How the final 'Vision 2025' plan came together

Wednesday, July 9th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Voters decide on the merits of Tulsa's vision plan two months from Wednesday. Political leaders support it - but opponents complain a process that started out to include everyone, was skewed by politics insiders in the end.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan shows why some of them are angry. It was high drama for a committee meeting. The final vision list was almost done - when a bathroom break led to major changes.

Tulsa's Mayor Bill LaFortune huddled with a city councilor and an aide. County commissioners whispered to each other. Small town mayors defended their favorites on the list - and in 40 minutes, a new list emerged - so new it wasn't even typed up.

County Commissioner Bob Dick: “Based on the conversations I had and overheard, there certainly has been some requests to consider a 5 package ballot, the consensus I seemed to glean during the break was to go with a 4 package ballot.” Within minutes the vote was taken. Dick: “I am happy to announce we have a unanimous vote.”

But the next meeting was less congenial. County commissioners were set to call the election - while protestors stood in back waving their signs. County Commissioner Wilbert Collins: “After I feel we've gone through enough discussion, I will shut the audience off and the board of county commissioners will debate and the vote will be taken. I hope that's clear.”

Only one opponent spoke - though Tulsa's mayor and councilors were offered a chance to talk about even more changes. Their ideas were rejected by commissioners unwilling to change the list. It was too much for one spectator. Wilbert Collins: “I think my integrity is more important that trying to help a few friends.” Michael Bates, "All the citizens want your help. The leadership team was stacked!” Bob Dick: “Mr. Bates you're out of order sir.” Wilbert Collins: “Now I'm going to ask you to leave if that happens again.”

The protestors say their fight isn't over - they're fighting against the project itself - and the way - in the last few weeks - it all came together.

The opposition to Tulsa's "Vision 2025" plan is getting more organized - and they've got a name now - the Tulsa County Coalition. They're promising to put out signs and run radio ads in opposition to the vision plan.