Tulsa Recall 2005: July 2005 Archives

Build PAC Issues, which was the single biggest contributor to the Coalition for Responsible Government 2005, the group behind the recall of Tulsa City Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock, submitted its quarterly report to the City Clerk's office on Friday, July 29. We already knew that Robert E. Lorton, Jr., chairman and CEO of World Publishing Co., which owns the Tulsa Whirled, contributed $2,500. Word got out about that prior to the election and Lorton owned up to it.

As previously noted, Build PAC Issues appears to have been created as a way to exploit a loophole in the state's campaign ethics law for local government elections so that major donors could give without being exposed prior to the election. Who was trying to escape notice as a contributor?

Chris Medlock has a chart on his website noting some interesting connections among the donors to Build PAC Issues. (NOTE: The chart is done in Microsoft OneNote, which generates some standards-breaking, Microsoft-specific markup language, so you'll have to use Internet Explorer to see it clearly.)

You'll notice Kelsey Company as one of the $500 donors. Howard Kelsey is one of the partners in Infrastructure Ventures Inc., the company trying to build the Bixby toll bridge.

One of the $2,500 donors was C.R.E.A.T. That's the Commercial Real Estate Association of Tulsa, which was incorporated 10 years ago by Herb Haschke, treasurer of CfRG, and Lou Reynolds, the developer's attorney whose reappointment to the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority last year was opposed by Medlock and Mautino, as well as Councilors Roscoe Turner and Jack Henderson. (By then-Councilor Sam Roop, too, for a time.)

Interesting to see homebuilder Ken Klein's name on the list. Klein built Bobby Lorton III's mansion across the street from Philbrook and renovated Councilor Susan Neal's house. Just before the 2002 city council primary for the open seat in District 9, Klein sent a last-minute e-mail falsely accusing candidate and neighborhood leader Bonnie Henke of being anti-growth and anti-development. Susan Neal went on to win that primary by a slender margin and with less than 40% of the vote. Klein, however, is reported to be claiming that he never intended to donate to Build PAC Issues, but instead intended to contribute to the candidate PAC as he does each year.

We're still trying to dig up info on more of these individual and corporate donors, but here's one more of interest: John Conine contributed $2,000. Conine joined the board of F&M Bank back in 2002. Board members of F&M, you'll recall, were major financial players in the 2004 city council elections.

Tulsa Chiggers

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I wrote a bunch of new stuff tonight, but I don't think any of it is ready for prime time yet.

In the meantime, I encourage you to check out a blog called Tulsa Chiggers. I found it a while back, but forgot to blogroll it, and only recently found it again. The author has an interest in charter schools and writes about some of the difficulties in dealing with the educational bureaucracy. Today he has a photo of pro-recall chief Jon Davidson, general manager of the Tulsa Sheraton Hotel, and wonders if Mr. Davidson is still smiling.

As a reminder, if you want to let Mr. Davidson's boss know how much you appreciate the hell he put this city through over the last year, all the info you need is linked from here.

Randy Sullivan's toast

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Before heading downtown to tonight's Tulsa City Council meeting, I popped a couple of slices of bread -- the heels of the loaf -- and brought them along. They smelled all warm and toasty, and it was hard not to eat them, but I didn't, because they weren't for me. The toast was for Councilor Randy Sullivan -- Randy Sullivan's toast.

Councilor Sullivan didn't show up at tonight's Council meeting, but that's OK. When you lose big, it's hard to show your face in public. Or perhaps he was embarrassed by his ecstatic utterance a week earlier.

(Completely random thought: Ever hear the saying, "Never take an even number of drugs"? If a depressant -- an antihistamine, perhaps -- makes you groggy and incoherent, taking a stimulant -- say, a big cup of black coffee -- won't make you alert and coherent. It will make you agitated and incoherent, as you delude yourself that everyone thinks you're alert and coherent. Something to keep in mind, especially if you're in the public eye.)

Really, Randy wasn't missed at the Council meeting. The people of District 7 certainly didn't notice a difference, since they haven't had representation on the City Council for quite some time.

Since he wasn't there, I ate his toast -- Randy Sullivan's toast.

Tulsa says "Ni!"

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Too late, I thought of the almost perfect song for the effort to defeat the recall against Councilors Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino. It would be perfect, if only all Tulsans spoke Ukrainian.

