At least one state leader is not opposed to Oklahoma accepting federal money if President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act can make it through Congress.
Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley said the state will be ready to move on projects if it gets the $489 million for road and transit projects included in the proposal, according to NewsOK.com. Overall, the state can expect to see $1.2 billion in new federal money from the jobs plan, an analysis by U.S. Senate Democrats shows.
Ridley’s remarks are an encouraging sign, but will Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, and other governors throughout the nation support Obama’s overall $447 billion plan? It’s probably going to take an immense amount of political pressure from many sectors of the country to get more than a watered-down version of the proposal passed through a divided Congress.
Jobs Plan Would Benefit Oklahomans, September 13, 2001
“I don’t know if you know much about feral hogs, but they reproduce three or four times a year, they eat anything and everything, and I kind of think there is some comparison between bureaucrats and feral hogs.”-Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello as quoted in the Tulsa World.
Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello might be trying to backtrack on his comments comparing at least some state employees to “feral hogs,” but, if anything, he’s only making it worse.
On Sept. 13, Costello, pictured right, spoke before the Republican Women’s Club of Tulsa County and introduced his new organization, “Parity in Oklahoma, whose primary purpose appears to be undermining state employee benefits and protections,” according to a story in the Tulsa World. Along the way, the story states, Costello compared bureaucrats to feral hogs.
His comments, even in today’s divided political world, should be more than a just a blip in the political discourse. Perhaps, some people have just become numb to the political vitriol, but the remarks were especially ugly, demeaning and humiliating to the thousands of public workers and teachers in the state. They show Costello, as Labor Commissioner, has an obvious, in-your-face, anti-state employee agenda. Although the World story doesn’t note it, I wonder if those at the meeting laughed or applauded as Costello made his remarks. It makes for an ugly image.
Costello Draws Heat On ‘Feral Hogs’ Comment, September 22, 2001
Oklahoma City may have come a long way in enhancing its cultural milieu in the last ten years or so, but two recent items in the news show the city remains as provincial and inflexible as ever.
The first item deals with the state’s antiquated liquor laws that keep wine and strong beer off grocery store shelves and prevents liquor stores from stocking cold beer, ice and mixers. Mark VanLandingham, vice president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, has said his organization will not lead an initiative petition drive to let voters decide to allow wine and strong beer sales in grocery stores.
The second item deals with the blowback of the Aug. 26 raid of food trucks at the H&8th outdoor market in Oklahoma City. In what can be described as overkill and intimidation, 27 agents from different public agencies showed up at the event in August and essentially shut it down with citations. One food truck operator, according to a recent news story, wonders why health inspectors target his mobile business and others more than restaurants when there appears no reason to do so.
Provincial City, September 29, 2011
Is there anything more anti-Oklahoma than denying help to state residents after they have suffered through a weather-related disaster?
The state’s turbulent weather, some of the worst in the country, includes tornadoes, wildfires, blizzards, ice and hail storms and drought. It kills people, destroys property and sometimes ruins lives. It’s part of living on this tough section of the country’s prairie, and the destruction is always followed by a we-won’t-be-defeated attitude, an outpouring of neighborly help and, most importantly, federal financial assistance.
So it should be nothing short of state treason that U.S. Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe recently voted against a bill that would have bolstered the funding of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Without FEMA assistance through the years, it’s hard to imagine Oklahoma as a viable, thriving place.
Coburn, Inhofe Vote Against Oklahomans, October 6, 2011
And with that chant, the occupation of Oklahoma City began early Monday evening when approximately 150 people gathered at downtown Kerr Park to demand economic justice and fairness in the face of growing wealth disparity dictated by our corporate-controlled political system.
The group, Occupy OKC, a spinoff of the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, have a three-day permit to camp at the downtown park, which is primarily concrete and decorated with fountains, and it has even brought in bathroom facilities.
A march through downtown Oklahoma City, starting near the park, was scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday.
On Monday, the park’s small amphitheater was decorated with signs proclaiming “We are the 99 percent,” which refers to how 1 percent of American control the wealth in this country. As wages stagnate, unemployment and underemployment remain high and medical costs skyrocket, many Americans have been left behind. Young people, in particular, have been recently labeled as a “lost generation” when it comes to economic opportunity.
Oklahoma City Gets Occupied, October 11, 2011