Campaigns — whether for president of the United States or Vision Tulsa — spend a lot of money and effort trying to get their messages out.
Come Election Day, however, it’s always difficult to tell whether the money and effort were well spent. Even if your candidate, or your proposal, is victorious.
At the end of the day, elections are about individual choices made by individual people, each from a different place, each with a different story.
With that in mind, The Frontier on Tuesday interviewed people from all over town to ask how they voted on the Vision Tulsa proposals, and why.
As we expected, the reasons were as varied as the people who gave them.
Morrell has had nine surgeries in the last five years.
“I’m just now walking again,” he said in a tired voice.
Cane in hand, Morrell drove to his polling station in east Tulsa, where he voted “no” on public safety.
“They need to control their budget,” he said of the Police Department.
The city needs more commerce, Morrell said, so he voted for the transportation and economic development propositions on the ballot.
“Something has to be done to bring commerce here,” he said. “But people aren’t ready for it — the amount of traffic, the amount of people.”
Building dams in the Arkansas River isn’t a bad idea, “even though it (the river) is toxic,” Morrell said.
Welch is an east Tulsa resident who has been lived in town 40 years. Tuesday she voted in favor of all the Vision Tulsa propositions.
Her reasoning was profound in its simplicity.
“Because I thought it would help the city,” she said.
Tulsa needs more cops, she believes. And she’s excited about what low-water dams in the Arkansas River might do for the city.
“I always think of going to San Antonio and seeing all the things around the water, and I thought, ‘If we have water flowing, we might be able to do more things at the river.’”
Wright spent 20 years in New York City working in theater. Now he teaches playwriting and screenwriting at the University of Tulsa.
He’s 70 years old and lives in south Tulsa.
For many reasons, he voted in favor of all the Vision propositions.
“I just think, obviously, things need to improve here. The roads are still in terrible condition in spite of the fact that everywhere you go, there is construction.”
He’s a fan of the Gilcrease Museum and other local arts institutions, so he was glad to throw his support behind the Vision Tulsa proposal to spend $65 million to upgrade the museum.
“I like the idea of supporting Gilcrease and some of the other stuff that these things are about.”
Sourie lives in north Tulsa, and he’s not sure people there got a fair shake in the Vision Tulsa package.
So he voted against the economic development proposition.
“I just don’t think very much of that is going to come to this community,” he said.
He’s not sure community leaders were honest with folks in the north part of the city, either.
Last time, when Vision 2025 was put before voters, city and county leaders made an effort to ensure that the public — in every part of town — knew what was in it, Sourie said.
“I don’t think that happened this time.”
Then he added this: “I’m not sure some of it wasn’t a contrived effort to keep certain people from caring enough to go out to the polls.”
Sourie came out anyway. And while he voted against the economic development component of Vision Tulsa, he voted “yes” on the public safety and transportation propositions.
When it comes to her age, Jones will tell you she’s “over 50” — but that’s it.
She’s not shy when it comes to her thoughts on Vision, though. She voted against the economic development proposition because “Vision 2025 has not reached us yet” in north Tulsa.
Jones believes the city needs more police officers, so she voted in favor of the permanent public safety tax that is to pay for 165 new officers over the next 15 years.
“I want to keep our streets safe,” she said. “We don’t need no cuts in that. I’m trusting that they will do the right thing.”
Ramsey is a small business owner who lives in midtown.
“I thought supporting it (Vision) was better than doing nothing, basically,” he said.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the package, but Ramsey’s thought is that the city has needs, and the Vision package will help address those needs.
He’s being practical. As a small business owner, anything that spurs the city’s economy might just trickle down to people like him.
“The public safety thing was, obviously, a good thing, very needed,” Ramsey said. “And I just think the other parts of it, the river development — things like that — will be good for the local economy.”
Rev. Amy Venable
Venable, 43, has lived in Tulsa almost all of her life. Almost.
She spent a few years in St. Louis, and that fact came to mind Tuesday when a reporter asked her why she had voted in favor of all of the Vision Tulsa propositions.
“I remember one of my friends from there said, ‘Oh, I went to Tulsa one time. There isn’t much there, is there?’
“It’s comments like that that make me think, ‘No, there is a ton there.’”
And Venable, co-chaplain of Holland Hall High School, would like to see her hometown get even better. That’s why she voted the way she did.
“Anything we can do to make our city more interesting and to encourage people to get out and take advantage of these cultural things as well as nature and opportunities to be athletic and exercise, things like that.”
Rainey has nothing against spending money to maintain the city’s infrastructure.
The west Tulsa resident just wants city leaders to shoot straight about how they’re proposing to pay for it.
“What really irritates me the most — because I’m all about keeping the infrastructure and all that — but it’s just the fact that they lie,” he said.
How? Rainey, 40, believes politicians get a tax passed — like Vision 2025 — and never want to let it go. Never want to let it expire and start over again. Instead, they peddle new packages with the promise that your taxes won’t go up.
“They raised it last time (for Vision 2025), but they never did do away with it. (They’re) technically not lying — but, yeah, you are.”
So Rainey voted NO on all the Vision Tulsa propositions.
Woodward’s willing to pay to make Tulsa better.
“I see a need for improvements, and I am OK with paying a portion of a penny sales tax to make improvements,” said the 28-year-old preschool teacher.
Yes, she voted “yes” on all of the Vision propositions.
The streets need fixing, she said, and having water in the river would be a nice thing for this west Tulsa resident.
“I live close to the river, my family lives close to the river, and we’ve been looking at mostly sand and mud for such a long time. So any kind of improvement they can make to the river, I’m for it.”