Oklahoma Election 2010: October 2010 Archives

So the other two volunteers from the Tulsa area had to cancel. The expected number of local Muskogee volunteers didn't materialize. I think there were about 7 by the time all was said and done, including me and my 10-year-old daughter. Only three of us had any of the four pizzas I bought (for the 16 hungry folk that were expected), and we barely cracked the four two-liter bottles of pop. (The awesome homemade peanut butter and chocolate-chip-oatmeal cookies eased the disappointment considerably.)

But it was still a day well worth while. On the ride down, my daughter read through the sample ballot I brought her from the election board. She read through all the state questions and peppered me with questions. We talked about the judicial selection process, the rainy day fund, and sharia law. Along the route I pointed out the TV towers, and we talked about how television signals get from the networks to the local studios to the local stations towers to the cable company to the TV set (and why the Weather Channel doesn't need a tower at all). I pointed out the KTUL tower, still one of the 100 tallest freestanding structures in the world.

At HQ, while waiting for other volunteers to arrive, we heard about the frequent sign vandalism that has plagued the Thompson campaign. Boren's supporters are showing indications of feeling threatened.

(Ever notice how it's always the insurgent, grassroots candidates' signs that get stolen, while the establishment candidates' signs stay put. By the way, someone stole a John Eagleton sign and a Molly McKay sign out of my front yard Thursday night, even though they were well back from the street. A couple of days earlier, I had found that same Eagleton sign flat on the ground.)

I was happy to learn that our efforts were coordinated with the state Republican GOTV effort. We had a "slate card" -- all GOP nominees for the precinct on a door hanger -- and a push card for Charles Thompson, and we had the state party's list of voters to target.

My daughter and I were originally given a sprawling (10 sq mi) suburban precinct to cover. I opted instead for a compact precinct in town, where distances were shorter and the street layout was somewhat Cartesian. Somewhat.

We began by parking and walking two or three blocks in each direction to cover nearby homes. That became irksome to my little girl, whose legs are much shorter and slower than mine. Also, the three pieces of pizza and Pepsi were not sitting well. After a pitstop, we changed methods. I would drive and hop out of the car to deliver flyers; she would mark up the list of houses to visit, advise me of the next place to stop, and hand me the flyers. It sped us up considerably; still, it took us about 4 hours (not counting the break) to cover about 100 households. It would have been quicker if I had known the neighborhood. (I certainly know it now!)

Here's what I learned about navigating the streets of Muskogee.

  • Given a house with number n, the house next door may have house number n+2, n+20, or any value in between.
  • Given a house with number n, the house directly across the street may have house number n+1, n+101, or any value in between.
  • In other words, two house numbers that are numerically near-neighbors may be quite distant.
  • House numbers on a street are not guaranteed to increase or decrease monotonically with a given direction of travel.

And regarding the display of house numbers: Folks, do you want to die while the ambulance driver tries to figure out which house is yours? The house number ought to be prominently near the door of your house, on your curb, and on your mailbox if you have one.

Also, if you care about political candidates and really want to help them campaign effectively, you will UPDATE YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION WITH YOUR CURRENT ADDRESS. Do you want your favorite candidate's volunteers dodging chained pitbulls and risking an ankle to the so-called "steps" -- the wood rot and carpenter ant damage has only left rungs, really -- to try to deliver to you a reminder to vote at the house where you haven't lived for 10 years and which has since passed through the hands of a series of rental owners with decreasing standards for upkeep and tenants and at which no likely voter lives because everyone in the house has a rap sheet as long as your arm? Do you, bub?

I generally left literature at the door, without knocking, but if someone had the front door open or was out in the yard, I'd stop to talk. We and our cause were well received. No one greeted me rudely. Many people volunteered that they had already planned to vote for Thompson and a straight ticket. They want Pelosi and posse gone, and they understand that getting rid of Dan Boren gets us one step closer to that goal. At one home, I was speaking to the lady of the house, when the husband came out. "I just wanted to make sure you wasn't no dam Democrat."

We finished a bit before sunset, turned in our leftover materials, then headed to My Place for barbecue before driving back to Tulsa. We played "I went to the beach and took" to pass the time on the ride home. (Each person in turn adds some oddball object to the list, in alphabetical order, after perfectly reciting the list of all previous items.) Our list: "I went to the beach and took an altimeter, a barometer, a chronometer, a denominator, an elevator, a fraction, a gummy bear, helium filled balloons, iodine, jack o' lanterns, a kilometer, a lamb, a microsecond, a nail, an oscilloscope, a porch light, a quadrangle, a rectangle, a square, a tenacious triangle, an umbrella, a volleyball, a w [can't remember w], a xylophone [natch], a yak, and a zebu."

Then we played the alphabet game. Did you know it's pretty easy to find a Q in Tulsa? A phrase in a Mother Nature's Pest Control billboard -- "sleeping with spiders?" -- inspired another alphabetical game: "Abiding with Ants?" "Bathing with Beetles?" "Cooking with Cockroaches?" "Eating with Earwigs?" "Fellowshipping with Fleas?" (We couldn't think of a good D.)

At home, I played Candy Land and the Wiggles Game with the four-year old. Next time I'm taking all the special cards out of the Candy Land deck. Do you know what it's like for a sleepy four year old to be on the verge of victory and then to draw the Plumpy card? And the Wiggles Game is fun, but it may not be the best way to wind down before bed. ("Tickle someone." "Walk like a pirate." "Dance like Dorothy the Dinosaur.")

(Big son was busy getting ready for the middle school musical -- Disney's Aladdin Jr.. He plays the main bad guy. Tickets are still available for next weekend's performances -- November 5, 6, and 7. Come experience a little private school that knows how to put on a big production. Many of the middle school actors are veterans of Spotlight Children's Theater and Encore! Playhouse.)

Be the Wave in Tulsa

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In addition to our get-out-the-vote effort tomorrow in Muskogee (still time to sign up for that, by the way), there are a lot of opportunities to help Republican candidates get out the vote in the Tulsa area (and elsewhere in the state, too).

The Oklahoma Republican Party needs people to call voters, to walk precincts, delivering campaign material to homes, and to wave signs on street corners.

They especially need walkers. They'll give you materials, a list of houses to visit, and a map. You don't need to knock on doors -- just hang the campaign literature on the door handle. It's easy, it's fun, and tomorrow (Saturday, October 30, 2010) will be a beautiful day for it. The hope is to do as much of the walking on Saturday as possible, continuing Sunday afternoon if necessary.

On Monday evening and Tuesday morning, they need people to stand on the corner and wave signs to remind people to vote on election day.

To volunteer to walk for the GOP's GOTV effort in the Tulsa area, contact Jed Cochran. His number is 580-239-2988, or you can email him at jed@okgop.com.

If you want to help with phone calling or sign waving, you can contact Jed at the number above, and you can also contact Jason Carini with the Coburn for Senate campaign at (918) 261-4309 or jason.carini@coburnforsenate.com

There's also the opportunity to make calls from home -- contact Jason for details.

Phone calls will be going out between 10 am and 9 pm on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday from the Tulsa County GOP Headquarters. Call shifts will run from 10am-1pm, 1-4pm, 4-7pm, and 7-9pm. They'll have drinks, snacks, and meals for those who come out and make calls

Tulsa County GOP HQ will be staffed from 7 am to 11 pm from now through Election Day.

If you plan to help as a walker, caller, or sign waver, give Jed or Jason a call, so they can be ready for you when you come by.

Early voting for the Oklahoma 2010 general election began today, Friday, October 29, 2010, at your county election board headquarters. The Tulsa County Election Board is at 555 N. Denver Ave., just north of downtown Tulsa.

Here are the dates and times for early voting this year:

Friday, October 29, 20108 am - 6 pm
Saturday, October 30, 20108 am - 1 pm
Monday, November 1, 20108 am - 6 pm

On Election Day, Tuesday, November 2, 2010, polls will be open from 7 am to 7 pm.

For those of you who have asked, here is how I plan to mark my ballot. Follow the links to read an endorsement piece (mainly mine, some from other bloggers) about the candidate mentioned.

GovernorMary Fallin
Lt. GovernorTodd Lamb
State Auditor and InspectorGary Jones
Attorney GeneralScott Pruitt
State TreasurerKen Miller
Superintendent of Public InstructionJanet Barresi
Commissioner of LaborMark Costello
Insurance CommissionerJohn Doak
U. S. SenatorTom Coburn
U. S. Representative, District No. 1John Sullivan
State Representative, District 78Molly McKay
County AssessorKen Yazel
District Judge, District No. 14 - Office No. 9John Eagleton
District Judge, District No. 14 - Office No. 13Bill Musseman
District Judge, District No. 14 - Office No. 14Jon Patton

As I said in my earlier "cheat-sheet" entry, in all the races I've studied, the Republican candidate is well-qualified and the best choice. I haven't tried to list all of them, just those that I'll get to vote on.

Judicial retention: My default position is no on all of them, unless someone can make the case for voting yes. Jamison Faught has offered some reasons for voting to retain Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice James R. Winchester. (MORE: Steve Fair concurs.)

The Oklahoma Supreme Court justices and Court of Civil Appeals judges on the ballot answered a brief questionnaire for the League of Women Voters.

The State Questions and City of Tulsa propositions: No on the 4s (744, 754), yes on everything else.

SQ 744school funding tied to other statesNo
SQ 746voter IDYes
SQ 747term limits for all statewide officialsYes
SQ 748composition of apportionment commissionYes
SQ 750consistent signature requirements for initiative petitionsYes
SQ 751official state actions in EnglishYes
SQ 752composition of judicial nominating commissionYes
SQ 754ban on predetermined formulas for spendingNo
SQ 755courts can't consider sharia, international law in decisionsYes
SQ 756ban on Obamacare coercionYes
SQ 757rainy day fund increaseYes
Tulsa Prop 1establishing a rainy day fundYes
Tulsa Prop 2establishing a legal date for city primary in even yearsYes

Endorsements and voter guides elsewhere:

Oklahomans for Life voter guide: Candidate responses to questions about abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research.

Jamison Faught (aka the Muskogee Politico) has published a list of his endorsements, with some detail about his rationale in each case.

Mike McCarville has news from Oklahoma campaigns, campaign commercials, and press releases. Great way to get caught up on the "story so far" in this election year.

Steve Fair, a Republican grassroots leader from southwestern Oklahoma, has some great commentary on state questions, judges, Gary Jones for State Auditor (and opponent Steve Burrage's connections with the corrupt Stipe-Phipps-McMahan machine), and Democrat desperation and mudslinging.

NOTE: This is what I get for writing at 2 a.m.; I wrote no when I meant YES -- as in vote YES on SQ 755. Thanks to the observant reader who caught it.

Oklahoma State Question 755 is another fine example of a proposed constitutional amendment that Ayatollah General Drew Edmondson eviscerated on its way to the ballot, misusing his power to rewrite ballot titles, without check or balance. As with SQ 754, Edmondson left out some important points and distorted others in his rewrite of the "gist of the proposition."

(By the way, this sort of thing is why we need Scott Pruitt as our next Attorney General.)

The principle behind SQ 755 is straightforward: In determining cases, Oklahoma judges should stick to the laws approved by the people of Oklahoma and their representatives, not laws in foreign jurisdictions or laws of foreign cultures over which the people of Oklahoma have no control.

Here is the amendment that would be added to the Oklahoma Constitution, as Article 7, Section 1, Subsection C, if SQ 755 is approved by the voters:

C. The Courts provided for in subsection A of this section, when exercising their judicial authority, shall uphold and adhere to the law as provided in the United States Constitution, the Oklahoma Constitution, the United States Code, federal regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, established common law, the Oklahoma Statutes and rules promulgated pursuant thereto, and if necessary the law of another state of the United States provided the law of the other state does not include Sharia Law, in making judicial decisions. The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia Law. The provisions of this subsection shall apply to all cases before the respective courts including, but not limited to, cases of first impression.

The passage of SQ 755 would make a minor correction to Subsection A of Article 7, Section 1, ("State Industrial Court" replaced with the current name of "Workers Compensation Court"), and would add a new Subsection B, which gives a name to Subsection C.

Click this link for the Oklahoma SQ 755 PDF showing the legislation that contains the proposed constitutional amendment and Edmondson's rewrite of the ballot title.

Edmondson's ballot title fails even to hint at a point that is the key to the whole amendment: "The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures."

There was a U. S. Supreme Court case in 2003 -- Lawrence v. Texas -- in which the majority decision cited foreign laws and foreign court precedents in deciding to overturn laws duly approved by the elected representatives of the citizens of several states. In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote:

In any event, an "emerging awareness" is by definition not "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition[s]," as we have said "fundamental right" status requires. Constitutional entitlements do not spring into existence because some States choose to lessen or eliminate criminal sanctions on certain behavior. Much less do they spring into existence, as the Court seems to believe, because foreign nations decriminalize conduct.

A USA Today article from the same period noted the significance of the citing of a foreign precedent and speculated about future implications:

Never before had the Supreme Court's majority cited a foreign legal precedent in such a big case. Kennedy's opinion in Lawrence vs. Texas, which was signed by four other justices, has ignited a debate among analysts over whether it was a signal that the justices will adopt foreign courts' views of individual liberties.

In theory, that could mean the conservative court someday might be influenced by other countries' opposition to the death penalty, their emphasis on foreign prisoners' rights and even their acceptance of same-sex marriages. (Last month, a court in Canada lifted a ban on such unions.)

But it is far from clear that the U.S. high court routinely will turn to foreign law, and the practice has its critics -- notably Justice Antonin Scalia. When the court interprets the Constitution, he has written, U.S. attitudes about what is decent and right -- not foreign ones -- are what should matter....

Last year, Justice John Paul Stevens cited foreign law in a footnote when the majority banned executions of mentally retarded convicts. Stevens noted that "within the world community, the ... death penalty for crimes committed by mentally retarded offenders is overwhelmingly disapproved."

That drew a rebuke from Scalia, who said, "The views of other nations, however enlightened the justices of this court may think them to be, cannot be imposed upon Americans through the Constitution." Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas joined Scalia in his dissent.

In the Texas case, Scalia -- joined once again by Rehnquist and Thomas -- wrote that "the court's discussion of these foreign views (ignoring, of course, the many countries that have retained criminal prohibitions on sodomy) is ... meaningless dicta. Dangerous dicta, however, since this court should not impose foreign moods, fads, or fashions on Americans." (Justice Sandra Day O'Connor voted with the Kennedy majority in the case but wrote a separate opinion.)

The last phrase in the Scalia quote is actually from Justice Clarence Thomas, in a footnote in his concurring decision denying certiorari in Foster v. Florida (emphasis added, citations removed for readability):

Justice Breyer notes that the Supreme Court of Canada has expressed concern over delays in the administration of the death penalty in the United States.... I daresay that court would be even more alarmed were there, as Blackstone commended, only a 48-hour delay between sentence and execution.... In any event, Justice Breyer has only added another foreign court to his list while still failing to ground support for his theory in any decision by an American court.... While Congress, as a legislature, may wish to consider the actions of other nations on any issue it likes, this Court's Eighth Amendment jurisprudence should not impose foreign moods, fads, or fashions on Americans.

Any American judge or justice that uses foreign law as a basis for a decision ought to be impeached. Americans didn't get to vote for the legislators in France or Sweden or Russia. We didn't get to vote for the officials who chose the justices on the European Court.

Now, to address specifically the question of sharia or Islamic law: Already, courts in Britain and Canada are giving full legal force to decisions made by sharia tribunals. How does this happen? How does this medieval system of law gain a foothold in nations whose legal traditions are rooted in Magna Carta?

For your reference:

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's backgrounder on how the Ontario Arbitration Act has been used to set up Muslim courts of law, under which matters of divorce, child custody, and inheritance would be decided, in a binding way, according to Islamic law, rather than the laws of the state. The backgrounder explains why many women, especially those who left Islamic countries to live freely in Canada, fear this development:

The proposal ran into opposition from women's groups, legal organizations and the Muslim Canadian Congress, which all warned that the 1,400-year-old Shariah law does not view women as equal to men.

In her report, [former Ontario Attorney General Marion] Boyd noted that some "participants in the Review fear that the use of arbitration is the beginning of a process whose end goal is a separate political identity for Muslims in Canada, that has not been the experience of other groups who use arbitration."

In May 2005, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously supported a motion to block the use of Shariah law in Quebec courts. ...

The arbitration process as set out in the Arbitration Act is voluntary. Most of the concerns about the creation of "Shariah" tribunals have focused on the fear that Muslim women may feel they are being forced into taking part in a process of binding arbitration according to Muslim family law instead of resolving their disputes through the court system.

And in Britain, in 2008, the Daily Telegraph reported that Sharia courts had been in operation for some time:

Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, whose Muslim Arbitration Tribunal runs the courts, said that sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals under a clause in the Arbitration Act 1996.

The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case....

Mr Siddiqi said that in a recent inheritance dispute handled by the court in Nuneaton, the estate of a Midlands man was divided between three daughters and two sons.

The judges on the panel gave the sons twice as much as the daughters, in accordance with sharia. Had the family gone to a normal British court, the daughters would have got equal amounts.

In the six cases of domestic violence, Mr Siddiqi said the judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders. There was no further punishment.

In each case, the women subsequently withdrew the complaints they had lodged with the police and the police stopped their investigations.

Melanie Phillips' Spectator column on the topic is a lengthy rebuttal of the willingness of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to yield to the establishment of sharia in Britain:

Either way, his proposal would also mean that Britain would simply abandon its female Muslim citizens whose parlous position in respect of forced marriages, honour killings and all the other horrors that follow from their second-class religious status would be institutionalised by giving sharia law official recognition. Dr Williams says such women should still retain the right of appeal to the English courts if their human rights were breached under sharia. What absurdity is this? It is the cultural assumptions which flow from sharia which lead to the oppression of Muslim women. How is the right of appeal to human rights law going to help women who are beaten and killed by men who do it in the name of religion? In order to protect our female Muslim citizens, we need to remove from them the yoke of sharia law, not institutionalise it with the seal of official approval....

The rules of our society have always been entirely clear: one law for all. The only challenge to that has come from those Muslims who want to destroy that foundational precept and along with it British culture and western society. And now the head of the Anglican church has joined them in wanting to tear up the rules governing the position of minorities which have been perfectly clear ever since the Enlightenment. These rules hold that religious minorities can practise their faith and religious precepts but under the over-arching umbrella of the law of the land. That means where there is a conflict between minority precepts and the law, the minority gives way. While minorities should be given the freedom to practise their religion, they must not seek to impose their own laws and customs on the majority. That is how overlapping identities can be accommodated; it is how a majority culture can acknowledge the value of other cultures without destroying itself and a nation's identity; it is the very essence of a tolerant, decent, liberal pluralist society.

Every minority until now has lived perfectly happily under that formulation. What we are now facing is a push by certain British Muslims, backed up by Islamist violence and intimidation, to change the rules of the national cultural game. There is only one proper response to that: to say that not one inch of leeway will be given to sharia law, that British society will not dilute the legal principles which govern all its citizens, and that Muslims must observe the same rules that govern every other minority in this country.

And that is what Oklahomans must say on November 2: Not one inch of leeway to sharia law or to the judicial imposition of any law that has not been duly established under our Constitution and statutes by our elected representatives. Vote YES on SQ 755.

MORE: A good overview of the sharia controversies in Canada and Britain, by Eileen F. Toplansky at American Thinker

Perspective on SQ 755 from ztruth, an Oklahoma blogger who writes about Islamism in America.

I originally had this challenge buried in the bottom of this article, but I want to be sure you see it:

Are any of you volunteering your time for a candidate between now and Tuesday? You can join me in Muskogee on Saturday campaigning for Charles Thompson, volunteer for a Tulsa-area legislative candidate, volunteer (405-528-3501) to phone or distribute literature for the Oklahoma statewide GOP get-out-the-vote effort, or call voters in key districts around the country.

Just do something, and let us know about it in the comments.

One of the delights of this election season has been watching Ace, of Ace of Spades HQ, develop an appreciation for the nuts-and-bolts of political campaigns as he has become personally involved in knocking doors and phoning voters on behalf of candidates.

It's easy to be the cynic on the sidelines, to pronounce anathemas on both parties and all politicians. It's easy, if you don't know what you're talking about, to talk about the Republican Party as if it were one big monolithic machine, rather than a complex system of interactions between party activists, national, state, and county officials, precinct chairmen, elected officials, volunteers, donors, and ordinary voters. It's easy to pooh-pooh corny, old-fashioned get-out-the-vote methods like knocking on doors, phoning voters, and putting out yard signs. (It's also a highly conveeeeeeenient excuse for not getting off your behind and making a difference.)

The average American voter, focused on family, faith, job, home, friends, and hobbies, prefers not to give much thought to politics and government and usually won't until one of those things is threatened. Ideally, a limited government would keep to its constitutionally-assigned tasks and otherwise leave us alone, so we wouldn't need to keep a constant, watchful eye on City Hall, the County Courthouse, the State Capitol, and Washington.

To a political junkie, of the sort that reads this site and Ace's site, it seems strange that a voter wouldn't already know by now who he's voting for or whether he's voting at all. This is not Planet Vulcan, and it may seem highly illogical, but corny campaign techniques effectively connect with the way most voters make their decisions.

(By the way, pollster Chris Wilson and his colleague Bryon Allen of Wilson Research Services has a list of five rules-of-thumb that late-deciding voters use at the precinct. And the two wrote a piece last year on how a given voter may use different heuristics -- cognitive shortcuts to simplify decision-making in the absence of perfect knowledge -- for picking a candidate, depending on the circumstances like the number of candidates or whether it's a primary or a general election. Must reading for candidates and consultants.)

But when you hit the streets and talk to voters one-on-one, as Ace has done, you begin to understand, and Ace does a fine job of explaining why the corny stuff matters. Yard signs, for example:

On signs -- even if you just call the office to pick up a sign and put it in your yard, it's important.

Remember, people don't like voting for a name they don't know. When they see the same name up a bunch of times, they become familiar with it. Particularly if their neighbors are endorsing that man. It gives them information -- not much information, but enough. It tells them that even though they haven't done their homework and decided which candidates are worth supporting, people they know have done that homework, and those people have decided that people like Bielat, Hudak, Perry and Golnik are serious guys worth voting for.

"Serious guys worth voting for" is a crucial message. It doesn't matter how bad the incumbent is, if a voter doesn't know that there is an opponent or that he's credible, the voter may stay home or even vote for the loathsome incumbent, who is at least an experienced and credible loathsome incumbent. It's why a loathsome incumbent will spend so much airtime and ink discrediting his challenger; it keeps people from turning out to vote him out.

So, do you have signs in your yard for your favorite candidates? Call your local party HQ and pick some up, or request a sign on the candidate's website. It matters. I'd hate to think a highly qualified candidate like Janet Barresi -- started two successful public charter schools -- would lose the State Superindent's race just because voters didn't know her name.

Referring to his experience campaigning for Sean Bielat in MA-4 (he's challenging Barney Frank), Ace writes:

The minute these people hear that they have a credible candidate, a Marine and engineer, who builds robots to protect our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, they'll go for him. It's just a question of letting people know. And getting out the vote.

We've got a credible guy running right here in eastern Oklahoma -- an Army veteran, a veterinarian, running against the Pelosi-enabling heir of our own little political dynasty. But people won't vote for Charles Thompson unless they get to know him.

