Tulsa Recall 2005: September 2004 Archives

Time to take a stand


Tonight (Wednesday the 29th) at 6 pm, four of the five members of the Tulsa City Council's bipartisan Reform Alliance majority will give their perspective on the state of the city. The Mayor's "state of the city" address was delivered at a fundraising luncheon for the Tulsa Metro Chamber. The Reform Alliance's remarks will be in a public place -- Aaronson Auditorium on the first floor of the Central Library, 5th & Denver downtown -- to the general public, with free admission.

Councilors Jack Henderson, Chris Medlock, Roscoe Turner, and Jim Mautino will be speaking. Sam Roop, the fifth member of the alliance, has a conflict with a college course he's taking, so he'll be speaking at a town hall meeting the next night. Roop's absence will also help alleviate any possible issues with accidentally having a quorum present in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

It is important that everyone who supports their efforts on our behalf show up tonight and show that support publicly. As Michael DelGiorno said this morning, it's no longer a time just for praying and forwarding e-mails, it's time to show up and stand up. You might even want to bring a small sign -- emphasize the positive, why you support what these councilors are doing.

These five councilors have been under a sustained and coordinated attack. Why? Simply for doing their job -- asking questions, exercising oversight over city departments and boards and commissions. Like a dentist discovering a rotten tooth, the Council's gentle probing has produced screams of pain as it finds pockets of decay.

And yes, the Whirled's spinning notwithstanding, the probing has been gentle. Watch the Council meetings and committee meetings on TGOV channel 24. (This week's schedule is here.) The Reformers ask their questions and raise their concerns politely and with a calm demeanor. When questions are dodged, the Reformers press for answers firmly, but without losing their cool. They have demonstrated grace under intense pressure, and I think all of them would credit God's grace for sustaining them through all of the attacks.

Last week's debate over the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority's (TMUA) $18.5 million revenue bond issue is a great example. (You can catch this one last time Thursday morning on channel 24 -- the rebroadcast begins at 8 am, and the bond issue discussion starts about an hour or so into the meeting.) The Reformers asked questions of Paul Zachary from the Public Works department, Owasso City Manager Rodney Ray, Tulsa Deputy Mayor Steve Sewell, and the head of Owasso's economic development agency.

In the course of the questions, Chris Medlock and the other Reformers made it clear that they do not want to cut off water to the suburbs, and they are willing to sell more water to the suburbs, but they want to ensure that it is at a rate that is fair to Tulsa. At the Mayor's request, the Council voted to delay considering the TMUA bond issue for at least two weeks. Some councilors wanted to proceed with approval for the non-controversial items and defer consideration of the suburban water lines only. After receiving assurances from Paul Zachary that the two week delay would not jeopardize critical projects such as dam repair to Lake Spavinaw and Lake Eucha, the Council voted 6 to 3 to continue the issue to a future meeting. The Reform Alliance split on the issue, with Medlock and Roop agreeing to delay the issue, Henderson, Turner, and Mautino not wanting to delay the projects that have unanimous support, demonstrating that these men are truly exercising independent judgment, not marching in lockstep.

Randy Sullivan: "You're toast"


At about 9:30 Sunday evening, Tulsa City Councilor Chris Medlock was relaxing, watching a movie and eating ice cream with his family when he got a call from Council Chairman Randy Sullivan.

We've written about Randy Sullivan before. He is not related at all to Congressman John Sullivan or to Dan Sullivan, who is running for election in State House District 71. Randy Sullivan is serving his second term as City Councilor for District 7. He was elected chairman this year over significant objections, and despite the fact that his side, the Cockroach Caucus, was defeated in the city elections. He made threats that ended a private school's efforts to buy the old Children's Medical Center for their new campus. He was F&M Bank's point man on the 71st & Harvard rezoning and tried to prevent homeowners from getting a fair hearing in that case.

So in his phone call to Chris Medlock Sunday night, Randy Sullivan had a simple message for Medlock, which managed to be understood, despite his slurred speech: "You're toast." The recall effort is going forward and Medlock and Mautino are the targets. Randy Sullivan said he had been asked by the Tulsa County Republican Party chairman to join other Republican city officials in signing a statement pledging cooperation and renouncing all efforts to recall city officials. He refused. He would only sign such a statement if Medlock would agree to four concessions. Medlock stopped him at that point. (Through another source, Medlock learned of the concessions -- approval of the Owasso and Sperry water lines and approval of the reappointment of Jim Cameron and Lou Reynolds to the TMUA.)

