Saturday, August 24, 2019

Tulsa Mayor Bynum: "I don’t jump into the fray on state initiative petitions"

File this under A Tale of Two Cities Mayors.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum weighed in the other day on the initiative petition that aims to stop permitless/Constitutional carry from going into law. His position? Not that of fellow Republican Mayor David Holt of Oklahoma City, who signed the petition.

Bynum won't jump in on the petition. Commenting about his aim to work as a bridge-builder among a diverse set of viewpoints and political positions, Bynum said "I don’t jump into the fray on state initiative petitions" or other political dividing lines, as it could negatively impact his efforts in city government.

Read his full statement below:

Bynum wrote:
Please pardon me for a lengthy but important aside. Some things don’t fit in sound bites...

When I ran for mayor, I pledged to the citizens of Tulsa that I would focus on bringing our city together to focus on our greatest challenges. We’ve done that, and I am incredibly proud of the way Tulsans have gone about it. Racial disparities, LGBTQ rights, welcoming immigrants, police/community relations, 1921 graves - these are all potential controversies but we are being transparent and working as a community to address them.

And we’re working together on basic municipal issue areas too. We have a bipartisan City Council working with a bipartisan Mayor’s Office as a team - an approach we haven’t historically enjoyed in Tulsa. The City and the County are working as a team - most notably during the recent flood. Tulsa and our suburbs are working as a team to grow our economy - we’re excited about Milo’s Tea in Owasso and the outlet mall in Jenks.

How do we do work together in such an unprecedented way on issues that historically were avoided due to controversy? My approach as mayor has been that we do that by picking our fights.

We recognize that good Tulsans voted for different gubernatorial candidates last year, and good Tulsans will vote for different presidential candidates next year.

Good people disagree. And it becomes harder and harder to work together if you continually point out your disagreements.

So if you’re in a job like mine, you focus on the things you can really make a difference on - and you bring together people who otherwise disagree on the other stuff to fix those things within your purview. You sacrifice your right to express your opinion on every issue in service to the job you’ve been given.

So, I know it makes some of my friends angry that I don’t weigh in on every Trump or AOC tweet. I don’t sign a group letter telling Jim Inhofe and James Lankford how they should vote on a bill in the US Senate. I don’t jump into the fray on state initiative petitions.

As a citizen, you should feel free to do all of these things. As a citizen, I have opinions on all of them too. But as mayor, I have a responsibility to pull our city together so we can move it forward.

Some think this is playing politics. Hate to break the news to those analysts, but the politics on all of these issues is pretty simple in Oklahoma. If that’s what I cared about, I’d just go with the flow.

But I love Tulsa like most people love their mom. I’ve got 473 days left in the term you gave me to channel the passion and energy of every Tulsan into making this the best city we can make it. And “every Tulsan” means all you awesome folks who are upset with one another about these other issues. We need your help in making this a safer city, a city of opportunity for everybody, a city we will be proud to leave to our kids.

I post this because it has become an issue in the last week, and I see it only getting more frequent as we head into next year’s national elections. I want you to know why I am doing what I’m doing. Feel free to disagree with my approach, but I hope you can at least see the reasoning behind it.

Most importantly: I hope you’ll join me in trying to make Tulsa a better place.


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