Which is why I'm sponsoring and participating in a get-out-the-vote effort this Saturday in Muskogee, and I'm asking you to join me.

A couple of days ago, Ace linked to a Jim Geraghty piece on four election-night scenarios: the "fading GOP wave" (House stays D, only 3 or 4 Senate seats), the "okay wave" (we take the House, pick up 6 to 8 Senate seats), the "happy times wave" (enough to take both House and Senate), and the "superwave" (60 to 90 House seats or beyond, 3 or 4-seat majority in Senate).

Explaining why door-knocking and phone-calling works, Ace pointed out that as enthused as we (the political junkies) are, an indifferent vote counts as much as an enthusiastic vote, but...

There is one way that one person's high enthusiasm translates into more votes: If he can activate, convince, persuade, or cajole a non-voter or non-enthusiastic potential voter to cast his vote his way.

That's the way that high enthusiasm translates into higher vote tallies -- when the enthusiastic share their enthusiasm with the unenthusiastic, and get the unenthusiastic to cast votes, too.

Those votes count just the same as ours, of course. But now we've got more.

I don't know why anyone would say this, but someone objected that GOTV efforts don't matter. [B.S.] That is excuse-making on stilts. GOTV is the entire name of the game. That's how we won in 2004 -- the Democrat who noted that Republican voters just kept pouring into suburban Ohio polling places. "It was like Night of the Living Dead," he said, as the 2004 turn-out effort brought so many unlikely voters to the polls....

This is how it's won. By turning out the vote. By identifying unlikely voters who are likely to vote Republican, if they just get off their asses and go down to the polling place and are confronted with the choice they've been not bothering to think about.

And that's what GOTV is about. It's about lending our enthusiasm to the unenthuiastic, to let them know our candidate's name so that the name isn't completely new and alien to them when they see it on the ballot, but rather familiar and reassuring. Giving them a little bit of bio of the candidate, so they have a quick bullet-point read on him (again, so he seems familiar), and his policy positions.

An indifferent voter will usually not vote for an unknown. It's our job to make the unknowns known to them....

That's what it's all about, especially in midterms. If our marginal voters, our loose-identifying conservatives turn out, and theirs do not, we win. If a lot of our marginal voters turn out, and theirs do not, we win big....

This is what worries me. That we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a truly historic Change but we're going to squander the opportunity for failure of translating our thoughts into actual actions, and thereby, actual votes.

The Democratic base is in fact finally thinking about the election. The fact that they are only thinking about it now doesn't make their votes count less. We've been fired up since summer of 2009 but our votes will count precisely the same.

We need more votes. That simple: We need more votes. We have to turn out everyone who leans Republican to the polls.

If you believe that America is at a crisis point, that we need a return to limited government and fiscal sanity, if you really mean it, then your belief needs to turn into action. You have a chance to make a difference.

Join me in Muskogee on Saturday for Charles Thompson. Volunteer for a Tulsa-area legislative candidate. Call Oklahoma GOP headquarters at 405-528-3501 to volunteer for the massive statewide GOTV effort. Help FreedomWorks make phone calls to voters in key districts around the country.

And if you do volunteer, encourage others to do the same by leaving a comment and letting us know about it.

ayatollah_edmundson.jpgI may have been wrong about 754. I made the mistake of believing the ballot title, which appears to be Ayatollah Drew Edmondson's valedictory middle finger to Oklahoma conservative voters.

The retiring attorney general, a Democrat, is notable for having three political consultants involved with the popular Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) initiative publicly shackled, notable for supporting New Jersey's bid to force the Boy Scouts to have homosexual scoutmasters, notable for enriching a number of law firms by means of the tobacco industry lawsuit (15% contingency fees plus costs and expenses), notable for fighting efforts to open state legal contracts to public disclosure and competitive bidding, notable for refusing to join other states in the suit against Obamacare, and ranked the third-worst attorney general in the nation by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

As his final gesture of contempt toward the state that foolishly elected him four times, Edmondson has taken it upon himself to editorialize in the ballot titles of several state questions, injecting his personal opinion into what should be a simple factual summary of the legislation and constitutional amendments that are being put before the voters.

SQ 754 is one of the constitutional amendments that Edmondson chose to twist. (The PDF linked contains the original legislation and the correspondence with the Attorney General's office over the ballot language.) Here is the actual language that will be added to Article 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution if SQ 754 is approved:

Section 55A. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Oklahoma Constitution to the contrary, whether such provision is in effect prior to, simultaneously with or after the provisions of this section shall become adopted, the Legislature shall not be required to make expenditures for any function of government using a predetermined formula of any kind or by reference to the expenditure levels of any other state government or any other entity. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to authorize the Legislature to make appropriations In excess of the limits allowed by Section 23 of Article X or any other provision of the Constitution.