Randy Sullivan had already publicly expressed his contempt for the Reform Alliance majority on the Council, in response to a question at last Thursday's Tulsa Press Club luncheon, at which Tulsa Metro Chamber Chairman Bob Poe spoke. Sullivan expressed his agreement with Poe's attacks on the reformers.

Back in May, Randy Sullivan incorporated Lake Sunset LLC, which is a real estate development company. You don't suppose he stands to benefit financially from new water lines into north Tulsa County?

Wouldn't it be nice if someone else were head of the legislative branch of our city government?

Recall phone survey: whodunit?


I have received confirmation from multiple reliable sources about the source of the funding for last weekend's automated phone survey targeting the five Tulsa City Councilors who comprise the bipartisan Reform Alliance majority. The clear intent of the calls was to identify voters who would be willing to sign a recall petition to bring down one or more of the reformers. The ultimate goal appears to break the Reform Alliance majority, and replace it with a majority which will preserve the special deals and special privileges that have dominated Tulsa city government over the past two decades.

I have been told that the phone calls were funded by the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa (HBA). They've decided to target Councilors Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino, and the only thing that would get them to stop is if the Council confirms the reappointment of Jim Cameron and Lou Reynolds to the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority (TMUA) board and approves funding for a new water line to Owasso and a feeder water line to Sperry. The message has been passed on to the councilors in question. (I am told that Council Chairman Randy Sullivan is the message boy.) Needless to say Councilors Medlock and Mautino and the rest of the Reform Alliance have too much character and courage to go along with what amounts to extortion.

What we appear to be seeing is an attempt to overturn the City of Tulsa's election results because the City Council majority is looking out for the interests of Tulsa. Whoever is ultimately behind this wants to continue to control Tulsa's water supply to their own financial benefit. In all likelihood, they've been joined by those who want to derail the investigation of the airport in order to protect their business interests. It appears to be a coup d'état funded and led by people who believe that the City of Tulsa should be their own cash cow.

Why would the Home Builders Association be involved in this effort, especially when the two councilors in question have been strongly supportive of extending infrastructure and encouraging new development in east and west Tulsa?

Why does reading a Whirled editorial invoke the same reaction in me as getting a whiff of dirty diaper? It's an annoying and disgusting task, but it's gotta be dealt with. Especially when, in the course of shooting off their mouths without getting their facts straight, the editorial board accuses the Reform Alliance councilors of shooting off their mouths without getting their facts straight. Yes, the Mayor is in Germany on an eight-day Chamber-funded junket, right after his "State of the City" speech before the Metro Tulsa Chamber, and at a time when the City is reconsidering how best to oversee the way the Metro Tulsa Chamber bureaucracy spends our tax dollars for economic development.

Details and a point-by-point rebuttal after the jump.

Recall process

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During my appearance this last Tuesday on KFAQ's Michael DelGiorno show, I was asked by Michael to look into the City of Tulsa's recall process. While Mayor Bill LaFortune, Councilor Chris Medlock, and I were all up in New York at the Republican National Convention, there were a number of people calling Michael's show wanting to launch a recall effort against the Mayor.

A recall is not a tool to be used lightly, but it does provide a check against official wrongdoing or neglect of duty when such conduct falls short of criminal conduct. Having supported Bill LaFortune in the 2002 Republican mayoral primary over other worthy candidates, it grieves me to think that he has become so estranged from the city's grassroots that some are unwilling to endure his continuation in office for another 19 months. It appears to many observers that he has not fulfilled the promises of reform and cooperation with the City Council which won him the support of so many Tulsans. In fact, it seems that he has aligned himself with those who want to preserve the status quo at City Hall regardless and set himself in opposition to the Council's Reform Alliance majority.

Article VII is the article of the City Charter dealing with recalls. Here's the timeline of the process, using maximum times for each step:

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Recall 2005 category from September 2004.

Tulsa Recall 2005: October 2004 is the next archive.

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