Analysis: By his acknowledgement, an unpaid intern working for current candidate and former-mayor Kathy Taylor attended a campaign rally of Mayor Bartlett’s last evening. The intern, pictured with this story, recorded the presentation on his cell phone and took notes on a clipboard. Surveillance occurs in campaigns, but this young lad was a bit more than obvious. He was introduced and welcomed, but he missed the really good stuff.
Mayor Bartlett continues a remarkably positive campaign and nothing he and other elected or party officials said was negative about Kathy Taylor.
After the formal presentations, the intern left the rally which was a shame as he missed the social hour. It is then only right for this writer to share the unofficial stuff that stood out as very funny – good stuff the intern missed.
The best summary of Taylor’s term in office this writer heard: “Taylor let the grass grow, turned off the lights and left the office early – so why should we elect her again?”
Average citizens, this crowd was well informed – as are most of the politically involved. As the statement above reflects, Taylor’s term was a financial disaster for Tulsa with her policy of cut-backs on public mowing and the illumination of public roads, grounding police helicopters, and selling horses used by police for crowd control. Taylor blames a bad economy, but as our interview with Bartlett documents, by the time he took office, Tulsa’s budget was $10 million upside down.
Even before her announcement, this writer made several efforts to interview Taylor. Phoned multiple times. Visited her campaign office twice formally requesting interviews. It is, after all, Tulsa’s first nonpartisan race for the top job in the city. Dewey Bartlett and his opponent both interviewed with Tulsa Today. Bartlett’s interview is available by clicking here. Taylor never responded to our requests. By the public record, Taylor is a Democrat and Bartlett is a Republican.
Another event attendee noted, “Taylor is the only mayor in Tulsa history to come from a three jet family.” Another suggested “Taylor was not as much a Democrat as a Crony-Capitalist.” Of course, it is not fair to fault Taylor’s husband for great business success. He doesn’t like publicity, but by most reports made millions buying companies, increasing value by whatever means, then selling them which is commonly called “pump and dump.”
Some talk around the room speculated on Taylor’s recent Harvard Fellowship and how that may have helped connect her with national leftist agendas and support. “Money moves in those circles,” one attendee suggested.
Another said, “Taylor doesn’t want to be mayor, but she wants the public platform so she can run for an office in Washington, D.C.”
Because she has not consented to an interview, this writer has no clear understanding of Taylor’s motives in this race, but some familiar with the family have said in the past that Taylor holds “unlimited ambition.”
There was general consensus in the room that Taylor’s advertising took credit for the Vision 2025 program which built infrastructure throughout Tulsa County. That package was approved by Tulsa County voters before Taylor was elected which inspired one at the function to note, “She just hired the contractors.”
In the spirit of full disclosure, this writer covered Taylor’s term as a reporter and editorial writer and personally, I admire her. Taylor is an attorney and we kidded often as we met at public events. I find her personally charming when she wants to be and well informed on issues she promoted. However, she is a Democrat and most of her friends are Leftists. I am a Constitutional Individualist frequently agreeing with Republicans, so Taylor and I disagree on many issues – most specifically the role of government.
As I wrote June 8th in review of the primary vote in this election cycle, “Former-mayor Kathy Taylor, despite claims of transparency and openness, failed to respond to repeated requests for an interview. Taylor has focused on limited interviews, glittering generalities and paid public pronouncements. The joke during her term was a question of how many lawyers does a lawyer need to serve as Mayor of Tulsa? The answer for Taylor didn’t matter as the Oklahoma Supreme Court set aside Taylor’s payback of tax money to the Bank of Oklahoma for the Great Plains Airline debacle – so much for competent council.
“Taylor brags, ‘We brought baseball downtown,’ but fails to mention the imposition of the attendant tax on downtown businesses imposed without a vote. In short, she is the trophy wife Tulsa could never afford who left the office with a $10 million deficit. Taylor blames the economy – better than blaming Bush, but not by much.”
Some suggest that it was too harsh to use the term “trophy wife,” but consider that Taylor is the full human package of intelligence, background, and social skills, all with an attractive physical look. It is a complement.
That the city could not afford her is a judgment based on her relocating city hall to a new expensive building, failing to sell excess city property she promised would help pay for the new digs and other policy issues that seemed to demonstrate Taylor’s willingness if not eagerness to spend other people’s money.
During her term, as one long-retired Tulsa Police Department official suggested, she and her police chief let the department “run amok” without adequate supervision which allowed illegal activity to the point that some officers landed in prison.
Taylor is appealing as a candidate for mayor to some young people who want Tulsa to grow and grow now regardless of expense. Others look to yesterday’s bankruptcy of Detroit and suggest that Tulsa’s unions of public employees could accomplish the same thing in this city.
Regardless, the unpaid intern should have stayed at last night’s Bartlett Campaign function. The real fun is not what the elected(s) say, but what the people say.
About the Author: David Arnett has covered Tulsa City Hall for thirty-years including as a full-time staff writer for the Tulsa Tribune. He has been paid contributor to The Oklahoman and The Dallas Morning News, and the L.A. Times among other print publications.
Arnett hosted a radio talk show, and has owned and published www.TulsaToday.com as an independent local news service since 1996. He won two national journalism awards as a First Amendment Publisher.