Category Archives: Oklahoma City/County Government

Clearing the Air on the Oklahoma E-cigarette War

Kaye Beach

Feb. 11, 2014

Recently I wrote an article for The Oklahoma Constitution on the politics and money behind the e-cigarette bans in our state.

Many credible health experts have also noted a curious imbalance regarding the claims made by some public health advocates about
e-cigarette health dangers. . . .  Judging from the reaction to the sudden spate of prohibitions on vaping in our state, the public t buying the hype either. What most people want to know is,  why are they being banned? Who is being hurt by the use of an electronic cigarette? . . . This innovative technology is not a threat to public health but is a grave threat to the entire multi-billion tobacco industry as it exists today.

. . .You’ll find TSET grant funding everything from OETA to bike racks, but let’s look at the “Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control” incentive grants that are driving the vapor bans.

You can read the article ‘Clearing the Air on the Oklahoma E-cigarette War’ in its entirety  at The Oklahoma Constitution.

Also, you may want to see this rebuttal to the OK. State Dept. of Health’s alarmist e-cigarette advisory. FINAL OSDH rebuttal 2 9 2014

And if you haven’t done it yet, subscribe to The Oklahoma Constitution!

Guthrie man still “smarting” from police detainment after refusing new “smart meter”

lost battle og&e 2Kaye Beach

Feb.20, 2013

By Andrew Griffin at the Red Dirt Report;

Guthrie man still “smarting” from police detainment after refusing new “smart meter”

OKLAHOMA CITY —  While most customers of Oklahoma City-based utility OG&E fully accept the installation of the new “smart meters,” which are to replace the old analog meters, there are some holdouts who are resisting the forced installation of these devices.

While we do not have the individual’s name, we learned today, via a blog post at OK-SAFE (in cooperation with Axxiom for Liberty), Inc., that a gentleman in Guthrie, Okla. “has been fighting the installation of the spy-meter for a while now, and was surprised by today’s show of force by OG&E.”

OG&E’s repeated attempts to replace the old meter with the controversial “smart meter” were all for naught and because this man was the last holdout in this particular Guthrie neighborhood, the Guthrie Police Department sent three officers to the man’s house to protect the OG&E installer, while allegedly detaining the man, echoing a story out of Naperville, Illinois last month where two women were arrested for “interfering with the installation process.”

. . .This encounter was confirmed by Karen Kurtz, a spokesperson for OG&E.

“We did have police out at that gentleman’s residence,” Kurtz said. “It wasn’t a show of force at all. His was the last remaining smart meter installation in that area.”

Once the police had detained the man, the smart meter was installed.

Read more http://www.reddirtreport.com/Story.aspx/25162

Oklahoma SB36 – This is NOT What Local Control Looks Like!

Big Momma Tells a Story

Big Momma Tells a Story

Kaye Beach

Feb. 18, 2013

In my earlier post on this subject yesterday, I urged you to send emails and make calls to the General Government Committee before 10:30 AM Monday Morning.

Oklahoma Action Alert!  Big Momma Gov. Wants ‘Local Control’ SB36

Please do send those emails and make those calls because no matter how you slice it, this bill does not pass muster.

Take for example, the fact that this bill is being sold to us as a “local control” bill.  That sounds great!  We are all for local control right?

Well, Big Momma Gov. knows that, baby!  She knows how your little mind works and thats why Big Momma went and reframed this issue for you in a way that was sure to go down sweet.

Reframing is a nice word.  Since there is no way that casting a FEDERAL INITIATIVE into state law equals LOCAL CONTROL, some might call it a LIE!

Here’s the bottom line;

SB36 is really a FEDERAL INITIATIVE marketed to you as “LOCAL CONTROL”! 

