October 24th 2016 newsletter
We have 30,000 more copies of the Oklahoma Guardian magazine that need printed, folded, bagged and delivered before the 5th of November. No matter where you live you can help out by taking 500 copies home to fold and bag and deliver in your area if you can or return them to OKC for delivery. That should take about three hours of your time or less.
We are looking at covering at leas five House Districts but with the voter guides on Judicial Retention and the State Questions he issues can be distributed almost anywhere across the state.
Nothing is more powerful than reaching out directly to the voters and bypassing the political lies and the misleading media. Nothing bring more terror to the heart of a politician. Even if your district doesn't get covered the state rep and state senator will see other politicians getting exposed and they will vote better in the coming session.
Please get involved by replying to this emailed newsletter. If you can't help, please donate to the cause to enable those with plenty of time but little funds to spend on gas or to help pay for the printing and bagging materials. For a nickle per voter you can bring truth and transparency.
The Tower of Terror
Are Criminal Charges or a Grand Jury
Imminent for Sheriff John Whetsel?
Last week we predicted that Sheriff John Whetsel had a perp walk in his future and indeed that possibility has become quite iminent. Whetsel has retained a very expensive attorney a Crowley and Dunn we are told. And of course Oklahoma State Auditor has released the audit called in March by Oklahoma County D.A. David Prater.
Oklahoma County Jail has long been the one of the most deadly jail in America, topping the list in 2010 with the most inmate homicides per thousand than any other jail in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Justice has been on Sheriff John Whetsel’s case since 2005 when a baby died after the obviously pregnant mother had been chained to a steel hand rail for over ten hours. Witnesses described the mother pulling the infant out of her own womb while lying in a pool of bloody water while jailers did nothing.
This year there have already been 12 deaths in Sheriff John Whetsel’s Oklahoma County jail while historically the entire state usually has only 15 jail deaths per year. Indeed since Sheriff John Whetsel took over leadership Oklahoma County has led the state in jail deaths. One of the deaths this year was a dialysis patient that witnesses said screamed for three days trying to get medical attention. Oklahoma County Jail officials claim they called the prisoner’s dialysis provider four times but other than that did nothing to prevent the man’s death.
Reports from ex detention officers, police, and even bail bondsmen have shown that the jail is largely unsupervised, some say because Sheriff John Whetsel staffs the jail with low paid detention officers working for little over the minimum wage while hundreds of deputies are used for unneeded patrols, highway interdiction, or court house security. The sheriff’s chief job according to the state constitution is to keep the jail, provide security at the court house, and serve warrants and subpoenas and little else.
Despite over a decade of horrendous stories coming out of the Oklahoma County Jail and the 2005 Department of Justice involvement, little has been done by Sheriff John Whetsel to improve conditions at the jail and there have been a string of lawsuits against Oklahoma County for unpaid medical contract costs. Some insiders claim that Whetsel is rarely at the jail, spending most of his time at out of state events or conventions and some claim that he spends much of his time in Florida at a condo.
However, Whetsel’s immunity seems to have ground to a halt this year after other county officials turned on him including Oklahoma County D.A. David Prater who initiated a State Auditor audit of the jail finances. About the same time a local judge severely rebuked Whetsel and his staff over the inflated daily cost of incarceration, rejecting the rate increase that Whetsel asked for and cutting the rate back to $32.00 per day to match the rate that Whetsel had contracted for with the state for holding state prisoners.
The state audit came out on October 20th and was blistering toward Sheriff John Whetsel while pointing out multiple possible criminal acts that may have occurred. According to the State Auditor nine areas of concern were indentified from issues the D.A. office asked to be looked into. Here are the nine major areas of concern that could evolve into charges:
- Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office created debt obligated for payment by the County. These contracts were not fully encumbered and the Sheriff chose not to pay the contracts even though funds were available at the time payment was due.
- Obligations of previous fiscal years were paid with subsequent year funds in violation of law
- It appears unallowable costs may have been charged against the ‘Aggregate Limit’ of the Armor Correctional Health Services, Inc. contract
- Financial data utilized in the calculation of the inmate average daily rate of incarceration included unallowable costs.
