Tulsa Election 2004: January 2004 Archives

Devon Jones, the Republican nominee for City Council District 1 in 2002, is once again seeking that office. Jones is an American Airlines maintenance technician with a heart for public service.

Devon Jones is the best choice in the Republican primary.

In the 2002 election, despite a heavy registration and name ID advantage for incumbent Joe Williams, Devon Jones won the precincts west of downtown Tulsa along the Sand Springs Line. He is active in local Republican politics and has received the endorsement of the Oklahoma Minority Republican Coalition.

As a Republican in a heavily Democrat district, as a white man in a majority African-American district, Devon Jones would seem to be facing long odds. But he is active in working with neighborhoods and community organizations across District 1, building friendships and respect across partisan and racial lines. Republicans will be proud to have Devon Jones as their standard-bearer in District 1.

This is what I know about the three candidates running in the District 1 Democrat primary to succeed Joe Williams:

I know nothing at all about Shirley LeRoy.

I know that Joda Trimiar received the endorsement of the Tulsa Whirled. While the Whirled sometimes endorses good candidates in federal and state elections, their local endorsements are usually all about electing easily-controlled sheeple who will carry out the Whirled's hidden agenda. The Whirled describes Trimiar as "bright and thoughtful". Are the Whirled's editorial writers being sincere in Trimiar's case, or are they playing the same game as when they describe Randy Sullivan as having "keen intelligence" and a "pleasant demeanor"? Sorry, Ms. Trimiar, but in the absence of mitigating information, a Whirled endorsement is a disqualifier.

Here's what I know about Jack Henderson. When countless civic leaders were lining up behind a regressive sales tax to build entertainment facilities, Jack Henderson was a leader in the fight to stop the tax hike. He was a co-chairman of the opposition efforts against the Tulsa Project in 1997, against "It's Tulsa's Time" in 2000, and against Vision 2025 last year. That's how I came to know Jack.

I'm sure that Jack Henderson and I disagree on many state and national issues, and probably some local issues as well. But Jack has been willing to buck the establishment, and we need that kind of independence on the City Council.

Randy Sullivan is under a tub?



Councilor Randy Sullivan may be under a tub, under a blanket, or under a barrel, but whatever the case, it isn't pertinent. (MP3, approx 600 KB.)

(A bit of bizarreness from the notorious October 30, 2003, Council meeting in which Councilor Randy Sullivan (absolutely no relation to Congressman John Sullivan) led the effort to deprive homeowners of their rights to present a valid petition and expect the laws to be followed as written. The Whirled assures us that this man is intelligent.)

District 4 Councilor Tom Baker, former Tulsa Fire Chief, is a bureaucrat to the core, and at the TulsaNow forum he was employing the skills that enabled him to climb to the top of a city bureaucracy and hang on for over a decade. He has that knack for speaking at length without telling you what he is thinking, or indeed if he is thinking at all. Asked if Tulsa's current process needed to be revised, he said he wasn't there to condemn the current process, but didn't explain what was good or bad about it. To several questions, he replied that "there is room for improvement" while carefully avoiding telling us what he thought might need improving.

Another key bureaucratic skill is the ability to make decisions in a way that avoids accountability for the results. A proven technique for achieving this is to develop a process involving quantifying the intangible and unquantifyable, then putting the numbers through complex formulas, and hallowing the result as Vox Dei. This technique dates back at least as far as Aaron at the base of Mt. Sinai: "While I may or may not personally have chosen a golden calf as an object of worship, it emerged from our board-certified, ISO-9000 compliant process of evaluating this nomadic community's quality of life, to which all stakeholders previously agreed, and so we must all accept the result."

More endorsements


Below are a couple of more endorsements for next Tuesday's primary elections. There will be eight city council races on the ballot, three of which will decide the election because no one of the other party filed.

A disclaimer: I am involved in a lot of different civic activities around town and I wear a lot of different hats, but in making these endorsements (as with everything else on this blog), I am speaking only for myself.

Someone wrote in asking about some of the other races, like the District 6 race. District 6 and District 9 are the only two races which have no primary at all, and District 9 isn't really a contest at all. I'll talk about them and the other four general election contests at length closer to the general election, but for now, I'll say that Jim Mautino, the Republican in the District 6 race, will be a great Councilor, he has an excellent chance of winning, and he could use your support. Call him at 437-2642 if you'd like to help.

This almost goes without saying. This blog has chronicled Chris Medlock's stalwart efforts in support of fair treatment for homeowners.

Chris Medlock is the clear choice in this race. We need him, and more like him, on the City Council.

I got to know Chris Medlock through the county Republican organization. He and I served together on the platform committee, and I appreciated his quick mind, gracious manner, and sense of humor.