Isn’t that neat?  If your intelligence isn’t insulted, it should be.

federal initiative local control sb36 2

links from graphic

“Healthy People 2020 objective (TU-16) calls for eliminating state laws that preempt any type of local tobacco control law”

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6033a2.htm?mobile=nocontent

Healthy People 2020 State Specific Plans http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/implement/StateSpecificPlans.aspx

Healthy People 2020 Oklahoma Plan http://www.ok.gov/strongandhealthy/documents/OHIP-viewing.pdf

Once again contact the General Government Committee before 10:30 AM and tell them that SB36

-Violates rights of property owners
-Violates consumers right to choose

AND
State standards already protect health of non smokers. (by requiring businesses to install what amounts to a BSL 3 area for smokers.  These are expensive, negative pressure, separate ventilation system rooms for smoking patrons!)

AND 

“Private property owners should be free to allow smoking or not.
Those who wish to smoke can patronize places that cater to smokers.
Those who don’t will have places that seek their business. That’s how
the free market works.”
(Hat tip to Rob Abeira from Oklahomans for Individual Rights https://www.facebook.com/OKRights )

AND

SB36 is a FEDERAL INITIATIVE masqurading as LOCAL CONTROL!

Please contact the members of the General Government Committee by email and phone if you can and tell them NO on SB36!

GENERAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE

Email grouping for Gen. Gov. Committee

Treat@oksenate.gov; ballenger@oksenate.gov; aldridge@oksenate.gov; Dahm@oksenate.gov; ellis@oksenate.gov; johnsonr@oksenate.gov ; loveless@oksenate.gov; marlatt@oksenate.gov

Phone Numbers

  • Senator Greg Treat – R – Chair   – 405-521-5632 -
  • Senator Roger  Ballenger – D – Vice Chair  405-521-5588
  • Senator Cliff  Aldridge – R – 405-521-5584
  • Senator Nathan  Dahm – R – 405-521-5551
  • Senator Jerry Ellis – D  – 405-521-5614
  • Senator Rob Johnson -  R – 405-521-5592
  • Senator Kyle  Loveless – R – 405-521-5618
  • Senator Bryce  Marlatt – R – 405-521-5626

If you care to watch the General Government Committee meeting where they will debate and vote on SB36, you can do so here http://oksenate.gov/meetingview-511a.htm at 10:30 AM.

Oklahoma Action Alert! Big Momma Gov. Wants ‘Local Control’ SB36

nanny state

Kaye Beach

Feb. 17, 2013

SB36 by Sen. Simpson would allow cities to regulate smoking in in public places in excess of what state law allows.

Do we want to give cities more power to infringe upon our rights?

What could possibly go wrong?

King Bloomberg: Ban Everything!

King Bloomberg: Ban Everything!

SB36

-Violates rights of property owners
-Violates consumers right to choose

AND
State standards already protect health of non smokers. (by requiring businesses to install what amounts to a BSL 3 area for smokers.  These are expensive, negative pressure, separate ventilation system rooms for smoking patrons!)

Here is the bottom line:

“Private property owners should be free to allow smoking or not. Those who wish to smoke can patronize places that cater to smokers. Those who don’t will have places that seek their business. That’s how the free market works.” (Hat tip to Rob Abeira from Oklahomans for Individual Rights https://www.facebook.com/OKRights )

This bill will be heard in the General Government Committee Monday morning at 10:30 AM

Contact the members of the General Government Committee before Monday morning and tell them to vote NO! on SB36!

GENERAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE

Senator Greg Treat – Chair
Senator Roger Ballenger – Vice Chair
Senator Cliff Aldridge
Senator Nathan Dahm
Senator Jerry Ellis
Senator Rob Johnson
Senator Kyle Loveless
Senator Bryce Marlatt

Email grouping for Gen. Gov. Committee

Treat@oksenate.gov; ballenger@oksenate.gov; aldridge@oksenate.gov; Dahm@oksenate.gov; ellis@oksenate.gov; johnsonr@oksenate.gov ; loveless@oksenate.gov; marlatt@oksenate.gov

I can find no compelling reason to further regulate smoking in public places (which includes private businesses!) Maybe the push for more ‘local control’ isn’t just about smoking.

