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None November 27th, 2012

When Gov. Fallin announced that Oklahoma will not participate in the expansion of Medicaid under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, she revealed political cowardice and recklessness of judgment. She may as well have proclaimed of our state’s low-income citizens, “Let them eat cake.”

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to pbacharach@ okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

A shameful turn

When Gov. Fallin announced that Oklahoma will not participate in the expansion of Medicaid under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, she revealed political cowardice and recklessness of judgment. She may as well have proclaimed of our state’s low-income citizens, “Let them eat cake.”

I would love to see the estimated 150,000 uninsured Oklahomans who could have access to health insurance through Medicaid expansion arrive on the steps of the state Capitol for Fallin to meet firsthand. Let her try to explain how it is reasonable and humane for them to remain uninsured in order for her to score political points in the neverending fixation on undermining the Obama administration.

There are moments of shame that linger in history. Images, for example, of white crowds booing at African- American children as they were escorted into school after federal authorities enforced racial integration. Fallin’s public announcement of opting out of Medicaid expansion is a similar moment of shame. Refusing to broaden access to health insurance for Oklahoma’s poor is comparable to historic displays of local and state resistance to earlier benchmarks of progress during the civil rights movement.

I urge Fallin and other state officials to rethink the decision to deprive thousands of Oklahomans of health insurance. It is a historic opportunity. It can be a leap forward through facilitating Medicaid expansion. Or it can be another historically shameful display of state leadership being puny, immoral, and indifferent to the people they are supposed to serve.

—Kevin Acers Oklahoma City

Douglass needs help

I pause to write and acknowledge the mountain of disturbing news that is emanating from my beloved school, dear ole Douglass. In recent weeks, we have witnessed federal and local investigations of grade-tampering and attendance manipulations. We have heard an outcry from former students, teachers and administrators. We have seen the suspension and resignation of a principal who had been at the helm of Frederick A. Douglass Mid-High School for the past four years.

The National Oklahoma City

Douglass High School Alumni Association has existed in its present form, to support the growth and development our school and its students, for 26 years. We have existed through a litany of school administrators. The history of Douglass High School now stretches over 122 years. It has produced giants of leaders, educators, doctors, jurists, and businesspeople.

However, what is now brought into focus, if allegations are proven correct, is a travesty of the highest proportions. The institution of public education has had its ups and downs over the years. The commitment that Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City school board have made to students and schools through MAPS for Kids is monumental, historic and far-reaching. We are now called to ask if there were false hopes and promises. We trust not.

Administrative oversight at Douglass and other schools, I suspect, has been lacking. In recent years at Douglass, we have seen legions of teachers leave, retire or — in some instances, according to reports — get forced out.

Notwithstanding the multitude of information that continues to be eked out, we as an organization of concern stand ready to fight back. If allegations of malfeasance and grade-tampering are found to be true, we have egregious wrongs that have been heaped upon both current and past students. The diploma that has been issued is found to be without guarantee. That has lifetime consequences for the students who come to school and expect to be properly educated.

Our eyes are focused on the Oklahoma City school board, the administration of its superintendent and, more particularly, on the changes that must be implemented at Douglass.

A compass has been broken and our way back must be found.

—James R. Johnson Oklahoma City

Johnson is president of the National Oklahoma City Douglass High School Alumni Association.

latino shock waves

“Viva la comunidad!” (News, Peter Wright, Nov. 7, Oklahoma Gazette) claims that “five years after a controversial state law sought to reduce illegal immigration, the impact on OKC’s Latino community appears minimal.” But as the elections just proved, nothing could be further from the truth.

Laws like House Bill 1804 and others of its ilk galvanized Hispanics here and across the nation against the Republican Party and its proxies, possibly for many years to come. What the reporter should have said is that HB 1804 sent shock waves through Oklahoma’s Latino communities, but failed to achieve the result that its supporters intended (massive selfdeportation).

—Ari Nuncio Oklahoma City

Over the cliff

Hi-ho! Hi-ho! It’s o’er the cliff we go.

There has been much speculation that an 11th-hour agreement is likely, given what going over the cliff would mean for jobs, the economy, investments, and credit ratings. What one needs to remember is that in Washington everything is politics. And going over the cliff is very good politics. Here’s why:

On Jan. 1, the Bush tax cuts expire and taxes go up for everyone. Subsequently a bipartisan bill is introduced which cuts taxes for the middleclass retroactive to Jan. 1. Similar bills are introduced funding critical parts of the defense budget. All pass with bipartisan support. The result? Democrats get their increased tax rates for the wealthy. Republicans are free to campaign on a platform of not voting for a tax increase, and actually voting for a tax cut for the middle-class. The “can” with all the really critical issues is again kicked down the road. In Washington-speak: a win-win.

—Harry Mitchell Edmond

Outraged by the man in blue

I am writing this in reference of the toddler’s mother getting a ticket for $2,500 for public urination by her 3-year-old child in her front yard. For the record, I am from a small town in New England, where peeing outside anywhere in the state is like seeing someone smoking a cigarette outside. I may dislike cigarettes but — oh, well — people do it. This is the worst-case scenario of the law about this subject I have ever heard of. Just plain stupid charge.

What kind of officer would write that ticket? The toddler was in pull-ups and being potty-trained. Unbelievable! Unreal injustice of an officer abusing his right to wear an uniform. This officer will cause more problems of authority abuse in the future.

Only thing I can think of is he is punishing the mother for not watching the child by being outside with her child. If that is the case, then I can understand the officer’s concern. But, even then, the charge is unjustified. There are other ways to punish the mother if she was not watching the child. If the community doesn’t come to stand up for this mother, I would be appalled.

If I were the chief of that police department, I would reprimand the officer for not doing his job: getting real criminals. I hope there’s punishment for this cop who should be earning his pay by protecting and serving.

—Gary Jones Westminster, Vt.

The Piedmont police officer who wrote the ticket was fired Nov. 16. —Editor

Correction

A story in the Nov. 21 issue incorrectly reported that Philip Custino was a partner of Custino’s Italian Kitchen. He was actually a consultant, while his son Angelo was a partner in the restaurant. Oklahoma Gazette regrets the error.

 
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