Candidates espouse importance of PlaniTulsa
BY P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
11/02/11 at 3:28 AM
Read continuing coverage of the city’s elections.
Read more about the four ballot questions that would change the city’s government structure.
PlaniTulsa, the city's first comprehensive plan in 30 years, needs to be implemented, the two City Council candidates vying for the District 4 seat said Tuesday.
Democrat Ken Brune and Republican Blake Ewing, both District 4 candidates, and District 9 council candidate Mike Batman, a Democrat, attended a council forum sponsored by the Brookside Neighborhood Association, the Garden District Neighborhood Association and the group Preserve Midtown.
District 9 incumbent G.T. Bynum, a Republican, was ill with food poisoning and did not attend.
Voters will go to the polls next week to decide seven of the City Council seats and four proposals that seek to change the city's form of government.
In response to a question, Brune told the crowd gathered at All Souls Unitarian Church that the city has "waited 1 1/2 years to get PlaniTulsa launched, and I'm afraid it is going to die on the vine because somebody will seek changes and we'll have to revise it."
He called it "a good plan," saying that "it plans for transportation; it plans for the long-term future; it plans for infill development."
Ewing said PlaniTulsa is "the most important thing for the future of the city."
"There is not an organization anywhere that relies on a 30-year-old plan to plan for the future. It's craziness," Ewing said. "It's foolish to operate without an updated plan."
Batman responded to the same question by saying "it is very easy for anyone to go and make promises, and we all hear it from politicians. Most are honest and want to do it, but do we have the means to do it, and can we afford it?"
"I'm not a politician," Batman said. "The only thing that I can promise you: I'm going to vote what is good for Tulsa."
The candidates differed on how they would handle disagreements with the mayor.
Brune said that if he were on the City Council and disagreed with the mayor, he'd tell him so but would "probably not try to impeach him on the first round."
"I think there is healthy examination and there are ways to have common ground," he said. "One doesn't have to be hostile, and one doesn't have to be adversarial to disagree."
Brune said councilors should say why they disagree and then let democracy take its course, with the voters either keeping the officials in office or voting them out.
Batman said he doesn't expect city councilors and the mayor to get along. He said the majority vote should reign and that there is no reason to disagree.
He said that if he is out-voted by the majority, then he needs to go along with the vote.
Ewing said it is part of the political process to have debate, adding that "you should expect that who you elect will debate on your behalf."
"I think we make a mistake as a group of citizens if we start, because of recent events, asking for an ineffective harmony from our elected officials," he said.
Ewing pointed to the heated debate about the Fix Our Streets package, where three plans were debated. The public never characterized that debate as a fight or argument with officials not getting along, he said.
"We like it when our elected officials are debating and are engaged in the political process when it comes to issues and moving the city forward," he said. "The frustration is that the recent council arguments have had little to do with moving the city forward."
P.J. Lassek 918-581-8382