This Mid West City family spent years in a court battle and no telling how much money fighting against the city to keep their Bull Terrier dog.   The city attorney repeatedly  asserted;

“It’s not about about the dogs. It’s about local control,”

Supreme Court overturns pit bull ban 

I don’t care whether it comes from the local, state or federal level, these days it is ALL ABOUT CONTROL!

Enough!

After you email the committee, why not also give them a quick call in the morning and remind them to vote NO! on SB36

  • Senator Greg Treat – R – Chair   – 405-521-5632 -
  • Senator Roger  Ballenger – D – Vice Chair  405-521-5588
  • Senator Cliff  Aldridge – R – 405-521-5584
  • Senator Nathan  Dahm – R – 405-521-5551
  • Senator Jerry Ellis – D  – 405-521-5614
  • Senator Rob Johnson -  R – 405-521-5592
  • Senator Kyle  Loveless – R – 405-521-5618
  • Senator Bryce  Marlatt – R – 405-521-5626

1/3 Oklahoma’s Budget Dedicated to Corporate Incentive Payouts

The New Economy-How do we like it so far?

The New Economy-How do we like it so far?

Kaye Beach

Dec. 3, 2012

Welcome to the New Economy!

The New York Times spent 10 months investigating business incentives awarded by hundreds of cities, counties and states. Since there is no nationwide accounting of these incentives, The Times put together a database and found that local governments give up:

  • $80.3 billion in incentives each year
  • 1,874 No. of program

Check out the interactive map that shows spending incentive spending state by state here

Oklahoma

Oklahoma spends at least $2.19 billion per year on incentive programs, according to the most recent data available. That is roughly:

  • $584 per capita
  • 37¢ per dollar of state budget

Read more about Oklahoma

Here is the NYT accompanying news report;

Tax Incentives to Companies Bleeding Towns Dry, With Few Results

Sunday, 02 December 2012 09:51 By Louise Story, The New York Times News Service | Report

In the end, the money that towns across America gave General Motors did not matter.

When the automaker released a list of factories it was closing during bankruptcy three years ago, communities that had considered themselves G.M.’s business partners were among the targets.

For years, mayors and governors anxious about local jobs had agreed to G.M.’s demands for cash rewards, free buildings, worker training and lucrative tax breaks. As late as 2007, the company was telling local officials that these sorts of incentives would “further G.M.’s strong relationship” with them and be a “win/win situation,” according to town council notes from one Michigan community.

Yet at least 50 properties on the 2009 liquidation list were in towns and states that had awarded incentives, adding up to billions in taxpayer dollars, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

Some officials, desperate to keep G.M., offered more. Ohio was proposing a $56 million deal to save its Moraine plant, and Wisconsin, fighting for its Janesville factory, offered $153 million.

But their overtures were to no avail. G.M. walked away and, thanks to a federal bailout, is once again profitable. The towns have not been so fortunate, having spent scarce funds in exchange for thousands of jobs that no longer exist.

One township, Ypsilanti, Mich., is suing over the automaker’s departure. “You can’t just make these promises and throw them around like they’re spare change in the drawer,” said Doug Winters, the township’s attorney.

Yet across the country, companies have been doing just that. And the giveaways are adding up to a gigantic bill for taxpayers.

A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.

The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.

“How can you even talk about rationalizing what you’re doing when you don’t even know what you’re doing?” said Timothy J. Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Times analyzed more than 150,000 awards and created a searchable database of incentive spending. The survey was supplemented by interviews with more than 100 officials in government and business organizations as well as corporate executives and consultants.

A portrait arises of mayors and governors who are desperate to create jobs, outmatched by multinational corporations and short on tools to fact-check what companies tell them. Many of the officials said they feared that companies would move jobs overseas if they did not get subsidies in the United States.

Over the years, corporations have increasingly exploited that fear, creating a high-stakes bazaar where they pit local officials against one another to get the most lucrative packages. States compete with other states, cities compete with surrounding suburbs, and even small towns have entered the race with the goal of defeating their neighbors.