- Two outside organizations are managed by Sheriff Office employees during County work hours
- Donations received by the County Sheriff’s Office were not presented and accepted by the Board of County Commissioners.
- Inmate healthcare contracts entered into by the Approximately $900,000 was spent on the purchase of Sheriff vehicles during a time when other obligations of the Sheriff’s Office were not being met.
- For the FY2015, the Oklahoma County Reserve Deputy program cost approximately $263,855.39.
- The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office accepted a donation of Sheriff Whetsel’s personal vehicle, after a $28,000 payment
Count one refers to the requirement under state statute Title 62 O.S. § 310.2 to encumber or earmark government funds when a liability or contract is made to prevent the funds from being spent for other purposes. The Armor Correctional Health Services contracts were for around $7,000,000.00 per year and Whetsel never bothered to earmark the money in his accounts and refused to pay the first six months of 2015 despite having the invoices in his possession. Oklahoma County showed concern over this practice in May of 2015 by passing a resolution that called for the contracts to be encumbered when the contracts were let or signed.
At the time the invoices were submitted to Sheriff John Whetsel he had between three and 11 million dollars on hand, enough to pay the $600,000.00 monthly payments for medical care for inmates. By June of 2015 over three million dollars were owed to Armor and Sheriff John Whetsel was asking for supplemental funds from the County Commissioners each month despite the inmate medical costs being included in his budget. The other county officials claim they were unaware of the outstanding debt until June 11th, just a few weeks before the end of the fiscal year.
Count 2 was using subsequent year funds to pay obligations of previous fiscal years which is in violation of Oklahoma law. Article 10 § 26 of the Oklahoma Constitution and 62 O.S. § 310.4 mandates that prior year expenses cannot be paid with current year funds yet the Armor contract allowed up to 270 days late payment after the close of the fiscal year. The State Audit showed six different examples over a period of five years where previous obligations were paid using money from the next year’s funds. The purpose of the law is to make sure that local governments don’t pile up unpaid debt and rob Peter to pay Paul. A court judgment was obtained by Armor for unpaid medical bills and the Oklahoma County Retirement Fund purchased the judgment so that Oklahoma County taxpayers could pay off the bill over the next three years at 5.5% interest.
Count 3 was that Sheriff John Whetsel had created debt by spending money on other things after entering into a contract with Armor and refusing to pay the contract invoices. It was also determined that Sheriff John Whetsel had allowed unallowable charges to be placed on the aggregate limit, basically increasing the amount and scope of the contract in an illegal manner and also refused to forward invoices on the contract to the County Purchasing Agent as required by the Armor contract.
The first part is clear, it is illegal to create a debt for county government as they are required to pay as they go. Whetsel’s refusal to pay ongoing and ordinary expenses constituted creating unpaid debt for the county, an illegal act.
The aggregate limit issue covers the invoicing of onsite services that are already paid for under the basic Armor contract, shifting already paid for services onto the separate aggregate budget for off site medical expense. Tens of thousands of dollars were illegally double charged in this manner.
The failure to provide invoices to the Oklahoma County Purchasing Agent allowed Sheriff John Whetsel to hide the financial mismanagement from other county officers. The Armor contract states that the invoices are not considered delivered unless both the Sheriff and the County Purchasing Agent receive invoices.
Count 4 involves Sheriff John Whetsel adding unallowable costs to the expenses used to calculate the Daily Incarceration Rate. Whetsel used the U.S. Department of Justice Cost Sheet for Detention Services (Cost Sheet) to calculate their average daily rate of incarceration. The Cost Sheet includes detailed instructions for completion, and defines actual, allowable, and allocable direct and indirect costs to be used in the calculation. Whetsel included Public Defender salaries and other elected official’s salaries into the Daily Rate, increasing the amount of money that prisoners must pay once they are released from jail and it appears that Whetsel has been doing this for some years.
