As always, the Charlie’s Picks which come out prior to many of the
elections are simply my opinions on the races, based on my research or
knowledge of the candidates or issues. They are simply for those
seeking information. I know some may have an opinion which differs and
that is fine. In the following, I will make known the 3 candidates I
believe should be elected to office, give a lengthy explanation for my
reasoning and then name the two candidates out of 6 that I believe
should not be elected in ward 2. By all means, please forward this and
anyone wishing to receive my weekly e-mail, just send an e-mail to
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Ward # 5 – BRIAN WALTERS This OKC Ward is basically West of Santa
Fe, South of S.W. 59th, East of Meridian and North of S.W. 164th.
Ward # 6 – ADRIAN VAN MANEN This OKC Ward is basically West of
Santa Fe, South of N.W. 23rd, East of Portland and North of S.W.
Ward # 8 – CLIFF HEARRON This OKC Ward is basically West of Santa
Fe, North of Wilshire and goes to the West and North boundaries of the
OKC limits. The parts running West of Santa Fe and South of 122nd over
to Portland, then South 1 mile to Hefner Rd, then West to Sara Rd,
then South to Wilshire are cut out of the above boundary description.
I intend to speak frankly so you may know what the real issue IS in
these races. There are a group of very powerful people and entities in
OKC that I have referred to in the past as the “establishment”,
“central planners”, “good old boys”, “elitists”, or those who believe
in a mixture of free enterprise, socialism and fascism. Just for the
fun of it, in my opinion, we could also call them the OKC Mafia.
They basically see the Mayor and Council as their elected puppets that
they can control or influence to make the decisions they want for the
purpose of shaping the city the way they want it shaped. Oh yes, also
to make sure they have great advantages and opportunities for
themselves and their friends to make a great deal of wealth off the
backs of the taxpayers and other business transactions.
Let me be crystal clear, not all of their plans are bad. In fact, many
of the projects they have done have also been a benefit for OKC and
its citizens. My general beef with the OKC Mafia is the people they
run over in their various quests. I also want to see them achieve
their successes through competitive free markets with their own money
and not on the backs of the taxpayers or through fascist central
Brian Walters, Adrian Van Manen and Cliff Hearron are all 3 a threat
to the members of the OKC Mafia, because they fear they can’t control
them. Walters is an incumbent and has proven over the past 4 years
that he will not bow down to them. They are terrified that their
puppets, or to be charitable, their fellow travelers, Meg Salyer and
Patrick Ryan might be replaced by independent thinking men like Van
Manen and Cliff Hearron.
To explain myself, there are many examples of entities getting the
favored location, direct subsidies, kick backs or sweet heart deals
from the city. I won’t go into detail again about the Bass Pro Store
other than to say this. When the sweetheart deal was made for Bass
Pro, an entity of the family who are the principle owners of the
Oklahoman, had an admitted 19% ownership stake in the Bass Pro Shops
corporation. The city owns the store and made such a sweetheart lease
deal that the rent will not be sufficient to pay back the loans the
city made to finance the store. As such, to make the deal work, all
the sales taxes collected by the store and a great deal of the
ancillary sales taxes collected from other brick town businesses will
be needed to pay the loans back over 20 years. As such, those sales
tax dollars can’t be used for the vital functions of city government
such as streets, water, sewer, parks, police, fire protection and
Talk about kick-backs, though deemed legal, the owners of the new
outlet mall being constructed at I-40 and Council Rd. will receive a
kick-back of up to half a million in sales tax dollars each year for
the next 10 years. Again, sales tax dollars which won’t be used for
the city’s vital functions. However, the real deal I want to focus on
is the super sweet-heart deal the Mayor and Council AGREED to before
submitting it to a vote of the people. That is the deal for the
Seattle Sonics which was owned by 5 of the more wealthy men in OKC. Of
course the team is now re-named the OKC Thunder and is very popular
with OKC residents.
Let me say, Clay Bennett, one of the owners of the team is married
into the family which are the principle owners of the Oklahoman. I
believe he served as the point man for the owners and as such, he
probably had an enormous influence on how they wanted the deal with
the city to be crafted.
