Friday, May 30, 2008
Aspen Institute's “Ghost Commissioner” Says He’s Running. Is It a Negotiating Ploy?
As OKPNS predicted, the intrigue regarding the corporation commission races is exploding as Monday’s three-day filing period approaches. The Aspen Institute's candidate, incumbent Jeff Cloud, is upping the ante today with an announcement that he is going to file for re-election for the full six-year seat. That has left Chesapeake's favorite, Jim Roth, scrambling for a deal. It is common knowledge that Cloud is squatting on the seat in which Chesapeake wants to place Roth. The lethargic Cloud is being wooed by “interested parties” in the private sector so that Roth, who is perceived to be a much brighter and energetic commissioner, can move to the full six-year term. Today’s announcement gives Cloud leverage to negotiate a better salary, but at least one corporation commission insider says all the scenarios floated by pundits and even OKPNS have got it all wrong for one reason: Cloud’s penchant for slothfulness. “This man has the worst work ethic imaginable. Cloud arrives late, leaves early, have long breakfasts at Classen Grill, and jogs with his dog in the early afternoon. He consistently embarrasses his assistants with his ability to disappear when work beckons and he’s not real quick on the uptake even on the rare occasions when he actually is in the office. The fact is, Cloud wants Denise Bode pay for ghost commissioner work, and nobody wants to pay for that.” So Cloud may have decided that short hours with little accountability are more important than big bucks with responsibility. But issuing a press release on Friday is a telltale sign that something fishy is going on: it is standard political operating procedure to issue bad news on Friday, and put good news out early in the week. Or perhaps in keeping in character, Cloud was just running behind schedule for his release. If Cloud is running for real, what becomes of Roth? We know the Roth folks didn’t anticipate Cloud staying in, and reports are they’re freaked out. But this we know: if Roth files against Cloud, it means Cloud has cut a deal, with Cloud dropping out AFTER filing is over. Cloud would remain in the race until after filing to keep Dana Murphy and/or Rob Johnson from following Roth to the six year seat. But if Roth files for the two-year seat, it means Cloud really is staying, unless someone new emerges to take him on. Developing…………….Posted at 5/30/2008 08:28:00 PM |
Video: Murphey Legislative Update (June 2008)
UPDATE: First Amendment Think Tank Misreads Bill; Sends Out Erroneous Press Release
We have an update to a story we posted yesterday from The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) which supposedly highlighted serious First Amendment concerns with H.B. 2196, the "Oklahoma Clean Campaigns Act of 2008. The group sent a letter to Governor Brad Henry yesterday expressing their Constitutional concerns with the pending legislation awaiting Henry's signature. KTOK Capitol reporter Peter Ruddy provides us with a correction:
As heard on KTOK radio, this group has it all wrong. They were looking at Senate amendments to the bill, not the enrolled version that is on the governor's desk. The House rejected those Senate amendments and sent the bill to a conference committee. In that committee, the bill was changed so that the only thing it deals with is contributions to lawmakers or canidates for the legislature by lobbyists during the session and five days afterwards. I talked with the spokesman for the Center for Competitive Politics and he was not aware the bill had been changed. You can see for yourself by going to http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.u...tatus/ main.html and reading the nerolled version of the bill which is on the governor's desk. Or you can take the word of someone in Washington who puts out a press release.
