Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Will the OK Legislature Blow Off the Native American Center in OKC?

Two Former Governors,
One Democrat, One Republican, Hope Not

Will the Oklahoma Legislature let this masterpiece-in-progress die, mid-stream, in its tracks? In the above video produced by the Chickasaw Nation and published a couple of days ago, two former governors, one Democrat (Brad Henry) and one Republican (Frank Keating), say NO, that would be a wrong course to follow.

But, with the changing of the guard in Oklahoma State Legislature during the past several years from democrats to republicans, governmental sponsorship of projects relating to culture and the arts have had an increasingly hard row to hoe.

Nothing demonstrates this difficulty more vividly than the earlier-promised partial state funding of the American Indian Cultural Center & Museum (AICCM) in Oklahoma City. Notwithstanding the support of current Republican Governor Mary Fallin, in spring 2011 the controlling committee members of the Oklahoma Legislature's House & Senate refused to allow further funding to even come to a vote. Overall, funding is from multiple sources which I'll explain later.

But, without the state legislature doing what it earlier committed to do, is the American Indian Cultural Center & Museum doomed?

David F. Allen expressed his thoughts at OkcTalk.com. About himself, David says,
I was born and raised in South Oklahoma City, graduated from the University of Oklahoma with Bachelor of Architecture. I am currently living in SW Houston. However, Oklahoma and to be more exact, Oklahoma City has always been home to me.
About the above video and the project, David wrote,
        That was a very well done video, and it captured several key things that will (I hope) 1. Raise awareness of how significant a facility this really is. 2. Showcases its integral nature in relation to the Downtown renaissance. 3. Address the fact that there is a real economic as well as intangible cost that will be realized simply by failing to complete a project that has this type of visibility and unique cultural significance, paid for with immense public investment. Failing to complete this sends the unintended message of instability could very well give developers pause before pushing forward serious plans in the area. 4. Completion of the project allows for the continued momentum in the growth and development taking place downtown.

        It was nice to see many of our leaders of the past who recognize the intense detrimental impacts of this project being left to flounder in the shadows of downtown. There is no hiding this place, it is right down the river from the Oklahoma River rowing courses and will be a source of national and international exposure for good (if completed) or ill (if not) The landform and striking architecture of the buildings will draw attention unto itself, so there will be no way for OKC or Oklahoma in general to hide this unfinished project. So we may as well realize that the unfinished project could cost us far more in losses due to the negative PR that we will get, for the negative perceptions that will be reinforced or taken away from this if not completed, such as: That we do not value our history, that we can't live up to what we have been advertising, issues of race and the list goes on and on ... the biggest issue is that we will not be able to control the way the rest of America or the world for that matter, will take this and run with it.

        This project IS critical to get completed because we are too far along for us not to! We have used it as a feather in hats in many of our chamber videos that have been at major development conferences (and anywhere else we can get them played) showcasing Oklahoma and its capital city. Even the cost of shuttering it for a while and then at some future point dusting off the plans and completing, will cost far more as there will be significant cost increases anytime you demobilize the site and then have to start back up, plus the costs of labor and materials and on and on and on ...

        The decision to build this facility was made long ago and there is nothing that can undo that, those dollars are spent. The costs of not completing it are incalculable, even from a fiscal responsibility standpoint. If you ordered dinner at a nice restaurant and your date has eaten half of hers already, and you then realize that you do not have the money, you have to work out a way to pay it, or be prepared to wash the dishes. But one thing is for certain, even if you begrudgingly wash the dishes, yes you have met the obligation, but the date that you were hoping to go well is over. Feel free to insert developers, corporate relocation candidates, or large group events/meetings seeking a venue, etc. into the role of the date in the analogy.)

        You can be assured that there are many very key people who are keeping an eye on our state and city with interest, watching for us to support our claims of being world class or waiting for us to falter. The fact that we have run into budget issues on the project does not doom nor define us, however how we respond to the challenges that face us do. So do we just try and brush this one under the rug and wait until some casino decides to pony up the money for the land and facility and then become the laughingstock of the nation? Or do we work to identify a viable solution to deliver a promise that was begun a long time ago and let the expense finally mature to the point that it can begin having a positive economic impact in our area. There is no doubt that this will become every bit, if not more renowned than the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

        It is my hope that in years to come we will recognize this moment for what it is, a pivotal one that had lasting and unimaginable economic impacts on our city.

