Got my goobermint paper!

Now I have the City’s permission to build a life-saving structure on my property.  I had an email from the contractor who said they had been trying to fax the needed paperwork but the City’s fax machine wasn’t cooperating.  She called the developmental services dept, and “talked with someone who was not very nice,” (surprise!), who would only clarify that yes she was dialing the right number.

Something must have worked because the code technician called me yesterday and said I was good to go at the price of $53.50, so I gave them my debit card number and that was that.

I guess I should have asked if they are going to mail me some paper or something.  In 2005, I had a real sheet of paper, inscribed with the appropriate bureaucratic incantantations, certifying that I had placated the appropriate powers and paid my dues.  I was required “by law” to post it where it could be seen from the street.  So I made a copy and posted the copy on a stake in the middle of a garden bed. If the paper was that valuable, I didn’t want some heathen running off with the original like someone did with my rosemary bush a while back.  Who knows what would happen. Maybe the same people who come and take you away if you tear that tag off your pillow would have swooped down and done something nefarious to me and my household.

So it is all over except for the actual installation, Deo gratias. And truthfully it was much less of a hassle than last time, so I’m glad they’re learning a few things.

Now I have will have room for 14 adults standing. Or some combination of adults, kids, dogs, cats, and whatever other critter might be brought. It will also eventually have some jugs of wine and beer that will be aging down there, and the occasional basket of apples and some winter squash. So if we do have to dive into the ‘fraidy hole’ as they are sometimes known around these parts, we may have to pass some time passing the bottle. Yes, I will also have a bucket filled with leaves in case our stay is prolonged.

Tomorrow is the delivery day of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative and so I will be helping with the grand sorting that goes on at our operations center in the Old Farmers Market District.

Then after a few hours at work — which will involve rehearsing with a cantor for a wedding, working through the readings and liturgies for the summer and picking music and taking care of some miscellaneous musical odds and ends I will be off to the house of my friend the Reverend Deacon Aaron Taylor (of St Benedict’s Russian Orthodox Church here in central Oklahoma) for some, well, probably it will involve discussions and booze.  Fortunately he lives close enough to me that I can walk, lol, There and Back Again, hopefully with no adventures in between.  Well, meeting up with some hobbits would be fine, but the orcs can stay away.

The process of selecting music is an on-going project for my music ministry that never ends, because as soon as I am through with summer and fall ordinary time, well, here comes Advent and Christmas and then winter ordinary time, Lent, Easter. . . plus assorted and miscellaneous holy days, weddings, funerals, and etc.  Yes, I have 14 years of records of what I have chosen previously, but each year is a brand new opportunity to read the readings and see what speaks to the present time.  Sometimes I pick the same hymns.  Often I don’t. At times I look at what I picked in the past, and wonder, “What was I thinking of?”  Well, usually I have some methods to the madness of my musical selection process, but I don’t always remember what it is several years later.  IN ANY EVENT. . . The priests and deacons have their homilies, but I pick the hymns and anyone who thinks I don’t, at every liturgy that I plan,  preach a sermon with my hymn selections hasn’t paid any attention to their texts.

PS. Mark your calendars for BLESS THIS HOUSE — a musical offering for the 30th anniversary of the Dedication of Epiphany Church, Sunday, July 6th, 6 PM, potluck at 5 PM.  Featuring the choirs and musicians of the Church of the Epiphany.  And the only time you will ever get to sing We Three Kings in July.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Catholic, Climate Instability, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Storm Shelter Permit: Attempt the first — FAIL

This morning I made my first attempt to get the storm shelter permit/.

Letter from an engineer regarding the boyancy of the shelter (i.e. guaranteeing it won’t float out of the ground — CHECK!

Letter from an engineer certifying that the shelter is designed to meet or exceed the structural strength necessary to resist the combined load of concrete and soil plus 100 pounds/square foot load line, thus complying with the state’s storm shelter code — CHECK!

