...on subjects that interest me, including but not limited to Tulsa, technology, politics, religion, and life.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ethics Complaint Against Dewey Bartlett

On Thursday I filed an ethics complaint against Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett. It is my contention that Mayor Bartlett has used a taxpayer funded citizen survey as a vehicle for his campaign by attaching a cover letter that boasts his leadership and accomplishments.

The  survey and cover letter was recently received by at least 1,800 people in the city. I believe the wording of the cover letter is clearly an effort by Mayor Bartlett to posture his position as Mayor during the Mayoral Election that is currently underway in Tulsa.

The proof that the survey was tax-payer funded is here

Below is a scanned in version of the letter that was sent with the survey.  The survey can be found here.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Bill Christiansen Press Conference (Apr 22)

Tulsa Mayoral Candidate Bill Christiansen held a press conference today at the Tulsa Press Club. He touched on 2 main topics.

1. His new campaign office in North Tulsa (2945 E Pine Ave).

2. The controversial push poll performed by Weston Research that touched on Former Mayor Taylor's involvement with the settlement of Great Plains Airline loans to the BOK; and a letter from Taylor's campaign alleging defamation.

I recorded the entire event and the videos can bee seen below. In the video there are several references to a media handout or backup packet. This can be found here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tulsa Transit Gun Policy May Violate OK State Law

I decided to ride the bus the other day on a whim. I was surprised to see a no gun sign on the bus. I also found this on the Tulsa Transit website.

Effectively what they are saying with their policy is,  if I need to ride the bus, I must give up my God given right to protect myself both on the bus, and at my destination.

I don't think they can or do have that kind of power. The Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority is a trust, defined under Tulsa's title 39.  It derives it's power and authority from the City of Tulsa.

The Oklahoma Self Defense act says that Tulsa doesn't have the kind of authority to tell me where I can or can't carry a gun, therefore I would assume that the MTTA doesn't either.

TITLE 21 § 1289.24 FIREARM REGULATION – STATE PREEMPTION The State Legislature hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of legislation in this state touching in any way firearms, components, ammunition, and supplies to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance, or regulation by any municipality or other political subdivision of this state. Any existing or future orders, ordinances, or regulations in this field, except as provided for in paragraph 2 of this subsection and subsection C of this section, are null and void.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tulsa Ordinances on Firearms May Violate OK State Law

I was surprised recently to find out that it is illegal to carry a firearm in a Tulsa park.  I saw a sign similar to this one posted outside one of the the parks.  I didn't believe that this jived with Oklahoma State law so I did a little digging. I found at least 4 sections of Tulsa's Ordinances that seem to me to conflict with Oklahoma law.  

Before we get into specifics, I want to share the key Oklahoma statutes that I think inform the rest of the discussion.  Specifly there are 2 sections of the Oklahoma Self Defense Act (PDF) that I want to share.  

First, according to TITLE 21 § 1277 UNLAWFUL CARRY IN CERTAIN PLACES, the following places are off limits for folks with an SDA license to carry:


A. It shall be unlawful for any person in possession of a valid handgun license issued pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act to carry any concealed or unconcealed handgun into any of the following places: 
1. Any structure, building, or office space which is owned or leased by a city, town, county, state, or federal governmental authority for the purpose of conducting business with the public;
2. Any meeting of any city, town, county, state or federal officials, school board members, legislative members, or any other elected or appointed officials;
3. Any prison, jail, detention facility or any facility used to process, hold, or house arrested persons, prisoners or persons alleged delinquent or adjudicated delinquent;
4. Any elementary or secondary school;
5. Any sports arena during a professional sporting event;
6. Any place where pari-mutuel wagering is authorized by law; and 
7. Any other place specifically prohibited by law.
1277 continues to clarify in section B by listing places that might fall into one of those aforementioned places but are specifically excluded.  In other words, It's okay to carry in these places even if it seems like it isn't  because of the previous section (emphasis added with bolding and underlining).