While some jobs have certainly migrated overseas, many companies receiving incentives were not considering leaving the country, according to interviews and incentive data.

Read more

Larry Pratt, GOA, Endorses Darrell Sorrells for OK County Sheriff!

November 1, 2012
Today, as Oklahoma’s Open Carry Law goes into effect and citizens across the state are exercising their right to open carry, the Sorrels for Sheriff Campaign is honored to announce that Darrell Sorrels has received the endorsement of Mr. Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America. For over 30 years, Mr. Pratt has been Executive Director of GOA, a national membership
organization of 300,000 Americans that continually work to preserve their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
As Sheriff, Darrell Sorrels will be committed not only to keeping the citizens of Oklahoma County safe, but to protecting their freedoms as well. Again, we are truly honored to have the confidence and support of Mr. Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America.

Dear Mr. Sorrels,
Gun Owners of America is pleased to endorse you for Sheriff of Oklahoma County. Your record of service in law enforcement, along with your staunch
commitment to uphold the Constitution, make you the best candidate for this office.
Larry Pratt
Executive Director
Gun Owners of America

Read, Share or Download the GOA Endorsement Letter

 

Sorrels hopes to bring ‘accountability, transparency’ as sheriff

Kaye Beach

Get to know Darrell Sorrels!

Mark Schlachtenhaufen The Edmond Sun Oct. 27, 2012

Darrell Sorrels’ parents were born and raised in Oklahoma.

His mother was a meat wrapper for Humpty Dumpty and his father was an in-city truck driver for Chief Freightline. When he was a child the family lived in Nicoma Park, where they had a small acreage with farm animals. Sorrels was raised with three siblings and attended First Baptist Church in Nicoma Park.

“My parents taught us about hard work and to be honest, which produced integrity,” said Sorrels, a Republican challenging incumbent Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel. “They raised us with Christian values and to always remember how important family is.”

Sorrels said he was taught to treat people with respect, and his father showed by example that it is wise to save a portion of his earnings for the future.

“He also taught us to stand firm in what we knew was right,” Sorrels said.

Read More

OCSO Vet. Maj. Waldenville Says Promises Broken, Donations Missing

Kaye Beach

Oct. 22, 2012

Remember Major John Waldenville?

May 21, 2011, just after midnight, Waldenville was ambushed while carrying the nightly deposit from the restaurant where he worked as a security guard to the bank around the corner. The 25-year law enforcement veteran didn’t have time to react or plead his case before the gun went off. The bullet went in just above his right eye, severing his optic nerve, and through his ear before shattering his jaw and settling in his jowls.

The bleeding and swelling caused so much trauma to his brain he has spent the past year just learning how to function again.  Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-county-sheriffs-major-to-be-honored-for-courage-after-life-changing-injury/article/3704046#ixzz2A3KdllAD

Yesterday,  Waldenville,  made several alarming allegations about his treatment after the shooting by Sheriff John Whetsel and the OK County Sheriffs Office where he has served for 25 years.

“I just felt like I’d literally been thrown to the curb.”

Among these allegations is that donations totaling thousands made towards his medical recovery were never received by him.

. . .they discovered thousands of dollars missing from various fundraisers held in his name. Read  more 

But according to  the OK County Sheriff’s Office, Waldenville received every bit of money.

the Oklahoma County Fraternal Order of Police handled the fundraising efforts. The FOP maintained detailed accounting of every penny that was raised totaling $142,205.79. The funds were deposited in a separate account and every penny raised was given to an attorney representing the Waldenville family on October 6, 2011. link

Waldenville says he  was assured by Sheriff Whetsel that  workman’s comp. would be forthcoming and has dated text messages from the Sheriff to prove it.

He said since the shooting, his wife Marjorie received several text messages from Sheriff John Whetsel, assuring them that he would receive worker’s compensation benefits. But the Waldenville’s say that never happened.

