Mayor, councilors and challengers square off in city primary June 28

Tom McCay wants Tulsans to have a choice in a new mayor

Tulsan Tom McCay wants to give people a genuine choice when choosing a new mayor.

McCay said Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Councilor G.T. Byrum are virtually the same.

McCay spoke during an interview on Tulsa Beacon Weekend on KCFO AM970 recently.

“I am running for this office to offer Tulsa a truly alternative choice for mayor and a candidate who is different that the previous status quo,” McCay said. “Bynum (2008) and Bartlett (2009) have virtually identical platforms.”

McCay said Bartlett and Bynum were “arm in arm, skipping down the playground” in selling the recent sales tax increase.

“My tax money went for a booth at the fair and radio commercials that told me it ‘wasn’t a tax increase’ even though in the ballot language it said, ‘increasing taxes,’” McCay said. “Proposition 1 explodes in five years by 62.5 percent.”

The sales tax increase is permanent.

“Proposition 1 also runs afoul of the spirit of the Third Penny sales tax,” McCay said. “In 1979, that tax was only to be for capital improvements and never for general obligation.”

McCay was surprised that Tulsa could spend millions on museums but might lay off policemen while raising $884,100,000.00 in new sales tax (Propositions 1, 2, 3 passed on April 5).

“When I started hearing things that were incongruent and illogical coming out of City Hall, I heard Dewey Bartlett and G.T. Bynum both complain that we didn’t have the money to keep the fire and police going and keep the police stations open – and at the same time we are going to spend $65 million on a one line-item of a museum,” said McCay. “It doesn’t take rocket science – it just takes logic. We are buying a couple of museums – at least three museums on Proposition 3 alone.”

If the problem is a lack of basic city services that require 15 years of roughly 5 percent of median Tulsa household discretionary income (about $5,000 out of income of about $48,000 annually on average), that means that Prop 3 costs about $200 a year per citizen.

“Sometimes a fresh set of eyes helps. You can’t do your own proofreading,” McCay said. “Because you make the same mistake each time you try to proof.”

He opposes higher sales tax.

“We are getting up near New York but without New York services,” McCay said.

McCay said improving streets would be a high priority.

“G.T. Bynum brags about collecting the most amount of money for streets – the biggest and largest tax increase for streets – and yet we don’t get the biggest results,” McCay said. “They also deny us the chance to make these taxes temporary.”

Between 2003 and 2016, Bartlett changed his mind about the Third Penny being temporary, McCay said.

“The real issue is getting a company who can build the roads properly,” McCay said. “Both Bynum and Bartlett have admitted that we don’t maintain the roads.

“They had the chance to maintain the roads and they didn’t’ do it. It is unlikely they would do it in the future.”

You have to define “the bang you want for your buck,” McCay said.

“I want to govern for the local, median-income Tulsa household,” McCay said. “Mow the lawns. Turn on the lights. Noise abatement. Nuisance abatement.

“But Dewey Bartlett and Bynum and whole Council has been funding toward tourism.

“We are giving them money to govern but instead of governing with that money, they are spending it on advertising to bring tourists in,” McCay said.

Keeping the city right-of-ways mowed is an “actual problem” and the city is spending money on museums and a boat dock, McCay said.

“This is a problem,” he said. “If we are unable to even mow the lawn, and we are having to cut back on basic city services, why were we pushing a 15-year proposition for amenities like boat docks and pedestrian bridges?

“It’s an illogical plan. We have a volatile economy and they are making long-term plans. We should be making short-term plans until we can stabilize the economy.”

McCay wants to build a business friendly environment by lowering costs. That includes extending the lifespan of cyclical municipal regulations, including licenses, registrations, permits, fees and more.

“I want to raise revenue for the city by making it easier to start and operate a small business to serve the citizens of Tulsa,” McCay said.

If you want less of something, you tax it, McCay said.

“We have permanent sales tax that is going up and up,” he said. “The only place to wiggle for air in Tulsa is in the area of licenses.”

Saving money for business creates jobs.

“When you hear that someone is going to be the ‘job gettingest’ mayor, what that means is he’s going to provide Civil Service jobs that you and I will spend tax dollars on. Government doesn’t create jobs. People who have companies create jobs. The business of the government is to get out of the way so the local people can do business.

“Both Bynum and Bartlett have admitted that the reason that the traffic cones are up and the street are blocked off while nobody is working on it is because they block the streets off and they are waiting for the utility people to figure out their schedule.

“So instead of working with the utility companies and knowing when they are going to come out and blocking it off then, Tulsa is just blocking off the street and waiting for PSO to come.”

McCay thinks his candidacy can motivate unregistered voters to sign up and light a fire under registered voters to participate.

McCay wants a smaller, more citizen oriented government with bottom-up policies that minimize government influence.

McCay’s campaign literature lists three key principles:

  1. American exceptionalism
  2. Devotion to the Constitution
  3. Libertarian free capitalism

American exceptionalism must include respect for the sanctity of life, he said. He said America was built on principles, not ideals. He wants to see a limited government with proper division of powers. That means a moral sense of humility and undying optimism.

McCay wants to protect private ownership of property.

McCay, who is a registered Republican, is self-employed at GemWorks Manufacturing Tradeshop and Fine Metal Logos, and he is also a master of ceremonies at D.J. Connection. He attended Nathan Hale high school and Oklahoma State University.

McCay and his wife, Alisa, are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary this year. They have five children: Melodie, 28; Chelsea, 24; Daniel, 21; Lauren, 15; and Madeline, 8.

McCay’s family has deep roots in Tulsa. His grandmother was born in Indian Territory.

McCay has stage and performance background, producing, directing and performing original music and comedy. He and his family are members of Christ of The King Parish.

His website is