Letter from an engineer certifying that the shelter is designed to comply with FEMA shelter standards — OOPS!  I did have a letter from an engineer that states —

. . . The design for the construction of the storm shelters meets and or exceeds the FEMA Design Requirements or Standards.
Therefore, it is the opinion of this engineer that the construction and installation per theinstallation instructions should be considered appropriate for use in Oklahoma.

Alas, that wasn’t good enough.  The engineer should have stated which FEMA standard this design meets or exceeds.  My thought is — “Good grief folks, it is a structural steel shelter encased in six inches of concrete buried in the ground with a foot of dirt on the top.” What part of “this storm shelter works” does the City not understand?  If the engineer says it meets the FEMA statistics, what does it matter if an additional bureaucratic note of the identifying number of the standard?

At least I didn’t have to wait more than a couple of minutes and the lady was nice and said she would call me when the contractor faxes her the proper document and I would not have to make a second trip downtown.  So they have learned something since my last attempt at getting a permit from that office which involved THREE trips downtown because I was given THREE different demands for info.  There would have been a fourth if I hadn’t made a scene and a supervisor came out who determined that my original app was sufficient and the other two trips were not necessary because I was given bad info by the staff.

It is beyond my comprehension why there isn’t some sort of expedited system for tornado shelter applications.  We don’t have anything much in the way of public tornado shelters. As far as OKC government is concerned, everyone is On Their Own when the funnel clouds bear down on the City.  Thus, it seems to me that they should make it as easy as possible to get this permit.  I don’t understand why I even had to go downtown.

  • There are special permits to install a pool, fences and signs, but not shelter. For a shelter, I had to fill out the same form you would if had built a house. It asks “prior use of the area,” I wrote in “container garden”. I hope that info was informative and useful to them. Why not have a shelter permit?
  • There are FAXABLE (!!!!!!!) permits for electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work (and I think that is a good thing), but why not a faxable permit for storm shelters? I had to drive downtown, pay two dollars for parking. OK, I got to admire the new PARKING garage the city is building for God-Only-Knows how much money across the street (gotta keep those tax subsidies rolling for the cars you know), but still, it was  a waste of time and two dollars.

All in all, I am not persuaded that anything about this process really serves the common good. It just seems like bureaucratic make-work.   Oh, and let’s not forget Ka-Ching, the sound of the City’s cash register picking my pocket for (near as I can tell from the City’s website) $55 for the permit fee.

I suppose if this were the worst thing to happen to me this year, I’d be making out pretty much like phat rat.  But the part of me that strives for excellence wonders why Oklahoma City doesn’t analyze all of its rules and regulations and make some determination as to what actually is necessary and what isn’t.

For example, why not have the shelter contractors register with the city and provide the details for their plans?  Then, if a homeowner is using a City approved plan, there would be no need for a permit. The common good need — ensuring that shelters are adequate to the demands of the storm — is met, and much bureaucratic make-work and citizen annoyance is avoided.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Climate Instability, Environmental Sustainability, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Safe Community | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Why Oklahoma is becoming such a miserable place to live.

Oklahoma is becoming an increasingly miserable place to live.

I am increasingly of the opinion that the best way to help the poor in Oklahoma is to help them move to a different state.

All it takes is a look at our political system to find out the reasons for our on-going devolution into misery.

The filing period has just closed for the 2014 elections.

  • Half the State House of Representative races have only one candidate.
  • 1/3 of the State Senate races have only one candidate.
  • 1/3 of the state officer races have only one candidate.

We have low voter registration rates and low voter participation and indeed, what’s the point of registering and voting in Oklahoma?

The Democrats have apparently folded up shop.  Oklahoma remains one of the worst states in the nation in terms of its rules to put new parties on the ballot.  No political competition is allowed.  Indeed, Russia has more liberal rules for qualifying a new political party than does Oklahoma.

So it comes to pass that Oklahoma is run by a one party kakistocracy (“government by the worst elements of a society”).

If you don’t believe that, just watch  one of T.W. Shannon’s campaign commercials for US Senate.  Or listen to Mary Queen of Lynch Mobs Fallin bragging about her campaign slogan — “More Misery for the poor”.

What does God say about the poor? well. . . we could start with. . .

