The Path Forward: Tulsa Star’s Guide to Tulsa’s Mayoral Candidates

by Executive Editor Timantha Norman

Tulsa has been thrust into the national spotlight in recent years on the heels of the 100-year anniversary of the worst instance of racial terror to ever take place on American soil during one of the most unique times in our nation’s contemporary history. With this as the backdrop, the citizens of Tulsa will be entering voting booths citywide on August 25th to select the person who will lead the city during these tumultuous times. The varied field of candidates vying for the top position in the city has made for one of the most fascinating mayoral races in recent history.

We asked all of the candidates running for the position of Tulsa’s next mayor to give their thoughts on a variety of issues related to the state of Black affairs in the city:

G. T. Bynum

G. T. Bynum’s campaign did not return a questionnaire.

Craig Immel

The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 had a massive impact on the Black community not only when it comes to the devastating loss of life but also as it relates to the financial loss. Do you support financial reparations being made to the descendents of the 1921 Race Massacre?

Yes, because it is the right thing to do. As Mayor of Tulsa, an early order of business would be to initiate discussions with the Black community, including, ideally, direct descendants of the original claimants to mutually determine what financial reparations could and should look like. 

What are your plans around addressing the educational inequities that currently exist for Black, Brown, and indigenous children in our city’s public school system?

I am of the belief that much of the inequality in educational outcomes is a result of the income and wealth disparities that exist in Tulsa’s Black communities. It is (or should be) common knowledge in Tulsa that decades of racial segregation, redlining, and underinvestment in predominantly Black communities has resulted in entire areas of Tulsa being left out of Tulsa’s occasional spurts of economic growth. The levels of economic activity, values of residential and commercial properties, and the ability to attract and retain teachers in various parts of town all play an important role in school funding and educational outcomes. I believe that Tulsa needs to significantly increase investments in neighborhoods that are experiencing the greatest wealth and income inequities. We need to be doing everything in our power to increase access to affordable capital to provide the Black community, and others around Tulsa, with more and better opportunities to become homeowners, commercial property owners and developers, and business owners. We need to invest in making sure that our Black friends and neighbors have every opportunity to acquire the valuable job and trade skills, business and financial acumen, and reliable and just public safety. We need to help build and improve our most vulnerable communities from the ground up while assisting them with earning truly middle-class incomes and building equity in their homes, businesses, and neighborhoods. As the wealth of the communities around our schools increases, I believe that the current educational inequities will begin to subside, creating more and better opportunities over time. 

Do you support community-led independent oversight for the city’s police department? If so, what steps would your administration take to make this a reality?

Yes. TPD should have a healthy level of citizen oversight just as any other taxpayer funded municipal service should. I would encourage the Black community to continue to lead all Tulsans in calling for more and higher levels of accountability of TPD. As Mayor, I would prioritize meaningful, independent citizen oversight of TPD in the next, and all subsequent, contract negotiations with the FOP.

How will your administration bring meaningful economic opportunity and empowerment to historically marginalized communities in Tulsa?

I will start by striving to create a new homeownership program for Tulsa’s Black residents who have historically been shut out of the opportunity to build generational wealth due to formerly legal, institutional practices of mortgage redlining and racially restrictive zoning and covenants. This would be structured as a privately funded, but publicly backed, mortgage loan guarantee. It would include making additional funds available for any required and cost-effective renovations. This type of program would tap into the available capital of community-minded local banks and the City guarantee would allow the private lenders the confidence and ability to lend funds with lower down payments and lower interest rates. This would be similar to the type of access to mortgage and other financial products that white Tulsans have enjoyed while our Black friends and neighbors struggled to access preferable mortgage terms. In addition, my administration would spearhead a jobs and skills training program focused on building trades, construction management, property development principles, and real estate project finance to help empower marginalized communities to reimagine, improve, build, and develop the type of neighborhoods they want to live, work, and play in.

The Black Lives Matter movement has been brought into the public spotlight once again on the heels of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd in addition to the continued fight around unresolved justice when it comes to the death of Terence Crutcher locally. What are your thoughts on the BLM movement and the struggle against police brutality?

