POSTED ON AUGUST 5, 2009:
Writer has questions for city council candidate Maria Barnes
Late last week while mowing my front yard at my home in the Florence Park neighborhood, I was approached by two women going door to door in support of District 4 City Council candidate Maria Barnes. I was first amazed that Barnes' supporters were already canvassing neighborhoods so early in the campaign cycle, and double surprised that they would approach the very person who had mailed out 250 letters to his fellow Florence Park neighbors, advising them of a particular vote Maria Barnes made, during her former term as City Councilor.
Most readers will remember that Maria Barnes lost a re-election battle to current District 4 City Councilor Eric Gomez. It's rare for an incumbent City Councilor to lose a re-election vote, yet Maria Barnes was shunned by her constituent voters, and their votes effectively removed her from office.
Although I don't deserve it, I have been given credit by many, many of my fellow Florence Park neighbors for Maria Barnes defeat. Just prior to her re-election attempt, I wrote a letter addressed to 250 of my fellow neighbors, informing them of Maria Barnes infamous council vote during 2007, where she attempted to keep Tulsa as a "sanctuary city" for those who disrespected the laws of the United States of America, and illegally crossed our border. After the 250 copies of my letter were mailed, former Councilor Maria Barnes lost her re-election vote by fewer than 175 votes, to current City Councilor Eric Gomez.
That infamous vote I informed fellow neighbors of, (those who lacked the time to either attend, or watch the televised City Council Meetings) was the one where then City Councilor Maria Barnes, voted that the City of Tulsa should not adopt a Tulsa policy that follows Oklahoma State House bill 1084 (named the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007). This policy that former Councilor Barnes didn't like was a policy that directed the Tulsa Police Department to conduct immigration status checks, only while they were in the act of taking someone into custody on a felony charge.
Tulsa had slowly slipped into "sanctuary city" status, similar to liberal American cities like San Francisco. Many Tulsans' weren't aware that Tulsa had become a sanctuary city of illegal immigrants, but we had. Tulsa Police officers couldn't inquire as to whether the criminals they were arresting were in fact illegal aliens, who should be reported to ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Maria Barnes was very comfortable with a sanctuary city status, and voted to keep us as a sanctuary city, with that infamous vote.
I watched that particular Tulsa City Council meeting that fateful evening in 2007 in horror, with disbelief that a rational adult who possibly believe that sanctuary city status is in Tulsa, and its citizen's best interest. That very evening, after that disappointing vote, and watching former Councilor Barnes vote without even having the courtesy to explain her vote, I made up my mind that I would educate as many of my fellow neighbors in District 4 as possible, as to what the hidden agenda of Councilor Barnes was all about. Not only was her vote shocking, her lack of explaining the vote displayed a level of cowardice in my opinion.
In the weeks after I mailed those 250 letters to fellow neighbors, I received a response that truly warmed my heart. I received dozens, and dozens of thank yous from neighbors that I would encounter on walks thru the neighborhood with my dogs, and occasional encounters in midtown restaurants and coffee shops. The common response was an expression of deep gratitude by fellow neighbors who do not follow the City Council business as closely as I do. The only negative response I got was from one single neighbor, who informed me that she felt Tulsa's government involves itself into too many people's personal business. One negative response and maybe 50 to 60 expressions of thanks.
Ironically, a few weeks after I sent those copies of my letter, I attended a candidate forum between Maria Barnes and Eric Gomez. Councilor Gomez was asked what he thought of Tulsa Police following House Bill 1084 (which Democratic Governor Brad Henry had signed into law on May 9, 2007), and Gomez proudly supported the majority view that illegal aliens arrested on felony complaints should have their immigration status check by the arresting officers, and reported to ICE.
What was Maria Barnes response to the same question? Barnes stated that she felt Oklahoma House Bill 1084 was "mean spirited," and would not support Tulsa following it. She further stated that she felt that those who have illegally crossed our borders should (and this is a direct, exact, quote I noted during the candidate forum) "get legal." Sorry, but I can't explain what Barnes meant by "get legal," for those who had no respect for the laws and borders of the United States of America.
One final point: back in 2007, many, many constituents of former Councilor Maria Barnes were not aware of her liberal, left-wing support of "sanctuary city" status for our hometown of Tulsa. Barnes kept those views under wraps, only exposed during Council votes that only had a few dozen citizens watching the proceedings, and interested in a public safety issue as important as to whether or not Tulsa would "look the other way" while illegal aliens would drive cars on Tulsa streets, without proper Oklahoma driver's licenses, and compulsory auto liability insurance coverage.
Now, candidate Maria Barnes is proudly displaying on her campaign literature that she does in fact call herself a "progressive". For anyone who is not familiar with the term "progressive," it typically refers to a person who believes the country needs to change to liberal views, and many progressives support an agenda of socialism as opposed to the capitalism that has helped hard working Americans prosper for more than 225 years in the U.S. That's all I'll say about it, as candidate Barnes needs to explain her own claim as to being a "progressive," the same as she needs to explain how illegal aliens who disrespected the laws of America need to "get legal."
Before you go into that voting booth, thoroughly check out the political views of the candidate you are supporting. If you favor "progressive" political views, candidate Maria Barnes has kindly informed us that is what she is. If you don't favor "progressivism", socialism, or other left-wing political views, you ought to consider backing current District 4 City Councilor Eric Gomez.
As in the letter I mentioned sending to fellow neighbors, I'm not telling anyone who to vote for, or which political party to support. My only desire is to inform voters as to exactly what they're voting for. Hopefully, former Councilor Barnes will explain her 2007 vote in detail to Urban Tulsa Weekly's informed voter readers very soon.
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