“What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding down the poor when they look to you? Those who oppress the poor blaspheme their Maker,  but the one who is kind to the needy glorifies God. The rich who oppress the poor are like a devastating rain that leaves no food. ”

And then move on to. . .

“Better to be poor and walk in integrity than to be crooked in your ways and rich. Those who shut their ears to the cry of the poor will themselves also call and not be heard.”

And. . .

“Do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the alien or the poor; do not plot evil against one another in your hearts.”  More at “Here is what God says about the poor.


Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Campaign News, Collapse, Oklahoma Living, Social Justice | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Bob Must Get a City Permit. Get Ready for Verbal Pyrotechnics.

I should sell tickets for this event.

In mid May I am having a tornado cellar installed.  I finally found someone who would put extra dirt on top to enhance its utility as a root cellar/wine and beer aging cellar. Tornado King USA, out of Muskogee, if you’re interested.

Installation of a storm shelter requires a City Permit.  There was a recent article in the paper about how to do this, but it promised a bit more than the City Website delivered.  They have special forms for permits for fences, pools, and signs, and no form specifically for storm shelters. No list of the requirements to get the permit either. How easy would it be for them to have a page for “Storm Shelters”? Well, as someone who has literally hundreds of pages of info on the internet, I can tell you right now that a web page is damn easy to do and cheap too.  Certainly cheaper than having extra staff on hand to answer the calls from the THOUSANDS of people installing shelters this year.

So I had to make a phone call.  That started last week.  I was on hold for a long time and then got a message “leave a message and we’ll call you back.” I left a message and of course, no one called me back.  I tried again today and had better luck, and actually got a list of requirements, which I am posting here. We’ll see if this is actually the real list of requirements once I pile all this up and fax it in.  That is one improvement over my last attempt at a city permit during my extreme green renovation of 2005.  That required three trips downtown because I was told I needed different items. It would have required a fourth except that I made a scene and demanded to see a supervisor. Post permit event, I sent several scathing emails, scathing I say, about the 20th century business practices of the permit dept.  Now they have the ability to take applications by fax, and it only takes SEVEN TO TEN BUSINESS DAYS for them to get around to looking at the permit.

So I am presently scheduled for a mid May installation.  We’ll see if it happens.  Here are the requirements:

The shelter application requires —

  • Application (I downloaded that from their site)
  • Copy of the official plans
  • Letter signed by the engineer stating it will not float out fo the ground, it could also be a statement on the plans
  • Full site plan showing property lines and structures showing how far the shelter is away from the house and the property lines. They said I could do the drawing myself.

We live in Tornado Alley.  As far as OKC is concerned, everyone is On Their Own for tornado protection.  Schools and churches that used to provide public shelter space are closing their doors.  You would think that they would have an expedited, easy process that would encourage people to build storm shelters. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  We can’t do that can we?  How will they know they’re important down at City hall if they don’t force us to genuflect before them and pay for a “permit of privilege” that allows us to spend our own money to protect our lives and the lives of those we love by building a storm cellar on land that we have bought and paid for with our own hard earned money?

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Climate Instability, Collapse, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Safe Community | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Pothole filled!

potholepatchI am Shocked! Shocked I Say! Shocked AND Amazed! to report that the perennial pothole at NW 21 and North McKinley was filled with some asphalt yesterday morning. The City did not repair the underlying problem that causes it to periodically reappear. This is maybe the third or fourth time it has been filled with asphalt in the last decade. So it will be interesting to see how long it takes for it to be refilled.

Even so, it’s nice to have the symptom repaired, thank you Okie City. I understand the City is too poor and thus can’t treat the underlying problem, but symptoms are important too and so it is better to not ignore them. After all, Oklahoma City has expensive habits that constrain its priorities.  Keeping the movers and shakers downtown happy is not cheap! Their projects suck up all our cash. Thus the rest of the city continues to deteriorate while downtown it is Party On Dudes!