        The rowing venue is one of Oklahoma's most currently relevant venues for increasing international exposure for something (other than the Thunder.) of permanence and place. When there are significant races being held here, the network camera crews will be looking for shots to showcase its location and this is immediately adjacent to the course!!!! Even in Europe there is a familiarity with the plight and issues of the Native Americans on this continent. You cannot buy this type of public advertising that will be a boon to tourism in our city and state.

        We must finish this project.
The video below shows the promise ...

More to follow ...

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

What Is the DEAL With Councilman Ed Shadid?

As an underdog (Charlie Swinton being the highest vote-getter in the Ward 2 primary vote and favored by the Oklahoman and the Committee for Oklahoma City Momentum), in the runoff election Shadid roundly defeated the Oklahoman's and the huge and hidden monied Committee for Oklahoma City Momentum's candidate by a vote of 62% to 38%.

He then took his office. Shortly following, he was taken aback by the City Council having on its consent docket a proposal for a new non-profit organization which would assume roles which previously resided in city government, the Alliance for Economic Development (see here and here), the the 35-page proposed contract having been delivered to the Council only 2 or 3 days before the meeting. Later, he responded to such a short notice procedure by a proposal which would require greater time and public input before considering substantially important matters. For that, some city council members took personal offense and he got his ears boxed by council members Ryan, Marrs, McAtee, and Salyer, they saying that, actually, all one needed to do was to ask for a continuance and, in the Council's magnanimous collegiality, it would be granted.

But, about that collegiality and to make matters worse, when he was unavoidably unable to attend the important July 5 City Council meeting that would establish the prioritization of MAPS 3 projects and he requested a continuance through Pete White, Shadid's face was very sharply slapped by the majority present and voting (as well as by another council member, Meg Salyer, she voting by proxy via the mayor). So much for that supposed magnanimous collegiality.

Later still, he took on Momentum by naming Larry Nichols as the principal if not only person behind the Committee for Oklahoma City Momentum. Later, he, Pete White, and City Clerk Frances Kersey gave their support to a matter pending before the Oklahoma Ethics Commission brought by the Oklahoma Gazette. Among other things, the Gazette requested an interpretation of the Political Subdivision Ethics Act (PSEA) as to whether an entity sending money to a nonprofit organization — the so-called "super-PACS" — that is participating in electioneering would also be subject to campaign disclosure requirements, i.e., identification of "super-PAC" contributors and amounts of their contributions. The Attorney General's office nixed an immediate answer, but one would expect the query to be answered sooner rather than later.

By all appearances, but for Pete White, Skip Kelly, and perhaps David Greenwell, one could reasonably conclude that Shadid has been eschewed by the other council members and the mayor and that, all things considered, he might be or is or could be considered by them to be something of a persona non grata.

So, what does he do? Did he put his tail between his legs and lower his head like a sad bad dog, be timid, and go to his corner?

No. He's not that kind of dog. Instead, he leads, and he leads like no other city leader has in recent or perhaps any memory — instead of pouting (and I've watched Council meetings closely this year, and he has yet to respond to the poor treatment received at the hands of other Council members with anything other than courtesy), he has gone to the public and encouraged ordinary citizens like you and me to become involved and be part of the process.

Shadid seems to have the idea that ordinary citizens have the ability to think, understand, contribute, and be trusted, that good government is best when it is transparent, and that doing something about the city rests not only with elected officials and the wealthy, as important as their roles are in this city's progress, the bottom line is that it fundamentally rests with the public at large.

Most recently, he organized and perhaps paid for (the city didn't) a public forum designed to promote discussion and resolution of the problems associated with "urban sprawl" in Oklahoma City, conducted yesterday evening at the Marriott Hotel Ballroom at Independence and Northwest Expressway. It's just as though his rebukes at the City Council level had never happened — no animus was present in tone or content, just public education.

