Tag Archives: funding

OCPA: Time to End Taxpayer Funding for the Native American Cultural and Education Authority

Oct. 22, 2012

By Jonathan Small, CPA

Findings in the performance audit of the Native American Cultural and Education Authority (NACEA) leave no doubt that it’s time to cease more taxpayer funding for the NACEA, and that lawmakers were right to reject another bond proposal. OCPA has previously recommended the end of more taxpayer funding for the NACEA. The findings of the performance audit are discouraging, especially considering that taxpayers have committed more than $112 million to the project to date.

This debacle is yet another example of what happens when government expands beyond its core functions. . .

Read more


Schools-Social Laboratories for Human Surveillance

Kaye Beach

Oct. 10, 2012

The latest story about Texas school children being tagged and tracked with active RFID tracking devices  (the passive variety is considered “a little less Big Brotherish.”) has caused some controversy.  We are told that this is no big deal, that the RFID tracking simply allows the school to more efficiently do what it already does-take attendance and keep track of students whose safety and well-being is entrusted to the school by parents. But there is much more going on here and the issue deserves to be examined in a broader context.

Here is an excellent article by David Rosen of AlterNet that pulls together a variety of news relating to the tracking and surveillance of students.  If you are even slightly uncomfortable about the implementation of these high tech schemes being unleashed on our children, you should read every word of this article which provides some much needed context to the individual stories that trickle down to us from time to time.

These children are the leaders of tomorrow and their experiences at school help serve to fix the values that they will carry with them into adulthood and they are being immersed in an environment saturated with sensors designed to supervise, control and correct them.  (Here are some other objections to student RFID tracking)

Rosen’s article covers RFID and GPS tracking, electronic monitoring devices being used on kids to combat obesity in New York, electronic monitoring of calories consumed in school cafeterias,  networked CCTV systems that are directly  accessible to police and disturbing abuse of student privacy through CCTV cameras,  school computers that use cameras to remotely spy on students in their own homes, federal funding of school surveillance and more.

I would like to add one thing to  Rosen’s litany; biometric identification such as finger scanning to make lunch lines more efficient 

Rosen writes;

Few parents or children are fully aware of the scope of the tracking and surveillance now going on in American schools. Three simple questions need to be addressed: What is happening to all the personal data captured about the students? How long it is being retained? And are school administrators providing it to law enforcement authorities or commercial vendors?

Here is the AlterNet article.

Kids Tagged With RFID Chips? The Creepy New Technology Schools Use to Track Everything Kids Do — And the Profit Motive Behind It

Who Owns the Fusion Centers?

Kaye Beach

Jan 15, 2012

Part II

This is Part II of my ongoing dissertation on Fusion Centers and the work they do.  You can read Part I, Intelligence Led Policing and Fusion Centers: How the IACP Helped the USA to Cross the Rubicon, which dealt with the flawed and dangerous philosophy of preemptive or Intelligence Led Policing that makes the whole domestic terrorism apparatus, including fusion centers such a threat to the liberties of everyone.

In Part II I am going to explain what the centers really do and who is in control of them and how.

Fusion Centers-State of Federal?

It is all about collecting the data and getting it to the federal government.  The most important function of Fusions Centers is also the most invisible portion of their work; the computer networks and information sharing that takes place through those networks.

Despite claims that the Fusion Centers were created by the states, the truth is that the modern day fusion centers were born of policy established at the federal level and they are largely funded, staffed and  trained by representatives of federal agencies.  The federal government likes to claim that the states are partners with the federal government in this and other programs like it.

Question: If I set the rules and I pay the bills and I own the house that you are currently residing in, are you really my partner?

Answer: only to the degree that I am willing to pretend that you are.

When it comes to state fusion centers, the federal government has been paying the bills, they set the rules and they own the house.

Paying the Bills-Federal Funding

Since 2003 the Department of Homeland Security has given $31 billion dollars to the state and local governments.

3.8 billion was given to the states in 2010 alone.  The programs funded by the DHS, largely focus on countering terrorism but also on natural and man-made disasters are required to be tuned to DHS dictates.  According to the Government Accountability Office, Fusion centers have been received $426 million in general grant funding from fiscal 2004 through fiscal 2009.  Stating the obvious about money and control, “You take the king’s shilling, you become the king’s man”—Tom Cole

This  news article published Nov 27, 2011, Oklahoma’s fusion center has a broad role these daysmakes who is paying the bills pretty clear.

Oklahoma’s federally funded information fusion center has a broader role today than it did when it began operations four years ago.

. . .Oklahoma’s fusion center is housed inside the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation‘s headquarters, 6600 N Harvey Place, and includes a secured room where secret information from the federal government is received.
. . .A central office includes a small room filled with monitors and TV screens, relaying data to an analyst. Its operations are funded, for the most part, by grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Stenhouse said the federal agency provided Oklahoma’s fusion center with about $400,000, which he said was used to pay the salaries of four analysts and training purposes. (All emphasis mine) Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahomas-fusion-center-has-a-broad-role-these-days./article/3626735#ixzz1i4z2ZOBQ

Oklahoma has received hundreds of millions of dollars in Homeland Security funds since 911 and the state understands who is in charge even if the officials choose to dance around the truth with the public.

