Tulsa Election 2006: January 2006 Archives

A City of Tulsa work crew has been removing legally-placed campaign signs from private property, apparently for the "crime" of being visible from an arterial street. Tulsa Topics has the story. He's also got photos of another obnoxious campaign sign technique -- sandwiching your opponents signs so that they aren't visible.

By the way, I am going to post something regarding the controversy that was aired on KFAQ on Monday morning, involving Michael Covey, Bill Christiansen, and Christiansen's proposed bridge resolution but it's not ready to publish yet. Tomorrow I hope to have it online.

Word reached me recently that Stephanie Cantees is very angry with me. Stephanie and I have met, spoken on the phone a few times, and have been on the same side of a number of issues, so I was sorry to hear that she may be angry with me.

Stephanie Cantees is a Realtor, and she was appointed by Mayor Bill LaFortune to the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission. She is a very close friend of County Commissioner Randi Miller, who is running for Mayor. She is also the sister of Lindsay Roberts, who is the wife of Richard Roberts, president of Oral Roberts University (ORU).

I am told that Stephanie is upset because I have been threatening ORU's 501(c)(3) non-profit status. I have done nothing of the sort, but I think I understand how that impression may have been created.

I heard from a couple of trustworthy sources that, following Richard Roberts' endorsement of Randi Miller for Mayor, Dr. Tim Brooker, ORU assistant professor of government, sent an e-mail to his students, recruiting them to volunteer on Miller's campaign. I was told that the e-mail emphasized the need to make ORU a political powerhouse on the local scene. I was also told that ORU gave the Miller campaign an office to use. (Confirmed -- see UPDATE 2/2/2006 below.)

I contacted a couple of people I know with ORU connections to see if I could get a copy of the e-mail that was sent to Brooker's students, but had no success.

A week ago Friday, following the mayoral debate at the Tulsa County Republican Men's Club, I asked an ORU alum about the rumored e-mail. I was told that Prof. Brooker was there and presently was introduced to him.

I told Prof. Brooker that I had heard this rumor and wanted to ask him about it. He had an expression on his face that I read as disgust.

Brooker said something about there being a lot of disinformation about. He also said something about knowing the limits of the law. He did acknowledge sending an e-mail to students to alert them to opportunities to gain campaign experience.

I told him that it might help to clear it up if he were to forward a copy of the e-mail to me; I'd be glad to publish it on BatesLine. I gave him my card, which has my blog e-mail address on it. To date, I have not received a reply. I have heard that there is some unrest on the ORU faculty about this issue, some concern about the impact on the university of throwing support and student manpower behind a particular candidate.

If any of you readers received a copy of the e-mail, preferably directly from Prof. Brooker, I'd appreciate it if you would forward it on, if possible with the complete set of headers attached. (That helps to authenticate an e-mail as genuine.)

In the past, Brooker has helped facilitate ORU student volunteering for candidates all over the country. Here's a bit from a story in ORU's alumni magazine:

At a Washington, D.C., conference in early 2002, Brooker and his department chair, Dr. John Swails, were approached by a Republican National Committee representative - who worked with ORU alumnus David Barton during that election cycle - with an intriguing idea: to use Christian college students as "foot soldiers," Brooker said, who would "go out and campaign in the hot, highly contested areas." The trick was finding responsible students who would do a good job.

The ORU professors agreed to give it a go, and during fall break of 2002, 35 ORU students made their first official campaign trip to Colorado. The campaign managers were so blown away, they asked ORU to come back two weeks later and bring more students. According to Brooker, "in that 96 hours before the 2002 election, we made about 40,000 phone calls, we personally canvassed 252 precincts in Denver - just ORU students - and who knows how many tens of thousands of pieces of direct mail we sent out." All three candidates - Bob Beauprez, Bill Owens, and Wayne Allard - won their races.

The story goes on to mention two Greyhound buses that took ORU students to campaign for Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour in 2003, and the efforts of 181 students on behalf of Tulsa's general obligation bond issue, which was on the ballot last May. (That bond issue included $15.25 million to make long-overdue improvements to Fred Creek, which flows through the ORU campus.)

