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Letters to the Editor for Oct. 9, 2019

Lawmakers need principles

It appears, once again, that the Oklahoma Trump puppets turn a blind eye to what President Trump says and does.

He admitted asking the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden’s son for business wrongdoing. What purpose did he have for that other than trying to find some dirt to use against Biden?

That’s the only plausible reason, and our elected leaders (Trump puppets) don’t think there’s a problem.

Trump is right. If he shot someone on the street he would get away with because his puppets would defend him.

Our elected representatives are like the three monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.

Their loyalty is not to our country or Constitution but to a man whose nature is to lie and lie and lie.

I pray that Sen. James Lankford will be a man of principle and stand up to what he knows is wrong and call out Trump and his Republican Party for all their wrongs.

God will definitely hold him responsible if he fails to do so. Remember, pride comes before a great fall.

Bruce Emerson, Tulsa

Get involved

When will the American people stand up and take a voice in government? The time is coming when the real issues of populism will fail during the election year.

When Americans realize the lies that the economy is great and they claim that they are not getting an even share.

President Trump’s words from his inaugural speech don’t ring true. He promised “to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.”

Economic growth is not economic development. Economic development benefits are for all Americans, not to those that gain from the stock market.

What conditions have improved for the common man? Have the farmers seen improvement? Has the rust belt been improved?

Have there been job gains in manufacturing, construction, coal mining or the steel industries? What has changed for education?

What improvements have been made for the future of our planet and our young? Has the swamp been drained? What has been done by the leadership of the nation by the president, Congress and courts?

Why is it partisanship rather than cooperation? Change is best from the bottom up and done in the streets and town halls.

There needs to be discussion, debate and face-to-face talking; not by tweets, arguments, edicts and mendacity.

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right … to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the character and conduct of their rulers,” President John Adams.

John Edelmann, Tulsa

Hypocrisy of Trump reaction

The two biggest scandals of the Trump presidency have been his illegal efforts to keep other rich white people from becoming president.

Not his cruel immigration policies. Not his abandonment of refugees. Not his flagrant overspending of government funds.

Not his tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Not his use of the presidency to enrich himself personally. Not his friendly relations with murderous dictators.

Not his lack of sexual integrity. Not his repeal of college campus sexual assault regulations. Not his discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

No, what’s really bad is that he might have done illegal opposition research on a political opponent. Don’t get me wrong, that’s an impeachable offense.

But let it be known that we as a nation reacted: not when he harmed immigrants, not when he harmed refugees, not when he harmed the poor, not when he harmed those in other countries, not when he harmed women and not when he harmed those in the LGBTQ community.

The reaction came only when he threatened the American empire, its political system and the wealthy, powerful people within it.

It’s #AmericaFirst, after all.

Josh Olds, Tulsa


Columnists
James Floyd: Despite election problems, Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s governmental institutions are resilient

Last week, all three branches of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation government successfully traversed an election protection question, which provided swift and unambiguous direction for its citizens.

On Oct. 2, the nation’s Supreme Court nullified the Sept. 21 primary election following efforts to conduct a recount of absentee ballots. During the court’s oversight, justices found that there was no master record evidencing a chain of custody for absentee ballots and therefore there was no way to lawfully conduct a recount or certify the results of the election. The next day, the nation’s Election Board agreed to hold a new primary election on Nov. 2 in accordance with the court’s order.

A ruling of this magnitude is not without controversy or consequences. Many citizens have reached out to me to voice both approval and dissatisfaction. I understand these concerns, but speaking on behalf of the nation, I have a different perspective. I see the decisions by our Supreme Court and the Election Board as an example of our government working for our citizens.

Just as other democratic governments develop policy, procedure and law to protect citizens’ rights, so too does the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Our Constitution, as well as applicable tribal election laws, are carefully crafted to establish a process which protects and insulates the nation’s citizens from election irregularities, interference and voter fraud. The Supreme Court order, and resulting Election Board action, provide clarity and affirmation to citizens that the nation’s elections are carried out in accordance with the nation’s laws and Constitution.

Above all, the recent actions demonstrate the resilience of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s governmental institutions during the most crucial process for a representative body. In implementing this Constitutionally grounded process, each of the three separate branches of government have distinct, Constitutionally defined, duties and obligations to fulfill. The executive branch holds fast its duty and obligation to uphold and abide by the Supreme Court’s decision. We will take all appropriate measures to ensure the integrity of the forthcoming primary election.

Like other governments, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation passes legislation and creates policy to provide social services, to promote economic development and to maintain public safety. We partner with and learn from our tribal, local and state governmental peers to leverage the best legislative and policy ideas for our citizens and neighbors. These networks allow the nation to serve broader community interests and to coordinate capital and human resources for the most effective results. It is through partnership and learned experience that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation has grown since our modern government’s Constitution was adopted in 1979. There is no doubt we will learn from this experience and continue to modernize our election code and procedures just as our peers identify new opportunities to protect the right to vote.

The upcoming primary is the result of sound governance and tribal sovereignty. Furthermore, the Nov. 2 primary is an opportunity for the nation’s government to demonstrate accountability to its citizens.

I support the work of the three Muscogee (Creek) Nation branches as each continues to carry out its constitutional responsibilities through lawful and transparent actions. As principal chief of the fourth largest tribal government in the United States, I remain dedicated to citizens of the nation and to safeguarding the continued strength of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation government.

James Floyd is principal chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.


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Editorials
Tulsa World editorial: Troubled OU dormitory deal shows the problems of moral obligation borrowing

The University of Oklahoma’s decision not to go forward with rental agreements on a privately built high-end dormitory in the middle of its campus raises troubling questions.

Is the decision legal? Is the school’s bond rating at risk? What about the state’s credit?

OU says it’s all perfectly legal and no one needs to worry about credit ratings. The people left with a nearly empty dorm and few hopes of paying for it see things differently.

An enormous amount of money is involved, and the whole mess seems headed to court for a long time.

Only time and litigation will determine the answer to those questions, but it’s not too soon to make two conclusions:

1. The dorm was a bad deal.

Under the direction of former President David Boren, OU agreed to a $250 million bond plan to be issued by the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority. The 1,200-bed Cross Village, would feature top-shelf units and high rent. OU also got $20 million up front.

In exchange, the school planned to pay rent to the Louisiana-based builder/owner for 40 years. Currently, the rent is $6.5 million, but the amount was due to escalate to $15.7 million by 2029. If rent-paying students filled the dorm, there’d be no problem. They didn’t.

The dorm opened in 2018, but the students didn’t show up. Boren’s successor, former President James Gallogly, warned the project was upside down. He resigned in May, and in July, the school decided not to renew its leases, putting the bonds (currently rated CC negative by S&P) in peril of default.

It was a bad deal, and OU shouldn’t have gotten into it.

2. Bonds that aren’t pledged by real money are inherently risky.

If this project doesn’t get the state’s credit in trouble, the practice of moral obligation borrowing — guaranteeing debt with nothing more than one year’s payments a promise for the future — is still bad government.

The state Constitution requires general obligation bonds be approved by a vote of the people, but the state Supreme Court signed off on no-vote moral obligation borrowing years ago. That opened the doors to a lot of projects and a lot of debt backed by promises.

That practice deserves reconsideration. Every time the state borrows money — whether it’s done by the Legislature, a university or some obscure trust — the people’s credit is on the line. That’s why the Constitution says what it does. We’d be a lot smarter state if we started paying attention to it.


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