City Hall has been "standing still" instead of taking advantage of opportunities that would improve most residents' lives, former Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor said Tuesday as she tried to convince voters she deserves a second shot at the city's top office.
"I'm troubled by the inability to lead at City Hall," Taylor, a Democrat, said during a speech at the Tulsa Press Club. "Politics and partisanship do not belong" in city government.
Taylor criticized the budget delivered to city councilors last week by the current mayor, Republican Dewey Bartlett.
Coming in at around $711 million, the budget is the largest in the city's history and far more than the $566 million budget Taylor delivered in her last year in office. During that time, the country was still reeling from a recession and operating funds for the city of 400,000 were scarce.
"What we see is a new dynamic: doing less with more, not doing more with less," said Taylor, who also criticized Bartlett's proposed budget as "borrowing from Tulsa's future."
Bartlett's campaign manager, Dan Patten, refuted those claims, saying Bartlett rescued a city that was in financial turmoil.
"When he took office, Tulsa was in pretty bad shape," Patten said. "Bartlett went to work, made tough decisions and now Tulsa's doing much better and we're moving forward."
The election is June 11.
Since leaving office in early 2010 — citing a disdain for party politics and personal agendas — Taylor has completed a fellowship at Harvard University, practiced law and served as an education adviser to former Gov. Brad Henry.
Until she entered the campaign for mayor, some had considered her a potential candidate for Congress or governor, or the presidency at the University of Tulsa.
Taylor said she wanted a second shot because she missed "the interaction with citizens and the ability to make a difference in people's lives."
Taylor's credited with restoring downtown and delivering the city's downtown arena, improving public safety and fixing streets during her one term as mayor before her abrupt exit from politics.
Copyright The Associated Press