Tulsa Election 2011: November 2011 Archives

A weird election season has come to an end. Tulsa voters have emptied out the City Council and turned down two radical plans to remake city government (while embracing two ill-considered modifications with bigger impact than voters appreciate).

After the polls closed, I collected results from precincts along the southern tier of District 4. Of the seven locations I personally checked, Ken Brune won only two -- 65 and 156 -- precincts in the heart of the Money Belt that pushed him over the top in the primary, but he won only by slim margins. It was apparent that Republican Blake Ewing would win by a handsome margin. I headed to the historic Church Studio at 3rd Street and Trenton Ave. for Blake Ewing's watch party.

During his victory speech Ewing explained why he chose the venue for his victory party:

"I chose to have it here, because this is one of those hidden gems in Tulsa. This place sat mostly empty for a very long time." He drew an analogy between the studio and Tulsa itself. "It's had this great, beautiful history, and then somewhere along the way it may have lost its way in some places. And the effort of creative, energetic people brought something special back to life again.... I appreciate what the Miller family has done with the Church, and I hope that on a much grander scale we can do that with our city, that we can see its potential and choose to raise the bar across the board, and that as a community we will work towards that together."

Blake surprised me with a very gracious shout-out for my work here at BatesLine during this election season. I found it especially touching because he gets why I do what I do, and one of the things I most appreciate about Blake is his commitment to honesty and transparency, exemplified by his willingness to talk about political machinations that are usually hidden from public view.

"Michael is an asset to our community in that he's a voice that continues to seek out the truth and continues to call things on the carpet for being unjust or for being vague or shady or anything other than transparent. And so I'm proud to call Michael a friend, proud to have had him on our team, and I hope that that same sort of attitude will start prevailing in our city -- that the things that happen behind closed doors or that happen because elite folks pull strings that the rest of us can't -- that we turn the tide as a city and that regular folks like you and I can trust in our government and trust in the future of our city."

(I've posted this here for my own sake, because once in a while, I can use a word of encouragement.)

I was happy to have a small part in helping Blake as a volunteer for the campaign. My five-year-old and I helped him on Saturday by knocking doors in our neighborhood, and from the beginning of the campaign, long before I endorsed him, Blake would call from time to time to use me as a sounding board (as did other candidates in the District 4 race).

The other result that greatly pleased me was the defeat of the at-large council proposal by a 3-to-1 margin. Hopefully that's driven a stake through the heart of a very bad idea.

The rest of the council races went about as planned, with the candidate of the dominant party winning by a 3-to-1 margin in each district, with one surprising exception: District 3, where Republican Dave Bell came within about 140 votes of beating off-and-on Councilor (and off-and-on Democrat) David Patrick. Perhaps the anti-incumbent sentiment damaged Patrick, too, although he took advantage of it in the primary.

I was sorry to see non-partisan elections pass. It was close enough that organized opposition might have been able to defeat it. In combination with the change in election dates, non-partisan ballots will add to the challenges that grassroots candidates face in getting their message to the voters.

The move to put elections in the fall of even numbered years won a bit more support, but one wonders if people understood the gist of the question. News outlets didn't seem to get it. Fox 23's results crawl described the proposition as "term limits" (not even close), while KOTV News on 6's story said it "reduces council terms to two years" and "restored the terms set out in the 1989 charter." That's partly true -- terms will end and elections will be held in even-numbered years, as in the 1989 charter, but in the fall, coincident with federal elections, not in the spring as was the case from 1990 through 2008. It seems that even the newsfolk did not grasp the salient feature of the proposition -- holding city elections with federal elections, rather than have a special time set aside to focus on and debate local issues.

IVoted.jpgThis entry post-dated to remain at top until polls close.

Welcome to those visiting BatesLine especially for today's election. BatesLine has been around since 2003, and you'll find a lot of information and history here about the players and forces at work in Tulsa politics.

BatesLine also features stories on other topics, including urban planning, national politics, travel, Tulsa history, western swing music, whimsy, and family.

For your convenience, I've got automatically updated pages linking to the latest headlines from the best Tulsa, Oklahoma, and national blogs and America's finest op-ed writers.

New entries are posted several times a week. Links to new articles are posted to my Facebook page and my Twitter stream. Please have a look around while you're here, and please come back on a regular basis. Topic ideas and constructive criticisms are welcome: Drop me a note at blog at batesline dot com.

Happy election day! Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In two districts (1 and 5), the primary has already determined a winner for want of any candidates filing from the other party. In the other seven districts the Republican nominee faces the Democrat nominee today.

Voters throughout Tulsa, in every district, may vote on four charter amendments. I have endorsed the defeat of all four.

The Tulsa County Election Board has a precinct locator which will tell you where to vote and which City Council district you're in. 42 precincts -- about 20% -- have been moved to a new district this year, so there are decent odds that you've been moved.

The Tulsa City Council website has a Google Maps search: Enter an address, and it'll show your address in your new council district.

Once you know your precinct, you can find your sample ballot here.

Key information as you weigh your decision:

Archive of all BatesLine entries on Tulsa Election 2011.

My endorsements, with links to more information:

I urge you to vote AGAINST all four ballot propositions.

I'm only endorsing in one council race. I enthusiastically support Blake Ewing for District 4 City Council.

In the other districts, while I believe we'd be better off without the candidates backed by the Cockroach Caucus (Patrick, 3-D; Steele, 6-R; Mansur, 7-R; Lakin, 8-R), I have reservations about their opponents.

I was impressed with the thoughtful and philosophically conservative answers given by William Suliburk (8-D) to many of the questions on the OK-SAFE questionnaire, a questionnaire that Phil Lakin (8-R) refused to answer, but I don't know Suliburk or his politics well enough to endorse him. I believe he deserves serious consideration by conservative voters in far south Tulsa.

I've expressed my displeasure with incumbent Councilor G. T. Bynum (9-R) on a number of issues, but he knows city issues, and he deserves credit for some fiscal reforms, including proposing the charter amendment that established of a city rainy day fund. His opponent, Mike Batman (9-D), is sincere in his love for Tulsa and admirable for his small business success. Batman has a good heart, but he doesn't seem knowledgeable about City Hall issues.

Dave Bell (3-R) is certainly conservative -- we met while volunteering for Randy Brogdon for governor. He's also prone to knee-jerk reactions, such as his curt and offensive dismissal of Preserve Midtown's polite request for a response to their survey about zoning and planning. I agree that the District 3 councilor needs to look after District 3's needs first, but the issues Preserve Midtown deals with affects every neighborhood more than a few decades old -- code enforcement, for example. If elected, a grassroots candidate like Dave Bell will have to forge bonds with councilors and neighborhood leaders from across the city in order to help the people of his district. David Patrick (3-D) has always been a reliable vote for the Cockroach Caucus and hostile to neighborhood protection, even in his own district.