I am personally inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. The movement has done a fantastic job of keeping matters of racial injustice in the spotlight nationwide by enlisting the support of millions of Americans from all backgrounds, and, perhaps most importantly, doing all of this while remaining non-violent and clearly disavowing those who might discredit BLM’s peaceful movement by engaging in violence. When struggling against something as terrible as police brutality, it must be all the more difficult to remain peaceful at all times. BLM’s non-violence stance has been one of the key factors in its success, in my opinion. I hope the BLM movement eventually works its way out of a job, so to speak. Not because I disagree with BLM but because I am looking forward to a time when people of color are treated with equality in all areas of the law, policing, and society in general. 

What are your plans around providing food security in areas of our city, such as North Tulsa, that have experienced what amounts to food apartheid for decades?

Food security is an important issue to me, especially in these times of pandemic as the vulnerabilities in our traditional food production and distribution systems have been further exposed and exacerbated. I currently see Tulsa’s food deserts as a three part problem with a three part solution: 

First, similar to the economic conditions I described regarding schools, the underlying economics of Tulsa’s predominantly Black neighborhoods are not healthy, mostly due to lower than average individual and household incomes. It is really difficult to attract retailers to lower-income neighborhoods. I think this has been evidenced by all the grocers that have moved out of the poorer neighborhoods over the years. This is as true for West Tulsa and parts of East Tulsa as it is for North Tulsa. Margins for grocers are some of the lowest of any retail sector and the current costs of land and commercial construction simply make development of new grocery stores too difficult to pencil out. Part of this underlying income and wealth disparity can be reduced over time by making improvements to the economic fundamentals in these areas of town. 

Second, I have come to believe that we need to focus on getting back to local, neighborhood scale development patterns. I believe our society is shifting back toward a preference for smaller neighborhood retailers that can sell fresh, healthy, locally produced foods within a short walk of home. Smaller stores can be developed within our existing urban development patterns and can be achieved much more cost-effectively than through the development of new, large stores. 

Finally, in many areas of Tulsa, we have a lot of excess land that is currently underutilized. I would like to implement a new strategy of developing urban farms to produce healthy local foods that can nourish Tulsans that need it the most, as well as create jobs and business opportunities for people in the community wanting to get into the growing industry of urban agriculture. 

As highlighted in the Tulsa Equality Indicators report, there is a significant gap in life expectancy for Black Tulsans when compared to the rest of the city’s residents. What are your plans around improving our health outcomes?

As with our disparities in educational outcomes and food security, I see the disparities in health and wellness as a result of the underlying bad economic conditions of our most vulnerable communities. We have to do more to invest in building the economy of North Tulsa, as well as the forgotten areas of West Tulsa and East Tulsa that have been left behind. Frankly, Tulsa’s challenges with education, food security, housing, and health are all related. We need to take a holistic, comprehensive approach to addressing them all at once. We must be smarter about developing the economic development strategies we need to move Tulsa forward. It is not enough, as the current Mayor likes to brag, to pass tens of millions of dollars worth of investments in Gilcrease Museum and Amazon and claim to be making a meaningful investment in growing the economy of North Tulsa. My mayoral administration would be focused on prioritizing the needs of people and providing a level playing field for equality of economic opportunity for all Tulsans.  

Tulsa has had a very tumultuous history as it relates to race relations. What are your thoughts on the racial divide in the city and what are some ways that your administration plans to tackle this issue?

When I was much younger, I used to see the racial divide as simply unfortunate. However, with experience and greater understanding of how our city came to be this way, I became very unhappy about how it happened, but also angry that the systems that caused the racial divide have been allowed to perpetuate into 2020. It is simply unacceptable to continue down this path, especially for an up-and-coming city that is striving to put its best foot forward on the global stage. But, worst of all, it is simply wrong, unfair, and unjust. We have to correct our course immediately. 

First of all, the City of Tulsa needs to adopt, as official policy, that Black Lives Matter. The concept, the words, all of it. 

Second, we must demand that our police force serve and protect all Tulsans equally and understand that Tulsa’s citizens will have independent oversight over TPD.