So it goes on the road to the ash heap of history.  In the meantime, us peasants should be grateful for whatever crumbs fall from the Downtowner table onto our neighborhoods.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Collapse, Economic Prosperity, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living | 1 Comment

An adventure along Northwest Expressway

eddie 2 wheelchair on nw expresswaySo I met a man on my way home after choir practice tonight along Northwest Expressway. I was in the right lane, going east, when I had to come to a stop, east of McArthur, by the Taco Bell and Golden Corral.

All of the cars ahead of me save one swerved around the obstruction, which turned out to be an elderly African American man, without legs, in a motorized wheelchair, just rolling along in the right lane of Northwest Expressway.  One car was stopped behind him and another car had stopped in front of him to stop him.  I pulled into the parking lot of Golden Corral and got out and took the pictures you see here.

Northwest Expressway is six lanes of traffic, officially a state highway, and in the 16 miles of so of its length, from where it starts at Classen to where it exits Oklahoma City, there is not one single pedestrian amenity. No cross walks. No crossing lights. No beware of pedestrians signs.  No sidewalks.

He ended up pulling into the parking lot of the Golden Corral so I pulled my car up alongside him and rolled my window down and asked him where he was going. I couldn’t hear his answer (NW Expressway might as well have been a freeway with all the noise). I got out, we chatted, I asked him, “Why don’t you get in my car and I’ll put your wheel chair in my trunk and I will drive you where you need to know.”

He and I both thought this was a great plan, and he was able to pull himself from the chair into my car without my assistance. Lots of practice doing that since 1968 I suppose.  As it turns out, he was in Vietnam in 1968, when he stepped on a landmine, and that was how he came to be without legs, in that wheelchair, on NW Expressway.

Our plan faltered however when I could barely even budge the front two wheels of his motorized chair.  I can lift 50 pounds, but that chair weighed lots more.  Time to back up and regroup.  I told him, “I have to call the police, I have no idea what else to do.” 911 on the cell phone, ended up talking to the Warr Acres dispatcher since this little patch was actually in that suburb for a few blocks.

Warr Acres sent two police, one of them told a horrendous story about the last time he’d seen someone in a wheel chair on NW Expressway, she had been hit by a car and was not in good shape. The car knocked her all the way from the driveway along the west side of Golden Corral to right in front of the Church’s Chicken place on the far side of Golden Corral, maybe 50 yards?  She survived, “just barely’, the officer said.  How did she end up there?  She had taken the city’s special bus service to visit a friend, but it was late coming back, so the bus went no further than NW 23rd and Portland.  She had managed to maneuver herself all the way from there to Northwest Expressway in that wheelchair! How many miles would that be? At least six, and all of it is major traffic streets and not much if anything in the way of sidewalks.

They called a special taxi that has a lift for wheelchairs, the Catholic Worker house agreed to pay the $50 bill, and so all was well that ended well.

Except. . . what happens the next time he is home alone, bored, feeling restless, and he wants to get out and go do something.  There isn’t an inch of sidewalk anywhere around where he lives.

I’ve been whining about NW Expressway for years.  And I’ve heard some terrible things. One former ODOT employee told me that there were federal funds that could be used for pedestrian amenities along NW Expressway, because it is a state highway, but OKC and Warr Acres and Oklahoma County, all of whom have a piece of this pie, have never gotten together and demanded action.

Someone else told me they had written their senator, who contacted ODOT, and they told him, “We don’t want to encourage pedestrian traffic on NW Expressway so we’re not going to put in any pedestrian amenities!”  Memo to ODOT:  It doesn’t matter what you want to encourage or discourage, the pedestrian traffic is already there.  Northwest Expresway, State Highway 3, is a pedestrian safety hazard, from one end to the other.

A lot of the people I see walking along the Expressway are kids.  And who cares about those kids anyway? None of the kids of the economic aristocracy are walking along Northwest Expressway. Those are working and middle class and low income family kids. Nobody at ODOT or the State Legislature cares anything about them. As far as they are concerned, the more pedestrians killed along Northwest Expressway, the better off we are. That’s no doubt a cruel thing to say, but it’s the kind of social darwinism that is so popular these days among the Oklahoma elites.  They would loudly deny this, but with politicians, you have to look at what they do, not what they say.  It’s hard to deny that there are no pedestrian amenities along NW Expressway, and that people are dying because of that detail, and that ODOT has no plan to change the situation.

