Urban Tulsa Weekly: July 2006 Archives

If you're looking for more commentary on the election come back later tonight. I'm beat after hitting six watch parties last night (Anna Falling, John Sullivan, Jim Caputo, Tim Harris, J. Anthony Miller, Chris Medlock), then getting up to help with the primary post-mortem.

(Best watch party food award goes to District Judge candidate Jim Caputo, who had barbecue from Albert G.'s, one of the few places in town that offers sliced smoked pork.)

In the meantime, here's a link to this week's column in Urban Tulsa Weekly. It's about a study, by Conventions, Sports, and Leisure, International, of the feasibility of a new downtown Tulsa convention hotel. The current issue also includes stories about the over-budget arena bailout, the City's process for parceling out Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money, and a feature story about the Tulsa Talons cheerleaders.

Primary election endorsements


I'll be on 1170 KFAQ with Michael DelGiorno and Gwen Freeman starting at 6:10 a.m. this morning for a special primary election preview.

For your voting convenience, here are the endorsements I've made in statewide and local Republican races and the non-partisan judicial races, starting with the top of the ballot:

Governor: State Sen. James Williamson is the most experienced and knowledgable candidate in the race, the best qualified to be Governor of Oklahoma -- incumbent Brad Henry included. Williamson has been a leader in the legislature for fiscal restraint, meaningful lawsuit reform, and the protection of the sanctity of human life.

Lt. Governor: Can't really go wrong in this primary -- all three candidates are good people, and it grieves me to see the mud flying back and forth. State Sen. Scott Pruitt has the biggest vision for the office, taking full advantage of the powers of the office to advance a conservative vision for Oklahoma.

State Treasurer: Dan Keating has already demonstrated that he'll be a watchdog for the taxpayers' interests by calling attention to the problems created by the Henry-Meacham tribal tobacco compacts. Howard Barnett's vocal support for the anti-democratic at-large city councilor proposal shows an appreciation for clubby insider politics, an attitude that we don't need in the office that invests our state's financial assets.

State Insurance Commissioner: I'm not bowled over by either candidate, but Tahl Willard seems to have more relevant experience, including a stint as the Insurance Department's Regional Director for Eastern Oklahoma and manager of the Tulsa office, along with an impressive set of insurance certifications. His opponent, Bill Case, is a term-limited State Rep. who was nominated for the Oklahoma Conservative PAC's RINO (Republican in Name Only) award every year for the last five, winning once.

U. S. Representative, District 1: On fiscal and social issues, on border security and national security, Congressman John Sullivan has been as consistent a conservative as you could want on the full range of congressional issues.

State Senate, District 36: There's more to Joe Lester than a catchy jingle. His newspaper articles reveal an intelligent, principled conservatism, and he would bring almost 40 years of law enforcement experience (U. S. Army MP, City of Tulsa, University of Oklahoma) to the Legislature.

State House, District 68: Incumbent Chris Benge is the best choice for another term.

State House, District 69: Former City Councilor Chris Medlock would bring a needed perspective to the Legislature. He's a conservative who understands the impact that state government has on Oklahoma's largest cities. As I wrote a couple of months ago: "I think Chris would make an excellent legislator. The Republican caucus needs more members who will keep it committed to conservative and free-market principles. Chris Medlock understands that being pro-business means providing an environment in which all businesses can thrive, not making special deals for special interests."

State House, District 76: John Wright is another incumbent with a strong conservative record who deserves re-election.

District Attorney, District No. 14 (Tulsa County): Despite declining arrests, eight-year incumbent Tim Harris has put away a record number of bad guys, focusing his department's resources on the cases that matter most. Challenger Brett Swab's campaign is grounded in misleading presentation of facts. One attorney asked me, rhetorically, if Swab will twist the facts to win his "case" against Harris, will he twist the facts to win in court?

