The Right Man for the Job
Oklahoma Republicans have a rare opportunity to right a past wrong on February 5th by voting for John McCain. McCain was wrongly vilified in South Carolina in 2000, lost an election he should have won, and has since emerged as the most honest man in Washington. He deserves the respect (and the vote), of Oklahoma's GOP on the 5th!
Oklahoma lawmakers should learn from the voting machine scandal in Colorado and order mail-only elections.
On Dec. 17, Colorado secretary of state, Mike Coffman banned the use of thousands of voting machines because of security and accuracy flaws, affecting all but 12 counties. The same fiasco might happen in Oklahoma with our voting machines.
Most Colorado counties conduct local mail-ballot elections and county clerks want a mail-only general election. Colorado Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon plans to introduce legislation for mail-in voting in the November, 2008 general election.
Here's why mail-in voting should be adopted in Oklahoma:
1. Most of us, commuter to work, are effectively disenfranchised by our 7am-7pm voting time. We go to work before polls open and return home after polls close. We don't want to go the elections board for pre-voting day voting.
2. Receipt of ballots by mail three weeks before election day will allow voters time to carefully consider their choices, more so that at the polls.
3. With their main ballot. Voters receive a booklet of information on state and local questions as well as candidates' stands on the issues.
This encourages more informed voting. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I have more confidence in my paper ballot than electronic voting that can go haywire.
Virginia Blue Jeans Jenner
A story by Sean Murphy of Associated Press (carried locally) explained that the Osage "Nation" (Tribe) had obtained a Federal Appeals Court ruling allowing them to proceed with a lawsuit that would, if successful, exempt tribal members from Oklahoma State income taxes, if they live and work in Osage County. The suit was filed against individual members of the Oklahoma Tax Commission. It seems, according to the story, that tribal members who work for their tribe and live in Indian Country are exempt from state taxes. The Osage argument is that the entire County is "Indian Country", while the State contends that only land held in trust is Indian Country.
There are several other contentions contained in the story, but the very fact of its existence brings to mind some things considered to be 'excessive' privileges being extended to the tribes and their members. For one thing, the tribes receive large amounts of funds from the U.S. Treasury from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They then claim to be "Independent Nations" and yet make political contributions during election seasons. It is a violation of Federal and State laws for 'foreign nations' to make and candidates to receive such contributions yet they have been allowed to do so, most likely from the funds received from the Government. They maintain that their tribal property is exempt from taxes, including that property purchased for business purposes. Even churches are charged property taxes for property used for income producing business purposes, so why should the tribes be given such special consideration.
A number of the tribes (Nations?) have opted to issue auto licenses, thus removing such funds from the State and County sources of revenue. According to the statutes, such licenses are limited to those vehicles owned by the tribal government or by members living on lands remaining from the original reservations. However, there seems to be no attempt or desire on the part of the tribal offices to limit the sales to those authorized by the statutes, as such licenses are seen on many properties that are definitely under private ownership, and such is highly offensive to me when seen, and most of those vehicles with tribal tags seem to be latest model pick-up or SUV models (high dollar) whose owners could well afford to pay the State license fees. It seems to me that the pendulum of 'political correctness' has swung far too much to one side.
Robert W. McDowell, Jr.
Edmondson Criminalizing a Policy Dispute
You may be aware that The Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine recently chided Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson for using scare prosecutorial resources to criminalize a policy dispute over citizen efforts to limit government spending.
Edmondson argues that three out-of-state workers were the cause for more than 300,000 signatures for an initiative petition to be voided in Oklahoma. His reasoning is "Alice in Wonderland." The people of Oklahoma were not allowed to vote on a Taxpayer Bill of Rights because of the State Supreme Court, with the Attorney General's assistance. I doubt the signers of this petition checked to see the address of those soliciting signatures. How many signatures were collected by the so-called illegals?
The biggest danger is that Edmondson is seeking to suppress political action which dares to oppose our big-government establishment. To suppress political action is frightening. To criminalize and prosecute is horrifying. This truly does give support to implications that Oklahoma resembles North Korea or a Soviet-style gulag.
Our state law forbidding the use of out-of-state petition gatherers would seem to violate the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause. Our state Supreme Court should study this carefully, instead of voiding 300,000 signatures calling for a vote of the people. Are they afraid to hear the citizens speak?
David R. Brown, M.D.
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