Whetsel also neglected to include income produced by the jail in the Daily Incarceration Rate as required by law. Two income streams, from the Inmate Phone System sales and from the Commissary sales to inmates were not used to offset some of the expenses as required by law.
Whetsel was also caught having two Daily Incarceration Rates. In February Whetsel asked the court that sets the rate to approve a rate of $45.05, which was lowered to $41.48 and again lowered to $40.04 as the judge conducting the hearing found problems with the expenses used in setting the rate. However, at the last hearing the judge set the Daily Incarceration Rate at $32.00 because Whetsel had contracted with the state prison system to warehouse excess prisoners at that rate so Whetsel was admitting that he could keep a prisoner at that rate or he was selling a service to the state prison system at a financial loss.
In fact Whetsel was contracting with the state to keep hundreds of prisoners to fill his sheriff accounts with cash while subsidizing the loss by charging the released inmates a higher Daily Incarceration Rate which is illegal and unconscionable. The state audit also found that Sheriff John Whetsel was potentially embezzling Daily Incarceration Fees paid by prisoners after their release from jail. Title 22 O.S. § 979a states that the Court Clerk should assess the Daily Incarceration Rate fees and collect them to be put back into the county general fund but Whetsel has been giving the released prisoners an invoice upon release and ordering the released prisoners to make payment arrangements with a third party pay system that funnels the cash back to the Sheriff’s bank account. The Sheriff is allowed to give notice of the fees and debts but has no power to actually collect the money as they have been doing.
Count 5 is about two private charities operating out of the Jail during business hours and using county tax dollars. HOPE, a support group for officers, and FOP #155 have been run using paid supporters. The HOPE organization is funded by a voluntary check off in the Sheriff’s payroll system and was supposed to be set up as a nonprofit organization, 501-C7 and obtain a tax number. Despite having over 21 million dollars collected so far the organization still has no tax ID number and is not registered as a nonprofit. County employees of the Sheriff’s office managed the organization despite Article 10 Section 17 of the Oklahoma Constitution stating that a government entity cannot raise money for a private organization or loan its credit or assets.
The second private charity or organization is the FOP #155, organized for the deputies. The organization is funded by another voluntary check off on employee paychecks, a check generated by county employees (which is okay) but the check is accepted and deposited in an outside account by another sheriff department employee. Merchandise is available for sale in the Sheriff’s office, benefitting the FOP and those transactions are conducted by sheriff department employees.
The next part of Count 5 concerns donations
received by the Sheriff’s office were deposited into the Sheriff’s Special Revenue Fund, but were not presented and accepted in a County Commissioners meeting as required by law. Over $80,000.00 in donations was accepted by Sheriff John Whetsel in 2014 and 2015 but none of the donations were run through the proper process.
Title 60 O.S. § 390 requires the screening donations to prevent patronage and good old boy corruption and provides some transparency.
The final part of County 5 was the invoices and deposits covering the transactions between the Department of Corrections and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department were not matching. In auditing, anytime the invoices going out and the money coming in don’t match it might be a sign of embezzlement.
As an inmate is booked into the jail a software system records the date and time and when the inmate is released or transferred out of the jail the software matches that to the inmate and bills the responsible agency if needed. The Department of Corrections, the DOC, was billed monthly for inmates that were being warehoused at the jail while waiting for a state prison cell to open up. Monthly invoices were generated and mailed to the DOC. Almost $54,000.00 was missing over three years which might have been caused by sloppy record keeping but the matter should be looked into.
Count 6 involved determining if Sheriff John Whetsel expended all funds in a lawful manner. In fact the law was not followed and criminal statutes appear to have been broken. Prior year expenses were paid with following year funds, contracts and expenses were not encumbered in a timely fashion to prevent over spending, the amounts paid on contracts were in question, and previous year’s debts remained unpaid.
