Saturday, November 27, 2004

How The Hole Got There

Today's Tulsa World's Call the Editor section intimated that I am the leader of the city council's "Hole in the Head Gang."

Should you be interested in how I got the hole in the head, click here.

Here's hoping Channel 7 gets the story better than Channel 8 does.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Some Less Than Rhetorical Questions

It is Thanksgiving, so I know there will be no Tulsa World on Friday. However, there have been two editions of the World since the Tulsa Chapter of the League of Women Voters released a statement that strongly opposed the effort to recall Councilor Jim Mautino and me.

  • So, where is the editorial accusing the league of "falling under the sway of the Medlock Cartel?
  • Why haven't we seen a Page One story under P.J. Lassek's byline, which saves the most reasoned statements against recall for inclusion on page A22, but written under the headline, "Women Voters Say Medlock to Cause New Lawsuits," along with a photo of me looking like I have just sampled soured milk?
  • How many days will pass before The World acknowledges that those who care most about the sanctity of the election process, have strongly stated, "The seriousness of [current city] issues deserves the community's attention and should not be diverted by the divisive recall process?"

An Open Letter to "M"

Dear "M" (IF that is your real name),

In response to my posting entitled, "I Pity the Fool," you wrote:

"Please don't confuse name-calling and personal attacks with an intelligent discussion of policy differences or a reasoned analysis of current events,"

Given that the posting was in response to the most recent of a seemingly endless stream of editorials by Ken Neal and other of his opinionated peers at the Tulsa World, I was so pleased to see someone such as yourself so ready to take the World's columnists to task.

Ever since February 2nd, 2004, when in an opinion piece on the primary elections, the World writers opined, "In other races, incumbents Chris Medlock, District 2, and Sam Roop, District 5, handily won their Republican primaries. They face credible opponents in the March 9 general election. Medlock, a weak link on the council, faces former Councilor Darla Hall while Roop is opposed by retired police officer Andy Phillips," I've wondered if someone would rush to my defense.

Having just won the primary with nearly 80% of the vote, the voters rushed to my defense by giving me 59% of the vote against my "credible" opponent. That number was second only to Susan Neal's 90% that she received in her race against Paul Tay. Of course, Paul had to campaign from inside of the Oklahoma City jail, where he was being held for buzzing a pro-marriage rally on the Capitol steps.

Then there was the time back in September of this year, when Chamber chairman Bob Poe stood before the Tulsa Press Club (with me less than 20 feet away) and profoundly stated, "Mr. Medlock's jack-booted tactics went out of style in the 1940s." Some might have thought he was intimating that I was a fascist (even though I only own, to my knowledge, just one brown shirt). Mr. Poe also referred to my "minions" as the members of "Medlock's cabal."

His rhetoric so inspired the World editors that two days later they wrote,

"Poe, chairman of the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce, said a voting bloc led by Councilor Chris Medlock, which has fought progress at every turn, is a 'cabal' and 'a cancer growing in the community.' "

I guess that the recall effort currently underway by Mr. Poe and his minions is the political equivalent of chemo-therapy. We'll just zap that nasty tumor before the cancer of the council goes into metastasis.

Or how about August 8th, when Ken Neal himself pontificated in a piece entiled "Wrecking Crew." Here's some of the pithier (apologies to Bill O'Reilly fans) comments Mr. Neal made in his "reasoned analysis:"
  • The "GANG OF FIVE" on the Tulsa City Council is dangerous.
  • "Three new members vote with two holdovers to make a majority of five on the council. They are like LITTLE BOYS PLAYING WITH MATCHES."
  • "...and nothing is too petty for the Roop and Medlock WRECKING COMPANY."

Mr. Neal also intimated that we had broken our word, were in a snit and or were irresponsible for transferring proposed CDBG funds away from programs favored by Councilors Neal and Baker so that we could give the money to programs favored by the council majority.

Of course all of this was mild compared to the editorial piece three days earlier entitled "Enough," and sub-titled, "Councilors continue WITCH HUNTS."

But the headlines were mere prelude for what was to come:

  • "The City Council's TROUBLE-MAKING FACTION is at it again or rather still at it, according to a recent news account." (This was actually the lead sentence.)
  • "What hasn't been said publicly is some of these same councilors, in private meetings, have committed some pretty OUTRAGEOUS acts themselves..."
  • "It sounds like what is needed is a brighter spotlight on the ANTICS of city councilors..."

Other words or phrases used to define us as part of their "intelligent discussion" were, "five-member rump caucus,"needlessly and shamelessly grilled," "witch hunt," and "contemptible."

