Analysis: In a special primary election Tuesday to fill the Tulsa County Commission District 3 seat previously held by Fred Perry, four contenders offer themselves for voter consideration; Ron Peters, Don Crall, Brandon Perkins, and John Wright. In many ways they represent the current constituent groups found within the Republican Party.
Only one Democrat filed for the office and he will meet the winner of the primary this fall. As the district is heavily Republican, this primary is critical.
The extreme right candidate is John Wright. While personally much more pleasant than his mentor Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel; Wright is an employee of the assessor’s office.
Yazel is most known for attacking fellow Republicans and the general organization of county government – specifically the Excise Board. Yazel has encouraged filing of protests that have been repeatedly rejected by the courts. Yazel believes, contrary to the courts and the operation of all 77 county governments in Oklahoma, that the Excise Board should control the budgets of independent organizations such as the Health Department, Library system, and all education districts within the County.
Republicans believe that government closest to the people should be empowered, but Yazel, while claiming to be a conservative, attacks this concept and other elected officials while growing his own staff and office costs which are the more costly than any other county assessor office in Oklahoma. A case could be made that Ken Yazel is the most disingenuous elected official ever to hold office in Tulsa County.
In an election-eve mailer from Wright, Yazel’s endorsement reads, “I need your help to reshape County Government…John Wright, candidate for Tulsa County Commissioner, has an understanding of how to make needed changes … to enhance openness and accountability by all three County Commissioners.” Thus, a reader must assume Wright has fully internalized the Yahoo Yazel insanity.
Brandon Perkins is a young man from the development business. His family has built residential property in Tulsa for many years. Perkins speaks well and has spent a great deal of money on advertising, but he has not previously participated in party building activity and there is a fundamental conflict with his business. The county commission appoints board members that control development regulations of residential and commercial property. Most observers fear bias may be inherent should Perkins win the office.
Perkins was also recently arrested for driving under the influence (case #cm-2013-930 serial #85162316) on February 9, 2013 for which he is scheduled to appear Tuesday June 11, 2013 which is, obviously, bad timing – given that is the date of the primary election.
Don Crall is new to offer his talents for public service and shows a remarkable understanding of challenges facing Tulsa County. Crall is an industrialist and an educator. He holds a Master of Business Administration, a Bachelor in Organizational Leadership and currently teaches as a business ethics and organizational behavior professor.
Crall’s business clients include the US Dept. of Defense, Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and most major oil companies. Crall has run a positive campaign and speaks often of his Christian faith.
Of the group, Ron Peters holds the most significant public experience as a demonstrated conservative. While serving in the Oklahoma Legislature, Peters helped pass the largest tax cut package in state history, sponsored workers compensation reform and tort reform. Peters led Republican efforts to make infrastructure a larger portion of the state’s budget and is fully committed to improving the basic functions of Tulsa County government especially public safety. Peters prioritizes fundamentals and expects to cut unnecessary spending.
Peters said, “Managing and improving our infrastructure is a top priority for me. As a county commissioner, few things are more important than taking care of our roads, bridges and other vital infrastructure.”
Peters is endorsed by Sheriff Stanley Glanz and many other elected officials that have worked with him for many years on difficult issues.
County government is the smallest level of State Government. The County does not have the power to legislate, but only administrate as directed by the Legislature. This connection with state government should be enhanced should Ron Peters be elected.
The City of Tulsa Mayor’s race in this election cycle has generated the most campaign advertising and media coverage, but the County Commission race for District 3 is just as important. Please vote Tuesday, June 11, 2013.