Labels: OK LegislaturePosted at 5/30/2008 02:29:00 PM |
Cong. Edwards Responds to OKPNS
By Hon. Mickey Edwards I suppose if one is going to screw up, it's best to make it a real doozy. As OKPNS did with its really strange blog about Jeff Cloud -- a blog that somehow managed to get absolutely nothing right. According to OKPNS, Jeff Cloud is a member of an ultra-liberal Aspen Institute, which, also according to OKPNS, is a front for left-wing financier George Soros. Actually, not to let facts get in the way, but George Soros is not connected in any way, directly or indirectly, or even remotely, to the Aspen Institute. The Institute is not only not liberal but is studiously, and carefully, non-partisan and non-ideological. that is, in fact, its essence. Jeff (just a minor mistake)is not a member of the institute. That's because the Institute has no members. Rather he was selected to be a part of a program for outstanding young elected officials which is run by Aspen Institute Vice President Mickey Edwards, a former member of the Republican leadership in Congress, a former national chairman of the American Conservative Union, Chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference, a founder of the Heritage Foundation, and Director of Policy Task Forces for Ronald Reagan's Presidential campaign. Participants in the program are evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, including, by the way, some very conservative Republicans. Among the people whose works they study when they come together are Milton Friedman, John Locke, and James Madison. Oh, and Ronald Reagan. Now that would be a strange thing for George Soros to be supporting, don't you think? Walter Isaacson, who by the way is not a liberal (OKPNS got that wrong, too), is president of the Institute (that was right), and its board members include people like Newt Gingrich's close friend and ally Vin Weber, a former conservative congressman who is one of George W. Bush's closest advisers (and helped manage Mitt Romney's presidential campaign), and Robert Steel, one of the top officials in George W. Bush's Labor Department. At least 25 prominent Republicans are members of the advisory committee for the program in which Jeff participates, including Ralph Reed, former director of the Christian Coalition, and former conservative congressman and Reagan ally Jack Kemp. I haven't checked to see whether the date at the top of the blog was accurate; if it was, it was the only thing in the blog that was. Mickey Edwards Mickey Edwards, a lecturer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, was a Republican member of Congress from Oklahoma for 16 years (1977-92). He was a member of the House Republican leadership and served on the House Budget and Appropriations committees. Since leaving the Congress he has taught at Harvard, Georgetown, and Princeton universities and has chaired various task forces for the Constitution Project, the Brookings Institution, and the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition, he is currently an advisor to the US Department of State and a member of the Princeton Project on National Security. His book, Reclaiming Conservatism (Oxford University Press), comes out in March 2008.Posted at 5/30/2008 11:12:00 AM |Thursday, May 29, 2008
First Amendment Think Tank: "Oklahoma Clean Campaigns Act" Poses Serious First Amendment Concerns
Oklahoma Bloggers Beware! The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) highlighted serious First Amendment concerns in H.B. 2196, the "Oklahoma Clean Campaigns Act of 2008," in a letter the educational group sent today to Governor Brad Henry. The bill would make it a crime for any person to intentionally participate in the dissemination of false political advertising. The engrossed bill currently awaits the governor's signature or veto. CCP is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to protect the First Amendment political rights of speech, assembly and petition. If enacted, the bill "would place a chill upon political speakers of all varieties and undermine the robust nature of political debate in Oklahoma," writes CCP president Sean Parnell in the letter to the governor. While truth in political speech is important, the specific provisions of the bill, "puts the government in the position of determining what constitutes 'truth' in an arena where what is 'truth' is itself often the focus of fierce debate," Parnell counsels. The bill relies on a vague standard that "allows the State to determine the 'truth' of any communication that relates to the 'character, voting record or acts of the candidate,'" Parnell continues. "Statements about the 'character' of a candidate are more opinion than fact; they are characterizations. A governmental system that determines the 'truth' of a characterization, under penalty of law, is a standard so vague and overbroad that to enforce it would chill speech of every variety." Parnell notes that in an opinion overturning a similarly crafted Washington state law last year the Washington State Supreme Court wrote, "the notion that the government, rather than the people, may be the final arbiter of truth in political debate is fundamentally at odds with the First Amendment." "As the Supreme Court of Washington aptly put it, a provision like the Oklahoma proposal 'naively assumes that the government is capable of correctly and consistently negotiating the thin line between fact and opinion in political speech,'" Parnell concludes.
Labels: OK LegislaturePosted at 5/29/2008 04:03:00 PM |
EXCLUSIVE: Commissioner Jim Roth Arrested for DUI in '95; Resolution of Case a Mystery
