Sunday, April 01, 2007

Congratulations to Tulsa County Democrats and Newly Elected, Again, County Chair Elaine Dodd

(This story and photograph appears in the Tulsa World today. If you attended the Tulsa County Convention and read this blog, please add your comments below regarding the key issues presented at the county convention.)

Elections vital, Dems tell Dems

Tulsa County Democratic Party leaders pleaded with delegates at Saturday's biennial county convention to let bygones -- in some

by: RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer

Delegates listen to discussion during Saturday’s Tulsa County Democratic Party convention at the Transportation Workers Union Hall. Tulsa County Democrats want bygones to be bygones, and focus on winning.

Tulsa County Democratic Party leaders pleaded with delegates at Saturday's biennial county convention to let bygones -- in some cases barely gone bygones -- be bygones for the sake of winning some elections.

"The important thing, when all is said and done, is to rally behind our slate and elect Democrats to office," state Rep. Eric Proctor said in his opening remarks at the Transportation Workers Union Hall.

Later, moments after losing her bid for a second two-year term to Elaine Dodd, incumbent county chairwoman Patti Basnett said, "Some of us like to stir the pot, but we have to work together if we're ever going to elect Democrats."

Dodd, county chairwoman in 1989-1991 and 2003-2005, said Basnett would continue to have an office at party headquarters.

"Patti and I are friends," she said.

"The Republicans hope we can't hold together," state Rep. Jeannie McDaniel said in nominating former City Council candidate Jon Kirby for vice chairman. "This is the year we have to hold together."

Kirby's opponent, Tom Bomer, told the delegates: "The Tulsa County Democratic Party has been like a family that's been having a feud for a very long time. We've got to stop it."

Bomer then withdrew, giving the office to Kirby.

Jack Boyte, elected secretary to complete the slate of county officers, said, "We're going to kick out those guys who think The Flintstones is a documentary."

All of this came after lengthy, contentious and at times arcane wrangling over how Tulsa County's 79 state convention delegates would be chosen.

The method narrowly approved by the rules committee at an earlier meeting called for electing 72 delegates, apportioned by party registration, from the three-county commission district. The remaining seven delegates were to be elected at-large.

That plan was thrown out on a floor vote and replaced by one that elected state delegates proportionately by interest group instead of geography. Debate on the subject was such that at one point it included a discussion on whether delegates should vote by standing or by holding up their credentials.

Dodd and University of Tulsa law professor Gary Allison, two of the leading advocates of the interest group plan, said it was more representational and would prevent more influential blocs -- identified in a handout as or ganized labor and trial lawyers -- from electing the county's entire slate of state delegates.

Rules committee chairman George Otey said the alternate method supported by Dodd and Allison was unnecessarily complicated and did nothing to prevent the so-called "slate" voting.

In the end, a labor coalition whose membership included national committeeman James Frasier wound up with the most delegates -- 24 -- while Allison's "progressive revival" group was allocated 17. The remaining 38 delegates were spread among nine other groups.

Only three of the nearly 200 items submitted by the resolution committee were discussed, and only one was voted down.

That was a proposal by attorney Greg Bledsoe and endorsed by Tulsa City Councilor Roscoe Turner for the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission to terminate its contract with the Indian Nations Council of Governments for planning services.

Turner said Tulsa was being "wiped out" by its suburbs and blamed INCOG for favoring those suburbs over Tulsa.

Frasier said the issue was too technical to be voted on at short notice, and in the end that position prevailed.

Approved without discussion was a resolution supporting Tulsa's proposed annexation of the county-owned Expo Square, a matter of intense controversy at February's Republican county convention.

Randy Krehbiel 581-8365

Convention highlights
Highlights of Saturday’s Tulsa County Democratic Party Convention

* Elaine Dodd was elected county chairwoman, defeating incumbent Patti Basnett, for a third time. Dodd previously led Tulsa County Democrats in 1989-91 and 2003-2005.

* Dodd immediately announced that Basnett would continue to maintain an office at party headquarters. The two said “internal politics” must not take priority over winning elections.

* Selection of Tulsa County’s 79 state convention delegates proved the most contentious issue. The rules committee recommendation to select most state delegates by county commission district was voted down in favor of interest group representation.

* Only one of nearly 200 items submitted by the resolutions committee was voted down. That item, favored by City Councilor Roscoe Turner, called for termination of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission’s contract with the Indian Nations Council of Governments.

* Approved without discussion a resolution calling for City of Tulsa annexation of Expo Square and the elimination of the state sales tax on the property, which is owned by Tulsa County.

* Approved without discussion a resolution calling for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by September 2008; another resolution, introduced from the floor and approved in a split vote, called for immediate cessation of hostilities.

Copyright © 2007, World Publishing Co. All rights reserved

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Big step forward for DFA in Tulsa

Members and friends of Democracy For America [DFA] in Tulsa, Oklahoma, took a big step forward on Saturday, March 31, 2007, at the Tulsa County Democratic Party convention.

Our first victory was in adopting a minority report to the Rules Committee report so that DFA and others could again caucus to elect delegates from our county as was done at our previous convention in 2005.

DFA member Elaine Dodd was elected as County Chair over the current County Chair. She was County Chair for 1989-91 and 2003-05 and was not a candidate for the 2005-07. She was an active supporter of Howard Dean for US President in 2004.

Elected without opposition as County Vice-Chair was Jon Kirby. He was endorsed by DFA Tulsa last year for the District 5 seat on the Tulsa City Council and came within 21 votes of defeating a Republican incumbent that would have given Democrats a 5-4 majority. That election is still before the courts due to voting irregularities.

DFA member Jack Boyte was elected County Secretary over another candidate that was backed by most progressive delegates.

DFA Tulsa leader Mike Workman was also nominated for County Secretary but withdrew after announcing that he would run instead for a district office.

In 2005, a DFA county caucus was held and elected Mike Workman and Christene O'Toole as district and state delegates. In our 2007 DFA caucus, both were re-elected to another term and two additional delegates were elected. Brian Humphries was a previous delegate from another county and 79-year-old Joan Hiltenbrand will be a first-time delegate.

The three officers, four DFA delegates, and 75 other delegates will represent Tulsa County at an April 28 congressional district convention in Tulsa and a May 19 state convention of the Oklahoma Democratic Party in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.