TULSA - Mayor Dewey Bartlett says he won't announce yet whether he plans to veto a measure that would rename Brady Street in downtown Tulsa because he doesn't want to influence anyone's decision.
However, he made it clear he feels the issue is a "huge distraction. Huge distraction... and in my view, a very unnecessary distraction."
He would have preferred the matter had been handled in the spirit of reconciliation, rather than confrontation.
"If there was ever something that would have been a perfect subject to use for reconciliation, it was that particular issue," he said, saying he mentioned the existence of John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park as a way to somehow find a way to get both sides together on a plan that both faces the city's history, and embraces the future.
Tulsa had one of the worst race riots in the nation's history in 1921 in which at least 300 people died.
Some people believe Wyatt Tate Brady, a founder of Tulsa, took a very active role in the riot and was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
They want the name of Brady Street changed, but business owners in the Brady Arts District have made it clear they have no plans to rename the area.
Mayor Bartlett, meanwhile, says even if the council votes for a new name, nothing will really change.
"What does it really accomplish? Once it's over with, once everything's done, whatever it might be, we've now evolved into a fairly charged atmosphere and no matter who wins or loses, nobody wins."