What the heck are you thinking?
Posted on November 8, 2011
Several months ago, I sat on my couch, frustrated by my inability to get out and about. A large snow storm had forced Tulsa to stay inside and I was getting a nasty case of cabin fever. As I read through articles in The Tulsa World, I was frustrated to learn of yet another instance of disrespect and negative grandstanding from some of our elected leaders. There was a discussion to be had about the best ways to clear our streets, but instead of coming together to solve problems that affected our way of life, they took shots at each other and took advantage of yet another opportunity to fight
This wasn’t new, it was just the latest in a series of “back and forths” between The Mayor’s office and the Council. The public was forced to read between the lines of the local paper to try to determine just who was at fault. Some picked sides. Some posted on message boards and TulsaWorld.com comment sections. Some stopped caring altogether. Some blogged. Some had meetings. Regardless, in the midst of our freezing temperatures outside, the public was getting hot and it was only a matter of time until the boiling over began.
Out of that frustration, some things came to life. Tulsa+, a non political non-profit was formed to try to balance all the negative with reminders of all of the good in Tulsa. Several political action committees were formed to influence change and a new slate of would be City Councilors threw their hats in the ring. I chose to run. I couldn’t sit by and watch when I felt like I could help.
In the time since, I’ve knocked on thousands of doors, made at least as many phone calls, attended block parties and debates, and worked daily to earn the votes of my District 4 neighbors.
The question I’ve been asked the most? It’s not about our charter changes. It’s not about our trash service. It’s not about PLANiTULSA. The questions I get asked the most: “What the heck are you thinking? Why on earth would you want to be a City Councilor?”
I’ll tell you why. When my family moved to Tulsa (12th and Winston Ave) from Coweta in the early 90′s, I thought it was the greatest place in the world. Having lived in Fairfax, Foyil, and Coweta, I only knew the rural life. I didn’t know multi-story buildings and stoplights. I know of barn parties and pot luck lunches and ice cream socials. I know of hay mazes and cow chips. Tulsa might as well have been New York. I remember being mystified by The Camelot hotel, which was already vacant at the time. What must be inside that magical castle in the big city? Before, I had only known of it as we drove through Tulsa on the way to visit my grandparents in Midwest City.
I grew up in midtown, loving every minute of it. I ate breakfast at Tally’s and played in Braden Park. I used to walk up 11th street and hang out in the video store at 11th and Vandalia and play around in the antique stores and over the years, I grew to love this city even more, especially it’s older part of town. I loved the architecture, the mature trees, and its parks. More than that, I loved its potential. Even as a kid, I often dreamed of what buildings and streets could look like.
Later, my parents moved us to South Tulsa. I commuted back to Nathan Hale High School and spent my free time galavanting around a mostly empty downtown. One of my favorite haunts was The Eclipse, an all ages dive on 6th St. in The Pearl District.
I even chose to work at Spaghetti Warehouse, one of downtown’s only restaurants, nearly 12 miles away from 71st Street’s string of restaurants in my own back yard. I wanted to be a part of the city. I loved it. I remember getting off of work and driving around downtown Tulsa with the top of my Jeep down, dreaming of what it could be if people just cared to bring it back to life. I used to sneak in to the old Tribune building and imagine new uses for it (don’t tell anybody). I was delighted when I learned that it would be lofts apartments. It meant there was hope.
Over the years, I traveled around, changed jobs a few times, lived in different parts of town (I’ve lived in Districts 2,4,5,7, and 8), and met the girl of my dreams. One thing never changed. I always loved Tulsa. I always wanted it to be the best it could be.
As I got older, I was able to be an active part of helping my city to achieve its potential. It’s my dream come true. I’m the luckiest guy you know. I live my boyhood dreams on the streets of downtown Tulsa every day. I get to create for a living. I get to invest my time, money, and energy in to the people and places of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
So you ask, “Why in the world would I want to run for City Council?” It’s easy. I’m in love with Tulsa. I want it to be the greatest city in the world. I want to help make it that way. It’s not a burden. It would be my pleasure.
Today, you can help. You can vote for me to represent you, my friends and neighbors, at City Hall. If you haven’t voted yet, please vote for me. I won’t let you down. I’ll care as much as I always have and I’ll pour my heart in to it the way I have my restaurants.
Thanks for reading and thanks for caring.