Thursday, September 22, 2005

The State of the State-of-the-City Address

Today at a luncheon at the Doubletree at Warren Place, Mayor LaFortune will deliver his fourth (and I hope, final) State of the City address.

Last year’s address was somewhat renowned for the introduction that the Mayor received from then Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Bob Poe. The following morning, Tulsa World described Poe’s remarks and LaFortune’s tone this way:

“Chamber Chairman Bob Poe set the tone by scolding the councilors during his introduction of Mayor Bill LaFortune, whose jabs were more restrained.

“Praising LaFortune's coalition-building efforts that led to passage of Vision 2025, Poe said the city was gaining momentum and "then, sadly, Tulsa had new City Council elections."

“Since April, the five councilors -- Chris Medlock, Sam Roop, Jack Henderson, Roscoe Turner and Jim Mautino -- have "brought the city to a halt," Poe said.

“Although LaFortune spoke for nearly 45 minutes outlining his effort to build a "more hopeful" and "more secure city," he repeatedly noted the negative effects of a government in conflict.”

This was the first of three scathing (and for many who heard them, destructive for Poe's reputation) attacks on the council’s reformists, Bob Poe made during is tempestuous reign as Chamber chairman.

The question that many asked though, after the head-shaking, tut-tutting and critiques of Mr. Poe’s style (or lack thereof) was, “Why was the Mayor giving the State-of-the-City address to the Chamber of Commerce in the first place?”

Good question. When Governor Henry gives the State-of-the-State Address, he delivers it before a joint session of the State Legislature. When President Bush gives the State-of-the-Union Address, he delivers it before a joint session of Congress. But when Mayor LaFortune delivers the State-of-the-City Address, he gives it to the Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Somewhat shows where the Mayor’s priorities lie, doesn’t it?

The Chamber is a fine organization made up of fine people. The members represent most of the businesses in our city and the surrounding area. But therein in lies the Mayor’s apparent lack of understanding who it is he represents. He represents all of the people of Tulsa, not just a select few.

The proper venue for the State-of-the-City Address is the Francis Campbell City Council Meeting Room. The proper audience is the Tulsa City Council and the citizens of Tulsa, via the gallery and the cable TV audience.

Why? Because then the address goes to all of the citizens. That, and the fact that it shows the proper respect for the other branches of city government necessary to follow through on the Mayor’s oft touted statement of wanting to have a “direct and face-to-face relationship” with the city council.

As such, if elected Mayor, I promise to give all State-of-the-City Addresses during my tenure, first to the City Council and then [if I am asked to do so] to the Chamber of Commerce.

I hope by doing so, I can at least establish the atmosphere of respect and decorum necessary to have the kind of relationship with the council necessary to turn our city around from eighteen years of mismanagement.


bamlock said...

$30 a person to attend the state of the city address keeps it to a more select audience.

Anonymous said...

Man, $30? Yes, that would make it inaccessible to mee.
Hey Mr. Medlock, if you're elected Mayor, that would make you my boss. I hope you do a better job that the currently elected "boss" has done! Not only does he NOT talk to the citizens of Tulsa, he does not communicate with his employees, either.

Anonymous said...

So, when can we at least expect a text version of the speech to appear on the web?

It shouldn't be your job either, that is, unless you're the Mayor (this time next year, perhaps).

Chris Medlock said...

The fun thought could almost make me reconsider giving the speech to the Council, rather than the Chamber is this...As mayor in 2006, Steve Turnbo of Schnake Turnbo Frank, would have to give me a glowing introduction. :)