Tulsa City Hall: April 2011 Archives

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr has sent out a mailing inviting the recipient to contribute at least $250 for a series of luncheons hosted by himself and (it is implied) by Senator Jim Inhofe, the former Mayor of Tulsa.

A source provided me with a copy of the contents of the mailing: a cover letter, a glossy four-color, eight-page booklet summarizing Bartlett Jr's accomplishments and policy goals, and a contribution response card. Click the link to see a PDF of the mailing's contents. (My source scanned the contents of the mailing but did so with the text oriented in all directions because of the way the booklet was laid out -- in a couple of cases, opposite orientations on the same page. I extracted the scanned images in the PDF to separate files, cropped and rotated the images so they all have the same orientation, and reassembled the result into a PDF. I then used Acrobat's built-in optical character recognition to scan for text. If you want to compare, here is the original scan I received, a 2.4 MB PDF.)

Here is the text of the letter:


April 10, 2011

Dear Friend,

Over two thousand years ago, Jesus described a "city upon a hill" in his Sermon on the Mount. President-elect John Kennedy returned the phrase to prominence when he described "a city upon a hill-the eyes of all people are upon us". In our most recent recollection of the phrase, it was Ronald Reagan who often cited, "a shining city upon a hill ..... ", as he led our imaginations and delivered us the results of a country that could be restored ..... if we would fix our eyes on such a city!

These words have special significance to me as the mayor of your city. For too long, we allowed our past achievements to dictate our current and future endeavors. We would study, plan, study some more....and rarely act! We did not allow the forces of the marketplace to create the value to the taxpayer and the quality that Tulsan's had historically come to expect. I have spent all of my adult life in the private sector, where your ideas must quickly be moved to action ..and where your past performance is no guarantee of future results. Accordingly, when I entered office as your mayor, I met with a culture and skepticism that can only come from people that have lived in a static society, protected from market forces and continual improvement. With all of the noise in and around City Hall, I decided to take another idea from our hero, Ronald Reagan. He always went directly to the people, and did not allow his vision and results to be left to the interpretation of others....many of whom wished to preserve the status quo and poor results that come from unchallenged governmental performance.

So, I am coming to you, along with my mentor and dear friend, Senator Jim Inhofe, to hold a series of luncheons to share directly with you the many exciting results we are achieving in the use of successful and proven ideas in municipal performance. Senator Inhofe was the last mayor that truly used the Ronald Reagan approach to government, and he was often touted by Reagan as his "favorite" mayor! I have included with this invitation my list of focused action results that are implementing our shared vision of what it takes to return Tulsa to its former position.....one that we haven't seen since Mayor Inhofe was in this office. As you will see here in this publication "Tulsa 2020-Many Voices-One Vision" we are not studying, vacillating and massaging.....we are acting! And those actions have already led to national recognition for our applied solutions to our municipal challenges. Finally, we are leading again, and other cities are follOWing our lead....a true return to Tulsa's greatest days!

I hope you will join Senator Inhofe and me for this most important luncheon. All of this is being paid for privately, absolutely nothing is at taxpayer expense. It would be particularly helpful to me and my efforts if you would consider being a Sponsor ($1,000 per couple), Host ($500 per Couple) or Patron ($250 per Couple). I have included in this mailing the information you will need to provide for participation. We would like to mail general invitations later this month, so it is important that I can hear from you quickly, as we would like to show you on our broader invitation. We will only be able to seat 200 for our first event, so I encourage your prompt attention to this important and timely luncheon with Senator Inhofe and myself.

Should you wish for more information, simply contact Laura Huff at (918) 691-1744, or by email at Laura.Huff@cox.net

Warmest Regards,
Dewey Bartlett
Not Printed At Taxpayer's Expense

The letter was mailed from Dallas, Texas. The zip code on the prepaid return envelope, 75234, is in the Dallas area, and the bulk mail permit for the mailing is from Dallas as well.

The return address on the envelope, and the address on the response card, is

Bartlett for Mayor 11806 S. Pittsburg Ave Tulsa, OK 74137

a residence in the Wind River Subdivision belonging, according to county land records, to the aforementioned Laura Huff and her husband Dustin. (The couple are mentioned in news stories from 2003 as involved in the performance review developed at the beginning of Bill LaFortune's term of office, an effort led by Mrs. Huff's father, former City Auditor Ron Howell.)

I don't have time for a detailed analysis, but here are a few quick reactions to the letter:

The big question: What does he plan to do with all the money he is trying to raise? It's two years -- two long years -- before Bartlett is up for re-election.