Massive amounts of unneeded spending occurred while actual obligations went unpaid. In 2014 and 2015 nearly $900,000.00 in new vehicles was bought despite the unpaid debt piling up. Under the Oklahoma Constitution and buttressed by 2007 OK AG 35, Sheriff John Whetsel has a constitutional duty to operate the jail and that is a priority above all other things so jail related expenses ought to be paid before splurging on new cars. Over $49 million dollars were budgeted and available in 2014 and $46.6 million dollars was available in 2015 yet millions of dollars in unpaid medical expenses went unpaid.
Count 7 of the audit delved into the cost of the Reserve Deputy Program, if vehicle repair work had been done by the in-house repair shop for outside agencies, and if training facilities were illegally used by outside groups. Three other concerns will be covered in a different article; if a $28,000.00 deposit into Sheriff John Whetsel’s personal trust fund account for a high mileage used car donation was improper and if other donations facilitated by the same Reserve Deputy Officer were illegal, and if Sheriff John Whetsel had been paying a Capitol lobbyist out of Department funds.
The cost of the Reserve Deputy program turned out to be huge. Almost $264,000 was spent, for fuel, vehicle repair and maintenance, and wages for work past the mandated 16 volunteer hours per month. Most of these Reserve Deputies sign on so that they can obtain a CLEET card in order to do private security work. You will see Oklahoma County Sheriff vehicles parked outside businesses, bars, and events or just sitting at homes for days at a time. County funds are spent to drive to work at the jail, during private security gigs, cars have even been seen at shopping malls, strip centers, and taking kids to school. Some of these private security gigs are run through the Sheriff Office and Workers Comp is paid on the deputy as well as any Workers Comp claims. The ability to do security work while wearing an Oklahoma County Deputy uniform is a valuable commodity. Imagine if they decided to expand into bill collection or repossessions.
Another part of count 7 was if auto repair work had been done for other agencies. The Department has a Fleet Center where cars are repaired, maintained, or modified and has been doing work for outside agencies with the work being invoiced and paid and the deposits going to the Sheriff Department accounts. Title 74 O.S. § 1008 allows this sort of arrangement if the deals and payments are ran though the County Commissioners board and properly set up with inter-local agreements with the other agency. Of course the cost of his work, salaries, taxes, Workers Comp, supplies, and parts were all paid for from the Sheriff’s budget allocated from the County Commissioners, which drove up the cost of the Fleet Center work and the cost to the county while filling Sheriff Whetsel’s Special Reserve Fund with huge amounts of cash to purchase unneeded equipment and pay costs for out of state travel. This slush fund basically expands the Sheriff’s budget while costing the county large amounts of cash for the needed costs for repairing the other agency vehicles.
The next part of count 7 was determining if training facilities had been illegally used by outside groups. In 2011 the Department had entered into a contract with OKC to use a facility down by the river and part of that agreement was to maintain the property and supervise when the site was used. The Sheriff Department then began allowing other law enforcement agencies and a local car club to use the facilities without supervision and without cost, leading to liability concerns as well as wear and tear on the facility that the county must cover and the county commissioners are unaware of the entire arrangement and county taxpayers are funding all the fun and games.
Ok County Sheriff Whetsel Faces Potential Charges over Improper Donations
Count seven of the list of potential charges from the State Audit of the Oklahoma County Sheriff Department covers an unusual donation of Sheriff Whetsel’s personal vehicle after a $28,000 payment was made to Sheriff Whetsel’s spouses’ Trust. The donation of the vehicle was not approved by the Board of County Commissioners as required by law. The audit also found that work had been done on previously personally owned cars. The vehicle was bought in 2007 for $32,341.89 in the name of ‘Cynthia A Whetsel Trust’ on October 31, 2007, with the buyer listed as John Whetsel. After racking up over 83,000 miles on the vehicle Whetsel “transferred” the vehicle to the Oklahoma County Sheriff Department for an unspecified amount according to Oklahoma Tax Commission records.
Yet the Department didn’t cut a check to Whetsel, a Reserve Deputy did, one Eli Jarjoura gave Sheriff John Whetsel a cashier’s check for $28,000.00 for the old car. But that is where the deal gets very unusual. The check from Bright Smiles Dentistry, owned by Eli Jarjoria, was deposited into the Cynthia A Whetsel Trust, owned by Sheriff John Whetsel but the car shows up as “donated” by Bright Smiles Dentistry three months later on March 30th 2011.