Monday June 2nd begins Oklahoma's filing period for elective offices, and thanks to the proliferation of blogs, Oklahomans will have more information about candidates than ever before. Some of the information will be items that the old and slow media, dogged by conflicts of interest from their wealthy owners, simply will not share with their readers, listeners and viewers. Some information will get altered, due to people like Mike Turpen, who tried to kill an extraordinary, and true, story that was damaging to his buddy Drew Edmondson. Some information is tainted, as exemplified by Turpen continually pimping his clients, without disclosing that fact to his viewers on the formerly respected political affairs show Flashpoint. Further, with the slow and lazy Oklahoma media, the last minute dirty trick has become standard operating procedure. Responses through traditional media seldom are successful. Sometimes the press makes value judgments that a particular claim is in fact a dirty trick when it is not: the press erred when it did not take seriously Gary Jones' campaign claims about disgraced Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan. The press didn't do its job, and the voters did not have the information they deserved before they re-elected McMahan. Some watchdog, huh? But there's also the clever tactic some candidates use when, in the rare occasions the press actually does their job and uncovers real character issues, to denigrate the information by actually employing the 'victim' mode: "they're throwing mud,"as the saying goes. At OKPNS, we think open and vigorous discussion is what the votes deserve. After yesterday's revelations about Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud's ties to the George Soro's radical-left Aspen Institute, it seems another issue that could dog corporation commission elections is beginning surfacing. OKPNS has obtained a copy of an arrest report that is being circulated. Commissioner Roth was arrested December 12, 1995 after 2 AM in a section of town known for its gay nightlife. Roth was arrested for DUI and following too closely. He refused the arresting officer's request for the "implied consent request," most likely a blood or breathalyzer test, and he was accompanied by Joe Mark Elkouri, a special municipal judge, who according to the arresting officer's report, appears to bargain with the officers to make the officer "forget this happened." The officer refused, and called in a supervising official. Elkouri died less than a year later after what the paper referred to as a lengthy illness. It should be noted that the report by the arresting officer is in a public document that represents the officer's opinion that Roth was intoxicated. There are no attachments to the documents detailing how the case was adjudicated, and there is no indication from the report that Roth was involved in the effort to make the officer "forget this happened." Excerpt from the police report. (Click here, here, and here to read entire report. Click on image to enlarge)
"(Elkouri) then stated to this officer, "There must be something I can do to make you forget this happened." I informed(Elkouri) that there was nothing he could do and that (Roth) was under arrest for DUI. (Elkouri) continued to state that he was a special judge and that (Roth) should not be arrested."Undoubtedly, this document would have surfaced in the late hours of either the primary or general election. Now it's out in the open, regardless, the public will, and Roth's opponents, will demand an explanation for his behavior. Some will say the incident, which happened in December 1995, is unfair to Roth because it was so long ago. That's non-sense. It's been nearly 40 years since Chappaquiddick, and Sen. Kennedy is yet to come clean. George W. Bush was hit with a DUI revelation less than 48 hours before the 2000 election. There were no Democrats screaming foul on that night. The public deserves to know, and Roth deserves time to make that explanation. Developing………Posted at 5/29/2008 01:00:00 PM |
Wilson Research Strategies May National Political Environment Assessment.
National Political Environment Assessment. This edition analyzes this fall's match up between Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain. Here are a few quotes from the report:
"Despite reports in the press about the "revolutionary" status of Barack Obama, current data points to an election that could look much like 2000 and 2004." "Compounding the problem with nationalizing an election is the fact that independent voters have not gotten the message they're supposed to dislike Obama. In fact, Obama's standing with independents is almost as strong with Democrats." "McCain and Republicans continue to enjoy a significant advantage with voters on trust and to handle terrorism. Obama has gained since February."Posted at 5/29/2008 12:32:00 PM |
DSCC Video: Andrew Rice: Why I'm Running
In this latest Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee propaganda video, aspiring U.S. senator Andrew Rice, gives his reasons why he's embarked upon his suicide mission against Senator Inhofe. If you don't have the time to watch the entire minute and a half video, we'll save you a little time and give you the Cliff Notes version. First 30 seconds, Rice is riding in a car talking about losing his brother on 9/11. The next ten seconds, a Democrat activist is surprised that Rice remembers his name. From what we can surmise in the short segment, the activist is going to vote for Rice because he's a "friendly and likeable guy." (Glad he didn't let issues get in the way) The last 50 seconds, Rice is speaking with another gentleman about - losing his brother in the World Trade Center on 9/11. And we thought only Republicans used 9/11 for political advantage?
