Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Thank You For Coming...We're So Glad You Came...You Dirty $*%)#!

Text of an e-mail sent to my city council address at 12:03PM on Monday, January 17, 2005.


Tomorrow is the Tulsa Metro Chamber Annual Meeting and Inauguration. We thought you would like to know in advance you are at RL Hudson's table #312. Please try to arrive between 11:30 & 11:45 AM. We are looking forward to seeing you there. [Emphasis added]

Chelsea Harkins
Government Affairs Division
[Metro Tulsa Chamber]
Program Coordinator
Much has already been said regarding outgoing Chamber Chairman Bob Poe's tirade against me and my "cartel," during Tuesday's Chamber Annual Meeting. I even got a chance to weigh in this morning, not on KFAQ ("al Jazeeri" radio), but on John Erling's show on KRMG.

For the most part, I thought the interview was very even handed and asked a lot of the questions that people having read the Tulsa World story, or having attended the luncheon themselves, would've wanted to ask.

One moment jumps out at me though. Mr. Erling asked me why we didn't just remain in our seats to "take our lumps." The implication of the question was, "if we can dish it out, why didn't we stay put and take it like men?"

It didn't take me long to answer. I responded by reminding Mr. Erling and his listeners that I'd already "taken my lumps" at the Tulsa Press Club last fall, when the same Mr. Poe spewed the same hate-filled rhetoric for the benefit of the assembled media.

My reaction was to smile and laugh at every exaggeration and falsehood, including the now infamous reference to "Medlock's jack-booted tactics" that "went out of style in 1940's Germany." After the speech, I crossed the room, stood next to Chairman Poe, took note of all of the paid Chamber executives that had been hidden off to the side, offered my hand to Mr. Poe and said, "Great bad none of it was true.

It was at that moment, when I turned to leave the club, that the Tulsa World photographer (who had already taken at least two-dozen reaction shots) snapped the photograph that has run in both the Tulsa World and the Tulsa Tribunal.

I then headed for the foyer of the Atlas Life building, with four camera and two radio crews close on my heals. I stopped for a second and was immediately surrounded by "the working press."

Marshall Stewart of KRMG was the first to ask a question. "What do you think of what was just said in there?"

Now God has blessed me with many talents and burdened me with my share of weaknesses. One of the talents is the ability to come up with a fantastic come back to a snide remark. Unfortunately, the inspiration usually hits me two minutes after it is too late to use. But not this time.

I quickly retorted, "Oklahoma has long been known as a producer of natural gas and we just found a major new source of it behind the podium of the Tulsa Press Club."

One shot to offset twenty minutes of invective and vitriol. KRMG ran with the quote as the lead for the 6 PM newscast.

Why is this tale important to what happened yesterday? Because one, it proves "been there done that." I missed my chance to sit and take my medicine during Mr. Poe's introduction to the Mayor's State of the City speech, because I wasn't present. Where was I? My wife and I were filling in for the Mayor at a Tulsa Global Alliance luncheon at the Summit Club, honoring the Consul General of Canada.

Anyway, there was a major difference between Poe's attack at the Press Club and Poe's attack yesterday at the Chamber meeting. I was an invited guest of the Chamber, but I wasn't invited to come to the Press Club.

I talked my way in with a very friendly waitress, who was suspicious that I wasn't eating, but seemed intrigued when I assured her that I wasn't "the speaker, but I might be the subject matter." Ten seconds into the door, I knew I was right. There was Poe going off on the "Gang of Five" and its leader, Medlock; not preceded by "Mr.," "Chris" or "Councilor." And there in the back, seated in the shadows was Council Chairman and noted late night "toast master,"Randy Sullivan, who looked quite surprised to see me entering and taking up a position right beside him. I later learned he was there to stand and dutifully thank Mr. Poe for his "courageous" words, to confirm that every falsehood spoken was utterly true and to seek out condolences for having chosen the wrong year to be the Council Chair.

But as you can read from the e-mail that began this post, I was encouraged to attend the Chamber luncheon. My meal was comped and we were told, as were all of the attendees, that the purpose of the function was to be in attendance "as Chairman Poe reflects on the accomplishments of 2004 and formally inducts Maxwell as chairman. An announcement of major initiatives the Tulsa Metro Chamber will undertake during the 2005 business year will follow his inauguration."

I have been told by a reliable source that senior leaders at the Chamber had asked Bob Poe to refrain from the attacks and to "tone down" his remarks. As the luncheon was breaking up, a staffer from the Mayor's office turned to one of those Chamber managers and said, "Well, I guess Poe didn't take your advice to tone it down, huh?"

