Tulsa Group Lobbies for City Government Change

This is a letter to people who love Tulsa and want it to remain the best place in the world to live. It is obvious that our city government has become ineffective. We believe that our form of government is basically flawed and must be changed to have our Tulsa Government work again.

As a result of this situation, several of us have joined together to present you with an option that we believe will improve our city government structure. We have no political agenda; in fact, our group represents all sides of the political spectrum; Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. The group includes the following steering committee members: former Tulsa Mayors Robert J. LaFortune and James Hewgley, former City Councilor Robert Gardner, David Blankenship, John Brock, Leonard Eaton, Tom Hughes, Robert Poe, C.T. Thompson, Walt Helmerich, Pat Woodrum, Joe McGraw, Jim Light, Joe Cappy, Chester Cadieux, Pete Meinig, Nancy Meinig, Paula Marshall, Shane Fernandez, Darton Zink, Pleas Thompson and Bishop Donald Tyler.
We plan to make the following charter changes:

1.Add three at-large members and the mayor to the city council and make the mayor the chairman. The four will represent the broad interest of the city and not just a council district. The three at large councilors will be elected by all the voters in Tulsa but to maintain geographic diversity they must be a resident of a super district. For example at-large councilor #1 will reside in districts 1, 3 or 4, #2 will reside in district 2, 8 or 9 and #3 will reside in district 5, 6 or 7. The nine council districts will remain unchanged. With the addition of the four at-large seats, the council will then be made up of 13 members including nine district representatives and four at-large. The mayor will not vote except in case of a tie. The mayor will appoint the vice chairman from the council. This will improve the mayor-council communications and create Team Tulsa.

2. Have all city elections on the same day as State and Federal elections and return all district elections to a two-year cycle. This will raise interest and turnout. Currently, council members are elected with about 10 percent and sometimes less of the registered voters. Also, it will permit the voters to express their opinion on how the council is doing as a whole. The current system prevents the voters from changing the policies of the city in one election. It costs twice as much money to have an election every year. The money saved will more than pay for the three new at-large councilors.

3.Make city elections non-partisan. The candidates will be able to identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans or any other way but will run against all other candidates in a non-partisan primary. The top two in the primary will meet in the general election guaranteeing the best two candidates for the general election irrespective of party affiliation. This will again increase interest and turn out.

We have created Save Our Tulsa Inc., a 501c4 corporation. Its sole purpose is to change the City Charter to make our city government more effective. Save Our Tulsa Inc. will not promote or oppose any candidate for public office.
The three initiative petitions will minimize the problems of “ward politics” and will make the transition of the council to a more workable legislative body. The successful accomplishment of the enactment of these petitions will cost an estimated $300,000. A 501c4 corporation is permitted to accept unlimited corporate, foundation, or individual contributions.

If you are interested in making Tulsa a better city, we need your support now. Respond to this letter and indicate: 1. if you will permit the use of your name to show the voters the extent of the support for our Charter amendments, 2. whether you will volunteer to circulate the petitions and 3. Send generous financial contributions to: Save Our Tulsa, 2021 S. Lewis Ave., Suite 415, Tulsa, OK 74104.

Tulsa is a unique city. It is the best place in the world to live and raise children and grandchildren. Let us pledge ourselves, our time and our treasure to keep it that way. Please encourage your friends to join us and to respond as above.

The petitions are effective today. Watch for circulators and sign up. Our website is www.saveourtulsa.com .

Many thanks from all of us,
John Brock

Updated 10-25-2010

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