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Issues in and relating to the Tulsa area.

 

Reasor’s Listens To Reason

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Many of you may have heard or read that Reasor’s Stores were preparing signage to prohibit legally carried firearms on their premises. The Tulsa World talked to their COO Steve Lehto about it in an article last week. Needless to say lots of people wrote letters and made phone calls to Reasor’s about this. I know I wrote a lengthy letter to them trying to get them to see the light and not give in to panic. A copy of my letter is below. Another shooting instructor, Stephen Cue, also wrote them. Stephen is an NRA Training Counselor and SDA Instructor among other things.

The bottom line is that Reasor’s listened. I got a telephone call this morning from Steve Lehto at Reasor’s telling me that they had reconsidered their position after receiving so many calls and letters and would not prohibit legal firearms carry on their premises. He said they especially appreciated the education that some of us gave them on what is required to obtain a Self Defense Act permit in Oklahoma. Stephen Cue got a call also, and I assume several others throughout the state did.

It’s nice to see that reason and knowledge can overcome irrational fear and knee-jerk reactions, at least once in a while. I’m sure it also helps that the grocery business is very competitive and making Reasor’s a “no one will shoot back zone” might well cost them more customers than the few that would be scared by the thought of someone in the store carrying a real gun.

Thanks and congratulations to the shooting community in Oklahoma.

_________________________________

19 Oct. 2012

Reasor’s Home Office
200 West Choctaw
Tahlequah, OK 74464

 

Good day,

I read in today’s Tulsa World that Reasor’s is preparing signage to indicate that firearms will not be allowed “on site.”

The Reasor’s supermarket chain is readying new signage for its area stores that make it clear that weapons won’t be allowed on site, said Steve Lehto, the company’s chief operating officer.

“We feel like it’s the best thing for our customers,” he said. “We try to make the shopping experience easy and enjoyable for everyone.”
— Tulsa World, Oct. 19, 2012

I am writing today to encourage your firm to reconsider this position. Persons possessing a firearms permit under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act (SDA) have to pass a rigorous federal and state background check, similar to that required by CLEET for armed security guards. Permit holders must also successfully pass a training course, which is largely about when and if one may use a firearm legally and on the restrictions on carry locations and potential legal issues surrounding both. They must also demonstrate in the training course that they can safely handle and shoot a firearm. In short, those possessing a SDA permit are trained, and thoroughly checked out and should be the ideal customer to have in your place of business.

Most of our family’s grocery purchases are made in the Tulsa store at 71st St. and Sheridan Rd. While I believe this is a hardly a rough neighborhood, I have been accosted several times in the parking lot by people trying to beg money for a variety of fictional causes. Some have been pretty aggressive at this. I have reported these to the store manager or security guard and they respond appropriately. However, the confrontation had already happened, so the presence of security in the store or company policy against panhandling on the premises did nothing to prevent this encounter.

When concealed carry was initially approved here, there was a lot of hand-wringing and fear mongering, especially by the Tulsa World, envisioning Dodge City shootouts and the like. Several large merchants initially forbad firearms on their premises. Several shooting enthusiast websites and forums started posting lists of merchants where concealed carry was not allowed. We came to call these places “No one will shoot back zones,” because only law-abiding people will obey the signs and criminals do prefer unarmed victims.

However, as time went by and none of the feared events came to pass, more than a few businesses, large and small, found that they were losing market share to competitors by telling SDA permit holders that their patronage was not desired.

I realize that open-carry will cause a little more anxiety than concealed carry, but  I think you will find that very few people actually choose to carry openly. Most permit holders are responsible members of their community and will not wish to alarm those around them. More importantly, they will not want to alert criminals who to shoot first. This is one of the key disadvantages a uniformed police officer has over a plain-clothes officer.

I am active in the shooting sports as a competitor in several disciplines, an instructor of both adults and Scouts, and as a past officer and current board member of a large shooting club in the area. I’ve talked to a lot of other shooters about the open-carry issue, and the vast majority have no intention of carrying openly for the reasons outlined above.

The only advantage to having open carry become legal is that if one’s legally carried firearm becomes visible for a moment while bending down to pick up something, or in a very windy parking lot, it will no longer legally amount to “brandishing a firearm.” Under the law in effect now, a permit holder’s firearms must be kept concealed at all times. If the firearm is visible to others it is considered brandishing, which is a punishable offense under Oklahoma Statutes.

