Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 1 ... Get Off Your Tush and GO VOTE

Updated February 25 to include the Oklahoman's editorial.

It is good to be noticed. After I assembled this video collage which focused on the political activity of Windsor Hills Baptist Church, largely taken from church videos at, most of those videos were removed from I figured that after removed all traces of the earlier collage video which reflected upon the political activities of Windsor Hills Baptist Church and their candidates for Oklahoma City Council that the well from Windsor Hills Baptist Church had been drained dry with nothing more to be seen between then and the March 1 election.

Not quite, as it turned out. I visited again on Sunday, February 20, for a look ... and to my pleasant surprise, I, and you, received a pleasant, "Hi, we'll get back with you" from pastor Tom Vineyard ...

At his campaign website, Cliff Hearron says,
Let me say right up front that our city budget is too big. $869 million is budgeted this year, but only 330-some million dollars is dedicated to basic city services. Simply put, where is the other 500+ million dollars going?
That's a fair question, but it doesn't leave a fair answer to the question, "WHAT PARTS OF THE $550 MILLION WOULD YOU CUT" if you and VanManen are elected? Which city services, presently being rendered, do you guys think are expendable? Help for the needy? Help for transportation? What?

At least part of that answer has to be the city's transit system -- no, not the future system, only the existing. In written responses to Oklahoman questions on Februrary 21, Hearron said,
Public transit should be available where we have enough people to ride it to pay for it. Other than that we don't need it. I believe free enterprise could do a good job of providing public transit for this town and any other town.
What a maroon. Anyone with half ... no, a tenth ... of a brain about public transportation KNOWS that public transportation, e.g. city bus lines around town, city downtown streetcars in the future, the interstate Heartland Flyer from Oklahoma City to Ft. Worth ... public transportation, all of it, is ALWAYS subsidized from the public coffers because no profit would exist for private enterprise were it to do so.

Hence, if Hearron meant what he was saing, Hearron, and I'll tack on VanManen since they are partners in this fray, would eliminate the city's existing bus system altogether since existing-city-bus service cannot ever possibly pay for itself.

If private enterprise made a profit from public transportation, we'd still have trains from Chicago to Oklahoma City to Houston, and we'd still have the private streetcar system that ended in receivership in 1924 ... Tea Party candidates, if you don't get it, that's 87 years ago.

Why doesn't private enterprise step in and do the job? The answer is simple ... there is no profit to be made in public transportation, be it intra-city, be it regional (e.g., Edmond-Oklahoma City-Norman), be it interstate from Kansas to Dallas, from Tulsa to Oklahoma City, or, be it the existing Amtrak train from Oklahoma City to Ft. Worth.

But, candidates Hearron and VanManen, since you are the new experts on the town hall block, please show us ONE CITY in your broad vision of the Tea Party United States of America in which a city's public transportation system pays for itself. You can't.

Other than public transportation which doesn't pay for itself, what else would you cut? The city's modest help for those who are down and out? City parks? What else would be clipped from "the other 500+ million dollars" presently being spent for "non-basic" city services, as you said.

"Dr." VanManen and "Dr." Cliff Hearron, why don't you guys ever appear at public forums with other candidates and discuss your views? Don't you see that, in failing to step on stage with other candidates, you are seen as cowardly and as posturing yourselves as being above public scrutiny?

VOTE ON TUESDAY, MARCH 1. So, what happens if you do not vote on March 1 and you just assume that incumbents Salyer (Ward 6) and Ryan (Ward 8) will be re-elected as commonly occurs for city-council-incumbents? Frankly, my friends, you could get disaster if you don't go to the polls on Tuesday, March 1. The Tea Partiers have premised their potential based upon Oklahoma City's history of low voter turnout for city council elections. They are hardworking zealots who are focused upon getting out their vote.

But, that's just me talking. Read the more reasoned opinion of Bill Bleakley, publisher of Oklahoma Gazette:

You better vote Tuesday!

The quality of our city government is in peril.
Bill Bleakley February 23rd, 2011

Oklahoma City’s incredible record of accomplishments during the past decade could be jeopardized by the outcome of the Oklahoma City Council election on Tuesday.

Voters should carefully examine the backgrounds and qualifications of the candidates before voting, because the differences among them are profound.

Candidates from three of the four wards appear to have the support of political interests that seek to reverse the will citizens expressed in MAPS and to assert political agendas.

In Ward 8, Cliff Hearron challenges incumbent Patrick Ryan. Ryan, a professional engineer, has an outstanding record on the council and as a civic leader, with leadership roles in Allied Arts and the United Way. He retired from a successful career at OGE.

In Ward 6, Adrian Van Manen challenges Meg Salyer. Salyer has spent two decades giving the city her tireless efforts in support of business development and a multitude of nonprofits, while running her own business.

The quality of our city government is in peril.

