Monthly Archives: September 2010

Tulsa State Fair just days away.

Close your eyes and you can picture yourself walking down the midway. You have a fistful of ride tickets in one hand and a huge stuffed animal you won in the other. Your parents are wondering exactly how you are going to keep the goldfish alive that you won by sinking that lucky ping-pong ball in the cup., and you are wondering if your stomach is up to another ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl after you devoured that turkey leg and funnel cake combination about fifteen minutes ago..

What am I talking about? The Tulsa State Fair, of course.

The 103rd annual Tulsa State Fair opens on Thursday afternoon to begin it’s 11-day run at the Fairgrounds located at 21st & Yale. The event is one of Oklahoma’s premier family events and annually attracts nearly a million visitors each year. This year’s fair will include the popular Disney On Ice show on it’s first weekend and the PRCA Rodeo on the closing weekend, and those events include fair admission.

Those premium events are offset with free events like a Timberworks Lumberjack demonstration and BMX Show on the midway, and an animal birthing center and cow milking demonstration in the OK Ford Dealers barn and Super Duty arena. All these events are offset by the many exhibitors and vendors in the QuikTrip Center and Education Building.

The Fair kicks off at 4pm on Thursday night with Ford Family Fun Night where gate admission is only $1 with a coupon from local Ford dealers and midway rides are $2 each. Gate admission is $5 without the coupon. Several promotions run throughout the fair including a free t-shirt night on Thursday October 7th and two-for-one night on Tuesday October 5th.

More information can be found at the fair’s website at

S.Q. 744 ‘most dangerous’ policy proposal, Treasurer Meacham says

altOklahoma state Treasurer
Scott Meacham sharply criticized State Question 744, the ballot
initiative backed by the state’s largest labor union,in an interview
on September 27 with CapitolBeatOK.

Meacham said, “I think this is the most dangerous potential fiscal
policy that we’ve seen in this state, to date.” He said it was in his
view “absolutely the most ill-conceived fiscal policy” brought before
state voters.

The treasurer, a Democrat who is not seeking reelection, said S.Q. 744
“would be devastating to the state’s ability to finance public safety,
mental health programs, health care programs and every other area of
government other than K-12 education.”

Meacham continued, “I think this is a very bad idea from a policy
standpoint. We in Oklahoma are at the tail end of a true recession.
While Oklahoma has weathered the storm and is looking at a slow and
positive recovery, we likely face additional budget cuts in the near
future. This proposal, if passed, would assure yet another round of cuts
during or at the end of its three years of implementation.”

Meacham said “the most conservative numbers” of ballot proposition’s
impact would require that all functions of state government other than
K-12 education would face “just under $1 billion” in budget cuts if the
measure prevails in the November election. “No matter whose analysis you
accept, we’re talking serious money,” Meacham said.

Regardless of the analysis applied to the fiscal impact of S.Q. 744, passage would have significant and negative effect.

He termed “disingenuous” the argument of advocates that growth revenue
would take care of the mandate to increase K-12 funding to equal the
regional average. “The only way to reach their number is to assume we
will equal the growth rate of the three best years in state history,” he

Meacham emphasized, “I’m absolutely for funding public education and
improving support for K-12 education, something I’ve demonstrated
throughout the past eight years. This, however, measure is

Meacham stressed, “I am looking at State Question 744 very pragmatically. It is simply a very bad idea.”

Jari Askins says she’s ‘focused on Oklahoma’ and ready to lead

In a wide-ranging
interview, Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins talked about her passion for
Oklahoma, her disdain for D.C.-style politics, concerns about upcoming
budget Jari Askinschallenges, and television advertisements criticizing votes she
cast in the state House several years ago. 

Askins also restated opposition to State
Question 744. She said the state is likely facing a $1 billion funding
gap, making next year’s budget process difficult even without a massive
funding shift if the initiative prevails.

She told Tulsa Today and CapitolBeatOK, “I’ve been speaking against State Question 744
for a year. I believe we need more money in our classrooms, but this
flawed proposal has no funding mechanism.”

Askins reflected, “Sometimes observers say Oklahoma has a system that
results in a strong Legislature and a weak governor. But an area where a
governor can clearly impact or direct policy is in the budget. The kind
of a mandate in S.Q. 744 would simply cripple my ability, as governor,
to negotiate with legislative leaders.”

Asked to identify key issues in her campaign as the Democratic nominee
for governor, Askins said, “First, my heart is in Oklahoma. People tell
me they believe I’m who I am, all the time. What you see is what you
get. People use the words ‘genuine and authentic.’ I hope that’s right.
It’s so gratifying.