Here are the basic components of the deal. The taxpayers were to spend
another $100 million in sales tax dollars to up-grade the then 8 year
old sports arena known as the Ford Center. In addition, the taxpayers
were to build a $20 million practice center, which the city will own
and lease to the team. The practice facility is nearing completion and
it looks like it will probably cost around $17 million rather than the
$20 million. However, the lease that Clay and his partners will pay
will only be $100,000 per year. At that paltry sum, it will take the
City 170 years without earning interest to re-coup their investment.
Can you say, super duper sweetheart deal! The arena is city owned and
functions as an entertainment, conference and sporting events VENUE
business. The team also was given the rights to the revenue for naming
the sports arena when the contract with Ford ended.
I don’t know the particulars of the cost to the Thunder team for the
use of the Arena, but I suspect it is quite a deal for them. Very
unusual to me, is that the team’s corporate headquarters is to be
inside this city owned arena which will probably be used 50 days out
of the year for games and the rest of the time for other events. While
waiting for those corporate facilities to be built, the team found
Class A office space in downtown OKC, paid for by the taxpayers and
not the team. In addition, the team was also given the rights to the
revenue for re-naming the sports arena when the contract with Ford
ended about a year ago.
Approximately 6 years ago, most likely at the request of the OKC
Mafia, the state legislature exempted sales taxes from being applied
to ticket sales for professional sporting events. Not because you or I
would not buy a $25 ticket if it had sales taxes attached to it, but
because some of the corporations run by the central planners in OKC
who bought huge blocks of tickets to pass out to employees and others
to make sure the New Orleans Hornets games were well attended during
the 2 years they played in OKC.
These corporations didn’t want to pay sales taxes on hundreds of
thousands of dollars in tickets, but they were willing to purchase
tickets as it was important to show the NBA there was sufficient fan
support in OKC for a permanent NBA team. The fan support is here, but
that means that the people who attend and enjoy the games, don’t pay
sales taxes on the tickets. Thus, people who never or rarely go to a
game are paying for the for the team’s support anytime they shop in
OKC but the fans who attend the games aren‘t contributing, at least
not in ticket sales.
The final part of the sweetheart deal came from state government.
Three years ago, Senate President Pro-Tem Glen Coffee and House
Speaker Chris Benge authored legislation to add professional sports to
Oklahoma’s Quality Jobs program. The special deal for the team is that
for the next 15 years, 5.5% of the salaries of the players, coaches
and corporate staff will be kicked-back to the owners of the team from
the state‘s general fund. Right now, that is probably around four to
four and a half million dollars each year, kicked back to Clay Bennett
and his ownership partners.
Hear is what I believe it means to Clay Bennett, remember a member of
the family who are the primary owners of the Oklahoman. Once you see
this, if you can put the dots together, you may now understand why
Cliff Hearron and Adrian Van Manen are a threat to the status quo, and
the power of what I am lovingly referring to as the OKC Mafia.
In the February 8th issue of the Edmond Life and Leisure there is a
column by J. Leland Gourley, editor of the Oklahoma City Friday
publication and a contributing columnist to the EL&L. Gourley is
practically slobbering all over himself in his column titled: Thunder
good for business. He reports on Fortune magazine’s research on the
business side of big league basketball. He says, “The highly competent
small investment group, put together by persistent business-savvy Clay
Bennett, have put the brightest star yet in the crown of Oklahoma City
as a good place to operate a business successfully.” Mr. Gourley, tell
me what business couldn’t be successful with the sweetheart deal this
bunch obtained. Aided by favorable press from the Oklahoman, an entity
in which Bennett has a marriage connection with its principle owners.
Gourley went on to say: “Fortune Magazine’s latest issue listing the
value of each NBA team reported Clay et al paid $45 million to Seattle
to move the team to OKC in 2008. The magazine further reports that the
Thunder made $22.6 million profit last year and that its current value
is $239 million.”
Please understand, I am not against the Thunder or their success.
Their presence is very good for the direct benefit of the city of OKC.
