Good News! It’s the cops! – Tulsa is rehiring some of the 145 police officers laid off earlier this fiscal year. The FOP on Friday voted overwhelmingly to accept the new contract proposal that caps compensatory time accrual and eliminates automatic overtime for court appearances.
33 officers will be rehired, along with another 59 brought back due to a recent wave of retirements. The new contract also omits ‘satisfactory performance’ pay raises are omitted, but officers are allowed to use police cars for off-duty security gigs.
With Tulsa standing at 17 homicides, 78 rapes, 549 robberies and approaching 1000 auto thefts so far this year so you might think this would be received as good news by everyone in Tulsa (except criminals), but apparently some of our patriotic citizens disagree.
A perusal of comments in the Tulsa World over the last week reveal several staunch ‘conservatives’ arguing against rehiring those danged unionized police officers. Tulsa is still 153 officers short of last fiscal year’s total of 823 officers. Mayhaps the grumpy commenters prefer to support the non-union criminals? Sheesh! Opinions are like, uh, elbows, I guess.
An ‘Open Meetings’ fracas and the Simonson investigation – The City Council may have stubbed its collective toe on Thursday, perhaps running afoul of the state’s Open Meetings Act, when it tried to receive the results of an investigation into Bartlett’s top aide, Terry Simonsen, in a closed Executive Session.
Simonsen, chief of staff for Mayor Bartlett, gave dubious information to the Council and federal officials regarding a Department of Justice grant to rehire 35 police officers. At issue were interpretations of the terms “retain” (as in ‘keep from being laid off’) versus “rehire”, an email between Stuart McCalman, the former director of governmental affairs for Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, and Councilor Bill Christiansen in February asking that Christiansen keep the matter “between you and I” that the city “didn’t have to wait for officers to be laid off”, and could use the funds to keep the officers instead of just rehiring them after lay-offs. The Council quite appropriately deemed this worthy of an investigation.
The Council and its attorney, Drew Rees, didn’t consider the executive session started, after voting to move that they should commence an executive session and to exclude the Mayor from that session, since his man Simonsen was the target of that investigation. The state law considers an executive session to commence with the passage of a vote to start that session, and prohibits any board from voting in closed meetings.
Mayor Bartlett got pretty excited about being asked to ‘step outside’, returning to the Council chamber with a copy of the City Charter to argue the point that the Mayor could not be excluded from Council meetings for any reason whatsoever.
Council Chair Rick Westcott said “We acted in good faith when we voted. If the action was not lawful, this council and I will never go that route, no matter how good our intentions are.” Whether Mayor Bartlett will file a criminal complaint remains to be seen.
Violating the Open Meeting Act is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $500 fine. A complaint would have to be filed with a law enforcement agency and the findings sent to the District Attorney’s Office.
Let’s hope things can get patched up, the investigation proceed to its conclusion, any whitewash applied as required, and everyone learns about etiquette, state laws, what not to put in e-mails and how not to make bad situations worse without even trying.
Local Food Week: Buy Fresh, Buy Local! – Sunday wraps up Local Food Week, which managed to sneak up on me, but I’ve been coincidentally looking at joining a food co-op as am easy way to get more fresh, local meats and produce on our table.
Co-ops work like this: they gather the local (usually organic) produce and you just drop in once a week to pick up your bags of goodies. You get a variety of in-season fruits and veggies and locally raised meats without having to get up early on weekends to hit the farmers markets (I love them, but I love sleeping in on weekends). For the co-op’s service you’ll generally pay a yearly subscription fee, plus a per bag charge for each produce or meat bag you select on a weekly basis.
Of the several co-ops in operation in Tulsa, I’ve been looking at two that are conveniently located and roughly comparable: Natural Farms and Anner’s Wellness Works. Both provide weekly meat/produce bags for $30-something a pop, subscriptions are $40 or less per year, recipe suggestions for their weekly produce and their recent weekly assortments sound tres yummy.
I am a confirmed gourmand, chock full of bad habits, but I can at least eat a little better, a little fresher and more local. It’s a rare win-win for everyone. Green Country locavores can check out the 2010 Local Food Guide for Green Country to find fresh locally-grown food in their community.
More Tea-and-Pity Party Waahmbulances En Route! – A recent Examiner article “Anti-Tea Party hate comes from dark places” deserves some note, if only to illustrate the persecution complex central to the internal narrative of the teabagging crowd. As a fellow Examiner I can honestly say my feelings toward the Tea Party ‘movement’ fall short of hate, way short of legitimization. I offer a few helpful suggestions, as a fellow patriot.
A conspiracy by the Liberal News Media (one of my favorite conservative canards) is alleged to “portray the tea parties as a swap meet full of toothless, trigger-happy hicks that doubt the President’s citizenship”, but this is the impression many get from certain vocal and highly visible members of the teabag congregations. Maybe if the Tea Party folks could form some coherent platform of things they were for rather than a nebulous list of things they are against they could build a more flattering media image.
A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted March 26-28 show Tea Partiers to be overwhealmingly aligned with the GOP versus the Democrats (49% to 8%), and conservative over liberal (70% to 7%), mostly white (79%), lacking college degrees (68%) and predominantly tending toward middle age. The majority of those not already retired are employed and aging, without degrees and worried about change. In short, there’s a reason they are Fox News’ target audience and so receive much favorable coverage by (and stage management and direction from) the highest-rated opiniotainment outlet in the country.
A failure to grasp the ready answers to questions like “Why do feminists hate Sarah Palin?” (take your pick: she’s opportunistic, disingenuous, theocratic and always wrong about everything even when she tries to re-write the history of her own positions), Tea Party darlings like Ron Paul dissing the Civil Rights Act or Sharon Angle turning nasty when questioned about her comments on “Second Amendment remedies” only reinforces the perception of a lack of objective thinking on the part of Tea Partisans.
How can a group of patriots snooze through 8 years of deficit-doubling war-spending and tax-breaks for the rich only to finally wake up and start making a racket once a Democratic administration comes along? Do they still expect to be taken seriously as a non-partisan patriotic group? Puh-lease!
Fly your true flag and get some honest cred, why don’t you?
It is the lies and deception of the corporate GOP sell-outs that are orchestrating and co-opting the Tea Parties that are worthy of contempt, as I’ve said time and time again. If the Tea Party doesn’t fight for its honor, they’ll continue to be used as badly as they have been thus far by Big Business and their cronies in the GOP that pimp the Tea Patriots out.