“Second, I care about Oklahoma. It is my focus. I’ve had no desire to
work in Washington, D.C. or to live there. I don’t like the way
business, the people’s business, is done there. I care about Oklahoma.
That has always been my focus.

“Third, my reputation, both personal and working or professional. I like
and enjoy people, meeting them and learning their concerns and trying
to make life better in Oklahoma. 

“In the public or professional arena, I have always tried to find
solutions, rather than to divide or conquer. I have found that people
don’t like the fighting and bitterness that has come to characterize so
much of politics, and that is so pervasive in Washington.

“I have a reputation for working without regard to partisanship. I work
with different groups well. That’s urban and rural, east and west, and
between the parties, to take their ideas and make a better solution for
everyone. You know, Oklahoma is not a big enough state to fight among
ourselves like they do in D.C.”

Describing Oklahoma’s continuing budget challenges, Askins said, “It’s a
big part of the reason I decided to run. This is exactly the time, the
sort of circumstances, when I need to be … a decision-maker. I believe
that in the midst of this slow-moving recovery, my experience in the
appropriations process is a perfect fit to the situation in which we
find ourselves.  You can be certain I will have important conversations
with Speaker-designate Kris Steele and the new Senate President Pro Tem
is to assure we get engaged to make the tough choices.”

Askins said state leaders might want to consider “doing things
differently at the Capitol this year. I think we can and should do the
budget first. If you look ahead at the 2011 session, the two most
important things we need to deal with are the budget and of course
reapportionment of the legislative and congressional districts.

“These are tough times, as the budget cuts that had to be made in
2002-03 have never really been fully restored. And now we’re dealing
with a whole new set of budget reductions.”

Askins recalled, “I’m comfortable dealing with the budget issues.
Looking back, ten of my 12 years in the Legislature I was right in the
middle of the budget and appropriations process because of my position
on that House committee.”

CapitolBeatOK asked if there is a need for changes in what government
does, or room for more budget cuts. She replied,  “I’m not sure there
are entire areas to step away from, but we do need to burrow deeper in
the way the agencies operate. I will try to get on the ballot a state
question, a proposal to convert to a two-year state budget cycle, which
might help elevate the policy focus and avoid some of the politics.

“Under this idea, every other year would be a ‘budget only’ year at the
Legislature. This would allow the opportunity to work more carefully on
spending issues and to answer questions such as what you asked.”

Askins asserts, “The process can be improved. There are 101 members in
the House. I think that we can probably have every member serve on a
budget subcommittee, as is the case in the Senate, as a way to make the
process more inclusive.

“As for the things government does, there may not actually be
duplicative services across agency lines, but there are similarities
that might mean work can more efficiently be done elsewhere.  I am
certain we have to look more deeply at the programs and the processes
within the agencies. And certainly, if we don’t look for duplication or
inefficiencies, we won’t ever find them.”

She added, “The time to make ourselves, our government, more efficient
is right now, when the need to do so is so manifest and clear.”

Her advertising push in the final weeks of the election will include
more focus on her personal record and achievements: “I still own my home
in Duncan. All I’ve ever had here in Oklahoma City is an apartment. I
have kept my roots at home, in my community. I go home as many weekends
as I can to Duncan, and when I’m there I attend First Christian Church
of Duncan. I still sing in the choir.”

Making her case versus the Republican nominee, Askins said, “I think one
important difference is qualifications, and what is needed for this
particular time in Oklahoma history. My background growing up in the
family small business helps me understand that in business and in
government every penny matters. It certainly matters to me.

“The next 18 to 24 months are going to be rough, even though Oklahoma is
better positioned than many states. The recovery is under way, but it
is slow to show itself to some people. Comparatively, Oklahoma is still
not where we need to be. It’s not unusual for unemployment to lag behind
in a time of recovery, but that doesn’t make it easier if you’re the
one unemployed.”

Askins has faced criticisms for a vote she cast supporting a
Republican-sponsored bill providing educational benefits to the children
of illegal immigrants. She told Tulsa Today / CapitolBeatOK:

“I voted for a bill to allow children who have graduated from Oklahoma
high schools be able to access the higher education system. I knew when
making the decision to run for governor that attempts would be made to
tie me to Washington D.C. and just have that be enough reasons to oppose

She continued, “When you serve in the Oklahoma House for 12 years, you
eventually cast thousands of votes. You vote on nearly every conceivable
issue. Some might not understand that you oppose a bill that has good
provisions because there is something or more than one bad thing that
more than offsets the good tings or vice versa.

