There Oughta Be a Law
To whom it may concern:
In the January 24-30, 2008 issue of Urban Tulsa, The ¡ASK A MEXICAN! column contains the following:
Excuse me as I write this to Tony:
Dear Antonio Ramiro Romo: Pinche puto pendejo baboso. You perpetuated some of the worst Mexican male stereotypes with your Cabo San Lucas sojourn--siesta taker...
Are you aware of the translation of this phrase according to ¡Ask a Mexican! Glossary? Pinche puto pendejo baboso: Literally means "fucking faggot pubic hair slug" but understood by Mexicans as "fucking stupid-ass asshole." The best Mexican cursing couplet of them all. My question is this... Could you, or WOULD you have been able to print this had it been in ENGLISH?
I read your publication weekly, and enjoy it tremendously. Thank you for your time.
Editor's Note: No, even we couldn't, WOULDN'T, shouldn't get away with such a thing. There oughta be a law! Aren't you glad it has been bestowed upon us to be the guardians of the King's English and of local sensibilities? Can the official language continue to keep us safe from such vice? Does foul language really mean anything any more? Aren't we glad we are able to just sit back and enjoy it?
Cold on Shumate
While perusing your fine newspaper, I recently came across the "Hot 100" article, (UTW, January 3-9, 2008). I take issue with your inclusion of State Representative Jabar Shumate as one of "...the sparks, the catalysts, the nuclear fission, that drives Tulsa."
I'm sure that Mr. Shumate is a fine person and I don't have anything against him. My reason for writing this letter is if he is truly one of the "Hot 100" of Tulsa, then Tulsa's temperature must be lower than I thought. Case in point:
I attended my daughter's National Honor Society induction at Booker T. Washington two years ago. Rep. Shumate was the featured speaker. One might think when addressing a group of NHS inductees the topic might include something about strong academics... you know: Shoot for the stars, be the best you can be, take calculus instead of basket weaving, choose the path less traveled.
Instead, Mr. Shumate proceeded to tell the group about how he was a proud alumni of Booker T. Washington and O.U., graduating from both schools "...not Cum Laude but Laude." Over and over he emphasized how despite his mediocre academic record, he still graduated. While I admire his perseverance, emphasizing mediocrity to a group of our young people is not acceptable.
He almost jokingly told about how he owed more to his teachers passing him along than to his own achievements. Mr. Shumate also told the group (quite gleefully) that he had just helped to defeat a piece of legislation preventing cell phone use while driving. I wonder how the representative would feel about this legislation if he had a young driver in his household?
I did a little research in to Rep. Shumate's legislative record. I could find nothing earth shattering or innovatively ground breaking. Yes, he has co-authored legislation dealing with charter schools and memorials to black Oklahomans. He has also co-authored legislation allowing signers of initiative petitions to change their minds and remove their names from said petition (imagine the chaos resulting from this).
I could not find this representative's name associated with any new legislation that would truly make Oklahoma a great state: i.e. tax, tort, worker's comp, or school funding reforms. I also discovered he was once offered a press secretary job by O.U. president Boren despite the fact Mr. Shumate has no education or experience in journalism (not unusual... my experience with college presidents is they quite frequently offer plum jobs to unqualified persons, but that's another letter for another day).
In summary, I just think there are others out there who more deserve to be part of the "Hot 100." U.T.W. may see Rep. Shumate "...going places, Big places," and he may. I just hope if he gets to one of the "big places" he doesn't continue to have a detrimental effect on the level of excellence I'm trying to instill in my children and my students.
P.S. It has come to my attention not only does Rep. Shumate support causes which are overwhelmingly opposed by his district but he also seems to have forgotten to file his state income taxes.
In regards to the former: He was an outspoken advocate of the recent River Tax issue while the vast majority of his district voted against it. How he could support a project that would have little or no positive effect on his constituent's lives and the accompanying increase in sales tax is beyond my comprehension. Talk to any number of north Tulsa residents and they will tell you the last on their priority list is river development.
There are a lot of people who "forget" to file their taxes. When a person who puts himself in the spotlight as a community leader does it, one must call into question that person's leadership qualities. If Rep. Shumate can't take care of the little details like filing a state income return (not just once... five times), how do we know if he's capable of handing the big details involved in running state government?
U.T.W. is a fine publication and I enjoy and admire its editorial opinions. You and your editorial staff have always been willing to stand up and call it like you see it. Tulsa needs this now more than ever. Reinforce the credibility of U.T.W. by removing Rep. Shumate from your Hot 100 list for 2008. For reasons stated in my previous letter he is not the model I'd want my children to emulate and he is certainly not the kind of elected official I'd want representing me.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
P.P.S. Might I suggest you replace him with Rep. Lucky Lamons? Rep. Lamons is a man of real integrity and he truly supports the causes of his district.
Editor's Note: Thanks for the tip. We'll keep an extra close eye on Shumate, for sure. Lamons, yea, we like him and admire his spunk, but his Sisyphusian crusade of consolidating all the state's law enforcement agencies is misguided. If he were to get off that kick and help get the state's common education get back on track (without adding more school days), he would be our man.
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