I wonder what Bartlett Jr's mentor, Sen. Inhofe, thought of Bartlett Jr's endorsement of Democratic incumbent Mayor Kathy Taylor for re-election (before she dropped out). Taylor's refusal to face fiscal facts put Tulsa in a deep financial hole. Bartlett Jr seemed quite content with the way the city had been run by his predecessors until he actually got into office. Bartlett Jr endorsed and praised Taylor's decision to make City of Tulsa property owners pay for the failure of Great Plains Airlines, despite promises that the taxpayers would not be at risk.

During the 2009 mayoral primary campaign, I asked the candidates whether they would continue following the autocratic leadership style of Kathy Taylor. Sure enough, Bartlett Jr has followed closely in the footsteps of the predecessor he endorsed, building an even worse relationship with the City Council than she had done.

(By the way, in responding to that question back in 2009, Bartlett Jr denounced Chris Medlock's idea of hiring an experienced City Manager to work for the mayor and oversee city departments involved in day-to-day operations. In 2011, Bartlett Jr has named former Broken Arrow City Manager Jim Twombly to do just that.)

Ronald Reagan, whom Bartlett Jr claims as a hero, not only didn't endorse his predecessors, he ran against two sitting presidents, one of whom was a fellow Republican, because he believed that the policies of the Ford and Carter administrations were leading the country to financial and geopolitical disaster.

I see some good ideas in the booklet that came with the mailer, but it's hard for me to trust Bartlett Jr's sincerity. I have to wonder why he hadn't been promoting these ideas prior to his election.

American Majority will hold a day-long citizen activist training session on Saturday, April 23, 2011, at Tulsa Technology Center, focused on training activists to be effectively engaged with state and local government. As part of the event, I'll be joining Jamison Faught of Muskogee Politico and Peter J. Rudy of Oklahoma Watchdog on a local blogger panel. It should be a great program -- hope you can join us.

Here are the details:

Our nation was founded by ordinary citizen activists desiring a government that was accountable to the people. Today, ordinary citizens in every citizen and in every community are tired of the status quo and are ready to get involved like they never have before to demand accountability.

American Majority's purpose is to address these passions by providing education and resources to help you reach your goals.

To that end, American Majority desires to challenge concerned citizens to turn their focus to state and local issues with the first annual Tulsa Battlefield Training.

This event will provide those in attendance with two things:

First, the Tulsa Battlefield Training will give those in attendance a clear picture of what is happening at both the state level and local level with government spending, waste, and clear explanation regarding how all levels of government got into this mess.

Secondly, the Tulsa Battlefield Training will also provide tool, resources, and specific ways that attendees can get involved in the local government structure - whether as informed citizen activists or candidates for local office.

Confirmed Presenters Include:

  • Ned Ryun, President of American Majority
  • Michael Carnuccio, President of Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs
  • Matt Robbins, Executive Director of American Majority
  • A Local Blogger Panel Consisting of Michael Bates of Batesline.com; Jamison Faught of MuskogeePolitico.com; and Peter J. Rudy of OklahomaWatchdog.org
  • Plus Presentations by the American Majority Oklahoma Staff

The Tulsa Battlefield Training will take place on Saturday, April 23rd at Tulsa Technology Center located at 3420 S Memorial Dr. from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Doors open at 8:30 am.

Registration is $20 per person (which includes lunch and all materials) - space is limited.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, call Seth Brown at 405-639-8896 or email him at seth@americanmajority.org

You do not want to miss this event!

American Majority is a non-profit and non-partisan political training organization whose mission is to train and equip a national network of leaders committed to individual freedom through limited government and the free market.

The City of Tulsa's Election District Commission has released five City Council redistricting plans (click to open the PDF) drawn up by Indian Nations Council of Government staff. The city must redraw the lines to produce districts of nearly equal population, based on the 2010 federal census.

Although the city's population didn't change significantly (it dropped by about 1000), the population did move around a good deal, with population losses in north and midtown Tulsa and growth in the south, continuing a 40-year trend.

To describe the five plans in words:

Plan I: Most stable for north and west Tulsa, radical changes in midtown. District 2 remains the same, District 1 adds downtown, District 3 adds Precinct 40. District 4 would add just about everything north of 31st, and District 9 would extend further east, as would District 7. This has the least population deviation, but 30 precincts move between districts.

Plan II: Most stable overall -- only 12 precincts and 21,725 people change districts. District 3 would lose two precincts that have been strong for Roscoe Turner over the years and gain some northeast Tulsa territory. District 4 would pick up the Owen Park and Crosbie Heights neighborhoods. District 8 would lose two precincts to 7 and 7 would lose two to 9. 2 would remain unchanged.