We need people on the Council who bring to the job some capacity for independent thought and judgment. Chris Medlock excels in that regard. He is a voracious reader, particularly of books on public policy. He devotes himself to studying and understanding the issues before him as a councilor. When he has something to present to his fellow councilors, he works to make his case in a logical and compelling fashion. This diligence was evident in the presentation he made regarding the unfair treatment endured by the 71st & Harvard neighbors in the handling of their protest petition.

Sam Roop is another Councilor who applies himself diligently to the job, studying the issues and coming to an independent judgment.

Sam Roop is the choice in the District 5 Republican Primary.

Sam Roop has taken some hits over the years for asking tough questions of the the administration, particularly on budget matters. He has been targeted for defeat time and again, and it was a close shave last time out. He has asserted the Council's role for oversight and insisted on the Council having the staff and resources to monitor the City's executive branch.

City Council Primary Preview


In the entries preceding this one, you will find my analysis and endorsements the City Council primary races. (I have written about four of the races so far, and will address the other four primaries in later entries.)

Why am I, as a Republican in District 4, concerning myself with races in other districts for other parties? Because however good or bad my own councilor is, he's only got one vote, and it's the majority of the Council that will determine if we have fair and efficient city government. Party primaries matter because three races will be decided in the primary, and in another seat, Democrats have a tremendous registration advantage.

Even if you don't live in the subject district, you have friends that live there and you can encourage them to vote for the good guys. You can also volunteer to help the best candidates in each district and contribute financially. As a former candidate, I can tell you that even a small contribution or a little bit of volunteer effort is welcome and greatly appreciated, and many small donations and many one-hour volunteering stints add up quickly to make a real difference.

The next entry previous is an essay from my 2002 campaign website on the essential qualities of a good City Councilor.

I wrote the essay below for my 2002 campaign website. It explains why I think the City Council matters, why voters should care who sits on the City Council, and what qualities voters should look for in choosing their representative on the Council. The gist is that we need Councilors who will seek first to represent their district's interests -- no one else will -- while being mindful of the needs of the City; who have the intelligence and desire to do the hard work of thoughtful legislation; and who will ask polite but tough questions to ensure that taxpayers are getting their money's worth.

Here are some excerpts, the link below will lead you to the full essay:

...when you've gone down to City Hall for Tuesday morning committee meetings and Thursday night regular meetings, as I have, and talked to Councilors, Council staffers, and the ordinary citizens who come to address the Council on some matter, you realize that the City Council has an impact on Tulsa's quality of life, and it has the potential to become an even greater asset to the City.

The Council performs three crucial functions that no other body can perform: representation, legislation, and oversight. If it fails to fill these roles adequately, Tulsa loses.

On representation:

By speaking for his constituents' interests, a City Councilor bridges the gap between City Hall and the parts of the city that feel disenfranchised. By recommending candidates for mayoral appointments, a City Councilor helps ensure that Tulsa's diversity is represented throughout city government. By taking an active role in setting city priorities, a City Councilor ensures that our plans for the future will benefit Tulsans from every walk of life.

A City Councilor must remember that he is there to represent his district's interests at City Hall. He is not an ambassador from City Hall to the district.

On the Council's law-making role:

The Council frequently deals with zoning and land-use laws: changing the zoning on an individual piece of land, revising the Comprehensive Plan for an area, or general reform of the zoning laws.

A Councilor needs to have a grasp of the complexities of the law, and an awareness of the risks and potential rewards of a change. The Law of Unintended Consequences is in full effect, and a bad decision can undermine years of hard work and thousands of dollars that homeowners and business owners have invested in their properties. A Councilor must also be able to think "outside the box" -- willing to consider creative solutions to reach a win-win outcome for all concerned.

On oversight:

To fulfill its oversight and legislative responsibilities, the Council needs the independent resources and freedom of action to research issues and to evaluate the information it receives from the city administration. There is a cost involved, but the ability to get a sound second opinion is necessary if we want a excellent, efficient government.

From time to time, exercising effective oversight means saying "no." A good Council will cooperate with the Mayor whenever possible, but some plans are wrong for Tulsa, and the Council needs the guts to send them back to the drawing board.

This is the most clear-cut race on the ballot. Tulsa needs John Eagleton on the City Council, and Tulsa needs to remove the bizarre character who currently occupies that seat. This is a key race, one which will be decided in the Republican primary on February 3, and is perhaps the best chance to replace a bad councilor with an excellent one.