Now if Jarjoura wanted to donate the old car, why wouldn’t he first purchase the car, pay the tags and excise tax owed, then donate the car to the Department? And why wait three months to “donate” the car after paying the $28,000.00 to Whetsel on December 16th of 2010?
Even more problematic is the value for the old car when Sheriff Whetsel was purchasing identical models for only $25,342 each? Thousands of dollars more for a four year old car with 83,000 miles on it? Could this transaction be a sham covering up a $28,000.00 bribe or gift? Of course the deal/donation wasn’t ran past the County Commissioners either, as required by law.
Two other cars were donated by the same Eli Jarjoura. The first was a Chevy Camero in August of 2009 and in January of 2010 a Dodge Charger was purchased and donated. The cars were purchased in the Sheriff Department’s name and immediately registered in the Department’s name but paid for by Eli Jarjoura, escaping the excise tax due on the cars. Neither donation was ran past the County Commissioners as required by Title 60 O.S. § 390.
Who was this Eli Jarjoura that was spending tens of thousands of dollars donating to Whetsel? Jarjoura is a Middle Eastern Man, originally from Lebanon, turned up a few years before wanting to be a Reserve Deputy after being turned down by the City of Choctaw according to our sources. Despite large donation offers at Choctaw the city passed on the deal and Jarjoura was introduced to Whetsel who gladly took the cash.
Jarjoura started his paperwork and a problem arose, a felony arrest years before in the Norman area. Jarjoura set lawyers to work expunging the arrest and applied to work as a Reserve Deputy. Somehow in the application process the felony arrest was either missed or ignored and CLEET training was scheduled and started before the expungement was completed. In fact the arrest record remained on the OSCN.net website long after, until someone started investigating Jarjoura and screen shot the details before contacting the Norman courthouse for more information. The data promptly disappeared once questions were asked.
A book could be written about the strange going on with Eli Jarjoura and Sheriff John Whetsel. The Lebanese immigrant dentist donated hundreds of thousands of dollars and in return received a position on the SWAT team, intimate access to the Sheriff’s Department, and one of the donated vehicles back completely decked out in state of the art communication equipment including a tie in with the FBI and Homeland Security alerts. Why would a Middle Eastern man wan that kind of access to police communication? The vehicle was garaged in his personal home until the story broke and Whetsel brought the car back to the Fleet Center.
Publically Jarjoura never stated his religion other than stating in an interview that his family “identified” with a church. The botched background interview that didn’t find the felony arrest before it was expunged probably meant that no background check was ever done. What we do know is that after Jarjoura sued the Sooner Tea Party leaders and three others including Whetsel’s 2012 political opponent Jarjoura refused to provide the court ordered discovery material including the CLEET and Oklahoma County Reserve Deputy application and a judge dismissed his lawsuit. Actually Jarjoura did provide a Reserve Deputy application… dated long after he had filed the lawsuit. It appears that there was never an original application filed or it had damaging information.
During the two year long lawsuit Jarjoura’s brother was accused of embezzling one and a half million dollars from Bright Smiles Dentistry. However he guy seemed to have embezzled the money, then turned around and paid two thirds of it back by paying ordinary business expenses out of the Yukon Oklahoma bank account. I don’t know about you but if I stole cash I wouldn’t likely use that cash to pay my employer’s bills. One clue to what really occurred was that at the time of the lawsuit Bright Smiles Dentistry, Jarjoura, and a slew of co owners/partners of some sort were being sued in a Qui Tam lawsuit for a boat load of money allegedly bled out of Medicaid and Sooner Care over baiting poor clients to use their dentist office. Perhaps the Yukon bank account was money set aside to start over if the lawsuit prevailed. What we do know is that the brother allegedly fled to Lebanon after being given ten days head start.