Plan III: This seems to produce more compact districts generally, but it does involve 36 precincts and 65,294 people changing districts. 4 would become long and skinny -- two miles wide and eight miles long, losing all territory south of 21st, and extending east to Memorial. 3 would lose three of Turner's best precincts on the western edge and gain territory as far south as 21st and Mingo. 2 would lose its territory south of 81st and gain three precincts around I-44 and Peoria.

Plan IV: The most radical plan of all, shifting 58 precincts and 110,917 people. District 4 would lose territory east of Yale, but extend as far south as 36th Street west of Lewis. 3 would lose its western precincts and gain everything east of Yale between 11th and Lynn Lane Rd. 7 and 8 would change from landscape to portrait orientation. 2 would gain precincts west of Peoria as far north as 36th Street, while losing its precincts northeast of 81st and Riverside.

Plan V: Identical to plan 2, except for Districts 7 and 8, which become north-south districts split at Sheridan. 8, which has always been the far-south district, would extend as far north as I-44.

At first glance, I'm inclined to back Plan II (pictured below), but I've got some thoughts on a better plan.


Thanks to Tulsa City Council aide Shannon Compton for sending me a copy of the plans so that I could make them available to the public for free. Previously, the plans had only been available online to subscribers to the daily paper. It seems to me that a citizen shouldn't have to go to a subscription-only website -- or to any privately-owned website, for that matter -- to view government documents. These plans and any future versions should be published on tulsacouncil.org and cityoftulsa.org, along with information on submitting comments about the draft plans to the commission. Shapefiles and datafiles for the maps and redistricting plans should be posted online as well.

Four public hearings on the proposals will be held around Tulsa:

Monday, April 11, 20117:00 p.m.Rudisill Regional (North) Library
Tuesday, April 12, 20117:00 p.m.Hardesty Regional (South) Library
Monday, April 18, 20117:00 p.m.Zarrow Regional (West) Library
Tuesday, April 19, 20117:00 p.m.Martin Regional (East) Library

The Save Our Tulsa charter amendment petitions -- pushing to add four at-large members to the City Council (including the Mayor), to eliminate partisan labels from city election ballots, and to hold city elections on the same ballot as national and statewide elections -- were certified by City Clerk Mike Kier earlier this week.

Attorney Greg Bledsoe, a leader of Tulsans Defending Democracy, the effort to stop the use of at-large council members to dilute geographical representation, has begun the process of examining the petitions, now that the City Clerk's office has finally complied with an open-records request he made on February 18, 2011.

The City Clerk's office finally let me look at the SOT petition documents on Tuesday, 4-5-11, despite my persistent request under the Open Records Act first made on 2-18-11 and despite being told that the documents had been digitally scanned and that with respect to petition 2010-1 (the at-large petition) the evaluation had been largely completed.

There are 7 volumes of scanned material each containing approximately 500 pages in each volume. I was able to review 100 page in Vol. 1 in about an hour. These pages contained less than 20 signers as most pages had only one or two voters and the signatures were only one page out of a four page pamphlet. The most signatures for one pamphlet was four.

11 of the circulators for these petitions were from out of state:

3 individuals from Fulton, MO, 2 from St. Louis, MO and one from each of the following: Miami, FL; Clifton Park, NY; Tampa, FL; Cincinnati, OH; Kansas City, KS; and McKees Rock, PA.

3 were from Oklahoma City and 7 were from Tulsa.

The circulators for these first 100 pages were verified by only three notaries--mostly by Linda Howard of Moore, OK (first got her comission in October of 2010) and Gregory Gray of Claremore, with one done by Rachel Fedor of Edmond, OK.

andy_griffith_show_otis_campbell.jpgAre there no underemployed people in Tulsa who could have been hired to gather signatures? Are there no notaries in Tulsa? Surely John Brock, Bob Poe, or one of the other SOTs have notaries who work for them who could have notarized the petitions. Why go to a brand-new notary who lives 100 miles from Tulsa? And did these out-of-town notaries come to Tulsa to meet with the circulators, or did the circulators drive to Moore, Edmond, and Claremore to get their petitions notarized? Were these petitions ever actually in Tulsa prior to their submission to the City Clerk?

It's strange too that no page had more than four signatures on it. If I were trying to get a petition certified by fraudulently having a few people sign over and over. Scattering the signatures over as many pages as possible would make it harder for anyone to spot multiple signatures with similar handwriting.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa City Hall category from April 2011.

Tulsa City Hall: March 2011 is the previous archive.

Tulsa City Hall: May 2011 is the next archive.

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