While I believe there is some indirect benefit to the state of
Oklahoma, I don’t see any direct benefit to the state. My objection is
that probably 6 or 7 million of that profit is a result of the state
government’s kick-back and other sweetheart deals from city taxpayers.
Goobers like Mr. Gourley will gush and swoon over these successes, in
my opinion, because he doesn’t believe in free markets and or because
his value system is one that may best be described as that of the end
justifying the means to an end.
In the past I have stated that the main function of a newspaper is to
honor what is good and expose corruption or good ole boy deals. When a
newspaper’s ownership or its management move away from its core
function and becomes entangled in businesses that they should actually
be keeping an eye on, I believe they run the risk of becoming
compromised by conflicts of interest.
I believe the Oklahoman is horribly compromised and therefore their
news page or editorial board can not be relied upon to honestly
execute their core purpose or keep from slanting stories to benefit
their other business interests.
I want to thank the Oklahoman for putting my picture on the front page
of Sunday’s news section (Feb 27th). They had run a much smaller
version of the picture last December when several of us boarded a
church bus and went to Bartlesville for a demonstration in front of
the location of the Republican House meeting.
I am in the picture with Tom Vineyard, pastor of Windsor Hills Baptist
Church. Let me state clearly, I believe Tom is one of the most Godly I
know. A man of high moral character and courage. I am honored to be in
the picture with him. The article, by staff writers Michael Baker and
John Estus, was one of the worst examples of yellow journalism I have
ever seen published by the Oklahoman. For an excellent and fair
perspective on the treatment of Tom and the members of his church,
read the column in the Friday, February 25th edition of THE CITY
SENTINEL www.city-sentinel.com by Patrick McGuigan. Pat is the former
editor of the editorial page of the Oklahoman and his column is a
stinging indictment of the unfair treatment toward Cliff, Adrian, Tom
and the church.
The Oklahoman’s supposedly news article was a horrible attack on
Windsor Hill Baptist Church, its pastor, members, and OKC Council
candidates Adrian Van Manen and Cliff Hearron. I have known these men
for a couple of years now and believe they are of the highest moral
character and integrity. While the Oklahoman printed a couple of
statements about the quality of the church and its activities, the
overwhelming body of the article was intended to raise a cloud of
suspicion in the minds of the readers as to whether or not this church
is a gun crazed cult associated with and promoting the recently
demonized word, “militias”. It was designed to plant a seed of doubt
about these two candidates, two days before the election. Though I was
in the picture, I wasn’t mentioned in the article as it was clearly
directed toward Pastor Tom, the church and especially the two
Bottom line, in my opinion these council races are about the OKC Mafia
keeping their chosen ones in a strong majority. The OKC Mafia and
their friends are spending tens of thousands to keep their minions in
office. The Oklahoman must be going through tank cars of ink and truck
loads of paper to help out. On the other hand, the people of OKC have
a chance to elect independent thinking candidates who will make wise
decisions to prioritize the spending of taxpayer monies and create an
environment for any person to be able to fairly compete in OKC to be
successful in business.
These men are not “naysayer‘s”, they are not running as “partisans”
they will do right by police and firemen, but not be controlled by the
every whim of their unions. They will not stop the progress of OKC and
they will not turn this city upside down. What they will do is provide
good leadership for the citizens of the city, but not be the puppets
for the OKC Mafia. This is your choice, I have tried to explain what
is really at stake in these races! I hope you will vote for Brian
Walters, Cliff Hearron or Adrian Van Manen if you live in their
Ward # 2, I would suggest voting for ANYONE except CHARLIE SWINTON or
DR. ED SHADID. I am going to be a partisan right now, because a
person’s world view effects how that person will govern. Swinton is
being supported by liberal Democrats as well as being the pick of OKC
Mafia. The combination of those 2 groups will probably be sufficient
to get him elected. The fire fighters union is supporting Shadid,
probably because they think he is the only one of the 6 candidates in
the race with a chance to defeat Swinton. However, Shadid is a radical
environmentalist and very liberal, so I could never endorse him. I
don’t know the others so it will be your choice. Ward 2 is West of
Santa Fe, South of 122nd, East of Meridian and North of S.W. 44th
Again, these are just my opinions and some people will disagree. If
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