Editorial Roundup: Recent editorials in Oklahoma newspapers
Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Oklahoma newspapers:
Muskogee Phoenix. Nov. 25, 2018.
— Fall sports good for all
We offer our congratulations to all area high school football teams.
Eufaula and Vian bowed out of the state playoffs on Friday night closing the books on another fall campaign for area sports.
We congratulate all players for putting in the effort to achieve on the field.
The Muskogee Roughers continued their run of success with another playoff year.
Hilldale reached the playoffs under a new coach.
Fall sports calendars tend to be dominated by football because football attracts the most fans.
We want to recognize the efforts of all players and all coaches in every high school fall sport from cross country to volleyball.
Sports — like all extracurricular activities — have an important role in our students’ high school education.
Sports teaches teamwork — the need to rely on others and the dedication to perform for others.
Sports teaches individual hard work can turn into achievement.
Both are true in all extracurricular activities. The teams that perform at games or support athletes deserve our gratitude as well.
Parents, students, brothers and sisters who cheer the athletes or cheerleaders or band members play a vital role, too. Having pride for your high school gives you a lifelong association with a school.
Coaches deserve an ovation, too.
A good coach or teacher will make a lasting impact on students.
All who participated in or made possible extracurricular activities this fall deserve to take a bow.
These activities play a major role in our students’ lives. They make lifelong memories.
For that, we are thankful.
Tulsa World. Nov. 26, 2018.
— Secrecy, special treatment no way to launch an industry
It didn’t take long for the burgeoning medical marijuana industry to seek secrecy and special treatment regarding policies around the Oklahoma open records laws.
Citing privacy concerns, marijuana growers asked the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority to remove online physical addresses of marijuana growers, and House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols indicates he is considering legal exemptions to the law.
In Oklahoma, licenses for drug dispensaries, growers and processors were placed on the OMMA website Oct. 31 in response to numerous requests using the Open Records Act.
Led by advocacy group Oklahomans for Health, complaints citing security were lodged with the Oklahoma State Department of Health. As a compromise, OMMA took addresses offline but keeps them available through a public information request with the agency.
Echols, co-chairman of the medical marijuana legislative working group, is seeking input from government transparency advocates.
We’ll take him up on the invitation.
The law should not be changed. The marijuana industry should be treated as any other pharmaceutical and health care industry. That includes abiding by the existing practices, policies and laws around open records.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control database has never had a complaint in the many years it has published the addresses of drug manufacturers. And, as Echols pointed out, Colorado maintains a public list updated monthly.
We understand marijuana to be a target for theft. But so are opioids, jewelry, electronics, cars, firearms, banks and a lot of other things.
Many businesses are attractive to criminals.
Lawmakers are asked every year to carve more and more exceptions to Oklahoma’s Open Records and Open Meeting acts under the guise of some industry concern. Real transparency is more important than hypothetical security concerns.
Elected officials need to ignore those. The marijuana industry is no more at risk than any other business.
There is no need to further water down the open records law because of unfounded fears.
The Oklahoman. Nov. 27, 2018.
— Recent announcement underscores Tinker’s solid footing
An announcement that Tinker Air Force Base will maintain the B-21 Raider once the bomber comes on line is good news for the base and another validation of central Oklahoma’s longtime support of the base.
Tinker celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, a true milestone considering there was no guarantee it would get to 50 or 60. During the early 1990s, Tinker faced the threat of closure, or at least significant downsizing, as result of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission process, which weighed the viability of all U.S. bases.
The state’s congressional delegation lobbied hard for Tinker, and so did the community. A nonprofit group led by a former Tinker commander even asked metro-area cities to assist financially in the preservation effort, based on how many of their residents worked at Tinker. In Midwest City, council members set up a fund that allowed residents to “overpay their water bill and designate the extra mount be given to the task force,” a September 1994 story in The Daily Oklahoman noted.
Those efforts succeeded, allowing Tinker to prosper. Today, roughly 31,000 workers and their families are tied to Tinker, which has a $1.6 billion payroll. Lt. Gen. Lee Levy, former commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker, would frequently note that the center is a $16 billion-a-year operation that would rank No. 116 if it were a Fortune 500 company.
Just two years ago, officials broke ground on a 158-acre KC-46 Sustainment Campus, on the site of what was once the BNSF Railway yard. That purchase, the result of an effort involving the Air Force, the city of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County, will generate about 1,300 good-paying jobs maintaining the KC-46A Pegasus once that tanker begins flying.
Tinker is an important site with a strong record, something Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson noted earlier this month in naming the base to maintain the B-21 Raider.
“We made that decision because Tinker Air Force Base has the people and the experience and has shown its ability to provide sustainment to some of our most important aircraft,” Wilson said.
The B-21, a long-range stealth bomber, is expected to be delivered midway through the next decade, and is meant to replace the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers. Wilson says she expects this project to translate into roughly the same number of jobs as the KC-46A mission.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, perhaps the Senate’s most hawkish member and a staunch defender of all of Oklahoma’s military installation, says adding the B-21 to Tinker’s maintenance roster “puts Oklahoma at the forefront of the next generation of military aircraft and solidifies Tinker’s rightful place as the nation’s premier air logistics facility.”
Where the military is concerned, nothing is guaranteed. But Tinker is on solid footing, and news like that delivered by Wilson only underscores that.