Here's an interesting quote from that link about the bond issue -- another alumni magazine story:

Dr. Brooker's operation involved long evenings of "phone-banking," as students went through a list of roughly 38,000 names to zero in on the yes-vote base. Then, he had about 20 teams of student volunteers canvassing two precincts each, so that on any given Saturday students were making an impact on up to 40 precincts at a time.

"Ordinarily, we don't campaign in local politics because they tend to be partisan races," Brooker said. "This was not partisan, and it gave us a chance to demonstrate the campaign skills that have been developed throughout the country."

Here's another alumni newsletter blurb about the ORU students who campaigned in Colorado in 2002:

The students did not know which politicians they would assist prior to the trip, but soon learned about the platforms of each of the candidates. They compiled and distributed campaign literature, attended rallies, and helped with mailings.

I recall hearing some frustration from Oklahoma political insiders that Brooker was uninterested in state races in 2002 and was taking his students out of state instead.

I think it's great that government students have the opportunity to learn about the nuts and bolts of political campaigns. I'm glad that the students lent their assistance to candidates and causes that I support. I feel certain that ORU is very careful to structure these campaign excursions to avoid damaging the university's tax exempt status.

But it doesn't seem right for the university to control the flow of information to these students about opportunities to volunteer for campaigns. A student ought to be able to pick a candidate to help based on his political values and priorities. The point, after all, is not for the university to flex its political muscle, but for the students to get practical political experience. The university could facilitate this by allowing any campaign to post notices of campaign opportunities to an electronic bulletin board, just as career offices allow companies to post job opportunities.

ORU students just might prefer to help the mayoral candidate who pushed to get funding for Fred Creek flood control, who lives just a quarter-mile from campus, and who attends every ORU home basketball game that he can. (That would be Chris Medlock, and, by the way, he's having a volunteer event tomorrow morning -- Saturday, January 28 -- at his new campaign HQ at the International Dental Arts Bldg., at 69th & Canton, just north of the QuikTrip near 71st and Yale. Call 269 - 2822 for more information. There's an open house tomorrow, too, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.)

UPDATE (1/28/2006): From a reliable ORU-related source, I've heard that Brooker and department chairman John Swails argued against throwing the university's weight behind one candidate, for this pragmatic reason, among others: What if we back the loser? I've also heard that an e-mail from the department head went out reaffirming the university's policy on political involvement. According to my source, any candidate whose platform is consistent with ORU's mission and values will be welcome to seek volunteers from the student body. Also, there are plans afoot for a candidate forum, which would allow ORU students to hear from all the mayoral candidates. I'm encouraged to hear all this.

UPDATE (2/2/2006): The e-mail from Brooker is the real deal, and it's way over the top. Steve Roemerman has the scoop.

David Schuttler has video of nearly all of Friday's Republican mayoral forum. I've extracted the audio from his video, plus I've got audio from another source that fills in some of David's gaps -- I'll post it later, once I can piece it all together.

Republican Mayoral debate today


A debate featuring all four GOP candidates, sponsored by the Tulsa County Republican Men's Club. Bobby at Tulsa Topics has the details.

Some good pieces out there by Tulsa's news bloggers on the 2006 city elections:

Bobby has the details about a meeting Saturday morning to organize volunteers for the Medlock for Mayor campaign. If you'd like to help out, the meeting is at The Embers at 71st and Harvard from 10 to 11.

Steve Roemerman, in an impressive bit of reporting, cornered District 6 candidate Theresa Buchert, whose husband Mike Buchert is assistant director of the City of Tulsa Public Works department, and asked her for some straight answers, which weren't forthcoming.

MeeCiteeWurkor explains why Randi Miller should not be Mayor, notices that Bill LaFortune's website no longer has the roster of his campaign committee, and makes some requests of mayoral candidates on behalf of his fellow wurkors.

There's plenty more, but I'm tired and the baby's asleep, and so should I be. Check out the latest from all the Tulsa bloggers at TulsaBloggers.net.

Pray, please

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Nothing new tonight. I'm too hacked off about things I know but can't tell. If you don't want to get stuck with another four years of lousy leadership in Tulsa's Mayor's office, get to praying.