B. For purposes of paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of subsection A of this section, the prohibited place does not include and specifically excludes the following property: 
1. Any property set aside for the use or parking of any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, by a city,  town, county, state, or federal governmental authority,
2. Any property set aside for the use  or parking  of any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, by any entity offering any professional sporting event which is open to the public for admission, or by any entity engaged in pari-mutuel wagering authorized by law, 
3. Any property adjacent to a structure, building, or office space in which concealed  or unconcealed weapons are prohibited by the provisions of this section, and
4. Any property designated by a city, town, county, or state, governmental authority as a park, recreational area, or fairgrounds; provided nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to authorize any entry by a person in possession of a concealed or unconcealed handgun into any structure, building, or office space which is specifically prohibited by the provisions of subsection A of this section. 
Nothing contained in any provision of this subsection shall be construed to authorize or allow any person in control of any place described in paragraph 1, 2, 3, 5 or 6 of subsection A of this section to establish any policy or rule that has the effect of prohibiting any person in lawful possession of a handgun license from possession of a handgun allowable under such license in places described in paragraph 1, 2, 3, or 4 of this subsection.
Second, the next important section deals with Oklahoma's supremacy regarding gun laws (emphasis added with bolding and underlining).

TITLE 21 § 1289.24 FIREARM REGULATION – STATE PREEMPTION
A. 
1. The State Legislature hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of legislation in this state touching in any way firearms, components, ammunition, and supplies to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance, or regulation by any municipality or other political subdivision of this state.  Any existing or 33 future orders, ordinances, or regulations in this field, except as provided for in paragraph 2 of this subsection and subsection C of this section, are null and void.  
2. A municipality may adopt any ordinance:
a.  relating to the discharge of firearms within the jurisdiction of the municipality, and
b. allowing the municipality to issue a traffic citation for transporting a firearm improperly as provided for in Section 1289.13A of this title, provided however, as that penalties contained for violation of any ordinance enacted pursuant to the provisions of this subparagraph shall not  exceed the penalties established in the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act.
3.     As provided in the preemption provisions of this section, the otherwise lawful open carrying of a handgun under the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act shall not be punishable by any municipality or other political subdivision of this state as disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace or similar offense against public order.  
B. No municipality or other political subdivision of this state shall adopt any order, ordinance, or regulation concerning in any way the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, carrying, bearing, transportation, licensing, permit, registration, taxation other than sales and compensating use taxes, or other controls on firearms, components, ammunition, and supplies.
C. Except as hereinafter provided, this section shall not prohibit any order, ordinance, or regulation by any municipality concerning the confiscation of property used in violation of the ordinances of the municipality as provided for in Section 28-121 of Title 11 of the Oklahoma Statutes.  Provided, however, no municipal ordinance relating to transporting a firearm improperly may include a provision for confiscation of property.
D. When a person’s rights pursuant to the protection of the preemption provisions of this section have been violated, the person shall have the right to bring a civil action against the persons, municipality, and political subdivision jointly and severally for injunctive relief or monetary damages or both

Now that we know what State law says, let me share which sections of Tulsa's ordinances I think may run afoul of our state law.
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Title 26 has 2 sections that I think violate both TITLE 21 § 1277 and TITLE 21 § 1289.24
TITLE 26 - PARKS, MALL AND PLAZA
CHAPTER 1. - PARKS
 
Section 103. - Prohibited acts.
Q. No person shall bring into or have in his possession in any park area or facility any firearm, BB gun, air pistol, bow and arrow, crossbow, slingshot, knife or other weapon capable of inflicting injury to persons, animals or public property, whether or not such weapons are loaded, unless such park area or facility has been specifically designated and posted for such use or unless the use is in conjunction with an approved program.