Tulsa County Commission, District 1: Former City Councilor Anna Falling hasn't lost any of her enthusiasm and drive, but her leadership of a faith-based outreach to Tulsa's needy has smoothed off some of the rough edges. Tulsa County government needs someone willing to move beyond the way things have always been done and someone who will look out for the taxpayers' interests first.

Tulsa County Commission, District 3: State Rep. Fred Perry is the most consistent conservative in this race, and his rapport with grassroots Republicans and legislative leaders will serve Tulsa County well. Any of the other three candidates would likely mean a continuation of good ol' business as usual at the County Courthouse.

District Judge, District 14, Office 4:: Collinsville Municipal Judge Jim Caputo is my pick for this office, which is on the ballot only in northern and eastern Tulsa County.

District Judge, District 14, Office 10:: There are a number of good candidates in this race, but I've known J. Anthony Miller for over a decade as an elder in our church. I am confident that Miller has the experience, temperament, and prudence to be an excellent district judge.

Tulsa County Election Board has posted sample ballots for every precinct.

In addition to the above elections, Berryhill Fire Protection District has a vote on whether to expand its territory, and the Town of Skiatook is voting on a 10-year extension to a one-cent sales tax.

Here are links to my election preview columns from Urban Tulsa Weekly:

The Tulsa County judicial races
The statewide races
The Tulsa County legislative races
The Tulsa County DA and Commission races

Swab-bing the deck

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This week's column in Urban Tulsa Weekly puts the claims made by District Attorney challenger Brett Swab against incumbent DA Tim Harris under a forensic examiner's microscope. There's also a brief discussion of the two Tulsa County Commission races on the Republican primary ballot.

ABOT time

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My wife and I attended the Urban Tulsa Weekly Absolute Best of Tulsa party tonight at The Hive. It was too loud and too smoky, and nearly everyone was way younger than us, but it was fun to get to chat with other UTW writers and staffers, like publisher Keith Skrzypczak, music writer G. K. Hizer, arts writer Claudette Lancaster, reporter Ginger Shepherd, and our newest columnist, Jamie Pierson. We saw City Councilor Roscoe Turner (last year's most believable councilor), his wife Nancy, and Christie Breedlove (who took that wonderful inauguration day photo of the Bates family).

A number of restaurants were there with samples -- nachos, cuban sandwiches, sushi, baklava, pizza -- and there were free drinks galore. Since I already felt like I was teetering from heat and fatigue, I didn't have anything stronger than water.

We ran into Rick Boltinghouse -- he and I sang together in the Concert Chorus and Madrigal Singers in high school. Rick owns and operates the Daylight Donuts in the old Shaw's Drive-In at 31st and Yale. He estimates that he's made 14 million donuts in his career. He said they're in the process of upgrading the building, expanding the menu, and expanding the hours.

The Absolute Best of Tulsa issue hits the streets tomorrow morning, so tonight the winners of UTW's reader poll were unveiled. Categories include politicians and business people, restaurants, specialty shops, night clubs, and entertainers. This year's most believable councilor isn't on the council any more: Chris Medlock. Bill LaFortune got the most reader votes in the "Local Weasel" category, but Kathy Taylor finished second. I'll link to the ABOT story once it's online.

This week's column in Urban Tulsa Weekly is about Tulsa-area legislative primaries, particularly about the most hotly contested race, the Republican primary to replace Fred Perry in House District 69, which includes far south Tulsa, Jenks, a bit of Bixby, and the northern part of Glenpool.

One of the emerging issues in that race involves the proposed toll bridge across the Arkansas River that would connect south Tulsa near 121st Street to Jenks and Bixby. Although Fred Jordan got a tremendous headstart in the campaign, helped by $100,000 in contributions, largely from the development industry, Jordan is losing ground as south Tulsa voters learn that he is in favor of the toll bridge as proposed by Infrastructure Ventures Inc.