The following is from the Oklahoma Information Fusion Center’s “Privacy Policy.”  It is clearly stated that the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security oversees the initiatives and mandates of the federal Department of Homeland Security-including our state’s fusion center.

OKOHS (Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security) is directed to continue their efforts in combating terrorism, and shall continue to oversee the implementation of any and all initiatives or efforts mandated by the United States Department of Homeland Security, including the development of a state information fusion center. (Emphasis mine)Read more


Federal Personnel Staff state fusion centers-.  According to the Government Accountability Office Report, as of July 2010, the DHS has deployed 58 personnel to fusion centers, and the FBI has deployed 74 personnel to fusion centers.

Setting the Rules

In 2008 we learned that the federal government has no qualms about yanking those strings attached hard and that includes subverting state law intended to protect the citizens of that state in the process.  The Fusion Centers have a job to do and that job requires some changes to be made to pesky state laws meant to provide residents with openness to,  and oversight of,  their government.

EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg said, “the FBI memorandum indicates that the federal government is attempting to shroud the Virginia Fusion Center in secrecy and prevent meaningful public oversight. Virginia citizens deserve an open and transparent state government that is not constrained by federal secrecy policies.”


Through the litigation, EPIC uncovered a secret contract between the State Police and the FBI that limits the rights of Virginia citizens to learn what information the State Police collect about them.


Fusion centers may be physically located in the states but their guts belong to Homeland Security! 

If you think of Fusion Centers as a place you will miss what the centers are really about.  Fusion Centers are part of a domestic intelligence system and the guts of the fusion centers are the data networks.

The federal government (guided all the way by the International Association of Chiefs of Police) defined the fusion centers and their processed from the start. They drew up the map.

“The National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan, developed by Global in partnership with the IACP, is the first of its kind in this country — and promises to bring us closer to achieving the goal, expressed at your 2002 Summit, of “intelligence-led policing.” . . . it serves as a “roadmap” for our national criminal intelligence sharing initiatives.” –THE HONORABLE DEBORAH J. DANIELS

The question of whether or not these institutions are state or federal entities is a moot point.  Though they physically reside in the states, the federal government aside from defining, funding and staffing the centers, also controls the data networks and they set the standards for how data is collected and shared.

Federal standards equal federal control

Standards are important if you want to:

  • SHARE DATA (speak the same language)

Standards Provide

  • On-demand real time data access

 Navigating the Standards Landscape

A Nationwide Network

You know what is worse for you privacy ant autonomy that a central database?  A distributed network of databases that are constantly updated that the central government can reach into at will.

The DHS intelligence analysis center or the DCI’s counterterrorist center do not need to accumulate and hold all relevant databases to which they may gain access. In other words, there is no need to build one big data warehouse. Instead, the centers should interface with such databases as needed.

—Markle Foundation Task Force Report 2002

Owning the House

In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and Global jointly published a supplement to the Fusion Center Guidelines called Baseline Capabilities Baseline Capabilities defines the capabilities needed to create a nationwide network of fusion centers and sets forth the minimum standards for a fusion center to be able to perform basic functions. 

The Department of Homeland Security set out an objective to create a network of fusions centers as a unique law enforcement and threat information resource that works across jurisdictions and is supported by multidisciplinary teams dispersed throughout a national network of information hives. Source EPIC

“. . .Fusion Centers will be the centerpiece of state, local, federal intelligence-sharing for the future and that the Department of Homeland Security will be working and aiming its programs to underlie Fusion Centers.” –DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano March 13, 2009



The Fusion Center Guidelines states that, “nontraditional collectors of intelligence, such as public safety entities and private sector organizations” will be “fused’ with law enforcement data”   The goal is to break down traditional barriers to information sharing. 

These barriers are commonly referred to as “siloes” or “stovepipes”

Those “silos” or barriers can also be thought of as jurisdictions.

From the Legal Information Institute;

Jurisdiction-The term jurisdiction is really synonymous with the word “power” Jurisdiction is the territory within which a court or government agency may properly exercise its power

It is not difficult to understand that when the the lines of authority are blended power will default to the higher level.

Agency protectiveness over jurisdiction and it is the authority an entity has over that jurisdiction that is the real barrier.  Simply stated, the problem with integrating data systems is not a physical or technical one; it’s political. Until recently, the barrier was both political and technological.  Now that the technological barrier has been removed, some think that the political barrier should follow suit.  But just because something is possible does it mean we should do it?

“National employment databases, national medical databases, national criminal databases, and others have already been created.

The dream is to blend all these separate resources into a single centralized one…the only real impediments to creating the database that now remain are political and cultural: the stubborn assumption of so many Americans that they have rights.”

The State’s Quest for Total Information Awareness by David M. Brown

In the past, the technological or physical barrier acted as sort of a firewall to siloes of data.  Data was shared on a legal right and need to know basis and  the entity wanting it had to ask.  While technology makes it possible to share lots of information in an instant with anyone in the world, there are still plenty of good reasons to protect sensitive  information.

If you really, really want to settle this whole argument about whether or not fusion centers are state of federal, just read about Homeland Security’s Federal Fusion Center initiative.