Разом нас багато Нас не подолати!

Together we are many
We cannot be defeated

Falsifications, no!
Machinations, no!
"Little understandings," no!
No to lies!

Yushchenko, Yushchenko, is our president!

We aren't beasts of burden.
We aren't goats.
We are of Ukraine
sons and daughters.
It's now or never.
Enough of waiting.
Together we are many
Together we cannot be defeated.

That was the theme song for Ukraine's Orange Revolution, which fought back successfully against a corrupt oligarchy and a fraudulent election.

Change Ukraine to Tulsa, change Yushchenko to Mautino and Medlock, and president to councilors, and it's a perfect fit.

Besides the corruption of the losing side, there's another common thread. I read that Ukraine's President Victor Yushchenko is a devout Christian, as is his prime minister, Yulia Timoshenko. It's been said that the one who fears God won't fear man. Yushchenko, Timoshenko, and their supporters suffered poisoning and imprisonment but their trust in God and their burden for honesty in government kept them going despite the threats.

If you want to know what keeps a bunch as diverse as Councilors Henderson, Turner, Mautino, and Medlock working together and determined to serve the interests of all Tulsans, despite the pressure and the threats, it's the belief that God brought them to the Council, and they are ultimately accountable to Him for what they do with this opportunity to serve the public. This enables them to risk political capital, even to risk their livelihoods, for the sake of doing what is right, rather than what is expedient. Because they fear and serve God, they can withstand the onslaught of the good ol' boy network.

Recall round-up

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I had hoped to squeeze in a few minutes here and there to gloat-blog, at least a little, or to post some more serious reflection on yesterday's victories, but today turned out to be a 12-hour-plus work day.

Here is a very quick round-up of comment on the recall elsewhere on the web. Maybe I'll be able to catch my breath tomorrow and add my voice to the mix.

Rick Westcott of Tulsans for Election Integrity is happy:

We, the People, won today! We, the People, beat the Good Ol' Boy network! We, the People, beat the big money interests!

Congratulations to YOU! And thank you!

MeeCiteeWurkor says "YAY!" and has his eye (here and here) on NewsChamber 8's coverage of the result, which is focused on the sad waste of money when precincts where no one will vote have to open anyway.

Steve Roemerman celebrates victory, and salutes KFAQ, the Tulsa Beacon, Councilors Turner and Henderson, and the everyday people who make up "a new community of Tulsa citizens who are standing up for what is right."

Charles G. Hill, the Charles Kuralt of the blogosphere (this week, anyway), writes, "In Tulsa, it's now Bloggers 2, Old World Order 0."

I've already linked to this, but it's too good not to link it again: Dan Paden risks a five-yard penalty for excessive celebration.

Dan Lovejoy is pleasantly surprised by the outcome and disappointed to learn that his bank, Arvest, was "right in the middle of the recall."

Bitweever has a good synopsis of what this recall thing was all about, and the rejection of recall gives him hope for Tulsa's future:

With victories for the councilors in both elections (one by an overwhelming margin), I believe the people of Tulsa stood up, and finally said Ďenough is enough.í I will be looking forward to seeing how the next city government elections go, and seeing by how wide of margin we can eject Mayor LaFortune from office. ...

Tulsa was more vibrant in the late 90ís when I first moved here out of college, but Iíve seen more and more young former-coworkers move to greener pastures. Letís be honest here, people: Tulsaís not doing that well, and the city government is not helping at all. Itís time for some new blood in the government, and the rejection of the recall may be the dawning of a new hope for Tulsa.

(He also gives me way too much credit.)

MadOkie has a recycling idea for those FOR signs.

My cousin, "Mr. Fisher," who Will Blog for Guinness -- who wouldn't? -- says the victory was About (Tulsa) Time. Thanks for the kind words, Cuz!

I'll wrap this up with a reminder from Rick Westcott:

I also want to encourage you to stay informed, stay connected, and continue to help fight for what you believe is right. This was a great victory, but the fight isn't over. The good ol' boy network is not going to just go away. They'll continue to try to do what they've always done. But now, we know who they are. We know the way they operate. And we've proved that THE PEOPLE CAN WIN!!