John Eagleton is a native Tulsan, the fourth generation of Tulsans in the legal profession. After graduating from ORU School of Law in 1986, Eagleton served as Assistant District Attorney for three years before starting his own practice specializing in criminal law and family law. While our state legislature sometimes seems to be overrun with attorneys, we could use at least one city councilor who has a legal background. As a councilor, John Eagleton would be able to help his colleagues evaluate the advice coming out of the City Attorney's office.

In addition to his legal experience, Eagleton has an undergraduate degree in accounting. Smaller, more efficient government has been a key theme of his, and he would use his accounting knowledge to help taxpayers get better services for our tax dollars.

John Eagleton wants to make Tulsa a better place to do business and would address taxes and regulations that hinder local entrepreneurs.

As an attorney, Eagleton understands the importance of following the rules and keeping the process fair. He was appalled by the treatment received by homeowners in the 71st & Harvard zoning case and has been supportive of homeowners' concerns about the process.

John Eagleton is a social conservative as well as a fiscal conservative, and is committed to the sanctity of human life, to traditional values, and to the individual's right to keep and bear arms.

There are two good men, Eric Gomez and Larry Self, running in the District 4 Republican primary for the opportunity to defeat incumbent Tom Baker. Baker has shown himself to be an opponent of fair treatment for homeowners, has disappointed many of his former supporters, and is vulnerable to be defeated in this district, where party labels don't matter as much as principles.

Eric Gomez is the best choice for District 4 City Councilor.

Eric is past president and a long-time board member of Renaissance Neighborhood Association. A native of Fort Worth, Eric came here at age 22 and put down roots, getting involved in many aspects of community life. He owns a small renovation and remodeling firm and is a Realtor with Keller Williams.

This is one of three primary races, which will decide the winner of a City Council seat.

Roscoe Turner is the clear choice in this race.

During his time as a Councilor and as Council Chairman, Roscoe Turner built a bipartisan consensus to increase Council oversight of the executive branch (the Mayor's Office and the departments) and to give due attention to the concerns of homeowners about urban development. Although he is a Democrat, that did not stop him from asking tough questions about fellow Democrat Mayor Susan Savage's administration and opposing her on a number of key issues. In exchange for his devoted service to taxpayers and homeowners, Turner was savaged by the Tulsa Whirled, which expended a great deal of ink denouncing him before the 2002 primary. You might get the idea that the Whirled just doesn't appreciate someone asking tough questions.

This is another rematch race, and another race that will be decided in the February 3 primary. Todd Huston is the better choice in this election.

Todd Huston served on the City Council from 2000 to 2002. He was one of several councilors targeted for defeat by the Tulsa Whirled and Mayor Susan Savage for asking tough questions of city officials. He was also a consistent supporter of homeowners' concerns.

Todd is a lightning rod, and in his determination to get something done has been known to rub people the wrong way. Sometimes he shoots from the hip. But on balance, I believe his willingness to ask tough questions, dig for answers and be an advocate for ordinary citizens makes him the better choice. His opponent, Bill Christiansen, has some positive accomplishments, but he has blocked some important initiatives, joined Democrats in a resolution designed to embarass President Bush and Congressman Sullivan on the President's Head Start initiative, and there are questions about whether he has used his position on the Council to gain an unfair competitive advantage for his business, which is based at City-owned Jones Riverside Airport.

Council candidates on the web


Howard Dean's campaign got a lot of buzz for its use of the Internet, and a website is considered required for serious congressional races, but local candidates have been slower to take up the practice.

In 2002, some of the newspaper and TV station websites provided online information about the mayoral and council candidates. This year none of them are bothering with this; the only election highlighted on local media websites is the upcoming Democratic presidential primary.

This entry will be a placeholder for council candidate websites as they go online. Bookmark the permanent link at the bottom of this entry (the time stamp). If you know of one I missed, e-mail me at blog at batesline dot com.

District 2

Chris Medlock, Republican, www.chrismedlock.com

District 3

Roscoe Turner, Democrat, www.roscoeturner.com

District 4

Eric Gomez, Republican, www.eric4tulsa.com

District 5

Andy Phillips, Democrat, www.andyfortulsa.com

District 6

Jim Mautino, Republican, http://members.cox.net/jamesmautino

District 7

John Eagleton, Republican, www.johneagleton.com

District 8

Todd Huston, Republican, www.toddhuston.com

And before anyone asks, no, despite the resemblance, this is NOT Randy Sullivan's official website.

UPDATE: Added Roscoe Turner's website. Interesting that, so far, the only candidates with websites are the good guys.

UPDATE (1/27/04): Added Andy Phillips' website. I'm told he's a good guy, too.

UPDATE (1/29/04): Another good guy -- added Jim Mautino's webpage.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Election 2004 category from January 2004.

Tulsa Election 2004: February 2004 is the next archive.

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



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