“A 10 second sound-bite on a vote I cast seven years ago might not be
fully illuminating of what I think and feel. Taking one short snapshot
like that does not reflect my work product, my approach to working with

“I will point out that the bill on higher education benefits passed
overwhelmingly in the House, then went to conference committee and back
to the House. It was closer the second time but still popular. It was
about kids, about children who had graduated from high schools in
Oklahoma, about establishing a process to move them toward citizenship. I
thought that it seemed better than leaving them to the streets or
pushing them toward gangs.”

She said support for the bill benefiting children has been distorted:

“We have to control our borders as a country. As a judge, I know the
impact of illegal activity. Some come to our state to commit crimes.
Drug trafficking and even human trafficking are among those criminal

“For those who come here to work legally, or study, or who want to
become a legal citizen, we have to find a way to advance citizenship
that doesn’t take years and years. It shouldn’t take 12 years or more
and $15,000 to do that. The federal government has to step up, to
control the borders and to create a process so people can legally
fulfill their dreams.

“Any attempt to tie me to DC doesn’t work and won’t work, especially
with the people I’ve represented at the Capitol. … I’ve never met Barack
Obama. I’ve never met Nancy Pelosi. I’m not the one who has lived and
worked in Washington D.C. for years. I’m not running to be governor of
Washington, D.C. I’m running to be governor of Oklahoma.”

Askins commented, “The rise of the Tea Party movement is evidence that a
lot of people are angry at elected officials who won’t listen to their
concerns about spending, about all issues. I encourage people to look at
my record. I work in coalitions and I work with and not around people.

“This is an important election for Oklahoma. I want to help keep the
ship of state steady and moving forward. I have the confidence in my own
beliefs to listen to others and help fashion the best policy. That is
about Oklahoma and not a political agenda.

“I believe the negative ads from out-of-state will likely continue, and
will show that there are some who don’t believe in the way things are
best done in Oklahoma, by working together. We’re still a populist state
and I’m not sure our people like being told by out-of-staters how they
ought to vote. We don’t like being told what to do.”

Citing ‘devastating’ effects if S.Q. 744 prevails, Henry steps up opposition

Saying he would “be involved
in many aspects of the campaign,” Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry altannounced  Tuesday, September 21 he would serve as chairman of
the One Oklahoma Coalition, leading the fight against State Question
744. Henry said, “This may be the most important state question in the
last 20 years.”

Henry had previously stated he will vote no, the announcement dramatized
intensifying opposition to the initiative. The measure secured ballot
status after a petition drive organized by the Oklahoma Education
Association and financed by out-of-state groups, including the National
Education Association.

Stressing a personal history of support for, and family ties to, public
education, including his wife Kim’s teaching career, Gov. Henry said he
supports finding more resources for public schools. However, “simply
put, State Question 744 is the wrong way to go about it.” Henry said he
“has major concerns” about the ballot proposition, slated for a popular
verdict on November 2.

Henry recounted, “I’ve helped craft some very difficult budgets. If we
pass S.Q. 744, it will devastate the budgets of all other areas of state
government” beyond K-12 schools. He underscored particular concerns he
has for the effects of the measure, if approved, on funding for “our
world-renowned early childhood education,” higher education and

Henry argued, “it would be a mistake to tie the hands of future
legislators” with the proposition, which would mandate total state K-12
spending meet the regional average.

Beyond the other areas of publicly-financed education he believed the
proposition would hurt, he pointed to “devastating” impacts on funding
for corrections, roads and bridges, and other “critical needs” of

The governor, a Democrat who is nearing the end of two terms as chief
executive, characterized the decision as “a slam dunk, from a policy
perspective, a no-brainer.” However, from a personal perspective the
decision was “very difficult” because he has “friends on the other

The governor said he would “be deeply involved, and I hope to raise the
level of debate.” He said more money for public education is desirable,
“but we must do it in the right way.” When a reporter asked if his wife
agreed with his stance, Henry replied they had discussed the matter, and
“Kim feels exactly the same way I do.”

In response to a question from CapitolBeatOK, Henry declined to
criticize advocates of the measure for retaining a large and
controversial contribution from the NEA, money which foes of S.Q. 744
assert violates ethics strictures against “PAC-to-PAC” campaign
donations. He reflected, “Both sides are going to spend a lot of money.
That doesn’t really matter to me.”

