Oklahoma: September 2009 Archives

Oklahoma City has a lot going for it, but it has its problems, too. Here are a couple of recent news items that may be of interest at the east end of the Turner Turnpike.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett has a new job with ad agency Ackerman McQueen. (He's still mayor, but he has to make a living somehow.) KTOK talk host Mark Shannon says Cornett's job creates all sorts of conflicts of interest, because Ackerman McQueen has so many clients that do business with the city and have a financial interest in the upcoming MAPS 3 vote. Shannon says it's unlikely that the mainstream media will look too closely at the situation:

The OKLAHOMAN ran a glowing story about Cornett's hiring by Ackerman-McQueen, but didn't ask any questions about it. If they did, editors took them all out of the story.

After all, why would the NEWSPAPER do anything NEGATIVE about the VICE PRESIDENT of the company that does their PUBLIC RELATIONS? Why would that same newspaper ask any questions about the Executive Vice-President of the company that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars of their client's dollars buying full-size ads in that same newspaper?

And the TV stations? Well, they wouldn't want to hack off an advertising firm that funnels them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year that represents INTEGRIS HEALTH, OG+E, Chesapeake, The Oklahoma State Fair, Riverwind Casino, Taco Mayo, The Chamber of Commerce, and on and on and on.

According to Shannon, Cornett will not disclose what he is being paid by the agency, what his responsibilities are, or what kind of performance will entitle him to a performance bonus.

Mayor Cornett said in the Sunday Oklahoman on September 13: "Ackerman McQueen is also deeply engrained into our community with a history spanning more than five decades."

That's an understatement.

And now, the MAYOR OF OKLAHOMA CITY is enmeshed with this advertising agency and their clients.

Ackerman-McQueen pays him handsomely for his involvement with their firm....we think. He won't say how much he's making or what, if any, hours he is expected to put in.

Suppose they give him a "performance bonus?" Will we know what the PERFORMANCE was?

Don't you think you should know why, how, and what an elected official is doing for his paycheck?

And the City Attorney won't release the opinion they provided to Cornett regarding conflicts of interest involving his job with Ackerman McQueen:

Mr. Shannon, The document you requested, a written legal opinion, is a confidential attorney-client communication. The Oklahoma Open Records Act, 51 O.S. ยง 24A.5(1), states that the Act does not apply to records specifically required by law to be kept confidential. The legal opinion is therefore not a public record under the Oklahoma Open Records Act, and it does not have to be released by the City. Thanks.

Frances Kersey, City Clerk

TRACKBACK: Charles G. Hill has more thoughts on the matter of Mick Cornett's job and salaries for public officials. He has a rather vivid way of describing Ackerman McQueen's widespread influence in OKC.

Meanwhile, in the middle of the Core to Shore area, ODOT proceeds to destroy the Union Station railyard to make way for the relocation of I-40. The station and yard were purchased by COTPA, OKC's transit authority, for use as a multimodal transportation hub, but instead the station is used for offices, and the platforms, once connected by underground tunnels to the station, have been destroyed, and two major viaducts are doomed. Tom Elmore posted a plea for help to the Preservation 911 website:

Walker Ave. Viaduct, Oklahoma City, by Michael BatesThese underpasses, like much of the rest of the sprawling, 8-block-long OKC Union Station complex, were built, largely by hand, by craftsmen of our great grandparents' generation. They have required virtually no maintenance through the years since 1930 and would easily serve for another 80 years (despite the city of OKC's obvious disdain for them and avoidance even of sweeping the protected pedestrian walkways and keeping their lighting in working order).

Perhaps their quality, elegance and longevity is why the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is so hell-bent to destroy them.

ODOT has never built anything remotely to this standard of quality.

In fact, the longstanding east-west highway passage through downtown OKC they now call "The Crosstown Expressway," was built by them, and, because they claim that, like most of the other stuff they've built, it's about to fall down, they've insisted on creating a new path for the road directly through the Union Station rail yard. This plan will very soon destroy not just the rail yard, but the elegant Robinson and Walker underpasses, as well.

The Associated Press reported Sunday on a new development concerning the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for surveillance tapes from buildings near Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. After a long wait, four tapes were released, but Trentadue says there are missing sections on each tape just prior to the truck bomb blast that killed 168 people.

The tapes turned over by the FBI came from security cameras various companies had mounted outside office buildings near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. They are blank at points before 9:02 a.m., when a truck bomb carrying a 4,000 pound (1,815 kilogram) fertilizer-and-fuel-oil bomb detonated in front of the building, Trentadue said.

"Four cameras in four different locations going blank at basically the same time on the morning of April 19, 1995. There ain't no such thing as a coincidence," Trentadue said.

He said government officials claim the security cameras did not record the minutes before the bombing because "they had run out of tape" or "the tape was being replaced."

"The interesting thing is they spring back on after 9:02," he said. "The absence of footage from these crucial time intervals is evidence that there is something there that the FBI doesn't want anybody to see."

MORE:

Former KFOR-TV investigative reporter Jayna Davis, who continued to pursue leads relating to a third terrorist involved in the bombing, provided blogger Bob McCarty with a summary of information about the security cameras that were in the area of the Murrah Building, which views of the lead-up to the bombing exist, and which views have been released to the public.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma category from September 2009.

Oklahoma: August 2009 is the previous archive.

Oklahoma: January 2010 is the next archive.

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