Given the lackluster blessing upon the new city council member by the mayor and council members Marrs, Ryan, McAtee, and Salyer, would anyone even bother to show up or listen to whatever might transpire at this public forum which Shadid said would be but one of other public forums yet to come?

Click on any image in this post for a larger view.

So, how many would show up in the 600 seat capacity ballroom at this public forum which Shadid organized which was said to be a first step in discussing urban sprawl? 50? 100? 250? What?

This many?

Or this many?

Maybe this many?

No, it was this many ... wall to wall people, standing room only.

The 600-capacity ballroom was overflowing — additional chairs had to be brought in next to the walls to accommodate the overflow crowd. Heck, the Oklahoman even covered the event in an article by Michael Kimball in this morning's paper. Quoting Shadid, Kimball's article defined the purpose of the meeting:
"It's about defining the issues, defining the scope of the problem and bringing it to the public," Shadid said. "Then we can let them process it, draw upon their individual experiences and then engage the city with their ideas."
What a concept — involve the public by defining where we are with our sprawling 621 square mile city and begin a discussion about how to fix the problems that our city's sprawl has created — not a discussion behind closed doors but one right out front for everyone to see and be part of.

The Oklahoma Gazette publicized the event and Dr. Shadid ran the following flyer in the August 31, 2011, Oklahoma Gazette:

The event was also publicized at his website, www.edshadid.org, and in Facebook, here, here, and here.

While listening to his opening remarks, I was flabbergasted by the breadth of knowledge that Shadid easily rolled off of his tongue — as well as be amazed that, given his lukewarm if not cool reception at City Council, he'd assembled the following speakers, each of which succinctly discussed the elements of the city's sprawl which pertained to their expertise (all photos were taken yesterday evening). Many if not all injected elements of humor in their comments — even Eric Wenger who sometimes seems to be dour personified made a quip which was chuckled at by those present, but I did notice that he often did not laugh at the hearty comedic anecdotes of other speakers. Maybe he was preoccupied with what he would say, himself, as I might also have been were I on the dais.

Blair Humphreys
Urban Planner & O.U. Instructor

Jim Couch
OKC City Manager

Russell Claus
OKC Planning Director

Keith Bryant
OKC Fire Chief

Bill Citty
OKC Chief of Police

Rick Cain, Director
OKC Public Transit & Parking

Eric Wenger
OKC Public Works Director

Marsha Slaughter
OKC Utilities Director

Bob Tener, Director
OKC Code Enforcement
During the meeting, councilman Shadid also echoed the remarks which he'd made at the August 30 City Council Meeting, those comments being shown here — buy local so that more money stays in the local economy and the city collects more sales tax revenue, sales tax revenue essentially being the sole source for funding of city operations — streets, police, fire, utilities, parks, government, everything.

So, at last, back to the question, What IS the deal with Councilman Ed Shadid?

The deal is this: Rather than criticize Shadid, Council members would be wise to take lessons from him even though most have been in their posts a lot longer than he has. I'd give the same advice to the Oklahoman, but you know as well as I do how important such advice would be to the powerful but increasingly isolated newspaper. Even so, it may yet come to see that the public likes this guy, how he works, and what he is doing — and even the Oklahoman may glean that the public may well want its new leaders' clothes to be cut by the same tailor who made his almost always black attire — even though a bit of color would be cool with me. In my opinion, he's the real deal, and the public is becoming increasingly aware of exactly that fact. In the end, even the Oklahoman may get it.

As to sitting Council members, have any of you readers ever seen any other Council member do something similar to what Ed Shadid did with yesterday's urban sprawl forum with 600 or more citizens in attendance? Correct me if I'm wrong and show me a picture, but I think that yesterday evening's public forum was a first of its kind.

I may be dreaming, but I venture to say that Ed Shadid has set something powerful in motion in this city the likes of which we have not seen before, something that neither the Oklahoman nor the Committee for Oklahoma City Momentum will have the power to stop.

At the September 6 meeting, Dr. Shadid said that he'd be doing more public forums similar to what he did with the urban sprawl forum discussed above. I can hardly wait.

One last thing — even though Ed Shadid has shown no rancor for the treatment that he has received at the hands of some City Council members, some of the rest of us may not be so kind when this period of time is recalled in elections yet to come. Some of us may have a touch of the "dark side" left in us, even if Ed Shadid does not.

