What a dumb blonde our new governor has turned out to be.
In the Lawrence Watts case, Mary Fallin had her chance to send a signal to every state prisoner that she believes bad guys can be rehabilitated.
Instead, she decided to chicken out and keep a model prisoner, the 60-year-old brother of ex-congressman J.C. Watts Jr., behind bars.
The state Pardon and Parole Board and it's investigator recommended clemency -- commuting Watts 25-year first degree manslaughter sentence to the six years he has served behind bars.
He has no previous criminal record and said he acted self-defense in killing Anthony Greco in a dispute over money.
Greco's family wanted Watts kept in prison.
Governors should always side with Jesus and forgive sinners because governors do not qualify for sainthood.
A state cannot afford to lock up every crook and throw away the key.
So, get governors out of the parole business and let a full-time Pardon and Parole Board make these decisions. The board won't base decisions like Fallin on how it will affect re-election.
Watt's lawyer, Stephen Jones, has the right idea. "The justice of a society is not measured by how it treats its best citizens but how it treats its worst."
-Virginia Blue Jeans Jenner
Lack of Action
(In response to "Are You Pissed Off?" on urbantulsa.com)
It's tough that the Tulsa Police Department can't get enough budget and manpower. But they avoid paperwork and investigation like a vampire avoids garlic and it's hurting the rest of us. I also suspect that it's coming back on them and affecting their murder clearance rate, because people don't trust them to look out after the small guy if the small guy steps up to help. Or asks for help.
Say you get hit by some unlicensed, uninsured, hit and run bum. Of course you can't get all the needed information right away. The bum hit and ran. But will the TPD help? They have a dozen excuses why not. They didn't see it. There weren't any witnesses. The bum and vehicle aren't there. The city attorneys won't prosecute. It's not policy to investigate such minor occurrences. Or maybe it happened on private property. Even if you collect evidence, identify the vehicle and owner or driver, find a witness that heard the bum bragging that he hit someone, and find out that the bum doesn't even have a license or insurance like you do, still no help from the TPD. And because you can't afford the deductible on your insurance and the bum doesn't have any, the bum gets off free and clear to do his damage over and over again. Until someone gets hurt and possibly the State Police investigate.
Say someone breaks into your home, steals just a few things and commits malicious mischief to confuse things. It works on the TPD. The responding Officer will likely find some way to blame you for the results and claim that it doesn't look like a crime just to avoid filling out a report. Even if you call an Officer back when you get more information that shows a break-in and a likely suspect, still no help. Maybe a budding juvenile criminal gets the idea that he's immune. Maybe he is. Nor can you get any help if you feel that your neighbors or yourself are threatened and mistreated. TPD will not investigate until there is a dead body.
Or say someone makes a false complaint about you. If the liar has more social, political or business clout than you do, you can get arrested and incarcerated without any investigation. The TPD do not feel obliged to interview your coworkers, neighbors and/or friends and determine any other circumstances besides those presented to them by the liar.
This accumulates such a feeling of contempt and distrust towards the TPD that many have given up on them. Why cooperate with the SOB that yesterday wouldn't address your complaint, or enforced a false complaint against you? Then when the TPD does get a dead body that they feel is worth their time to investigate, they just can't understand the "don't snitch mentality".
Maybe it's not about snitching. Maybe it's about not being able or allowed by the TPD itself to trust a law enforcement agency that doesn't think you are worth its time to protect and serve. Maybe that's why the murder rate is so high.
-- ain't lying 'bout that.
(In response to "Green Light" in February 3-9 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
Wonderful story ... enlightening!
Johnson and Stone are to be commended for progressive thinking. These are life-long learning experiences these students will hold dear and Representative Scott's leadership will mark for generations.
I must question, though, with the negativity surrounding public education how has our new Gov. Fallin and State Superintendent recognized such successful programs? And how will they promote the efforts of effective public schools led by progressive thinking school administrators and teachers advancing student learning for lifelong skills over testing, merit pay, and Chamber promoted capitalist competition?
Checks and Balances
(In response to "An Unhealthy Obsession" in February 3-9 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
Thank you, Mr. Lowry, for your respectful and thoughtful discourse. I agree that accountability is at the core of the issue. But I believe that the question you flirt with, but don't properly address, about which level of government should and should not provide specific services goes to the heart of it. If everything were run out of Washington, and we had a problem with our local sewers, we'd have to convince twenty million people that our sewers are more important than gay marriage, abortion and their own sewers combined. This is representative democracy?
'Our country is too large to have all of its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance and [out] from under the eye of their constituents, must ... be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens, and at the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder and waste. And I do verily believe that if the principle were to prevail of a common law being in force [throughout] the United States..., it would become the most corrupt government on the earth.'
Funding at a Cost
Dear Senator Bingman,
I have read with dismay that this Senate Bill, concerning allowing advertising on buses, is moving forward. I urge you not to support this dangerous and frivolous bill.
Here is my story: In 1998-2003, I drove a Public School bus for Santa Rosa County, Florida. I had a mix of country-bound kids and city-living kids on my routes, similar to the situation in Sapulpa. Every DAY! Every DAY, we encountered drivers who flew past my bus, while the GIANT BOLD yellow vehicle -- unmistakably a SCHOOL BUS FULL OF KIDS! -- was safely stopped, stop-sign extended and lights flashing all over the front and sides.
My students were rewarded with a $1 coin for reporting to me a valid tag number, so I could report to the police the lazy, inattentive and busy drivers who daily endangered my innocent and trusting students. It was a favorite "game" with my kids, who hooted and waved at the scofflaws while they took the tag numbers.
I cannot fathom anyone with school-aged children agreeing to such an unsafe, greedy and despicable idea as this. A long, heavy vehicle, covered in blue and black and purple and red words and images, is NOT!! a school bus, but a traveling side-show with little, living bowling pins inside, waiting to be knocked down.
Please do what you can to stifle the enthusiasm for this waste of paint, loss of an icon-that is painted to ATTRACT attention to its FUNCTION, and more compelling advertising aimed at kids and not FOR kids' safety. Please fight this.
Yes, we need more funding for our schools, we need trusted overseers for our children, and we need better schools, but we need living students to attend them.
--LaDonna "Lottie" Wilds
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