At one of the Tulsa Press Club forums, Robert Gwin (6-D) showed himself to be more knowledgeable about city government than his opponent (Byron "Skip" Steele, 6-R), but Gwin, an erstwhile Republican candidate for council and mayor, is these days a hard-core lefty, touting his affiliation with moveon.org and using his Facebook account to defame tea party members as Nazis and promote the left-wing view of social and economic issues. (CORRECTION: I was apparently thinking of this post, on October 23, a table calling tea party members "racist, bigoted, and xenophobic," and which said that the Tea Party is "what fascism looks like." The table was accompanied by Gwin's one-word comment "TRUTH." Contrary to my recollection he did stop short of calling tea partiers Nazis.) He seems determined to offend as many conservatives as possible, even though he can't win without their support in this majority Republican district.

Neither Tom Mansur (7-R) and Michael Rainwater (7-D) impressed me as thoughtful or informed with their Tulsa Press Club performances, but at least Rainwater has experience as a neighborhood leader and is not backed by "Working Tulsans," TulsaBizPAC, or the Latham/Holmes/Ahlgren combine.

I don't know what to think about 2. I like Jeannie Cue's (2-R) roots and lifelong involvement in the west Tulsa community, but I have been unimpressed with her grasp on the issues. Her support from Working Tulsans, even if without her knowledge and consent, is worrisome as well. Philip Oyler (2-D) is a serious and respectable candidate.

Endorsements and questionnaires from various groups:

Tulsa Area Republican Assembly: Of their primary endorsements, only District 3's David Bell remains in the race.
Tulsa 912 Project: They endorsed Bell and Ewing in the primary.
OK-SAFE candidate questionnaire
Preserve Midtown questionnaire on zoning and planning

The City Manager-City Council proposal

Complete charter as revised if council-manager proposition (left side of ballot) is approved

Comparison of Proposed Council-Manager Charter Amendment to the Current Charter: Paragraph by paragraph

The Save Our Tulsa (for Our Kind, Dahling) propositions

Initiative Proposition No. 1 (At-Large Councilors; Mayor as Council Chairman)
Initiative Proposition No. 2 (Two-year terms, to coincide with state and federal elections)
Initiative Proposition No. 3 (Non-partisan elections)

Video and audio

KOTV News on 6 interviews with the candidates and the Tulsa Press Club forum for Districts 2, 7, and 8
KWGS Kiwanis Club debate for Tulsa City Council District 4

Who's trying to buy a set of City Councilors?

Scans of all pre-primary contribution and expenditures reports
Scans of all pre-general contribution and expenditures reports

Who are Ben Latham and Burt Holmes? They've given money to Patrick, Brune, Steele, Mansur, and Lakin.

Who is behind Working Tulsans? George Kaiser, Stacy Schusterman, Jay Helm, and council-suer Burt Holmes are the biggest contributors.

Who is Karl Ahlgren (and why you should care)? Ahlgren is consultant for Steele, Mansur and Lakin. His firm sent mailers before the primary on behalf of "Working Tulsans" in support of Cue, Patrick, and Steele. In an email, Ahlgren has endorsed Democrat Ken Brune in the general election.

What is Save Our Tulsa? Where do Save Our Tulsa supporters (median age: 75) live? Why do Money Belt denizens complain about SOT's proposals privately but refuse to denounce them publicly? (SOT's charter change proposals are on the November ballot, and SOT supporters have been active donors in the city council races.)

What is the "Midtown money belt"? Brice Bogle calls it "Tulsa's Golden Rectangle":

... an area he defines as from the northwest corner of the Inner Dispersal Loop to Skelly Drive in the south, and Harvard Avenue on the east.

"When the leaders of Tulsa talk about doing things for the benefit of Tulsa, it seldom means an area outside of the golden rectangle," Bogle said. "To many outside of the rectangular area, it often seems that those inside the area do not think of Tulsa really being anything beyond it."

My take on the Money Belt:

I would adjust his boundaries slightly -- shave off the less prosperous parts of southern and western Brookside and northeast of the Broken Arrow Expressway -- to come up with what I call the "Money Belt," but the attitude Bogle describes is spot on, and it manifests itself in election results, mayoral appointments, council-packing schemes, survey results, even water usage. That's not to say that all Money Belt denizens are afflicted with this insular attitude, or that those who are are bad people -- they just need to broaden their horizons. To them, the rest of Tulsa is something you drive through to get to Grand Lake or the airport.

But Money Belt blindness to the needs and concerns of the rest of Tulsa has real consequences. It's why it's important to provide some geographic balance on the city's boards and commissions, rather than drawing most appointees from this golden rectangle. It's why it's important for city councilors to advocate forcefully for their district's concerns; no one else in a position of power will....

(P.S. No, I don't think the Money Belt is a conspiracy. It's a demographic phenomenon, a mindset, a subculture. What makes it especially interesting is that it's a subculture that wields a good deal of political and economic power.)

The original use of the term "Cockroach Caucus"

I have struggled with what to call this cluster of special interests which has been trying to run the City of Tulsa without public input, and preferably without public debate....

They don't like the light of public scrutiny, so they conduct their business in the dark. But just because we can't see what's going on, it doesn't mean that they aren't there, contaminating public policy out of sight.

Why don't they like the light? Here's a link to reputable 2000 year old opinion on the subject. They know they aren't serving the interests of all Tulsans. They're serving the interests of a favored few, but they don't want us to know that.

Blake Ewing, Joe Bates, and Rocky Frisco, September 9, 2011. Photo by Trish Molina. Copyright 2011 Aithne Studios. Used by permission.

Blake Ewing, Joe Bates, and Rocky Frisco, September 9, 2011. Photo by Trish Molina. Copyright 2011 Aithne Studios. Used by permission.

Of the seven City Council races on today's ballot, the District 4 race, the only one in which I'm allowed to vote, is the only one in which I feel comfortable making an unequivocal and complete endorsement. I am proud to support Republican nominee Blake Ewing for District 4 City Council, and I'm proud to call him my friend.

Everything I said about Blake before the primary still applies:

Ewing is clearly the best choice. A creative entrepreneur, Ewing has built a group of businesses that employ over 100 workers, breathing new life into historic Blue Dome District buildings. He has personal experience with the ways that city government can help or hinder someone trying to start or grow a business.

What I appreciate most about Blake is his frankness and willingness to speak his mind. I don't always agree with him, by any means, but he is willing to think out loud, to think outside the box, and to defend his ideas in depth. Most politicians are content to speak in platitudes; Blake Ewing is willing to talk specifics. You can see that spirit at work in his personal blog.