I would really prefer to shop at Reasor’s though there are two Food Pyramid stores and both a Wal-Mart Super Center and Neighborhood Market approximately the same distance away. However, if Reasor’s feels it is more important to cater to the irrational fears of the few, I will be forced to shop elsewhere, and I am the primary grocery purchaser in our household. Needless to say, I will also encourage the 600+ members of my shooting club and all those I know through competition to do likewise.

I really think you should wait and see on this, rather than encourage your existing customer base to go elsewhere. Once they have gotten used to shopping somewhere else, it will be lot harder to get them back.

Banning firearms on site is something we would expect from Whole Foods or similar distantly owned and managed firms, not from an Oklahoma grocery chain. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) has placed trust in SDA permit holders by granting them the permit.  Reasor’s should be equally willing to trust these fellow Oklahomans and should welcome their patronage.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss this issue. I’ll be glad to provide whatever additional information I can.

Ron Denton

NRA Certified Instructor – Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun, Reloading
NRA Range Safety Officer
IDPA Safety Officer

Why does Nancy Bolzle want to be the Tulsa County Assessor?

Monday, November 1st, 2010

I simply cannot get a reasonable answer to this question. I’ve looked over her web site and found the usual pablum about values and community that every candidate proclaims, but nothing that would explain why this lobbyist and social set wife of a local land developer suddenly feels the need to seek an elected office – and why this office in particular.

In fairness, I have to admit that I do not pretend to know what is in anyone’s  mind. That said,  I just cannot see how someone who says they want to do all this community enrichment would see the county assessor’s office as the place to do it. On the other hand, someone who is a well connected lobbyist and has a land developer in the family could see lots of opportunity at the assessor’s office. It’s not like she needs the income from a county job. Today’s post at BatesLine brings up some other issues as well.

What I do know is that Ken Yazel, as a veteran Marine Corps officer, is a graduate of one of the premier management schools in this country. As a Mustang officer, Ken rose through the enlisted ranks before becoming a commissioned officer. If you can lead Marines both as an NCO and as an Officer, you can manage about anything else.

Ken also has impressive schooling in finance, accounting and auditing. The problem may be that he is just a little too fair and honest for some who want to run Tulsa County as their fiefdom.

At a time when both public and private budgets are stretched thin, the last thing we need for a county assessor is a lobbyist with lots of “special friends and clients” and no apparent background or knowledge that would remotely qualify her for the job.

If fairness and integrity matter to you, keep Ken Yazel as the Tulsa County Assessor.

The kind of Hope and Change we really needed!

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

These are not my words, but it was very well put, so I thought I’d post here to pass it along.

1. Obama destroyed the Clinton Political Machine, driving a stake through the heart of Hillary’s presidential aspirations – something no Republican was ever able to do.

2. Obama ended the Kennedy Dynasty – no more Kennedys trolling Washington looking for booze and women wanting rides home.

3. Obama is destroying the Democratic Party before our eyes! Dennis Moore had never lost a race. Evan Bayh had never lost a race. Byron Dorgan had never lost a race. Harry Reid – soon to be GONE! These are just a handful of the Democrats whose political careers Obama has destroyed. By the end of 2010, dozens more will be gone. Just think, in December of 2008 the Democrats were on the rise. In the last two election cycles, they had picked up 14 Senate seats and 52 House seats. The press was touting the death of the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party. However, in just one year, Obama put a stop to all of this and will probably give the House – if not the Senate – back to the Republicans.

4. Obama has completely exposed liberals and progressives for what they are. Sadly, every generation seems to need to relearn the lesson on why they should never actually put liberals in charge. Obama is bringing home the lesson very well:

Liberals tax, borrow and spend.
Liberals won’t bring themselves to protect America .
Liberals want to take over the economy.
Liberals think they know what is best for everyone.
Liberals are not happy until they are running YOUR life.

5. Obama has brought more Americans back to conservatism than anyone since Reagan. In one year, he has rejuvenated the Conservative Movement and brought out to the streets millions of freedom-loving Americans. Name one other time when you saw your friends and neighbors this interested in taking back America !

6. Obama, with his “amazing leadership,” has sparked the greatest period of sales of firearms and ammunition this country has seen. Law- abiding citizens have rallied and have provided a “stimulus” to the sporting goods field while other industries have failed, faded, or moved offshore.

7. In all honesty, one year ago I was more afraid than I have been in my life. Not afraid of the economy, but afraid of the direction our country was going. I thought, Americans have forgotten what this country is all about. My neighbors and friends, even strangers, have proved to me that my lack of confidence in the greatness and wisdom of the American people has been flat wrong.

