Milestones Will Be Mayor Taylor's Legacy

Friday, June 5th 2009, 6:55 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Mayor Kathy Taylor announced Thursday she's going to leave office after one term, so she won't have to spend the next few months campaigning.

If you go by what's been in the news lately, you might look back to the approval of the ballpark, the struggle of the most recent budget, maybe the scandal in the public works department or how the ice storm was handled.

No matter how you look at it, Taylor took on a lot in a short time and leaves a shorter-than-usual single term as her legacy. New commercials started running Friday, listing her accomplishments.

"Thank you for helping me bring a new kind of energy to Tulsa," Taylor says in the ads. "We've made a difference."

The news shocked one of her closest allies at the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce.

"Her legal and business background have been great assets she's been able to bring to the table,"said Mike Neal, Tulsa Chamber director.

Neal says Taylor led a coordinated effort to attract business to Tulsa, in part by an incredible work ethic.

"And I have never seen anyone who has anywhere near rivaled her time on the job and her diligence," Neal said. "She probably works 18 hours a day." 

Taylor said Friday she's leaving behind a more efficient government.

"It was team effort, citizens and employees that got interested in making a change in government, and I hope that continues," she said.

Several of the milestones from the mayor's term are downtown -- closing the shortfall of finances for the Arena, buying a new city hall and keeping the Drillers in Tulsa with a new baseball stadium.

She helped make the deal to raze the Camelot Hotel but couldn't persuade voters to pass a river tax. Taylor followed with a campaign for a streets package that passed overwhelmingly.

The city's budget was a constant problem.

"I cannot in good conscience recommend a $1.6 million subsidy for golf courses when I cannot open pools in high crime areas," Taylor previously said.

In the end, Taylor cited the distraction of politics as a reason to run the city instead of running for office.

"I love being mayor, I'm honored, I'd do it forever, but the fact is to do it you have to run for office and you have to give up your focus on the city, somewhat to run and I wasn't willing to do that," she said.