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Thursday, September 01, 2011

My 50th Lawton High School Class Reunion

Originally posted September 1, 2011; updated on September 6 & 8 to show reunion photos.

News Flash: Lawton High will be open for touring at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday). I don't know how long that will last.

As you can see from the above photo in the 1961 Lawton High School yearbook, Lawton High in 1961 was no small school. Its sophomore-junior-senior population was well above 2,000, and my senior graduating class exceeded 600, many of whom I never met.

In that context, how does one get prepared for his/her 50th high school reunion at one of 1961's largest high schools in the state? If one comes from a small high school, it's probably not that much of a challenge. But if coming from one of the largest, preparing for the 50th reunion can be daunting.

Jump to the September 3 photos

Lawton Roots. Although born in Oklahoma City and having lived and/or worked here since 1966 during my time in law school at the University of Oklahoma, I was largely reared in Lawton beginning in the 3rd grade. I was one of more than 600 graduates from Lawton High School in 1961. Today, Lawton/Ft. Sill's population is around 100,000, and the city has 3 principal high schools. But when I graduated Lawton's population was a bit over 60,000 and there was only one principal high school, Lawton High School, one of the premier high schools in the state. In fact, in 1962, Home of Champions was a title bestowed on LHS by the Oklahoma State Legislature, when Lawton High won all five of the major sports State Championship titles, even though before 1962, LHS was not at all shabby in its athletic accomplishments.

It is from my Lawton High School days that my beginnings into the value of civic pride were born. Before graduation, I made road maps of everything in the country coming through Lawton. I relished in the fact that Lawton was then the 3rd largest city in the state. Even though those civic pride sensations have since transferred to Oklahoma City where I was born and where I live today, Lawton and Lawton High is/are where my sensory perceptions of the value of civic pride began.

How To Prepare For A Reunion. To prepare for this auspicious reunion, I concluded that it would help to review each of the high school yearbooks associated with this class, with a focus on activities that I or my high school sweetheart were associated with, and then carry it forward beyond the 1961 graduation. The next 10 pages show that sequence over time spanning 52 years.

For starters, it is accurate to classify me as a "nerd" — my interests were band (1958 and ending in fall 1959) and debate (all 3 high school years). I'm still a nerd else I wouldn't have been doing Doug Dawgz Blog since 2006. And I'm damn proud of it.

Click on any image for a much larger view.


Since the 5th grade, instrumental music was part of my upbringing, and I played the cornet. As a sophomore, I gained a superior in the state band contest, much to my and everyone's surprise. Linda Tozier was my piano accompanist. In March 1959, the band took a trip to Corpus Christi to participate in the Buccaneer Band Festival and that is when my love affair with Corpus Christi began. Although I dropped out of band in the fall of 1959 so that I could spend more time with debate, band was an important part of my high school career. The photo below is the 1959 Lawton High School Band from the 1959 yearbook.

Page 1 of my Reunion Review, 1958-1959

Page 2 of my Reunion Review, 1959-1960

Pages 3-6 of my Reunion Review, 1960-1961

Page 7 of my Reunion Review, at OSU 1961-65

Page 8 of my Reunion Review, at OU 1965-1968

Page 9 of my Reunion Review, Post-1968

Page 10 of my Reunion Review, Lawton High

The Mountains. For a high schooler in Lawton, mention must be made of the Wichita Mountains. Everyone in Lawton referred to the Wichita Mountains simply as "the mountains" and I've blogged about the Wichitas previously. As high school kids, that's where we often hung out, doing various and sundry things in the process ... some things are better left unsaid in a blog post like this. Here are a few photos taken much later than our 1961 graduation but it wasn't that much different then.