The same legislation that proposed the amendment also proposed the language that would appear on the ballot (note that the "gist" is 123 words, 20 words longer than the actual amendment):

This measure amends the Oklahoma Constitution. It would add a new Section 55A to Article 5. It relates to the state budget. It relates to the ability of the Legislature to spend money each year. It would allow the Legislature to make decisions about the state budget. The Legislature would be able to decide how much money to spend each year. The Legislature would not be required to spend a certain amount of money for any one government service or function. If this amendment is adopted, the Oklahoma Constitution could not require the Legislature to do this. If this amendment is adopted, the Oklahoma Constitution could not require the Legislature to make spending decisions based on how much money any other state spent.

Edmondson objected that it wasn't at an 8th grade reading comprehension level and "does not adequately explain the effect of the proposition." So he rewrote it, using his authority under 34 O.S. 9(c):

This measure adds a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution. It adds Section 55A to Article 5. The Legislature designates amounts of money to be used for certain functions. These designations are called appropriations. The measure deals with the appropriation process.

The measure limits how the Constitution could control that process. Under the measure the Constitution could not require the Legislature to fund state functions based on:

1. Predetermined constitutional formulas,
2. How much other states spend on a function,
3. How much any entity spends on a function.

Under the measure these limits on the Constitution's power to control appropriations would apply even if:

1. A later constitutional amendment changed the Constitution, or

2. A constitutional amendment to the contrary was passed at the same time as this measure.

Thus, under the measure, once adopted, the measure could not be effectively amended. Nor could it be repealed.

We're now up to 148 words. The amendment refers to expenditures. Edmondson uses the word "appropriations." The amendment is limited to whether the Constitution requiring the legislature to make expenditures -- in other words, to spend at least a required amount. Edmondson's title speaks more broadly about "the Constitution's power to control appropriations." Nowhere does the amendment prohibit its own repeal or amendment, but Edmondson falsely claims that it does.

I still am inclined to vote against SQ 754. If we don't want the legislature's hands tied when allocating scarce resources among state agencies, we should vote against propositions like SQ 744 that would tie their hands. And I'm not fond of overcomplicating our already over-complicated Constitution, especially with language that limits the effect of other constitutional provisions. Better to repeal a provision if you want it to go away.

Nevertheless, all Oklahoma voters should be offended that Drew Edmondson used the ballot as a soapbox for his opinions, not for a fair and clear description of the proposition.

A press release from the Tulsa County Bar Association about tonight's judicial candidate forum:

The Tulsa County Bar Association is hosting a forum for the public to meet and hear from the candidates running for Tulsa County District Judge.

The forum will take place on

Tuesday October 26, 2010 at 5:30 p.m.
at the Tulsa County Bar Association Center
1446 S. Boston Avenue.

The candidates scheduled to appear are:

John Eagleton Judge Linda Morrissey
Judge Carl Funderburk Judge William J. Musseman, Jr.
Judge Kurt Glassco Jon Patton

Each candidate will make an opening statement followed by a question and answer session.

The Public is invited and encouraged to attend this unique opportunity to meet and hear from the candidates for Tulsa County District Judge.

Coffee, tea and cookies will be served. Free Parking is available.

For additional information, call Chad McLain.

Chad McLain
1437 S Boulder Ave, Ste 1010
Tulsa, OK 74119-3616
Phone: 918-359-6600
Fax: 918 - 359-6605

In the previous entry, I mentioned that there are congressional districts that could be competitive for conservative Republicans, districts which have voted for Republicans in the past, where the GOP challenger is a credible community leader. But they will only be competitive if volunteers show up to get the message to the voters.

One of those districts is right here in Oklahoma: The 2nd District, which covers the eastern third of the state. Although the 2nd District includes the Yellow-Dog Democrat territory known as Little Dixie, this is the district that sent Tom Coburn to Congress in 1994. The Cook Partisan Voting index is R+14.

The incumbent in Oklahoma's 2nd District is Dan Boren. Boren's record on taxation and the budget is abysmal, getting failing and near-failing grades from FreedomWorks, National Taxpayers Union, Club for Growth, Citizens against Government Waste, Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for Prosperity. Whatever good he has done with centrist votes on social issues, he has undone by voting three times for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker, giving her leftist allies control of the legislative agenda. Boren voted with Nancy Pelosi to adjourn the House without extending the Bush tax cuts, set to expire at the end of the year.


The Republican nominee, Charles Thompson, is a Gulf War Army veteran and a veterinarian. He serves as a school board member in Hulbert Public Schools. He believes in limited government. He won't support bailouts, tax hikes, cap-n-trade, or massive spending binges, nor will he vote for House leadership that does.

RealClearPolitics rates OK 2 as "Likely Democrat" -- in play, but just barely. Boren is a powerful political name in Oklahoma, and young Dan works hard to hide his association with San Fran Nan and her team of far-lefties who run the House.

