G.T. Bynum

Tulsa Police

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum signed an executive order on Thursday putting a curfew in effect for a downtown area covering several blocks around the BOK Center ahead of Saturday’s Trump campaign rally.

No one may be out in the area until 6 a.m. Saturday unless they’re going to or from work or home. The area stretches roughly from Sixth Street to Archer Street and from Houston Avenue to Boulder Avenue. That includes the BOK Center, so people planning to attend the rally cannot legally camp on the sidewalk outside.

Twitter / @TulsaPolice

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum on Wednesday had choice words for Tulsans who refuse to follow public health guidelines during the current rise in coronavirus infections.

"If Tulsans are not willing to take that kind of responsibility to protect one another, then don't be surprised when you see your numbers increase," he said, after describing how few people he sees wearing masks in the city. "We have a responsibility to protect each other through this, through responsible behavior in our daily lives."

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

A new nationwide survey estimates that only seven states in the country are currently adequately staffed with contact tracers to manage the novel coronavirus.

Oklahoma is not one of them.

The NPR analysis found that only Alaska, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia have enough active contact tracers. Six other states have enough if counting reserve staff. 

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Speaking just minutes after the director of the Tulsa Health Department reiterated his belief that the president's reelection rally this week should be postponed due to surging coronavirus numbers in Oklahoma and Tulsa County, Mayor G.T. Bynum said at a press conference Wednesday that while he can't guarantee anyone's safety, he will not act to prevent the rally from taking place.

Dr. Jabraan Pasha, University of Oklahoma Medical Center

Calling it a matter of public health, not politics, hundreds of health care providers have signed their names on a letter to Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, calling on him to prevent President Trump's campaign rally planned for the BOK Center on Saturday.

Don't Ask Tulsa's Mayor About Trump Rally Plans

Jun 16, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — For most mayors in deep-red states like Oklahoma, the prospect of hosting the first rally for President Donald Trump in months would be a delight. It would showcase the city on an international stage and draw revenue for local businesses that have been shuttered for months amid the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Courtesy

Mayor G.T. Bynum announced Monday he has picked current Chief of Emergency Medical Services Michael Baker to serve as the next chief of the Tulsa Fire Department.

Baker took over the emergency medical services division in 2009, when Bynum says things were very different.

"We were at that point even potentially in danger of losing our ability to provide EMS services through the Tulsa Fire Department. Chief Baker was entrusted with those responsibilities at that time. Today, we have one of the top-ranked EMS systems of any city in America," Bynum said.

Tulsa Police Department

Following another public relations black eye, as footage of an incident in which Tulsa police officers handcuffed two Black children in north Tulsa for allegedly jaywalking aired on national news networks, the Tulsa Police Department has issued a new statement on the incident.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported Sunday that 158 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 bring the state's total number of confirmed infections to 8,231. No new deaths were reported; 359 Oklahomans are confirmed to have died from complications caused by the novel coronavirus.

Tulsa County had 39 of the new reported cases, bringing the county total to 1,564 confirmed infections since the start of the pandemic. 62 Tulsa County residents are known to have died.

6,578 Oklahomans are reported to have recovered. 

Fox News Channel

The high-ranking Tulsa police officer who came under international scrutiny last week for his comments that systemic racism in policing "just doesn't exist" and that, based on his reading of research, American law enforcement officers shoot Black Americans "about 24% less than we probably ought to be based on the crimes being committed," appeared on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Friday.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The field is set for Tulsa’s municipal elections in August.

Seven men are running for mayor against incumbent G.T. Bynum, including three black men with ties to Greenwood: community organizer Greg Robinson, Black Wall Street Gallery owner Ricco Wright and restaurant owner Ty Walker.

Brian Nutt / City of Tulsa

This article was updated at 10:52 a.m., June 10th, to include a response from the Mayor's Office.

With police brutality and institutional racism in the national spotlight following last month's killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum issued a statement Wednesday morning addressing growing controversies involving his administration and the Tulsa Police Department.

Chris Polansky / KWGS

An assemblage of faith communities met at the Greenwood Cultural Center on Monday morning for a rally and march to Tulsa City Hall to demand an end to police violence, the latest such event following the brutal, caught-on-camera killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

A crowd of an estimated 200 people carried signs in support of Black Americans and the Black Lives Matter movement, and were joined and led in prayer and song by leaders of Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, AME, and other Christian denominations. 

With near-daily protests against police brutality and racism continuing across the country, the state, and the Tulsa area, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum made clear to a national news outlet that he does not believe the 2016 killing of Terence Crutcher by the Tulsa Police Department was related to Crutcher being Black.

"A lot of people saw what happened to Terence Crutcher, and they said, 'This wouldn't have happened if he was a white man,'" reporter Kelefa Sanneh said to Bynum on a CBS Sunday Morning segment. "Do you think that's true?"

"No, I don't," Bynum responded. 

City of Tulsa

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and community leaders who organized Saturday’s "We Can’t Breathe" protest announced Monday the city will not renew its contract with the reality show "Live PD."

Community groups have decried the show for exploiting people in poverty and people of color. Bynum has resisted calls to end the city’s relationship with the show, saying he sees it as a way to show Tulsans what their police officers do on the job.

Tulsa officials on Friday said the city and county are ready to follow the state into phase three of a reopening plan on Monday.