Our newly re-elected mayor is found of bragging about OKC and our welfare basketball team and our welfare rowing amenities along the North Canadian River and he also wants a welfare hotel and a welfare convention center downtown at a price of several hundred million bucks.

But Oklahoma City is also a place where we care so little about disabled American veterans, who have paid a very high price at the call of their nation, that we put them at risk with our deplorable lack of pedestrian amenities throughout the city — especially sidewalks — and our bus system.  He wants to spend a hundred million bucks for a downtown transit toy for the tourist crowd, but he won’t support adequate funding for a bus system so that our disabled veterans can get around without running their motorized wheelchairs in the street.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Environmental Sustainability, Safe Community, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shouldn’t GM get the death penalty for its murders?

Shouldn’t GM get the death penalty for its murders?

Maybe in the beginning it was simple negligence and could qualify as manslaughter. But they knew about the problem for ten years, didn’t fix it, and so the body count continued to increase.

Where are our “get tough on crime” politicians when we need them?  Oops, I forgot, our “get tough on crime” politicians are really just “get tough on some crimes.”  They aren’t about to get tough on crimes committed by corporations.  As far as they are apparently concerned, corporations can commit any number of murders, and never face the death penalty.

Kind of bloodthirsty aren’t we tonight, Mr. Catholic Worker?  Well, I should hasten to add that I am not proposing that the stockholders and management should actually be executed.  But the stockholders should lose all of their investment.  The government should take over the corporation, sort like a bankruptcy receivership, and sell its stock on the stock market to the highest bidders.  The stockholders would hopefully learn a valuable lesson about neglecting their corporate governance duties and a message would be sent to all other corporations.

But we don’t have laws providing for a corporate death penalty, because the economic aristocracy running this nation is just fine with the situation the way it is.  GM didn’t kill any of their kids.  The victims were just middle and working class folks who bought these cars.  They don’t count to the economic aristocrats who rule our economics and politics. Like the aristocrat in the carriage in A Tale of Two Cities, who runs down and kills a child, GM will toss a few coins out the back window at the grieving relatives and rush away to another meeting with the politicians they have bought and paid for with their stockholders’ money.

So it goes, on our way to the ash heap of history.  More scandalous tragedy, more innocent blood, more thugs and criminals uncaught and unpunished, free to kill again.

Why don’t we kill corporations who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?

Here’s the FB page I started when BP trashed the gulf:  We need a death penalty for corporations.

And then there’s my infamous “11 necessary measures to curb the corporate crime rate” which I wrote in the late 1990s.  It was picked up by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, and even made it to the Mother Jones website.  Reprinted here because it needs to be read again.

  1.  The stockholders and management of corporations convicted of felonies should lose their right to vote and run for public office.
  2. A registry should be maintained in each area of criminal corporations, and any corporation convicted of a felony should be required to register with the local police. A notice should be sent to all of their neighbors that a criminal corporation is taking up residence in their locality.
  3. Criminal corporations should lose all corporate welfare benefits and government contracts.
  4. Criminal corporations should be required to make weekly visits to parole officers, and their stockholders and management should be subject to random drug tests (either urine or hair).
  5. Criminal corporations should not be allowed to operate within 500 yards of a school, church or library.
  6. Criminal corporations should be required to place the phrase “A criminal corporation” on all advertising, signs and vehicles as a public warning.
  7. If criminal corporations violate the terms of their parole, their stockholders and officers should go to jail.
  8. In addition to the fine on the corporation, the personal assets of stockholders should be subject to seizure to satisfy the debts/penalties of the corporation. IOW, the “corporate shield of liability” for criminal corporations should be lifted.
  9. The increasing number of lawless corporations calls for stricter penalties. Bring back the death penalty for corporations. In this context, the ‘death penalty’ is the closure of the corporation, the forfeiture of its assets to its victims and/or the government and the winding up of its affairs by a court appointed receiver.
  10. Stockholders and management should be required to wear monitoring bracelets for the duration of their parole, and may not travel outside of their jurisdiction without a written pass from their parole officer.
  11. The stockholders and management of criminal corporations may not associate with the stockholders and management of other corporate felons, and are forbidden to keep and bear arms.
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The Nauseating Hypocrisy of US Politicians about the Ukraine and Russia

You would think that Hitler has somehow been resurrected from the dead and come to power, the way our politicians are beating their breasts and berating the public about the recent Russian maneuver that resulted in the return of Crimea, a place that was historically part of Russia, back to Russian governance.

