Editorial: Chamber controls city spending

Powerful business people channel their instructions on how to run the city through chamber of commerce ties, with the chamber calling the shots with most elected officials.

That’s how it works in Tulsa.

Instead of city councilors responding to their constituents, they bow to the power brokers and hope that their pals at the liberal daily newspaper and the TV stations can fool the public into their way of thinking.

The chamber overlords and their elected lackies assume that a sales tax hike will be approved in April and now the chamber’s board of directors is instructing Mayor Dewey Bartlett and the city councilors how to spend their money that the public has yet to approve.

They want the cash for their pet projects (so-called capital improvements like the river, museums, pro sports arenas, etc., and they don’t want it spent on more policemen (or firefighters).

The chamber board wants another tax increase to fund public safety.

Bartlett and the councilors pretended to give full weight to public proposals for the sales tax increase but the chamber’s wishes trump the great unwashed public. The public hearings were just meant to make people feel good.

The chamber must push “tourist” attractions to fill up the hotels because the chamber gets the bulk of the city’s hotel tax, which amounts to millions of dollars. So they promote museums, halls of fame, arenas and they focus on Downtown, where most of the big hotels are.

Under our form of government, the people are supposed to have a voice. They really don’t count the way things are in Tulsa.

The best course is to vote down the sales tax increase and send a message to the mayor, the councilors and the chamber.