Monday, September 19, 2005

Where Did Randi Miller Get the Idea I'm Controversial?

I’ve been remiss in not commenting on County Commissioner Randi Miller’s flirtation with the idea of running for Mayor in the upcoming Republican primary. Commissioner Miller has long had the desire to be mayor, but was pretty much content with biding her time to wait for Bill LaFortune’s “Eight, Eight and Eight Plan”*** to run it’s municipal course.

However, Commissioner Miller is now quoted in the Tulsa World as saying, in essence, that LaFortune must clean house of his city hall staff, or face her…as well as me…in the upcoming primary. Hmmm….

It strikes me as a tad strange that Randi would say she might support Bill LaFortune if he follows her ultimatum to shake up his staff. The more interesting question is, what does such an ultimatum say about Commissioner Miller? How would she react if another elected official told her, “fire members of your staff, or face me in the primary?” And what kind of leader would Bill LaFortune be (all other criticisms aside), if he succumbed to such an ultimatum?

Commissioner Miller than moves her critique from the Mayor’s staff on and onto me. Taking her statements directly from the pro-recall tabloids, Miller said that I should not be mayor because I am “too controversial,” that I make “wild accusations” that can’t be backed up (no specifics, how convenient) which makes me a name caller, and that I have a problem “getting along with people.”

Controversial? Sure…I’ll take that. I made promises to the voters of my district to change the way government works in Tulsa and I acted on those promises. I’ve taken on entrenched self-interests, even to the point of facing character assassination and recall. Taking a stand is usually controversial. Change is always controversial…at least to those benefiting from the current status quo.

Who viewed me as controversial? Bob Poe thought I was controversial. He likened me to a jack-booted nazi in a speech before the Tulsa Press Club [isn’t that name calling?]. He gave several speeches that were given a great deal of media attention saying that I was trying to hurt Tulsa for my own political gain.

Former planning commission chairman, Joe Westervelt, thought I was controversial. Not mentioning that I had a major role in his not being reappointed to his post on the TMAPC, Mr. Westervelt wrote a scathing letter criticizing me and the other members of the “Gang of Five.” In effect, he said recall was too good for scoundrels like Jim Mautino and me.

Here’s a taste of his letter from last May:

"These three councilors have soiled the institution of the City Council, broken the laws of the city, violated the City Charter, shirked their responsibilities to attend council meetings and now have publicly vilified a competent city employee. This is not dissimilar to their arrogant and confrontational disrespect shown citizen appointees to various boards and authorities. It appears that the recall is almost too civilized a removal process for elected officials who are so lacking in character and integrity."

I think it fair to say that Joe Westervelt thinks I’m controversial.

Who else believes me to be controversial? Given that the Greater Tulsa Area Realtors gave money, via their PAC, to my recall, I think we can state that GTAR thinks I’m controversial.

And no list of those believing me to be controversial should end without the executives of F&M Bank. You remember them. They’re the people that sued individual city councilors “personally” because we didn’t grant them a plat for their proposed bank at 71st & Harvard. They took issue with my effectively defending my constituents who lived next to this proposed bank. Mostly they thought it controversial that we would announce their names and the contributions that they made to most of the 2002 city councilors. In one case, these bank execs gave more than half of Randy Sullivan’s total contributions. There were a lot of names of board members and executives that gave contributions. Two specifically were Anthony Boone Davis and Jay Helm.

We could go on and on, but let’s just settle on these names; Bob Poe, Joe Westervelt, the Realtor’s PAC, Anthony B. Davis and Jay Helm. All of these gentleman were most assuredly nodding their heads and screaming “Amen Sister Miller!” as they read Randi Miller’s statements. It wouldn’t stretch the imagination to think that all of them might even consider financially supporting Randi Miller, should she choose to run for mayor.

Such financial support will seem even more plausible after you read the following excerpts from the March 6, 2002, Tulsa World:

HEADLINE: Election funds pour in
Individual contributions greater than $200 for City Council candidates:
District 2

Randi Miller:

$1,000 -- Tulsa Firefighters Local 176 and Scott Logan;
$750 -- Realtors PAC of Oklahoma City;
$500 -- Jeff and Judy Davis, Jay Helm and Anthony B. Davis;
$300 -- Robert and Jacqueline Poe;
$250 -- Joe Westervelt and RealtorsPAC. Total contributions: $5,400. Total expenditures: $2,325.

Ken Hancock: $2,165.32 -- loan to self; $281 -- Doug Dodd.

That’s a complete list from that story. I didn’t delete any names. Draw your own conclusions. I don’t want to be accused of calling names.

I’ll touch on the issues of not being a “team player” and why I’m accused of not playing nice with the other public officials in a later entry.

***[For those that don’t know, our mayor told his staff during the first year of his term, “Eight years as mayor, eight years as governor and then eight years as president.”]

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