8. When the American people wake up, no smooth-talking teleprompter reader can fool them! Barack Obama has served to wake up these great Americans!

Again, I want to say: “Thank you, Barack Obama!” After all, this is exactly the kind of hope and change we desperately needed!!

November 2nd is HUGE!!!!

Please encourage others to Vote.

——————————–

Now I just hope that if there truly is a power shift, that those who come in remember how they got there and why the others were thrown out.

Tulsa School Board to decide which laws they agree to follow – surprise?

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Tonight’s Tulsa School Board meeting is centered around HB3393, the Lindsay Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program act. First a presentation by Attorney Doug Mann and Super Keith Ballard, then the mandatory comments from the public (for all the good it will do), then a discussion by the Board of any possible action deemed appropriate – like joining several other area districts in deciding that they will not follow the law and instead spend countless thousands of your tax dollars, since they have such a surplus, in fighting HB3393 in the courts.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  “It’s not about the kids or about education, it’s about control.”
For a much more detailed examination of the act, it’s history and why it will not cost the local districts, by its author in the legislature, Rep. Jason Nelson, (R-OKC) , read his blog.

Also some very insightful reporting on the local aspect of this issue and legal costs and who might be representing these districts, see this afternoon’s post by Michael Bates on Batesline.

If you care about how your tax dollars are spent and misspent and who benefits,  you need to read these through to really understand it’s all about control, not education.

SQ744 – Far from a winning team

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

We just got a slick mail piece trying to connect sports team rankings with educational ranking in Oklahoma. As most of us already know, there is no connection at all with our various sports teams and education, despite the student-athlete myth. This one plays on the other great myth of the political-educational complex, namely that there is a direct correlation between spending on common education and the quality of the education. All one has to do is look at the tragedy of the Washington D.C. school system to see that this is plainly not true.

The D.C. system ranks among the highest in teacher pay and per-pupil spending in the nation and is at the absolute bottom in quality.  When we see how much wailing and money the AFT spent to get rid of Mayor Fenty and soon his Education Chancellor Michelle Rhee, it is abundantly clear that the only thing the teachers’ union cares about is protecting their jobs  and to hell with the kids, the parents and everyone else.

The one thing connected to sports that actually does have a direct bearing on education is that you put your best people in the game if you want to win, and put the rest of the folks either on the bench or off the team.  It does not matter how much experience they have, what certifications they have or anything else. Whether it is coaches or players, those that put out 110% and don’t make excuses get the victories and those that whine about funding and process and seniority lose. This is the lesson from sports that we should apply to public education.

Piles of money will not get you a winning team if the main criteria for coaches and players is certifications and seniority, regardless of performance. A union will never produce a winning team because “winning” is not what they are about. Unions are about job protection and grievance process. There was a time when they were also a guarantor of a certain level of skill and expertise going back to the guilds, but that has long been eroded by the almighty gods of process and seniority.

The one true thing from the mailer is where it says, “SQ744 takes control of school funding away from lobbyists and government bureaucrats, and puts it in the hands of local parents, teachers and school boards.” The problem is that none of those local parents teachers and school boards are in Oklahoma.  We may as well hand over our school funding decisions directly to the NEA/AFT. The results would be the same.

A new film by David Guggenheim, not exactly a conservative ideologue, called Waiting for Superman, will hopefully help to further drive a wedge between those who want to worship process and protect jobs and those who actually care about educating the youth of our country, regardless of party or persuasion. There is also a good review of the film by Matthew Shaffer at National Review Online, (Rocking the Boat on Education) who saw it at a screening sponsored by Democrats for School Choice.

Education is the single biggest factor that can liberate young people  from a dysfunctional, troubled or just loveless home into a functional, productive and fulfilling life. I think that is more important than guaranteeing the job security,  grievance process and pensions of so-called “teachers” that will never make the starting lineup.

A dedicated utility fee for Tulsa Police and Fire? Fine, as long as everyone pays it.

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Normally I’m not a big fan of earmarking little slices of the government revenue stream to only a single purpose or agency. Times change and priorities can change as well. However,  I’m beginning to think that it would be a good idea for Police and Fire funding – but only if EVERYONE has to pay for it. That means every entity that resides or operates in Tulsa and receives a utility bill for water, sewer, etc., regardless of their tax status. Whether or not an organization or individual is a church, private educational institution, ministry  or other non-profit, has no bearing on their benefit from Police and Fire service.

