Chamber fund tops Vision2 donors
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer & KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Saturday, October 27, 2012
10/27/12 at 7:35 AM
Read more about the proposal and the status of Vision 2025 projects.
Citizens for Tulsa County - the fundraising arm of the Vision2 campaign - has raised $589,748.19 for its campaign in favor of a $748.8 million sales tax proposal that is going before voters Nov. 6, according to a report to the state Ethics Commission.
The largest single donor is a Tulsa Metro Chamber job-creation initiative, Tulsa Futures Inc., which donated $100,000. The chamber of commerce has been a heavy supporter of the Vision2 campaign.
Opponents of the campaign have suggested that a Vision2 job-creation fund of at least $52.9 million would be managed by the chamber.
Other notable donors include American Airlines, which is in bankruptcy but donated $37,500 to the campaign.
The lion's share of the $254 million in Vision2 projects at the airport industrial complex is targeted for improvements to the city-owned American Airlines maintenance facilities, the largest civilian air depot in the world and one of Tulsa's largest employers.
The Transport Workers Union of America AFL-CIO donated another $40,000. The union represents American Airlines employees.
Leaders of the Vision2 campaign said the donation list shows strong support for continued economic growth in the area.
"Without a doubt, Vision2 is a collective effort that benefits all in Tulsa County," Vision2 Co-Chairman Don Walker said.
"The range of supporters who have chosen to give to this campaign reflects Tulsa County's unified support among local businesses, organizations and citizens for keeping the momentum of Vision 2025 going.
"This report shows that people support the retention and growth of jobs and quality-of-life projects that will make an impact throughout Tulsa County. We know that these are the keys to a stronger future for our region."
A leading opponent of the proposal said she is troubled by the contributions from American Airlines and Tulsa's Future.
"I think the whole plan is to get their hands on the closing fund," Ronda Vuillemont-Smith said of the chamber group.
"They use their political clout and their finances to be able to secure the things they want to see happen, and it is not necessarily in the best interests of the city of Tulsa and Tulsa County.
Vuillemont-Smith is a member of the Citizens for a Better Vision steering committee and an unsuccessful candidate for the state Legislature earlier this year. She is also founder and president of Tulsa 9.12 Project, an active grassroots organization.
Tulsa Metro Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal said that while Tulsa's Future receives public funding, only private money was part of the contribution to the Vision2 effort.
"None of the public dollars are allowed to get even close to the issues fund," he said.
A local officer of the Transport Workers Union issued a statement Friday evening, saying Vision2 projects are important for the area.
"We are proud to support Vision2, because it will benefit the people and families in these communities, by retaining and possibly increasing jobs," Jason Best, a TWU vice president, said in the statement.
The Vision2 projects aimed at improving American Airlines facilities will make the local base stronger, he said.
"Having a competitive, highly skilled workforce with up-to-date facilities will only increase the amount of work that can be brought in from the aerospace community," Best said.
"This will keep jobs for thousands in the community, also opening the door for future work and expansion.
The campaign finance report shows monetary contributions totaling $567,502 and in-kind contributions worth $21,792.19.
The reports shows that as of Oct. 25, the campaign had spent $513,912, including $327,699 for radio and television advertising, $113,333 for personal services, $56,579 for general advertising and $16,234 for billboards.
Monetary donors to the campaign include:
$100,000: Tulsa's Future Inc.
$40,000: Transport Workers Union of America AFL-CIO.
$37,500: American Airlines
$35,000: St. Francis Hospital; Bank of Oklahoma; Samson Energy Co.; and George Kaiser Family Foundation.
$25,000: Manhattan Construction Co.; St. John Medical Center; Oklahoma State AFL-CIO; T.D. Williamson Inc.; Hillcrest Healthcare System; and ONEOK Inc.
$12,500: Arvest Bank.
$10,000: Matrix Service Co.; Public Service Company of Oklahoma; Helmerich & Payne Inc.; and Williams Cos. Inc.
$7,500: Cimarex Energy Co.
$5,000: Littlefield Inc.; Southwest Laborers District Council; and Webco Industries Inc.
$2,500: GH2 Architects; and Crafton Tull.
$1,001: Promise Hotels Inc.; and Citizens Security Bank.
$1,000: Cantera Concrete Co.; Summit Bank; American Bank & Trust; Tulsa Hotel/Motel Association; Cherokee Builders Inc.; Guaranty Abstract Co.; CJC Architects; Mayo Hotel & Lofts; Roger's County Hospitality; Eller Detrich; APSCO Inc.; Grand Bank; Hughes Lumber Co.; and BKL Inc.
$500: Manhattan Road & Bridge; Wallace Engineering; Jones, Gotcher & Bogan; Hartog, Kallenberger, Swarthout; Advantage Glass Inc.; and Firstar Bank.
$250: Cathy Gates; Snowden Engineering Inc.; Fritz/Baily; and Veteran Properties.
The campaign also reported 450 contributions of $200 or less, which do not have to be itemized under state campaign ethics laws.
In-kind contributions include:
$20,000: Creek Nation (media/TV).
$1,096.19: DoubleTree Warren Place (food/miscellaneous).
$500: Renaissance Hotel (food/miscellaneous).
$200: Hyatt Regency Hotel (food/miscellaneous).
Election date: Nov. 6
Amount: $748.8 million
Tax impact: Extension of 0.6 percent Vision 2025 sales tax from 2017 through 2029
Wayne Greene 918-581-8308 Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313