Last month we took to task an Oklahoma tribal official for saying the state’s new Native American liaison should be more loyal to Indians than to the state. Instead, the holder of the post shouldn’t be partial to either the tribes or state government.
We were thus encouraged to read that the first person to hold the job, Jacque Secondine Hensley, believes a liaison “is a person who needs to see both sides.”
The job was created when the Legislature abolished the Indian Affairs Commission last year. Hensley, of Kaw descent, will be paid $55,000 a year.
Among her duties is to work on agreements between the state and the tribes, including tobacco compacts. That’s been a sore point for state officials in connection with the tribe whose chief made the remark about the liaison needing to show bias toward the Indians.
Oklahomans need few reminders of the importance of the energy industry to the state. They’ll get more reminders next week as the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs holds an energy summit on Tuesday and an American Energy Alliance (AEA) bus tour makes a stop here on Friday.
One in every seven Oklahoma jobs is directly or indirectly tied to energy, according to the AEA. The group’s bus tour has already logged more than 2,000 miles to spotlight the continued importance of fossil fuels in the age of renewable energy mania. The bus will be at the Oklahoma History Center near the state Capitol at 9 a.m. Friday.
OCPA’s National Policy Summit on Energy & Federalism is scheduled for the new Devon Energy Center in downtown Oklahoma City. Panel discussions will focus on national security and state and federal regulations.
Energy’s importance is highlighted monthly in reports on state revenues and demonstrated daily by the thousands of industry employees who live, work and shop in the state. Fossil fuel is still cool here. May it be so for a long time to come.
By the way, those buses that ferry Barack Obama campaigners around the country this fall won’t be running on solar power.
A poll this week by JZ Analytics showed that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, for the first time, had the support of more than 40 percent of America’s younger voters (those 18 to 29).
Some credit for that has to go to Romney’s selection of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan, 42, provides the ticket with a nice contrast to the older (65), more staid Romney.
This is just one poll but the findings are significant, not only because this same demographic went hard for President Barack Obama in 2008, but because it’s young voters who will be most affected by our nation’s fiscal policies in the years ahead.
The bill coming due as a result of our massive debt will be paid mostly by their generation and the generations to follow. Ryan understands that and has offered a serious, reasonable plan to change our course.
Water and electricity don’t mix. So we were told as children, to overcome our resistance to leaving a swimming hole when a thunderstorm approached. Water and electricity may soon mix in the Bricktown Canal.
Plans are to convert the gasoline-powered canal boats to run on electricity, using a federal grant to buy the engines. This would be a quieter, potentially cheaper alternative that also has the potential of being better for the environment.
Operators also won’t have to carry heavy fuel cans to the boats. Instead, they will plug them.
No one swims in the canal (at least not legally), but water and electricity will make a good mix for the water taxis running in Bricktown.
Much was made of the record-tying high temperature on Aug. 3, when the thermometer hit 113. That tied a record set on Aug. 11, 1936.
As we all sweltered this month, Oklahomans old enough to remember the original 113-degree day could offer some perspective. In 1936, air conditioning was a rarity. Indeed, in some parts of the country then, electricity itself was still in the future.
Conditioning the air has its roots in ancient Rome, but the forerunner of what we have now dates to early in the 20th century and Willis Haviland Carrier’s electric air conditioning system.
Oklahoma should set aside a day each year to honor The Father of Cool. Since his birthday is Nov. 26, when nature cools us without electricity, perhaps Aug. 3 — or Aug. 11 — is appropriate.
Improvements made through the years by the Oklahoma City Fire Department may translate into lower homeowner insurance rates for some residents.
The Insurance Services Offices, a leading rating service used by insurance companies, recently gave Oklahoma City a score of 5 on a 1-to-10 scale, with 10 being the worst. That’s much better than the 9 the city received in 1993, the last time ICO did its testing.
Among the reasons for the better grade? The fire department now does a better job hauling water to parts of the city that don’t have hydrants. ISO ranks our department among the 14 best in the country in this area.
Ward 1 city council member Gary Marrs was right to praise the work of Fire Chief Keith Bryant and the department. We share in congratulating all the men and women of the department on a job well done.
Knock on wood, there have been no reported cases in Oklahoma this summer of a child dying inside a broiling hot vehicle. We made it through a merciless July, which saw temperatures exceed 110 degrees on some days, without one of these tragedies occurring.
Other states haven’t been as fortunate. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, at least 23 children have died from heat stroke this year, including eight during a seven-day stretch at the start of August.
That rash of deaths prompted a national alert by the organization. The message: Never leave a child alone in a car, and always lock empty vehicles’ doors and trunks to keep curious kids from getting inside; create reminders — place your cellphone on the back seat while driving, for example — for you or your caregiver to keep from forgetting a child; and if you see a child unattended in a vehicle, call 911.
Good advice, considering that even on mild days, temperatures inside a car can jump nearly 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. And we still have plenty of 90-plus degree days ahead.
Less than two weeks before their runoff, two men trying to win a state Senate seat find themselves defending their educations.
Ron Sharp and Ed Moore meet in the Republican runoff Aug. 28. The winner will earn the Senate District 17 seat because there’s no Democrat in the race.
Sharp, a former teacher in Shawnee, got his doctorate online from a California school that was later shut down. State regulators called it a “diploma mill.” Moore, pastor of a Baptist church in Newalla, received his degree from a nonaccredited religious school in Indiana.
Both men say they worked hard for their degrees, and there’s no reason to think that’s not the case. Our guess is Republican voters in District 17 will be most concerned with how either man will represent their interests at the Capitol.
A California bankruptcy case involving an American Indian enterprise could have repercussions in Oklahoma.
The Santa Ysabel Resort and Casino near San Diego is seeking to enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. American Indian tribes are considered sovereign nations and not included among entities that can file Chapter 11 under existing law, but they are not specifically excluded, either.
Case law is virtually nonexistent. A tribal enterprise in Minnesota filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2008, but that business wasn’t located on tribal land. The mere possibility that tribal-owned businesses could file for bankruptcy has caused banks to restructure $1.7 billion in debt owed by tribes, according to a recent Fitch Ratings report.
In addition to non-gambling tribal businesses, there are well over 100 casinos in Oklahoma that are tribal-owned entities on Indian land, so the outcome of the California case could have ripple effects across the Sooner State.
Four years ago, Barack Obama had no problem with big money being spent in presidential campaigning. Of course, he was the one doing it. Now that President Obama’s campaign isn’t raking in the cash like it did in 2008, he’s uncomfortable with what’s being spent by challenger Mitt Romney and Republican backers.
In July, for the third straight month, Romney’s campaign raised more money than the Obama campaign. At a campaign stop this week, Obama lamented that between now and Election Day, “the other side is going to spend more money than we have ever seen” making its case against him.
More money than we have ever seen. This from the man whose campaign raised close to $780 million in 2008 — a record total, and twice the amount raised by Republican John McCain — and spent about $760 million.
Running for president requires serious money. That’s not about to change. If Obama’s record in office wasn’t so disappointing, he wouldn’t have to worry so much about what Romney says or how much the challenger spends to say it.