The final potential charge against Whetsel is a lobbyist that was paid out of the Reserve Deputy fund despite not holding a CLEET card and being a registered lobbyist. Hired in January and laid off in March, this continued for years it appears.
Anti SQ 777 Forces Rely on Lies and Little Else
I try not to get sucked into Facebook arguments as you are usually arguing with a fool that has more time than you do and you really won’t change their mind. At most you can prevent further spreading of ignorance and sometimes it sharpens your own blade on the issue.
Any intelligent person can read that bed time story she linked to and poke holes in it with a half hour of Google research. What is it with the lefties and having to purchase a product? The complaint about hybrid seeds was that the poor farmers were tricked into having to purchase new seeds each year. Duh! The seeds are hybrid and who in the hell is going to spend millions of dollars and their time developing a new hybrid and give the seed away for free? The seed only sells if the product is an improvement over the open pollinated heritage seeds.
And you know what, these “poor” farmers can plant their own hybrid seeds if they want but guess what? That would mean that three quarters of their crop would be the old “father” version and only one quarter would be the new hybrid. If they plant all hybrid they get a better yield and better traits from all of the field of crop. So it probably doesn’t make sense for a farmer to give up the better production on ¾ of their land unless they have a small patch producing seed corn and a larger patch producing their cash crop.
The seed companies and fertilizer companies didn’t “force” anyone to buy their product. The intelligent farmers CHOSE to purchase the new seeds and fertilizers because they were getting better crops. It works the same way in a cabinet business, if someone comes up with a higher yielding lumber product or a quicker to install door hinge it sells. If someone invents a better and faster way to produce a product then that invention sells and makes money for the inventor. If farmers in India and other third world countries tried hybrid seeds and lost their farms it wasn’t because they bought seeds, it was because they couldn’t produce the crop cheaply enough to compete without using hybrid seeds and fertilizer. If they stuck with their old seed and low yields they couldn’t sell their product for enough to compete either and were left with sustenance farming and a life of grinding poverty and early death.
And land consolidation, guess what? That increases yields because larger farmers can afford modern equipment that lowers the cost of raising a crop. I was discussing the new president of the Philippines with a friend via email the other day and he said that the guy wanted to lower the price of staples like rice for the poor. A 25 kilo bag of decent but not export quality rice (U.S. consumers wouldn’t accept it) is around 1300 pesos or $27.00 in the Philippines. That same bag of rice at Sams Club is under $15.00 and it is top quality rice, few broken grains and very clean. Now you have a country that has over one hundred million people, with 50% surviving on about 50 cents a day and seven million on the books jobs, meaning they meet the 85 cents per hour wage rate and have health insurance and paid holidays. Three quarters of the jobs are off the book jobs such as small retail, personal service (gardener or house keeper or yay yay nanny) or they are “5-5-5” jobs or contract jobs that only last five months to evade the minimum wage and benefit requirements. The point is they need cheap food but their rice is twice as expensive and that is a country where retail profits are minuscule due to very cheap labor (probably one/15th of the U.S. once taxes and insurance are factored in) and distribution costs are super cheap due to low fuel prices (diesel is under $2.00 per gallon), cheap labor, cheap insurance, cheap tags, and cheap repair).
Why is rice so expensive in such a poor country? Because they have import restrictions to prevent too much rice from coming in and depressing the price of rice to first world levels. Why would they do such a stupid thing? Because they think they need to protect the small farmers working a half acre of rice paddy using a damned carabao (water buffalo) that he rented to plow his field. In fact, the poor turd has to rent everything or give away a portion of his crop to harvest, plow, thresh, mill or haul the crop to a grain elevator. He gives a portion of his crop to the owner of the land, to the person that financed the purchase of seed and fertilizer (yeah, he ate his seed when he got hungry and he got hungry because he is a damned poor tenant farmer) and after he plowed and planted he went back to his shack to starve and make more babies till it was time to flood the fields and time to harvest. Maybe one fifth of his available time was spent actually working on the crop, the rest of the time was spent starving and chasing David Holt or brewing tuba wine to get drunk on.