In 2010 The Department of Homeland Security announced its intention to;

“collect, plan, coordinate, report, analyze, and fuse infrastructure information related to all-threats and all-hazards, law enforcement activities, intelligence activities, man-made disasters and acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other information collected or received from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies and organizations; foreign governments and international organizations; domestic security and emergency management officials; and private sector entities or individuals into the Department.”

The DHS is creating a federal fusion center by ‘fusing’ information from the   centers.  DHS is laying claim to all of that data to use as they see fit.

The Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly stated that Fusion Centers were  owned by the states, the creation of this new system of records action totally negates that dubious claim.   They didn’t ask anyone’s permission.  Why?  Because they paid the bills, they set the rules and they own the house.  The states are a  “partner” up until the federal government decided they weren’t.

Fusion Centers, for all practical intents and purposes, belongs to none other than Big Momma Gov. and if anyone tells you different,  grab a pitcher because their pants are on fire!

Oklahomans Getting Soaked! Tag Teamed by FEMA and OWRB

Kaye Beach

August 30, 2011

“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God; and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.” —John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson. July 16, 1814

Last week I wrote about the stories of two Oklahoma residents, David McLain and Margaret Snow, and their  respective experiences with FEMA and the map modernization program (Map Mod) Margaret had no idea her property had been re-designated at all and David caught the FEMA/Oklahoma Water Resources Board in the act and challenged them.  His property remains safely listed as high and dry.    Margaret’s property (located no where near water and previously was classified as “up land”) remains in the newly designated flood zone and has subsequently lost about half of its value.

Map Mod have transitioned into what FEMA calls Risk Map.  The Risk Map program provides tools and incentives for communities to focus more on reducing risk which you can bet translates into more areas being required to pay for flood insurance and more areas where development is off limits or severely restricted.  You can check and see if your area has been remapped (DFIRM Digital Flood Insurance Map) by zip code at FEMA’s website

Why is this happening?   In a nutshell-the National Flood Insurance Program NFIP (administered by FEMA) is in debt to the tune of about 20 billion dollars due to Hurricane Katrina, Rita and other storms and FEMA is including property in flood zones that have no reason being there in order to gain funds  in order to pay this debt.  Property owners in certain flood zones are practically required to buy flood insurance.  If you have or want a loan backed by the federal government and your property is in a flood zone- you must buy flood insurance from FEMA.  Otherwise, many are being pressured to buy it.

FEMA was in  trouble before Katrina and Rita though.

After Katrina and Rita struck in 2005, the NFIP was more or less insolvent, without the capacity to pay the huge volume of claims those hurricanes created. Congress reacted by increasing the NFIP’s borrowing ability from the U.S. Treasury more than 13-fold, to a level of nearly $21 billion. link

FEMA Map Modernization Status OKLAHOMA

Here is a story published today about the National Flood Insurance Program’s insolvency;

Irene sends floundering flood insurance program further under water

Congress authorized FEMA to update the nation’s flood maps making them digital and other improvements however in 2006 FEMA issued a “mid course adjustment” which means FEMA basically said ‘Hey.  We are going to do this Map Modernization thing a little differently’  What they have done differently is causing lots of problems for property owners.

“In August and September 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused unprecedented destruction to property along the Gulf Coast, resulting in billions of dollars of damage claims to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).” GAO 2006

About 2006 FEMA begins issuing flood zone maps with a whole lot of people and their property in it that are not historically or practically at risk for flooding.

The FEMA flood maps determine who must buy insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.  The money collected from the NFIP goes to paying off the FEMA administered NFIP’s debt.  You do the math.

It’s no secret anyways, FEMA freely admits that part of this new approach is prompted by the burden of debt carried from other disasters.

“The escalating cost of emergency relief aid has prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to focus its priorities toward mitigation. This is a dramatic shift from FEMA’s traditional charter of responding to disasters and being prepared to respond.” The Oklahoma Standard Hazard Mitigation Plan

We are essentially being taxed to pay for other people’s losses.  The reason that this is considered necessary now is because “climate change” is a certainty and the federal government expects the unprecedented disasters of recent years to continue.  Redistribution of wealth  is the accepted manner in which to deal with these certainties reminiscent of the thinking behind nationalized health care.  This is also known as “legalized plunder“.

In Oklahoma, the Water Resources Board administers the NFIP for FEMA.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) administers the NFIP in cooperation with FEMA and acts as the State Floodplain Board. The Oklahoma Floodplain Management Act requires the OWRB to establish regulations to assist floodplain boards in mapping floodplains and 100-year flood elevations in Oklahoma. link

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board is in charge of all Flood Plain Management as authorized by the Oklahoma Floodplain Management Act.(Title 82, O. S. 2001, §1601-1618)

All NFIP participating communities must have a floodplain management plan which follows the dictates of FEMA.

“The Oklahoma Floodplain Management Act, effective May 13, 1980, and revised and updated in 2001, 2002, and 2004, enables Oklahoma communities to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).” link

This means that if your community is participating in the NFIP, then your communities development must conform to FEMA’s regulations and land use policies

The federal government has no authority to control local land use policy but with the lure of federal funds and the threat of withholding federal funds in the event of a true disaster, FEMA wahoo’s your local government to do their bidding.

“Since the Federal Government does not have land use authority, the NFIP is based on the Federal government’s power to spend under the Constitution rather than any Federal authority to regulate land use.”