In 1990

My Kids Treating Me To A Meersburger, July 2010

In Medicine Park, July 2010

The Reunion Flyer. Aside from yearbooks and my own photos, the next valuable preparation tool was the 4-page flyer which announced and described the 3-day reunion over Labor Day weekend. As I said, we had more than 600 in our graduating class, many of whom I never met. About 280 of them were identified as whereabouts unknown, and another 43 were reported as dead. The 3rd step was to accept the fact of mortality and missing persons and that days gone by cannot be wholly recreated. Remembrances, for sure; wishful thinking about immortality, not at all. Anyway, combining the missing and the dead, that whittled about 323 people off of the list of who to possibly expect to see. I don't remember the exact count of graduates ... like I said it was over 600. Using 610 as the number, that leaves about 287 who might be present during the 50th reunion.

Talking with one of the reunion organizers, I understand that about 140 or so have registered to be present. That means that approximately 23% of our graduating class, which is about 50% of those whose who are presumed living and whose whereabouts are known, will be attending. Cathryn, who lives in Egypt, will be there, as will my high school buddy, Tony, who lives in Florida, among many many others.

My high school sweetheart and 1st wife and mother of our children (David, Mary) Liz (left), will attend, but, sadly, my high school debate partner, Judy (right), who lives in Alaska, will not. I'd love to talk with her again. Still, I'm very much looking forward to this 50th class reunion and seeing again and talking with any who are present.

But will I recognize them when I see them? Better put, have a look at me in 1961 and what I look like now and ask, will I be recognized by them?

I'll let you know after I return from the dinner dance scheduled for Saturday, September 3, at the Lawton Country Club, with pictures from the auspicious evening.


SEPTEMBER 3 PHOTOS. The Labor Day Weekend reunion is now done and I had an outstanding time attending events on Saturday, September 3. My wife and I paid a few extra dollars to stay at the Hampton Inn in Lawton, thinking from prior experience with the same hotel brand that the extra money would be worth it -- but, in our opinion, the hotel facility was really quite average and disappointing even though the hotel staff was excellent. The fact that several others attending the reunion also stayed there helped to make up for the hotel's shortcomings.

I've weeded out a few pics that I took and saved 75. The photos begin in the morning with a brief tour of Lawton High School which Sue Otis Wigington kindly arranged. Then, I took some photos at the Girlfriends Brunch at the Silver Spoon Restaurant in downtown Lawton, and, finally, at the dinner dance at the Lawton Country Club. A slideshow made by Photobucket is shown below ... you can right-click on the show to zoom in or out if you want. Move your mouse over the slide show for pause, backward, and forward controls ... unfortunately, speed cannot be controlled in the slideshow and it moves rather quickly.

A larger image slideshow containing more description of individual photos is available in the Photobucket LHS Reunion Album slideshow and it's better than the above.
Individual photos (1024 px wide) are stored in my Photobucket account here but they are also shown in the table below. Either way, click on a small image and a larger image, typically 1024 pixels wide, will open. To save a larger photo that you want, right-click on the larger photo and a menu will pop-up. In the Firefox and Chrome browsers, a menu item reads, "Save image as ..." and in IE Explorer a menu item reads, "Save picture as ... ." Select the "save" item and save it to where you want on your computer.
Individual Photos & Thumbnails. Click on any small image below for a 1024 px wide view. A brief description of each photo appears below the image.

LHS Class of 1961 50th Reunion

Mary Jo Watson at LHS

Doug Loudenback at LHS
The auditorium was being renovated, all seats having been removed (a pic showing remnant seats appears below inside the school office). The photo of the stage shows the original curtains at the top.

Seats All Gone

Auditorium Stage

Athletic Trophy Case

Wolverine Logo in Main Entry

Some 1961 Trophies

Mary Jo Walking the Halls
The original lockers haven't changed.
Outside the School Office
Wolverine From Outside

Wolverine From Inside Office
This was a gift by the class of 1962, I'm told.

Inside the School Office
Principal's Office, left; Asst. Principal, right
(I had to visit Mr. Hancock in the latter on one occasion, as I recall)

Hall Surveillance Monitors Inside the Office
(Not nearly as personal as our old "hall monitors")

Remnant Auditorium Seats

Speech & Drama Trophies

Walking East Toward Cafeteria
An inside view of the formerly smoking courtyard

New & Expanded Cafeteria

Not Like Our Cafeteria, For Sure
Girlfriends Brunch.
This event was in the old Johnson's Dairy at 6th & C Streets.
Now, it is the Silver Spoon Restaurant. One guy attended, too.