End zone dance

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I'm really sorry I missed seeing Jim Mautino dance a jig in celebration of his massive landslide victory over the forces of evil. (And yes, they are evil. They proved it by the way they conducted their campaign.) But I enjoyed the verbal victory dance posted by Dan Paden over at No Blog of Significance, and you will, too.

A bouquet from OKC

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Thanks to Oklahoma City's Downtown Guy for the perceptive remarks both before and after the recall election. Go check 'em out for yourself.

And The Downtown Guy should be regular reading if you want to go beyond a surfacey understanding of Oklahoma City's recent successes, and get to the nuts and bolts of what is happening there.

If you don't live in the two districts that will be voting in Tuesday's recall elections, one of the best ways you can help is to take some time today to call your friends and acquaintances who live in those districts and encourage them to vote tomorrow against the recall. If you're not sure who among your friends lives in Districts 2 and 6, gather up any directories you have -- from church, school, civic clubs -- look up the people you know well, and check their addresses and zip codes against the boundaries of the two districts.

District 2 is easy to describe -- everything west of the river, plus the area bounded by 61st, Harvard, and the river. District 2 includes all or part of zip codes 74107, 74132, 74136, 74137, and 74171. Here's a map showing District 2's boundaries and precinct numbers.

District 6 is a little more complicated -- everything within the city limits east of Mingo between 36th Street North and 61st Street South, except for Mingo to Garnett from 11th to 41st. Zip codes that overlap with District 6 are 74108, 74116, 74128, 74129, 74134, and 74146. Here's a map showing District 6's boundaries and precinct numbers.

Don't assume that just because you know and understand the issues surrounding recall that everyone else you know does, too. There are a lot of good people in this city that still trust the information they get from the Tulsa Whirled.

Or perhaps they've been too busy with other things to pay close attention. They're aware of controversy at City Hall, and that people are saying bad things about these councilors, but that's about it.

A call from someone a voter knows and trusts saying, "Here's what's going on, and here's why its important that you get out and vote AGAINST the recall," will carry far more weight that a postcard in the mail.

Here's your action point: Think of 10 friends who live in either of the Council districts. Call each of them and encourage them to vote AGAINST recall, and encourage each of them to call 10 of their friends and do the same thing. It won't take you long at all, but it can make an immense difference today.

The deception continues

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An awful lot of "respectable" business people have soiled their hands by funding the deceptive phone calls put out by the pro-recall campaign, and here's hoping they'll be soiling themselves in another sense in about an hour's time.

The fake Richard Roberts phone call went out again this afternoon, despite Roberts communicating his displeasure at the misuse of his name to pro-recall leaders.

Yet another dirty trick: The pro-recall forces sent out a recorded message with a male voice claiming that the League of Women Voters has reconsidered its position and is now for the recall.

To rebut this fraud, League of Women Voters President Mary Jo Neal was on 1170 KFAQ this morning reaffirming the League's call to vote AGAINST recall. Her op/ed piece opposing recall finally appeared in Sunday's Tulsa Whirled, and it is on the League's website.

We've also heard that a call went out claiming to be from the City of Tulsa urging a vote for recall. The City wouldn't take an official position on a recall election.

The fact that the other side is resorting to lies reassures me that they know they are losing, and makes me hopeful that right will prevail, possibly by a wide margin. But in the unlikely event that one or both councilors are recalled, given the frauds being perpetrated by the pro-recall side, the surviving councilors would have a moral obligation to reappoint the recalled councilors to complete their terms of office.

God save our city

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This, a slightly modified version of the second verse of God Save the Queen, has been my prayer throughout this recall campaign. "Knavish tricks" is such an apt phrase.

O Lord our God arise,
Scatter [our] enemies,
And make them fall:
Confound their politics;
Frustrate their knavish tricks;
On thee our hopes we fix; God save us all.

Seems like my prayer is being answered.

Recall: Rally a success

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MeeCiteeWurkor has pictures of tonight's anti-recall rally at Helmerich Park which drew a great crowd and filled up all the parking, an especially good showing, since it was threatening to rain.

Because of work, and because of the breaking story about the pro-recall forces' misuse of audio of Richard Roberts, I couldn't get there until about 6:45, after the speechifying was over and people had begun to head home.

Here it comes: The Jim Burdge slimy election eve special.

The pro-recall people are so desperate that they have taken audio of Richard Roberts, President of Oral Roberts University, and edited it to make it sound like he's in favor of the recall, and that message is going out to District 2 voters. In fact, President Roberts has said publicly that recall is wrong.

