Senator Homeless Dan
From Bankrupt to Mansion Owner and Financial Advisor
Everyone probably remembers Dan Newberry, our first ever homeless senator. It seems that Dan was following his own advice during the run up to the 2008/2009 crash and managed to get behind on the bills and lose his home, about the same time that he was running for office no less, earning Dan the dubious distinction of being Oklahoma’s first homeless senator.
The value of the property was said to have skyrocketed by $95,000.00 in just two years. Must have picked up used building materials at the dump and used child labor to accomplish such a feat on the meager salary. Probably brought a sack lunch to work, bologna and cheese, day old bread and chips out of the dumpster behind Homeland.
But back to Homeless Dan, whose brother just happens to work for the assessors office and lo and behold… a miracle… no new pictures of the remodeled property since the rebuilding of the wreck, unless you count the one with the dog in the picture.
Makes one wonder if Homeless Dan’s brother is delaying increasing the property value to surrounding comps so he can save Homeless Dan a few bucks on taxes each year? Or do all of the legislators in Ken Yazel’s bailiwick get special deals?
Homeless Dan’s brother or course got the job ahead of lots of better qualified candidates. And Homeless Dan himself landed a nice job on the radio with Chamber of Commerce supporter Darryl Baskin, dispensing financial advice and mortgage advice. Interesting…. I suppose Homeless Dan follows the dictum of “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”
But don’t you just love the Oklahoma State Senate? Come in broke, leave a millionaire. Or indicted by the feds in Senator Rick Brinkley’s case.
Nancy Roberts Stirman likes this?
Come on Ladies!
Time toRide with the Klan
and the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women
Just when you thought it was safe to post old posters up on Face Book again the scandal that broke a few months back when the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women posted what some claim was an offensive poster, depicting a lynching and the Democratic Party to old Jim Crow laws.
Along comes a fellow Republican breathing new life into the story with a screen shot of Noble County GOP Chairman Nancy Roberts Stirman “liking” the original post before its removal. Going by the name Nancy Roberts, the GOP official appears to be a Sears and Robuck franchisee up in Perry Oklahoma and her husband appears to serve as the treasurer of the Noble County GOP.
I wonder if the Republican Women’s Caucus at the Capitol is going to be quick to pounce on one of their own or do they save their ire for misogynists and conservative GOP chairmen? Is GOP gadfly Pam Pollard, the “Tami Fay Baker” of Oklahoma politics going to appear again with streaked makeup and red eyes bawling her little eyes out in sympathy for those offended by the original post? Or will the entire Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women avert their eyes to the mistep?
Stop the Madness
Oklahoma Lost a Good Man
But When are We Going to Wake Up and Deal with the Insane?
Oklahoma lost a good man last Sunday night. Labor Commissioner Mark Costello was a different breed of man than the usual special interest controlled toady. He took his elected post seriously and worked hard to make a difference but his life was cut short by a brutal murder.
Enough has been written on the murder and the family tragedy will echo for years through out that family so there is no need for us to speak of the details or ask why. What does need to be addressed is why in the world such a tormented person was not confined to a mental hospital.
Looking at the mental health agency’s website tells part of the story. There is a buck to be made in farming these unfortunate souls out to the various “non profit” groups who have their snouts in the public trough. Here are some of the business opportunities available for the connected few:
Safe Haven Program
This program offers short-term, transitional, and long-term options for street-habituated adults living with mental illness or co-occurring disorders.
Walker Hall is a transitional-living group home. Its staff promotes development of life-skills, which residents need to successfully move into independent housing within two years.
The Metropolitan Apartment Program (MAP) features scattered-site apartments for those who can live independently in the community when provided supportive services.
We offer affordable independent-living apartments with the benefit of a landlord and staff who understand our residents’ unique needs.
How caring… how supportive of the afflicted….how politically correct…..how utterly ridiculous that dangerously insane individuals are looked upon as a source of “clients” and profits instead of locking the dangerous away from the rest of us.
It hasn’t always been this way. Oklahoma once had mental institutions scattered around the state to take care of the local insane and institutialized. As a child I remembered adults joking about being sent to Vinita and weaving baskets, a craft taught to the feeble minded as a small source of income. Vinita was actually called Eastern State Hospital, up in Craig County since 1913. Prior to that Oklahoma contracted with private sanitariums to care for the insane and over in the Cherokee Nation they had an asylum at Park Hill.
