Tulsa, OK, November 1st, 2010 – Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel is offering a $500 reward to the first person providing video evidence of those who are deliberately removing his campaign signs. According to the Yazel campaign, hundreds of signs have disappeared around Tulsa over the last 2 weeks.
"The majority of the signs being stolen are ones that have been mounted on private property along major roads and intersections. These signs were posted with permission from the property owners who support my campaign." Yazel said.
When asked if he believes that his opponent's campaign is responsible for these tactics, Yazel was careful to accuse anyone.
"Someone is cutting the big ones down, and leaving the signs from other campaigns untouched. My smaller yard signs around town are coming down, too, and being replaced by my opponent's signs. I'll let you draw your own conclusions."
In Saturday's edition of the Tulsa World, the story of this rivalry began after Yazel's opponent, Nancy Bolzle, drew fire from all directions for the substance of her negative and dishonest advertisements. Bolzle, a self professed "community organizer", has received the rebuke of several Tulsa Republicans for using their names on her endorsement list, and also on a "Republicans for Nancy Bolzle" mailer. Several people on the list, most notably elected officials, denied any connection to Bolzle.
According to Mike Ford of the Tulsa Republican Party, the phone at GOP Headquarters has been ringing off the hook with concerned and angry Republicans. Ford, a volunteer organizer appointed by Tulsa County Republican Chairman Sally Bell, says local Republicans are not falling for the liberal Democrat's tricks, and they have rallied behind Yazel.
"An overwhelming majority of Tulsa Republicans support Major Yazel, and many called us to make sure we were still supporting him. We were proud to assure them that the Tulsa County Republican Party is behind Yazel 100%." Ford said.
"Several were surprised to find their names listed on a political mailer, and were quick to distance themselves from being involved with Yazel's opponent. This is definitely not the year for Republicans to support a career lobbyist and financial supporter of Hillary Clinton. I don't know what she was thinking, but Mrs. Bolzle stirred up a hornet's nest, and they are not going to be stinging Ken Yazel on Tuesday "
It would appear that Yazel's challenger has been consistent with dishonesty, as local Republican citizens on her list called to set the record straight and joined the current and former County officials who went on the record with the Tulsa World in Saturday's article, publicly challenging the truthfulness of Bolzle's ads. But the first local Republican to cry foul was former State Senator James Williamson, according to Ford.
"She had him listed on her endorsement list originally, and local Republicans were perplexed. When Williamson discovered what she had done, he quickly communicated to both campaigns that Bolzle had wrongfully taken a referral given years ago for her lobbying firm out of context. He was specific and assertive in setting the record straight that he did not endorse Bolzle for Assessor, and supported Ken Yazel for re-election. Williamson insisted that she remove his name, and she did so within 48 hours." Ford recalled.
"Almost all of her "endorsements" specifically mention her abilities as a lobbyist, and are obviously not political endorsements, and one of them is deceased. This was the first clue that she falsely padded her campaign with the names of well known Republicans. After getting calls about the mailer, it was obvious there was a clear pattern of dishonesty. We checked out the names on Bolzle's mailer with the Election Board, and some of them were not registered Republicans, and some of them are not even registered to vote at all. So much for those Christian values she is campaigning on." Ford concluded.
The Yazel's campaign posted details about the reward on Facebook:
"Once this evidence is provided to the Yazel campaign, we will file charges and make someone famous. Ken will double the reward if it leads to charges filed against a county employee, a county official or a registered lobbyist."
They are asking for citizens to be vigilant, and if they see this crime being committed, to film the misdemeanor crime being committed, the criminals leaving in a vehicle with enough footage for police to determine the make, model and license plate to file charges. This footage must be recorded and submitted to the Yazel campaign before the polls close Tuesday, for obvious reasons.
According to Yazel, the police have received some reports of a red truck taking down his signs. "The witnesses provided a description and plate number, but they have to witness the crime or receive evidence of it." he said.
"This is more than just vandalism or poor sportsmanship. This is a violation of every citizen's civil rights to free speech and fair elections. That might not mean much to some people, but it's priceless to me." said Yazel, a Vietnam Veteran and retired US Marine Corps Major.
-Ken Yazel is running for re-election as Tulsa’s County Assessor. He is a lecturer on “How to lower county taxes” and a former licensed CPA, business owner/CEO and a retired Marine Corps Major (1962 thru 1982).