Tony White, Liz McCutchen Pearson, Janet Bost Armstrong

Tony & Liz

Tony, Liz & Janet

Various Graduates

Various Graduates

Sue Otis Wigington & Dixie Massad Sheridan
Having looked at Dixie's photography website, she may well be the most accomplished member of our class.

Pam Guzzle Kinzer, Lynda Freeman
Ozwalt, Ingrid Fuller Hogue, & others

The Room Was Packed With Gals
Who Just Wanted To Have Fun

The Place Was Raining Women --
Cathryn Goddard, right, came from Egypt

Ingrid Fuller Hogue, Shirley
Scott Pace & Many More

Shirley Scott Pace

Dixie Greer Walker

Beverly Davis (Don's Wife)

Pat Stephens Skuda
Dinner Dance at Lawton Country Club
Dan & Sue Wigington made the arrangements for the event at the club which, if one was disposed, included golf and swimming during the day. Mary Jo and I only attended the evening festivities. I apologize in advance for not getting everyone's photo and for not knowing everyone's names, even though not all wore their name tags. I have a crappy memory. After the dinner and round-the-room introductions and the not-always-brief biographies, the entertainment began with classmate Tony Cerveny and his wife Lynn putting on a South American dance show which was simply superb. Who'da thunk it!

Tony Cerveny

Lynn Cerveny

Ferne Hooper Mizell and her husband Walter liked it.

After that, I walked around the room and took the following photos. If I don't know or recall a name, it is not shown. On learning them or if I've made mistakes, I'll be glad to make changes.

Hans Giroux

Cathryn Goddard

Wayne Littlefield
Sue Otis Wigington

Mary Jo Watson

Pat Stephens Skuda (red tops)
Hans Giroux

Brenda and Gary Rigsby
Roger Pursley, Ann Shepard Tubbs
Gary Tubbs

Gordon Atchley

Derald & Shirley Hankins
Ahlsclager, Don Davis, Shirlene
Littlefield (?), Sue Otis

Derald & Shirley Hankins
Ahlschlager, Don Davis, Wayne Littlefield

Greg Sharp

Billie Ruth Bish Fargo
Bill Fargo

Billie Ruth Bish Fargo
Kaye Thompson McCarley & Bill Fargo

Billie Ruth Bish Fargo
If we still did "Best Looking" designations, she'd get my vote.

Paul Baker
Tony White

Paul Baker, Tony White
Robert HaithCock

Robert Haithcock

Michael Hogue & Ingrid Fuller
Hogue, Shirley Scott Pace
Pam Guzzle Kinzer

Doug Roper, Sherry Kemp Bly
Dennis Bly, Ann Shepard Tubbs

Betty Hennessee Watts, Dennis Bly

Jerry Boucher, Mary Martin
Boucher, Vanda Marie Clark
Halbrooks, James Halbrooks
Jerry Hurst, Glenda Cast Hurst

Les & Sue Campbell
Judy Witt

Joyce Isaacs Keyes, Alan
Aycock, Martha & Butch Keiningham

Joyce Isaacs Keyes
Alan Aycock

Paula Evans Biondi

The Dance Floor

Mary Jo Watson

Nancy Eubanks Oelklavs

Pat Stephens Skuda (red)

Lynda Freeman Oswalt
Sherry Kemp Bly

Pam Guzzle Kinzer
Lynda Freeman Oswalt

Doug Roper, Nancy Eubanks
Oelklavs, Michael Hogue
Ingrid Fuller Hogue

Nancy Eubanks Oelklavs
Cathryn Goddard, Wayne Littlefield
Cathryn was obviously wearing her sheik Egyptian attire while attempting to lure others to join her and Nancy in doing the hula dance, but there were few takers.

Mary Jo wasn't feeling well so we left early, around 9:45 or so, so I didn't get any more photos. I hear that Honest Don and Wayne put on quite an Abbott/Costello show that left everyone in stiches after I left. I'd love to have heard it. Anyway, I hope to see everyone again at the 55th Reunion in 2016, and thanks again to Dan and Sue Otis Wigington and all the rest for a great time and a job very well done!

Me in 1961

Me in July 2011

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