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City of Tulsa

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By RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer

The most recent Oklahoma Poll suggests that a long-running corruption investigation has caused little if any damage to the Tulsa Police Department’s reputation with the public.

Seventy percent of the 508 Tulsans surveyed said they were satisfied that Tulsa police are “honest, ethical and professional in carrying out their duties,” regardless of charges that brought convictions, admissions of wrongdoing or guilty pleas from five TPD officers and one federal agent.

“Whatever organization you’re dealing with, there are always going to be one or two not on the up-and-up. The majority of the police, for the most part, I have nothing but respect for,” said Mary Bell, who was among the 35 percent who said they were “very satisfied” with the department’s integrity.

“I have a lot of friends on the police department,” said Bobby Nelson. “I trust them, pretty much. Some of the police, well, you’ve got a bad apple in every barrel.”

A federal investigation recently resulted in five current or former Tulsa police officers pleading guilty, being convicted or admitting to criminal behavior. In addition, more than 40 people have been freed from prison or had their felony cases dismissed or modified, and seven lawsuits have been filed against the city of Tulsa as a result of the investigation.

Fewer than one in five of those surveyed said they had seen a Tulsa police officer “behaving inappropriately,” and most said steps taken in the wake of the scandals were sufficient to “restore public confidence” in the department.

Gwendolyn Steen said revelations from the investigation have “tarnished” the department but haven’t changed her opinion of the Tulsa police as “trustworthy people.”

Their “previous commitment” and “previous actions,” Steen said, weigh more heavily than the recent difficulties.

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article

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By BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer

Most Tulsans are happy with the way the $451.6 million Fix Our Streets effort is going and will vote to renew the improvements tax package when it’s time, a new Tulsa World-sponsored poll showed.

The effort to rebuild and repair the city’s crumbling arterial and residential streets was approved by voters in 2008, with the work to wrap up in 2014.

Those polled were asked whether they approve or disapprove of how the work is progressing.

A large majority – 64 percent – said they somewhat-to-strongly approve, while 29 percent somewhat-to-strongly disapprove, the poll showed.

Fix Our Streets always has been touted as a multiphase initiative because of the overwhelming amount of work that needs to be done.

City officials have already begun talking about which projects should be included in the next package to take to voters before it expires in a few years.

The poll asked whether people are supportive of an extension of Fix Our Streets, which is paid for in a combination of sales and property taxes.

In all, 58 percent said they somewhat-to-strongly support a renewal, while 33 percent said they somewhat-to-strongly disapprove.

SoonerPoll.com CEO Bill Shapard said the public, not just at the local level but statewide, has shown willingness to pay for better infrastructure.

“It’s no wonder then that the governor has come out and said ‘Let’s fix all of our bridges,’ ” he said. “People will get behind efforts like that.”

If Fix Our Streets wasn’t showing real progress or using the money wisely, Shapard said, the questions would have prompted more negative reactions from those polled.

“Most everyone gets out on the roads, and when you hit a bump, you’re thinking about your tax dollars and who should be fixing that,” he said.

“It seems to indicate to me that the city is doing a good job of fixing the streets and in a timely and proper manner.”

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article

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By RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer

Dissatisfaction with the city’s leadership is at a four-year high, according to the most recent Oklahoma Poll.

Thirty-four percent of the 508 likely Tulsa voters surveyed Oct. 27-Nov. 1 named lack of political leadership the city’s No. 1 problem, easily putting it at the top of the list.

It’s by far the largest share that response has received in the five times since 2007 that the Oklahoma Poll has asked Tulsa voters the same question.

The previous high was in October 2008, when 13 percent named leadership as the city’s most pressing problem.

“Who could not view whatever the council’s been up to for however many years and say we’ve had adequate leadership?” asked poll participant Neal Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick primarily blames the City Council, but Jimmie Pryor thinks it’s Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s fault.

“I think he’s disruptive,” she said. “He wants to be commander-in-chief. He’s more of a dictator than leader.”

Another respondent blames both parties.

“The old council was out for a power grab,” Virginia Richard said. “The mayor was not the best for bringing the sides together. I’m sure Dewey Bartlett is a bright and intelligent man, but I’m not sure he has the people skills needed.”

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article

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By BRIAN BARBER & P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writers
Mayor Dewey Bartlett won’t face re-election until 2013, but a new Tulsa World-sponsored poll shows that, if the election happened today, 58 percent of Tulsans would vote for another candidate.

The scientific survey indicates 26 percent would vote for Bartlett, while 16 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.

That could give other candidates the confidence to challenge Bartlett, SoonerPoll.com’s Bill Shapard said, but two years is forever in politics, so a lot could change for the mayor.

“It’s a long time, and a lot of people may be very forgiving of Dewey and forget about the past,” he said.

“This polling was taken in an environment where we haven’t seen yet whether this new City Council will be able to work with the mayor and everyone pull in the same direction. The jury is really still out.”

The new City Council, which will have seven new members and two incumbents  –  Councilors Jack Henderson and G.T. Bynum  –  will be sworn in Dec. 5.

The poll asked whether Tulsans are optimistic about the new council being able to work together to advance the city.

In response, 82 percent said they were somewhat, very or extremely optimistic, while 13 percent had some level of pessimism and 5 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.

Shapard pointed out that a near majority  –  49 percent  –  chose the somewhat optimistic option.