To which the Chamber official remarked, "Sure he did. You didn't see his original remarks."

Given the apparent backlash that we've been hearing, it's a shame Mr. Poe didn't go the cathartic route, opting instead to "let it out...let it all out."

So, I and four councilors opted to get up and leave the room while Mr. Poe sang his swan song. I thought I would be the first out the door, but as soon as I hit the foyer, I saw District 1 Councilor Jack Henderson. Soon Jim Mautino joined us. I then picked up the phone and called Sam Roop, but there was no answer on his cell phone. Then I dialed Roscoe Turner.

"We're having a cartel meeting in the lobby, Roscoe," I told him, knowing he'd recognize my voice. "Would you like to join us?"

"I'm already on my way out," I was told.

When we were all together, we decided that we would wait until Mr. Poe was done, then return to the room to hear Tom Maxwell's speech, which is what we came to hear, anyway. No sense in dishonoring him.

In the end, I can come to no other conclusion than to believe that we were sandbagged by Bob Poe. We were invited under one set of pretenses and were then exposed to his selfish agenda, once again. But we weren't the only ones blind sided. The mayor was blind sided...Tom Maxwell was blind sided...many of the Chamber members were blind sided...and ultimately Tom Maxwell's seventh goal of his goals for the city was blind sided.

What was that goal? Seek unity.


Anonymous said...

Just like always....there's never a City Bus around when you need one.
Could've turned him into a grease spot as he crossed the street.
I've never seen a man so full of himself. Crap, that is.
I can only wonder how this man ever achieved anything more than wiping after himself.

Anonymous said...

UNITY, was it? Isn't it a shame that all this energy and time is being spent on destructive issues? And that the Chamber of Commerce and our Mayor is allowing it to continue. Oh, I forgot our Governor!! Now, to we citizens, Bob Poe is NOT THE PERSON WORKING THE HARDEST FOR TULSA and OKLAHOMA! He, and his supporters, are on a course of destroying our great city and state!! THEY ARE THE DISAPPOINTMENT !!

It is time for our STRONG LEADERS and CITIZENS to speak up and demand a STOP TO THIS RIDICULOUS SOAP OPERA!!


Anonymous said...

Tuesday's tirade by Mr. Poe probably embarrassed and shocked many of the Chamber members present at the Annual Luncheon. However, because Poe is:

1) Rich and,
2) Connected, therefore
3) POWERFUL, NO ONE had the courage to stand up to refute his unfair mischaracterization of the actions of Medlock's Gang of 4.5.

The Recall effort makes me question one central thing about the Recall personages:

Why is the Tulsa World, the Chamber, GTAR, the Homebuilders Association, the Mayor, Mssrs. Davidson and Haschke (with Davidson and Haschke probably fronting for Bob Poe, who is in turn probably fronting for the Mayor, who is in turn fronting for the entrenched local financial interests) so VEHEMENT in their fight with Councilors Medlock and Mautino over what appears on the surface to be very MINOR policy differences.

First, let's review the "High Crimes & Misdeamenors" of Councilors Medlock & Mautino:

1. They questioned why City of Tulsa ratepayers should pay for a water line to a competing suburb in Owasso. Seemed like a GOOD question.

2. They called for a Council-sponsored investigation into what was already pretty well-known to be a mismanaged Tulsa Airport (TAA and TAIT). Some USEFUL new information, especially about the Great Plains Airlines deal and the City's involvement, was surfaced.

3. They asked to see an appraisal on a property being taken by the City through Emiment Domain BEFORE approving the condemnation. Seemed eminently reasonable.

4. Mr. Mautino questioned why homeowners had to go DIRECTLY to District Court to contest a Board of Adjustment decision. In lieu of a contentious City Council decision to vest BOA Review authority in the hands of the council which he was advocating, he compromised and agreed to let INCOG "study" it, first for 60 days, and now for another 30 days.

But, let's review one major fact: What was Mayor Bill LaFortune's occupation before he became Mayor of Tulsa?

Answer: LAND Attorney.

Did he maybe give some EXPERT directions to the BOA on how to screw the Guier Woods Homeowner's Assn in their initial appeal, by creating procedural flaws in their petition when he KNEW there were NO procedures?? Thanks go to his fellow Land Attorney Charles Norman, former City of Tulsa Attorney who WROTE the zoning rules?