If the country allowed the open market to work this poor turd couldn’t compete, i.e., he couldn’t waste his life scratching out enough rice to fill his six kids’ emancipated frames and swollen bellies while they slowly die from beri beri. So Dong would have to find other work and once the land owner couldn’t tenant farm the land guess what he would do? Right, he would combine the plots and make large fields that could be farmed using modern farming practices. He doesn’t because he can convince Dong to raise a crop and give him one third without him lifting a finger.
Meanwhile the other 99,999,992 other Filipinos paid double for their rice which is around three quarters of their diet by volume and by cost. Add a few dried fish (we would call them fat head minnows) or some chicken intestines on a stick and you have dinner for seven.
The story you linked to, and it doesn’t rise to the decency of an article, it is a bed time story, claims that 75% of the world has lost their seed diversity and is in the hands of the greedy seed companies. Guess what? They don’t have to buy the expensive seed, they can settle for poor yields and swollen belly kids for generations to come if they prefer or they can adopt modern farming practices that will lower the cost of food for everyone in their country.
Next the bed time story begins ranting about Franken seed and Bt. Bt does not “damage the digestive tract of whatever eats it.” As the story claims. It doesn’t punch holes in the stomach. What it does is produce a toxin that only develops in SOME insects, the one insects that that particular Bt can affect and that toxin destroys the lining of the stomach in that specific insect. In other species and other insects the Bt breaks down harmlessly and is digested like other proteins. For God’s sake, Bt is used by organic farmers to replace the chemical insecticides.
And Round-up, without herbicides you couldn’t grow or harvest crops without massive amounts of hand labor or cultivating. Back in the day we chopped cotton or hoed corn (plant three seeds and chop out the smaller two plants), we cultivated fields by hand or tractor to plow dirt up on the good plants to keep the weeds from strangling the crop. If you are harvesting wheat you get a lower price if it is full of weed seed heads so you either spray or you hand pull weeds before harvest, damaging part of the wheat in the process. Does it carry any risks, probably, but so does hoeing corn for ten hours a day at slave wages and having more expensive food so the poor have a poorer diet. Back at the turn of the century and before the majority of the income of the average worker was spent feeding his family on a very poor diet. There was a small consumer class and little cash money available. Forget modern life, health insurance or even seeing a doctor; forget nice homes, vehicles, cell phones, or paying a lot of taxes for that matter. Folks, we tried sustenance farming before. It was called the freaking middle ages where life was brutal and short.
Konawa Tea Party
(4th) Tuesday October 25, 2016 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Kennedy Library - The Dougan Room
Konawa School, 701 W South Street
Ralph Crawford - Power of the Ballot
Clarence Hopper - Liberty vs Liberty
Candidates OPEN FORUM
(All legitimate candidates will be recognized)
STATE QUESTION 779
A GOOD MOTIVE AT A BAD TIME
We all know that it’s political season. By now we are all tired of getting the mail from the candidates that tells us lies and half-truths. We go through this every two years. It’s especially bad this year when it gets to the state questions. Many of us are fans of Toby Keith and have a reason to be proud of him. Now we can’t say for sure if he was told the entire truth about State Question 779, but we can say that the commercial he made in support of it is misleading and incorrect. In fact he makes it sound like the entire tax increase is going to the classroom. It’s not. In fact the University of Oklahoma President and initiator of this question David Boren made sure there was a nice little chunk carved out for them.
What we find really misleading in the advertisement was the part where Mr. Keith indicated that the funds would be put in a lock box and used for educating our children. Right off the bat we first hope it’s nothing like the lock box our Social Security Retirement Funds are supposed to be put into. But the statement is far from the truth. We encourage you to open this article and read it Oklahoma One Percent Sales Tax, State Question 779 (2016) - Ballotpedia
. Granted 69.5% of the money goes to our K through 12 education, but a big chunk of that is going towards a pay raise for teachers not to the classrooms. If the teachers want that big of a pay raise than we as parents should expect a better return for our dollar. We should see a higher standard for receiving and education degree from our universities. A 2.5 GPA just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Higher education gets a good chunk of this money too. We’ve seen our colleges and universities raise tuitions every year just to fatten the pay checks of their faculty and now they want 19.25 percent of this tax increase. If they want that much we need some kind of guarantee that they will not raise tuition. That big of an increase should more than cover the cost of their pay hikes.