Confidential to a certain Washington observer of Tulsa politics: Your local "eyes and ears" is leading you astray, probably to suit his own financial interests. If you follow his advice, you can pretty much bet on your least desired outcome coming to pass. You bet on the wrong horse in 2004, why make the same mistake twice?

Here's who filed for Tulsa city offices today, the final day of the filing period.

Mayor: Northside neighborhood activist James Alexander Jr. (Democrat), James Oliver Desmond Jr. (Democrat), Benford L Faulk (Independent), County Commissioner Randi Miller (Republican), Paul C. Tay (Independent).


District 1: Roger Lowry (Democrat -- Lowry was the GOP nominee in 2004).

District 3: Gerald A. Rapson (Republican).

District 4: Robert C. Bartlett (Republican).

District 5: Doug Linson (Republican), neighborhood activist Al Nichols (Democrat -- finished 4th in the May special election to fill Sam Roop's seat).

District 9: Phil Kates (Democrat).

Below is the complete and final list of filers. There won't be a general election in Districts 1, 2, 7, or 8. District 2, which was held by Democrat Darla Hall for 10 years, didn't draw a single Democratic candidate. There's a Republican in 3 and a single Democrat in each of 6 and 9, but the odds favor the majority party in each district. Only 4 and 5 promise to have a competitive general election, but the mayoral race will more than make up for that.

Full list of candidates, organized by office and party, after the jump.

The lady vanishes

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It appears that someone is trying to rewrite history in a hurry.

Kathy Taylor, Democrat, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce, and late entrant into the mayoral race, has had her name removed from the advisory board of Tulsans for Better Government, the group pushing to dismember three City Council districts and add three supercouncilors who would be elected citywide for four-year terms.

Grass-roots Democrats and Republicans alike decried this obvious power grab by the old city elite, and the petition drive to get the amendment on the ballot was failing for lack of popular support when the plug was pulled.

Here is the Tulsans for Better Government roster as last captured by Google on Jan 7, 2006 20:09:35 GMT. (Note: This will change as soon as Google rescans the website.)

Here is the roster as it currently appears on the site.

Click the image to see a side-by-side comparison:

It's the same list except one name has been removed -- Kathy Taylor. Very interesting.

Note, by the way, that County Commissioner and recently announced mayoral candidate Randi Miller is still on the list.

There's spin out there that Tulsans for Better Government was just a group interested generally in reform, and that's all that membership of the advisory board means; that we shouldn't conclude that Taylor and Miller approved of the petition just because they were on the advisory board. In fact, this group didn't have a public existence until they filed a petition with the City Clerk's office seeking very specific amendments to the City Charter. This proposal is the sole reason for the group's existence.

Taylor and Miller have had since the group's launch in October to publicly announce their opposition to the proposal, if indeed they were opposed, but they haven't done so.

New filers in only a handful of council races. No one new in the Mayor's or Auditor's race. Tuesday is usually a slow day, with most announced candidates filing on Monday and late deciders waiting until Wednesday to jump in.

District 2: As expected, Republican Rick Westcott filed.

District 4: As expected, Democrats Maria Barnes and John E. "Jack" Wing filed, as did Republican Kent Morlan and Democrat Charles Stewart McKinnon. (I'd forgotten that Morlan had previously announced.) I wonder: A candidate use a nickname on the ballot, but Wing filed under his legal name, John E. Wing, even though everyone seems to refer to him as Jack. Will the Tulsa Whirled be consistent and use sneer quotes around his nickname?

District 6: Theresa Buchert, the wife of City of Tulsa assistant public works director Mike Buchert, filed as a Republican running against Jim Mautino. Buchert supported Democrat Art Justis' reelection two years ago. Dennis K. Troyer filed as a Democrat.

District 7: Gary R. Zarley filed as a Republican.

I stopped by the Tulsa County Election Board about 30 minutes ago and found out who has jumped in on the first day of filing.


The rumors of Bill LaFortune's departure from the race turned out to be only rumors. He filed for re-election today as a Republican. His primary opponents so far are City Councilor Chris Medlock and Brigitte Harper (former Tulsa County Republican Party vice chairman), both of whom declared their candidacy some months ago.

