Friday, October 30, 2009

Will There Be No America?

The warning has been sounded. By a Briton, no less. Is America about to give up its sovereignty to a UN created government? Check out this video.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vote For Mark Perkins

After careful contemplation I have decided to lend my support to Mark Perkins for Mayor of Tulsa. You can find out more about him by following this link.

I listened to Chris Medlock's endorsement of Bewey Dartlett, emphasizing our need to come together as Republicans in order to have a "seat at the table". I understand that, but at this stage of the game, I don't want to sit at the table with people from either party who tow the party line and carry the water for a 2 party system, both of which have failed us miserably. No, it's high time we elect someone new, with fresh ideas and no entangling alliances.

Tom Adelson sounds like a scared kid and his contrived TV ads pollute the airwaves throughout the day. We certainly don't need this annoying brat born in privilege with a silver spoon in his mouth. He would be bad news for Tulsa.

Bewey Dartlett's job as a Republican is to unite the party by moving toward the center to have any chance to be elected. Good luck! Bewey is definitely left-of-center as a Republican. Maybe that's not necessarily a bad thing. But I cannot shake 2 issues: His affirmative vote to approve Kathy Taylor's $7 million expenditure of my tax funds to settle an obligation with BOK created by the airport trust authority who pledged city assets on the now defunct Great Plains Airlines (and got their butts bailed out by Kathy Taylor); and his endorsement of Kathy Taylor earlier this year when she was running for mayor.

Mark Perkins is a registered Republican running as an independent. I think he has good ideas and a fresh perspective on issues surrounding Tulsa. I especially like his concern for education in our fair city. He also represents the increasingly important young professional class of people in Tulsa, who are our future. Mayor of Tulsa is not an easy job and I believe Mark has the stamina, the integrity, and the common sense it will take to get us through these difficult times.

Vote for Mark Perkins for Mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Guns in our Schools

I can hear the yawns from those reading the headline.

But if you have a student at TPS, you aren't yawning, you're knees are knocking. I know many parents that have a real fear for the safety of their children in Tulsa Public Schools.

TPS has responded with security guards, metal detectors, lock-down procedures, locker searches and its very own police department complete with a chief of police. But, alas, it is a pervasive problem as you can see from this story from Fox23.

Let me hear your thoughts on how best to tackle this problem.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Laugh About Obamacare

Let's see if I have this straight.

We're going to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it,
signed by a president that also hasn't read it, and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's nearly broke.

What possibly could go wrong?

Hat tip to Bryan

Friday, October 16, 2009

America the Beautiful!

With everything going on in our country right now, it's good to take time out to reflect on something good about our country. Click on this link, you'll be glad you did!

Hat tip to Gary.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Real Solutions for Public Education Reform in Tulsa

Axiom: It is easy to criticize a situation, but a leader will find solutions.

I know that I have fallen into this trap as it is definitely easier to make critical remarks about a topic like public education, than it is to offer concrete solutions. So here are a few solutions that represent potential real reform to Tulsa's public education:

1. Separate sports from education. Have all sports handled by booster clubs made up of parents and private citizens and businesses who actively support their teams. Booster clubs could set salaries, hire staff, rent facilities from schools, etc. This would end the situations where the football coach also teaches history, or whatever. With sports expenditures out of the general budget, more existing dollars could be focused in the classroom. Over time, the focus of the school would shift from pride in sports programs to pride in academic achievement. Sports could still be a source of school pride, but in the meantime, it could be a revenue generator for the schools as the booster clubs could pay rent for facilities and pay the schools for the rights to use the school name, etc.

2. Expand the number of charter schools statewide. Since charter schools are public schools, they provide a public option that gives taxpayers more "bang for the tax buck". As they are also schools of choice meaning, students go there because they want to go there. This is a critical point and one that is absent from the traditional public school. They tend to be much safer schools too since the schools can set policies that allow the students to weed themselves out if the school is not a good fit. With smaller enrollment, smaller class sizes, and a group of students who choose to go there, you tend to get a rather tight-knit group and one where a student will not fall between the cracks.

3. Consolidate the number of existing traditional public schools. This would be the natural outcome for an expanded charter school network in a district. Charters can use retail space, a church building, you name it. This would also have a benefit to the city of utilizing unused retail spaces and a sense that something is now going on. Taxpayers would save millions each year and perhaps some of the school property could be sold to private developers and put into the tax base.

4. Limit the amount of the budget spent on administration. Cap larger districts at a lower percentage than the smaller districts. This would force districts to focus on the classroom education and not in self perpetuation.

5. End all English as a second language classes. Get this out of the school budget and have churches or concerned citizens offer English classes to immigrants. Or with a charter school, they could form their own school and teach Spanish as a second language.

6. Tie High School graduation to social services benefits. This reform would be to address the falling graduation rates across the state. If you do not graduate or get your GED, then you would be denied access to social services. I'd bet we would see an immediate turnaround in graduation rates. It's only right since the Oklahoma Constitution requires that we provide a "free and appropriate" public education. If that is the requirement by our State, then we have the right to expect that our children take full advantage of it and take graduation as a responsibility on their side? If that is our premise, then it must have some consequences.

7. Require community service as part of the curriculum. We need to develop a sense of community pride and spirit. And it can start with elementary students. We invest in them and they invest themselves in the community. It's a win-win.

8. Allow non-certified teachers to teach certain classes. Wouldn't it be great to have a teacher in say accounting, who has actually been an accountant? Think of the examples and real life experiences that kind of teacher could bring to a classroom. Have a professional photographer teach photography. Novel idea, don't you think?

These are just a few things from off the top of my head. I reserve the right to post more in the future.

For Janet Barresi

I whole-heartedly endorse Dr. Janet Barresi and her campaign for the office of Oklahoma State Superintendent of Schools. She is an experienced reformer with the right set of priorities. I have personally worked with her on some charter school issues in years past.

You can follow the link here.

Friday, October 02, 2009

City Council Makes the Right Call

Although it was not unanimous, the Tulsa City Council yesterday voted 7-2 in favor of taking the "Community Oriented Policing Services" grant of $3.5 million. This will pay for 18 new TPD officers for 3 years with the stipulation that the city pay for them for at least one additional year.

The controversy stems from our current and near-future expected budget shortfalls, resulting in city employee furloughs and cuts in city services. This move requires our cash-strapped city to come up with about $400,000 immediately to cover the cost of hiring and training the new officers, and over $1 million at the end of three years to pay for the one additional year. So how will we pay for it?

Well this much is certain, we all agree that public safety is something that our government should be in the business of doing. And we agree that crime is an issue in Tulsa. The addition of 18 new officers will be a big boost to public safety in Tulsa. And remember, Tulsa Public Schools now has their own police department, complete with a chief of police. More police equals more criminals off our streets.

A safer Tulsa will be a place that people want to come. With Tulsa as a destination point, we will gradually see our sales tax base rise. More unchecked crime will see just the opposite.

Our courts and justice system have a pivotal role to play too. We must not only get criminals off our streets, but keep them off. It's high time the pendulum of justice swing back to punishment for offenses from the current mantra of rehabilitation and coddling.

This was a tough decision, but the right decision and it shows the direction of leadership Tulsa desperately needs.