Editor’s note: Tulsa Today offered each of the three primary mayoral candidates the opportunity to write an "open letter" to Tulsa voters.
This was designed to be an open forum whereby the candidates could "speak" directly to Tulsa Today readers. There were no restrictions other than a maximum of 750 words. Names were pulled from a hat and the order is: Mark Perkins, (Monday), Dewey Bartlett Jr., (Tuesday), and Tom Adelson, (Wednesday). The articles are printed as submitted.
Dear Tulsa Today readers,
The primary focus of municipal governance should be on public safety, infrastructure, education, and economic development. These fundamental responsibilities should be carried out with vigorous efficiency, pragmatism, and a creative vision for long term prosperity.
I am running for Mayor because I believe it is time for a new approach. I am simply a citizen who cares less about politics and more about solutions. As a political outsider with no political debts and no political agenda, I have the courage to modify or eliminate wasteful and inefficient policies, contracts, and procedures. I have also demonstrated the collaborative leadership style necessary to work effectively with other elected officials and civil servants. Under my leadership Tulsa will become a more vibrant and business-friendly city that is respectful of taxpayer dollars.
The most pressing issue facing the city is the budget crisis. Short term, our only real solutions are to cut costs and work to increase revenues. As to cutting costs, I will make these decisions like I make all my decisions: after thorough consultation with knowledgeable professionals, armed with all the information, and carefully calculated to produce results. My approach: 1) What are the primary expectations of the taxpayer citizens? 2) Is the funding directly related to fulfilling those expectations? 3) Are the allocated funds being used efficiently and effectively to satisfy those expectations? 4) Can we make modifications that enable us to produce the same results at a lower cost?
As to increasing revenues, I will immediately support responsible economic development initiatives that increase city revenues without having a tax effect. Tulsa needs to become more business-friendly by working to 1) eliminate multi-step permitting; 2) facilitating proper implementation of the infrastructure development process; and 3) adopting a sensible mixture of form and use-based zoning codes that fit the character, wants, and needs of Tulsa’s varying districts. These modifications will encourage private investment within the city limits, thereby increasing our sales tax revenues, improving property values, and creating Tulsa jobs.
Long term, we need to diversify our funding sources. This will require action by our state legislators, but I think Tulsa should be allowed to use more of the revenues generated within our city limits to address our infrastructure needs. We should also consider core-inflation budgeting. Unlike my opponents, I believe the consolidation of regional governments would be bad for the City of Tulsa.
An improved budget position will enable me to achieve my primary goals of reducing crime, finding new solutions to old road problems, and working with out partners to improve public education so the next generation has the tools to succeed.
I am the only candidate who has demonstrated leadership and good judgment during this campaign. It is a sign of weakness to rely on scare tactics to earn support, and it is a poor reflection of the Tulsans.
Now that I have garnered a large base of supporters, the status quo has started making comments intended to scare you out of voting for me. Those who seek power try to create the illusion that we can only afford to elect people who look like them, talk like them, have the same ideas, or belong to the same organizations, political party, or age bracket.
Do not buy what they are selling you Tulsa. It is time to let go of the status quo.
I have as much education as either candidate, and as much experience being Mayor. I have the education to understand our challenges, the intellect to solve our problems, the personality to unite our citizens, the candor to be transparent, and the wisdom to surround myself with the most capable leaders. If you have seen any of the forums, you will agree that I have demonstrated a firm grasp of the issues with a depth of perspective my opponents lack.
It is time to turn the page. It is time to take ownership of your city and follow me into a brighter future. My supporters are the only ones who feel proud right now, and it is time for you to join their ranks.
There are two choices in this election: the politicians who divide us, or the leader who unites us.
Make the right choice, not the easy choice. I am the Independent choice, and I am the only alternative.