In building his businesses and in running this campaign, Blake Ewing has come face-to-face with some of the ugliness of Tulsa politics and the establishment that works hard to defend its death-grip on the city. That can be said about many of my acquaintances, but Blake is one of the few people willing to speak out publicly, as he did about his interaction with political consultant Karl Ahlgren, whose services Ewing chose to reject.

After his primary win, Blake posted answers to tough questions about historic preservation and protecting neighborhoods against inappropriate infill development while encouraging quality infill development. Not surprisingly, the build-anything-anywhere developer lobby supports Ewing's opponent, Ken Brune.

(It's become a running joke: At every forum I've attended, Brune defends his preservationist bona fides by citing his involvement with "Tulsa Foundation of Architects." The name of the organization is, in fact, the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture. While his stewardship of the Reunion Building at 4th and Main is praiseworthy, Brune's willingness to sacrifice HP-zoned residential areas "on a case by case basis" for the right development means we can't trust Ken Brune to protect the investments of residents in historic neighborhoods.)

Blake Ewing has run a relentlessly positive campaign, despite the negative attacks from his opponent and allied elements of the Cockroach Caucus. Blake is willing to argue his views, but always in a respectful and positive way, with a view toward maintaining the ongoing relationship with those who hold different views.

It's crucial that Tulsa has at least one independent, intelligent, creative, and courageous voice on the City Council. Blake Ewing is the man for the job.


Blake Ewing's response to the OK-SAFE questionnaire. (Brune did not respond.)

Audio of the KWGS / Kiwanis Club Tulsa City Council District 4 debate, October 25, 2011.

Blake Ewing's response to the Preserve Midtown questionnaire. (Brune did not respond.

William_Suliburk_District_8.jpgIn the previous entry, I mentioned a candidate survey issued by OK-SAFE -- Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise. Say what you will about OK-SAFE and their views, but the group's questionnaire gets into the details of real questions facing City of Tulsa officials, and they allow candidates to respond with as much detail and nuance as they'd like, publishing each candidate's full response on the website. Cowardice is the only reason a candidate would refuse to submit a response.

Six general election candidates did submit a response. In District 8, William Suliburk, the Democrat nominee, submitted some sound and thoughtful conservative responses to the questionnaire. Republican nominee Phil Lakin, right-hand man to liberal Obama bundler George Kaiser, did not submit a response.

Suliburk, a Roman Catholic, is recently retired from a career in banking. He has a BA in economics from Georgetown University, an MA in economics from UCLA, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He serves on the Sales Tax Overview Committee.

Here are Suliburk's responses to questions about the proposed south Tulsa bridge, eminent domain for private redevelopment, city funding for Planned Parenthood, English only for government signs, the role of the Tulsa Metro Chamber and its city contract, immigration enforcement, the role of the City Attorney, the acquisition of the new City Hall, and the ballpark assessment. (Emphasis is mine.)

10. Regarding the South Tulsa/Bixby bridge, a) how would you pay for it, b) what street should traffic flow into from the bridge, c) when should it be built?

I am not in favor of the South Tulsa/Bixby bridge. There are already two bridges in the 91st St. area plus the bridge across Memorial Drive. There is little, if any, need for another bridge for South Tulsans. Neither Yale nor "River Road/Delaware Avenue/Riverside Drive" were meant to be the equivalent of Memorial Drive. Only that volume of traffic and commercial development could justify and support the bridge.

20. Would you support or oppose the City of Tulsa taking private property under eminent domain to transfer that property to private developers?

Oppose. This is nothing less than "crony capitalism", with its resulting corruption.

28. Would you support or oppose giving taxpayer funds (Community Development Block Grants) to Planned Parenthood?

Oppose. As with many groups, PP started as a limited purpose organization - in its case, for simple medical and counseling services. Even at that stage, it was subject to controversy - for example, my Catholic Church opposed ordinary contraceptive services. However, PP seemed to fill a void. Unfortunately, over time it evolved into what essentially is a political advocacy organization dealing in major medical and moral issues.
Therefore, taxpayer funds should not be directed to it.
PP would be best served to return to its early perspective.

30. Would you support or oppose a city ordinance that requires all signs on government buildings in the City of Tulsa to be in the English language only?

Support. There would likely to be exceptions for certain federal rules and for some areas of emergency facilities (e.g., hospital emergency rooms). It is important to recognize that English not only contributes to our melting pot, but more importantly is the sole "language of success". Therefore, we must encourage its use by all new residents so that they can reach their potential.

34. Would you support or oppose putting the city's contract with the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce out for competitive bid?

Support. Since early in my candidacy, I have been asked about the Chamber of Commerce's (COC) new role in city candidate elections. I was asked by COC to an interview shortly after the filing period. However, I was going to be out of the state for their schedule. I indicated I would be glad to meet when I returned, but they were firm
on the date, because they had to gather a large interview committee composed of staff and members for the occasion.

My presence at the interview would not have made a difference toward my candidacy. I have long admired the COC's activities and was on some committees during the 1980s. I support much of their current plan.

However, I would also have discussed with them my disappointment in their involving the COC in local candidate elections. COC is a formal partner with the city regarding economic development activities, receiving perhaps $1,800,000 annually from the city for the COC's efforts. I would have politely indicated that I did not want to be included in endorsements or funding.

I think it is inappropriate for COC to recruit and fund candidates for city elective offices while receiving money from the city. First, I think it is an ethical issue, whereby the COC should keep itself neutral in such a monetary/functional partnership. Second, I think it may be shortsighted for the COC's best long term interests.

Over a couple of election cycles, it is likely that there will be a number of officials elected who are opposed by the COC. It will be highly unlikely that those officials - who believe they are doing their jobs well - will vote to continue the relationship with the COC that is trying to thwart them or remove them from office. The COC will have poisoned the well for a continuation of its partnership.

The COC needs to choose whether to continue its formal economic development partnership or to be an electoral force. If the COC stops its electioneering, I would favor retaining the contract and partnership.

39. Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett has stated, "Police officers are not here to send people back to their home country. That's not their job." (Source, Tulsa World, June 15, 2011) Do you support or oppose this stated position of the Mayor that it is not the job of police officers in the City of Tulsa to enforce federal immigration laws?

Again, nuances: Tulsans have always welcomed legal immigrants. We were also welcoming to the special exception for South Vietnamese immigration following the Communist North Vietnamese take over in 1975.

TPD does not have the resources to conduct sweeps of the population for illegal immigrants and should not be diverted from its core public safety tasks to do so. However, whenever TPD, in its normal course of law enforcement, does come in contact with illegal immigrants, the immigrants should be subjected to federal regulations. Tulsa should not be a "sanctuary city".