5. The Gang of 4.5 declined to re-appoint two of Susan Savage's appointees, which were long-serving (and connected) lawyers to a couple of local Authorities. However, the Mayor could have theoretically left these two individuals in place FOREVER under the flaws in the City Charter, and actually NEVER had to ask that they be re-appointed.

He had already left one in place for over 18 months after his term expired, and these Authority members could legally keep participating in all Authority decisions, potentially for as long as they live.

6. The Gang of 4.5 refused to annex 23 square miles in North Tulsa County that the city cannot currently afford to extend city services to. The vocal homeowners did not appear to be disposed to being annexed. Seemed logical.

7. They ASK questions about city policies, city spending and city priorities. Seems like that is MAJOR part of the job of a City Councilor.

Which leads to the obvious conclusion:

It just makes me wonder WHAT some people associated with city government (both within and outside the city government) don't want questions being asked about...................

Are they HIDING something?

Really, WHO are:

Larry Mocha
Paula Marshall Chapman
Charles Norman
Jim Orbison
Bob Parmele
Jim Cameron
Lou Reynolds
Richard Studenny
Bob Poe
Jon Davidson
Herb Haschke
Bill LaFortune

Again, are THEY hiding something........?

Anonymous said...

Another, and perhaps the gravest of the High Crimes & Misdemeanors attributed to Mssrs. Medlock and Mautino:

They had the effrontery to question:

Whether the $1.8 million annually in TAX DOLLARS for "economic development" that the Metro Chamber of Commerce receives from our local City Hotel/Motel Tax is being properly supervised by a dormant Economic Development Council, as called for in the City's agreement with the Chamber???

Threatening the "air supply" of the connected Chamber Pots is probably what got them in the cross-hairs of a greedy, grasping Bob Poe and his Associates.

Anonymous said...

Bob Poe is an embarassment for Tulsa, behaves like a child and carries an arrogant attitude! Joe Westervelt of the TMAPC is another one carrying an arrogant attitude! This is not productive for Tulsa!! Obviously, they are both functioning with their own personal agendas!! They both need to be given a pike pass and sent on their way! And PULLLEEZZZZ.....don't give them a standing ovation, as they leave!!

It is our understanding that the Mayor is wanting to regain grassroots support......well, Mr. MAYOR, YOU HAD BETTER STEP UP TO THE PLATE and show any strength you might have left, to STRAIGHTEN OUT THESE SCREW-UPS!! We all know that you have the wealth, connections and power to do this and we citizens are watching to see if you will do it!! YOU CAN STILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!

Councilors MEDLOCK and MAUTINO both deserve support from all we citizens, whether we are in their districts or not! WE APPLAUD THEIR STAMINA AND DEDICATION!! WE REMAIN SUPPORTIVE OF THEM 100 %!!!!


Anonymous said...

Mayor LaFortune is probably operating under the mistaken impression that he doesn't NEED the G.O.P. Grass Roots support any more, and can safely come out of the closet as a Faux-Reformer.

Because Faux Reformer LaFortune delivered the Vision 2025 tax moola to the local Oligarchs (principally Rooney, Flint Kaiser and Lorton Families), something which their silly girl Susan Savage was NOT able to do, he probably imagines that with their campaign moola, glowing endorsements from the Lorton's World, and the connivance of velvet throated John Erling/KRMG and Channel 8-6-2's Smiling Jack-in-the-Box Heads in his camp, he can ignore the GOP Grass Roots.

The last politician (wife) that made that mistake was Kathy Keating, in her solo political run for 1st District Congressperson.

Someone forgot to convince the Tulsa GOP Grass Roots that her annointment as CongressCritter was pre-ordained. And they forget to tell Representative John Sullivan, too.

He literally creamed her.

The Tulsa G.O.P. political structure and party activists are HUNGRY for a Reformer. A REAL Reformer. Maybe Terry Simonson, Chris Medlock or some other local GOP luminary can de-throne LaFortune's hereditary monarchy.

If Medlock and Mautino were smart, they'd make the Recall Effort a MANDATE on LaFortune's Regime.

Make HIM the issue.

Then, he's got to either BACK them to the hilt, or show his sorry tail that he's really one of the forces behind the Recall.
Either way, it's a big LOSE/LOSE situation for poor $3 Bill. Then, stick a fork in him; he's DONE.

Anonymous said...

In today's
blogger Michael Bates says that at last Friday's County GOP Men's Club monthly luncheon, that Mayor LaFortune stated that he was emphatically against the Recall of Councilors Medlock and Mautino.

In addition, the blog stated that LaFortune will hold a Press Conference this Friday with other GOP public officials who will also speak out against the Recall.