By David Arnett, Publisher
Thursday, 23 March 2006
Constituent with Kathy Lobeck-TaylorWho is Kathy Lobeck-Taylor and why does she really want to be mayor of Tulsa? As the race draws to a close, it is apparent that the process has failed to reveal Mrs. Lobeck-Taylor beyond artfully crafted productions of glittering generalities and legalese of little substance. Tulsans must decide the better candidate for mayor – or at least the candidate with the fewest unanswered questions come election day.
Lobeck-Taylor has refused opportunity and repeated invitation to be interviewed by Tulsa Today. That may have been wise for her image, as it appears she has no temperament for honestly answering direct questions in public. However, there are some questions Tulsa Today would like to have answered prior to the April 4 election.
Lobeck-Taylor’s campaign material touts a “plan for Tulsa.” The question is, then, how is this plan – which includes expensive programs of social and civic purpose – to be financed? If the public (property owners and/or retail consumers) are to fund the Lobeck-Tayor plan, what are the costs associated with each program?
The second most often-repeated campaign theme is that Lobeck-Taylor as mayor will end the bickering between the Tulsa City Council and the mayor’s office. How exactly can she do that in a free society? While elite Liberal Democrats love to fund increasingly powerful government – short of totalitarianism – public debate is healthy. Specifically, this incoming City Council is comprised mostly of intelligent, articulate, and educated people. However, there are competing North / West / South / East Tulsa interests on the Council. Unless Lobeck-Taylor intends to abdicate mayoral leadership in submission to the Council’s every agenda, bickering is guaranteed.
When the afternoon daily newspaper closed, reporters hired by the morning daily, The Tulsa World, were told to forget about writing negative stories on then-Mayor Susan Savage. It held true during the next decade that no bad story was published about Savage. Given that the daily’s news and editorial staff are dedicated liberals and also that Savage is a confidante of Lobeck-Taylor, has the daily paper provided guarantees of positive press should Lobeck-Taylor be elected?
While occasionally writing positive editorials in support of some efforts by Mayor Bill LaFortune, some of the daily newspaper’s staff covering city hall dislike him both personally and politically – their daily challenge is not to be obvious. Should reporters write with disdain about Lobeck-Taylor’s administration, how would she handle such media? If critics continue to focus on local disruptive radicals on the City Council or elsewhere, what power does Lobeck-Taylor feel she can bring to bear to accomplish her kum-by-ya goal in a society of free and open debate?
official voting records show Lobeck-Taylor voted in the presidential election in both Oklahoma and in Florida in 2000. Should she be indicted on this possible federal felony, will Lobeck-Taylor resign as mayor or follow the Clinton-esque tactic of staying in office until the bitter end? When Lobeck-Taylor held her press conference disputing those records, both her written press release and her spoken words asserted that she would never have “intentionally” voted twice. How does anyone vote without the intention to vote? Should crime be forgiven if there was no intention to commit crime? What standard would this set for the Tulsa Police Department she wants to lead?
Tulsa Today has written of Tulsa Police Department issues and covered the mayor’s press conference and Chief Been’s response. We have met with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Chapter officials and understand how the dynamics work between bureaucracy, union, and those elected – so how is Lobeck-Taylor going to resolve institutional disputes?
Tulsa has never before elected a millionaire mayor with households in two states. Does her husband live in Tulsa or in Florida? William Lobeck told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "I have checked as far as being a Florida resident. I don’t know what it takes to be a Florida resident, but I think I’m one." How can a man so brilliant that he can earn millions in big business deals not know which state he lives in?
Further, why did Lobeck-Taylor move to Florida? Was it to avoid Oklahoma Income Tax? Why were both homes claimed as “homestead” a $133,000 mistake discovered in Florida? When the bill arrived, media reported that it was paid immediately. That’s pretty impressive – these squirrels got nuts.
When Lobeck-Taylor moved her company from Florida to Oklahoma, she did so at least in part with the help of tax incentives provided by the State of Oklahoma. What incentives were provided and at what level of expense to the people of Oklahoma?
Should this company be sold, will Lobeck-Taylor be obligated to return any money to Oklahoma? While that company, Vanguard Car Rental USA, Inc.. is a private company, how much stock is held by Lobeck-Taylor and what is the approximate value of those and other holdings? Will she release complete tax records for herself and the trust for which she is a trustee?
When Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry first approached Lobeck-Taylor to help his administration, was she a resident of Oklahoma or Florida? As Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce, did she use her office in any way to benefit Vanguard Car Rental?
How much did the Lobeck-Taylor home in Tulsa cost to build? Did that cost exceed $20 million? The home at 2811 South Columbia Place was appraised by the Tulsa County Assessor’s office at $8,100,000. Following that assessment, Lobeck-Taylor filed a protest asserting the value to be $2.5 million. While the Tulsa County Board of Equalization did reduce the value one year as a result of legal filings by Lobeck-Taylor to $6,500,000 – the next year the Assessor’s office returned to their original appraised amount and Lobeck-Taylor has not filed a formal protest of that higher amount in 2004, 2005, or 2006. Does Lobeck-Taylor now agree that the assessed value of $8.1 million is fair?
What is the value of the house in Florida?
Is it true that Lobeck-Taylor owns two airplanes, one of which is a Learjet purchased in her name? Will this save the city travel expenses? What kind of plane is the other?
Lobeck-Taylor and Robert E. Lorton III, publisher and president of World Publishing, filed similar legal action protesting assessment on their private homes using the same attorney, William J. Doyle III. Was this a coincidence or a cooperative effort, and if so, would Mayor Lobeck-Taylor and the publisher of the daily newspaper cooperate in other financial matters?
Given Lobeck-Taylor’s often-stated support for common education, why would she protest and, thereby, seek to avoid paying taxes that support common education in Tulsa? Further, whose funds will pay for her campaign plan to improve education in Tulsa?
In campaign television commercials, Lobeck-Taylor asserts that she was a single mother struggling to make ends meet. Tulsa Today understands that she was not a single mother until after she joined Thrifty Rent-A-Car as corporate counsel — where she earned a substantial salary. When in her life has Lobeck-Taylor ever struggled financially, as thousands of Tulsans do daily?
The Lobeck-Taylor campaign team has been advised that Tulsa Today will post answers to these questions if they are provided. Those responses may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, and each will be confirmed for authenticity.
Tulsa Today serves around 4,000 page views some days and maintains an average of 21,000 per week. From all surveys of our readers – every one of us vote. Together we will make the future with our choice for mayor Tuesday April 4, 2006 and maybe our questions can be answered before then. Or not.
Tulsa Today / YP Tulsa Public Mayoral Debate
Tulsa Today / YP Tulsa Public Mayoral Debate
Last Updated ( Sunday, 26 March 2006 )