Third, and at risk of sounding like a broken record, we must make meaningful, immediate, and long-term investments in the Black community to make real progress toward economic growth and equality. I believe this will accrue to lessening disparities in education, food security, health and wellness. 

Ken Reddick

Ken Reddick’s campaign did not return a questionnaire.

Greg Robinson II

The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 had a massive impact on the Black community not only when it comes to the devastating loss of life but also as it relates to the financial loss. Do you support financial reparations being made to the descendents of the 1921 Race Massacre?

Yes, I support financial reparations for the survivors and descendants of the Massacre. Although I deeply regret that the City of Tulsa is nearly 100 years late,  I am grateful that we live in a time and have the will to repair the harm inflicted upon our community a century ago.

What are your plans around addressing the educational inequities that currently exist for Black, Brown, and indigenous children in our city’s public school system?

There is no silver bullet to solving inequities in education. These intractable problems require innovative solutions. While the municipal government does not have the direct role of funding or governing public schools, an active approach by the mayor’s office will create additional opportunities to level the playing field for every Tulsan that walks through the education system. Chronic absenteeism is one area where I as mayor will work with schools and nonprofits to ensure students in the region are fully prepared to learn in the classroom. We will remedy chronic absenteeism through authentic relationship-building with families rather than utilizing punitive measures. Instead of further stigmatizing families dealing with various socioeconomic barriers, the mayor’s office will work to strengthen the relationship between students, their families, and the schools they attend. By encouraging school systems to utilize a wraparound approach to parent outreach that will include home visits, additional academic support, and proactive safety planning with highly trained counselors for families with exceptional needs.

Do you support community-led independent oversight for the city’s police department? If so, what steps would your administration take to make this a reality?

I do support community-led independent oversight. We know the data proves that oversight works to build faith in law enforcement and deepen positive relationships between our dedicated public servants and everyday Tulsans. 

How will your administration bring meaningful economic opportunity and empowerment to historically marginalized communities in Tulsa?

At the community level, we must invest in community wealth building through implementing a model of local development with community development corporations (CDCs), community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and community land trusts (CLTs) at the core. Gone are the days of only developing with “Golden Corridors” in mind. In its place will be community-driven development that ensures every corner of Tulsa, whether West, North, East, or South, is an attractive place to thrive. At the individual level, we must invest in our people. Whether that is through providing strong college and career-ready education or investing in local entrepreneurs, the way to grow economic success in Tulsa is by supporting our neighbors. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has been brought into the public spotlight once again on the heels of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd in addition to the continued fight around unresolved justice when it comes to the death of Terence Crutcher locally. What are your thoughts on the BLM movement and the struggle against police brutality?

The Black Lives Matter movement is one organization in a long line fighting for justice. They stand on the shoulders of organizations like the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Groups of citizens dedicating themselves to the cause of justice for all helps us create a more perfect union. 

What are your plans around providing food security in areas of our city, such as North Tulsa, that have experienced what amounts to food apartheid for decades?

One of the social determinants of health is access to quality food. It is unacceptable that families across Tulsa do not have access to a grocery store. Through aggressive financial incentive packages, local sourcing and public-private partnerships, I will continue working with community leaders to bring oases to our food deserts.

As highlighted in the Tulsa Equality Indicators report, there is a significant gap in life expectancy for Black Tulsans when compared to the rest of the city’s residents. What are your plans around improving our health outcomes?

Thanks to the hard work of the Tulsa Health Department and other leaders in medicine in Tulsa, the life expectancy gap is shrinking. However, any advancement we can make to lengthen the number of weeks a grandmother can dance with her granddaughter or an uncle can shoot free throws with his nephew is a top priority for my administration. We can magnify the positive effects of the medical trials and case studies by bringing those best practices to scale. 

Tulsa has had a very tumultuous history as it relates to race relations. What are your thoughts on the racial divide in the city and what are some ways that your administration plans to tackle this issue?