“Under the NFIP regulations, participating NFIP communities are required to regulate all development in SFHAs. [Special Flood Hazard Areas]”

National Flood Insurance Program

Similarly, the state passes the buck to it’s agencies to implement unpopular growth limitations on local development plans.  Water management agencies are empowered by the state to regulate population growth and development.

“The State of Oklahoma does not have adopted ordinances regulating areas of population growth or future development per se. Oklahoma agencies representing the state under authority granted to them by the legislation adopt rules/regulations regarding Storm Water Management or Stream Water Management”

The first thing you ought to know is that floodplain management is more about protecting the environment from you, than protecting you from the environment. (More about Sustainable Development here)  As we know, Oklahoma’s high percentage of private property ownership is considered to be contrary to sustainable development.  (Private Property Ownership in Oklahoma Barrier to Sustainable Development)

It has been this way for some time. As far back as 1996, floodplain management has incorporated conservation into its management duties.


“To integrate wetlands conservation with Oklahoma’s flood plain management program and create more wetland greenbelt/riparian areas.”

Oklahoma has a  “net gain” policy for state owned wetlands and a “no net loss” policy for “wetlands”on state funded projects.

“To establish a net gain wetlands policy for state-owned lands and a no net loss policy on state funded projects to encourage the restoration, enhancement, and creation of wetlands.”

Incorporating wetlands construction or enhancement in urban/suburban areas as part of greenbelts, riparian zones, parks, and stormwater management systems is encouraged.


Certified Floodplain Managers

Members of Oklahoma Floodplain Managers Association have the acronym CFM by their names.  That means Certified Floodplain Manager.

So  when you see CFM by your floodplain managers’ name…

Members of Oklahoma Floodplain Managers Association:

Bill Smith, PE, CFM, Team Leader; Amy Brandley, CFM, Volunteers Coordinator. Team Captains: Phillip Beauchamp, CFM, Gavin Brady, CFM, Dan Carey, CFM, Jessica Yeager, CFM, Leslie Lewis,
CFM, Barend Meiling, PE, CFM, Omeed Mollaian, PE, CFM, Ken Morris, CFM, Bill Robison, PE, CFM, Carolyn Schultz, CFM, Ellen Stevens, PhD, PE, CFM, Ana Stagg, CFM, Laura Story, Anna Waggoner, CFM, Ruth Walters, CFM, Clark Williams, CFM link

. . .understand that CFM (Certified Floodplain Manager) means ASFPM certified floodplain manager.   And if your floodplain manager is ASFPM certified, you need to be checking your city ordinances for “No Adverse Impact” floodplain management techniques.

**Here is a list of all state Floodplain Managers.  Look for your county and see if they have a “CFM” by their name.**

If you want to know more about the role and duties of an Oklahoma Floodplain Manager-click the pic.

“The ASFPM CFM Program recognizes individuals who become certified, who pass the ASFPM exam, or an exam prepared ASFPM chapters that certify floodplain managers.” link

The National Association of Flood Plain Managers or ASFPM is a non-governmental organization (meaning unelected and not officially a part of government).   As with many non-government agencies, ASFPM seeks to be extremely influential in policy making.  It seems that they have met their goal.

ASFPM is part of a 6 NGO partnership that includes

•The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

•The Coastal States Organization (CSO), The National Association of Counties (NACo),

•the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) and

•The American Planning Association (APA).)


As I mentioned in my previous post—–The ASFPM has some very interesting new management techniques that really got my attention while researching water management issues a few months ago.  This new water management technique is called No Adverse Impact or NAI.

ASFPM says that NO ADVERSE IMPACT is “A New Direction in Floodplain Management Consistent with the Concept of Sustainable Development”

A new direction?

It is only as new as the 1987 Brundtland Report which is the basis for No Adverse Impact. (More about Sustainable Development here)

We all understand that we cannot do anything on or with our property (or our rights) that will harm the rights of another.

The No Adverse Impact approach begins with a solid and lawful premise, that our right to swing our fists stops where the nose of our neighbor begins, but then twists that premise by the manner in which what constitutes an adverse impact in determined.

“The No Adverse impact philosophy can shape the default management criteria: a community develops and adopts a comprehensive plan to manage development that identifies acceptable levels of impact, specifies appropriate measures to mitigate those adverse impacts, and establishes a plan for implementation.” link

So the community defines what constitutes an adverse impact and as we have seen time and again, the “community” is a group of people who are usually manipulated into “consensus” by community organizers to meet sustainable development goals.  But don’t be distracted from the truth.  No one, no group can define and thus take away your God given rights.  This is a dangerous road to travel and one that the Founders of this country explicitly avoided.  We are NOT a democracy.

It is often said that we are a nation of laws, not men.  This is what protects us from an arbitrary and capricious government.  Laws restrain men but in ASFPM’s view men should have the ability to restrain law.

This is the problem; what constitutes an “adverse impact” under ASFPM’s plan, is defined by the community not the law.

FEMA, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and Oklahoma Floodplain Managers have adopted the ASFPM’s No Adverse Impact management technique and it is being implemented in this state to the detriment of Oklahoma land owners.

ASFPMA and FEMA-working ten regions


ASFPM’s Regions

The term favored by FEMA is “wise use” but you will also see “no adverse imapct” used as well.  Both share the same problem-who defines what “wise use” or “no adverse impact” means?

