IN THIS ISSUE:
Sponsors this week:
Our advertisers being pressured by Oklahoma County John Whetsel. All ads pulled until we deal with the sawed off little bully
Ex Con Training Boondoggle Teaches
Lawn Care Workers to Drive Fork Lifts
Former Speaker Kris Steele is an amazing guy….. just ask him and he will tell you all about it. The disgraced former Speaker showed up at the Capitol this last week trying to revive the JRI program, which was his and Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater’s attempt to create a nice six figure retirement job for Steele. Yes, that was the same thing they prosecuted Randy Terrill for doing. Although in the Terrill case there was an Oklahoma Attorney General opinion obtained to verify the legality of creating a job for Senator Leftwich and the entire House and Senate agreed that it was a good deal for Oklahoma taxpayers. But hey, those are small matters when you are the prosecutor, right?
The program fell through after Governor Fallin’s staff convinced her to kill the program by not funding it, after much worrying about being labeled soft on crime by the Sooner Tea Party and a possible primary challenge by Tea Party favorite Randy Brogdon. The story leaked out a few years after the fact when Oklahoma newspapers and the ACLU sued over access to Fallin’s email records. A widely shared AP story told of the Governor’s staff discussing Sooner Tea Party newsletters:
“Some emails indicated concern about political implications.
“My thought is why further tie ourselves to liberal corrections reforms groups?” chief of staff Denise Northrup wrote in a discussion about whether Oklahoma should participate in a joint European-American prison project.
Shared among the staff was a Sooner Tea Party newsletter deriding JRI as “soft on crime” and a separate news article in which the House minority leader, a Democrat, said Fallin’s biggest fear in 2014 would be a challenge from the right.”
Subsequent news stories told of Kris Steele and David Prater leaving the last JRI meeting in tears after finding out that they were being removed from control of the program. This was personal for those boys; hit them right in the pocket book it appears.
But the election is over and Fallin is term limited so Steele believes that it is time to take another bite at the apple and finally fulfill his promise to the TEEM board to fully fund his position through government grants. The JRI program basically diverts prisoners that have alcohol or drug problems, getting them “treatment” instead of their victims seeing justice with a jail term. Yes the jail system is over capacity and yes we put too many people in prison for non violent crime but Steele wants as many “clients” to pass through his program and isn’t happy that justice is served instead. The legislation that Steele is pushing also allows early release and allows judges to deviate from sentencing guidelines, again allowing an increase in “clients” for Steele’s TEEM program.
Of course both Kris Steele and Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater were singing different tunes in the Pardon and Parole travesty a few years back. It seems that despite the Pardon and Parole Board’s reliance upon the Oklahoma Attorney General’s advice on Open Meeting requirements, David Prater was “outraged” that people were being considered for commutations, a process that reduces a prison sentence through the governor’s office much like a pardon. Hey! Paying customers hemorrhaging through the system isn’t something that TEEM can sit back and watch! So Prater charged the Parole Board with violating the Open Meeting law despite their iron clad defense of having the A.G.’s office advising them on the procedure. You see we have a state statute that automatically protects public officials IF they rely upon the A.G.’s advice.
So once again we saw Prater prosecuting political opponents or appointees of political opponents, for nonexistent “crimes”, depending on the unwillingness of most folks to risk a jail term on the whim of an ill advised jury or to be dragged through the mud by Prater and the Oklahoman.
Of course both Prater and Steele whined about early release, pardons, or commutation of sentences by the Pardon and Parole Board, inferring that it was soft on crime. Only to turn about and promote soft on crime legislation once it can benefit their agenda.
We do need to deal with way too many non violent criminals clogging up the prison system but excusing behavior because someone was drunk or high on drugs isn’t the way to go about it. If they commit a crime while incapacitated then they chose to walk that path. Far better to turn out a kid arrested for weed or pain killers than to turn out a violent prisoner onto the streets just to fund a salary for Kris Steele.
But back to how amazing Kris Steele is… one of the puff pieces put out in the media mentioned former inmate Freddie Weaver. It seems that with the help of Kris Steele’s TEEM organization Mr. Weaver attained a safety certification for driving a forklift. Great news for an ex con, he can apply for jobs driving a fork lift, right? That is how you help ex cons integrate back into society, right?