UPDATE: I just got a phone call from a close associate of President Roberts, who has been in touch with him and confirms that the message does not represent his views nor was it sent with his authorization, and he's trying to find out who to contact to get this thing stopped immediately.

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Just about to head off to the Tulsans for Election Integrity rally against the recall at Helmerich Park, 73rd and Riverside. The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. If you're out there and read BatesLine (and you'd have to be, wouldn't you?) I hope to get to meet you.

For you out of towners, sorry about all the recall stuff -- blame it on the Tulsa Whirled -- but it's the big story right now. If you want to read some interesting non-Tulsa stuff, be sure to check out the latest on Lance Salyers, the Ohio prosecutor who was fired because of his blog.

For you Tulsans, be sure to check out Dan Paden's latest blast at the Whirled.

The roots of this recall are in the results of the 2004 city election, when Tulsans for the first time elected a majority of reform-minded candidates to the City Council. For that reason, I want to direct you to entries I wrote at the time endorsing Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino, explaining the role of the City Council, and talking about the balance of power and the significance of the election:

I think Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino embody the qualities of a good Councilor, and the endorsements I made in 2004 are just as valid today.

Recall: Who is Ken Sellers?

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Much has been made of the fact that two major donors to the fight to defeat the recall have Broken Arrow addresses. The implication is that these names represents out-of-town special interests who will benefit financially if Councilors Medlock and Mautino remain in office.

Here's what I know about one of those major donors with a Broken Arrow address. Ken Sellers lives in Broken Arrow, but he is president of Gunnebo Johnson, a manufacturing company that is headquartered at 1240 N. Harvard Avenue in Tulsa. The company makes crane blocks -- as in block-and-tackle used in industry to lift very heavy things. Gunnebo Johnson appears to be at the top of its field internationally, but keeps a low profile in its hometown, despite bringing millions of dollars into the local economy. As far as I can tell, they do no business with the city and wouldn't stand to gain any special benefit from any decision of the city or its boards or commissions.

Ken Sellers hasn't just written a couple of big checks. He has been at every volunteer event in support of Councilors Medlock and Mautino, and today, in the near 100-degree heat, he was out walking neighborhoods on their behalf. Unlike the Sour Grapes Gang, he's not motivated by a decision that didn't go his way, or maneuvering to get special treatment from the city. There's not a trace of bitterness in him. He's impressed by the two councilors and wants to see them stay in office and continue what they're trying to do to make the city a better place.

I've enjoyed getting to know Ken during this campaign, and I'm impressed with his willingness not only to give his money, but his time as well for the sake of the city where his company makes its home.

Quiz question: Which Tulsa City Councilor uttered the above words into an open microphone last Thursday night?

I finally got to see part of Thursday night's Tulsa City Council meeting -- the debate and vote on a resolution directing the City Attorney to defend against any attempt by the county to use eminent domain to take city property for the construction of the Bixby Bridge.

Mayor Bill LaFortune was supposedly on board with the resolution, which was to have his name on it as a participant in the resolution. At the last minute, he decided to pull his name off of the resolution, but rather than face accountability for his decision, he sent Clay Bird, his deputy and chief of staff, to the Council to be his proxy fence straddler. Bird's voice and manner had a quality that will be familiar to any parent who has dealt with a kid who's been caught and is trying to talk his way out of trouble. Bird was sent down to the Council to say that the resolution had strong language that was in the best interest of the city, but the Mayor should have more time to look at it. Of course, the Mayor will have time to look at it now that the Council has passed it -- he has 14 days to decide whether to sign the resolution, making it the official policy of the City of Tulsa, or veto it. But that means making a decision that will offend someone.

During the course of his remarks, Bird stated that the Mayor favors the bridge if the necessary infrastructure improvements can be put in place first. That would mean taking resources away from infrastructure needs in other parts of Tulsa in order to grease the skids for this project. The Mayor's position also ignores the harm that the bridge would do to Tulsa's sales tax base by fueling development in Bixby. As with the Owasso water line, the City of Tulsa's dollars would be used to speed up development in the suburbs, rather than facilitating growth within the city limits. Will development happen in the suburbs anyway? Of course, but should Tulsa allocate its assets to support growth and development within the city limits or outside the city limits? The backers of the recall election certainly hope so.