While making much of the neglect of constitutional due process,  President Obama conveeeeeeeniently ignores his own role in kicking the ball that ended up in the present court.

It was Obama who committed five billion dollars to NGOs who used those resources  to provoke the rebellion that overthrew an ELECTED GOVERNMENT!  That shows a lot of respect for constitutional due process, don’t ya think? Sure, it wasn’t a very nice government, but most governments aren’t very nice, and that includes our own.  Our government murders American citizens without trial, incarcerates American citizens without trial, maintains an internal gulag prison system that treats its residents with great cruelty including the extensive use of solitary confinement, and routinely interferes in the sovereign affairs of other countries.  The list of governments we have unconstitutionally overthrown is a Very Long List.  We are directly responsible for the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians since the 1990s.  Our leaders shed no tears for all the children they’ve murdered, nor for the children they plan to murder tomorrow.

Putin may not be a world paragon of freedom and liberty, but neither are the United States Congress and Barak Hussein Obama, President and Tyrant of these United States, All Bow Down in Fear.  Putin is what he is and doesn’t pretend to be anything else, while our congresscritters and the President are nauseating, murderous, bloodthirsty hypocrites who claim to act for freedom but instead are in actuality doing the will of the demonic spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

So it goes on the road to the ash heap of history.  This little brouhaha is further evidence that our leaders are as out of touch with reality as the Romanovs in 1917 and the French aristocracy in 1789.

The frequency of these stupid, manufactured, nonsensical crises is an indicator of our social, economic, and political disintegration.  As the process continues, we will come to a time when punctuated equilibrium will set in and things will change for the worse very rapidly. When that happens, our collapse will be sudden, just as it was with the old Soviet Union.  In retrospect, the handwriting was on the wall of the Soviet system for years, but everyone was blind to what was going on.  Thus, its collapse was such a great surprise to so many — there and abroad.

That’s the way it will be with us.   Since the time to get ready for collapse is before the collapse happens, most of us need to git busy.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Collapse, Financial Crisis, international issues, War and Peace | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ten Reasons Why I’m Voting for Dr. Ed Shadid for Mayor of Oklahoma City!

1. Dr. Ed Shadid is a real person of compassion, conviction, and responsibility. He is concerned about the future of Oklahoma City. He has kids, he wants a city for them to grow up in, a place where they will want to live and raise their own children, his grandkids-to-be. He has gone down into the valley of the shadow of death and come back having learned hard lessons that serve him well in his work as a doctor and a leader in Oklahoma City.

2. Dr. Ed Shadid will be a mayor who serves the common good. He will not be the tool of special interests out to enrich themselves at the taxpayer’s expense. He is the only true fiscal conservative in this race, warning us of major spending boondoggles already in the Mick Cornett’s pipeline, that will squander hundreds of millions of scarce taxpayer dollars for very risky and speculative returns.

3. Dr. Ed Shadid is confident in the soundness of his beliefs, proposals, and record. He is not afraid to meet the Mayor for an open debate on the issues of this election and the merits of their respective candidacies.

4. Mick Cornett is a political coward who lacks conviction in his own beliefs, proposals, and record. His refusal to debate Ed Shadid is proof of this statement. Why is he afraid to debate Dr. Ed Shadid? What does he have to hide? What is he worried will come out in a debate?

5. Mick Cornett is not interested in being mayor for all the City, in all of its diversity. Almost all of his appointments to city boards and commissions have been white men. He has been ignoring the needs and issues of neighborhoods for his entire tenure as mayor. He is building roads and sidewalks in developments where no people live while other densely populated neighborhoods lack sidewalks and decent streets. There’s a pothole at the intersection of NW 21 and McKinley that’s been there for ten years! Every so often someone comes out and throws some asphalt into it, but that doesn’t last long, because there’s an underlying problem that never gets fixed. Yet, somehow, Oklahoma City has plenty of money for sidewalks on streets with no houses.