40. Do you support or oppose making Tulsa's city attorney an elected position?

This is not a singular issue to be voted on during this election cycle, although it is an element of the Council/City Manager proposal. I would prefer that the City Attorney be appointed by the Mayor with confirmation by the City Council. There has been an tendency in recent administrations for the City Attorney to rationalize the positions of the Mayor - which is not difficult to accomplish with the voluminous, imprecise, and sometimes conflicting city charter, city ordinances, and state legislation. I would propose an initial four year appointment which is done two years into a Mayor's term. The attorney would eligible for re-appointment and re-confirmation for one additional four year term. He/she would be limited to eight years total service.

49. Do you support or oppose the position taken by the City of Tulsa to move city hall offices to the One Technology Center?

Oppose. Although the price of the building/move was described as a "bargain", the owner would have been lucky to get half the price that the City paid. What is worse, a deeding/financing option was used to avoid the standard governance approval for such a substantial venture. Furthermore, everyone knows that an "independent consultant" can jigger the figures to show whatever the client wants; it was a low point for Roger Staubach's reputation.

51. Do you support or oppose the downtown assessment district fees on businesses to pay for the ballpark?

It is not appropriate for property located far from the ballpark to be assessed at the same level as property that is a few blocks away.

While conservative voters won't be in complete agreement with Suliburk's responses, they'll find much to link in his well-thought out responses and his willingness to disagree with the standard Cockroach Caucus position. A conservative District 8 voter who wants a councilor in line with his views, who wants a councilor not beholden to billion-dollar special interests or out-of-district donors may well prefer Democrat nominee Suliburk to a nominal Republican who won't go on record on these important issues.

Say Hello to Garfield:-)A number of guides, interviews, and videos have been posted to introduce voters to the candidates on the Tulsa City Council ballot tomorrow. In most cases, the winner of a hotly contested primary for the district's dominant party faces the nominee of the minority party, who either got a bye or faced minimal competition in the primary. District 4 is the exception -- an evenly-divided district in which both parties had strongly contested primaries.

OK-SAFE (Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise) is a non-partisan but conservative/libertarian organization that produces a lengthy questionnaire for City Council candidates. Only six general election candidates responded: Jeannie Cue in District 2, David Bell and David Patrict in 3, Blake Ewing in 4, Robert Gwin in 6, and William Suliburk in 8. Candidates give a short answer, reflected on a summary grid, but may also elaborate on their responses, and their responses are posted in full.

Steven Roemerman has video of the Tulsa Press Club forum for districts 2, 7, and 8. These forums were somewhat disappointing, as questions dealing with development and land use planning weren't included, but they were still revealing in places. Check out the responses to the question about the involvement in the election of the Tulsa Metro Chamber, a city vendor, keeping in mind that Lakin, Mansur, and Cue all received money from the Chamber's TulsaBizPac.

Also note the responses to the question about trash service. Everyone likes the current service, but no one even addresses Mayor Junior Bartlett's efforts to stymie the ability of the Council to shape the trash service to address the public's concerns. Half of the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy board (William Bowles, expired 2010/07/31, Beverly Anderson and Michael Pierce, expired 2011/07/31) continues to serve despite expired terms. Mayor Junior has refused to put them up for reappointment, avoiding a Council vote, in which the TARE board members could be held to account for the board's refusal to consider public concerns about their approach to the new trash contract.

Mayor Junior's City Attorney has issued an opinion that the charter provision giving the council the power to fill expired terms that the mayor refuses to fill doesn't apply to the TARE board, because the TARE board is authorized under state statute. (The City Attorney conveniently interprets conflicts and precedence between charter and state statute as suits Mayor Junior. Sometimes state law trumps charter, sometimes vice versa.) There's also an opinion that although the city legislature created TARE, they can't eliminate it without TARE's approval, and they can't strip it of its powers. A council effort to do just that was vetoed by Mayor Junior, and councilors were told they'd be sued personally if they overrode the veto. In a nutshell, Dewey Bartlett Jr is standing in the way of Tulsans getting the trash service they want, and these candidates for City Council don't understand that playing nice with the Mayor won't make him budge on this issue.

KOTV News on 6 has posted interviews with each of the 14 Council candidates on the News on 6 election coverage home page. Click on the map to pop up the two candidates for the district, or click the link below:

District 2:

Jeannie Cue (R)
Phillip Oyler (D)

District 3:

David Bell(R)
David Patrick (D)

District 4:

Blake Ewing (R)
Ken Brune (D)

District 6:

Byron Steele (R)
Robert Gwin Jr. (D)

District 7:

Tom Mansur (R)
Michael Rainwater (D)

District 8:

Phil Lakin (R)
William Suliburk (D)

District 9:

G. T. Bynum (R)
Mike Batman (D)

/disapproveOnly seven districts have Tulsa City Council races but voters in every district of the City of Tulsa can vote Tuesday, November 8, 2011, on the four charter amendment propositions on the general election ballot.

On the left of the ballot (under a city council race, if you have one) is the City Council's proposal to convert Tulsa to a City Manager - City Council form of government. On the right are three propositions resulting from the initiative petitions of Save Our Tulsa (for Our Kind Dahling), a group of rich old midtown Money Belt types, all of which are designed to make money and powerful connections more important than grassroots support.

(Click here to see a sample ballot with the charter amendment propositions in PDF format.)

I urge BatesLine readers to vote AGAINST all four propositions. For each proposition, here's why I oppose it and what I believe would be a better solution:

City Manager - City Council: AGAINST

It's important for the executive power in the City of Tulsa to be accountable directly to the voters. In a city manager form of government that accountability is indirect. We have had enough trouble already with powerful department heads out of reach of public accountability. In my experience, a city manager becomes either the uncrowned king of the city (do a web search for "Francis McGrath"), using his power over the bureaucracy to help city councilors who back him and punish city councilors who buck him, or he becomes the scapegoat, taking the blame and getting the sack every time something goes wrong. I'm sure there are rare cases where the position works as advertised, and Oklahoma City may well fall into that category.

I'm sympathetic to the proponents of this measure. It seems that Tulsa's social and economic structure is such that our mayor will always be a denizen and product of the Money Belt, uninterested and unwilling to treat grassroots-elected councilors with respect as a co-equal branch of government and ignorant of the needs and priorities of Tulsans who don't live in the Money Belt. I believe that some adjustment to the charter is needed to help the council be an effective check and balance on the mayor. The City Council should have its own attorney, independent of the City Attorney. The mayor should have the authority to appoint and remove department heads, but only with the advice and consent of the council. Officially, our department heads are supposed to be civil service appointees, but mayors have always found a way around that, using one of their charter-authorized at-will positions to hire a police chief or city attorney.