Oklahoma Independents Want More Candidates on the Ballot
The Oklahoma Coalition of Independents (OKIES) wants all Oklahomans to know about the three days when they can file to run for office at the state Capitol: June 2nd to 4th. OKIES is hoping to bring more accountability to incumbents' actions and by encouraging Oklahomans to run for political office, whatever their party affiliation. From their press release: The democratic process in Oklahoma is suffering. Over half of state legislative races went unopposed in 2006. So the names of most incumbents never even showed up on a ballot, yet they still "represent" the people of their district." Clark Duffe, OKIES Chairman, said, "Campaigning for office is a great way to get out your message and affect your community." All that is required is having been registered with the same party affiliation for six months in your district and a $200 filing fee for most offices. Qualifications to run and a list of offices to be filled are available from the Oklahoma State Election Board. James M. Branum, Secretary of the Oklahoma Green Party, said, "Since Oklahoma's ballot access laws kept me from being on the ballot as a Green, I ran as an Independent for state house in 2006. It was a empowering experience. I got to speak at several candidate forums and connect with my neighbors on the campaign trail, and in the end even got to see some of my ideas be adopted by the candidate who beat me. I recommend all registered Independents to consider running, because otherwise our voice won't be heard." Richard Prawdzienski, past Independent candidate for State House 39, addressed concerns about the possibility of someone winning against a candidate of an established party. "If a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Oklahoma can be elected mayor in Muskogee, imagine what anyone can do." Jacqueline Salit, founder and political director of the national organization, Committee for a Unified Independent Party, commented, "With 70% of Americans saying that the country is on the wrong track, the problem is not just that our policies have gone wrong. It's that our political process isn't working. That's a big reason why so many people are becoming independents and why independents feel that we've got to change the way our political system works. It's really a rebellion against the "divine right" of the major parties. Running for office with a message about the need for independent reform is a way to bring that challenge to a next step." The Oklahoma Coalition of Independents (OKIES) seeks to expand voter choice by reducing the number of unopposed races for elected office in Oklahoma. OKIES also supports structural reforms that will engage more potential voters in the political process, such as ballot access reform and redistricting reform.Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Labels: Decision '08Posted at 5/29/2008 09:23:00 AM |
Steve Russell Announces Candidacy
From press release: Today, flanked by family and an enthusiastic crowd of supporters, Steve Russell announced his bid to run as a Republican in the State Senate race for District 45, the seat being vacated by term-limited Senator Kathleen Wilcoxsen. A native Oklahoman, Russell retired as a Lt. Colonel after spending 21 years as an Army Infantryman. During his distinguished military career, Russell spent tours in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq where he was a central player in the hunt and capture of Saddam Hussein. “After serving my country for so long, I now feel called to serve Oklahoma in a different way, by serving as a State Senator for Moore, Mustang and parts of South Oklahoma City,” said Russell.” Russell believes his time away from Oklahoma has given him a unique perspective that will benefit the citizens of Oklahoma in general and District 45 in particular. “I have witnessed firsthand the creation of a new democracy. I have seen how the rest of the world views Oklahoma, and I have developed an even deeper appreciation for the things that make Oklahoma and Oklahomans special: Love of God, love of family and an enthusiasm for individual respect and responsibility that, quite frankly, does not exist in many parts of the world.” That renewed perspective also, he believes, sheds light on some of the biggest issues facing the Sooner State including transforming our business climate into one that rewards innovation and entrepreneurship, creating a dedicated funding stream for our state’s backlog of road and bridge projects and reforming our tort system to benefit the truly injured rather than the trial lawyers. Posted at 5/28/2008 05:30:00 PM |
So Why Is Commissioner Jeff Cloud Smiling?
"Aspen (Institute) is one vehicle whereby left-wing billionaires like George Soros work to influence politicians on Capitol Hill by bringing them to luxurious places, hotels and resorts, and listening to mostly liberal and left-wing speakers." - Accuracy in Media 4/7/08It could be that he’s thinking of just how much money he’s going to make after he successfully concludes his job negotiations with a company he’s currently regulating. Or it could be that he’s thinking that the indolent Oklahoma press hasn’t bothered to check out the political leanings of the ultra-left liberal think-tank that sent him around the world and gave him a chance to pose for this picture in front of the pyramids. Seriously folks, what in the world could Cloud have been thinking when he joined up with the liberal Aspen Institute, headed by former Clinton News Network President Walter Isaacson? Even a simple search of the internet reveals the effete and haughty notions behind the organization, whose major contributors include left-wing crazy and billionaire George Soros, who used the Aspen Institute from which to stage his effort to defeat President Bush in 2004. The Aspen Institute housed and “re-educated” (against capitalism no doubt) little Elian Gonzalez after former Attorney General Janet Reno kidnapped the little Cuban shipwreck survivor from his uncle. What so-called conservative would join an organization that helped force a little six-year old boy to leave the United States and go back into a brutal communist dictator’s regime? And why would Cloud, as rumors persist, be headed to Beijing in August with Aspen to observe the Olympics in another brutal communist country? Some political insiders, when contacted by OKPNS, expressed dismay when informed of Cloud’s participation in the organization. “Obviously Cloud didn’t do his homework. I can’t believe he would knowingly join if he knew. It’s just not the type of thing you do if you really are running for re-election,” one expert told us. “You just know that somebody is going to figure it out, so he’s not running or he’s incredibly imprudent.
