Stated the Union
(re: The Insider, Oct. 17-23)
Some real shoddy propaganda from (Terry) Simonson.
In another piece by everyone's favorite anti-worker ideologue, Simonson makes some pretty interesting claims about unions that we'd like to see if he can back up.
First, he writes: "Some city politicians, who have their heads in the sand and their fingers on the polls, say they are all for giving the unions everything they want."
Our question to Simonson: Could you name one politician that ever said anything remotely like giving any union everything they want.
Second, he claims "[The union] should be bringing to the city ... a spending reduction plan that shows the city officials how and where they can cut spending to the point that it can afford the compensation package which the union is demanding."
Our question to Simonson: If the Mayor is so concerned with saving the tax-payer money, why does his administration consistently attempt to sweep issues of waste and reports of corruption under the rug while the unions are calling these issues into the open - as many citizens are aware? One place we could start cuts are all of Dewey's third party consultants that have cost the City millions and STILL haven't performed the jobs they were hired to do. Under Kathy Taylor, who bargained in good faith, many even accepted furlough days. We have already proven through the Gain-sharing initiative and other initiatives our willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. We have other ideas and plans for saving money and improving services but the Mayor's office refuses to even speak to us proving that he is ideologically-driven and not driven by a genuine desire to solve problems. To Bartlett, efficiency and savings means handing over tax-dollars to profit his pals in the private sector while City services suffer.
Third, Simonson also writes: "From the union's perspective, an election before the citizens is not something the union should want to see in Tulsa."
Our question to Simson [sic]: Would the union be allowed to participate in such an election or would Mayor Bartlett's Executive Order that takes away our Constitutional right to publicly get involved in elections continue to block our basic democratic freedoms? If Dewey were to retract his cowardly order (that Simonson pushed from behind the scenes) and fight on a level playing field, we would see if Tulsa is really an "anti-union" town at the polls as Simonson claims.
-- City of Tulsa Employees (AFSCME Local 1180)
The Truth About Scholarships
(re: The Capitolist, Oct. 10-16)
This article is spot on. This law and this lawsuit have little to do with special needs children. The author of the bill, Rep. Jason Nelson, publicly stated it was a way to get their foot in the door to expand vouchers to all students. Ohio used the same tactic decades ago with minorities. Legislators could put a vote on the table to change the constitution, but they know it would fail as it has every time its been put to a vote in other states. Instead, they use back door legislation.
-- Don Bell
Your editorial regarding the recently filed Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship lawsuit was the most concise, cogent, and coherent I have yet read. In short, you "nailed" the key issues.
My perception is universal public education is the cornerstone, the very foundation, of our democratic republic. The self-serving efforts of some folks (vouchers, tax credits, selective charter schools, massive over testing of students, online education, school grades, etc.) may very well be the precursors to the end of universal public education -- in our state and across the nation. Vouchers (LNH Scholarships) reflect a very significant "step in the WRONG direction."
And what has been established (for ALL young people) to replace universal public education, once vouchers and other similar efforts have realized the demise of public education? Sadly, there is no answer to this question.
Thus, 1) The lawsuit which several of us have initiated, 2) Well-researched editorials similar to the one you penned, and 3) Other as yet unknown actions by those who believe in public education represent ONLY THE FIRST small steps which must be taken to save an institution so critical to the future of our state and nation.
Thank you for taking one of those "first steps" toward the return to sanity in Oklahoma.
-- Kirby Lehman (former Jenks superintendent)
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