Mr. Edmondson's latest effort to keep the poultry lawsuit in the headlines illustrates the problems inherent with the state's leading law enforcement official promoting a lawsuit like a carnival huckster.
With regard to bacteria in Oklahoma streams, Bill Cauthron with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board reported to the Scenic Rivers Commission in June 2006 82 percent of streams in Oklahoma did not meet primary body contact standards. Bacteria in our streams is a statewide problem. Cauthron further reported EPA is investigating to see if the criteria is flawed or if there is an actual public health risk.
Water quality is Oklahoma streams is in need of an overall long-term strategy to reduce nutrient and bacteria excesses. But the Edmondson strategy of using water quality as a smokescreen for political gain and campaign donation from trial lawyers is no solution. As the poultry litigation has proceeded, Edmondson's claims have become more hysterical.
The latest publicity stunt to ban poultry litter application in the Illinois River watershed illustrates the hypocrisy of the Edmondson doctrine. In apparent need of a holiday headline, Mr. Edmondson claimed health concerns as the basis for demanding poultry litter be banned - but only in the Illinois watershed--not even mentioning the Eucha-Spavinaw watershed serving Tulsa or any mention of litter being applied elsewhere in Oklahoma. If poultry litter is a health hazard, are the lives of Tulsa children and other Oklahoma children less important? Of course not. Apparently even Mr. Edmondson does not believe his own press releases, counting instead on a friendly press corps who will ask no questions, regardless of the absurdity of the argument.
In spite of the pressure, other state agencies have been hard at work on water quality. The Scenic Rivers Commission promoted and got mega millions of dollars committed from Arkansas cities to protect our water in their wastewater treatment upgrades. The poultry industry and the city of Tulsa provided seed money to fund Oklahoma's first Conservation Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Agriculture have taken aggressive steps to protect and promote protecting water quality in general, and scenic streams in particular. Poultry industry dollars have even been used to help pay for United States Geological Survey water quality sampling. The real work of water quality improvement is difficult, tedious and seldom commands headlines, but it continues.
Listening to Mr. Edmondson, one is left with only one conclusion: all state employees in Oklahoma are incompetent or worse when it comes to protecting water quality. Perhaps this is because as the case moves closer to trial, it appears the witness list for poultry companies named in Mr. Edmondson's suit will read like a Who's Who of Oklahoma state government. Mr. Edmondson will find himself in the uncomfortable position of attacking virtually every state agency employee as negligent or criminal.
How can this be considered a formula for success?
Adair County Representative
Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission
A Different Vision
Money Magazine publishes an annual list of the best places to live. Every year I buy the magazine hoping to see Tulsa in the top ten. Each year I am disappointed to see that Tulsa is not on the list. A few weeks ago I filled out the survey for the City's Comprehensive Plan and I couldn't help feeling that maybe there is a different vision for the future of Tulsa.
A vision less concerned with islands in the stream of the Arkansas River and more concerned with building a bridge to the future. Tulsa could build on the history of being a center of energy production to become the center of alternative energy.
Combine Oklahoma's major industries of agriculture and energy to become the national leader in biofuels production.
Support companies like Syntroleum to commercialize synthetic fuels. Develop carbon reduction technologies like those being explored by PSO. Model the Solar Roofs Initiatives of California on the roofs of Tulsa public buildings. Build wind generation capacity surrounding the city and pioneer research into high performance electric transmission lines. Tulsa could be the city in America where companies want to come to research, test, and build the next wave of Green energy.
Not only that but Tulsa could build off of its links to the aviation industry to once again become a center of aerospace innovation. America is posed at the brink of a second golden age of aviation. Global positioning satellites and decreased government regulation will revolutionize air travel. Tulsa could capitalize on the coming changes by specializing in fractional microjet service/repair, composite construction, remote controlled flight and private space development.
But we also need to stop trying to hide or forget past mistakes and come to terms with our past while looking toward the future. Tulsa needs to build on the history of Oklahoma's diversity and tolerance to found a National Race Riot Memorial.
One of the most overlooked assets is the underdevelopment area of North Tulsa. We need special economic zone tax credits to help developers see the potential. Zoning laws should be used to encourage revitalization and development of low income housing. One of Tulsa's greatest challenges is how to assimilate our fast growing Hispanic population. We need to develop more English as Second Language programs, citizenship classes, and a larger Bilingual population.
One of our best assets is the volunteer and faith based groups which we have available to transform the city. The organizations can move more quickly and effectively to deal the problems we face if they can be collected into a common view of the future. Like most of America, the most critical issue is the poor quality of the public school system. They are a major reason for the suburban flight. Charter school and private schools can not serve enough students to solve the underachievement.
So we need to support the changes which TPS superintendent Michael Zolkoski has begun to revitalize the entire school system. Our healthcare system reflects the national crisis. Tulsa needs to better promote wellness among city employees and citizens. We need to lead the nation in programs of prevention, early detection, smoking reduction, and drug treatment. The perception of crime is another problem.
A move to more community policing, settling the succession at the police department, and aggressive public relations from the department would help reduce the perception.