OKPNS will continue to follow this story.Posted at 5/28/2008 01:42:00 PM |
Video: J.C. Watts at TCU
The Tandy Executive Speaker Series hosts prominent business leaders to disseminate leading-edge thought to Metroplex business professionals, Neeley MBA students and faculty in order to improve the practice of business. Mr. Watts gives his thoughts on this year's elections.Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Labels: J.C. WattsPosted at 5/28/2008 08:56:00 AM |
Sources: Fallin to Run for Governor in 2010
Sources tell OKPNS that Congresswoman Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma City, is making aggressive moves in what appears to be the beginnings of a campaign for governor in 2010. The former three- term Lt. Gov and two-term state legislator was elected to the 5th District seat in 2006 and has announced she will run for re-election for another congressional term this year. She is expected to easily win re-election. Observers say Congresswoman Fallin is already putting together a team designed for but one thing: a run for governor. Fallin's move comes as talk of Congressman Tom Cole's name as a potential gubernatorial candidate is being floated. Cole is currently head of the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), but is being roundly criticized, some say unfairly, for recent GOP loses in some key special elections. If the GOP suffers significant losses in the fall elections, Cole will receive blame, unfairly or not, and some observers can see the Congressman coming back to Oklahoma to run to succeed two-term Gov. Brad Henry. Fallin's moves could be designed to head off a Cole challenge. Developing…….
Labels: Rep. FallinPosted at 5/27/2008 02:10:00 PM |
Ghost Commissioner, Gay Commissioner: What You See Is NOT What You Get!
Judging by the information we at OKPNS are receiving, it's the two corporation commissioner races that will present the most drama this summer and fall, especially when considering the intrigue surrounding the two incumbents: Democrat Jim Roth and Republican Jeff Cloud. While we know the U.S. Senate race between incumbent U.S Sen. Jim Inhofe and State Sen. Andrew Rice, D-Oklahoma City, will be entertaining, the musical chairs theater that is developing over at the commission promises multiple story lines. Roth became the first openly Gay person to hold a state-wide elected office when he was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry in May of 2007, replacing Commissioner Denise Bode. Per the Oklahoma Constitution, Roth is running for the last two years of Bode's term. Cloud was elected to a six-year term by the voters in 2002, and according to reports is running for another six years. The only problem is, what you're hearing about these races is just not true. Electing Roth is the number 1 priority for Chesapeake Energy. Chesapeake championed Roth's appointment in the first place, and their officials have made it clear that they want Roth in the six-year seat that Cloud now holds. Cloud, like Roth, supported Chesapeake's successful campaign that stopped construction a coal-fired power plant and is seen as such a good friend to Chesapeake and the petroleum companies that he has a standing job offer from an unnamed natural gas company. According to sources, the sticking point has been the salary: Cloud wants in the neighborhood of what Bode took to become CEO of the Clean Skies Foundation, but his potential suitor believes Cloud is nowhere near as valuable as former Commissioner Bode, a national energy policy expert who headed the Independent Petroleum Association of America prior to her ten-year run at the corporation commission. Further, Cloud has gained a reputation as being so uninspiring and lethargic that insiders tell OKPNS that Republican Commissioner Bob Anthony's pet name for Cloud is the "ghost commissioner." It's a good bet that the puppeteers over at Chesapeake do not want two of their favorites running against each other, so based upon what Chesapeake officials are repeating, their expressed desire to have Roth in the six-year seat would indicate Cloud is in the way. Some are suggesting to OKPNS that Cloud knows he is leaving, but using time as leverage to increase the value of his compensation package. "Chesapeake would much rather have Roth than Cloud: he's sharper, harder working and has become an extraordinary ally for them, and besides, they have a much more energetic person than Cloud ready to put into the two-year term," one corporation commission insider tells OKPNS, "so while Cloud is a friend, Chesapeake has others they want on the commission that simply will work harder than Jeff." So where does that leave the other announced candidates? Until Cloud divulges his intentions, or is forced by his potential employer to make finally make a move, the others are forced to wait. "It's not even out of the realm of possibility that Cloud and Roth will eventually reach an accommodation, and that Roth will file against Cloud, who would then drop out AFTER filing to thwart others," says another political observer familiar with Chesapeake's concerns. So while Roth and Cloud are different in every conceivable way except their allegiance to Chesapeake, it appears that the two are very dependent on each other to get what they want. So even after filing is over next Wednesday, we may still have no clue how this drama is going to play out. OKPNS will keep following this developing story.Posted at 5/27/2008 01:43:00 PM |
