Economy, Leadership Dominate Tulsa City Council Candidate Debate

Tuesday, October 4th 2011, 9:34 pm
By: News On 6

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Economic development and leadership dominated a debate between city council candidates Tuesday night.

The debate was held at a forum in downtown Tulsa and involved the democratic and republican candidates for Districts 3, 4, 6 and 9. And it's District 4 where both men have momentum and reputation working for them.

Candidates with diverse backgrounds and views are running for Tulsa City Council. Blake Ewing and Ken Brune actually share similar concerns about District 4 and the people they want to represent -- economic development versus historical preservation.

"How we continue to do the work of in-fill development in District 4, while also being completely mindful and respectful of the historic neighborhoods," Ewing said.

"With the idea of creating jobs, with the idea of bringing strong economic development to all of Tulsa and to the downtown area," Brune said.

Blake Ewing owns several downtown businesses. He's also the founder of a communications firm and a film production company.

Kenneth Brune has served as an assistant district attorney and special district judge. He now owns a law firm and downtown real estate.

When it comes to city government and possibly changing to a city manager format, here's their take:

"The issue is personnel. You put the right people in the system and you have success," Ewing said. "So I don't like it. Let's leave it like it is and let's change the people."

Brune doesn't want a rush decision on such a major shift.

"I think if we're going to have major changes in the form of city government, we need to have the citizen input on that and not have a resolution on this ballot," Brune said.

Brune says the answer to moving Tulsa forward is incentives to keep or bring back young people to the city.

"What we need in Tulsa is teamwork," he said.

Ewing says Tulsa needs to be as proud of what it has to offer as it did in the oil boom days.

"I have high hopes that my children don't leave when they grow up," he said.

Tuesday night's forum did not include the candidates running for Districts 2, 7 and 8. That debate will be held Tuesday, October 25, 2011. Districts 1 and 5 were decided in last month's primary.