Tulsa Election 2006: May 2006 Archives

I received a couple of interesting letters over the transom today.

Remember the million bucks or so Kathy Taylor spent on her own campaign for Mayor? Turns out she didn't contribute to her own campaign. Instead, she lent money to her own campaign, and she and a friend are sending out letters asking Tulsans to help pay her back.

Several people who supported one of Taylor's opponents received a letter from Joseph L. "Jody" Parker, Jr., Taylor's campaign chairman. That link will take you to a PDF image of the letter; here's the text:


May 18, 2006

Dear _______

First let me thank you for your commitment to Tulsa and its future. You are one of a handful of people who make financial commitments to candidates for public office. Without your support our system would surely falter.

I would like to ask you to consider making a contribution to Mayor Taylor's campaign fund. As her campaign chairman I am responsible for reducing the deficit in her campaign account which arose because of her sizeable loan to the campaign.

Kathy will serve our community steadfastly and is already working tirelessly to improve Tulsa. She believes deeply in Tulsa's potential. It is my hope that she will not have to focus on campaign funds and be distracted from important city business.

I would like to thank you in advance for considering a contribution to the Taylor for Tulsa campaign. The citizens of Tulsa owe you a debt of gratitude for your efforts on behalf of their city. Any amount you could send would be greatly appreciated.

Warm regards,
Joseph L. Parker, Jr.

This letter from Taylor herself, on campaign letterhead, was received by someone who supported her campaign:

May 22, 2006

Dear ______

I truly cannot thank you enough for your past support.

It is a privilege and honor to have become the 38th Mayor ofTulsa. From the beginning of this campaign, we shared a common vision to Make Life Better. I deeply believe in the potential of this city. I believe in our hard working city employees, our neighborhoods, our schools, and our citizens. I look forward to bringing fresh leadership to City Hall.


As you clearly know, this past race was fast and furious. Your past support allowed me to have the proper resources to win this most important race. As with many campaigns, we still have a few loose ends to tighten up. I know it's a lot to ask, but I'm asking you to consider sending another contribution so we can finish this cycle and start working on the true needs of the city. I realize that I am asking a great deal. Please consider matching your previous donation or any amount you can send would be greatly appreciated.


These past few months have been extremely exciting. We have made historic gains here Tulsa. [sic] The stakes had never been higher and we did a fantastic job. Again, I want to thank you for your friendship and support over these past few months, it means so much to me to know I can count on you.

With sincere thanks,
Kathy Taylor

Gotta love how she capitalizes "Make Life Better" -- I'm surprised she didn't put a ™ next to it.

From these letters I gather that Kathy Taylor is the only creditor to the Taylor for Tulsa campaign. If so, that means that any amount contributed to Taylor for Tulsa will wind up in Taylor's personal bank account.

Something else that seems funny: Parker suggests that Taylor will be distracted from her mayoral duties if she can't raise the money. And Taylor herself seeems to say that she can't start working on the "true needs of the city" until she's been paid back for her loan to the campaign. It's hard to imagine that someone with a $25 million house and a multi-million waterfront house in Florida would be worried about getting back a million. Is she not as well off as she seems? Is she worried she won't be able to fill the Lear Jet's fuel tanks? Maybe she should reconsider not taking her salary.

In any event, there's something to be said for contributing to someone who's already won the election -- no worries that your contributions will go for naught. In fact, a post-election contribution could open some doors, in accordance with a principle she articulated during the campaign to the local bilingual weekly La Semana del Sur:

Taylor did not shy away from questions regarding her donations to Republicans, saying, "There are times, both in business and in politics, when you need a seat at the table," describing her contributions to members of the opposing party as a method of facilitating dialogue rather than an indication of ideological support.

So there you have it, Tulsans. You can Make Life Better™ for yourselves. If you were so foolish as to support one of Taylor's opponents, you now have the opportunity to make amends, to "facilitate dialogue" and acquire "a seat at the table," while relieving the Mayor of distracting financial anxiety.

This week's column covers three topics: (1) An update on the status of HB 2559 and SB 1324, the bills in the Oklahoma legislature which would dictate local zoning and land use policy from Oklahoma City; (2) Mayor Taylor's hiring of former City Councilor Susan Neal; (3) the topics under serious consideration by the Citizens' Commission on City Government, including non-partisan city elections.

Since the story was filed, I've learned that HB 2559 is dead, but SB 1324 has gone to conference committee and is still very much alive. I spoke yesterday to State Sen. Brian Crain, the Senate author of the bill, who believes that the provision requiring Board of Adjustment appeals to go directly to District Court is merely a clarification of existing law. He directed me to 11 O. S. 44-110. I mentioned that Tulsa's City Attorney office had said that Tulsa could change its zoning ordinance to allow certain BoA decisions to be appealed to the City Council, and that such a change was discussed by the previous City Council.

The other part of the bill amends 11 O. S. 44-104, and it appears to put design guidelines (such as those in use in historic preservation and neighborhood conservation districts) in the control of the Board of Adjustment, rather than special design review boards:

[The Board of Adjustment shall have power to] Hear and decide proposals for accessory elements associated with an allowed building use, where appropriate general performance and design standards have been established which promote greater economic value and provide a harmonious relationship with adjoining land uses by ordinance or by administrative rule or regulation. Such proposals and performance or design standards may include, but are not limited to, such accessory elements as sound, building material, runoff, lighting, visual screening, landscaping and vehicular considerations;

I understood Crain to say that that language was intended to give cities the flexibility to enable infill development, and that it was crafted with the help of INCOG staff. Crain said he was open to suggestions for clearer language.

While I am sure of Sen. Crain's good intentions, I don't see an urgent need for either provision. Unless cities are complaining that they are unable under present law to add flexibility to the zoning code, leave well enough alone. While Tulsa does need infill development, local government is best suited to design rules that will balance competing concerns and ensure that the investments of homeowners and developers alike are respected.

Your calls to state representatives and state senators are still needed to stop this bill, which I believe would set a precedent for further legislative interference in local zoning.

On the matter of the City Charter, I'll be speaking Friday afternoon at the invitation of the Citizens' Commission, mainly to address the issue of partisanship. Here's my column on the idea of multi-partisan elections, an alternative to the non-partisan concept. I hope also to get in a plug for Instant Runoff Voting, which we need already, but we'll need it more if we move toward any system in which primaries are eliminated.

About this Archive

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

Tulsa Election 2006: April 2006 is the previous archive.

Tulsa Election 2006: June 2006 is the next archive.

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