6. Mick Cornett is not a friend to the local food movement. The Mayor of Oklahoma City appoints the majority of the members of the Oklahoma City County Health Department, and the local food movement has no friends or champions there. It has exceeded its authority in the regulations it promulgated for the implementation of the Cottage Food Act passed last year by the Legislature.

7. Mick Cornett is not a friend to entrepreneurs attempting to start small businesses. The OKC permit and licensing bureaucracy can be a nightmare for everyone except big businesses. If you talk to three different people about the legal hoops you need to jump through, you may very well get three different answers, all contradictory, as to what is required. If you’re a big business, of course, Mick will not only roll out the red carpet, he will write you checks using other people’s money. But if you are an ordinary person, maxing out your credit cards to start a business, you will find no help from Mick Cornett’s City Hall.

8. Mick Cornett is not a friend to homeowners attempting to maintain their homes. The City’s permit office is not customer friendly. It is characterized by long lines, employees who are not well trained in the code requirements, and a “who cares” attitude among the staff, who don’t appear to understand that there is a thing called the “internet” that could be used by its customers to apply for many routine permits, saving time and money for the City, contractors, and homeowners. When I renovated my house, I had to make three trips downtown because three different employees told me contradictory information about what I needed to do. That’s stupidity, but it’s business as usual in the OKC bureaucracy under Mick Cornett’s leadership.

9. If we follow Mick Cornett’s policies to their logical conclusion, the result will be the degentrification of our suburban neighborhoods, a process that has already started and is accelerating. Those who doubt this should visit the 73127 and 73114 zip codes. Degentrification has a firm beachhead in the 73132 zip code also. If we follow Mick Cornett, twenty years from now the 73132 zip code will be a slum.

10. Mick Cornett is taking credit where the true credit should perhaps go elsewhere. His campaign literature makes it appear as though our current prosperity is due to his “wise leadership,” when in fact, Oklahoma City always booms the good times when energy prices are high, as they have been throughout his entire tenure as mayor.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Campaign News, Climate Instability, Economic Prosperity, Environmental Sustainability, Financial Crisis, food, Local Food Systems, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Safe Community, Social Justice | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dissent is Not Terrorism! Except in Oklahoma City.

The Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance is doing great work opposing the industrialization of rural Oklahoma and the construction of dangerous pipelines through farm country. As many of you know, I was arrested earlier last year for chaining myself to an excavator. I know it seems like a useless activity, but when I went through my decision process, I decided that the future was worth the personal risk. And however useless it seems to people on the outside, the energy industry seems to be taking it very seriously, judging by their way out of proportion reaction to the most recent escapade of the Great Plains Tar Sands resistors.

During their protest at the new skyscraper headquarters of Devon Energy — our very own Dark Tower that looms over our city lol — a banner was unfurled featuring a “Hunger Games Mockingjay” holding a monkey wrench. The banner was decorated with glitter.

I know, how subversive is glitter, right?

During the demonstration, some of the glitter fell on the floor.

In response, Oklahoma authorities have charged two of the demonstrators with the crime of “terrorism hoax”. Below is the statement of Stefan Warner, who I have known for many years and he is a stand-up guy with love and concern for the planet, its critters, and all people. He is not a terrorist, he is an honest man attempting to speak truth to power. It’s like Oklahoma authorities setting the dogs on the Civil Rights protestors in the 1960s. It seems as though we haven’t changed much.

Devon Energy, on its part, seems well prepared and even excited to play its dominating role in this our very own Hunger Games saga.

We here in Oklahoma have a great need for solidarity actions. If we don’t hang together, we most assuredly will be hung out to dry by the increasingly cruel and merciless social darwinist attitudes of our governor, mayor, many city council people, the state legislature, and etc. who are making a mockery of the rule of law as they subvert the democratic process to take from the people and give to their campaign contributors and special interest supporters.

