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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday Thoughts

The wheels are turning and there is so much going on, I scarcely know where to begin.  So, let's start with some of the headlines for today.

GARY JONES AUDITOR RACE:  Gary Jones, GOP Chair until Monday, will be facing a primary against Dave Hanigar and based on the polling regarding Gary versus the incumbent Democrat, Jones should handle his primary opponent pretty easily.  The things to take into consideration, however, is whether or not the Republican faithful will be upset with him for breaking his promise NOT to run for statewide office again.  At the end of the day, the office of Auditor is very important to the people of Oklahoma and Gary has uncovered corruption himself previously without the power of the post behind him.  Some would argue that his ability to do so makes him an invaluable asset as State Auditor.

GOP POLITICAL CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION CONTINUES:  Nolan Clay has an incredible "smoking gun" story in the Oklahoman today.  Conversations between Cherokee Ballard and State Representative Randy Terrill have come to light and it does not bode well for the GOP as a whole.  This is the kind of "stuff" that was to be expected under Gene Stipe and his leadership, but not from a guy like Randy Terrill.  Terrill faces Democrat Amy Corley for his House seat.  The grand jury will make the final determination to be sure, but as this blog has warned previously, it isn't going away any time soon.  Read the Clay story here.

OKLAHOMA'S 5TH DISTRICT RACE THOUGHTS:  The GOP line-up for the 5th District is a healthy one.  Three front-runners in the race are Mike Thompson, Kevin Calvey and the new star of the GOP, James Lankford.  Lankford doesn't have the money that Thompson and Calvey have at their disposal, but as I have said all along, the grass roots support for Lankford is astounding.  It seems as though his signs are virtually everywhere and wherever Lankford speaks, he leaves a very positive and lasting impression.  Thompson and Calvey, however, have the money and creative staff to wage a media war that will knock our socks off.  Rumor has it that Thompson has already completed filming for his television commercials and the production staff has been rumored to be some of the best in the business.  Unlike previous 5th District GOP races, this looks to be tame by comparison, seeing very little "negative" campaigning. 

In the spirit of disclosure, I'm supporting the conservative Independent candidate, Dave White - Naval Academy grad, Navy SEAL officer and successful entrepreneur. 

READY FOR GUBERNATORIAL RUMBLES?  Mary Fallin and Randy Brogdon are kicking it up a notch and it wouldn't surprise me to see the announcement of a couple debates to be scheduled soon.  Everyone wants to see these two debate, but there has been some controversy over what type of debates will be agreed upon. Here is the format I would like to see:

1.  Two-hour debate.
2.  First hour, questions from audience members.
3.  Moderator there only to introduce candidates, keep Q&A time.
4.  Question, response (1 minute), rebuttal (1 minute), response (1 minute) format. 
5.  Second hour, candidates ask each other questions, same format as (4), above.

Oklahoma City's KTOK could host the first debate, using the Clear Channel network of radio stations for statewide broadcast.  There should be three debates - one in Oklahoma City, one in Tulsa and one in Ardmore.  But then again, that would be a perfect scenario and it is doubtful that either of the candidates would agree to my suggested format.

DHS TROUBLES, LAST STOP FOR SOME:  DHS is in turmoil and from what I have seen internally, there is no doubt that reform of the agency should be a priority for our state legislature in the next legislative session.  The souls of Kelsey Briggs and Aja Johnson cry out for justice and the media has done the right thing by exposing some of the horrific instances of neglect and abuse therein.  DHS is very much like the IRS, however.  They have unbelievable power and are like to ensure folks know it.

In a recent conversation I had with someone in the executive offices, I asked, "So, who has jurisdiction or who has higher authority - a court order given by a sitting judge, or DHS?"  The response was first silence, then a statement that was dubious at best:  "It depends on the situation."  Seriously?  Last time I read state law, when a family court judge makes a ruling, unless it is overturned in appeal, the ruling stands and government agencies are to adhere to it.  Except, maybe, DHS.  Family court judges' rulings are disregarded every day and contempt of court charges are rarely filed because the paperwork is a pain in the rear and it's not like the District Attorney's have nothing else to do than chase down the multitudes who defy family court cases regularly.

Unfortunately, as society goes about its business, DHS may be the last stop on the road to complete dysfunction for some.  When horrifically dysfunctional families have nowhere to turn, the court system and DHS may be the only protection provided for children - but with the attitude of superiority coming from those who receive a paycheck from the Department of Human Services, children slip through the cracks often and with impunity.  The wheels of justice turn very slowly at times in the great state of Oklahoma, and where family courts are involved, justice is often a pipe dream.  Reform is needed and it is needed now, in my opinion.