The Newbies Are Coming
Huzzah! The newbies are coming. On Dec. 5, seven new city councilors were sworn in at the University of Tulsa campus.
But weeks ahead of this ceremony, seemingly every public relations firm and government agency wanted to send out their press-released excitement over the new faces on Tulsa's city council.
Ahead of the ceremony, new councilors also expressed their excitement on Facebook. "Today is the BIG day," typed new District 5 City Councilor Karen Gilbert. "I'm very excited to get to work for the people of our great city."
District 4 City Councilor Blake Ewing also posted thanks for support and encouragement just hours before the swearing-in. "I'm excited to get started," Ewing wrote on his status update.
Tulsa's trash board, TARE, also sent out a press release on Dec. 5, publicly hoping for "an atmosphere of cooperation to move the city's trash system forward for the future."
Almost as soon as they were elected, new councilors had their ears tugged by advocates on topics ranging from street construction to historic preservation, from the trash changes to stricter regulations on massage parlors.
But everyone is most interested in seeing how the council will react and interact with Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr.
As part of a good faith effort at early collaboration, some new city councilors showed up to a press event that everyone could support -- a publicized city of Tulsa food drive championed by the mayor. "I am looking forward to teaming up with the City Councilors Elect to get food on Green Country tables," Barlett said.
So far, all's clear on the mayor-council front, though it's a bit too soon for friction. Generally, outbursts from council chambers -- such as former District 5 City Councilor Chris Trail stomping out of the final council meeting on Dec. 1 -- show passion for certain causes and not systemic, acrimonious relationships with other officials.
We here at UTW will take a wait and see approach: How long will the "Kumbaya" stuff last? How long before the new councilors get fired up over perceived flaws in the system?
It's easy to be polite among strangers.
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