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What Sells for $11.63 and Costs $53.17 to Produce?

 Touted as an economic boom generator with the ability to “draw tourists from around the world” the ill fated and ill run American Indian Cultural Center in Oklahoma City is once again fishing for taxpayer dollars to complete the gold plated boondoggle.

Speaker Jeff Hickman  floated a bill that has everyone scratching their heads in wonder as it appears designed to make Oklahoma City either put up or shut up by taking responsibility for the boondoggle once the museum is completed.  HB 2237 would allow 25 million in bonds to be sold as long as a long list of requirements were made including that Oklahoma City first put in an additional 9 million dollars into the rat hole.  The city isn’t sure what to think as they never considered running the operation and have publically stated that any investment they make will not be the “next dollar in” but the “last dollar in”.

Speaker Hickman believes that 25 million from the state combined with 31 million from pledges will allow construction to be completed in 2016.  Other aren’t so sure and quote the Museum’s leaders 80 million dollar investment needed to complete the boondoggle.

The state is depending on shutting down the state agency overseeing the construction, or lack thereof, and using that 1.9 million per year to pay for the bonds .  The state already spends 5 million per year in bond debt for the museum, which will continue until 2027.

Claims are being made that the state will get the 25 million dollars back as one of the conditions is that any revenue over 7 million per year be used to repay the state investment and bond issue repayment but Speaker Hickman was very careful to qualify his remarks by saying “After all the good things we have heard from them about how successful it will be.”

Hickman admitted that the Indian Tribes never requested that the OKC museum be built and that they have their own cultural centers around the state, and that the plan was hatched by OKC property developers looking to sell dirt cheap floodplain and ex industrial land at vastly inflated prices once the museum is operating.

The Museum started in 1994 and was partly financed in 2006 and 2008 so the debacle has been going on for over two decades.

Speaker Hickman claims that this is it for the Museum, that this is the last state dollar however there is a glaring loophole in the law that permits other state agencies to dump cash into the rat hole without the legislature’s approval.   That loophole allows indefinite money to be invested at any point and is virtually endless.

But what are the chances of Oklahoma ever seeing a penny of that 25 million in new investment? The bill says that half of the revenue pas t 7 million gets deposited into the Oklahoma general fund.  So let’s look at the math behind this investment:

$7,000,000.00 divided by 12 months = $583,333 income per month required   A half million dollars a month….

Examples of just how museums operate abound online:

National Hispanic Cultural Center,  record attendance is 5,000 per month,  cost per visitor to keep the Cultural Center open was $116.00 per visitor.  However a recent report compiled by 220 museums nationwide showed that the average spending per visitor was  $11.63 per visit for the cost of the ticket and any gift shop items purchased.   And the museum’s cost per visit was $53.17 per visitor, meaning a $41.00 and change loss for every man, woman, and child that walks through the door.

And just how unique is the idea of an American Indian cultural center? Chickasha has one, Standford University has one,  Tahlequah has one,  Sulphur has one, downtown OKC has the Red Earth museum, the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Spiro Mounds, Five Civilized Tribe center in Muskogee, El Paso, Albuquerque,  South Dakota, Kansas has many of them,  Gallup, San Diego, the Wheelwright museum in NM,  North Carolina,  Seattle, Indianapolis, Amarillo, tons of Indian museums on the east coast and down all along the South and Southeast from New York to Florida,  as a matter of fact it is difficult to find a state that doesn’t have multiple American Indian museums or cultural centers.

In short it would be difficult to swing a dead cat without hitting a competing museum here in the central Southwest.  And Oklahoma is going to be attracting “world wide” visitors?  With no direct flights to most destinations other than airline hubs?  With states like Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Lousiana, and a half dozen other nearby states that actually have some sort of tourist draw?  And these folks are going to drive to nowhere Oklahoma in the blazing heat of summer for their vacation?