The sheriff’s office is now denying any culpability in the matter saying that;

“Issues of workers compensation, disability, and health care are handled by the Oklahoma County Human Resources Department, not the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.”

Waldenville mentions failed attempts on his part to resolve these issues (see News 9 video report) but  the Sheriff’s Office gives an entirely different perspective on the matter implying that the Waldenville’s have not made any effort to resolve these problems;

“We would have preferred for any issues the Waldenville family had to at least contact us first so we could have sat down at the table and discussed specifics.” Link

The accounts given by Waldenville and the Sheriff’s Office are at odds here but the truth will come out.  Given the history of scandal that follows Sheriff John Whetsel,  I would put my money on Major Waldenville.

GOP officials express outrage over Whetsel, Courthouse Gang Ties

Kaye Beach
Oct. 15, 2012
What is the point of belonging to a political party?  Republicans host fundraiser for Democrat opponent of Republican OK County Sheriff’s candidate.
                       For Immediate Release
October 15, 2012
Contact: Steve Dickson
Cell: 405-206-4041
GOP officials express outrage over Whetsel, Courthouse Gang Ties
 
More than three dozen members of the Oklahoma County Republican Party County Committee are calling for the censure of Oklahoma County Commissioner Ray Vaughn, Oklahoma County Tax Assessor Leonard Sullivan, Oklahoma County Treasurer Butch Freeman, and Oklahoma County Court Clerk Carolyn Caudill. The Republicans in question were listed as Honorary Co-Hosts at a fundraiser held on Wednesday, October 10th, 2012, for Democratic Sheriff John Whetsel at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Among the concerns of the more than three dozen Precinct Chairs and Vice Chairs are:
Democratic Sheriff Whetsel is under investigation by both the OSBI and the FBI, according to local news reports (Fox 25 News). The investigation is centered on the use of inmates and county property to manufacture signs for the Democratic Sheriff’s re-election effort. This is obviously a serious abuse of power at best, and the violation of numerous felonies at worst. Every sign for the Democratic Sheriff Whetsel should bring to mind forced inmate labor at county facilities, working on his campaign, against their will.
Democratic Sheriff Whetsel has failed to fix the problems with the Oklahoma County Jail. After 16 years of his leadership the problems have deteriorated to the point that the Federal Government has removed all prisoners (Daily Oklahoma, 2008). The answer from the Democratic Sheriff – and these members of the Courthouse Gang – seems to be a $350 million replacement (OK Gazette) of a 21-year-old jail whose chief problem is management. Here’s another Daily Oklahoman article (2010) attempting to blame the statistics, rather than admit the problem.
The Republican Party has a strong, experienced nominee in Darrell Sorrels. He has 20 years of experience in law enforcement and is currently a special Deputy for the U.S. Marshall Service in the Western District of Oklahoma. Additionally, his strong advocacy of constitutional and conservative principles would be a dramatic improvement in the Sheriff’s office. To counter the actions of the Courthouse Gang, the Oklahoma County Republican Party should immediately contribute the maximum allowable by law to Republican Nominee Sorrels.
Finally, Rule 19 (G) 4 of the Rules of the Oklahoma Republican Partyallows for the removal of any “officer, committee member or delegate of any organization, committee, delegation or unit of the Republican Party” for “Publicly supporting or endorsing an opponent of candidates of the Republican Party”.
We call for the County Committee to be convened, with the express purpose of removing any and all party officials who have endorsed the Democratic Sheriff John Whetsel. We call on the County Committee to censure the “Courthouse Gang” for their unconscionable actions. We call on the Oklahoma County Republican Party to actively recruit replacements for these positions at the time of the next election to each respective office.
Signed,
Gregory Smith, Chairman, Precinct 10; Jon Muckleroy, Vice Chairman, Precinct 12; Danielle Spence-Tidd, Chairwoman, Precinct 28; Tina Kelly, Chairwoman, Precinct 32; Larry Kelly, Vice Chairman, Precinct 32; Stephanie West, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 37; John Williams, Chairman, Precinct 41; Cheryl Williams, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 41; John Kucewicz, Chairman, Precinct 60; Courtney Klein, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 60; Aaron Bernard, Vice Chairman, Precinct 63; Donald Crosson, Chairman, Precinct 70;  Kyle McDaniel, Chairman, Precinct 71; Ryan Ford, Vice Chairman, Precinct 79; Jerome Montgomery, Chairman, Precinct 80; Steve Long, Chairman, Precinct 83; Duane Crumbacher, Chairman, Precinct 90; Suzanne Crumbacher, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 90; Porter Davis, Chairman, Precinct 111; Bob Donohoo, Vice Chairman, Precinct 111; David Brooke, Chairman, Precinct 114; Lori Pedford, Chairwoman, Precinct 115; Toby Pedford, Vice Chairman, Precinct 115; Chris McLaughlin, Chairman, Precinct 134; Sarah McLaughlin, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 134;Steve Dickson, Chairman, Precinct 139;Taeren Wilson, Chairman, Precinct 151; Amy Wilson, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 151; Darla Minor, Chairwoman, Precinct 180; Kyle Minor, Chairman, Precinct 181; Richard Robinson, Chairman, Precinct 191; Jodi Sires, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 191; Lukus Collins, Chairman, Precinct 195; Rayna Savage, Vice Chairwoman, Precinct 201; Hugh Smith, Chairman, Precinct 206; JJ Prachyl, Chairman, Precinct 250; Josh Carrozza, Vice Chairman, Precinct 250; Ken Moore, Chairman, Precinct 252; Shaun Herring, Vice Chairman, Precinct 252
Attached: Front and back scans of the invitation to “Calypso Under The Canopy For Sheriff John Whetsel”.
###