For years, anecdotal experiences have pointed to a “Tale of Two Cities.” Data from Resilient Tulsa and the Equality Indicators show in black and white that we are indeed a divided city. Indigenous children are more likely to experience chronic absenteeism. Black children are more likely to be suspended from school. Latinx families are least likely to have health insurance. This cannot stand. A person’s race or geography should not be a determinant of their success. As mayor, I will go beyond studying these problems–I will employ the resources at my disposal to close these disparities.

Paul Tay

The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 had a massive impact on the Black community not only when it comes to the devastating loss of life but also as it relates to the financial loss. Do you support financial reparations being made to the descendents of the 1921 Race Massacre?

Yes. As the only candidate trained as a US Marine Corps officer at Quantico Base, VA, my inclination is to establish the strategic vision based on community input, make decisions, and delegate details to operational task forces. I have already prepared the executive order to establish the Mayor’s Reparations Task Force to work out details for my approval.

What are your plans around addressing the educational inequities that currently exist for Black, Brown, and indigenous children in our city’s public school system?

As a person of color, Chinese, I understand what it is like to be left out and denied opportunities. I have already prepared the executive order to establish the Mayor’s Interns and Mentors Program to provide real-life, supervised working experiences within various City departments for school-aged kids.

Do you support community-led independent oversight for the city’s police department? If so, what steps would your administration take to make this a reality?

Yes. From personal experience, heavily armed police officers on the scene far too often simply escalate tense situations. They have little moral authority beyond the use of force, fear, and intimidation. I see the real need for the community to develop policies on how police are deployed, which officers will be deployed, and how to hold individual officers accountable. The manner in which police officers are deployed shouldn’t be determined by union contracts. I am the only candidate independent enough to execute the executive order to establish the Mayor’s Task Force on Independent Oversight.

With a much broader policy perspective, I intend to use the enormous legal resources to challenge the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act. The War on Drugs corrupted police and was a colossal failure. Drug abuse should be considered a public health issue, not a criminal one.

How will your administration bring meaningful economic opportunity and empowerment to historically marginalized communities in Tulsa?

For such a large undertaking, the mayor’s role is to establish baseline strategic vision with community input. Far too often, Tulsa mayors have only historically shown up in marginalized communities once every four years to solicit votes without the requisite, innate understanding of marginalized communities. They spend far too much time chasing pipe dreams of landing some big, disconnected, out-of-state corporations, only to land yet another dud. The strategy to engage with big corporations is a colossal failure, paid for by marginalized communities.

Since 2002, I have been committed to marginalized communities, as I am from a third world country myself, Burma. My family invested in North Tulsa. Everyday, I am completely immersed in the differences between 36th/S. Florence and 36th St. N./Peoria. I am already understanding the very real needs.  I just need the proper platform to address issues of inequality, of which I have been routinely blocked from.

The Black Lives Matter movement has been brought into the public spotlight once again on the heels of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd in addition to the continued fight around unresolved justice when it comes to the death of Terence Crutcher locally. What are your thoughts on the BLM movement and the struggle against police brutality?

In the aftermath of Trayvon Martin, I organized the movement to rename Brady.  During City Council discussions, I remarked that there will be a day of reckoning.  

What are your plans around providing food security in areas of our city, such as North Tulsa, that have experienced what amounts to food apartheid for decades?

Executive order prepared directing Director of Parks Department to grow food, not lawn, at all City parks as urban farm food forests. $20 million is currently budgeted to grow bermuda grass, not corn, squash, or beans. Another executive order would be prepared to compost food waste for individual urban farmers.

As highlighted in the Tulsa Equality Indicators report, there is a significant gap in life expectancy for Black Tulsans when compared to the rest of the city’s residents. What are your plans around improving our health outcomes?

Executive order to encourage and support urban farming, where landscapers are retrained to grow food as foodscapers, not lawn. Encourage more Black people to eat healthier foods and overcome the historical slavery stigma of farming.

Tulsa has had a very tumultuous history as it relates to race relations. What are your thoughts on the racial divide in the city and what are some ways that your administration plans to tackle this issue?