With a dedicated source of revenue that is not nearly as unstable as sales tax, the budgets for Police and Fire could be set and held for longer terms. This would also put limits on contracts with unions. When it is clear that there is only a certain amount of money on the table, then the parties involved will have to figure out a way to live with it, like the rest of us. This would prevent future mayors from agreeing to contract terms that cannot be fulfilled and also reign in union demands when there is only a fixed pot of money to work with.

This is not the first time I have sorely missed the commission form of government in Tulsa. At least then there was accountability to the voters for action and inaction of the major city services of Police/Fire, Streets and Water/Sewer. Now it seems that no one at city hall can be held responsible for anything, but they can sure study it and add more staff and look into ways to blame it on a councilor or the mayor or the union.

Adelson and Bartlett compete to show worst judgment, least scruples! Perkins looking better every day.

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Tulsa’s party-hack mayoral candidates Tom Adelson (D) and Dewey Bartlett (R) continue to set the bar lower and lower in their battle to show which one can demonstrate the least amount of leadership and poorest judgment.  I’ve been watching and sometimes participating in campaigns for a number of years now, but cannot remember  seeing one that has had so little  substance, yet been so full of mud-slinging. Neither candidate really has much political history or background despite holding minor offices, so the campaigns are harvesting every word ever spoken and driving every past vote or stance to some sort of bizarre extreme.

The latest one has Adelson’s ad showing an apparent child molester on a playground and proclaiming that Bartlett would leave your children to fall victim to these criminals. What’s next? Will Bartlett’s campaign create an ad or yet another mailer showing Adelson crushing kitten heads or feasting on dead bodies of puppies?

The one thing that is abundantly clear to me is that both of these morons (and their campaign managers) should be tarred and feathered, then run out of town on a rail. How a candidate campaigns shows their judgment and their ethics (if any) and these two idiots have shown themselves totally unqualified to run a snow-cone stand.  Plus, the incredible amounts of money that the Bozo boys are spending means that if either of these slanderers gets elected, there will be a lot of favors to return.

I didn’t find Bartlett or Adelson particularly appealing at the start of this contest – but thanks to their combined efforts I genuinely loathe them both now. You may say that this is just campaigning or that I should focus my anger and disgust on the campaign managers—but the candidates approve this crap or it would not be going out. People show you their true face when they are striving for something they desperately want.

If ever there was a time to ignore political parties and just examine the candidates, this is it. I’m trying my best to found out all I can about the independent candidate Mark Perkins.  So far I like what I see and unless he decides to get in the sewer with the other two, he will have my support and vote.

Can the Police ride along with home plate next time?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Just cannot resist the opportunity to wonder aloud who paid for the helicopter to move the Drillers home plate a handful of miles, while we are grounding the Police helicopters for lack of funds. Once again we see incredible insensitivity on the part of some. I doubt that any govt. funds paid for the silly chopper flight, at least I certainly hope not. However, you can bet that some business will charge this off as business travel or something. Once again, sports trumps everything around these parts, even good taste.

Goodbye Tulsa World

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

We finally decided that the time has come to stop paying $17 a month to have the dead-tree version of the local rag deposited on the driveway. The World has long ago ceased being a newspaper.  I will not miss the front page evergreen stories, the full-page snake oil ads, the bizarre editorial positions or the constant drum-beating to spend any amount of tax money to construct some sort of downtown that only exists in the editorial board and publisher’s  fantasies.

What really pushed us over the edge was noticing how many times they kept jumping stories to the website.  There is plenty of room in the paper for a page dedicated to a brand of Bourbon from years past,  and clearly no shortage of space to plug the current touring musicals, but they cannot seem to make space for actual news any more. Today’s top local story is that people apparently get hot and drink lots of water when it is 100 degrees outside. Wow, shouldn’t that be tagged “Breaking News?”

One would hope that the local paper would be the place to find out about local events. Apparently only those events sponsored by the World or favored by Wayne Greene  merit a mention. Don’t even get me started on Mike Jones’ constant stream of liberal hate-speech for any knuckle-dragger that does not share his clearly superior positions. The World’s editorials frequently remind me that no group has a monopoly on intolerance and that nothing is apparently as vitally important as puppies.

Newspapers across the country are fighting a losing battle to stay relevant and stay in business. The problem is that for too many of them the business plan seems to be to do less and charge more, then wail about the Internet while giving away the precious little original content they still generate on the Internet. Thankfully there are still a few newspapers that understand that their strength lies in digging out and presenting stories, both news and investigative, not just adding their “coverage” to a story we have already heard.