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article

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By Randy Krehbiel – Tulsa World Staff Writer

A Tulsa firefighter campaigns during a city election in July 2009. [News on 6 file photo]
Tulsans are split almost evenly over whether firefighters and other city employees should have been allowed to actively campaign in this year’s city elections.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett issued an executive order this year banning such activities, reversing the policy of his predecessor Kathy Taylor.

An even 50 percent of the 508 likely voters surveyed by SoonerPoll.com from Oct. 27-Nov. 1 agreed with Bartlett. Forty-seven percent said the police and firefighters should be allowed to campaign, with a majority of those saying police and firefighters should even be allowed to wear their uniforms while doing it.

The firefighters union unsuccessfully sought a federal court injunction against Bartlett’s order. A motion by the city to suppress an effort to enlist retired firefighters, family members and others to work on behalf of candidates supported by the union also was denied.

The City Charter bans employees from “an active part in any campaign for the election of officers of the city, except to vote and privately state a personal opinion.”

The charter provisions are similar to a federal law known as the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity.

“My husband was a federal employee, and he was not allowed to campaign at all,” said poll participant Jimmie Pryor. “We couldn’t have signs in the yard, which I thought was unconstitutional.”

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article

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By P.J. LASSEK & BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writers

Tulsans may be fed up with City Hall controversies, but a new Tulsa World-sponsored poll indicates a majority of voters aren’t ready to adopt a council-city manager form of government or to add at-large councilors to the current structure.

But they do support with slight majorities returning councilors to two-year terms and moving to nonpartisan races.

SoonerPoll.com CEO Bill Shapard said he is cautious about the poll results on the four City Charter amendments because they are barely majorities. Noncandidate issues can also be particularly unstable because voters’ positions can be easily swayed.

“People don’t change their minds about people,” he said. “It’s easy to change your opinion on an issue such as these.”

Shapard said he tries to do polling as close to the election as possible, but “we see groups becoming energized (on issues) at the last minute where most candidate campaigns don’t wait this long.”

A campaign blitz by various groups began Wednesday for all four of the proposals that has included newspaper advertisements, yard signs and mailers.

Shapard said he is concerned with the number of undecided voters because these “are likely voters, stakeholders within the community and have shown a pattern of voting in the past.”

Having one in 10 or one in eight still undecided “seems to indicate that there is still some effect that may be placed on them by money and messaging that could alter the numbers,” he said.

Republicans are more enthusiastic about the election than Democrats, 53 percent to 39 percent. Shapard noted it has less to do with the election and more to do with the anti-Barack Obama energy on the national level filtering down.

Even though the proposed charter changes could make “seismic changes” to the city government, he said, there is probably less enthusiasm about them than there was for September’s primary elections, when only candidates were on the ballot.

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article


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Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett speaks about new streetlights during a news conference Wednesday at Mohawk Boulevard and Lewis Avenue. Behind the mayor are Steve Baker of American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma (left) and Tulsa Police Capt. Jonathan Brooks. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World

By BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer

Mayor Dewey Bartlett and utility officials announced Wednesday that 53 new streetlights will be installed as part of the “Lights On!” initiative.

“Citizens told us through a survey that more lights in neighborhoods would make them feel safer at night,” Bartlett said during a news conference at the corner of Lewis Avenue and Mohawk Boulevard. “This wasn’t just in one specific area of Tulsa but throughout Tulsa that people felt this way, and we are trying to react to that in a positive way.”

Mohawk from Lewis to Peoria avenues will have 23 lights installed. The other 30 are scattered around the city.

American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma is covering the cost of installing the lights and maintaining them. The city will pay for the electricity, which will run about $2,735 annually for all.

AEP-PSO’s Steve Baker said the installation of the lights should be complete by December.

Earlier this year, Bartlett formed a “Lights On!” committee to evaluate where new lights were needed. It included representatives from the Mayor’s Office, AEP-PSO, the Police Department and the city’s traffic engineering staff.

The group will continue to meet to determine more lighting locations.

“This is just our first list,” Bartlett said. “We assume we are going to have the financial capability to add more. In the whole scheme of things, it’s not a significant investment, but it can have a significant impact.”

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article

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Pollsters register that the majority of Tulsans approve of how the Vision 2025 project is progressing.

Most Tulsa residents approve of the status of the $535 million Vision 2025 capital improvements initiative, the latest Oklahoma Poll shows.

When asked how the Vision 2025 process is going, 21.2 percent strongly approve, 33.4 percent somewhat approve, 14.8 percent somewhat disapprove, 22.4 percent strongly disapprove and 8.2 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.

“Those who approve of Vision 2025 are the clear majority,” said poll consultant Al Soltow, the executive director of research at the University of Tulsa.

The Oklahoma Poll, sponsored by the Tulsa World and KOTV, channel 6, surveyed 500 Tulsans who said they intend to vote in the April 5 election and who have a history of voting. The survey, conducted March 18-21 by Oklahoma City-based SoonerPoll.com, has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article

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Voters surveyed had qualms about the funding of public facilities improvements.

Five of the six ballot propositions that make up the city’s $250 million general obligation bond package seem headed to approval by voters April 5, the latest Oklahoma Poll shows.

The ballot items addressing transportation, sanitary sewer, flood control and police and fire needs were supported in the survey by strong margins, ranging from 59 percent to 74.2 percent.

The fate of the proposition to fund public facilities repairs and improvements, which had 45.4 percent support, is in the hands of undecided voters, the poll shows.

Mayor Bill LaFortune said the poll numbers are encouraging.

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article

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