But these two pieces were merely the bread that made up their opinion sandwich. The meaty stuff was still to come. On August 10th, just two scant days later, the World's editorial writers topped themselves. The headline was "Conflicts, Secrets." The sub-head was, "THE GANG OF FIVE RIDES AGAIN." Here's the best paragraph selected from some real doozies:

"With the GANG OF FIVE, aka the WRECKING CREW, at the wheel the process was elevated (?) to the level of a clutching, eye-poking, forehead-bonking THREE STOOGES COMEDY WITH A COUPLE OF EXTRA STOOGES. Or at least it would have been comical if city money and the city's reputation weren't at stake."

They also referred to, "THE MEDDLESOME MAJORITY," and "PARTNERS IN MISCHIEF." Oh yeah...they also intimated that my whispering into the ear of Councilor Roop was to remind him of "THE SCRIPT" rather than to give a more detailed explanation of something we were discussing earlier, so as to not hold up the meeting or disrupt the other's discussion.

So to your desire that I not confuse name-calling and personal attacks as a substitute for "an intelligent discussion of policy differences or a reasoned analysis of current events," all I can say is "Amen, Sister." Or is it "Amen, Brother?"

So tell "M" a family name?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

I Pity the Fool

Today's edition of the Tulsa World took up valuable space on its editorial page (it could have been so much better used for another "Great Plains failed because of 9/11 groaner), with an unusually windy screed by "Wind-Bag Emeritus" Ken Neal.

Neal goes to great lengths to portray "A City In Crisis," which is the title of his polemic on how five duly elected officials have, in just over six short months, brought our city to its knees. This aside from the fact that one can argue that, after years of pursuing policy suggested by Mr. Neal and his cronies at Tulsa's monopolistic news source, one could easily argue our city has been knocked prostrate. When lying flat on one’s back, any movement to your knees is an improvement.

To read Neal’s foolish diatribe of innuendos, half-truths, untruths and fallacies, is to be lead to the conclusion (if you can suspend your disbelief long enough to believe Ken Neal knows what he’s talking about) that District 6 Councilor Jim Mautino and I are responsible for a string of miscues that will lead to run-ups in, among other things, water rates. Even if this were true, which it isn’t, doesn’t is seem a tad disingenuous for a newspaper which has pushed a number of federal, state, county and municipal tax increases to suddenly develop a concern for the tax payers wallet? Seems disingenuous to me.

Although there were many statements and allegations in Mr. Neal’s cry for better representation, one jumped out as more interesting than any of the others. It was as follows:

“Now a group composed of upset business operators, developers, home builders and civic activists and many of the hundreds of citizens who serve without pay on the city’s authorities and agencies, have mounted a recall action against Medlock and Mautino. The movement is in its first stages and most veteran observers of City Hall are appalled that Tulsa has come to what amounts to a city civil war.”

Gosh…where does one start with a statement like this one?

Well let’s start by saying that the only two people that our less than competent newspaper has told its readers are behind the recall effort are Jon Davidson and Herb Haschke. In that one paragraph alone, Neal mentions five different groups that have “mounted a recall action.” Are we to believe that Davidson and Haschke in some combination represent all five groups? Even that is suspension of disbelief with too high of a degree of difficulty to be attempted by anyone but a professional delusional.

No…what it should tell the discerning reader is that Mr. Neal is aware of more of the names behind the Coalition for Responsible Government 2004 than just Davidson and Haschke. However, I’ve yet to see these names reported by our newspaper of record. Could it be that the Tulsa World actually IS colluding and coordinating with the recall advocates? Or is it just Mr. Neal that is withholding information that fair-minded Tulsan’s would like to know? Or, is he just making it up as he goes along? You choose for yourself.

Let’s look at the paragraph even closer. My translations are in parentheses:

“Now a group composed of upset business operators (the Metro Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and Bob Poe), developers (NAIOP and its former presidents Jim Cameron and Lou Reynolds), home builders (the Metro Home Builders which now does 80% of its business outside of Tulsa) and civic activists (Schnake, Turnbo, Frank, Erling and all the other Great Plains investors?) and many of the hundreds of citizens who serve without pay on the city’s authorities and agencies (Norma Turnbo, Steve Schuller, Herb Haschke, David White, Joe Westervelt and the dozens of others who want to hang onto their appointed positions of power), have mounted a recall action against Medlock and Mautino (with the exception of Cameron, none of whom live in either Districts 2 0r 6). The movement is in its first stages and most veteran observers of City Hall (those wonderful department heads, board appointees and gadflies that buzzed about the 11th floor when our city was a “Savage Nation”) are appalled that Tulsa has come to what amounts to a city civil war (Dang…the natives are restless and starting to fight back! Effectively!).”

Its amazing how one paragraph can say so much.

I’ll rebut other claims made by Mr. Neal later on. For now, suffice it to say that Ken Neal has to be a very unhappy man. As he drifts out of the sunset years of his career, just think of what he is having to endure. November 2nd, 2004 will stand as one of the strongest rebukes of the World’s editorial policy that Mr. Neal has had to experience.

