Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Todd Huston's Game

I don't have anything against the "No" on Vision 2025 Campaign in Tulsa - they have a right to argue their case. I don't agree with them - but that's OK. But now the small group of people in Tulsa that oppose the Vision 2025 projects have tried to take the debate outside the realm of civic discussion and off to the courts. Their intent is obviously to stop the vote - and that is not OK.

The Tulsa NO campaign apparently got former Tulsa City Councilman Todd Huston to file a desperation lawsuit against the upcoming vote. The suit could prevent the people of Tulsa County from voting on the issue. The suit claims "logrolling", or putting several different issues in one vote. Todd Houston has reportedly enlisted the aid of Gary Richardson, the rich personal injury attorney that ran unsuccessfully for Governor last year, to help with the lawsuit.

I don't think this suit is about logrolling. If it was, the suit would have been filed weeks ago and not at the 11th hour - the language of the vote has been known for months. This is really an attempt to stop a vote because the opponents now believe they are going to lose the vote. This is an overused anti-democratic tactic that losers in our democratic system use to overturn a majority vote or to stop one from happening. We have seen this in the Oklahoma cockfighters attempts to reverse the peoples' vote to ban their cruel "sport" and we see it in California with a mid-term recall vote on the Governor. Now we see this sort of poor democratic sportsmanship in Tulsa by the anti-Vision group. This sort of gamesmanship is reprehensible and should not be used to stop the people from exercising their will.

This attempt to hijack the election not only endangers democracy but it has the very real potential of scaring Boeing off from investing in Tulsa. At the very least it makes recruiting Boeing that much more difficult. If , heaven forbid, this game did cost Tulsa thousands of high-paying aviation jobs I think Todd Houston and the group he fronts for should have to tell each and every person without a job just why they thought their actions were justified.

I hope the proponents of Vision 2025 will expose Huston's move for the political gamesmanship it is. The people won't like having their right to decide denied them.

Sidenote: There is nothing at all wrong with running for elected office and losing. I admire people who tilt against the wind even if it is for a seemingly hopeless cause. People who run for election and lose have more moral authority to speak out than those who don't run for elective office or don't vote. That said, I cannot help but notice that every single leader I can think of in the NO campaign in Tulsa has run for office recently and been defeated. I don't know if the issues they were defeated on relate directly to the Vision 2025 projects but they might want to reflect on that possibility.

No comments: