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Tulsa city councilors approve five measures for Aug. 25 election

Posted at 8:26 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 07:29:49-04

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa city councilors approved five measures to appear on the ballot for the Aug. 25 election.

One propositions could clear up lawmaking confusion and create an avenue for one of Tulsa's most controversial symbols to stay.

A simple message, displayed across a downtown Tulsa street that its fate rests in the hands of legal authority.

"Is this a public use that fits well within this destination district? Does that make this place unique among all of the streets within Tulsa?," questioned District 4 City Councilor Kara Joy McKee.

Its legality and the authority are the focal points from city councilors in this election year.

"It's giving Tulsans, via their elected representatives in the city council, the opportunity to weigh in on who that person is," said Dr. Matt Motta, an assistant professor of political science at Oklahoma State University.

Here are the five propositions on the upcoming election ballet:

  • Proposition 1 entails deleting any reference to primary (partisan) elections
  • Proposition 2 asks voters about replacing gender-specific pronouns with gender-neutral pronouns and words
  • Proposition 3 includes the removal of members of authorities, boards or commissions
  • Proposition 4 on the election ballot asks voters to decide if city council should have a say in who the mayor appoints as city attorney
  • Proposition 5 asks voters to make it known the legal appointee isn't the end-all-be-all

"Our city attorney is not an elected official and does not have veto power over the mayor and the city council and we need to clear up that confusion," McKee said.

In changes to city charter or law, the city attorney approves ordinances based on their legality and lends a recommendation to councilors, but the buck stops there.

No language in the charter states what comes next.

McKee told 2 Works for You it's up to the elected officials.

"It's the attorney's job to let us know exactly what the law says right now and then our job to figure out if this is what the law should say going forward," she said.

According to City Attorney David O'Meilia, the law right now says street paintings are only allowed for safety reasons. The Black Lives Matter mural in the historic Greenwood District allows everyone to paint on city streets. McKee said that law could be painted over soon.

READ MORE: Decision on hold about future of Black Lives Matter mural in Greenwood District

"We are the lawmakers and if we change the law than the advice that the attorney gave us based on what the law said may not be what the law says. We can change that," she said. "The mural on Greenwood may very well be that kind of instance."

Mckee said the challenge comes in keeping Pandora's box closed to all acts of free speech on public streets.

She said establishing the mural as a standalone symbol of Greenwood could be the key.

McKee said they'll discuss possibilities for keeping the Black Lives Matter mural in Greenwood during the city's public works meeting on Wednesday.

For information about the Tulsa mayoral candidate forum ---> CLICK HERE

To learn more about the Tulsa mayor candidates ---> CLICK HERE

For more on the upcoming election next week ---> CLICK HERE

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