CBS News Video: Coburn On USDA Conferences
Sen. Coburn is interviewed by CBS News on the U. S. Department of Agriculture's wasteful spending. He is particularly critical of the conferences USDA officials have been attending lately. He lists for example, officials attending Crayfish conferences in Australia, and trips to Hawaii to study the U.S. Congress. Posted at 5/27/2008 08:59:00 AM |
Quote of the Day: "Energy Crisis is Here, Warns Denise Bode" (2/8/2001)
Clean Skies CEO Denise Bode was warning the nation before 9/11 and the Iraq War, that our dependence on foreign oil and bans on domestic drilling would eventually lead to "price hikes." This excerpt was taken from a 2001 piece in Energy Houston magazine. If the U.S. does not open up federal lands to exploration and production and support the rebuilding of the nation's energy production, refining and delivery systems, we can expect more price hikes and curtailments for energy, warns Denise Bode, vice chair of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and former president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Writing in the new issue of Energy Houston magazine, Bode says, "America's energy infrastructure and resource base is being shut down, and that is in turn causing a crisis from the gas pump to the electric meter." America is approaching being 60 percent dependent on foreign energy, up from 42 percent 10 years ago. Read more...Posted at 5/27/2008 08:43:00 AM |
Good News About Ethics Reform
By Rep. Jason Murphey Last week marked the end of the period during which the Oklahoma Legislature could act on legislation. During the normal course of business, a bill has to be placed on the agenda for a certain number of hours before it can be acted on, so that legislators and others can review it before a vote. However, in the last two days before the legislative deadline, these rules are waived. This year, due in part to negotiations over a number of issues, a significant amount of legislation was held up until right before the deadline. This meant a large number of bills were considered by the House and Senate without giving legislators much time to read them. Because of these circumstances, there was opportunity for significant changes in the law to pass through without proper consideration. I enjoy the huge challenge of carefully but quickly plowing through hundreds of pages of legalise in an effort to discover these last minute changes, some of which may need to be opposed (more on that next week). This time, however, I was happy to discover and support a very appropriate and positive change to this year's ethics reform bill. House Bill 2196, which I wrote about earlier this year, purported to place a ban on any political contributions during the legislative session. The logic followed that a politician should not be receiving donations at the same time he or she is voting on important laws. Read more...
Labels: Rep. Jason MurpheyPosted at 5/27/2008 08:36:00 AM |
The Casino and Mr. Chicken
While Oklahoma City's Mayor and, according to reports, all of the state's congressional delegation, are aggressively opposing a proposal by promoters to put a tribal casino in Oklahoma City fronted by a tribe located 200 miles away, Oklahoma's timid governor is attempting to run and hide on the issue. This time, Gov. Brad Henry, is attempting to avoid involvement on the casino project that most observers say would put Oklahoma City's Remington Park into bankruptcy. The Shawnee tribe, which is located in Miami, Oklahoma, has been “reservation shopping” and has selected a parcel of land less than two miles from Oklahoma City's "Adventure district," putting many businesses at a distinct disadvantage. While Mayor Mick Cornett, Congresswoman Mary Fallin and other members of the congressional delegation have courageously and publicly opposed this outrageous distortion of tribal gaming statutes, the faint-hearted Henry, who has privately voiced his opposition to the casino, is publicly ducking for cover, primarily since he is buddies with the Shawnee Tribe's economic development chairman, Greg Pitcher. One insider sums up the governor's lack of backbone this way: “He’s gutless. He knows the proposal is wrong, but he’s spent six years avoiding this kind of controversy, so why would we think he’d engaged now?” Henry’s name is being drawn in the controversy because the Bureau of Indian Affairs is seeking public comment on the proposal until June 9th. Most believe the governor’s opposition would carry considerable weight with the BIA. Observers tell OKPNS the whole deal is very suspect, and that today’s story by Oklahoman reporter Tony Thornton just scratches the surface of the proposed stinky deal. Developing…. NewsOK.com Video: Greg Pitcher, chairman of the Shawnee Tribe's economic development arm Posted at 5/25/2008 08:59:00 AM |Friday, May 23, 2008
Happy Memorial Day!