As a person of color, I am highly invested. Recently, I filed a lawsuit in the Oklahoma Supreme Court to stop removal of the Black Lives Matter street mural. They’ve agreed to hear the case and make a ruling:  https://www.oscn.net/dockets/GetCaseInformation.aspx?db=appellate&number=O-118960&cmid=128589&fbclid=IwAR1aG-w0-LHeC-llzgOyuSEfoftnhn-fK_V4EI2WmgEC8pO1cHjbeAnPHBM

Consistent with the Marine Corps organizational doctrine, I intend to hire three Deputy Mayors (one Black, one white, and one Latino) to make very real executive decisions on all policy matters of the City. Different individuals from different racial groups bring vastly different perspectives to the very necessary conversations needed to close the racial divide. Those conversations need to happen everyday on every policy matter.  #RaceMatters #RealTalk

Ty Walker

The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 had a massive impact on the Black community not only when it comes to the devastating loss of life but also as it relates to the financial loss. Do you support financial reparations being made to the descendents of the 1921 Race Massacre?

No. However, if anything should be done, it should be done on the federal level.

What are your plans around addressing the educational inequities that currently exist for Black, Brown, and indigenous children in our city’s public school system?

Education is the center-point of any community. When you have strong, quality schools, it is appealing to those looking to move into a new community. I want to work with the local and state educational systems to ensure a success network and collaborative effort between the City, K-12 public and private educational institutions, and post-secondary educational institutions. My education plan includes:

  • City-wide education taskforce that would include leadership from the public schools, private schools, charter schools, virtual schools, and post-secondary schools that operate in the City of Tulsa.
  • An administration staffer to serve as a liaison dedicated to educational success within the city. 
  • Expand the City-public school partnership moving beyond literacy.
  • Have representation at all TPS Board of Education meetings.

Do you support community-led independent oversight for the city’s police department? If so, what steps would your administration take to make this a reality?

No, I do not. Why would we want to put new oversight over the same system? The system needs to be changed. The system needs to be changed to allow the mayor and Chief of Police to have full capabilities to fire and reprimand officers, as well as enact new policies and procedures without litigation from the union. We need to free the City’s hands from the strong-hold of the police union.

How will your administration bring meaningful economic opportunity and empowerment to historically marginalized communities in Tulsa?

As we look to make Tulsa an essential hub for business and economic growth, it is imperative that we have a plan that starts with the backbone of this city: local, small business owners. I will take a smart, conservative approach to create an environment in Tulsa conducive to growth and prosperity that includes citizen participation.

No Side of Tulsa Left Behind Initiative: Tulsa’s Economic Empowerment Plan

Economic Development

I plan to increase city growth through strategic economic development. This means providing development opportunities in underserved and underpopulated areas of our community. Because certain areas of our city have been neglected, it has caused financial strains on the rest of the city. By strategically focusing on developing the neglected areas of Tulsa, we will empower all of Tulsa to thrive economically:

  • Diversifying development opportunities
  • Establish flexible development participation opportunities in underdeveloped areas of Tulsa
  • Ensure communities are active participants in their community’s development

Small Business Support

Local, small businesses are vital to Tulsa as they are the fundamental building block of our economy. That is why it is crucial that Tulsa has a robust support system for its small business owners and entrepreneurs. We want a city that provides beneficial support to small businesses as equally as it does to large corporations and tech giants:

  • Create and disperse small business tax incentives, credits, and exemptions
  • Expand opportunities to service-based businesses
  • Cut unnecessary city licenses and business requirements
  • Create a local, small business grant

Working to put citizens back to work

When citizens are working, our economy thrives. Working citizens directly support businesses and indirectly support our education system. When citizens are gainfully employed, they are economically empowered:

  • Expand workforce development opportunities for individuals by increasing partnerships with the City
  • Provide economic incentives to business owners for workforce development

Advocate to diversify municipal funding

When cities are able to have multiple revenue stream options, cities are able to reduce costs and operate efficiently. This allows for better funding for our public safety agencies, infrastructure, and transportation, which in turn strengthens our economic empowerment in the state and regionally.

The Black Lives Matter movement has been brought into the public spotlight once again on the heels of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd in addition to the continued fight around unresolved justice when it comes to the death of Terence Crutcher locally. What are your thoughts on the BLM movement and the struggle against police brutality?