Given the Mayor's readiness to support long-term cheap water contracts and new water lines for the suburbs and now a bridge to the suburbs, you have to wonder if there's truth to the conjecture that the Mayor traded support on these items for suburban support for a downtown Tulsa arena.

From Bird's comments, to those of Councilors Randy Sullivan and Susan Neal, it was apparent that the intent was to delay any vote on this until after the recall election, in hopes that two votes against the bridge would be gone and replaced with two votes for the bridge. It was interesting that the two councilors with the thinnest margins of victory -- Baker and Martinson -- were unexpectedly absent, perhaps so they wouldn't have to go on record as opposing the resolution and supporting the bridge. Roscoe Turner, who had been on vacation with his wife, made a surprise return and suddenly the resolution went from having four certain votes (Christiansen, Henderson, Mautino, Medlock) to five, enough to pass.

All the councilors supporting the resolution did a fine job in speaking and in questioning Bird, but Jack Henderson was especially good at getting right to the point.

Randy Sullivan voted to support the resolution, probably to give himself the chance to move to reconsider the motion at the meeting following the recall election. Sullivan barely uttered a single complete and coherent sentence during his comments. I can remember a time in college when I was exhausted, probably from staying up all night to finish a paper, but still kept an appointment to tutor a graduate student in calculus. I tried to bluff my way through the session but could barely keep my eyes open. I fooled myself into thinking I succeeded, but I must have sounded completely goofy. I thought of that as I watched and listened to Randy Sullivan. He was obviously impaired -- lack of sleep, surely -- but he was trying to hide the fact and no doubt felt he was succeeding.

Susan Neal tried to finesse by "abstaining", but Council Attorney Drew Rees reminded her that by state law, an abstention is effectively a "no" vote. She dropped the pretense and voted "no" on the emergency clause.

Now to answer the question at the beginning of this article: During the course of Council discussion, Chris Medlock spoke, and as he finished he said that if he went down in Tuesday's recall election, he would go down proudly knowing that he stood for the hundreds of citizens who had gathered in opposition to the bridge. As the audience responded with applause, Randy Sullivan said, "Biggest crock of s--- I've ever seen." On the video, you can see Susan Neal, who was presiding as vice chairman, gesture to Sullivan to remind him that his microphone was still live. Medlock's response to Sullivan: "Who's toast now?"

Earlier I reported on a letter mailed by former District 2 City Councilor Darla Hall (also a two-time loser to Chris Medlock) in which she says that she "deliberately stayed out of the recall effort," and says, "When I was supposedly going door to door for signatures on the recall, I was in Germany for cancer treatment." It's interesting that she doesn't deny circulating or distributing petitions, she just denies "leading the charge." According to an eyewitness, Hall handed out recall petitions in her Sunday School class and recruited people to circulate them.

Elsewhere in her letter, Hall claims that during her time on the City Council, no councilor was ever rude to speakers. The truth is that councilors like Vickie Cleveland, who served with Darla Hall, were rude to ordinary citizens who came to speak.

Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino, on the other hand, have never behaved rudely toward speakers. They have politely asked some questions that speakers would have preferred not to answer, which can be an uncomfortable experience, but that doesn't make the person asking the question rude.

If you want an example of a rude City Councilor -- but I'll save that for the next entry.

One of the best antidotes to the garbage being put out by the pro-recall forces is seeing Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock at a town hall meeting. D. Schuttler has posted video excerpts of Mautino's June 29th town hall meeting, and you can hear the councilor speak about encouraging growth and increasing retail sales within Tulsa's boundaries, and how water lines, annexation and fence lines, and comprehensive planning all fit together to help or hinder development within the city limits. Jim Mautino is passionate about encouraging quality development in east Tulsa, and that means making undeveloped areas within the city limits a higher priority for new infrastructure than the suburbs. See it for yourself. (Hat tip to HFFZ for the link.)

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Sorry for the lack of local news analysis today: I was busy yesterday engaged in local news, helping with the anti-recall effort, and then I had some yard work to catch up on, and it left me too tired to blog. (Click the link above to find out how you can help in the final days of the campaign.) More news later today, I hope.

