Kiwanis Club Debate: Mayoral Candidates Square Off

The final two mayoral candidates squared off Monday to debate issues like public safety and past controversies.The Kiwanis Club of Tulsa invited Mayor Dewey Bartlett and former Mayor Kathy Taylor to debate at First United Methodist Church early Monday afternoon.Taylor continued to push her platform of transparency and accuracy, citing a current, possible financial deficit and the green waste issue under Bartlett's watch.Bartlett said he is proud of his time in office and believes Tulsans deserve a continuity of service.Among other issues like capital improvements and the length of the campaign season, the candidates spoke about public safety."Violent crime is down. Our city is much better policed," Bartlett said. He praised Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan for implementing a beat system, where officers patrol a specific area. Bartlett acknowledged that many first responders have endorsed Taylor. Tulsa Firefighters PAC and Tulsa's Fraternal Order of Police have come out in support of her."That's probably why the unions have decided to endorse my opponent, because they know they'll get a better deal from her," Bartlett said. He said he treated all agencies fairly, with no preferential treatment.Taylor spoke about her endorsements and her plan to improve 911 training and implement better technology to make Tulsa Police more efficient.Both candidates were asked to speak about past controversies during their time in office, naming the green waste issue under Bartlett and the issue with some firefighters' medic testing under Taylor.Bartlett responded that he has been transparent and spoke about successes of his time as mayor, including adding jobs. He told Channel 8 after the debate that when he learned green waste was not being properly turned into energy, he stopped the problem. Now, he said, the service is functional.Taylor reacted, "I think the only thing transparent we've seen recently are these transparent plastic bags that I paid 50 cents to put stickers on." She spoke about her plan to put real-time city spending online to improve transparency at city hall.Taylor spoke about the 2009 exposure of some firefighters falsifying their medical training records. "I stood up, I called people into my office, I solved the problem, and we moved forward," Taylor said.Taylor said this is the second time the mayors have debated. She said there are likely six more debates in the weeks ahead before the November 12th election.