                                                  

Idiots…… or they think we are.   In short this boondoggle was created by the Chamber of Commerce to sell condemned land at enormous profits.  It will never be self sustaining, it will never turn enough to begin to repay the interest on the nearly 170 million invested so far or needed to complete the  complex.      The only ones that stand to gain are the property developers that bought up the surrounding land.

If this museum can’t collect enough from the attendees then it must rely upon government handouts or donations to survive.  Will Oklahoma City be confident enough to put millions of local tax dollars into the boondoggle?  Time will tell.

 

 
 

Is Art The Only Thing Being Stolen?

By Ms PM

 

Many justifications done within the world have broken into thousands of pieces of deceit and epic proportions of selfishness. We have House Resolution 1026 that will try to make someone do what is right. The average person would not give much thought about what should be done; they would know and take action.

 

This resolution is directed towards the University of Oklahoma, the Fred Jones Jr, Museum and the rightful owner of a piece of art stolen by the Nazis during the Holocaust from 1933 through 1945.

 

There hasn’t been a lot of time passed since the bus episode with the OU boys singing I’m better than you and now we have a good slap in the face to Leone Meyer who is legally trying to get her father’s art returned after it was stolen in France by the Nazis during WW ll. All of this gives the perception, considering the clout that OU holds, that Oklahoma values may not be as grand as many citizens think. When peering into the consequences of OU’s actions it leaves a bitter taste for anyone taking the time to think about what is being done.

 

 

It is difficult to right wrongs and when an opportunity presents itself it is up to powerful people to seize the moment and honorably do what is necessary. This situation isn’t about generic restitution. It is about one piece of art stolen by Nazis and one person that is the owner. Is it any wonder why the United States is a mess? How can a nation survive when there are states within its boundary that continue to pick away at the core fabric of justice? For each incident such as this, those in charge make a choice we all live with. Hanging your head in shame from what others do doesn’t cut it anymore.

 

The people in Oklahoma have a small window of opportunity to serve up an example of the difference between right and wrong. David Boren, the President of OU and the members on the Board of Regents need to be asked by the many citizens in Oklahoma one question.

 

Why is not returning the art any different than what the Nazis did to Leon Meyer’s father?

 

 

  

Conservative Speaker Candidates?

Not According to their Voting Record on the

American Indian Cultural Center Committee Vote

 

The election for the next Speaker of the House has fired up and four of the five candidates for the office voted to dump another 25 million into the American Indian Cultural Center.

Leslie Osborne, Scott Martin, Earl Sears, and Charles McCall are running for Speaker along with conservative Rep. John Bennett.       All but Bennett voted to spend another 25 million to fund the Cultural Center despite a looming 600 million dollar short fall for the coming budget year.

 

HB2237                           Native American Cultural and Educational

    Hickman                          Authority; property transfers; agreemen

                                     ts; Oklahoma Capitol Improvement

    DO PASS                          PASSED

   

         YEAS:   21                                                 RCS# 1815

         NAYS:    5                                                 5/13/2015

         C/P :    0                                                 05:13:13 PM

 

 

    YEAS:   21

 

    Billy             Brown             Coody (A)         Cox              

    Hoskin            Inman             Martin            McCall           

    McDaniel (J)      McDaniel (R)      McPeak            Morrissette      

    Nelson            Osborn            Ownbey            Peterson         

    Rousselot         Russ              Sears             Wesselhoft       

    Wright           

 

 

    NAYS:    5

 

    Bennett           Casey             Johnson           McCullough       

    Ortega           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stealing the Toys They Play With

The Watchman

 

Many a law is passed in this state with little or no regard to the Constitutionality of those laws. It’s only when those laws are challenged in court and ruled unconstitutional that anyone seems willing to do something about it. This year we didn’t have to wait for that legal challenge.  This story was brought to our attention by the blog post of a fellow sooner. We began our research by going to www.ok.gov and looking at the web site of Oklahoma State Senator Kyle Loveless. You can see the page here Oklahoma State Senate - Senators.