Now  “Hazard Mitigation”  for FEMA has broadened considerably and it dovetails nicely with conservation efforts.  Now it is all about prevention of future disasters.  One great way to prevent property losses is to makes sure there is no property to lose in the first place.

The Oklahoma Standard Hazard Mitigation Plan 2011

“Property Acquisition –This is the State’s most favored, and usually most cost effective, voluntary option because the people and property are totally and permanently removed from the path of flooding and danger.” (page 39)

Oklahoma’s declares in the state’s  2011 Standard Hazard Mitigation Plan, that FEMA’s mission is our mission.

The FEMA mission is: “Reduce the loss of life and property and protect our institution from all hazards by leading and supporting the nation in a comprehensive, risk-based emergency management program of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.”

The Oklahoma State Hazard Mitigation Plan was written following this same precept. FEMA programs were reviewed and were integrated with the state mitigation planning process. The State of Oklahoma Hazard Mitigation Planning process aligns exactly with FEMA programs (page 33)

This is because in order for Oklahoma to qualify for these federal program, the state must conform.

“This Plan [The Oklahoma Standard Hazard Mitigation Plan]is designed to fulfill the requirementsof the following programs available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)”
♦ Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDM);
♦ Post-disaster assistance through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP);
♦ Flood Mitigation Assistance Program (FMA),
♦ Community Rating System Floodplain Management Planning (CRS);
♦ Severe Repetitive Loss Program (SRL);
♦ Repetitive Flood Claims Program (RFC).

I wish I had good news for you new floodplain dwellers but I don’t .  Although the plan is technically voluntary, there is a catch or two.

“The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Participation in NFIP by municipalities, counties, and tribal organizations is voluntary” (2011 Oklahoma Standard Hazard Mitigation Plan)

If a community does not participate residents cannot get flood insurance and in the event a presidential disaster declaration is made, non participating communities will not be eligible for federal assistance. Source:About the National Flood Insurance Program: Community Participation

What makes it worse is that when a community agrees to participate in the NFIP they have to accept all of the regulations on development that FEMA imposes.  Those regulations are detrimental to property values.  Often property owners just give up in disgust and leave.  It is apparent that FEMA and those at the local level charged with implementing FEMA’s directives have  rolled sustainable development principles into hazard mitigation policy.

Planning for a Sustainable Future: The Link Between Hazard Mitigation and Livability” (FEMA 364) illustrates how communities, whether planning for hazard mitigation before a disaster or initiating recovery planning after a disaster, can integrate the concepts and principles of sustainable development into each phase of mitigation planning.  FEMA 364 also shows how disaster resistance can be a catalyst to help communities incorporate sustainable development practices into their day-to-day planning and development functions.

FEMA and the NFIP creating “Economic Dead Zones

“The National Flood Insurance Program is, in both its design and execution, the worst federal program that I have encountered in my time in the United States House of Representatives.
Once vibrant neighborhoods…in which flood insurance is mandated are effectively economic dead zones, because this program provides perverse disincentives to home ownership and to home improvement, which, over decades have effectively turned whole swaths of formerly vibrant urban neighborhoods into virtual ghost towns. …communities across America pay this mandatory flood tax and see no benefit…  —U.S. Representative Brian Higgins (D) New York, April 20, 2009 at a congressional hearing on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) flood map modernization program

If you want to know more, I recommend scanning over  The Oklahoma Standard Hazard Mitigation Plan 

It is a daunting read but I found the first several pages manages to encapsulate enough information to give a good idea of what is going on.  You can also search the document for key words like “FEMA”, “sustainable”, “all-hazards”, “land-use”, “relocation” or any other keyword that strikes your fancy.

For an excellent overview and more information on FEMA’s re-mapping efforts, see OK-SAFE’s recent newsletter

Has Your Non-flooding Property Been Re-Mapped as Flood Zone?

OK-SAFE advises;

If you have had your non-flooding property (in Oklahoma) designated as flood zone/flood plain by either the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and/or FEMA (or FIMA), the Attorney General of Oklahoma may be interested in your situation.

Two people have agreed to be the contact persons for this effort.  Please have your paperwork together and organized, including any notes you may have taken about your conversations with OWRB, FEMA, or city officials.  Get names, titles, and contact information from everyone you have spoken with regarding this flood zone designation.  Include any before and after property assessments you may have.

  1. Northeast Oklahoma contact: Margaret Snow, email: msnow14@netzero.net  – this area includes Washington County, Rogers, etc.
  2. Rest of Oklahoma: Keith Shankle, email: kshankle@gmail.com

This past Sunday I had the honor of visiting with Amanda Teegarden and Don Wyatt on their weekly internet radio program “America in the Balance” about this issue.

My advice; Ask questions, demand answers and know your rights!

Stupid in America

Health Exchange/Network Language Found- SB971 Needs to be Stopped

Kaye Beach

April 2, 2011

The following is a slightly abbreviated version of the Action alert issued by OK-SAFE this evening.  To read the entire alert click here

OK-SAFE, 5/2/11 –

The substitute language for the failed HB 2130 (HUB board bill, establishing governance of the health insurance exchange) has appeared in a newly-created appropriations bill, SB 971. 

SB 971 was introduced on 4/27/11 and has been assigned to the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget. 

