Wednesday, May 04, 2005

For Charlotte Harer

Next Tuesday, the voters of District 5 will go to the polls to select which philosophical camp will control the Tulsa City Council for the rest of the 2004-2005 session. There are seven...oops...Nancy Jackson forwent her last 10 minutes of fame and dropped out, backing Bill Christiansen clone, Bill Martinson...six names on the ballot, but only four legitimate chances for victory.

The third and fourth thumbs are Allen Harjo and David Weaver. These two, having seen them twice at candidate forums, are affable guys who seem to be of the mold of, "Gee...think I'll run for office" crowd.

The four legitimate candidates are Democrats Al Nichols and Andy Phillips, and Republicans Charlotte Harer and Bill Martinson. A high-level analysis of the election breaks the four candidates down in a four celled matrix. Click here to view this matrix.

Those voters that are most likely to vote in District 5 tend to vote 55% Republican and 45% Democrat. Given that there are a two Democrats (one Special Interest and one Grassroots) and two Republicans (one Special Interest and one Grassroots) one can infer that each will have to garner an extremely large share of their respective party's voters to be a lock for the seat. However, a reasonable break down of the available party blocks (all my opinion, of course) shows that Charlotte Harer has the best chance of winning followed by Andy Phillips.

I have given my full and unqualified support to Charlotte. Why? Multiple reasons.

First, she is a strong leader. She built the Republican Women's Club of Tulsa County from approximately 50 members to 250 members in just a couple of years. I don't care what group you're talking about, quintupling the size of any organization is impressive.

Second, she is a strong willed conservative. She will independently arrive at her own decisions based on her conservative values and not adherence to a special interest block, like Christiansen, Sullivan, Baker & Neal have done for the past year (yes...they vote alike far more often than do "The Gang.").

Not to be taken lightly, too, is Harer's impressive list of endorsements which include the likes of Sen. Jim Inhofe, Congressman John Sullivan, state senators like newcomer Brian Crain and the veteran Jim Williamson. Throw in Rep. Sue Tibbs, former mayoral candidate Terry Simonson, former councilor Sam Roop and LaFortune "Kitchen Cabinet" members Ron Howell and Steve Edwards (who is also the former chair of the Oklahoma GOP), and you have a very diverse group of supporters that should allay any fears that Charlotte will favor one group over another.

Although I like Al Nichols a great deal, Al's entire campaign seems to be centered on the fact that he is a neighborhood activist and the only candidate in the race that has appeared before the planning commission and the Board of Adjustment. This is pointed out in nearly every appearance he or one of his supporters make. Tulsa Topics even goes so far as to cite this fact as the principle reason for their support of Nichols.

The problem with this is, that it neglects to note that a councilor is responsible for a lot more than just land use and zoning issues. There's the charter, the budget, constituent services, Tulsa Global Alliance, infrastructure planning, etc.

By centering his entire campaign on experience as a neighborhood activist, Mr. Nichols runs the risk of appearing like a candidate who will act in the interests of a single special-interest; that being the neighborhood activists.

In fact, if all city council candidates should be held to a litmus test involving participation in a neighborhood association, then by Mr. Nichol's supporters standard, I should never have been elected to the council. There are very few pro-neighborhood activists that would deny that I've been one of the most stalwart supporters of Tulsa's neighborhoods.

District 5 needs more than just someone committed to zoning issues. As the State Committee Woman for the Tulsa County Republican Party, Charlotte Harer has been involved with many issues, both municipal and statewide. She has twice been a delegate to the Republican National Convention, a position that is much harder to achieve than anyone not involved as a party activist can imagine. You get there by paying your dues and earning the respect of those who also are active.

Given the fact that the council will be spending much of the next few months working on the budget and voting on proposed Charter changes to put before the voters, it is critical that we elect a conservative reformer like Charlotte Harer.

That's why I hope the voters of District 5 will head for the polls on May 10 and elect Charlotte Harer to the Tulsa City Council.

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