Notes on the Mayor-Elect

As Dewey Bartlett Jr. says in our front-page story, Tulsa is “open for business.”
Bartlett’s vision to make Tulsa business-friendly certainly sounded good to the business community and voters in general, according to Sally Bell, Tulsa Republican chair, and J.B. Alexander, vice chair. Now that he’s elected, he’s saying the same thing, and we hope he delivers after his swearing in Dec. 2.
Republicans want to believe his promise not to raise taxes was a game changer — although the only “tax” he and the city council can raise are our trash and water rates. Asked about utility rates, he said those were “out of the realm” of the pledge.
Democratic Party Chairman Jack Boyte said there is “wide-spread ignorance or false notions about the causes of the national anxiety” and that voters wrongly blame Democrats.
He believes anyone can rationalize a whole host of causes for a Republican victory in the mayoral election.
“But, I sure can’t put my finger on one or even three factors that I feel heavily influenced the election,” he said.
Democratic headquarters fielded scores of telephone calls from “folks on both sides” decrying negative advertising campaigns.
“But, I can’t say they influenced the vote in any way except to maybe increase the votes for Mr. Perkins,” Boyte said.
We believe Perkins was the game changer in this race.
Perkins marketed himself as the alternative to the major political candidates. He was also strongly supported by younger voters. We suspect enough party-aligned voters sided with the Independent to swing the election away from Tom Adelson and give Bartlett the edge.
It is interesting that Mayor Kathy Taylor was not an issue in the election. Bartlett did endorse her, but once he was the candidate, he chose to run on his own ideas. It seems all three candidates wanted to avoid criticizing the current mayor.
One sector Bartlett would do well to pay attention to is small business. As far as small business and entrepreneurship policy is concerned, Mayor Taylor’s record has been consistent with promoting and growing it in Tulsa. It will be hard to top her accomplishments.
He would also do well to build on the momentum she gave the PlaniTulsa project and see it through. While campaigning, Bartlett promised to listen to and act on citizens’ input, and, by voting for PlaniTulsa option “D,” citizens expressed a desire to see continued development downtown.
As the economy struggles to rebound, the average Tulsan wants public officials to conduct the business of the city in a frugal and responsible manner, eliminating as much waste as possible.
District 6 Councilman-elect Jim Mautino believes the lack of leadership on the council in that regard led to the current budget woes.
“I believe we have enough money to run this city,” he said.
John Eagleton, District 7 city councilor, gives an upbeat assessment.
“I am optimistic that, with the team assembled, we can overcome anything,” Eagleton said.

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