Tulsa County: October 2005 Archives

Judge Rebecca Brett Nightingale will hear arguments today on the County's motion to dismiss the South Tulsa Citizens Coalition's lawsuit against the three County Commissioners. The suit alleges that Commissioners violated state law in approving the contract with Infrastructure Ventures Inc., in which IVI will build a bridge across the Arkansas River and maintain, operate, and collect tolls on it for seventy-five years. The STCC would like supporters present in the courtroom -- Room 708 of the Tulsa County Courthouse, 500 S. Denver Ave., at 1:30 p.m.

I'm sure judges are able to filter this out, but I wonder if it ever crosses a judge's mind in a suit like this that the County Commission is her landlord and controls the funding for courthouse improvements. That may be why STCC wants a crowd there, so she can see that the suit matters to a sizable block of voters, too.

Bid the midway

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Last night my son and I went to the Tulsa State Fair. We spent some time in the Just for Kids attraction in the old Youth Building: He worked with the hands-on science exhibits, he built with wood planks, and we watched a fun science demonstration.

We wandered along the midway looking at the rides, my son trying to figure out how to allocate his ride tickets. He decided he'd rather spend them in Bell's Amusement Park, there on the fairgrounds, since he knew which rides he liked the most. (For the record: Super Round-Up, Pharaoh's Fury, the Scrambler.) I was happy for the ticket revenue to go to Bell's instead of Murphy Bros., the company that's had a sole-source contract for the midway since 1971.

According to Susan Hylton's report in the Tulsa Whirled, Expo Square chief Denny Tuttle is in the process of negotiating a five-year extension with Murphy Bros. on their midway contract, which has never been competitively bid. If our County Commissioners were really looking out for the best interests of taxpayers and fairgoers,
they'd go through a competitive bidding process. Once again this year, many Murphy Bros. rides weren't ready to run at the beginning of the fair because of equipment problems or failure to pass inspection. Last night -- a week into the fair -- we noticed there weren't as many rides as in previous years, and several Murphy Bros. rides were out of order.

A competitive bidding process gives us a chance at a midway vendor with a better safety and reliability record. It could also get us better ride rates. Most rides for big kids and grownups cost $4 or $5 each.

Food vendors and hawkers of miraculous kitchen gadgets are all subject to competition at the fair, but the midway contract grants one vendor a monopoly on a big chunk of real estate in the heart of the fairgrounds. There at least ought to be competition when the midway contract is granted.

The citizens of Tulsa County ought to wonder why so much county business -- who handles a half-billion in revenue bonds, who gets to build a hotel on the fairgrounds, who gets to build a toll bridge across the Arkansas River, who handles land acquisition -- is just given out to favored vendors.

Joe Kelley on the IVI bridge


Joe Kelley has posted a lengthy analysis of the IVI Bridge issue. I appreciate the time he's taken to get a grasp of the issue and to "show his work" -- not only to come to a conclusion but to tell the rest of us how he reached it.

I don't have time for a point-by-point commentary, so I'll just point you to it, and encourage you to join in the discussion over there.

So Jenks Mayor Vic Vreeland thinks there are only five people who object to Infrastructure Ventures Inc's cozy deal with Tulsa County for a toll bridge across the Arkansas River? You have a chance to prove him wrong tonight.

If you have yet to sign South Tulsa Citizens Coalition's petition against the IVI bridge, stop by 101st and Yale between 5:00 pm and 6:30 pm this evening.

Don't know why, but I kept thinking of this bridge deal when I was watching "Casino" Friday night....

A note from the South Tulsa Citizens Coalition about the proposed IVI toll bridge:

Dear STCC Supporter:

We thought you may want to know that County Commissioner Bob Dick called a meeting with a select few of our elected officials on Thursday, September 29th regarding the proposed toll bridge. Commissioner Dick invited City Councilors Bill Martinson, Randy Sullivan and Tom Baker, Bixby Mayor Joe Williams, Jenks Mayor Vic
Vreeland and Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune and his chief of staff. City Councilor Bill Christiansen (whose district the proposed toll bridge will be in) was not invited, but attended anyway. Commissioners Miller and Collins did not attend.

It is STCC's understanding that Commissioner Dick invited only certain city officials to this meeting as to not trigger the Open Meetings Act. Once again, more meetings regarding the proposed toll bridge without public input and behind closed doors.

During the meeting, Commissioner Dick made the following comments .....

- The proposed toll bridge must be constructed at its current location because various individuals and entities had bought land counting on the toll bridge to go in at its current location.

- IVI and/or the County is willing to give the City of Tulsa a piece
of the pie in order to get the bridge constructed. No specific numbers were discussed however.

Jenks Mayor, Vic Vreeland commented that STCC is a group of only 5 people and that STCC does not represent the number of people that it purports to represent. (He obviously has not been to any of our meetings.)

It is STCC's understanding that the basic tone of the meeting was "what can IVI and/or the County do to get this toll bridge pushed through?"

The meeting concluded with Commissioner Dick agreeing to come back to
the table at a later date with the specifics of the deal the County and IVI are proposing. STCC encourages you to email or write the elected officials and advise them not to be persuaded by Commissioner Dick and IVI's tactics. An attachment is included with this message with all of their email addresses. Please let them know that you know what is going on and it is not acceptable.

Thank you once again for your continued support.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa County category from October 2005.

Tulsa County: September 2005 is the previous archive.

Tulsa County: November 2005 is the next archive.

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