An idea to bring the mayor closer to the grassroots: Require the nominating process to pass through the council districts. A candidate would have to win a nominating election in his own district in order to qualify for the citywide election. We could also decide the election based on number of council districts won, rather than total popular vote. (An explanation for Save Our Tulsa members: Match play rather than stroke play.) A mayoral candidate would need to campaign across the city, rather than racking up big numbers in the Money Belt.

Initiative Petition Proposition 1 (At-Large Councilors): AGAINST

Adding three at-large councilors, plus the mayor as chairman of the City Council (with the power to set the Council's agenda), would violate checks and balances, dilute geographical grassroots representation in favor of well-financed, Money Belt-backed candidates, and set up new rivals to the mayor -- super-councilors, like the mayor, elected with a city-wide mandate. The result promises to be just as contentious as the current arrangement with the added problem of opening Tulsa up to a Voting Rights Act lawsuit. The Tulsa County Republican and Democratic parties both oppose this measure, as do the Tulsa Metro Chamber, the Tulsa World, the Tulsa Beacon, the Oklahoma Eagle, the League of Women Voters, Mayor Junior Bartlett, and myself.

Tulsans Defending Democracy has a brief statement about the current proposal. TDD has been steadfast in opposition to at-large councilors since the idea was first floated. (Click these links to read TDD's 2006 position statement opposing at-large councilors and the conclusion of the Citizens' Commission for City Government to oppose at-large.)

Only the SOTs seem to think this is a good idea, and their claim that ward politics is the source of City Hall bickering is full of baloney. They won't and can't name a concrete example of ward politics. The disputes at City Hall have involved significant city-wide issues -- e.g., using Tulsa tax dollars to promote development in Tulsa rather than development in the suburbs, protecting neighborhoods and administering zoning laws fairly and consistently, defending taxpayers against attempts to garnish their money to pay back (illegally) the Great Plains Airlines loan, holding the Tulsa Metro Chamber accountable for how they spend our hotel/motel tax dollars.

The solution to the problem of bickering is to elect a mayor who will respect and work with the council, rather than pitch a fit and isolate himself, as Mayor Junior has done. The current council gets along very well with one another and has been as unified as I've ever seen a council. The idea that the council bickers has been promoted by self-interested special interest groups who want a council full of puppets and submissive milquetoasts. (Ever heard of national media bias, where news reports are distorted to make conservatives look bad and liberals look good? The same sort of thing happens in Tulsa, propping up the Money Belt's favorites and knocking down grassroots leaders.)

Initiative Petition Proposition 2 (Even-year elections): AGAINST

This SOT proposition would hold city of Tulsa elections simultaneously with federal and state elections in the fall of even-numbered years, moving the mayor's election to coincide with the presidential election and the council elections back to a two-year term fallling on federal and state election dates.

The result would be scant attention paid to city issues. While this proposition would increase the number of voters in city elections, it wouldn't increase the number of informed voters. If the elections remain partisan (if ballot item three fails), voters will likely follow a straight ticket when they get to the municipal races at the distant bottom of the ballot. If the elections go non-partisan, voters who are interested in federal issues but pay no attention to city matters will either skip the city races or vote for the most famous name.

Holding city elections at the same time as dozens of other races will spread available volunteer time, contributions, and voter attention even thinner than it already is, once again hurting grassroots candidates dependent on volunteers and small contributions. Because the voting universe will be larger, candidates will need more money to reach the voters with their message, and even more money to cut through the clutter of all the other races.

To refresh your memory, here's a link to all the sample ballots for the 2010 general election in Tulsa County. In all the precincts, voters had eight statewide races, two federal races, six judicial retention questions, three non-partisan district judge races, a county assessor's race, 11 state questions, and possibly county commission, state senate, and state house races, in addition to two city questions on a separate bedsheet ballot. One set of precincts had 34 separate races and issues to consider. We don't need to make those ballots any longer!

(Links to PDFs of 2010 Tulsa County ballot style 1 front side, state question ballot, and Tulsa city proposition ballot.)

I agree that moving to three-year staggered terms was a bad idea. My better alternative is to go back to the system that we adopted in 2008 and are only this year departing -- elections in the fall of odd-numbered years. Some adjustments could be made -- a primary in August instead of September, right after Labor Day -- but it was a good idea, one endorsed by the Citizens' Commission, and we didn't give it a chance.

Separate city elections allow voters to focus on city issues and make it easier for candidates to raise money and recruit volunteers without competition from federal, state, and county campaigns.

Ideally, I'd like to see all local elections -- city, county, and school board -- in the fall of odd years and state and federal elections in the fall of even years, with special votes like bond issues and state questions limited to the appropriate general election date.

Initiative Petition Proposition 3 (Non-partisan elections): AGAINST

Non-partisan elections would remove a useful if imperfect piece of information about the candidates from the ballot -- their national party affiliation -- and leave nothing but their name on the ballot. Non-partisan elections put a premium on name recognition -- an advantage to incumbents and candidates with high financial backing and newspaper endorsements. It's yet another SOT obstacle to trip up grassroots candidates for city office.

My alternative proposal is multi-partisan elections with preferential instant runoff voting. Candidates can run under their national party or a party label of their own devising, giving voters help in finding the name of their preferred candidate on the ballot. All candidates would run on the same ballot, allowing all voters to choose from all candidates. Voters would rank candidates in order of preference, which would avoid vote splitting among similar candidates, ensuring that the winner is supported by a majority of voters.

I dealt with the non-partisan proposition in detail in an earlier entry. See also Ray Pearcey's excellent takedown of non-partisan elections in UTW and my detailed description of multi-partisan voting.

Smear merchant Karl Ahlgren, the campaign consultant behind the current Money Belt effort to seize total control of Tulsa city government, is advocating for the defeat of Blake Ewing, the Republican nominee for Tulsa City Council District 4. Ahlgren is nominally a Republican, but he seems to support any cause or candidate that fills his bank account. Ahlgren has a bone to pick with Ewing because Ewing rejected his advances at the beginning of the campaign and spoke publicly about Ahlgren's negative reputation.

From: Karl Ahlgren
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 7:37 AM
To: Holmes Burt; Ben Latham
Cc: Holland Fount
Subject: Today's TW article on CD 4 candidates views

Blake can't help himself. In todays article he's made it crystal clear that he will be no different than the current 8-9 councilors. I've been saying this for weeks and finally he comes clean. Do we in fact want to elect another ....... or Ken Brune who will have the desire to collaborate with the mayor and his fellow councilors.

The time is now to make a difference in this election.