When CapitolBeatOK asked him to respond to advocates who believe
“something dramatic” must be done to elevate government education
funding, Henry replied, “I understand their perspective, and I have
fought side-by-side” with some who support the measure. However, “this
is not the right way to do it. After this campaign, we all need to come

Henry said he is not certain what the measure would mandate in increased
expenditures for K-12, “whether it’s $800 million or $1.7 billion. I do
know it would be devastating to state government.” Henry argued that
agencies that have already taken 15-20% budget cuts in the last few
years can not absorb another round of “double-digit cuts.” He believes
S.Q. 744, if passed, would be “devastating not only to state government,
but also to our economy.”

Henry said he spoke out forcefully now because, “I think it’s
important.” He asserted that “most officials who have been involved in
writing a state budget” would agree with his stance.

Echoing the views of other foes of S.Q. 744, Henry said the measure
would require increased taxes or dramatic “slashes in the budget.” Due
to constitutional provisions requiring legislative super-majorities or
popular approval for higher taxes, he said budget cuts to other agencies
were inevitable if the initiative prevails.  

Supporters of S.Q. 744 quickly responded to the governor’s comments,
delivered in the Blue Room of the state Capitol late this morning.

Tim Gilpin, in a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK by “Yes on 744,” said: 
“I am disappointed that my friend, Brad Henry has made this decision. I
am not surprised though, because I knew that the office holders in this
state would be against S.Q. 744 because it will shake up the power
structure in Oklahoma City and hold our leaders accountable for the
promises they make to our students.”

Gilpin, who was appointed to the board by the governor, said, “Brad
Henry’s first and best campaign promise was to bring Oklahoma up to the
regional average in teacher pay. I believe that voting yes on State
Question 744 will allow us to finally make good on this and other
promises made to the children of Oklahoma.”

Anticipating criticism of his stance, Henry said he did not expect a
“backlash.” He told reporters and members of the Oklahoma Silver-Haired
State Legislature a story he heard “years ago, on National Public Radio,
when I was campaigning for Attorney General Robert Henry. Ed Koch, then
the mayor of New York City, told a reporter that if a voter picked out
any 12 issues, and agreed with him on eight, that voter ‘should vote for
me. If you agree with me on all 12, you should go see a

Henry said advocates of S.Q. 744 “know that public education is my top
priority. They still recognize what I’ve done for public schools. We
just disagree on this issue.”

Hurricane defeats Central Arkansas 41-14

The University of Tulsa football team picked up a much needed victory on Saturday, as they defeated Central Arkansas 41-14 in front of 21,928 fans at H.A. Chapman Stadium. The win improved Tulsa’salt record to 2-2 on the season while Central Arkansas fell to 3-1. A balanced Hurricane offense put up 539 total yards with 257 coming through the air and 282 coming by ground.

"It was good to get a win," said TU Head Coach Todd Graham. "I feel like we came out and dominated a team we should dominate. It was exactly what we needed, to come out and get a win going into conference play."

G.J. Kinne threw for 232 yards and three touchdowns while connecting with ten different receivers in a solid outing. Alex Singleton carried 12 times for a total of 93 rushing yards to lead the Hurricane ground attack. Offensively it was the fourth straight game that the Hurricane have posted at least 400 yards of offense.

Tulsa got on the board first when Damaris Johnson took a pitch off a double reverse and went 20 yards for the score. That play capped Tulsa’s 12-play, 80 yard game-opening drive. Kinne connected with Charles Clay for his first score of the night on a 19 yard pass less than a minute into the second quarter. Tulsa added a 28 yard touchdown reception by Trey Watts and a 47 yard Kevin Fitzpatrick field goal following a one yard TD run from the Bears’ Terrence Bobo to close out the first half with a 24-7 lead.

Fitzpatrick added a 31 yard field goal for the only score of the third quarter to increase the Hurricane lead to 27-7. Tulsa added a 6 yard touchdown pass from Kinne to Jameel Owens and a 20 yard touchdown run by Ja’Terian Douglas to put the Hurricane up 41-7 with 6:04 remaining. Central Arkansas got on the board one more time when Wynrick Smothers completed an 11 yard pass to Isaiah Jackson with 2:50 remaining.

Tulsa will now dive back into the heart of it’s conference schedule with two straight road games at Memphis and SMU. The Hurricane will kick off against the Tigers this Saturday at 6 p.m. They will take on the Mustangs at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 9 before returning home to host Tulane on Saturday, October 16.

C-USA Scoreboard:

Houston 42, Tulane 23; UTEP 16, Memphis 13; Southern Miss 13, Louisiana Tech 12; Marshall 24, Ohio 23; Baylor 30, Rice 13; Tennessee 32, UAB 29 (2OT); Kansas State 17, UCF 13.