As of Friday, Tulsa County had 983 total confirmed cases of COVID-19, 158 active cases and 51 deaths. Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Doctor Bruce Dart said the county's case trend is almost flat and hospitalization rates are trending up but remain manageable.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said he does not have the same concerns proceeding to phase three as he did going into phase one, however, because the main benchmark is hospital capacity.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and IC Bus have put their differences behind them for the next two decades.

Bynum, IC Bus and parent company Navistar announced Thursday a new, 20-year agreement for the bus maker to stay at its 1 million-square foot facility at Tulsa International Airport.

Bynum and IC Bus publicly sparred over their lease renewal earlier this month, with IC Bus claiming Bynum was threatening them with eviction and Bynum saying the company hadn’t met maintenance requirements under their previous, $1 lease.

Tulsa is going wild for Tesla.

The city is reportedly competing with Austin, Texas, for the company’s new factory and 10,000 jobs, and its thirst was on full display Wednesday, as stadium video screens lit up with the Tesla logo, Tesla cars paraded through the city and officials unveiled what many had already seen: the 75-foot-tall Golden Driller with a red Tesla "T" emblazoned on his chest, a Tesla belt buckle and a mask of Elon Musk’s face plastered over his typically undefined features.

Tesla

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla has picked Austin, Texas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, as finalists for its new U.S. assembly plant, a person briefed on the matter said Friday.

The person says company officials visited Tulsa in the past week and were shown two sites.

It wasn’t clear if there were any other finalists in the mix. The person, who didn’t want to be identified because the site selection process is secret, said no final decision has been made.

Though the reopening of Tulsa County and the City of Tulsa came sooner than Mayor G.T. Bynum and Tulsa Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart would have liked, both men announced Thursday that the current data concerning COVID-19 support moving into the next stage of reopening.

The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)

A major labor union has weighed in on the lease showdown between Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and the IC Bus manufacturing plant.

In a statement from their president, Rory Gamble, the United Auto Workers said that the 1,600 workers at the plant "deserve better than the risky behavior that what [sic] we're currently seeing," and accused Bynum of using the workers as "bargaining chips."

Google Earth

With the City of Tulsa and IC Bus of Oklahoma sitting down for negotiations over a contested lease on Thursday, the public relations battle continued to rage via the press.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Mayor G.T. Bynum forcefully denied allegations made in a press release issued and a P.R. campaign launched by the Illinois-based Navistar, IC Bus's parent company, that Bynum wanted to evict the company from the city-owned facility near the airport.

Google Maps Street View

In a late Tuesday statement, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said IC Bus, a major manufacturer in Tulsa, and its parent company, Navistar, are mounting a "false campaign" in accusing City Hall of threatening their facility with eviction.

Under the name "Save Tulsa Jobs," Navistar released a statement saying that "the City of Tulsa is threatening to evict IC Bus from its school bus manufacturing facility at the Tulsa International Airport, a move which would cost the city and the state of Oklahoma 1,600 jobs."

Tulsa City Hall

Furloughs affecting about 1,000 municipal employees, meant to help mitigate lost revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will begin in Tulsa this Friday.

Michelle Brooks, communications director for the City of Tulsa, said the average Tulsan won't see much in the way of reduction in services, and no reduction at all in emergency services. 

"This does not impact public safety: our police, fire, 911, our utilities services," Brooks said. "Citizens are not going to see an impact there."

Libby Billings courtesy Libby Billings; Thomas Hunter courtesy Oklahoma Restaurant Association

Following prolonged mandated closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, and with the blessings of both Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and a reluctant Mayor G.T. Bynum, Tulsa restaurants will be permitted starting Friday to welcome guests back to eat in their dining rooms.

Not too many are seizing that opportunity, though.

"Absolutely not," said restaurateur Libby Billings, whose downtown Tulsa eateries include The Vault, Roppongi, and Elote. 

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said Wednesday while the city will follow the state’s business reopening plan starting Friday, things are not going right back to normal.

Bynum said businesses that plan to reopen should get well-acquainted with state guidelines for their specific industries. Restaurant dining rooms, gyms and places of worship are among the establishments that can reopen Friday under certain restrictions.

Bynum said the guidelines are not merely helpful tips and will be enforced by the Tulsa Police Department.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington

Oklahoma has already begun reopening following a plan by Governor Kevin Stitt, but a team of health researchers estimate that the state is still over 50 days away from the earliest date when it would be safe to ease restrictions intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt defended his decision to allow the state's businesses to reopen.

"We peaked at hospitalizations with 560 across the state," Stitt said. "Today we have 300 across the state in our hospitals. And so we think it's time for a measured reopening."

Wallace asked Stitt about statements by Dr. Monks, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, in which Monks characterized the reopening as too early and not in keeping with White House guidelines.

Chris Polansky / KWGS

His hand seemingly forced by Governor Kevin Stitt's easing of restrictions on business closures implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum announced reluctantly on Friday that Tulsa's "Safer At Home" order will expire on Thursday, April 30th. 

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum proposed Wednesday evening an $828.5 million total city budget intended to keep city services at current levels through the next fiscal year.

That figure includes all city funds, as well as operations and capital funding from Improve Our Tulsa and Vision Tulsa. The total fiscal year 2021 budget is down $26.1 million from FY2020.

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