Truth Test: Tulsa's mayor race

Wednesday, February 22nd 2006, 11:02 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa's mayoral primary is two weeks away and the candidates are all talking about crime.

For the candidates advertising on television, especially the Democratic challengers to Mayor Bill LaFortune - crime is a central theme. But is crime as bad as they say?

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan explains in a ‘truth test.’

If you watch the TV ads - you might think the candidates moonlight as security guards. Don McCorkell walks dark streets, with a shadowy figure pacing behind him.And in Kathy Taylor's ad - a criminal tries to break in on grandma, but Taylor's alongside for the collar. "I'm Kathy Taylor, and as mayor, I'll protect our seniors and our children." Whether it's in the advertising or in interviews - the candidates are talking tough on crime. Don McCorkell: "It is the number one issue and it's the number one issue because our violent crime rate is twice the national average." Kathy Taylor: "So it's the core issue of what we need to address."

And crime is a big part of what they talk about before groups, in this case the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Taylor talks in more general terms. "We got to deal with this crime issue across the board." Don McCorkell gets specific. "The first issue which is of profound importance to all Tulsans we've got to address is the crime rate, which is twice the national average.” That national average statistic is true - if you're talking about 2003. Violent crime, especially murder, was way up that year - but it's dropped since then.

Both candidates say they have a solution - but here's where Don McCorkell is general. "And introduce police programs used in other cities that produce real results." And Kathy Taylor gets specific. "And we'll put more cops on the street."

For the Democrats it's an issue for not only for the upcoming the primary, but a way for whoever wins it to make their mark now on what many see as the current mayor's greatest weakness.