More on Global Warming
It has been a continual source of frustration to me that the "enviro-fascists" and political opportunists, along with their media supporters, have shouted an extreme description of the results of a possible "global warming". It has long been my observation, as a geologist and from the geological records, that a warmer world-wide climate would result in major additions to the rain forests and much greater crop production, as well as probably reduction, or even disappearance, of the deserts of the World. This opinion has been stated often, to whoever would listen. Now comes an "AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) distinguished lecturer who would appear to be in agreement.
In the December 2007 issue of the OUTCROP, a publication of the RMAG (Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists) announcing the December 7, 2007 Monthly luncheon speaker subject to being "Crocodiles in Greenland and Hippos in London: A Fossil-Fueled Tour of Past and Future Climates" by Kirk Johnson, Denver Museum of Nature and Science. In the preface carried in the issue, it is stated that "The earth's climate is driven by the interaction of solar energy with land, sky, and oceans. It further states that "Most of Earth history has occurred during greenhouse conditions when there were no polar ice caps". (Note: there were no humans to produce greenhouse gases).
This has been determined from studies of the rocks and fossils in the geologic records. Much of this was studied and published as early, and probably earlier, as the 1940s. The present coal seams as far North as Pennsylvania and Wyoming are testimony that there were tropical swamps and rain forests that far North in past geologic time.
If these records were paid any attention, it would become apparent that the 'doom and gloom' and wild claims made by those who would terrify the public into the stupid, expensive, ineffective actions demanded are arrogant and worthless. One wonders about the purposes that drive those individuals and groups, such as AlGore, Greenpeace and such. Their goals seem to be to destroy, or cripple, the roaring economy of the US. Such action on the part of US citizens could, and would in past decades, be construed as treason, but not in our "politically correct" society. It is sad that they are allowed to continually shout false propositions as "fact" without a determined effort to refute their lies.
Robert W. McDowell, Jr.
Let's Help Early-Childhood Educators
When it comes to early childhood education, Oklahoma is a national leader.
No, I'm not talking about our state's well-known efforts to put four-year-olds (and now three-year-olds) in preschool daycare. I'm talking about our efforts to empower the most important early childhood educator--mom.
On March 24 the Associated Press reported on "what could be a trendsetting state tax break for families"--giving Oklahoma's stay-at-home moms a credit on the family income-tax bill. "At this point, we're not aware of other states with laws like this one," said a spokesman for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Though the $50 tax credit is tiny, at least it's a start. Bryce Christensen, author of Divided We Fall: Family Discord and the Fracturing of America, said Oklahoma policymakers "deserve high praise" for this trailblazing tax break, which Speaker Lance Cargill pushed through and Gov. Brad Henry signed into law this year.
"Researchers have now amassed a mountain of evidence showing that young children are far better off if cared for by an at-home parent rather than the employees of a day-care center," Christensen said. "So wise policymakers will help--not penalize--families who make sacrifices to keep one parent at home."
In 2008, policymakers should help these families even more.
In a pro-daycare column on March 23, Gov. Henry made a rather startling admission. Before saying that daycare is a necessity for many parents in today's society, he paid the perfunctory lip service to at-home parents, but he laid it on surprisingly thick: "Obviously," he said, "it's always best when children can stay home with a parent ..."
Well, if the governor really means that, here's a way public policy can help make it happen. In their new book The Natural Family: A Manifesto, Allan C. Carlson and Paul T. Mero recommend that "state subsidies and credits for daycare should also be available to parents who care for their preschoolers full-time, at home. A tax credit for this purpose should be refundable to those parents without the income to claim the full credit, allowing for a reduction in means-tested government daycare subsidies."
There couldn't be a better time for such a policy, given our state's well-publicized daycare woes. Many Oklahomans, no longer limited to worrying about the run-of-the-mill problems of daycare kids (Logan has another ear infection, Kaitlyn is downcast and distressed, Dylan has new bite marks, Hailey's teacher is a felon), are now having to worry about simply keeping the little buggers alive.
A large, refundable tax credit would solve a lot of these problems. And it would be popular: Cole Hardgrave Snodgrass & Associates found in 2004 that when Oklahoma mothers were asked which they thought was more important for public policy to encourage, only 26 percent chose "making quality childcare more affordable for working families," while 70 percent chose "making it easier for one parent to stay at home."
So let's help our most important early childhood educators, and further solidify our status as a national leader.
Not A Regular Reader
I wonder if you people at this paper understand that the only reason that Tulsans pick up this paper to look at is because it is free and like to look at what is going on around town for the weekend. Nobody cares about what somebody thinks about a movie or what Michael Bates thinks how this city should be run. If he knows so much why doesnt he run for mayor? I have kids and grandkids and we all are homegrown Tulsans and what has he done to make Tulsa a better place to live. I hope him and all the other hardheaded dumb old okies are glade they voted no to take a free donation of money that would make Tulsa a better place to live. Now we want to know what his game plan is to make Tulsa a better place to stay here and enjoy in our
Editor's Note: A little more education earlier down that old, dusty road might have done you well. At this point, at least a little "grammar and spellcheck". Better yet, have your granddaughter proof your letter.
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