On the Democrat side, former State Rep. and Great Plains Airlines investor and director Don McCorkell filed, as did State Commerce Secretary Kathy Taylor. Taylor has been rumored as a 1st Congressional District candidate, but she has much better odds running for Mayor. Prophet-Kelly L. Clark Sr., who ran as a Republican for the District 7 City Council seat in 2004, and who is a frequent speaker at city council meetings, filed, as did Accountability Burns, aka Einstein 5, who in years past has run for Mayor, City Auditor, and various seats on the pre-1989 City Commission.

Announced but not running is City Councilor Tom Baker, who was seen at the Election Board this afternoon in Kathy Taylor's entourage. He's apparently not running for re-election to his current seat either.


Phil Wood, incumbent since before the current charter was adopted in 1989, has filed for re-election as a Democrat. This may be the race with the largest age gap: Michael Willis, 25-year-old aide to Bill LaFortune, has filed as a Republican. Wood turned 82 last month.


District 1: Councilor Jack Henderson, a Democrat, is the only filer so far. There are no other announced candidates.

District 2: This is an open seat because the incumbent, Chris Medlock, is running for Mayor. Paul F. Prather, an attorney who lives in the neighborhood south of Southern Hills Country Club, filed as a Republican today. Another Republican, Rick Westcott, who headed up Tulsans for Election Integrity, the group that opposed last summer's recall election, has announced and is expected to file. Jeannie Cue, sister of County Commissioner (and former District 2 Councilor) Randi Miller, began campaigning, but I am told that she has dropped out and is supporting Westcott.

District 3: Just two filings today, setting up another Democratic primary rematch between incumbent Councilor Roscoe H. Turner and former incumbent David Patrick. In 2004, Turner won a re-vote with 54% after the original vote was invalidated because enough Republicans voted in the Democrat primary to make the true outcome mathematically unknowable.

District 4: Just one filing today: Republican Rick Brinkley, president of the local Better Business Bureau office, and immediate past president of the Downtown Kiwanis Club. Neighborhood leader Maria Barnes and real estate agent Jack Wing are expected to file as Democrats. Eric Gomez, who came within 30 votes of beating incumbent Tom Baker in 2004, likely won't be running.

District 5: Incumbent Bill "29%" Martinson has filed for re-election as a Republican, and he has drawn one primary opponent so far: John Gregory Madden III. 26-year-old Jon Kirby has filed as a Democrat.

District 6: Incumbent Republican Jim Mautino was today's only filer.

District 7: Republican attorney John Eagleton has filed for his third attempt to win this seat. Until today, he had no announced opposition, but today he drew as a primary opponent Robert A. Gwin Jr. I seem to recall that Gwin ran for Mayor or some other city office in the past. Randy Sullivan, who abandoned the district in December 2003, isn't seeking re-election here or in the district he moved to.

District 8: Incumbent Republican Bill Christiansen has drawn a formidable primary opponent in Cliff Magee.

District 9: Attorney Cason Carter and William J. Stava III, filed as Republicans. Incumbent Susan Neal isn't seeking re-election.

Out of time for now -- I'll hotlink names and add details later.

LaFortune out?

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It's been the guess of many a Republican insider that Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune would end up not seeking re-election. For one thing, it fits the pattern of his career to date. He was appointed to fill a vacancy as District Attorney, but didn't even finish out the term, much less seek re-election, instead taking a position with a private law firm. LaFortune has alienated most of his Republican party base and had very weak re-elect numbers in recent polls. For an incumbent, less than 50% support in your own party is a political death sentence. You will either lose the primary, or if you survive, the lack of an enthusiastic base will kill you in the general. (See Bush, George H. W., 1992 re-election campaign of.) There had been rumors of problems raising campaign funds and spending funds unwisely. And there were rumors that high-ranking Republican officials have been working for the better part of a year to find him a Bush administration sinecure, to give him a face-saving exit.

Rusty Goodman, a Democrat political activist who runs the okdemocrat message board, posted tonight that he had heard that a position in the Southwest Power Administration has been secured for LaFortune. SWPA is headquartered in Tulsa.

If true, it will be fascinating to watch how things shake out in the race to replace him.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Election 2006 category from January 2006.

Tulsa Election 2006: November 2005 is the previous archive.

Tulsa Election 2006: February 2006 is the next archive.

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