Speak, Kathy, Speak!

By David Arnett    
Monday, 20 March 2006
Democratic Mayoral candidate Kathy Lobeck-Taylor is apparently afraid of unscripted questions from local media. During a so-called press conference, party operatives and Lobeck-Taylor’s media handlers ended the question period abruptly — after she herself invited questions – just as a broadcast station was pursuing an obviously important line of inquiry. Lobeck-Taylor’s handlers ended the session before they were finished, and no other media outlets were able to ask any questions in that public “question period.”

Further, Tulsa Today has repeatedly called for an interview over the course of several days, but none of those calls have been taken by her press coordinator nor returned by her — or Lobeck-Taylor. What are they afraid the public will learn?

Tulsa Today reporters and this publisher have interviewed elected officials at all levels of government. In fact, President Bill Clinton was more accessible to us when he attended the National Governors Conference held in Tulsa than Lobeck-Taylor was February 28 as she attempted to explain how official certified records show she voted twice (Oklahoma and Florida) in the 2000 Presidential election. Law enforcement officials in both states are investigating this federal crime – a felony, in fact.

At the so-called press conference, this publisher was the second media to attempt to find answers to questions arising from Lobeck-Taylor’s statements that day.

Maybe it’s personal. While I have only exchanged pleasantries with the candidate to date, over 85 percent of the Democrats waving signs and expressing support at that event were those who are well-known as Oklahoma’s wealthy Liberal elite. Tulsa Today is known to them as a Conservative news service, but we have interviewed Liberals (and even hire some), and have a proven reputation for fair reporting. However, we opposed former-Mayor Susan Savage’s loony leftist politics, the “Great Plains” debacle, the black officers’ lawsuit settlement, and the small cadre of developers that benefited greatly from the Savage reign.

We also opposed Governor Brad Henry’s tobacco compact farce and hold the Henry/Savage/Lobeck-Taylor administration responsible in large part for the increase in Tulsa’s violent crime which has been motivated by increased gambling within the state. We also believe the increasing number of addicts will cost Oklahomans far more than the tax revenue generated by gambling.  Nevertheless, Tulsa Today covers good news from the Governor’s office — as is our obligation. It’s not personal – it’s journalism, and public debate is necessary in any democracy.

At the so-called press conference, Lobeck-Taylor accused the Tulsa County Election Board of incompetence and corruption – thus shoveling more mud with less substance than any previous candidate in any election in the history of Oklahoma. Tulsa Today wanted to ask a few more questions about those accusations.

Since that day is passed and the Tulsa County Election Board staff has proven the chance of error in their records is statistically insignificant, our primary question on voter fraud is just to inquire if Lobeck-Taylor would resign as mayor if elected and indicted on a felony? But that is just one of many questions.

Other questions focus on Lobeck-Taylor’s campaign assertions regarding her background, experience, honesty, and fitness for the office of Tulsa Mayor. Such are standard questions and public curiosities growing within the community as the April 4 election date nears. All Tulsans want to know the person behind the image presented in her extensive — and expensive — television commercials.

Tulsa Today would also run her advertisements or those of any other candidate for any public office – it’s a media thing. Campaign advertisements are not our favorites, but we will not deny candidates free speech opportunities at our market rates.

In the last message left on the campaign media contact phone line, we made it clear that if Lobeck-Taylor would not grant the interview, we would have no choice but to craft this story asking Tulsa voters to consider why she is dodging our interview. Maybe her campaign is afraid of close inspection — or maybe her temper is so quick and so violent that Lobeck-Taylor cannot handle public questions with grace. Tulsa Today thinks more of her than that, but without the opportunity to talk, we cannot say for sure.

Tulsa Today stands ready with a 4-hour notice to conduct an interview for the public record with Democratic mayoral candidate Kathy Lobeck-Taylor. We would be happy to conduct that interview at any Tulsa location. We plan to record the interview on video and make it available to viewers of this site within 24 hours. Obviously, given the election date, Tulsa Today hopes to hear from the candidate immediately. This coming week, if we do not hear from her media coordinator or the candidate herself to set a date- and time-specific interview, we will post our questions for public consideration online at this domain.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 March 2006 )