Oklahoma has a long history of vicious racism, as bad as anything that has gone on further south of us. Events that happen here are not widely publicized elsewhere.

So the great need of the moment is SOLIDARITY!  Solidarity is not just a feel good emotion.  It is action on behalf of others during a time of grave need.  Here are four things everyone can do.  It’s especially important for our leaders to hear from people outside the state.

+ If you’re into prayer. . . Pray for us and those who have been arrested, and for Oklahoma authorities involved with this.

+ Make this injustice visible. Write letters to your local papers. Publish this statement in your blogs, newsletters, on your websites. Tell your friends in other states about this outrageous situation. Tweet! Facebook! Instagram! Pinterest!

+ Write letters to Oklahoma authorities (suggested addresses and names below). Tell them that you are watching what happens with this. Tell them that charging people with the crime of “terrorism hoax” is a terrible over-reaction that speaks very poorly of the commitment of the government of this state to protecting the rights of citizens to dissent and protest. Tell them that branding dissent as terrorism is evil and violates the First Amendment of the Constitution. It is already making Oklahoma the laughing stock of the nation.

Send copies to Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance so we will be encouraged by your solidarity!  .

In solidarity,

Bob Waldrop Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House

Mayor Mick Cornett
City of Oklahoma City
200 N. Walker
OKC, OK 73102

Governor Mary Fallin
State Capitol Building
Oklahoma City, Ok 73105

David Prater
Oklahoma County District Attorney
320 Robert S. Kerr, Room 505
Oklahoma City, OK 73102 —-


Please consider sharing this and donating to our legal defense fund!

For Immediate Release:


Moriah Stephenson: 405-203-3675 Stefan Warner: 405-863-2888

Oklahoma City, OK: On December 13th of last year, anti-fracking activists with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance staged a demonstration at the Devon Tower to protest the State of Oklahoma’s subsidizing of irresponsible and dangerous oil and gas extraction and the health effects that Devon’s practices have on communities in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

Four were arrested—two for locking themselves inside a revolving door, and two for hanging a banner inside the (open to the public) atrium of Devon Tower. Moriah Stephenson and Stefan Warner, the two Oklahomans arrested for dropping the banner, were booked in on charges of “disorderly conduct,” “criminal trespass,” and “terrorism hoax”—the latter referring to a small quantity of glitter that fell off the banner.

The escalated charge of “terrorism hoax” carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and serves to brand activists with the “terrorist” label to delegitimize real concerns for the health and safety of Oklahomans. The charges against Stephenson and Warner are a part of a larger campaign to criminalize dissent—the Canadian-based corporation TransCanada has been meeting with local law enforcement, including the Oklahoma Fusion Center in April of 2013, and encouraging them to pursue terrorism charges for acts of peaceful protest.

From journalist Will Potter: “TransCanada offers police a playbook on how to go after activists. The company suggests prosecuting using criminal trespass, criminal conspiracy, criminal instrument or device (the PVC pipe used for non-violent civil disobedience), grand juries, and “federal/state anti-terrorism statues [sic].

“My intention on December 13th, in the tradition of Rev. Martin Luther King Junior was to ‘arouse the conscience’ of a state that refuses to provide storm shelters for children at public schools yet has the gall to pay out $645,000,000 in tax subsidies to the oil and gas industry the past three fiscal years,” says Stefan Warner, one of the Oklahoma City residents facing 10 years behind bars on possible “terrorism hoax” charges for a glittery banner.

[See also: ]

“I know what the water looks like after a frack site has wreaked its havoc, and I know what cancer looks like after the water has gone bad and the flares stop burning,” said Moriah Stephenson. “At every stage of the fracking process, there’s contamination. 93% of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing processes have been proven to damage health, and with the scale of fracking close to Oklahoma communities I’m worried for the health of folks who live nearby.”

[See also: ]

Stefan Warner’s statement can be viewed here:

Moriah Stephenson’s statement can be viewed here:

Both Moriah and Stefan are available for comment and are willing to go on camera. Email for photo requests. ###

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