Here in Tulsa County and in the City of Tulsa we are deep in the election process with a “nonpartisan” vote for the mayor and city council plus one-half of the county elected officials. Actually the city election is a primary, since the sadly mistaken or misguided idea of “nonpartisan” voting was managed to be passed by an electorate kept ignorant of the consequences of this move.
In the mayor’s race, there are a reported five candidates. Four are reported to be registered Republican and one Democrat. The actual registrations have not been confirmed by me with the Tulsa County Election Board. It seems that major media, that is daily newspaper, radio and TV have pretty much limited coverage to the two they deem “major” candidates.
In my opinion, this amounts to total bias in favor of those two, the sitting mayor, Dewey Bartlett, and sitting councilman, G. T. Bynum. These two have been given almost wall-to-wall coverage in above mentioned media.
In a recent radio interview on a show called Tulsa Beacon Weekend, the host, Tulsa Beacon publisher and editor Charles Biggs had, as one of his usual two interviewees, a third mayoral candidate, a Mr. Tom McCay.
Listening to him made a strong favorable impression on me, but since my home is no longer within the city limits I, as the saying goes, “don’t have a dog in this fight” and cannot cast a vote in that race.
However, having lived in Tulsa from age 18 months and going through 11 years of public schools (two of prep and 3 of college), my interests are still very strong in what is happening. Also, as the largest city in the county, what happens there has an indirect effect on my well-being.
Being personally acquainted with both Mayor Bartlett and Councilor Bynum, a choice between the two of them must boil down to the record of their actions.
The mayor entered office to find a city in disarray and financial distress as the result of the profligate spending of his predecessor, Cathy Taylor. The list of critical problems is too long to itemize, but includes massive deteriorating streets; street and expressway lights out of service; a dangerous reduction in numbers of police force; and a “white elephant” new city hall. Also, because of all this, and other misplaced spending programs, the tax structure had been increased to the point where companies were closing offices and moving out of state and new entries were locating even beyond the boundaries of Tulsa County. At this point, the city and county have the highest sales and property taxes in the state, or in any of the surrounding state’s adjoining counties. This situation necessitated my move out to Broken Arrow upon the loss of my wife in December 2009.
In my opinion, the continual refusal of all three types of media to give coverage to the so-called “also ran” candidates constitutes malpractice. Mr. McCay in the interview stated that even talk show host Pat Campbell had declined to have him on his daily show. This was a surprise to me, since he has been considered by me to be much more fair and even in his coverage. Thus a candidate who might be better in office does not even stand a chance.
But, in my opinion, the worst part is the aforementioned “nonpartisan” election process now in place, as it has been for years in judicial elections. At
least in the current elections, it is my understanding that there is no prohibition against the candidates being able to publicly state their party of choice, although some seem to think so.
Perhaps that is the very reason the change was pushed, to give candidates the choice of anonymity of party to fool the voters. Even so it is, in my opinion, very unprofessional for the media personnel to show such blatant bias against candidates they do not support. What about reporting “Who, what, where and when”?