My great uncle Mellie Arps, Jr. (or Uncle E.A. as he is affectionately called) was recently profiled by the local ABC affiliate in Tyler, Texas on his service in World War II as a Buffalo Soldier. My great uncle fought from Italy into Berlin and was awarded two Bronze Stars for his bravery. After the war, he came back home to become a minister and a Master Mason, the Third Degree. The most amazing thing about the men and women of the "Greatest Generation" is that they didn't brag about their exploits, they simply performed their duty to defend their country - and in the process saved the word. This was the first time that many in my family had ever heard of my great uncle's extraordinary bravery. We are all so very proud! On that note, The Oklahoma Political News Service wants to wish everyone -especially our past and present veterans - a very happy Memorial Day.Thursday, May 22, 2008
Labels: Memorial Day '08Posted at 5/23/2008 09:01:00 AM |
House Votes to Protect Elderly in Nursing Homes from Criminals
We first brought you this story last week. The Oklahoma Legislature voted today to establish separate nursing home facilities for convicted sex offenders in need of long term care. House Bill 2704, by state Rep. Kris Steele and state Sen. Tom Adelson (D-Tulsa), directs the Department of Health to request bids for the operation of a stand-alone, long-term care facility that will house only elderly, registered sex offenders. "This legislation will allow for the operation of a home that includes additional security measures for offenders," said Steele, R-Shawnee. "This is a common-sense, fiscally responsible way to reduce the risk for abuse and protect our aging population from predators." There are approximately 30 known sex offenders currently residing in Oklahoma nursing homes. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections estimates 2,250 inmates convicted of sex crimes will be released from prison in the next 10 years. Twenty-six percent of these convicts will be age 51 or older and potentially in need of long-term care. In addition, recent data indicates the number of registered sexual offenders in Oklahoma is increasing. House Bill 2704 passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.
Labels: OK Legislator's BlogPosted at 5/22/2008 07:29:00 PM |
Water Issues Set to Explode
Insiders are scratching their heads today wondering why a bill that would direct the water resources board to put Oklahoma’s water interests before Texas’ interests is stalled in the state senate. House Bill 2238, by Rep. Colby Schwartz and Sen. Mike Johnson, calls for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to consider water permit applications from Oklahomans before applications from other states like Texas. The bill states in part that "In the granting of water rights for transportation of stream water for use outside the State, pending applications to use such water within the State shall first be considered in order to assure that applicants within the State shall have all of the water required to adequately supply their beneficial uses." Our sources tell us that Senate Democrats would find it difficult to face the voters this fall if they were to vote against such a measure, so they are working to keep the bill from coming to the floor altogether, a sort of reverse “wooly booger.” Even more curious, reports are that lobbyists retained by Texas interests are not involved in the bill slowdown, since that would undermine their assertion that Texas only wants the water Oklahoma does not use. One person knowledgeable about the intrigue points the finger of blame squarely at the Senate Democrats. “While it would seem that most Oklahomans would prefer to see Oklahoma's natural resources utilized first by Oklahomans, that's not the case with the Senate Democrats. There’s a line they’re feeding people that it might hurt the state's defense of the lawsuit filed by Tarrant Regional Water District against Oklahoma's moratorium on-out-of state water transfers. That’s non-sense. If Texans end up getting Oklahoma's water and Oklahomans start rationing water, you'll know who to blame,” he says. The House is scheduled to consider the bill on Thursday. Once through the House the bill will be in the Senate's hands for a vote before they adjourn on Friday. Our sources tell OKPNS that Democrats are counting on the bill getting lost in the last minute crush of business, allowing them to escape making a vote on the issue. Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Rabon, D-Hugo, who our sources say is one of the Senators fighting to keep HB 2238 from reaching the Senate floor, issued a press release today blasting the House for passage of a resolution encouraging Attorney General Drew Edmondson to defend the state in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s moratorium on out-of-state sales of Oklahoma water. Why would Rabon oppose a move that might help Oklahoma to win the lawsuit? No one seems to know, but it’s one of the more curious stances of the session: an Oklahoma lawmaker helping Texas win a federal lawsuit. OKPNS will keep an eye on this developing story.