Hearron and Van Manen, along with Ward 5 Councilman Brian Walters, are being supported by extremely well organized political groups associated with ultraconservative agendas and conspiracy theories alleging United Nations takeover of our cities.

At the heart of the challengers’ campaigns are tea party elements and the Windsor Hills Baptist Church, known for hyperpolitical activities partially documented by Doug Loudenback’s “Underpinnings of OKC Tea Party Candidates” YouTube video. Both Hearron and Van Manen are Windsor Hills members and teach at the church’s school, Oklahoma Baptist College.

The supporters of these three candidates will rely on the traditionally low turn out in city elections to obtain a winning number of votes.

By opposing MAPS and injecting social agendas that should be considered in the state Legislature, if at all, their election would turn back the advances our city has made that have shielded us from much of the economic anguish experienced by the rest of the country.

OKC’s civic projects were voted on and approved by its citizens and are implemented by one of the most effective, honest and transparent city governments in the country. Polls show citizens greatly approve of its accomplishments.

The council’s strength comes from its nonpartisan nature, a willingness of civically engaged citizens to serve, and a focus on issues and initiatives within the scope of city government. Bringing partisan and extreme elements into our city government would be devastating.

Our city government is not broken.

It is in excellent condition and is fiscally responsible. Let’s support and get out the vote for Meg Salyer in Ward 6 and Pat Ryan in Ward 8, both of whom have made substantial contributions.

In addition, David Greenwell is a newcomer to politics and would be an excellent choice in Ward 5. His broad experience in civic service, his professional experiences as a certified public accountant, and his understanding of city finances will serve the city well. His election would help counter the take-over attempts by these partisan groups.

We need council members who are positive and dedicated to our city’s future, not driven by ideologies. Watch out for spurious and negative telephone campaigning attacking Ryan and Salyer.

Do your homework and cast an informed vote on Tuesday. Urge your friends and neighbors in these wards to cast their votes. The quality of our city government is in peril.

Bleakley is publisher of Oklahoma Gazette.

It's not too terribly often that the editorial positions of the Gazette and the Oklahoman match each other but this time they do (except that the Gazette expressed no preference in the Ward 2 race). The Oklahoman's February 25 editorial is shown below:

For Ryan, Salyer, Swinton, Greenwell in Oklahoma City Council races
February 25, 2011

PATRICK Ryan, who represents Ward 8 on the Oklahoma City Council, said recently that he views Tuesday’s council elections as a referendum on the direction our city is headed. He’s absolutely right.

That is why The Oklahoman endorses the candidacies of Ryan and Ward 6 incumbent Meg Salyer, and urges voters to place newcomers Charlie Swinton (Ward 2) and David Greenwell (Ward 5) on the horseshoe. If they win, the city wins.

Ryan, who has served six years, and Salyer, seeking her first full four-year term after having won a special election in 2008, are two of the brightest stars on a council that has helped Oklahoma City accomplish great things. They have gone to bat for their wards while also keeping the entire city’s bests interests in mind, which has served both entities well and is exactly what needs to continue.

Ryan and Salyer have each been targeted by Oklahoma tea party forces, primarily for their support of the MAPS 3 initiative that city voters approved in December 2009. Tea party challengers Cliff Hearron in Ward 8 and Adrian Van Manen in Ward 6 have the support of the police and fire unions, which also sought to see MAPS 3 defeated.

The infusion of partisanship into what are supposed to be nonpartisan races is off-putting enough. But Hearron and Van Manen also have failed to show up at public candidate forums, failed to answer candidate surveys conducted by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, and done little more than simply bash the incumbents.

Ryan, meantime, understands the importance of economic development and is focused on issues related to growth in his ward, such as infrastructure and police and fire protection. Salyer has worked to improve neighborhoods in her multicultural ward, and says basics such as street repair and code enforcement are vitally important.

In Ward 2, Swinton is the clear choice in a six-person race to replace Sam Bowman, who is stepping down. Swinton, a banker, has a firm grasp of the challenges in his ward, such as improving local schools and keeping neighborhoods safe, and wants the council to embrace policy that helps bring jobs to the city.

Greenwell wishes to be an advocate for Ward 5’s economic development — he’s particularly concerned about the decline in retail along Interstate 240 — and quality of life while advancing the agenda of the whole city. That approach is different than incumbent Brian Walters, whose narrow focus is a detriment. An accountant and civic leader, Greenwell is a lifelong resident of south Oklahoma City.

Ryan and Salyer have helped our city keep the momentum that began after approval of the original MAPS nearly 20 years ago. They along with Swinton and Greenwell want to see that momentum continue, and will work to see that it does.

Related Articles

A Fractured Council -- Is That Really What We Want?
On the Importance of Being Worthy of the Public's Trust

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Erick said...

Good work Mr. Loudenback.

Just one random thought: Isn't it sad that the University of Oklahoma's annual budget is larger than the state's largest and capital city?

Brandon said...

Good work as always, Doug. By the way has this avenue been pursued: ?