Details on who to call are below. The bill’s language is posted on the OK-SAFE blog.


[. . .]Grassroots groups’ research and lobbying helped force the rejection of the $54 Early Innovator Grant, awarded to Oklahoma in February 2011 to implement the technology systems necessary to create such an exchange. (See diagram below.)

HB 2130, as you may remember, established the Health Care for the Uninsured board (HUB) governance over the implementation of a health insurance exchange in Oklahoma.

HB 2130, narrowly passed in the House on 3/17/11, was refused a hearing in the Senate due to the outrage caused by its’ passage.

Oklahomans don’t want an exchange, with or without federal grant money.

However, a few Senators are again attempting to pass the same language that was used in the HUB bill (HB 2130), switching the HUB board to a new board, and replacing an exchange with a “Network.”  

Specifically, SB 971 would create a 7-member Health Insurance Private Enterprise Network board, to be chaired by the Insurance Commissioner: 3 members appointed by the governor, one member by the Speaker, one member by the Senate Pro-Tem, and includes the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Terry Cline.  This board would pick an Executive Director for the Network.

This 7-member board can end up being the same people who would have been on the 9-member HUB board as defined in HB 2130, minus two.

[. . .]SB 971 further states: Funding for the Network shall come from state and private sources.

We’ve been told the state is facing a budget shortfall – where will the funding come from? What/who are the private sources?

There is no reference in the bill for how the Network website is to be set up, which opens the door for passing this right back to the system shown in the diagram above.

“Oh”, one Senator has said, “but this bill is completely different. You’ll like it.”  Huh?

Please Call [and or email] the following legislators and ask for NO vote on SB 971:

Senate Member Directory

1) Senate Appropriations Committee group email list: (Note- Sen. Myers and Sen. Sykes’ emails go to their executive assistants, Ingraham and Lewis, respectively)

ingraham@oksenate.gov, jolly@oksenate.gov, ballenger@oksenate.gov, branan@oksenate.gov, brinkley@oksenate.gov, burrage@oksenate.gov, crain@oksenate.gov, fordj@oksenate.gov, halligan@oksenate.gov, ivester@oksenate.gov, justice@oksenate.gov, marlatt@oksenate.gov, newberry@oksenate.gov, nichols@oksenate.gov, paddock@oksenate.gov, rice@oksenate.gov, stanislawski@oksenate.gov, lewis@oksenate.gov, wilson@oksenate.gov, wyrick@oksenate.gov

2) House Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget: group email:

earl.sears@okhouse.gov, scott.martin@okhouse.gov, donarmes@okhouse.gov, lisajbilly@okhouse.gov, gusblackwell@okhouse.gov, mikebrown@okhouse.gov, dougcox@okhouse.gov, david.dank@okhouse.gov, leedenney@okhouse.gov, daledewitt@okhouse.gov, joedorman@okhouse.gov, chuck.hoskin@okhouse.gov, guyliebmann@okhouse.gov, jerrymcpeak@okhouse.gov, ronpeters@okhouse.gov, danielsullivan@okhouse.gov, purcywalker@okhouse.gov

Oklahoma SQ 754 and 755 Conundrum

Click here to find out more!

State Question 754 Aimed at Stopping Education Funding Question 744


Ed Murray, News 9

posted 10/28/10

Key Point-

…some have asked what will happen if voters approve both questions, since 744 and 754 counter each other?

Oklahoma State Statute, Title 34 Section 21 states “if two or more conflicting amendments are approved in the state election, the one with the most yes votes prevails.” That could mean something called voter fatigue could help determine the outcome, 744 appears first on the ballot while 754 is question number 8.

Personally,I would defer to Brogdon this one.   I trust his research staff and if they are right, passing 754 could be big trouble.  Better safe than sorry.


OKLAHOMA CITY — State Question 754 is directly aimed at stopping the education funding question — State Question 744, but unlike the candidates on November 2, both questions have the potential to win.

The resolution that became State Question 754 passed through the legislature with bi-partisan support, but now, just like with State Question 744, there have been comments of good intentions but bad unforeseen consequences.

State Representative Leslie Osborn, R-Tuttle, said she wrote 754 not only to stop the education funding mandate question but to keep the current appropriations process intact. But a line in the resolution that the measure could not require the legislature to fund state functions based on predetermined constitutional formulas has several of her colleagues now opposed to it.

State Senator Randy Brogdon said it could stop funding for 31 other agencies.

Read More



OK-SAFE Positions on Oklahoma’s State Questions 2010

Updated: September 1, 2010
State Questions for General Election, November 2, 2010 Ballot

AxXiom for Liberty July 16,2010 Show Notes: Privately Funded Travel for Congress, Tom Coleand the Aspen Institute (for Humanistic Studies)

Privately Funded Travel for Congress

Opinions on privately sponsored trips range from enthusiasm to skepticism to outright disapproval. While some lawmakers and sponsors say the trips promote understanding, some government watchdog groups say they give sponsors disproportionate influence on Capitol Hill.