CHAPTER 3. - DETENTION FACILITIES AND RECREATIONAL AREAS SUPERVISED BY PUBLIC WORKS 
Section 303. - Prohibited acts.
Q. No person shall bring into or have in his possession in any facility any firearm, BB gun, air pistol, bow and arrow, crossbow, slingshot, knife or other weapon capable of inflicting injury to persons, animals or public property, whether or not such weapons are loaded, unless such facility has been specifically designated and posted for such use or unless the use is in conjunction with an approved program.***
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Title 8 seems to give the Mayor powers that are precluded in the preemption section of State law... specifically B under TITLE 21 § 1289.24 FIREARM REGULATION – STATE PREEMPTION
TITLE 8 - CIVIL DEFENSE AND CIVIL EMERGENCY
Section 202. - Powers of Mayor.
G.  The discontinuance of selling, distributing, dispensing or giving away of any firearms or ammunition of any character whatsoever;
H. The closing of any or all establishments or portions thereof, the chief activity of which is the sale, distribution, dispensing or giving away of firearms or ammunition; and
------------------------------------------------
Oklahoma TITLE 21 § 1289.24 does not seem to give Tulsa the power to limit cab drivers the way Tulsa's Title 36 does.
TITLE 36 - TAXICABS AND PARATRANSIT VEHICLES
CHAPTER 1. - TAXICAB AND PARATRANSIT VEHICLE REGULATIONS
Section 123. - Rules and regulations.
B. 
2. A chauffeur shall not have a firearm, explosive device or illegal weapon in his possession while on duty.
If a chauffeur has a valid handgun licence, how can the City of Tulsa say that it is illegal for that chauffeur to protect himself?  I didn't list it but  TITLE 21 § 1289.25 of the SDA seems to say that chauffeurs or cab drivers do have the right to carry a gun if they have a valid handgun license.
------------------------------------------------
Oklahoma state law is clear. "No municipality or other political subdivision of this state shall adopt any order, ordinance, or regulation concerning in any way the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, carrying, bearing, transportation, licensing, permit, registration, taxation other than sales and compensating use taxes, or other controls on firearms, components, ammunition, and supplies."  The above statues clearly do that.  

I've written a letter to our 9 city councilors. Hopefully that letter finds them well, and they will take a look at this issue.  I'll keep you posted on any responses I get.




Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Vision2 - Making Plans

I thought you might find a video I made about Vision 2 interesting. I called Commissioner Perry and Keith's office asking them to speak at a neighborhood event in 2017.

I thought it was a fun way to illustrate the absurdity voting now for a tax plan that doesn't kick in until 2017.
I hope you like it.

(For the record I called Smaligo's office too, but I couldn't get a hold of anyone who would look at his schedule)

 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Union's Apology Message

As promised, here is Union's apology  message that was sent out tonight.

This is Lisa Griffin, Union’s Child Nutrition Director. I want to apologize for the phone call and e-mail regarding the notice of expiration of free and reduced status sent out Monday night. This message was inadvertently sent out to some families that should not have received it, including your family. I am sorry for any misunderstanding or inconvenience this may have caused. If you have any questions about this, please call 918-357-6132 or 918-357-6136. Thank you.

Did Union Make a Free Lunch Email Mistake?

Monday night, whether it applied or not, most if not all Union parents revived the following robo-call/email

This is Lisa Griffin, Union’s Director of Child Nutrition, calling to tell you about an important deadline. Your student has been receiving free or reduced meals since qualifying last school year. However, effective Wednesday, October 3, your student will need to pay for his or her meals unless a new application is completed and approved by Child Nutrition. To apply online, go to the district web site, unionps.org. Choose Departments, then Child Nutrition, and click on Free and Reduced Meal Application.

If you prefer to fill out a paper application you may call us at 918-357-6136 to request a form, or you may obtain one at your child’s school. Thank you!


For my part, my children not only don't qualify for reduced/free lunch, they take a packed lunch to school.  In an attempt to understand how I could have received such a message I came up with two theories

1.  Union was too lazy to figure out to whom this message applied so they sent it to everyone.
2.  Union wanted to trick as many parents as they can into applying for free lunch so they can get their sweet Title 1 federal money.

I spoke with a gentleman with the Union nutrition program regarding this email.  He seemed exasperated with talking to parents about this email (I'm guessing that it had taken up most of his morning).  I was told that it was a mistake and that it should have been targeted.  But something leaves me feeling unconvinced.

Now, I'm sure that it was a mistake for them to send this notice to parents who had children that were already successfully enrolled into the 2012/2013 program, but I'm not entirely convinced that it was a mistake to send it to the rest of us.
 
I've seen Union get really excited when one of their schools qualified for Federal Title 1 funding.  For an entire school to qualify for Title 1 funds, at least 40% of students must enroll in the free and reduced lunch program.  I'm convinced the maps they draw to determine which neighborhoods go to which schools are specifically designed to maximize free/reduced school lunch enrollees as if they were a commodity spent as wisely as possibly.   I believe Union would like to find a way to make all of their elementary schools qualify for Title 1. So I wouldn't put it past them to send out a note to all the parents that didn't enroll this year that was designed to maximize enrollment even if it was slightly misleading.

As soon as I get the forthcoming apology note from Union I'll post it  Hopefully it will shead light on this "mistake."

