Seven Tulsa Charter changes – shrouded in mystery – plus three legislative special elections (two in Tulsa) will be decided on November 14.
City officials and the local liberal news media have said almost nothing about the purposes and the possible impact of the seven proposals (see list below).
They generally deal with public nuisances, notification for special meetings, effective dates of new laws, the timing of municipal elections, redistricting, free speech and how money is spent.
Two senate seats – District 37 in Tulsa and District 45 in Oklahoma City – are up for grabs, as is House District 76 (mostly in Broken Arrow).
District 37 Sen. Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, resigned (effective January 31) to take a senior management position with a credit union. The special election will be between Republican Brian O’Hara and Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman.
O’Hara is a former Jenks city councilor and more recently worked for U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma.
“Brian O’Hara is a friend, a conservative and a man of integrity,” said Bridenstine. “I am confident he will serve his constituents with honor in the Oklahoma State Senate and I am proud to endorse him.”
O’Hara won the GOP primary earlier this year. He has been endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee, the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police, Tulsa Firefighters 176, OK2A, Sen. Joe Newhouse, the Tulsa Beacon and O’Hara has a top rating from the National Rifle Association.
O’Hara said his three core values are: Is it right per my Judeo-Christian values? Do we need it? Can we afford it?
Ikley-Freeman is a lesbian who is married to another woman. She and her family attend Centenary United Methodist Church. She has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in clinical mental health. She is employed as a therapist in a Tulsa-based, nonprofit, community mental health agency.
Ikley-Freeman wants the state to spend more on public education (from “birth to death”) and public health care, mental health in particular. She favors expansion of free daycare. She prefers a transition to alternative energy over the use of oil and natural gas.
District 76 Representative David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow, passed away on April 15. The special election is between Democrat Chris Vanlandingham and Republican Ross Ford.
Ford, who lives in Broken Arrow, was a Tulsa police officer for 25 years. He was a patrol officer and served as a DARA and community relations’ officer. For 12 years, he was assigned to the police motorcycle unit. He was also an investigator in the detective division and a divisional equipment officer.
While at the TPD, Ross earned a Medal of Valor, a Purple Heart (he was injured in the line of duty), the Survivor’s Club Award, two Chief Awards and several Top Cop Awards.
Ross left the TPD in 2010 and worked as director of security for Union Public Schools plus director of security for Holland Hall Preparatory Academy. In 2015, he started LNR Safety Plus, LLC, a private company that specializes in security for senior citizens.
Ross belongs to the Broken Arrow Rotary Club, the Broken Arrow Civitan Club and a graduate of Leadership Broken Arrow.
Vanlandingham is a former AP History and AP government teacher at Cascia Hall.
He wants to raise the state minimum wage to $10.75 an hour. He said commercial speech is not protected by the First Amendment and wants to ban pharmaceutical ads. He opposes the public display of the Ten Commandments on the Capitol grounds.
Vanlandingham, according to his website, thinks Republicans have made Oklahoma “a national and international laughingstock with incessant hate mongering over gays, Muslims, and Hispanic school children.” He favors legalization of marijuana.
Vanlandingham wants to increase gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, energy production taxes and state income taxes. He wants a law against sport shooting inedible animals, such as crows, bobcats and coyotes. And he wants to ban high-capacity magazines on guns.
District 45 Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, resigned April 27 after a criminal investigation over embezzlement of campaign funds. The special election will be between Democrat Steven Vincent and Republican Paul Rosino.
Here are the proposed Tulsa City Charter changes:
- Proposition 1 – This is a charter change that would expand the ability of the city to “summarily abate a nuisance re-occurring on the same property under the same ownership within twenty-four (24) months of a previous nuisance abatement on that property.”
- Proposition 2 – This is a charter change that would relax the standard for notification of special meetings of the City Council and allow electronic notice to be sent to councilors.
- Proposition 3 – This is a charter change dealing with the effective dates of newly passed ordinances and resolutions. It would let resolutions – like ordinances are currently – be passed as “emergency measures” and state the date they become effective.
- Proposition 4 – This is a charter change that would change municipal races for general elections to have candidates file in June, hold elections in August and have run-off elections in November.
- Proposition 5 – This is a charter change that would affect the “Election District Commission” – which determines boundaries for council districts. If approved, the mayor would appoint five members to the commission (confirmed by the City Council). Two members would be registered in the political party with the largest number of registered voters in the city. Two members would come from the second largest political party and one member would be registered as an Independent. Those boundaries are adjusted every 10 years following a national census.
- Proposition 6 – This is a charter change that would allow municipal employees – including firefighters – to participate in certain political activities, including attending public meetings and to express their views when they are off duty and not in uniform.
- Proposition 7 – This is a charter change that states that any revenue from the 2017 Public Safety Sales Tax cannot be used for anything other than public safety.