 

The next item of interest we found was this Sen. Kyle Loveless presses to ensure due process in asset forfeiture cases. This article hits the problem right where it hurts. “The issue with the current law is that the owner is presumed guilty until they prove their innocence.” A good many of these Civil Asset foreclosure cases never even have charges filed against them.

 

The next item of interest we found was the blog from a fellow conservative. In part it says

 

“Personal Asset Protection Act receives support

OKLAHOMA CITY – Less than a week after Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, filed Senate Bill 838, the Personal Asset Protection Act, it has garnered support from a wide range of organizations. The bill is aimed at reforming a practice known as civil asset forfeiture which the government uses to seize assets like cash and vehicles alleged to be part of a larger crime.

The practice has come under fire in recent years due to a lack of transparency and due process procedures. Currently, law enforcement must only suspect the property is involved in the commission of a crime. SB 838 will require clear and convincing evidence that the property was involved—ensuring the individual is innocent until proven guilty.

“The FOP does not disagree that there is a need for civil asset forfeiture revision,” said Chuck Canterbury, National President, Fraternal Order of Police, during a recent congressional hearing.

“Reform of civil asset forfeiture is not a partisan issue, it is a constitutional issue,” Loveless said. “I look forward to working with law enforcement, district attorneys and legal experts to ensure these reforms protect due process without impeding drug interdiction. Justice should be dealt out in a courtroom not on the shoulder of the highway.”

SB 838 will be the subject of an interim study this fall.”

 

The only problem we have with this is the fact that doing the right thing for the people takes an interim study by the Senate yet spending taxpayer’s money on two museums that only benefit two cities takes a priority. Here’s an idea for the President pro-tem and Speaker of the House. Put the museums to a vote of the people and pass SB 838. So what if you aren’t perfect Chambercrats. You work for the people of the State of Oklahoma not the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce.

 

The next article of interest we found was this The Institute for Justice. This was perhaps the most interesting report I found in all of the research. It gives a letter grade for the State Law, the Evasion and a final grade as well as figures by year of asset forfeiture. Here is the letter grade.

 

Forfeiture Law Grade                                                     D-

State Law Evasion Grade                                              C

Final Grade                                                                         D

 

That is the best part of the report. A law that was designed for drug enforcement has been used to seize anything and everything the police want including cash.

 

The next item of interest we found was this Repeal civil asset forfeiture laws | News OK. This article states that civil asset forfeiture is nothing more than “organized theft by cops.” This article calls for the repeal of civil asset forfeiture laws.

 

The next item of interest we found was this Asset seizures fuel police spending | The Washington Post. It is well worth opening this link and reading the report. Not only are the police spending the assets they seize on necessary equipment, but they are buying electronic surveillance gear, luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles. Is that really vital to police work? A clown. How wasteful can they get?

 

The next item of interest we found was this Canadian Government Warns Citizens to Watch Out for US Police Robbing Them | The Free Thought Project. Has it really gotten so bad that the Canadian Government has had to warn their citizens about traveling to the United States? We feel that it has. There have been over 61,000 incidents since 9/11 resulting in $2.5 billion being seized. How can the police have become so lawless?

 

The next item of interest we found was this Canada Warns Its Citizens Not To Take Cash To The USA | Zero Hedge. Apparently things have deteriated to a point that the Canadian Government has warned their citizens not to bring cash to the United States at all. That is a really sad state of affairs. It’s truly hard to believe that this is happening in this country.

 

There is no getting around the fact that the Oklahoma State Asset Forfeiture Law needs to be amended. Waiting until next year is waiting too long. At the very least this legislature should pass something that would prevent the spending of any and all seized assets until the matter is resolved during the next session. Even that is a sign of not having your priorities right. This should take precedence over building two museums that spend tax dollars we don’t have.

 

Barring any action from the incompetent president pro-tem of the Senate, we call upon the Governor of this great State, Mary Fallin, to put a freeze on all civil asset forfeitures until the matter is resolved by the legislature.

 

 

 
 

 

 
 
 
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