The South Tulsa Citizens' Coalition asked all five Republican candidates to sign a representation opposing the bridge. The representation states that the candidate will not support a bridge until certain intersections and streets connecting to the bridge have been widened, will oppose any heavy truck traffic on Yale between 121st and the Creek Turnpike, and won't support the north end of the bridge connecting to or near Yale Avenue. Chris Medlock, Lisa DeBolt, and Jeff Applekamp have all signed these letters, and Medlock was a leader while on the City Council in getting city officials on record in opposition to the bridge. (Here is a PDF of Medlock's representation letter.)

Fred Jordan and Darrell Gwartney have refused to sign the representation, which Jordan calls, "a highly restrictive and legalistic 'pledge' committing [his opponents] to oppose the bridge under any reasonable circumstances." (Here is a PDF of Fred Jordan's statement to the STCC.) I'm sure STCC members would object to the characterization of the preconditions, which I summarized above, as unreasonable.

Jordan, who has been vague on the issue until now, has started to lose supporters to Chris Medlock. (Although there are two other candidates who oppose the bridge, they are trailing far behind Jordan and Medlock. Neither DeBolt nor Applekamp are likely to make the runoff.) A couple of days ago I spoke to Kari Romoser, who lives near 111th and Yale, an area that would feel the traffic impact if the bridge is connected to Yale. She had Fred Jordan's sign in her yard, but she recently pulled it up and replaced it with a Chris Medlock sign.

Jordan's position on the bridge issue wasn't the only reason for Kari's change, but it was an important reason. Her family has invested a lot to be in this part of Tulsa so that they can send their children to Jenks Southeast Elementary School. Anything that would hurt the value of their home or affect safe access to the school is important to her.

Jordan's company, Caprock Resources, is developing three residential areas along Elm (Peoria) in south Jenks. Two of them, Wakefield Pond and Wakefield Village, are along 121st St., in an area that would benefit from the proposed bridge without bearing a significant traffic impact. (For he folks north of the bridge in south Tulsa along Yale, the traffic impact would far outweigh any convenience benefit.)

So far, the toll bridge has been a local issue, involving Tulsa County and the cities of Jenks and Tulsa, so why does it matter what a state representative thinks about the issue? In his statement, Jordan says that, "to my knowledge, there is no pending or proposed action in the legislature relating to the bridge."

In fact, there was a measure in the Legislature this session which passed the House but was killed in the Senate that would have had an effect on the toll bridge deal. The process has raised all kinds of issues that the Legislature may address at some point: Should counties and cities be able to enter into private toll bridge deals of this sort? Who has ownership and jurisdiction over the Arkansas River bed? Whose approval is needed to build a private toll bridge? Should private toll roads and toll bridges be legal? Should the jurisdiction responsible for connecting infrastructure have a say in whether a toll bridge is built? When a city and the county, or two adjacent cities, are at odds over a bridge, who makes the final decision?

As we learned with the Board of Adjustment legislation (SB 1324, HB 2559) this session, it won't be enough to have the Tulsa City Council on our side, because the Legislature could take away the City's say on this contentious issue. It will be important for south Tulsa residents to have someone in the Legislature who will represent their interests on this matter, someone with the savvy to detect and block any attempt to bypass Tulsa's city government.

The judicial races


In last week's Urban Tulsa Weekly I reviewed the two District Judge races on the July 25 ballot in Tulsa County, explaining why there is frustratingly little information available to ordinary voters in most judicial elections and making my recommendations in support of James Caputo for Office 4 and J. Anthony Miller for Office 10.

I have left comments open on an earlier entry about the judicial races, so feel free to click through that link and chime in there. And you may also want to review this entry on how district court elections work in Tulsa County.

This week's column takes a look at the four Republican primaries for statewide offices and the local 1st Congressional District race.

(Added on September 30, 2006, to fill in the gaps in my Urban Tulsa Weekly column archive.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Urban Tulsa Weekly category from July 2006.

Urban Tulsa Weekly: June 2006 is the previous archive.

Urban Tulsa Weekly: August 2006 is the next archive.

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



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