Tulsa City Hall: April 2008 Archives

Liotta back to school

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The current issue of the O'Collegian, Oklahoma State University's student news paper, has a nice feature story about former State Rep. Mark Liotta's return to college. After 10 years in the Legislature, Liotta is getting a Master's degree in political science.

Mark rLiotta eally ought to be the teacher, rather than the student. After a couple of failed attempts, he beat an incumbent Democrat in a majority Democratic district and held the seat for five terms, fending off several well-funded attempts to defeat him. While in the Legislature, Liotta led the effort to reprioritize spending to double Oklahoma's budget for fixing our roads and bridges, without raising taxes.

Not only does he have experience to draw upon, he has the ability to teach. Liotta has given many lectures on the nuts and bolts of grassroots campaigning to Republican Party classes for candidates and volunteers. I've been in some of those lectures; he's very good at breaking the topic down and getting his points across, often using his experience in the Army, as he does in the following quote from the story:

Liotta gained much of his leadership experience away from the classroom, however, for he served in the military as an infantry officer years before he ran for an office. The two positions, Liotta said, had a lot in common.

"A lot of what you learn as an infantry officer applies to campaigning. You take limited personnel, limited time, limited funds and target an area."

OSU would do well to bring him on as an adjunct professor.

Liotta lost the race for what would have been his final term in the State House. Since then, County Commissioner Fred Perry (to Perry's great credit) appointed Liotta as superintendent of Tulsa County Highway District 3, responsible for maintaining county roads throughout the south part of the county.

Regarding future political possibilities, Liotta says, "You never say never." I can't help but notice that he lives in a County Commission district which has an election this year, and his experience in the Legislature and at the county highway department would certainly be impressive on a pushcard....

Streets forum

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Our local Unitarians at All Souls Church at 30th & Peoria have an interesting approach to Sunday School. In place of Alongside Bible study or theological discussion, they present public forums on issues of civic importance. It might not be the most spiritually profitable way to spend Sunday morning, but it's often the only place that both sides of an issue get aired in an evenhanded town hall atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to speak last October before the river sales tax election in a forum moderated by Clayton Vaughn with Kevin Stubbs of U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Jenks Mayor Vic Vreeland, and Ken Neal editorial page editor emeritus of the Tulsa Whirled.

This Sunday, they're featuring the issue of Tulsa's streets and how best to fix them. Two members of Mayor Taylor's blue ribbon tax force, former Councilor Dewey Bartlett, Jr., and former Water and Sewer Commissioner Patty Eaton, will be there to argue for their plan to increase taxes by $1.5 billion. Councilor Bill Martinson has his own plan, reprioritizing existing revenue streams as much as possible. Former Streets Commissioner Jim Hewgley III emphasizes the need for short-term action in the form of a paving program.

The public is invited to attend. Here are the details:

Public Forum: Tulsa Roads

Sunday, April 13
10:00-10:50 a.m.

All Souls Unitarian Church
2952 South Peoria Ave.

This Sunday, All Souls Unitarian Church will host a public forum on the issue of Tulsa's crumbling streets. The Complete Our Streets Advisory Council recently delivered its report, and the public debate now turns to specific proposals for addressing this urgent problem. Come hear a distinguished panel of community leaders discuss the state of our city's streets and how to pay for their rehabilitation.

Our panel:

  • Dewey Bartlett, Jr.--Former Tulsa City Councilor and member of the Complete Our Streets Advisory Council
  • Patty Eaton, Former Tulsa Waterworks Commissioner and member of the Complete Our Streets Advisory Council
  • James Hewgley, III--Former Tulsa Street Commissioner
  • Bill Martinson--Tulsa City Councilor, District 5

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Brian Cross, adult religious education coordinator, at 743-2805, ext. 503.

(Modified in response to a comment from RecycleMichael. Modified again -- changed "listen in" to "attend" -- in response to a comment from Don Singleton.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa City Hall category from April 2008.

Tulsa City Hall: March 2008 is the previous archive.

Tulsa City Hall: May 2008 is the next archive.

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