Candidates For Tulsa Mayor Meet For Economic Forum

Wednesday, October 9th 2013, 4:32 pm
By: News On 6

The two candidates for Tulsa mayor talked the economic development Wednesday night in a forum on the TU campus.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett and former Mayor Kathy Taylor started the proceedings with a peaceful handshake, before they got down to business.

News On 6 anchor Terry Hood moderated the forum, hosted by Tulsa home builders, realtor and architect associations.

One big area of discussion was how the candidates plan to keep water in the Arkansas River.

"At the end of the day, it's going to take local people, City of Tulsa, in my opinion, the citizens of Tulsa to get very involved once again to finally get water in the river," Bartlett said. "The Gathering Place that we will soon, in a few years, is going to be a great example of what it will look like."

10/7/2013 Related Story: New Budget Shortfall Hot Topic With Tulsa Mayoral Candidates

In recent months, downtown has become a popular place for people to hang out and live, so candidates were asked how they plan to boost retail in downtown, which would include building a grocery store.

"We need to continue to keep that up and continue to make sure that, truly, downtown becomes a neighborhood with additional residential, and I believe that, after we have additional residential, I know that retail will continue to follow," Taylor said.

"Whatever we can do to encourage retail is very important, so we hired a retail specialist," Bartlett said.

Another hot topic was the city's crime rate.

This year, Tulsa has had 53 homicides, including four of the city's most notorious, the quadruple murder at Fairmont Terrace Apartments.

The candidates laid out their plans to reduce the crime rate.

"It's strengthening the number of police," Taylor said, before taking a dig at her opponent. "I did not lay off 124 police officers. I had more police on the streets than we do today."

"We have a great relationship with the U.S. Marshall's Office and the FBI, so we are able to collaboratively approach crime solving, as we'll as getting people off the streets that deserve to be behind bars," Bartlett said.

In closing arguments, Taylor said she plans to get back to the basics by creating an environment that will bring more jobs to Tulsa.

Bartlett argued that the city should avoid changing leadership, so that the current administration can continue to get things done.

Both candidates will square off again on November 5, 2013, on "Six In The Morning."