I never really liked the Tulsa World, but as a former print photojournalist I still wanted my daily “fix.”  The Tribune always had much better layout, better use of visuals and frankly better writers and editors, but afternoon papers were the first to go in this Darwinian process. I can read many of the best papers online; some for free and some for a very reasonable access fee.

I’m more than willing to pay for quality content. I do not give my work away for free and do not expect anyone else to.  However, I ‘m no longer going to pay $17 a month for shipping and handling of a daily shopper.  The paper kept telling us to go to their website—so we will.

Fixing health care for small business, self-employed and individuals — without tax money!

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

First of all, my solution for “reform” or actually trust-busting of healthcare for small businesses, self-employed and individuals does not involve tax money, subsidies, or much of anything else from government except mandating some rule changes. Most of these will be at the state level, though it would be necessary to make a small change in HIPAA at the Fed level.

The biggest single problem for all of us “little guys” (small businesses, self-employed and individuals) is the high cost to get into or maintain health insurance coverage, if we can get it at all. This is primarily because the insurance companies and groups, whether private for-profit or run by local or regional non-profit hospital groups, insist on dealing with small entities on a group-by-group basis. This means that a business with 10 employees that includes two or three with chronic conditions or a complicated pregnancy is going to pay a fortune in premiums.

In many cases, the employer simply cannot afford to include enough of the premium in their benefits to have anything left over to actually pay the employees. Since some employees may be able to get coverage through their spouse, the employer may be able to simply not offer healthcare and still attract enough workers. Nonetheless, many small businesses would like to be able to offer coverage to attract a larger pool of workers and perhaps to have group coverage for themselves as well.

This gets really tough if you are self-employed. Unless you are married with a spouse that has good coverage at their job, about the only option is an individual policy. Individual policies are not only very expensive, they also do not have to accept your pre-existing condition the way a group does under HIPAA.

It would seem that the obvious thing to do would be to organize some sort of group that various small businesses and self-employed people could join or affiliate  with so that the insurance companies had to deal with them as a group of say 500 people, rather than many small groups and individuals.  There would be one administrator for the insurance company to deal with and the risk would be spread out over a larger group, so that 2 or 3 people with chronic conditions no longer represented 25% of the group. This affiliation would also be a group under HIPAA, so those in it would have complete portability of their coverage from employer to employer, or  from employer to consultant/contractor.

Anyway, this grouping of lots of small businesses, self-employeds and free-lancers to get affordable health coverage sounds like a great idea, right? Not if you are an insurance company. This sounds like something that has to be prevented,  and that is exactly what has happened. Although it is possible to put together a group and negotiate with perhaps one carrier to give your group coverage based on some sort of membership or professional commonality, it is next to impossible to just get together a mixed bag of several dozen small businesses and free-lancers and define it as a group, then get coverage quotes and let your members make an annual choice on which of several competing levels of coverage they want. Why? Because it is highly profitable for insurers to demand that each employer be defined as a group and make the free-lancer/self-employed apply as individuals. This is especially profitable for them when dealing with self-employed people who usually have to buy individual policies because the insurer can exclude pre-existing conditions. If this were a group plan, the HIPAA rules would not allow them to exclude pre-existing conditions.

As more and more of us become free-lancers, consultants, self-employed, this is becoming a bigger and bigger issue and becoming more and more profitable for the insurers.

What needs to happen here is legislation to force the insurers to deal with independent groups on the same basis as large employers including full portability of coverage. If you have a group of 500 people, it really doesn’t matter whether you all work for the same firm or not as far as your likelihood of illness/disease is concerned, so why are the insurers able to insist that it does?

This is NOT a case of government meddling in private business. Ask anyone that knows me, I’m a raving Libertarian. What this is is getting both state and federal governments to STOP allowing the insurers to cherry-pick the group size and composition they choose to deal with and actually restore free enterprise.

Free enterprise is a wonderful thing when it actually is free. When it uses government to grant monopolies or let it play by “special rules” that no other business gets to play by, it is no longer free enterprise. This is the root problem of our health no-care system now. The insurers, drug-peddlers and various other health-industry lobbyists have so gummed up the works with “special rules” that is has no resemblance whatsoever to free enterprise.

The Democrat solution is take money from some to pay for the rest and the Republican solution is to keep telling us that the Democrats are trying to socialize healthcare, and preaching  status quo ante. Meanwhile both sides continue to rake in campaign cash from the healthcare industry and enjoy a gold-plated benefit plan that we are all paying for.

If small entities and the self-employed could get affordable coverage through groups or co-ops, the numbers of uninsured and underinsured would drop appreciably, without any tax money! Let’s try this before we throw out more $Billions.