Well… yeah…. But Mr. Weaver runs his own lawn care service. Hey bud, don’t you dare try to mow my yard using a forklift. So the reality is that the TEEM program is just busy work designed to bring in donations, apply for grants, and does little to help ex cons.
Never say Opps!
Always say "Ah"
Tell Them I Didn’t Do It!
Oh dear, we messed up last week posting the legislation that had been filed this year. One of our researchers saw the name Canaday and thought it was Kannady then I compounded the mistake by adding what I thought was the legislator’s first name. Our researchers are great girls but English isn’t their first language and thus the mistake was born.
So HB 1109 actually was filed by Democrat Ed Canaday, not Republican Chris Kannady. Monday morning Chris contacted us along with one of his supporters and we promised to set the record straight.
God Help Us All if This Becomes Common
Last week saw the attempted murder of two Ferguson Police Department officers during a protest outside the police department. The criminals waited until the demonstration was breaking up before firing the shots, probably hoping to cause a stampede or cause the officers to return fire and create a massacre.
Both officers survived and were released from the hospital but both were injured seriously by the gun shots.
As Marcus Aurelius wrote back in the second century, there is nothing new in the world. Agitators have always tried to stir the pot in politics. There are stories claiming that the initial battle of Lexington in the American Revolutionary war was triggered by a man or men laying in the woods firing upon the red coats, triggering a volley of English muskets and setting in motion the entire Revolutionary War. No doubt the agitators in Ferguson would love to see a massacre as their protests are losing momentum as the rest of society tires of the drama.
All that said the U.S. needs to use Ferguson as a turning point in our treatment of both protesters and of blacks in general. Michael Brown was quite simply a piss poor example to protest over, the man in New York that was choked to death was a far better rallying point in our opinion but it was Ferguson that created most of the outrage for whatever reason.
John F Kennedy said this:
“Those who make peaceful change impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”
The Ferguson protesters might not have picked the best poster boy for their outrage but it does show that there are still enough men out there that will stop at nothing to force a situation out of control if they think that is the only way to get heard. We are already living in a police state and the assassination of cops is just going to tighten the police state around us all.
Shortchanging the Kids
Our Juvenile Justice System Needs Reform
We all know that our kids get into trouble from time to time. When you consider the number of juveniles in this state, the number is remarkably low. Yet the loss of one young life to the Juvenile Justice System is one too many. What has prompted this investigative article was this Juvenile Justice system more punitive and less effective, critics say. According to this report, the Juvenile Justice System has become more punitive then rehabilitative. That’s not serving the children entrusted in their care.
The first item of interest we found was this Welcome to Tulsa County. This article goes into detail about the establishment of the Tulsa Juvenile Detention Facility and hoe it operates. It is also a blueprint for the basic operations of the other Juvenile Detention Facilities in the state. What it doesn’t show is rehabilitative services to those juveniles who are incarcerated. That is enough to make it a habitual problem.
The next item of interest we found was this New Tab. This report came out in 1995 when the Office of Juvenile Affairs was created by the legislature. It was at this time that the Juvenile Justice System was removed from the Department of Human Services. Even though the agency was tasked with four primary tasks, things didn’t seem to get any better.
The next item of interest we found was this Oklahoma. This is a 1998 report on the demographics of the youth population under the age of 18 at that time. We’re not surprised to find the number of children living at the poverty level or below at that time. We doubt if it has changed much since. If anything it has gone up.
The next article of interest we found was this New Tab. This is a Thesis written by a candidate for a Master’s of Science Degree in Criminal Justice in 2006. For anyone who has ever written a thesis before, you know how dry of a read it can be, but this one is well worth the read. It shows a marked improvement to the agency’s ability to handle its case load, but it still leans way too far towards the punitive side and very little to the rehabilitative side.
The next article of interest we found was this New Tab. A statistician would be glad to see all these numbers, but we as parents and Oklahomans should not be. These are the arrest records in every conceivable form from 2011. This data was the first necessary step in meaningful Juvenile Justice System reform in over a decade. It has been sorely needed.
The next item of interest we found was this Advances in Juvenile Justice Reform: 2009-2011 | Oklahoma. This report covers the formation by the legislature of the Oklahoma Juvenile Justice Reform Committee with the task of reviewing the codes and making recommendations to the Legislature for changes in the Juvenile Justice System. There is a link to the actual legislation included in the link above. This has led to some major changes in the Juvenile Justice System yet it is still tilted towards the punishment side of the scale.
