Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This Week's Agenda, Run off's and the NBA in OKC


We start this week interviewing candidates for state house seats that will be decided in November. Invited to appear this week are Ronald G. Sheppard of Seminole, Aaron Stiles of Norman, Sean Oliver of Madill and Willard Lindsey of OKC. So far, at least 3 have confirmed they will be in attendance.

Last week’s e-mail focused on the run-off election for the Senate District 45 seat between Kyle Loveless and Steve Russell. This week I want to focus on the run-off between Brian Maughn and former Bethany Mayor J.D. Johnson for the Oklahoma County Commission race. Then in another related race we have David Anderson and former Bethany City Councilman Richard Engle, both of whom are candidates for the District 2 Commission race which encompasses about the Southern one third of Canadian County.
I was recently questioned as to why I suggested in my Charlie’s Picks that J.D. Johnston should never hold office again based on his performance as Bethany Mayor. Following are some of the reasons. Bethany is a small city which struggles to accomplish providing it’s vital city functions, even with a high 4% city sales tax tacked on to the 4.5% taken by the state. Johnston’s TV commercials promote him as a conservative. However, his past performance strongly suggests otherwise.
A few years ago while serving as Mayor, J.D. Johnston was behind a plan to have the taxpayers provide health insurance for the Mayor and council. That measure required unanimous approval from the Mayor and Council members to take effect. Even though then Councilman Richard Engle was self employed and would have benefitted greatly from that action, he was opposed to putting that burden on the taxpayers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand Engle was the conservative and Johnston the big spending liberal in that situation. Recently Johnston proclaimed on Mark Shannon’s program that Oklahoma County needed to quit spending the money on themselves and spend it on the people? Do you think he has had a change of heart now that he is running for office? I seriously doubt it.
Sometime after that the Mayor proposed the city float a bond issue and repay it with a property tax increase. The needs were valid, new roof on city hall, new police station and a new animal shelter. However, Bethany had available in a special fund, twice the money necessary for the improvements which resulted from the sale of their hospital. Again it was Richard Engle forming an organization "Citizens For a Better Bethany," who with the help of others, printed and distributed literature to inform the citizens of J.D.’s unnecessary tax increase proposal. Properly informed, the citizens strongly defeated the property tax proposal and then the city did what it should have done in the first place. That was to make the improvements with the monies on hand. Again it was Richard Engle watching out for the taxpayers and Johnston was again the big spending liberal.
I am told the reason they didn’t want to use the money on hand was so they could use it for economic development (corporate welfare) programs. Bethany has lost or tied up hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer monies on several failed programs. Another problem I have with Mr. Johnston is that he built a new home in OKC, but continued as Mayor of Bethany, though the city charter required he live in Bethany. He claimed he was still living in his old home. If you believe that, you will believe he must have just wanted to build that new home to look at and admire rather than to live in.
A little over two and a half years ago he announced at a council meeting that he was going to resign as mayor to devote more time to his business. One councilman told me, "I couldn’t believe he said that as I knew along with many others that he was planning on running for a state house seat." Sure enough, shortly after he resigned, rather than devoting more time to his business he ran for a legislative seat. Thank goodness Charles Key defeated him in the primary run-off by the whopping majority of about 40 votes.
All I can say is, J.D. Johnston is not a conservative and if you want someone to speak straight with you, don’t elect J.D. Johnston for County Commissioner. Personally, I like Brian Maughn, but I am not sure he will be able to stand up to the "court house gang." If he doesn’t, I fear they will destroy him or he will learn to go along to get along. I would vote for Brian Maughn in a heartbeat over the liberal Republican RINO, J.D. Johnston.
On the other hand, when it comes to the Canadian County race I would vote for Richard Engle in a heartbeat as he is honest, a proven and true conservative and one who always watches out for the interests of the taxpayers, even if means a personal sacrifice to himself. Canadian County is the fastest growing county in the state and needs leadership such as Richard Engle can provide. He is brilliant and will figure out a way to provide the vital services for the taxpayers without tax increases. He will also work to protect their private property rights from irrational zoning ordinances or eminent domain takings.