Our nation is safely in conservative hands for the next four years and there is a good chance that the Supreme and federal courts might be in conservative hands for a generation. Oklahoma is only few scant years from completing its inevitable transformation from a one-party state to a two-party state, then back to a one-party state, again; only this time, with a different party in control.

All that is left for the liberal leaning Mr. Neal to cling to is Tulsa. Is it any wonder that before he retires to the Old Yellow Journalists Retirement Village, he might want to influence just one more change in city government? One that would lead to a “non-partisan…form of government” that would give his ilk one last fighting chance to “support progressive candidates without regard to partisan advantage?”

Don’t hate Ken Neal…pity him.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Fair, Appropriate & Too Expensive

The weekend wouldn't be the weekend without the editorial board of Tulsa World running a marketing piece (THEY refer to them as opinion pieces) for the recall effort. Today, they took another vacuous run at District 6 city councilor Jim Mautino.

Concerned that change that they didn't initiate might actually occur in our city, the board is actually making the case that the citizens of Tulsa have a fitting appeal option when they feel they have gotten a raw deal from the Tulsa Board of Adjustment. In fact, their exact quote is that "Citizens who are unhappy with Board of Adjustment decisions have a fair and appropriate appeals mechanism available now..."

"Appeals mechanism" is a very pleasant and succinct way to say, "hire an expensive attorney, take out a second mortgage, or if you're lucky get the neighborhood to have a big yard sale and silent auction so that you can cough up the $10,000 to $20,000 it takes to prevent $10,000 to $20,000 of impact to your property value."

That is, unless you're already a real estate lawyer, developer, editorial writer or pompous publisher who can help keep the members of the Board of Adjustment in their quasi-judicial roles. Then, you can expect to be able to keep that battery recycling facility out of that vacant "green space" contiguous to your guest house.

I'm not convinced Jim Mautino is on the right track with his suggested change to the appeals process for the Board of Adjustment. However, to minimize the impact of BOA decisions on areas on Tulsa other than Mid-Town or South Tulsa is callous at best. To call Mautino's suggestion a "solution in search of a problem," is to confirm that the opinion fakers of The World wouldn't know a land use problem if it was built abutting their back yard with an improper setback which could cause a substantial detriment to the public good which impairs
the purposes, spirit, and intent of the Code, or the Comprehensive Plan.

But take heart...there is an appropriate mechanism for a better editorial policy. It's called The Tulsa Beacon.

Time to Get Blogging

And So It Begins...
Going to give a try as a mechanism to get my thoughts on line quicker than traditional html.

Check back here for my thoughts in a somewhat more "real time" format. I've been setting this up while trying to listen to the OSU Cowboys whipping the hapless Baylor Bears in football. As such, there is a good chance that I've totally screwed up something that otherwise should be quite easy. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Reynolds & Cameron Less Than Forthcoming

November 10th, 2004--Today's Tulsa World printed a story about Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority board nominees, Jim Cameron and Louis Reynolds' appearance before the Tulsa City Council's Public Works Committee, on Tuesday.

The following is an excerpt from that story:
"Besides Medlock, it appears that Councilors Jack Henderson, Jim Mautino and Roscoe Turner will keep their stances against the reappointments.
During Tuesday's interview, Henderson asked the men if they knew Herbert Haschke Jr., treasurer of the Coalition for Responsible Government 2004, which is conducting a recall effort against Medlock and Mautino.

Reynolds said he might have had legal dealings with him, and Cameron said Haschke did some estate planning for his father.

Henderson asked whether the men supported the recall effort. Reynolds said he was neutral about it, and Cameron never answered."

I guess the two gentlemen were camera shy or worried about what the Tulsa World and the citizens of our city might think if they were to "recall" (sorry...couldn't resist) that both of them are listed on the Oklahoma Secretary of State's web site as having formed real estate related corporations with Mr. Haschke.

In March of 1995, Mr. Reynolds formed a limited liability corporation with Mr. Haschke by the name of THE COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATION OF TULSA, INC. I guess the forming of a commercial real estate association could be termed as "legal dealings." Additionally, before joining the water board, Mr. Reynolds served for several years with Mr. Haschke on the T.A.R.E Board, which overseas the trash-to-energy facility, as well as other refuse related activities.

More recently, in December of 2000, Mr. Cameron also formed a real estate company with Mr. Haschke by the name of IHCRC REALTY CORPORATION. This was apparently related to the Indian Health Care Resource Center, of which Mr. Cameron is currently the board secretary. With all of those hours he purportedly puts out for the TMUA, as well his involvement with the IHCRC, one wonders how he has the time for his involvement in the National Association of Industirial and Office Properties, or to run Cameron Glass, CAMVEND, Cameron Investments LLC and the other numerous business entities that he owns.

The lack of cooperation from these two gentlemen is but one of the reasons that we are having such a hard time agreeing with the Mayor and the Tulsa World editorial board that these gentlemen are indispensable to the citizens of our city. At the very least, they need some lessons in telling the whole truth.