Ken Brune is the Democrat nominee for the District 4 seat. I'm told that the dots were inserted by Ben Latham (who forwarded Ahlgren's message to his mailing list) in place of a vulgar seven-letter synonym for gastrointestinal exit which has the same initials as Ahlgren's consulting firm. (Coincidence? I think not.) Latham is the Save Our Tulsa member who hired Ahlgren to help him fill the City Council with submissive milquetoasts.

The news story mentioned by Ahlgren is a report about the Kiwanis Club / KWGS debate
between Ewing and Brune. In response to a question about discord at City Hall, Ewing gave this response (transcribed on his blog):

Look, you're not electing people to city hall to get along. You're electing them, in fact, to argue. I think what we're seeing there is that the majority of the issues and the majority of the disagreements have very little to do with advancement of the city, or with making this a better place. They've become personal. You're putting nine people in a room from nine different parts of town, nine different ways of life, nine different backgrounds. They better disagree, and frankly, the reason we have a mayor balanced with the council is so they can check each other. So yes, I think as the leader, it's the mayor's responsibility, in many aspects, to present the big broad vision, so that everyone joins under that umbrella of hope for the city.

When it comes to the day to day politics, it's naive to expect that those ten people will always get along. That's where I think you elect the personalities to the conversation who can pursue the bigger picture at all costs and put the petty things behind us and work tirelessly on advancing the city."

In a nutshell, Ewing says our elected officials ought to bring their 10 different perspectives to the table to debate issues vigorously, without getting personal and petty. In response to a Brune mailer that takes his comments out of context, Ewing responds on his blog:

[Brune is] playing off of the community's frustration with our current representatives who are often accused (whether right or wrong) of being difficult and childish. Naturally, if one reads the whole answer or listens to the audio on KWGS, they'll find that I'm as against that negative activity and lack of progress as anyone. They'll also find Mr. Brune's naive assertion that the reason for our current discord is The Mayor and The Council's inability to find a "proper time" to "visit" or share their goals with each other. Ask anyone at City Hall if they think that's an accurate assessment or if it's just political speak.

Ewing doesn't elaborate, but I've heard from many different City Hall insiders that Mayor Junior Bartlett has all but cut off communications with members of the City Council, a pattern that began within months of his taking office. According to the same sources, even during the most contentious debates, Kathy Taylor was generally accessible to discuss matters with councilors at any time.

This week, Working Tulsans, the George Kaiser-backed 527 committee that concealed their donors prior to the primary, sent a mailer promoting Brune. Working Tulsans's pre-primary mailers bore the Oklahoma City bulk mail mark of Majority Designs, the direct mail firm run by Karl Ahlgren's partner Fount Holland. This pro-Brune Working Tulsans mailer has a Tulsa bulk mail permit instead, but the style is the same as the pre-primary mailers.

Ken Brune or Caspar Milquetoast?(Reminder: The median home size of contributors to "Working Tulsans" is 5,007.5 sq. ft. and median home value is $691,050.)

In the debates in recent years over taxes for special projects, we've heard over and over again (from the sort of people who are funding Working Tulsans) how important it is to offer fun and exciting entertainment options to help Tulsa attract and retain young people who are creative and entrepreneurial. It's crucial, we've been told, to Tulsa's future. We want our kids to come back after college and raise our grandkids here.

So along comes Blake Ewing, a young entrepreneur who has created a half dozen businesses employing over 100 people, with more in the works, helping to revive downtown as a fun place to be any night of the week. He's worked on a number of city task forces to promote Tulsa retailers and deal with important city issues, and he has a good working relationship with the mayor. He has even (to my chagrin -- one area of significant disagreement) supported Vision 2025 and the river tax (although he believes this would not be a good time for a tax hike).

But instead of endorsing this young, positive, energetic entrepreneur -- the epitome of the kind of young Tulsan they say we want to attract and retain -- George Kaiser and his allies are backing a submissive milquetoast.

I've emailed Alex Eaton, chairman of Working Tulsans (also the president of my high school class), and asked him to explain their criteria for candidate selection. I'll pass his response along as soon as it arrives.

My theory: George Kaiser doesn't want any leader on the Council other than Phil Lakin, trustee of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, and G. T. Bynum, former Washington lobbyist for the George Kaiser Family Foundation. They want everyone else on the council to be a reliable follower, without the initiative or intelligence to challenge anything coming from Lakin or Bynum. Blake Ewing is bright, energetic, and inquisitive, not afraid to look for better ways to do things, not afraid to ask tough questions (but politely), not afraid to poke holes (pleasantly) in silly ideas. Kaiser and his allies want a council full of dullards who will do things their way without question.

How sad for Tulsa! Why not just post a sign at the city limits that says, "Creative, energetic entrepreneurs not wanted."

MORE: Since I invoked his name, here's a collection of Caspar Milquetoast cartoons at James Lileks's wonderful Institute of Official Cheer.

In this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly, Ray Pearcey deploys an apt analogy against the Save Our Tulsa non-partisan election proposition on Tulsa's general election ballot this Tuesday.

If you are a baseball fan you've had time to recover from late night World Series games, so I want you to imagine a very different kind of baseball game. You see, in this variation, the teams don't have uniforms and the players wear street clothes, so it's impossible to see who's on what team. There are lots of very confused folks in the stands -- in fact many people simply go home shortly after the game gets underway, other fans, having been told about the no uniform rules, simply stay home not wanting to waste their time with a confusing contest.

But there are a handful of people at the game who are yelling and clapping, these folks have inside info, maybe they know the players first hand, maybe the players are their kin or maybe the insiders are owners. The thing is, only a tiny set of people at the game know the players and their team affinities: that is what non-partisan elections will "look like" in Tulsa.

Pearcey points out that our current non-partisan elections for district judge are plagued with low turnouts and voter confusion. Non-partisan races are likely to hinge on name recognition, which in turn is driven by which candidate has the biggest budget:

Big print ads, sizable radio and TV runs will be paramount in "non-par" contests: council candidates will need big bucks to prevail in this newly chaotic, information spare environment. Expect the prospects of candidates with strong ties to banking, real estate, construction and big business to get a big boost: these folks should have some influence by right, but shouldn't be allowed to call all the shots.

Dizzy_Dean_Tulsa_Oilers.jpgThat's likely why Save Our Tulsa supports non-partisan elections. Every one of their three ballot propositions -- at-large (citywide) city councilors, city elections at the same time as state and federal elections, and non-partisan elections -- is designed to raise the cost of running a successful race for city council, hampering the chances of a grassroots, door-to-door campaign from succeeding, resulting in a City Council entirely dependent on and subservient to the Money Belt.

Pearcey acknowledges that national party affiliation is an imperfect indicator in local elections, but, he says, "some info is better than zero."