Smoke and Mirrors: Why Oklahoma County needs a new sheriff

Kaye Beach

Oct. 7, 2012

Here’s a thought provoking article about the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s race written by Craig Dawkins posted today at the Red Dirt Report.

 

Smoke and Mirrors: A public rebuke of the status quo and why Oklahoma County residents should elect a new sheriff.

OKLAHOMA CITY — As a former member of the Oklahoma County Jail Funding Taskforce, I have quite a bit of personal insight into the history of the jail and how it has been operated under the guidance of the current sheriff John Whetsel.

The Oklahoma County Detention Center opened for use in November of 1991 at a total cost of $53.3 million. Just before the jail opened for operations, a grand jury examined the facility and determined that it was an excellent jail that “county citizens could be proud of.” For those counting, our jail is only 21 years old. Whetsel has been sheriff 16 of those 21 years.

Since then, there have been three separate committees that have looked into the problems at the jail. The “Primary 9” jail committee, the Jail Funding Taskforce committee, and the Adult Detention Advisory Committee (ADAC) made recommendations to the county and none of those recommendations have been implemented. Two of the three jail committees (Primary 9 and ADAC) recommended the jail be placed under a jail trust authority. The county pledged to do so after ADAC issued its report but has thus far failed to follow through on that promise. You should know that Whetsel adamantly opposes a jail trust. It appears county officials on the Budget Board also oppose a jail trust. A jail trust will not come as long as Whetsel is our county sheriff.

Some might ask, “Why do we want a jail trust running our jail?” It’s all about accountability. Something that Whetsel has resisted at every turn by each of the committees that have reviewed his operations. Under current state law, a county sheriff can spend their monies in any way they want to do so.

In a story published by The Journal Record on May 1, 2003, former Oklahoma City mayor Kirk Humphreys said, “It’s totally unaccountable. If the sheriff wanted to buy a jet airplane, he could, according to this ballot language, and he’d be answerable to nobody.” Trust me when I say that’s exactly the way Whetsel wants it. I have been in numerous meetings where Whetsel defiantly announced that he is accountable to no-one other than the Oklahoma County voters.

So the question is what has Whetsel done, after 16 years deserving of another term?

 

Read more