After seeking and receiving the endorsement from the National Education Association (NEA), Obama said in a speech, that he was opposed to the tired old rhetoric of vouchers and school choice. I guess you could say this would be another positive CHANGE Obama is against..
However, a couple of weeks ago Representative Earl Sears (R-Bartlesville, RINO nominee this year with a lifetime Conservative Index score of 55) held a press conference. Standing behind him for support was Representative Ann Coody (R-Lawton, previous RINO nominee and lifetime Conservative Index score of 58). They were announcing their efforts to do more studies on the government schools. Representative Sears indicated they had not given up on public (government) education.
Both of these Republicans voted against the "New Hope Scholarship Act" during the session earlier this year. In so doing they align themselves with Obama’s ideas of being against school choice for parents and their children. In reality, these two former educators are actually part of the problem when it comes to education, they are not part of the solution. In my opinion, they are the ones who "enable" the government schools to continue fostering educational malpractice upon our children.
Even worse, the legislation I mentioned was so watered down and limited in scope, that for those 2 lawmakers not to support it means they will probably oppose any form of school choice in the future, especially a good quality piece of legislation. I don’t necessarily mean to suggest they intend to harm, they are simply so much a part of the system they are like that proverbial person who was standing so close to a tree that they couldn’t see the forest.
There is some good news regarding the most dangerous petition drive in recent times to be presented to the citizens of Oklahoma. That of course is the OEA’s (teacher union) petition drive to force the state of Oklahoma (the taxpayers) to spend more money on the government schools. Roy Bishop, former teacher from Stillwater and now the CHIEF UNION BOSS claims the recent tax cuts have prevented the schools from having enough money.
It was exciting to see the reaction to Bishop on the editorial page of the Oklahoman. In their lead editorial on August 4th titled "Intro to sarcasm", the Oklahoman hit the nail on the head when they said: "Tax cuts enacted in recent years aren’t the problem. The problem is that no amount of money has ever been enough for the OEA, and won’t ever be because the union’s chief objective is to retain the status quo." Rather than me re-write that quote, just go back and read it again. I have been saying for years that the last entity in the world that wants to improve education is the education industry, because the continually unsolved problems in education are actually their means to what they really want. That of course is more power and more wealth. Hopefully that editorial is a hint of the Oklahoman’s future position on this dangerous petition drive. Please log on to the OCPAC blog, www.ocpac.info, to vote your opinion on this issue.

Recently an OKC councilman expressed his disgust that the new OKC NBA team purchased a practice facility in Edmond. It also appeared his anger was that they purchased the facility rather than leasing space from one or more of our local universities. While the facility has an Edmond address I am not so sure it isn’t actually in the city limits of OKC. If not, it is only a couple of blocks North of the city limits.
This past Saturday the Oklahoman reported the owners of the NBA team bought a temporary practice facility for more than twice what the county estimated its value. The assessor had the 30,240 square foot fitness and sports facility listed at a value of $1.75 million dollars which would equate to a value of $58 dollars per square foot. Reportedly, the owners paid $3.65 million for the nearly ready to use facility which equates to a value of $121 per square foot for that purchase price.
What the councilman should be mad about is how the city has been taken to cleaners as they have contracted to build a permanent facility for $20 million dollars. A facility they plan to lease out for a measly pittance of $100,000 dollars per year. I wonder if the city plans to have a gold dome on the facility and marble for its walls?
If one remembers back to before the citizens of OKC voted to extend the penny sales tax for an additional 15 months to have the funds to build the facility as well as enlarge and re-model the Ford Center, I suggested the amount was too high. I also suggested, if the city were to sell the Ford Center to the owners, they would probably not spend $20 million on a practice facility. Kind of makes me wonder if Mayor Mick and the Council members are lap-puppies for the owners of the new NBA team rather than watch-dogs for the taxpayers.

Another metro area church is showing THE TRUTH PROJECT. The showing will be on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. The church is Calvary Chapel, located at 7510 NW 39th Expressway in Bethany. Again, the quality of content and production is tremendous. If you want to understand a good foundation of the Christian Faith and how Biblical principles should apply to public policy and the issues we wrestle with, then by all means try to attend these DVD presentations.
We exceeded our $2,000 matching challenge and are now just 2 members short of exceeding our all time high of 190 dues paying members set in 2006. I have secured another $500 matching challenge which means for everyone joining between now and the end of August, your dues will be matched dollar for dollar up to $500. I would really like to see us go beyond 200 members this year. Therefore, if you have not joined OCPAC as yet, now is a great time to do so. Instructions on how to join will follow my sign off.
We really need to get most of our money in by around the middle of September so we will know how much we have to distribute to the various candidates yet to receive our support. It is hard for me to express how much I appreciate the confidence and support for the goals of OCPAC and how you folks have been willing to participate by giving. A big thanks to everyone.
I look forward to seeing everyone this Wednesday.

Charlie Meadows

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