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Final Tulsa Vision2 Forum Tulsan's say no

Vision 2 is a proposed $748.8 million Tulsa County tax package that would extend the current Vision 2025 sales tax rate of 0.6 cents for another 13 years starting in 2016.  Before voters vote on vision 2 in November, citizens from all over Tulsa County are providing their input for Vision 2 to their local elected officials.  

Friday night saw the final of five forums held for the citizens of Tulsa to give their input on Vision 2

The top 5 topics of conversation  with the numer of speakers were:

Opposition to Vision 2 - 22.  
Water in the river or some sort of river development - 13.  
The Tulsa Zoo - 4
The Thornton Y's wellness program - 3
A children's museum - 3

Other ideas of note included improvments to the Central libarary, parks improvements and improvements to the Botanical garden.

For a forum that was suppsoed to be about what people wanted to see in the Vision2 package to have nearly a third of the speakrs voice oposisiton to the proposal entereily was fairly impressive.

I was one of the speakers in opposition to Vision2.  Generally, although not always, I'm opposed to county wide sales taxes. Local municipalities like Tulsa are largely restricted in the manner in which they fund themselves.  Sale taxes are their life blood.  Every tenth of a cent that the county levees represents a loss of flexibility for a city in that county.

More specifically, I don't support extending a tax 4 years before it expires and I don't support the short amount of time we have to evaluate, debate, and discuss this issue before voters are asked to vote on it. I don't like the "We have to do something now" mentality.  If something is a good idea now, it will be a good idea later after sober thought and debate.

I would be more amenable to putting this off for a couple of years and to then bring this back as a possible city tax with a shorter length, and a smaller scope.

Michael Bates has done quite a bit of analysis on Vision2 over on his blog batesline.com
here
here
here
here


Below are some pictures I took at the Friday night Vision2 meeting.




Monday, August 13, 2012

South Tulsa Bridge Becomes South County Bridge

I received this mockup of the latest incarnation of the South Tulsa Bridge. As I understand it, this current proposal is being pushed by the Mayor of Bixby, Ray Bowen, and is now being called the South County Bridge.

This bridge would cross the river at about the same place as before. It lands due south from Yale & 121st with 40' high turns. Northbound traffic can split to go to the intersection of the River Road/121st or Sheridan/121st. The two tiny white "hooks" you see are to access 121st to get to neighborhoods or S. Yale. The large white U-shaped street is being called 124th Street.

The idea is that 124th St. would placate South Tulsa neighborhoods who are concerned about additional traffic on 121st Street. Also of interest in this plan is the western leg from the landing to River Road goes directly through Cousins Park.

 I assume that this is where Bixby will want to spend their portion of the new Vision 2 tax...if it passes.



Monday, February 13, 2012

Vote Yes on Union School Bond

Tomorrow Residents inside the Union Public school district will have an opportunity to vote for the latest school bond for $19,000,000.   I support this bond and will vote yes.

Click here for information on how the 2012 bond money will be spent.

The following table shows the bond amounts for 2010, 2011, and for the proposed 2012 bond, what Union assumed the growth in the district would be, and what growth actually was.

You will see that this year, in addition to lowering the amount they asked for, they assumed 0% growth.  This in a good faith attempt to keep the overall tax rate voters are are asked to pay, the same as the previous years.  As long as growth is at least 0%, the overall tax rate in the Union district, for these bonds will remain the same.

Bond Series Principal Amount NAV  Growth Assumption NAV  Growth Actual
2010 Bonds 22,000,000 2.50% 0.96%
2011 Bonds 21,600,000 1.00% -0.75%
2012 Bonds 19,000,000 0.00%

Here are the last several bond amounts.  You will notice that this will be the smallest bond in the current 5 year cycle, lower than what was issued in 2008

2011: $21,600,000
2010: $22,000,000
2009: $20,000,000
2008: $19,400,000
2007: $17,000,000*
2006: $15,200,000*
2005: $13,000,000*
2004: $17,000,000*
2003: $16,000,000*
*Remember that Union school bonds are on a 5 year cycle. The new one coming on with the oldest one dropping off.


**I have some additional documentation regarding the projections and assumptions used to create this 2012 bond, I would be more than happy to share it if you will shoot me an email roemermanonrecord at gmail dot com.