Labels: OK LegislaturePosted at 5/22/2008 02:59:00 PM |
Dana Murphy Receives Endorsement from Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee
(Oklahoma City, OK) Dana Murphy has received the endorsement of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee for her candidacy for Corporation Commission. “I’m truly honored to receive the endorsement of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee. It is very humbling to be supported by my fellow Conservatives,” said Murphy. Murphy spoke to the committee on Wednesday, and besides her speech, spent 30 minutes taking in-depth questions from the audience. Afterward, the committee voted to give her its endorsement, spotlighting her conservative credentials and significant experience in the race for Corporation Commissioner. “Her depth of knowledge, passion to serve in this office, and the belief by our members that she would be a fair Corporation Commissioner, and one who is above reproach, influenced our members to overwhelming vote to endorse her,” Chairman Charlie Meadows said of the committee’s vote. “She earned it,” Meadows added. The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee has built a reputation in Oklahoma as being a stalwart supporter of conservative ideology.Posted at 5/22/2008 02:13:00 PM |Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Boehner, Cole to Release Election Plan
The Politico: By PATRICK O'CONNOR After a week of tension and recriminations following a special election loss in Mississippi, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner and NRCC Chairman Tom Cole will unveil a series of changes Wednesday aimed at quelling criticism and positioning their party for November’s elections. Cole is expected to add veteran Republican political operative Ed Brookover to his staff as a consultant and liaison with lawmakers, GOP insiders said. Brookover, who served as a National Republican Congressional Committee political director, has close ties to Boehner, Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri and Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam of Florida, according to one GOP aide. A source with knowledge of the discussions between Boehner and Cole said the minority leader has insisted that Cole also give more power to an advisory committee formed after the GOP lost a special election in Louisiana earlier this month. Under the plan Boehner and Cole will announce Wednesday, that advisory committee will meet weekly with NRCC staffers to monitor operations and help coordinate fundraising and other campaign activities. It is possible that former NRCC Chairman Tom Davis of Virginia will play an expanded role in guiding the advisory committee and, through it, the NRCC. The moves represent a modest détente between Cole and Boehner, but they might not be enough to mollify a restive party rife with fears that November 2008 will be a replay of November 2006. Read more...Posted at 5/21/2008 11:25:00 AM |
Who's to Blame for Monday's "Prison Disturbance" (Riot)
The media has joined the fracas surrounding Monday's prison riot. Editorials at the Oklahoman and the Tulsa World are fanning the flames regarding prison issues today. Prison issues took a backseat at the legislature this year, until the final week. Now it will be interesting to see how Democrats and Republicans react. So it appears that candidates will be scrambling to revisit this issue this summer and fall. Undoubtedly, with the session still underway, several legislators will be weighing in on the issue. Here's last night's News9 story about this re-emerging campaign issue.Tuesday, May 20, 2008
OKPNS FLASHBACK: March 27, 2007GOP Leaders: What is Henry Trying to Hide with Veto of Audit Funds? Republican leaders questioned today Gov. Brad Henry’s line-item veto of funding for an independent performance audit of the Department of Corrections – which the governor described as his “first” line-item veto of HB 1234, the bipartisan general appropriations bill overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature last week.
“What is the governor trying to hide with this veto? Is Gov. Henry afraid that an independent performance audit might uncover his mismanagement of a critical public safety agency? Independent performance audits at public school districts have proven very effective at improving efficiency and saving taxpayers’ money. We believe independent performance audits can have the same positive impact on the Department of Corrections and other state agencies,” stated Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. Read more... Related: News9 Video: Prison Riot Raises Questions at the CapitolFreePauljacob.com: Only a couple inmates killedPosted at 5/21/2008 10:38:00 AM |
Loveless Questions Opponents' "Lack of Plan" For Road and Bridge Funding
Loveless for Senate press release: Oklahoma City, OK – Conservative Republican state senate candidate, Kyle Loveless yesterday reiterated his plan for improving Oklahoma’s dilapidated roads and bridges and questioned why the other candidate’s still lack a plan for this crucial issue.
“The most recent Sooner Survey identifies road and bridge funding as THE most important priority for Oklahomans, yet my opponents have failed to address this crucial issue. My transportation funding plan will transform our roads from a source of shame into a spur for economic development,” said Loveless.The Sooner Survey is a publication of Cole, Hargrave, and Snodgrass and the most authoritative newsletter in Oklahoma politics. The most recent copy is attached. “My plan is a four-step process. First, reduce administrative overhead at ODOT and put the funds into roads and bridges. Second, funds collected for a certain purpose should be spent for that purpose and that purpose ONLY. Gas taxes and tag fees were collected to be used for roads and bridges. They should be used for that purpose, period. Third, remove the cap on transportation funding. We don’t have a cap on other vital functions of government. We should not have one on roads and bridges. Finally, decisions about road project should not be political, but based on need and traffic counts instead of who is the Chairman of a certain committee.” Loveless also questioned his opponents’ lack of a coherent plan for road funding. “For the first time, according to the attached polling, roads and bridges are THE most important issue on people’s minds. Where and what are their plans? The people of senate district 45 need real leadership, not empty promises or bumper sticker politics. The most troubling thing, is that at the legislature now they are talking about going into debt to pay for roads – that is wrong.” “I have personally knocked on doors from Mustang to Moore, and people are tired of politicians taking orders from special interests and fat cat lobbyists. People want answers about issues THEY care about, and they want them now!”Posted at 5/20/2008 12:05:00 PM |
Sen. Gumm: Editorial Support Building for "Nick's Law"
By Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant
Posted at 5/20/2008 11:44:00 AM