Gary Ruskin of the Congressional Accountability Project said: “Typically these trips help educate members of Congress only about one side of an issue. As such, sometimes they’re worse than not traveling at all.”http://www.medillnewsdc.com/power_trips_04/trips_overview.shtml

The Aspen Institute tops the list year after year for congressional trips

WASHINGTON, June 5, 2006 — The Aspen Institute spent more than $3.5 million on congressional travel in the 5½-year study period looked at by the Center for Public Integrity. No other sponsor’s spending came close.

Records show that the Washington, D.C.-based institute, founded in 1950 by Container Corp. of America board chairman Walter Paepcke, sent members of Congress on at least 660 trips from 2000 to mid-2005, to destinations such as Prague, Berlin and Barcelona. The trips were part of the group’s Congressional Program, which has the stated mission of bringing lawmakers together with “internationally recognized academics, experts and leaders to study their ideas and to explore various policy alternatives.”


The sponsors are often looking to influence policy, whether it’s in the realm of education, foreign relations, the environment or technology.

House Ethics Committee Expected to Propose New Rules Shortly to Legitimize Privately-Funded Trips for Members Domestically and Around the World

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The House Ethics Committee is expected to shortly announce new rules that would provide for the Committee to pre-approve privately-funded trips taken by House members in this country and around the world.

In addition to Chairman ”Doc” Hastings (R-WA) and his staff, who spent $70,000 on privately-funded trips during the period, the top spenders, including staff, were

Representatives Gene Green (D-TX), $198,000; Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), $130,000; Mike Doyle (D-PA) 95,000; Tom Cole (R-OK), $78,000 and Judy Biggert (R-IL), $60,000. A complete list of the amounts spent on privately-funded travel by House Ethics Committee members and their staffs is enclosed. http://democracy21.org/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={91FCB139-CC82-4DDD-AE4E-3A81E6427C7F}&DE={81DEF818-D817-4FC0-B4A1-767EBEBBF0E4}

WASHINGTON — Join Congress, see the world. Join a congressman’s staff, see more of it.

Private groups, corporations or trade associations — many with legislation that could affect them pending before Congress — paid nearly $50 million since 2000 to send members of Congress and their staffers on at least 23,000 trips overseas and within the United States, according to a study released Monday.

The trips included at least 200 journeys to Paris and 150 to Hawaii, room rates of up to $500 a night and trips on corporate jets that cost up to $25,000 a trip, according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, American Public Media and Northwestern University’s Medill News Service.

“Some trips seem to have been little more than pricey vacations — often taken in the company of spouses or other relatives — wrapped around speeches or seminars,” the report said. “In many instances, trip sponsors appeared to be buying access to elected officials or their advisers.

Congressional aides took more than 70 percent of the trips, the study found. While the travel isn’t illegal, the report shines a light on how business is often done in Washington. It comes in a congressional election year when one of the biggest issues is corruption.

Key findings

From January 2000 through June 2005, lawmakers and their aides took at least 23,000 privately funded trips with a total value of almost $50 million.

  • Almost three-quarters of the trips were taken by staffers, who often influence how their bosses view issues and vote.
  • Ethics rules require that such trips be educational or investigative, but many were to vacation destinations — at least 200 to Paris, 150 to Hawaii and 140 to Italy.
  • Of the two dozen congressional offices on which trip sponsors spent the most money, 15 were Republican.
  • Of the 25 lawmakers who each accepted more than $120,000 worth of travel for themselves, 17 were Democrats.
  • At least 11 offices accepted more than $350,000 each in travel. Top beneficiaries included the offices of Reps. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and Don Young, R-Alaska.

    Source-The Center for Public Integrity


Top Sponsors Funding Travel, 2005-2008

#2 Aspen Institute



USA Today Reports;


The Aspen Institute, a non-partisan think tank, is among the largest trip organizers. This year, it sent 12 lawmakers to Madrid for a conference on Russian relations and 15 to Lisbon to discuss energy policy. Total cost: $251,000.

Dick Clark, a former Iowa Democratic senator who runs Aspen’s program, said the travel is paid for by independent foundations. He said the trips let lawmakers discuss policy questions with international experts.

“All I’m trying to do is bring scholarship to policymakers,” he said. “They’re …like study sessions.”



Tom Cole Aspen funded travel

Aspen Institute
Banff, Alberta
Attended meetings on education standards and public policy in the U.S. $6,690.80

Cole, Rep. Tom (-OK)
Aspen Institute
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Attended a conference on Islam and politics $11,058.00

Aspen Institute
Berlin, Germany
Attended the Aspen Institute’s congressional program on relations between U.S., Russia and Europe $9,855.60

Cole, Rep. Tom (-OK)
Aspen Institute
Krakow, Poland
To participate in a conference on U.S.-Russia-Europe relations $8,463.80

Cole, Rep. Tom (-OK)
Aspen Institute
Montego Bay, Jamaica
To participate in a conference on education reform $6,198.76

Cole, Rep. Tom (-OK)
Aspen Institute
Istanbul, Turkey
To participate in a conference on political Islam $6,617.15

Cole, Rep. Tom (-OK)
Aspen Institute
Punta Mita, Mexico
Participate in a conference on U.S. policy in Latin America $6,064.84

Cole, Rep. Tom (-OK)
Aspen Institute
Honolulu, HI
Participate in a conference on U.S.-China relations $10,768.96

Cole, Rep. Tom (-OK)
Aspen Institute
Rome, Italy
Participate in a conference on the global environment $9,032.20


Congressman Tom Cole from Oklahoma says that it’s his duty to “represent the views and values of the people of the Fourth Congressional District.”