The Coalition for Reprehensible Government 2004 has rehashed the Tulsa Tribunal -- tabloids that compared Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock to Nazis and the killers at Columbine High School. (See stories here, here, and here.) This time they're calling the paper the East Tulsa Times and the West Tulsa Times, and it's in color. This garbage, and the attack phone calls, ought to be pegging the B.S. meter of every voter in the two districts. MeeCiteeWurkor has comments and photos of the tabloid.

It's amazing to see the pro-recall bunch trotting out the losers from the last election to persuade people to vote to oust the winners. Steve Roemerman, who lives in District 6, received a recorded phone call from former Councilor Art Justis, the establishment's rubber stamp, who lost the 2004 council election to Jim Mautino. Justis is said to be in line to be appointed to his old job if the recall against Mautino succeeds.

Meanwhile, they've sent a letter from former Councilor Darla Hall to west Tulsa voters. Darla Hall lost two elections in a row to Chris Medlock, and she, too, may be in line to be appointed by the remaining Councilors to serve out the remainder of the term. Darla's letter is ugly, disingenuous, and misleading. It's amazing to think Darla Hall used to be on the side of ordinary Tulsans -- it's a shame to see her go over to the dark side.

Don't forget -- the fight to stop the recall can use your help any time between now and the election, but especially Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon. Even if you can only spare a couple of hours, it will make a difference. You'll find the details here.

There are a number of ways you can help defeat the recall of City Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock. The first is Saturday morning -- meet at Johnson Park, north of 61st on Madison Ave (just east of Riverside Drive), at 8:30 to get instructions and materials as we try to get the word out to the voters. There will also be opportunities on Sunday afternoon. For more details on how you can help between now and Tuesday, HFFZ has all the scoop.

Living on Tulsa Time has some great ideas for signs AGAINST the recall. It's too late for printed signs, but maybe some handpainted signs will make an appearance before Tuesday.

If you need motivation to participate, read Dan Paden's reaction to the list of pro-recall contributors.

This morning, the Whirled's editorial board attacked Chris Medlock for failing to file an ethics report by Tuesday's deadline. In the same edition, the Whirled quotes Medlock as saying his campaign committee (Medlock for Council) didn't file a report because it had not received any contributions or made any expenditures by the end of the reporting period on June 30, but he would voluntarily disclose his campaign committee's activity to date on Friday.

The same editorial pointed to the massive amount of money raised by the pro-recall campaign as a sign of virtue and insulted supporters of Councilor Mautino:

One thing is clear. Poor Jim Mautino's supporters are stingy. He had to borrow $1,200 of the total of $3,109.52 in contributions he reported.

Well, Whirledlings, most Tulsans -- the ordinary folks whose interests have been ably represented by Jim Mautino -- don't have a lot of disposable income to put into a political campaign. What wealth we do have is tied up in retirement accounts and our homes -- homes that lose value when we have city officials and city trusts that are more interested in developing and improving the suburbs than helping the City of Tulsa prosper.

Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock have worked to bring new business and new development into their districts, within the city limits, to the benefit of the city's coffers. Chris was instrumental in helping land the massive Tulsa Hills retail development at 71st Street and U. S. 75, in the Tulsa city limits, but strategically located to draw customers (and sales tax dollars) from Jenks, Glenpool, and Sapulpa. Jim has worked to get water and sewer extended to unserved areas in his district that have been in the city limits for nearly 40 years, and he's been working to encourage retail development along I-44 in east Tulsa, Oklahoma's most travelled stretch of road. Jim and Chris simply believe we should put Tulsa first.

The contributors to the pro-recall campaign are more interested in developing Owasso and Bixby. Greg Simmons, head of Build PAC Issues, owns Simmons Homes, which is developing seven subdivisions in Owasso, five in Broken Arrow, six in Jenks, and none at all in Tulsa. Where do you think his interests are?

Here's an indication of what's driving the Home Builders Association's involvement in recall. Last year, 2004 was a record year for housing starts in the Tulsa metro area. Yes, even though the Tulsa City Council was controlled by a majority falsely accused of being anti-growth, and despite continued challenges in the local economy, there were more new homes started last year than any year in history. But 88% of those new starts were outside the city limits of Tulsa. (See February's HBA newsletter, in PDF format.) A healthy City of Tulsa doesn't help the bottom line of home builders who are building in the suburbs. In fact, they'd rather see the City decline, because it encourages people to buy their new homes in the suburbs.

