POSTED ON AUGUST 10, 2011:
A voter information series
This election season, 36 candidates are vying for nine seats on city council. Candidates will duke it out in the primaries on Sept. 13, when the districts with only Republican or Democratic candidates will be decided.
Those who win the primaries will face off on Election Day, Nov. 8.
So what's in each district? What are their unique strengths and weaknesses? Who'll be battling it out in the primaries, and what do they stand for? We intend to tell you as we dig into a district or two each week in our continuing series, Council Connection. Up this week is District 3.
The Lay of the Land
This larger district fits neatly inside the boundaries of Highways 75 (to the west), 169 (east) and 412 (south). This area encompasses the eastern half of north Tulsa, and shares a border with Owasso and Catoosa.
District 3 has a diverse set of constituents, and holds the Tulsa International Airport, most of the Gilcrease Expressway, the Tulsa Zoo and Mohawk Park.
Mohawk Park, the nation's third-largest municipal park, features the Oxley Nature Center, two lakes (Recreation and Yahola), and golf and frolf courses.
Right now, the park is undergoing some serious renovations. A 17-field soccer area is being added and will include lighted and non-lighted fields, sheltered areas, and concessions. According to the city's website, the fields should be done by Fall 2012. The city is currently accepting bids for a soccer field manager.
The residential area of District 3 is concentrated in its southernmost reaches.
This district has the oldest crew of candidates. Incumbent councilor Roscoe Turner is 79 while the youngster of the group, Republican Randall Reese, is 53.
With the exception of Turner, these candidates were difficult to find and didn't have campaign websites or Facebook fan pages, which makes these candidates among the least Internet-savvy of the bunch.
Turner is challenged by fellow Democrat and former District 3 councilor David Patrick, 60, while two Republicans, Reese and David Bell, 66, will compete in the primaries. The winners of the primaries will face off in the November general election for a three-year term.
Incumbent Turner is a retired boiler inspector for the city of Tulsa. He's a lifelong resident of District 3, is married and has seven grown children.
Turner has inspired other budding politicians, such as Phillip Oyler, a District 2 candidate. Michael Bates, local writer and Tulsa know-it-all, said he thinks Turner has been successful at bringing people together, bridging races, parties and different parts of the city.
During his 2008 campaign, however, he came down with pneumonia, got back on the trail too soon and relapsed. Pushing 80 is a tough age to be out knocking doors and stumping for office in the dead heat of an Indian summer.
Turner is involved with the North Tulsa Neighborhood Alliance Economic Development Committee (the longest-winded committee name we've seen in awhile! Say that five times fast.) and the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce.
In 2003, Turner and then-incumbent David Patrick were in a tight race with one another for the District 3 seat, and the initial results indicated that Patrick had won it by only a few votes.
In February 2004, a Tulsa County judge affirmed Patrick's win, but the race didn't end there. Turner was convinced there had been voter fraud, and ultimately appealed the Tulsa County's decision to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. His campaign website said that some of Patrick's votes were from people whose addresses were empty lots.
The higher court ordered a Tulsa judge to hear Turner's case, which resulted in a new election for the contested district. On April 6, 2004, the two candidates went head-to-head again in the special election.
This time, Turner won. Since then, Turner has remained in the District 3 seat. This year, Patrick wants the spot on the council back, and these two long-time competitors will vie for the seat.
In total, Patrick has served three non-concurrent terms in the District 3 seat. He's spent his life in the district, owns and runs Patrick's Auto Service Center (also in the area) and is married with two children.
During his time on the council, he took credit for helping breathe life back into the Rose Bowl, a Tulsa icon on old Route 66, which was converted into a small events center.
On the Republican side of things, we've got Randall Reese, who's also run for public office on the city and state levels. In 2010, he ran for State House District 72 but lost to Democratic incumbent Seneca Scott. He ran for the District 3 seat in 1996 and 1998 and lost.
Reese has served for nearly three decades in the military, where he told UTW he learned "what fighting is" and how to instead approach problems in terms of teamwork. Now, he said, "I don't fight with anybody."
"With all this fighting, it's no wonder we're so polarized between Democrats and Republicans," he said last year.
He's a telecommunications technician who has spent most of his life in the area. He said he'd like to see good blue-collar jobs return to a district that has seen companies leave the area over the years.
Republican David Bell, a retired Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper, is the only newcomer to politics in this district race.
He supports a city manager form of government, and doesn't think our current trash service needs to a change at all. His top priorities are enforcing immigration laws, cutting the city's support for the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and getting more of that good ole city money for the improvement of District 3's streets and side streets projects.
Now District 3 is better known! We've got six districts left to explore before the primaries on Sept. 13. Check back each week to get up close and personal with each of Tulsa's districts and the council candidates.
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