New faces on Tulsa's city council
Wednesday, April 5th 2006, 9:51 AM CDT
Changes at Tulsaâ€™s city council. 5 of the 9 councilors are brand new.
The old council became infamous for its bickering. News on 6 reporter Steve Berg explains how this new version might shake out.
Outgoing city councilor Chris Medlock says the important thing for the new group is to keep looking for change, but to do a better job of working together. "I think that's what this council is going to be about. I think that's what the voters said they want and my hope is that they will find common ground to work together."
Medlock was part of the so-called â€˜gang of five,â€™ as was Jim Mautino, who was the only incumbent to lose his seat Tuesday. It was a group that supporters saw as providing needed-reform against special interest and who critics saw as rebellious and destructive. The â€˜gang of fiveâ€™ is no more, but political pundit Michael Bates says this new, grass-roots group is likely to be even "more" reform-minded. "It's a real defeat to the old city eliteâ€™s, the Tulsa World, George Kaiser, BOk, the candidates they backed for the most part lost. And most of the candidates that came back are in that mold, that reform mold. That will change the direction of city hall."
One of those is Republican Rick Westcott, who was basically handpicked by Medlock to succeed him. Another is Democrat Maria Barnes, who says she wants to do things differently than the last council. "I think there was a lack of respect with some of them and I think the bigger problem was just no communication with the mayor. That to me makes a big difference. If they're off in separate rooms and no one's talking, then you'll get nothing done."
Bates thinks there will be less fighting with this council. "I think with a super-majority, with a reform mindset, at least you'll have the council fairly unified with moving forward."
Chris Medlock: "The beauty of this council and the beauty of this administration is they do have the opportunity to learn from the last one."