To extend the metaphor, the problem we have right now is that the players are wearing uniforms, but the uniforms don't indicate their loyalties. Imagine a World Series where individual Cardinals and Rangers play not for their own team's victory but for the victory of someone's fantasy league team. Imagine Rangers catcher Mike Napoli tipping Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols to his signals to the pitcher, because they both happen to be on George Kaiser's Rotisserie League lineup, and Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogande is on the FOP's roster. The fans in the stands think the competition is Rangers vs. Cardinals; only the insiders are hip to the teams that really matter and which player is assigned to which team.

Pearcey would like to see the emergence of purely local political parties. That's something you see in Britain and in a few cities around the U. S. where city ballot laws permit it. I've advocated this idea, to be used in conjunction with instant-runoff ballots under the name "multi-partisan elections." The idea won the support of some members of the Citizens' Commission on City Government.

Satchel_Paige_Tulsa_Oilers_1976.jpgIn the United Kingdom, the Electoral Commission maintains a register of national and local political parties. A party registers its name, a logo, and a description which appear next to the candidate's name on the ballot. The Electoral Commission has rules to reject names confusingly similar to existing parties. Each candidate files as a party nominee (with the party's authorization) or as an independent. At some elections, the candidate must post a deposit which will be refunded if he wins the seat or gets some nominal percentage of the vote. (Candidates for parliament post a £500 deposit, refunded if they receive at least 5%.)

In Minneapolis, for example, candidates declare a three-word "political party or principle" that appears next to their name on the ballot. (Here are filings from the 2009 Minneapolis election, with the designations chosen by the candidates, and here are the 2009 Minneapolis election results.) Most candidates chose a national label, and in some districts, two or more candidates with the same party label were on the ballot. Minneapolis uses ranked-choice voting, a form of Instant Runoff Voting, so all candidates appear on the general election ballot, and voters indicate first, second, and third choices. If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, the low-ranked candidate is eliminated and his votes redistributed based on the second choice marked on those ballots.

The beauty of the Minneapolis approach is that it lets every voter choose from among all the candidates, without obscuring real differences between the candidates, and yet it ensures that the winner has the support of a majority of the voters. Unfortunately these approaches to "multi-partisan voting" aren't on the ballot this Tuesday.

The Save Our Tulsa non-partisan proposition is a move by wealthy old midtowners to strengthen their faltering grip on Tulsa's city government, and it should be rejected. On Tuesday vote AGAINST all three initiative petition propositions on the right side of the ballot.

MORE: The Tulsa Whirled editorial board ridiculed (but didn't provide a substantive argument against) my multi-partisan idea back in 2007. In reply, I explained how a strictly non-partisan ballot would boost their influence in electing Money Belt toadies at the expense of grassroots candidates:

They oppose it for selfish reasons which they don't wish to reveal to the reader. A candidate's brief self-description on the ballot constitutes a media bypass. Without depending on the favor of the monopoly daily newspaper, without needing a pile of campaign cash, a candidate would be able to communicate something about himself, albeit very briefly, to every voter, in words of his own choosing.

If the Whirled editorial hive-mind gets its collective way, a city election ballot would comprise lists of bare names, with no other identifying information. As the still-dominant media outlet in Tulsa, the Whirled would define for many voters what emotions and opinions they should hold about each of those names.

Small wonder they don't like the idea.

Democrat Ken Brune sent out a mailer to Republican voters in Tulsa District 4 with a list of 74 "Republicans for Ken Brune (1 MB PDF)."

Ken Brune seems to be liked only by an elite and elderly class of Republicans.


A BatesLine analysis of the 74 names, using voter registration and county assessor records, shows that 67 of them live south of 21st Street in the Money Belt precincts that were recently moved from District 9 to District 4, 4 live north of 21st Street in the district, and 3 don't live in District 4 at all.

Median age of the names on the list is 66. The youngest, former City Councilor Eric Gomez (who threatened to sue his constituents), is 42. Only four of the 74 are under a half-century old.

The median value (as assigned by the Tulsa County Assessor) of the homes where they reside is $392,450, and the median home size is 3,473 sq. ft. Only six people on the list live in homes worth less than $200,000. (The median sales price for Tulsa is $135,000.)


The list of Brune fans includes John Brock, leader of Save Our Tulsa, who believes that City Councilors should be seen and not heard; Joe Westervelt, a developer and former TMAPC chairman who believes citizens should not be heard and historic neighborhoods should not be protected; Frederic Dorwart, the BOK attorney, George Kaiser Family Foundation trustee who pushed through the legally-dubious ballpark assessment scheme; Bob Poe, the highway construction hothead and 2004 Tulsa Metro Chamber chairman, famed for his divisive and embarrassing rants against city councilors and state legislators (Poe was a Democrat as recently as 2009); and Gomez, who decided his constituents didn't need to know about a massive residential facility for the long-term homeless being planned for their neighborhood, then threatened to sue a constituent who complained about it.

What kind of Republican supports Ken Brune? The kind that doesn't want to protect our beautiful older neighborhoods. The kind that wants the council to be a silent rubber stamp. The kind that would rather tear apart the city charter than cooperate and compromise with city councilors who have different priorities. The kind that is well insulated by his wealth from the daily concerns that affect most Tulsans. The kind that wants higher taxes and more corporate welfare. The Cockroach Caucus type of Republican.


As I wrote about the Cockroach Caucus back before the primary:

A small group of wealthy Tulsans want total control of city government. They don't want thoughtful citizens on the City Council who will ask direct questions or who will stand firm against special-interest manipulation. They want a City Council full of well-trained monkeys who will vote on command. They exist under various names -- TulsaBizPac, Coalition for Responsible Government, Tulsans for Better Government, Save Our Tulsa -- I call them the Cockroach Caucus. They've used unsubstantiated claims of "bickering" and "ward politics" to discredit the councilors we've elected to represent us.

These are the people, the Cockroach Caucus, who created a year of turmoil with their 2004-2005 attempt to recall two city councilors over policy differences. For all the whining and complaining they do about "Council bickering," they dragged the city through a divisive year of attacks and smears, all because they didn't like the results of an election, and they refused to work harmoniously with the councilors that the people of Tulsa had elected.

These are the people who led us into the Great Plains Airlines mess. They promised us openly that the taxpayers were at no financial risk, while they were secretly promising financiers that the taxpayers would pick up the tab if their wacky airline idea failed. It failed, state taxpayers coughed up $30 million in transferable tax credits with nothing to show for it, and Tulsa taxpayers got saddled with $7.1 million, which we're paying for with higher property taxes.

