Tulsa County: August 2007 Archives

I just watched a lengthy investigative piece by KOTV about the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority's decision to boot Bell's from the Fairgrounds. If you've been reading about the issue here and in Urban Tulsa Weekly, there won't be too much that you haven't already heard, but they do a good job of pulling it all the pieces together for the viewing audience -- including the connection with Murphy Brothers, the aggressive marketing campaign by Bell's that got Jerry Murphy angry, and the fact that Bell's, even in their tough last two seasons, paid more in their lease than Big Splash and the Drillers combined.

The piece includes interviews with Robby Bell, Expo Square CEO Rick Bjorklund, and County Commissioner Randi Miller, TCPFA chairman, who pushed for Bell's removal.

I did learn a few new things. I learned that the Murphy family not only gave $5,000 to Randi Miller for her futile campaign for mayor, but they also contributed the same amount to new County Commissioner John Smaligo after he was elected.

Also, Miller admitted that she did NOT ask Murphy Brothers for a business plan when they granted the company a new 10-year midway contract. No competitive bidding was done.

In the piece, you'll see where the ride equipment is stored, you'll get a glimpse of the business plan that Randi Miller said was inadequate (looks professionally done to me, anyway), a certification from a ride vendor that Bell's was approved for financing for a new ride, sketches of the new coaster that was finally approved when the county pulled the plug, and concept sketches for a new park.

If you have Cox Cable, you can catch the replay on channel 53. KOTV's website has the full text of the Terry Hood's story about Bell's Amusement Park, plus photos, including images of excerpts from Murphy Brothers' 1989 and 2006 contracts with the TCPFA. I hope that KOTV will later post video of the story, and I'll link it if they do. (UPDATE: Here's the video for KOTV's story about Bell's Amusement Park.)

UPDATED 2012/09/14 with link to story on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Unfortunately the video was not archived.

Well done, KOTV.

Only 19 percent of Tulsa County frequent voters sampled in a recent KOTV/Tulsa Whirled poll approve of the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority's decision to boot Bell's from their home for over half a century. 70% said they disapprove. A larger number but still a minority, 27%, supported the City's decision to annex the Fairgrounds. Since the latter was a City action, it would have been interesting to know the ayes and nays among City of Tulsa voters.

The pollsters asked whether the two changes would affect respondents' plans to attend the Tulsa State Fair. I wish they'd also asked whether the Bell's decision would affect voters' opinion of the proposed river sales tax. With Randi Miller up for re-election next year, the "deserves reelection / time to give someone else a chance" question would have been interesting to ask, too.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa County category from August 2007.

Tulsa County: June 2007 is the previous archive.

Tulsa County: September 2007 is the next archive.

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