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Councilor Lakin Indicates His Stance On Brady Street Name Change

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Tulsa City Councilor Phil Lakin. [file photo] Tulsa City Councilor Phil Lakin. [file photo]
Brady Street's namesake was reportedly a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Brady Street's namesake was reportedly a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Tulsa city councilor Phil Lakin has released a statement ahead of Thursday's vote on the possible name change for Brady Street.

Lakin says the issue of the name change from "Brady Street" to "Burlington Street" doesn't address the bigger issues of racial divide in Tulsa. He also said he has been working together with fellow councilors Jack Henderson, GT Bynum and Blake Ewing. Those three men voted last week to nix "Brady."

Brady Street's namesake, Tate Brady, a wealthy businessman who was an incorporator of Tulsa, died in 1925. The street has held his name for decades. However, the name came under fire recently after Brady was said to have ties to the Ku Klux Klan and reportedly was a night watchman during the 1921 Race Riot.

The council deadlocked on the name change last week. Lakin was on vacation and absent. His should be the deciding vote on Thursday at 6 p.m.

8/9/2013 Related Story: History Tells Story Of Tate Brady, Divides City Council

Lakin's statement indicates he will either vote to change the name to "Burlington" or move to postpone the vote. Lakin says he believes there should be other options that reflect Tulsa's "united and progressive" attitude:

"What a difference a few years make.

Citizens, in all districts and on both sides of this issue, should take a moment to reflect on the professionalism of this current City Council. After many years of animosity, the collaborative nature of this seated City Council is one I do not take for granted. Collectively, we are able to listen and work toward our common goals on many complex items, including the streets package under public consideration for vote in November. Together, our interests remain centered on doing what is right for Tulsa and for Tulsans.

The issue before the City Council is one that requires and deserves careful consideration.

For several weeks, I have studied countless emails from both District 8 constituents and Tulsa citizens, I have accepted dozens of phone calls and messages, and I have watched the debate from last week's Council meeting. With these resources, I have worked very hard to understand both viewpoints.

However, after reading, listening and watching, my opinion is this issue has become unnecessarily divisive in our community. And that's a very serious concern to me.

The Tulsa that I know is united and progressive, and I'll do all what I can to redirect our attention toward productive activities and topics that provide for positive, real returns to our citizens and our economy.

Therefore, I resolved to think through this controversy thoughtfully and have done so, working with fellow Councilors Ewing, Bynum and Henderson, all of whom brought new, positive ideas to the table. There is one way to disagree and lots of ways to agree, and we chose to focus on the latter.

Together, we are reorienting ourselves – and our votes – toward a constructive solution rather than simply engaging in an up or down vote on changing the name of Brady to Burlington.

We can't escape Tulsa's past nor do we want to conceal it from future generations, but we must focus our efforts on visionary efforts that provide real benefits to our citizens. We have our kids to educate, parks to build, and an economy to develop, all of which will bring our people up, not push them down.

While discussions are still ongoing to resolve the specific question, I'm positive this City Council will vote in favor of a solution that advances our community, our history, and our relations with one another. We are a community like none other, and I'm proud to show the world what we, as Tulsans, can do when we work together."

See the 1907 document

The ordinance the council is considering would have the street become "Burlington," reflecting the original name considered in 1907.

Documents on file at City Hall indicate when the streets were first named, "Burlington" was typed on the ordinance, then crossed out, and "Brady" was handwritten over it. Council staff believes it's possible the original name is a reference to Burlington, Kan.

Tulsa mayor Dewey Bartlett is opposed to changing the name of the street, saying, "I'm not a fan of trying to revise history and ignore history. History is a great teacher."

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