Split City Council has Tulsans Wondering

CONTROVERSIAL COUNCIL: Being sworn into office at the Gilcrease Museum Vista Room in April are Jack Henderson (District 1), Chris Medlock (District 2), Tom Baker (District 4), Sam Roop (District 5), Jim Mautino (District 6), Randy Sullivan (District 7), Bill Christiansen (District 8), and Susan Neal (District 9). Roscoe Turner of District 3 was not present, as his seat was still in question. The council clashed on its first vote, the chairmanship of Randy Sullivan. He was eventually elected, 7–2.

GTR Newspapers photo

The recent antics of several members of the Tulsa City Council have many citizens yearning for a return to yesteryear, when the city was governed under the commission rule. One citizen laments, “At least during the commission system we could call the Street Commissioner and ask about fixing our potholes. Now we don’t know who to call. What do these councilors do to make the city a better place to live? Are they working only for themselves and their own political futures?”

Times were somewhat peaceful when the first council took office in 1990. Things are so discombobulated today that Janet Pearson, writing in the Tulsa World on August 15, mentioned a recall and asked “Is there a people’s revolt in the making?” Pearson writes, “Unfortunately, a four member minority of sensible, reasonable, and thoughtful councilors—Bill Christiansen, Randy Sullivan, Susan Neal, and Tom Baker—is at the mercy of a five-member majority: Sam Roop, Chris Medlock, Jim Mautino, Roscoe Turner, and Jack Henderson.”

Issues in question include political appointments, annexation, block grant funding, the airport investigation, and the downtown arena location, to name a few. The winners in the evolving controversy: area towns and cities that are gaining and even passing Tulsa in several areas, such as business development and population growth. The losers may be the taxpayers, who are paying these people $18,000 per year.

Updated 08-26-2004

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