I'm happy for these businesses to pursue profits, but voters need to understand that when these businesses give money to oust two good men like Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock, it's all about their profits, not about the best interests of Tulsans.

You read it here first, but the Tulsa Whirled this morning acknowledged that the chairman and CEO of World Publishing Company, Robert E. Lorton, gave $2,500 to Build PAC Issues, which money was given directly to the Coalition for Reprehensible Government 2004, the committee supporting the recall of Tulsa City Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock. According to the Whirled story, the PAC registered with the City Clerk's office on June 16, and all the money it has raised so far has been contributed to CFRG. According to CFRG's ethics report, Build PAC Issues contributed $13,600 on June 29.

Josh Fowler, the staff director of Build PAC Issues, who is also executive VP of the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa, told the Whirled the PAC wasn't set up to conceal contributions. Then why was it so hastily set up, and why has it given its entire pot of money to one campaign? Since there are no maximums for contributions to issues campaigns (which is how a recall campaign is classified), and since corporate contributions are allowed, there is no reason other than concealment -- PAC contributions don't have to be disclosed until after the election on July 31 -- for someone to give money via this PAC rather than directly to the campaign. And why would a newspaper publisher give money through a home builders PAC, except to try to conceal the donation from the public? (What's that Bible verse on the Whirled masthead? "Publish and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not.")

I wrote earlier that the PAC provided a loophole to avoid the intent of the law that campaign contributions be disclosed before an election, but if the PAC exists only for the purpose of supporting this issue, it must follow the same reporting rules as CFRG and Tulsans for Election Integrity. Enforcing that provision will require someone, and it probably needs to be a registered voter in District 2 or 6, to file a complaint with the District Attorney that Build PAC Issues has violated 51 O.S. 314 and 315.

In other recall news:

District 6 voters have been getting calls claiming that it's not important to show up to vote against recall on Tuesday because Jim Mautino is retiring anyway. That's an utter lie, obviously intended to depress turnout among Jim's supporters.

I've got a lot of other things to accomplish tonight, so I will be parceling this out as I get time. I will be on 1170 KFAQ tomorrow morning at 7:10 a.m. to talk about the list.

So here is part 1 of some observations and identifications from the list of donors to the Coalition for Reprehensible Government 2004 (CFRG). (Thanks to meeciteewurkor for hot-linking some of the names in the list to further information.)

The biggest donor is Build PAC Issues, which shares an address with the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa, 11545 E. 43rd Street. Why didn't the last-minute Build PAC donation of $13,600 come directly from the Home Builders, since there are no contribution limits and no restriction on corporate contributions? My guess is that this is a vehicle for concealing contributions. The PAC won't have to report contributions for the quarter until July 31, so we won't know where that money really came from until long after the election is over. This is a loophole in the state ethics laws that needs to be fixed. A PAC contributing to a campaign should be required to report contributions and expenditures on the same schedule as the campaign, so that voters can know who is funding a candidate or an issue.

Next on the list is Ameristar. This donation appears to be pure vendetta against Councilor Jim Mautino. Ameristar was dumping dirt and reshaping the terrain in the Mingo Creek floodplain, and Mautino insisted that the company provide the legally required compensatory storage to protect downstream property owners against flooding. Recall appears to be, in part, revenge by Ameristar for not getting its way immediately. If there's a theme to the list of contributions, most are expressions of toddleresque rage at not always getting one's way at City Hall.

Next we have the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors (GTAR), which gave a single contribution of $5000 last October, one of the earliest contributions. Word is that there was considerable dissension among the membership about the contribution, which may be why GTAR is one of the few larger contributors that didn't cough up again this spring. Or perhaps they just found a way to give in a less obvious fashion. Northeast Oklahoma Real Estate Services is a subsidiary of GTAR -- NORES runs the Multi-List System (MLS) in the Tulsa area -- and it gave $2,000 on May 26.

The Commercial Real Estate Association of Tulsa was incorporated in 1998 by Herbert Haschke, treasurer of CFRG, David Cox, and land use attorney Lou Reynolds -- the member of the water board whose reappointment was initially rejected by the City Council before Sam Roop's defection.

