The Tulsa City Council betrays Democracy and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in an attempt to forbid political campaigning – literally at the grassroots level. They have empowered “brown shirt” civilian enforcement and one of the most arrogant elitist that voted for limiting freedom does not follow her own law. That is called hypocrisy.
City Councilor Karen Gilbert now running for the State Legislature followed City Councilor Phil Lakin, Jr. the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Tulsa Community Foundation (TCF) in support of Title 42, Chapter 60, Section 030.5 and Title 24, Chapter 1, Sections 103-H and 103-O, which some assert is an illegal restriction of free speech.
The City of Tulsa thus restricts speech demanding that campaign signs:
• may not be placed within public rights-of-way;
• are prohibited on public property such as parks, libraries, schools, retention ponds, etc.;
• may only be placed on private property with the permission of the property owner;
• must be less than 16 square feet in area when placed in R and O zoning districts; and
• must be removed no later than 7 days after the voting event.
As the photos clearly show, City Councilor Karen Gilbert is a Tulsa sign law-breaker – betraying law she approved in a public vote. Will Gilbert be ticketed by city officials?
Councilor Phil Lakin spearheaded efforts to pass the sign ordinance.
Councilor Lakin has been CEO of TCF since 1999. It is the second largest community foundation in the United States. Lakin, when not mountain climbing worldwide, is known for working with donors, community leaders and elected officials to “improve the Tulsa area” as a responsive puppet to nonprofit masters. What Lakin earns as a City Councilor is reportedly “pocket change” compared to his CEO salary.
Councilor Gilbert is known as a loyal operative of non-partisan Mayor G.T. Bynum who also approved the sign ordinance.
Non-partisan most simply means without principle because political parties establish principles. Without political principles/parties; totalitarian government rises and individual Liberty fades as has apparently happened here beginning with free speech in Tulsa.
Registered Republican, Councilor Gilbert has frequently been a tool of local unions and does not identify with the GOP as can be seen from the lack of party identification on her signs.
While political surveys suggest political signs or yard signs are not the determining factor in deciding votes on Election Day, such signs build name recognition. For candidates with limited budgets they are critical to success.
Councilor Lakin calls signs “litter on a stick.” Apparently, he believes the great unwashed masses should be silent and compliant when in contest with cronies of powerful interest running well-funded campaigns.
There are often disputes between candidates during campaigns. Recent “dirty” sign tricks have been noted on social media.
Gena Gray on Facebook wrote Tuesday, “I’m not usually very political, but we had signs for Byron Burke in our yard for County Assessor. Today, on Election Day, they were removed and [Darren] Gantz signs placed right where they were. In my opinion this is very disrespectful… Vote Byron Burke!”
The Byron Burke campaign reports Gantz sign workers often pulled signs from private property including one theft from the home of an attorney employed in the District Attorney’s Office. Citizens can only hope this fighter for justice will be available as a witness when Tulsa’s sign law is challenged in Court.
“It’s suppressing my right and the right of other Republicans to freely express ourselves,” said Terry Flattem, Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Tulsa County to the Tulsa World.
“Always during a political season, some people are taking other people’s signs,” Lakin told the newspaper. “It’s just one of those things that happens, and it’s unfortunate.”
Councilor Lakin, who “often stops to remove infringing signs and admitted he has a trunk full of them, said the ordinance is meant to rid the city of eyesores while also getting rid of large signs that create blind spots for drivers,” according to the Tulsa World.
“We don’t want to encroach on anyone’s ability to advertise who they’re supporting or who they’re opposing,” Lakin said.
Lakin and the Tulsa City Council may be called to Federal Court. Several campaigns have considered legal action and wondered who would ever serve on any such citizen enforcement committee if not those wanting to limit other people’s right to reach the public.
Under cover of this ordinance, bad actors steal competing campaign signs and blame others. This appears then to be dissimilar treatment which builds anger and resentment against the City of Tulsa and public employees.
The Primary Election last Tuesday was the first in Tulsa since the ordinance passed. Lakin told the newspaper, “he’s confident candidates and supporters will learn quickly and adjust sign placement accordingly.”
Does freedom fade without dispute in Tulsa’s Council? Does Lakin mean lawmakers will learn (unlikely) or follow their own dictates? Could Council hypocrisy end?
Councilor Lakin is more likely to find himself in court and out of office.