Is this news? Or another assist by Tulsa's newspaper-of-record to paint me with a broad brush dipped in paints from designer Schnake Turnbo's "lunatic fringe" collection?
How the World learned of the phone call is interesting in and of itself. In a word...well, actually in two words...I have to say, "my bad." After being interviewed by city beat writer P J Lassek about something else that now escapes me, we began chatting about the rumors and odd whispers flitting about the recall effort.
Ironically, one of the rumors we spoke of now has a tinge of irony to it, which was that political consultant Jim Burdge (rhymes with "purge" or "regurge") was the minormind behind the now infamous Tulsa Tribunal. However, in our conversation, I did tell Ms. Lassek of my cell phone conversation with a high-ranking member of the administration, which occurred just before Christmas. In fact, it occurred on the evening of December 21st, as my wife and I were driving our niece Brittany to meet up with her mom's family in Ponca City.
While the conversation was interupted several times by dropped calls each time our SUV would venutre into a valley on the Cimmaron Turnpike, it was posited to me that if I were to agree to support the condemnation of City of Tulsa land, needed to clear the way for a private toll bridge pushed by Infrastructure Ventures, LLC, that would span the Arkansas River, near 121st Street and Yale Avenue, that there was a good chance the recall effort against me could be made to "go away."
Unlike Susan Hylton's account, it was never intimated that such an agreement was a guarantee. The feeling I was left with was that the people interested in the bridge project (not necessarily the principals of Infrastructure Ventures, but possibly those that would indirectly benefit) might be able to make such an occurance occur.
[Note: Susan Hylton says I said that William Bacon, the chief honcho for IV, LLC, was involved in the recall effort. Check your tape Ms. Hylton. My recollection was that I said John Benjamin was deeply involved in the recall effort and that Mr. Benjamin was also involved in economic development strategies for the City of Bixby. No municipality would benefit more from this bridge than Bixby. Draw your own conclusions.]
Let me make three strong statements about the phone call.
- It happened. I'd be happy to take a polygraph if necessary. In fact, my wife and niece both heard my side of the conversation as we drove along.
- I do not believe that the administration official is in cahoots with the recall forces. I think they were approached because of a reputation for discretion. They were bringing forth this offer in order to give me a chance to end recall, if I had no concerns about the proposed bridge. I do not wish to punish them by giving the name of someone I feel was acting in good faith.
- There is no way to know if the offer was real, or merely a bluff. My point to both Ms. Lassek initially, and Ms. Hylton secondarily, was that there are some crazy rumors and offers flying around City Hall ever since this Recall Madness began.
I find it less than surprising that they returned to my smiling campaign photo (eschewing the "smirking councilor" visage they have favored of late, while making sure the word paranoid was placed strategically in the photos caption. As we all know, most readers will read the headline and the photo caption before ever venturing into the text of the story.
This all seems part and parcel of the new recall strategy, which is to paint me in the words of Councilor Randy Sullivan, as the "King of Accusations."
Wow...no longer am I a dictator, a fascist, a cartel boss, a gang member or a terrorist. I have asceneded to royalty. I may now add "King" to my list of titles. Makes me want to run out and buy lots of purple clothing.
[Family note: Britanny has been going about telling her friends at school that she is a "Cartel Princess." It's been a running gag with the two of us for several weeks. Upon reading my draft of this posting, she asked, "Now that you're a king, does that make me a real princess?" We have decided that the Kingdom of Accusation (pronounced ack-cue-zah'-see-ahn) is in France, most likely near the province of...where else...Britanny.]