The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education get the lowest proportion of the tax at a mere 3.25%. This will barely cover pay raises for the instructors they have.
The most surprising of all may well be the Oklahoma State Department of Education will receive 8% of this tax increase. This is pure ignorant. All this will be spent on is pay raises. There will be none of this money funneled to the classroom where it is so desperately needed. How in the world can the citizens of Oklahoma allow this to happen?
The next article of interest we found was this Counterpoint: Sen. Kyle Loveless opposes SQ 779 - NonDoc
. Senator Loveless makes a very good point and in fact adds another point to the ones we mentioned above. He stated in part “By raising the sales tax, we would make virtually impossible for local governments---especially cities and towns---to increase taxes for local projects. Much like Oklahoma City has done with the MAPS program, city and county governments can increase sales taxes for a variety of projects, from improving public safety to quality of life. However, if the state sales tax is already high, voters will likely turn their noses from these proposals.”
What he didn’t say was this increase will make Oklahoma the highest sales tax paying state in the nation. Can anyone tell us who is going to want to relocate a business to this state after that. You might as well start making plans to go visit your kids and grandkids on the holidays.
The next article of interest we found was this Players and Money Behind Penny Sales Tax Campaigns | Oklahoma Watch
. Oklahoma‘s Children Our Future, a tax exempt group according to the IRS, expexts to spend $6.8 million this election season. We find the name chosen for the group to be misleading and deceptive. While Oklahoma’s Children should indeed be our future, making us one of the highest paying taxed states in the union will only drive our children away. Not necessarily because they want to go, but because the state will lose the ability to diversify the economy from an agricultural and oil base into other ventures which will draw. This organization doesn’t sound like it has the children’s welfare in mind at all. It appears to have their bank accounts in mind only.
Then we found this article Educate Oklahoma: Breaking Down State Question 779 - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |
. Right off the bat the alleged $600 million this was supposed to raise on an annual basis is reduced to $427.4 million. Of that the first $369 million will go to teacher pay raises. So there goes the lock box Mr. Keith mentioned in the ad he did for these people. The rest is alleged to go towards recruitment initiatives, based on the student population of each district. Now remember folks there is nothing tied to this sales tax. There is no sunset date on it. We, as citizens and parents, will not see an increase in the quality of our educators. All we will see is a mass migration of our children leaving the state to find jobs unavailable here because the taxes are too high.
The next article we found was this Voting no on State Question 779 | News OK
. Now this is actually a letter to the editor but it makes several good points. How can we as citizens vote to raise the taxes on everyone while our legislature doesn’t have the gumption to even raise sales tax on cigarettes. How can we raise the taxes on ordinary citizens when our legislators give $2 billion dollars a year away in tax credits mostly to the firms that get them re-elected.
The next item of interest we found was this Lamb opposed to State Question 779 | News | edmondsun.com
. This is one of many articles we could find of state, city, and county officials who stand against this legislation. To us we see this as a betrayal by the legislature of the people. Should the teachers have received a pay raise before now? Without doubt. Do they deserve a $5,000.00 a pay raise for importunity no way.
They say this is for the kids, but in the end it’s the same old shuck and jive that the teachers unions have been feeding the public for decades. It’s for their children not yours. They want the same things we want. To put better things on the table. To afford better clothes for the kids and to afford them a college education. The difference is they want to do it off the back of people who work hard every day while they, in most cases, indoctrinate our children in the Marxist theology we call public education today.
In the end this may not change a lot of minds. We do call on the Oklahoma Board of Regents to remove President David Boren from his post at the University of Oklahoma. As the initiator of this petition and the driving force behind it, the mere fact of asking for funds for higher education from the tax means that he directly benefits from it and nullifies his contract with the state.