Paula Marshall-Chapman is CEO of the Bama Companies and was a member of the board of the Tulsa Metro Chamber until forced to resign in order to remain on the City's Economic Development Commission, which oversees the Chamber's economic development contract with the city. (The resignation was forced by an Attorney General's opinion which forbids board members of an organization to oversee public funds going to that organization.) Marshall-Chapman also wrote an op-ed last fall defending the Tulsa Whirled in the controversy over its tardily-disclosed financial interest in Great Plains Airlines.

Associated Builders and Contractors PAC gave its $4,000 contribution back in November -- yet another contribution from a developer-related individual or organization, which accounts for well over half of the contributions to the pro-recall campaign.

The Coalition for Responsible Government 2004, the committee supporting the recall election next Tuesday, filed their ethics report at the last possible moment today, reporting $85,059 in contributions, and $65,884 in expenditures through June 30. Contributions of more than $200 made up $79,149 of the total, broken down by donor as follows:

Build PAC Issues13600
Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa10150
Ameristar10000
Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors5000
Commercial Real Estate Association of Tulsa5000
Paula Marshall-Chapman5000
Associated Builders and Contractors PAC4000
Wm. E. Manley4000
Arvest Bank3000
Robert C. Poe3000
Northeast Oklahoma Real Estate Services2000
Rock Hill LLC2000
John A. Brock 1500
B R W Trucking1000
Anchor Stone Company1000
Ray Miller1000
B. R. Hutson, Inc.1000
W. W. Enterprises, Inc.1000
Corporate Realty Advisors LLC699
John D. Benjamin600
TDC Inc.500
Next Generation Homes, LLC500
D. L. Vincent500
Houchin Electric Co., Inc.500
Herbert P. Haschke, Jr.500
R. S. Looney500
Jarvis, Inc.400
George and Phyllis Dotson400
Building Systems of Tulsa, Inc.300
William M. Brumbaugh250
C. E. Patterson250

The first contribution was by Bixby resident and former Tulsa City Councilor John D. Benjamin -- $100 on October 7, 2004. The largest contribution was also the most recent -- $13,600 from Build PAC Issues on June 29, 2005. The address of Build PAC Issues is 11545 E. 43rd Street, which is also the address of the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa.

Look for more analysis of the names and numbers later tonight.

Dan Paden takes apart this morning's Tulsa Whirled editorial endorsing the recall of Tulsa City Councilors Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino. Click the link and read Dan's entry, "Pukoid Postings at the Whirled". I was going to respond to the Whirled's dreck point-by-point, but Dan's piece is so well-put it doesn't seem quite as urgent. (I've been busy with some behind-the-scenes efforts to help Chris and Jim.) Go read the whole thing.

Oh, and don't expect the Whirled to look into this, but there are reports that the Lortons have contributed $2,500 to the Homebuilders PAC, to be passed through to the Coalition for Reprehensible Government 2004's (CFRG) campaign in favor of recall. By using the PAC to launder the contribution, the Lorton name wouldn't appear on CFRG's list of contributors (assuming the list is even turned in on time). Since the Whirled didn't bother to disclose its interest in Great Plains Airlines until very late in the game, and as far as I know never declared their owner's connection with F&M Bank, don't expect that they'll call attention to any backdoor contributions to the pro-corruption forces.

Tulsans for Election Integrity (TFEI) today filed their C-1 form, Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Report, with the Tulsa City Clerk's office. The shadowy pro-recall group, Coalition for Reprehensible Government 2004, has not yet filed. The law that controls ethics reporting for municipal, county, and school board elections is the Political Subdivisions Ethics Act, Oklahoma Statutes Title 51, Chapter 6 (sections 301 to 325). 314 and 315 are the sections dealing with reporting of contributions and expenditures.

TFEI, devoted to defeating the recall attempt against Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock, has raised a total of $12,148.00 and spent $2,585.90. $8,050.00 in donations came in contributions of $200 or more:

$2,500: Virginia Brubaker, Kenneth and Kyong Cha Sellers.

$1,000: Pat and Hughes Coston.

$500: Lloyd Noble, Ivan and Helen Ellsworth.

$250: Libby Nash.

$200: Dale and Kathy Whiteis, Patrick Kuykendall, Willingham Rentals, Richard and Lisa Lowry.

About this Archive

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

Tulsa Recall 2005: June 2005 is the previous archive.

Tulsa Recall 2005: August 2005 is the next archive.

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