These are the Midtown Money Belt people who don't like the councilors that east and west and south and north Tulsa elect to represent our interests at City Hall. Middle-class and working-class Tulsans want more cops on the beat, city pools that open in the summer, streets that don't tear our cars to pieces, zoning that protects our neighborhoods against shoddy redevelopment, and economic policies that attract and keep growing businesses. The Midtown Money Belt types want taxpayers to subsidize their entertainment -- islands in the river, expensive concerts at the arena, WNBA. They want us to subsidize the success of their investments in suburban real estate, at the expense of growth within the city limits to help fund public safety and infrastructure.

So because they don't like the fact that the rest of us elect councilors focused on efficient basic city services, these people propose charter changes to dilute geographical representation on the City Council. They yearn for the days when you could drive a golf ball from the Mayor's midtown backyard into the yards of the other city commissioners. They want to pack the council with at-large councilors who have to be wealthy enough to afford a city-wide race or beholden to those who are.

That's the kind of Republican that backs Ken Brune.


The Brune mailer makes a preposterous claim: "Partisan politics have hampered real progress for our great city." I can't think of a single example of national party affiliation being relevant to a major city government dispute. The divisions that have hurt us are those caused by the rich, old Money Belt coots of both parties who won't work cooperatively with the rest of the city.

When I was the Republican nominee for District 4 City Council, my opponent put out a robocall the day before the election. It was Scott Petty (also on Brune's list as Robert S. Petty), speaking on behalf of "Republicans for Tom Baker."

It was the same bunch then as now. They don't want a bright, independent, creative, and courageous man like Republican Blake Ewing on the City Council. They want a submissive milquetoast like Democrat Ken Brune.

This conservative Republican is proud to support my fellow Republican Blake Ewing for District 4 City Council.

Red-white-and-blue RINO logo courtesy the conservative blog with the tongue-in-cheek name AngryWhiteDude.com

Don't forget that every Tulsa voter has a reason to go to the polls, as charter amendments will be on the ballot even if you're in a district (1 or 5) which doesn't have a general election for city councilor.

An email from Tulsa County Republican Party HQ reminds GOP voters that the party platform, adopted by grassroots party activists in March, opposes two of the four propositions on this year's city ballot: at-large City Council members and non-partisan city elections in this years county party platform. The email also briefly states pros and cons for the other two propositions.

An important message for Republicans in the City of Tulsa:

In addition to Tulsa City Council races in seven of the nine districts, four city charter amendments will be on the ballot. Even if you live in a district where there is no City Council race, all Tulsa Republicans can and should vote on these issues that significantly affect Tulsa's form of government.

On March 26, 2011, delegates to the Tulsa County Republican Party adopted a platform that opposes two of the four propositions -- Initiative Petition Proposition No. 1, which would add three more city councilors, elected at-large (city-wide) to the council, and Initiative Petition Proposition No. 3, which would make city elections non-partisan. The Local Government section of the Tulsa County Republican platform states:

9. We do not support city non-partisan elections or the current movement to change the Tulsa City Charter to allow such.

11. We oppose all efforts to add a Charter Amendment which would add at-large Councilors, elected city wide, to the Tulsa City Council.

Click here to read the 2011 Tulsa County Republican Party platform.

Adding at-large councilors would increase contention and rivalry at City Hall, dilute geographical representation, weaken checks and balances on government power, and expose Tulsa to the risk of a Federal lawsuit. Non-partisan elections would deprive voters of useful information, blur distinctions between the parties, and interfere with the local GOP's ability to assist conservative candidates who are running for city office.

The platform did not address Initiative Petition Proposition No. 2, Charter Change - City Election Dates. Here are two views on this issue.

Oppose: Holding city elections at the same time as federal, state, and county elections could hurt Republican campaigns by spreading available campaign dollars, volunteers, and voter attention among too many different races.

Support: Holding city elections on a major election date would save the taxpayer's money by consolidating elections. Also city elections historically have a low turnout rate. Having the city elections on the same date as state and national elections would increase voter turnout.

The platform did not address Proposition No. 1, City Council - City Manager form of government. Here are two views on this issue.

Oppose: The city manager is vested with much power in order to run the day to day operations of the city. He/She would be hired by the city council and would answer to the city council not the citizens. If the citizens are not happy with the way their city was being ran they would have to get a majority of the city council to support the replacement of the city manager. This adds another level of bureaucracy to local government.

Support: Many people support having a "professional" run the day to day operations of the city. Five of the six current Republicans on the City Council support this measure.

We urge all City of Tulsa Republicans to vote on November 8th.

CORRECTED to include all Working Tulsans contributions. In my haste to post the list of contributors, I only included those on the printed attachment and missed those on the handwritten portion of the form. Adding in Paul Lackey and Jay Helm didn't change the median home value, but it did bring the median home size down from 5,649.5 to 5,007.5 sq. ft., because Mr. Lackey's $1,472,000 Utica Place condominium is a paltry 2,718 sq. ft. Since this was originally published, a Working Tulsans mailer went out on behalf of Ken Brune, Democrat nominee in District 4.

Ten contributors were listed on the "Working Tulsans" C-1 form.

Contributors' median home size: 5,007.5 sq. ft.
Contributors' median home value: $691,050

Contributors' average home size: 5,885.4 sq. ft.
Contributors' median home value: $937,120.

Four contributors live in homes valued at greater than $1 million. The cheapest house of the bunch belongs to Burt Holmes, who lives in a 3,080 sq. ft. ranch-style house built in 1948, valued at $312,200.

Three contributors live in District 9. Three live in Money Belt sections of District 4 that were in 9 until this year. Two live in District 8.

Two contributors live in a district targeted by a Working Tulsans mailer. They live in District 2, in the neighborhood just south of Southern Hills Country Club.

Working Tulsans sent mailers into District 2 in support of Jeannie Cue, into District 3 in support of David Patrick, and into District 6 in support of Skip Steele. The mailers bore the bulk mail endorsement of Majority Designs, the Oklahoma City direct mail firm associated with Fount Holland and Karl Ahlgren.

The address of the committee, P. O. Box 52804, 74152, which appeared on the mailers and in the committee's filings, shows up in voter records as belonging to a 48-year-old woman registered to vote at a street address well outside the City of Tulsa. (Because her name turns up in a web search as a past victim of domestic violence, I'm not going to give the name here, but I have to wonder why her P. O. Box is being used for this committee.)

(Residence information derived from voter registration and county assessor records.)

Tonight, November 1, 2011, at 5:30 p.m., All Souls Unitarian Church will host a candidate forum for Tulsa City Council districts 4 (Blake Ewing and Ken Brune) and 9 (G. T. Bynum and Mike Batman). According to the announcement, candidates will speak on the proposed charter changes and the future of PLANiTULSA and will take questions.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Election 2011 category from November 2011.

Tulsa Election 2011: October 2011 is the previous archive.

Tulsa Election 2011: December 2011 is the next archive.

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



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]