I do not support nor agree with the organization. The fight for police brutality has been around from the start. I think this will continue to be an issue because hatred is a heart issue and you cannot legislate hate. The issue is accountability and responsibility, which is why we have to change the policing system so that accountability can be back in the control of the citizens via the mayor and the Chief of Police.

What are your plans around providing food security in areas of our city, such as North Tulsa, that have experienced what amounts to food apartheid for decades?

That is done through economic development and enabling the community to empower themselves. We empower the community through self-employment, business ownership, and entrepreneurship. My economic empowerment plan includes that. Once we are empowered economically, the food insecurities will be taken care of naturally through the financial growth of the community.

As highlighted in the Tulsa Equality Indicators report, there is a significant gap in life expectancy for Black Tulsans when compared to the rest of the city’s residents. What are your plans around improving our health outcomes?

Continue to foster working relationships with our local health system. I want to empower citizens to take control of their health.

Tulsa has had a very tumultuous history as it relates to race relations. What are your thoughts on the racial divide in the city and what are some ways that your administration plans to tackle this issue?

I am the only candidate in this race that has lived on both sides of the tracks. Therefore, I have the experience of dealing with multiple races and people from all walks of life, have a fundamental understanding of various races, and, through our family-owned restaurants, created an environment that welcomes everyone. Before any candidate talks about bridging racial gaps, they need to have walked the walk. I am the only candidate that has.

Zachri Whitlow

The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 had a massive impact on the Black community not only when it comes to the devastating loss of life but also as it relates to the financial loss. Do you support financial reparations being made to the descendents of the 1921 Race Massacre?

Yes, I do. I believe that financial assistance is imperative to indemnifying the Black community that lost their businesses, homes, and stolen personal property.

What are your plans around addressing the educational inequities that currently exist for Black, Brown, and indigenous children in our city’s public school system?

I plan on implementing neighborhood indoor food grow operations that will teach kids how to manage a farm that is indoors in a controlled environment that will produce food 24/7.  Teach a kid to grow indoors and feed them forever.  I plan on making it a priority that all kids around the Food Desert Zone are not deprived of food or technology. Raspberry Pi micro computers and Blockchain technology are the future and Tulsa’s kids need to be focused on this type of curriculum. Any child without healthy food, a mold-free shelter, Raspberry Pi, or internet connection is quite frankly an abused child. 

Do you support community-led independent oversight for the city’s police department? If so, what steps would your administration take to make this a reality?

I support accountability and transparency while respecting human dignity. As I read the title “Building Trust & Legitimacy,” I thought, good lord, we need a serious paradigm shift on the entire word “police.” If I had to relate the 77 recommendations under six pillars to a beverage, I would have to call it “watered down lemonade.”  To be frank, the Tulsa Police department dropped the ball back during the 1921 Race Riots and still, 99 years later, they are still trying to “build trust & legitimacy.” The Tulsa police system broke down when those white officers did not pursue any investigations for the Massacre in 1921. It’s obvious as the sun shines from the sky everyday why: because it was racist cops who participated.  

Let’s label the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre as a “crisis” for innocent Black citizens and they say don’t let a crisis go to waste. Learn from the mistakes, move on, and find the wisdom or lesson to be learned so we don’t have to endure the experience again. Good ideas come from bad situations. However, through all of this, part of the process of forgiveness is to repair the damage done. When the Tulsa Police Department never pursued justice for the murders and arsen, including aerial bombings from airplanes from some real racist idiots, then that was their way of saying certain people are above the law and then decades and decades compounded the disillusionment of “good cops.”

So looking forward we need a mayor that can bring all Tulsans together that has not only book smarts, but also street smarts.  My father taught me many lessons and my stepfather taught me how to live with a man who was 100% disabled due to PTSD from his 2 Vietnam combat tours. So, yeah, I was raised with two very different types of men, which made me the person I am today. Seasoned enough that my hair is turning silverish and the water behind my ears is not so wet.