Do those views and values include meetings held at the offices of lobbying firms, and money taken from lobbyists themselves?

In the middle of the day on March 2nd, Tom Cole walked into the offices of lobbying firm DC Navigators.

DC Navigators represents clients such as Citigroup, the Oklahoma Indian Gambling Association, the Video Gaming Association, Pacific Gas and Electric, and New York Life Insurance. For an hour and a half there, Cole met with representatives of political action committees who had paid for the privilege of access to a real member of Congress.

The fee, as described on the invitations sent out by Cole’s re-election campaign, was one thousand dollars each.


Members of Congress are elected to represent constituents, yet many candidates for office receive contributions from people who do not live in their states or districts. Large amounts of out-of-state contributors may indicate that candidates are gearing up for a national election, that they are beholden to special interests located outside their state or district, or both.

  • Rep. Tom Cole 2000 to present
  • Total $ 639,963
  • Percentage 36.30 % Out of state contributions
  • Ranked 65


SQ 744 Facts vs ‘Folks’-lore

SQ 744

Facts vs ‘Folks’-lore


by Kaye Beach

The deeper you look, the more you know. . .

SQ 744 is one wormy apple for Oklahoma schools!

‘Folks’-lore tells us;

State Question 744 would repeal a section of the state Constitution. The HOPE petition would require the state to meet the regional per pupil average for spending in public schools.

Oklahoma’s region is comprised of New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Texas. Oklahoma legislators allocate $7,615 per student in comparison to the average regional per-pupil expenditure of $9,078, said Doug Folks, OEA spokesperson. (emphasis mine)

source-The Edmond Sun

From Oklahomans  for Responsible Government;

Playing with numbers

Put this down as another reason why State Question 744 would be a huge problem for Oklahoma if it passes in November: you can’t trust the numbers.

If you go to the State Department of Education’s website and look at the Stat Card for 2007-2008 (the most recent data available, apparently), you will see the claim that Oklahoma spends $7,615 per student. This is the same figure used by the OEA to justify SQ 744. But the OEA claims that the regional average for 2007-2008 is $9,078 while the State Department of Education Fact Sheet says it is $8,870. That difference of $200 per student is a difference of almost $127-million! (emphasis mine)


The Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs-OCPA,  has really looked at the numbers;

Public School Results at Elite Prep-School Prices

January 01, 2010

By Steve Anderson

What is the truth about per-pupil spending in Oklahoma?

The state’s most powerful labor union, the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), says we spend $7,615 per pupil in Oklahoma. The union gets this number from the National Center for Education Statistics. But I have conducted a comprehensive examination of public education spending in Oklahoma for the 2007-08 school year (the latest year for which actual data are available), and I estimate the real number is $10,257 per pupil.

Take a look at Mr. Anderson’s math and you will see that there are some liberties being taken with the figures we are being given by the OEA.

My study was designed to measure every cost involved in funding and operating the public education system. Instead of arbitrarily selecting or excluding a cost, I used common-sense guidelines with an independent referee-the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).[1]

I considered every step in the process, beginning with the collection of the funds necessary for education and following them to their end use in the system. I then isolated the local or state entity or entities that perform the function and calculated those costs.[2] This allows citizens to see every cost incurred in the provision of public education.

Read more;


And this from R.O.P.E.-Restore Oklahoma Public Education;

HOPE Isn’t Change or Vote NO on State Question 744

Based on current public data and and a review of articles from credible internet sources, I found that, according to the Sunshine Review, the Oklahoma tax payers actually paid approximately $11,250.00 per student in 2007 when costs are compared apples to apples with private school educations (http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Calculating_the_real_cost_of_public_…), not the 7k numbers the OEA and NEA are asserting.

[ . .]Even when using The Sunshine Review number of 11k per pupil spending is used for calculation, the administrative costs of educating our kids is just barely below HALF (41.54%).

In other words, the NEA and the OEA, better actually hope that Oklahoma tax payers are paying the 11k per pupil suggested by the Sunshine Review article or they are looking at a HUGE discrepancy between what tax paying parents think they are spending on their child’s classroom education and what is actually being spent on their child’s classroom education.

Why in the world are we moving teachers out of classrooms and cramming kids together in classes of up to 30 when all we CLEARLY need to do is reduce administrative spending? Clearly, HOPE is not the answer here. Clearly, CHANGE is needed and that change is to DECREASE ADMINISTRATIVE costs to a FRACTION of their current total in relation to in-classroom spending.

Great analysis!

Read more;


More OEA ‘calculations’

Funding for the HOPE ballot initiative

According to a Tulsa World article August 30, 2008, petition circulators were paid $1 per signature and the drive raised $179,627 since May 1, with all but $100 coming from the OEA or National Education Association. The group hoped to raise as much as $3 million for the entire process, which would include a possible challenge.[21]

The OEA raised $600,000 to pay 250 circulators, and projected the total ballot initiative wouldcost $3 million.[32] According to a September 2009 report, the measure could cost the state up to $850 million per year.[33]


SQ 744 does not add up!

The OEA and the NEA must be placing bets and  banking on the “HOPE” that  Oklahomans will not take time to do the math.