 2006 Police Department Manpower Report, and a property tax increase.

Yeah, you read that right. City of Tulsa property owners will have their millage go up enough to cover the latest $6.125 million installment of the city's $14.5 million settlement with Arvin McGee, who spent 12 years in prison for crimes he didn't commit because of what a jury ruled was Tulsa police misconduct. The Council has no choice but to commit the money to pay the settlement.

Brad Henry veto watch: The first attempt to override Henry's veto of pro-life SB 714 failed, because of a switcheroo by Shawnee Sen. Charlie Laster and a longer term flip-flop by Sand Springs Sen. Nancy Riley, who promised in her first race in 2000, "absolutely NO STATE FUNDING FOR ABORTION." Henry protected the interests of his trial lawyer buddies by vetoing SB 507, a comprehensive lawsuit reform bill that incorporated most of the provisions he had previously championed. Brandon Dutcher says there's a link: Laster insisted on the tort reform veto in exchange for his SB 714 flip-flop.

The National Association of Manufacturers is watching Oklahoma's progress on lawsuit reform very closely. And here's a fact sheet from the State Chamber outlining the key points of SB 507. (Hat tip: Point of Law.)

And after returning tanned and rested from Spring Break, missing the successful conclusion of budget negotiations, Henry has now vetoed not only the legislature's budget, but five agency bills that matched his own budget proposal.

Today should see passage of Oklahoma's landmark immigration enforcement bill, HB 1804. If it passes, it will be headed to the governor's desk.

UPDATE: Where was I this morning? Oversleeping. I thought I had two alarms set, but somehow neither one went off. We'll try again tomorrow morning at 6:10.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa City Hall category from May 2007.

Tulsa City Hall: April 2007 is the previous archive.

Tulsa City Hall: June 2007 is the next archive.

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



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