Firing Off Fireworks is Fineable
Metropolitan area residents might find no shortage of locations where they can purchase fireworks in the days leading up to the Fourth of July, but Tulsa officials are reminding residents that igniting those fireworks in city limits is illegal.
The city's fire code states that "It shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor offense for any person to possess, manufacture, store, sell, handle or use any fireworks within the corporate limits of the City of Tulsa without first having procured an operational permit from the fire code official as required."
The pre-set fine for fireworks violations is $220, but fines of up to $500 can be imposed. Citizens can report illegal fireworks use to the non-emergency number by calling 918-596-9222.
Social Networking and City Planning
A group of PLANiTULSA supporters has created a Facebook page to monitor and hold city leaders accountable for the implementation of the city's new comprehensive plan.
Tracking PLANiTULSA -- created by Jamie Jamieson, Bill Leighty and Bob Sober -- will be tracking, reporting and commenting on progress on the plan while providing an interactive social media forum for open discussion of relevant subject matter. Jamieson is a developer, neighborhood leader and member of the city's Transportation Advisory Board. Leighty is the chairman of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission and a Transportation Advisory Board member, while Sober is a member of the city's Arts Commission, the former chairman of the city's Preservation Commission and the chairman of the PLANiTULSA citizens' advisory committee.
In a press release announcing the launch of the page, the trio describes progress on PLANiTULSA -- which was approved nearly a year ago by the City Council, making it official city policy -- as lackluster and decries the mayor's lack of attention to the new plan in the recently adopted city budget.
"We suggest the new Comprehensive Plan should have been the anchor and core of the budget," they state. "The city arguably lost a fiscal year in adjusting to a Plan that forms of basis of a competitive development strategy for Tulsa. The KPMG report is a useful starting point for evaluating cost efficiencies, but is only that; not a popularly conceived vision document and it is not a development strategy. The city cannot achieve prosperity through cost cutting along."
Jamieson, Leighty and Sober noted the mayor recently released a memo detailing progress on the plan, and the trio says that memo will serve as a benchmark for measuring future progress.
"Only time will tell as actions speak louder than words," they state in their press release. "We encourage the Mayor and City Council to proceed with vigor in an open and transparent fashion."
City Union Contracts Signed
Representatives of four of the city employees union's bargaining units signed their contracts with the city on June 24, allowing the city to begin its new fiscal year on July 1 without any of those deals still pending.
Terry Simonson, Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr.'s chief of staff, said getting the deals done before the start of the new fiscal year was a significant and unusual accomplishment.
"When you hear and read about the struggles mayors and governors are having across the country with public employees unions, it's a phenomenal credit to our labor unions and mayor that we have been able to sit down over the last three or four months in an atmosphere of transparency and no table pounding," he said. "Fairness kind of ruled the day. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that we have been able to have agreements with most of the bargaining units at the beginning of a fiscal year as opposed to carrying them over for a couple of months while we're still negotiating."
Representatives of the administrative technical and office technical, airport officer, labor and trades, and information technology and information systems units inked their deals last week. City Manager Jim Twombly was the administration's chief negotiator.
Simonson said 80 percent of city employees belong to one union or another.
"It's critically important for labor and management to get along," he said. "As we go through the KPMG report and the Management Review Office gets its legs, any initial worry has been displaced with trust, and they've realized that management has an obligation to the taxpayers to run a cost-efficient government within our means. But at the same time, we need to be fair with our employees. We're trying to turn labor into owners, and I think that bodes well for the future."
Correcting the Record
It was incorrectly reported in the June 23 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly that Dewey Barlett was the first Republican governor of Oklahoma. Bartlett was actually the state's second GOP chief executive. Henry Bellmon was the first, serving from 1963 to 1967.
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