The next article of interest we found was this State’s Juvenile Justice System Handled Nearly 10,000 Minors Last Year - News - The Daily Ardmoreite - Ardmore, OK. We found this report to be rather shocking. It appears that they want to lay the blame on students who have been suspended from school. We won’t deny that there are a few bad apples that do commit crimes because of this. Here they want to create safe havens for these students. We do not agree. The safe havens would be fine for those that would never get into trouble to begin with, but nothing for those that have nothing but trouble on their minds. We would propose an alternate safe haven used by school districts already. It’s called In School Suspension. One Classroom all day for the length of their suspension. Separate lunch hours and the entire nine yards for the length of their suspensions.
In closing we can say that there have been improvements to the Juvenile Justice System, but not enough. It is recommended that the Speaker of the House and President pro-tem of the Senate jointly form a standing Juvenile Justice System Review Committee which should include two to three members from each chamber along with two to three community activist to constantly review and recommend changes to the Juvenile Justice System. We owe this to the most precious of us all, our children.
Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel
Leans on Sooner Tea party Advertiser
Look over to the left side of the newsletter, notice anything missing?
We have pulled our advertising for now after Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel pressured one of our advertisers. The long time supporter showed up this week with a personal email from Whetsel with the following passage highlighted by Whetsel:
“Way too many bones are buried and until the statute of limitations tolls they need someone they control as sheriff.”
The sentence came out of a January 25th Newsletter story entitled “John How Many Fingers am I Holding Up?”, a reference to rumors leaking out of the Oklahoma County Sheriff Department that question Whetsel’s ability to perform his duties. As a public figure Whetsel can’t sue even though he did threaten to sue in the email because he is a public official that subjected himself to scrutiny the second he ran for office. We the public have every right to talk about any rumors about his fitness to serve and ask any dang questions we wish in our search to find the truth.
What Whetsel is really concerned about is the huge amount of information leaking from his employees. There are factions within the sheriff department as in all organizations and they are all eager to bring down any competition that might be in the way of their guy advancing as undersheriff or even running for sheriff. The sheer volume of chatter coming out of the Oklahoma County Sheriff Department is proof of the one thing that Whetsel fears above all else; that he is looking weak and has lost the respect of his subordinates. Whetsel has lost control of his department and that is a very dangerous thing for a politician in his shoes.
But a man with Whetsel’s power to arrest, with his temperament, and in his desperate situation is flat out dangerous to our supporters so we thought it was best to pull all advertising so Whetsel had no one to pressure. Not everyone is cut out to stand up against a man with guns that Is hell bent on stamping out opposition and the heat is best laid upon those of us willing to handle the pressure.
And you know, when you strike a nerve you know it. Whetsel’s response to our January 25th article has convinced us to begin digging even deeper into his administration of the Oklahoma County Jail and the Sheriff Department. It is time that we do some open record requests and spend the resources uncovering what Whetsel appears to be so concerned about.
And if the idiot does try to sue us? He will fold the second the depositions and requests for internal records lands in his lawyers hands because he knows that we will have the power of the subpoena to dig through his department, his medical records, his travel records, and his tax returns. Whetsel will do the same thing that the guy he sold access to the Sheriff Department did, throw up his hands and walk away once we start digging into his records using the power of the judicial system.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff Department has some great patriots working for it, men and women who really care about their country and about the moral of their department. What they need is competent leadership with integrity that will promote decent professionals into the higher positions instead of men that can be brow beaten and controlled. The culture of fear at the Oklahoma County Sheriff Department has broken and we are going to use the leads that are leaking out.
But hey, if we can't have advertisers how about some cartoons? Maybe old John will declare Jiahad and go after the cartoonists.
2013 Senate members and House Members
Please copy the block of emails for your contact list so you are able to email all of them and help to inform and educate them before the new sessions begin. Use Bcc to send dozens of email with one email from you to them. This will look like you send each one of them a personal email with only their email showing as the recipient. Please mention the Sooner TeaParty in your emails so they will have a healthy respest for what we do.
Here are the updated individual House members email addresses in three blocks of Thirty- four each and updated senate emal addresses in one block.
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