I would propose a new name: the Tulsa Public Protection Bureau. The strategic plan for the Bureau would go as follows:

  • 911 service is really the OG “on-demand” service we as 2020 humans have grown accustomed to and we should not go backwards and “defund” this portion of city service
  • We could entertain ideas such as contracting out retired and/or out-of-service trained military high-level grade soldiers to fulfill the “on-demand” need for emergency situations
  • Modern-day military trained special forces for special intense situations from locals, not flown in from other places. This would be similar to how colonial minutemen protected their local areas over 200 years ago

How will your administration bring meaningful economic opportunity and empowerment to historically marginalized communities in Tulsa?

I will bring the resources needed to teach the children how to use technology to create and manage a homeostasis that is not present at the moment. This training would include learning how to make a climate-controlled, self-sustaining ecosystem that eradicates the need or trust of everyone “up the line” to “show up for work” or, in case something like an epidemic was to strike, then we would be ok. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has been brought into the public spotlight once again on the heels of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd in addition to the continued fight around unresolved justice when it comes to the death of Terence Crutcher locally. What are your thoughts on the BLM movement and the struggle against police brutality?

I believe that the best practice for creating change is through the nonviolent protests and the exercise of assembly to exhibit “the fourth branch of government aka the people.”  The struggle is real and we need a paradigm shift mindset to resolve this issue. Blacks built our country from their blood, sweat, and tears. I believe we have a lot of reconciliation to do over the next 4 years and I am prepared and look forward to making Tulsa better than it is now.

What are your plans around providing food security in areas of our city, such as North Tulsa, that have experienced what amounts to food apartheid for decades?

I am going to make certain that we implement indoor food grow operations that will produce fresh fruits and vegetables. The kids will learn to grow food and manage the farming process inside a controlled environment that will be self- sufficient/ self-sustaining. There will be a control room next to the grow room and this is where kids will manage the homeostasis of the grow lab. The system of “trusting people up chain” to do their job is history. We have to be self-sustaining in the neighborhoods we live in because trust is not free and when we trust 100% in our supply chains, then it will just set us up for failure. We have to be proactive and not waste $6,000,000 on a stupid obsolete mindset. I find it insulting and a gross negligence of funds to waste on dinosaur stores. 

As highlighted in the Tulsa Equality Indicators report, there is a significant gap in life expectancy for Black Tulsans when compared to the rest of the city’s residents. What are your plans around improving our health outcomes?

That is my main priority, which is making certain we have food for all residents within the Food Desert area. Once that is completed, I plan on the copy/paste method to install them for all Tulsa residents within their home while teaching the children how to farm and how to utilize Raspberry Pi technology ($65 micro computer).

Tulsa has had a very tumultuous history as it relates to race relations. What are your thoughts on the racial divide in the city and what are some ways that your administration plans to tackle this issue?

It makes me sick when I sit and close my eyes and try to get in the mindset of each side. It breaks my heart. It is disgusting when I think about how there were fathers out there with the “Come on son! I am going to make a man out of you!” type of talk.  The white men were all hopped up on war vibes and just went “Black people hunting.” Absolutely a disgrace to humanity. 99 years later, we are still very stubborn and there seems to be a “Well, it wasn’t me” type of attitude regarding white people in the air.  

I can understand not wanting to accept responsibility for someone else’s actions and, really, that is not the biggest issue. The BIGGEST ISSUE (today) seems to be the lack of empathy for acts that were swept under the rug. There was never any accountability that arose from the lawless evilness. Therefore, in order to regain TRUST in our FUTURE then we must, as a city, reconcile the acts done to innocent people. Since it’s so difficult to really get forensic evidence, we should take the homes into consideration and public records and begin to give back to those who lost what they lost, etc. We must raise up North Tulsa not just to a level that matches South Tulsa. I am talking about surpassing South Tulsa and then we will invoke the reciprocal. During Phase 2, we can focus on raising the bar for South Tulsa. However, for now, it’s North that will be the example set forth for West, East, then South for the self-sustaining food grow ops and 2020 Tech Centers, which will manage the grow ops. 

Photo credit: Joseph Rushmore

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