In 1909, just two years after statehood, the legislature established Eastern Oklahoma Hospital for the Insane on a 160 acre tract of land at Vinita. Buildings were erected by 1912 and the first superintendent would up running the place till his death in December of 1955. The first patients were transferred in from the Oklahoma Sanatorium at Norman, an entire train load of 300 people, with wagons transferring the elderly and women inmates and the remainder walking about a mile to the new facilty. The following year another 300 patients were brought in from Norman and by 1954 the facility had a capacity of 2600 patients.
Following a wiser path than we walk today the facility raise much of its own food, with a complete complement of fire stations, barns, powerhouses, sewage plants, a canning plant, and dormitories for the workers. Hospital staff were required to live on the grounds and took their meals in the dining hall. The farm operation raised pork, poultry, and produced dairy products. Large gardens were tended that fed the patients and staff with the excess being canned for year round use. A crew of normal employees were assisted by the patients, probably a great alternative to being locked in the ward all day.
But in the 1970’s the facility began to be drawn down. The dairy herd was sold off in 1968 and the other farming operations were closed throughout the 70’s. Seems there was money to be made selling the state food and campaign donations to be garnered for shifting the economical production of their own food over to commercial products.
The initial decades of the facility were spent basically holding patients with little effort toward treatment. Eventually drugs were introduced, shock treatment tried, even the use of malaria to treat syphilis. No doubt prompted to do so by the Oklahoma Senate in an effort to save their finest members. Then tranquilizers came into vogue and some of the doctors at the faculty became known nationwide for their efforts in new types of treatment.
It wasn’t that bad of an existence for the inmates. They ahd occupational thearapy, music, volunteer services, even adult education and religious services. People generally didn’t stay too long with an average stay of around 40 days. Initially the insane asylums were segregated like the rest of society at that time but in 1964 black patients at Taft Oklahoma were moved to Vinita.
The facility at Vinita is now a shadow of its former self. The Oklahoma Forensic Center currently has a capacity of around 200 patients for treatment for competency or judicially found not guilty by reason of insanity. Around 120 people are currently being treated so that they can stand trial for an assortment of crimes from misdemeanors to murders.
The center calls itself a hospital, not a prison, and most of the employees are mental health professionals but it is also very secure. The individual rooms aren’t locked but each wing is secured and the facility has a tall fence to prevent people from escaping. They estimate that 90% of the patients recover enough to stand trial, or probably decide that they best get it over with and stop the faking and have their trial.
About 80 of the patients would make fine state senators as they are likely to never recover enough to stand trial and will likely live out their days there. Heads up Senator Bingman, no term limits here.
The other big asylum was the Norman facilty which started out in the late 1800’s as the High Gate Academy for Women but the nearby University of Oklahoma kind of overshadowed the school and the facilities were sold to the Oklahoma Sanitarium Co. Prior to that time Oklahomans with mental health issues were sent by train to Illinois. Eventually the state acquired the facilty and in 1915 the legislature passed the “Lunacy Bill” that established insane asylums at Fort Supply, Vinita, and Norman. Norman became known as the Central State Hospital for the Insane.
By the 1950’s Norman held around 3,000 inmates and conditions were grim, over crowded, poor heating and non existing air conditioning, and they used a program of sterilization, lobotomies, insulin shock therapy, and electrical shock therapy. In the 60’s treatments became available to treat conditions medically and standards and care improved. By the 1990’s only 245 patients remained and today the capacity is only 120 unfortunate souls.
The Norman facility had its tragedies. In 1918 a fire killed 38 men and boys, the largest fire death toll in Oklahoma history. Only one body could be identified and the rest were buried in one mass grave at a local cemetery.
But the point is that at one time we housed in excess of 5 to 6 thousand insane individuals and now we are down to 120. The population is much larger than it was in the 20th century and the simple fact is that the insane are simply allowed to roam free or are housed at taxpayer expense all over the state and the cost to watch over them is enormous. Police departments that we spoke to told of the cost for a small four to six man police force needing to send an officer to a distant facility, spending hours traveling and filling out paperwork, taking one man off the street in an already thinly staffed city.
Bowing to political correctness the state has simply abdicated its responsibility to the citizens and has bowed to family members by allowing the insane to walk among us all. Now families are forced to choose between condemning a family member instead of the state automatically removing an insane person from society, or paying for private care, or sending the individual into the profitable care facilities at tax payer expense. Some things shouldn’t be left to family members and most would feel blessed to have a dangerous member of the family removed and not have to live with the guilt of being a part of the process.
What is needed is to bring back the large facilities that were secure, cost efficient, and allowed the insane to have some sort of life while protecting the majority of society. I am sure this sounds a bit off course for a limited government advocate group but there are core purposes of government that tax dollars should be spent on. And had that been done instead of gold plated education and tax breaks for the well connected perhaps Labor Commissioner Mark Costello would still be with us.