Saturday, November 05, 2005

Setting the Record Straight: I'm Not "Pushing" and I'm Not the "Chair"

In an effort to keep certain myths created (either directly or indirectly) by inaccurate reporting and editorializing on the part of the Tulsa World, I need to clarify a few factual errors that have popped up of late.

First let me tackle an actual misstatement by P. J. Lassek, of the Tulsa World. In the story she filed for the November 4, 2005 edition of the World, published under the headline, “Council approves eight charter change amendments,” on page A-9, Ms. Lassek wrote:

Only one of the eight proposed city charter changes has secured a spot on a ballot; the remaining seven are still subject to another vote of the council.

The council already has approved sending to the voters a change that requires a three-fourths vote of the entire council for approval of a zoning change that is protested by at least 50 percent of landowners within a 300-foot radius of the property being rezoned.

Medlock is pushing to have that charter change on the municipal primary election in March.
The Truth:

Those who watch TGOV will have noticed that before the council began voting on all of the various charter change amendments, I made a point of order stating that the Protested Zoning Super-Majority question had already been approved to be sent to the voters and but for an error in the City Clerk’s office last Spring, the question would’ve been put before the voters when they voted on the General Obligation Bond packages.

As such, I made a formal motion for the Protested Zoning Super-Majority change to be put onto the March election. This was passed 8 to 1, with Councilor Martinson abstaining (which under Oklahoma state law is recorded as a “no” vote).

So, it is incorrect to state that I am “pushing” for a March vote, given that this has already been approved. P.J. owes NAIOP and Home Builders Association an apology for giving them false hope.

Second, a grossly incorrect perception has been turned into perceived fact by the World’s continued verbal flagellations on their editorial pages. This has now lead even those who support the council’s attempts to investigate our airport and Great Plains Airlines to become confused as to the facts.

The anonymous blogger, “TulTellitarian,” recently wrote the following on the web log

Chris Medlock assumed the position of committee Chair after Sam Roop, the prior committee Chairperson, vacated his Council #5 District seat to take a $91,000/year job on the Mayors’ Cabinet. This action by the Mayor and Roop also broke the elected, reform-minded, majority on the Council and returned Council control to the previous state of control by a handful of special interests. This is the bunch who blocks the Council committee investigation of Great Plains airlines. The last thing they want is for us to know what really happened, especially come election time.

Since then, the investigative committee has been shunted at every turn by the new “gang of five” ( “voting bloc” or a number of other adjectives used by the Whirled to describe the previous elected majority) on the Council, denying funds for necessary aspects of the investigation.
The Truth:

First to TulTellitarian, whoever you are, thanks for your efforts to keep the spotlight on the dark places in order to shine a light on the truth. However, I need to clear up a fact before it grows into an even larger legend.

I am not, nor have I ever been, the chairman of the Tulsa City Council’s Airport Investigation Sub-Committee. I’ve never even been vice-chair.

Sam Roop, Roscoe Turner and I were named to the Committee in 2004. Sam Roop served as chairman until he was hired away by the Mayor last February. At that time, the vice-chairman, Roscoe Turner assumed the chair and District 1 councilor Jack Henderson was named to the committee. No one was ever assigned as vice-chairman.

In April, when Roscoe Turner leap-frogged Tom Baker as the Democrat’s choice to be the 2005-06 chairman of the Tulsa City Council, I suggested to Mr. Turner that it might not be wise for him to serve both as Council Chair and Airport Investigation Chair. This suggestion was not received well by Mr. Turner. I asked him to think on it and to let me know if he changed his mind. He never again talked to me about it, so I must assume he never changed his mind.

However, because Mr. Turner chairs the Thursday night meetings, and because I have done the vast majority of the research into the Great Plains Airlines records, procedural convenience led me to doing most of the talking on the issue when the investigation has been discussed during our formal meetings. This has lead many who have been critical of our efforts (the World and many councilors) to discover what happened to the $30 million plus of Oklahoma tax payer’s money, to foster the misconception that I am now the chairman of the investigation and thus responsible for not calling meetings or for not presenting a final report.

Let me restate it one final time, so that at least the relative handful of people that regularly read this blog can begin to spread the truth”

I am not, nor have I ever been, the chairman of the Tulsa City Council’s Airport Investigation Sub-Committee. I’ve never even been vice-chair.

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