I believe that if 2nd District voters get to know Charles Thompson andcome to understand that Dan Boren is an enabler for loathsome liberal legislation, they'll turn Boren out of office. Friendly face-to-face conversation is the most effective way to make that happen.

That's why I've chosen Thompson's campaign for the Be the Wave event that I'm sponsoring this coming Saturday. This is the closest opportunity to Tulsa to affect the margin of Republican victory in Congress. We'll gather at noon for a briefing and a bite to eat, pair off and hit the streets for a few hours, then reconvene to swap stories over a dutch-treat dinner.

We can not only help to rid Congress of another Democrat (and terminate an ambitious Democrat's plans for political advancement), we can also turn out conservative voters to support the whole slate of conservative candidates, like Scott Pruitt for Attorney General, Gary Jones for State Auditor, and Janet Barresi for State Superintendent.

If you think Thompson is too much of a dark-horse to be worth your time, by all means find another candidate to help. If you've got an unlimited long distance plan, you can make calls for any candidate in the country.

You can sign up with FreedomWorks PAC to help with their phone-banking effort on behalf of free-market conservative candidates.

RedState's Erick Erickson has a list of 99 candidates who could use your help, and he's highlighted 25 that he'd especially like to see elected.

Three of those districts are close to home: two potential GOP takeovers in central and northeastern Arkansas (Rick Crawford in AR-1 and Tim Griffin in AR-2), and a toss-up seat in southwest Missouri's 4th District, where Vicky Hartzler is working to retire Ike Skelton.

You might want to help Patrick Murray, who grew up in Oklahoma, is an alum of OSU, and recently retired as a colonel in the U. S. Army to try to unseat Jim Moran in Virginia's 8th congressional district. Moran is a nasty piece of work who recently stated that Murray's 24 years of active military duty didn't count as public service, screamed at his parish priest after mass, was accused of abuse by his ex-wife, and doesn't believe in capitalism or property rights.

It's not the battle for Congress, but right here in the Tulsa area, good Republican legislative candidates like Molly McKay, Kim David, and Jadine Nollan have a chance to capture open seats currently held by Democrats or beat a liberal Democrat incumbent. Statewide candidates need your support, too. We should be able to win every statewide office this year, but only if conservative voters turn out.

We've got some conservative candidates for district judge here in Tulsa County that could use your help: John Eagleton, Bill Musseman, and Jon Patton. All three are registered to vote as Republicans; their opponents are not. The bench at the Tulsa County Courthouse ought to reflect Tulsa County values.

I challenge every conservative BatesLine reader to take at least two hours between now and election day to volunteer for a campaign. I'd love to have you join me this weekend, but I'd be pleased to know that you're volunteering for any candidate.

Which candidate will you help during this last week of the campaign? Post a comment and let us know.

That big, beautiful electoral wave we see building may be a mere ripple by the time it reaches shore on November 2. Some of my blogpals are worried, and rightly so.

Tabitha Hale of FreedomWorks issues a challenge:

Here's the thing: Republicans are undoubtedly going to win next Tuesday. We will pick up house seats and some Senate seats.

You control how many seats we will win.

Getting people to turn out has never been easy. The ground game is the hardest part of any campaign, which is why the party has just opted to not focus on it this go round. The failure of the party to push GOTV efforts is embarrassing. Ace laments the lack of motivation here. Melissa Clouthier blames the GOP. They're both right....

This election cycle is as much about beating the Republicans as it is about beating the Democrats. For the first time in a long time, we will have a freshman class full of Representatives and Senators that were elected only because the people wanted them there - not because they inherited a seat or were able to buy their way in. The party turned their back on many of them. There is a whole block of elected officials that owe their jobs to the people....

There is no better time to step away from your computer and put up some signs or make some phone calls than right now. November 2nd is it, people. We don't get a redo. What we do over the next eight days will impact our entire country for the next two years and beyond. This is the only shot we have at halting and reversing Obama's agenda. Right now. This week.

Ace now expects November 2 to be little more than a "pretty good night" for Republicans.

And the reason? A lot of people are sitting on their [posteriors] waiting for things to change instead of fulfilling their patriotic duties as American citizens and making the change happen.

Based on this analysis I am giving up on my big predictions and scaling back to something like 44 seats or so. We will lose all the close races (we always do), and people like Ruth McClung and Sean Bielat will lose. Only the lock seats will come through for us.

You know what the Democrats call a loss of 44 seats after they've socialized health care and blown up the budget to Greek levels? Acceptable losses. They'll take that, all day and twice on Sundays. Because they've now set the country on an inexorable path to socialism. They're playing the long game, while we're... well we're not playing any game at all.

A gain of 44 would be nice, but it wouldn't be the sound thrashing that sends the surviving Democrats scurrying in fear to make alternative career plans for 2013. A gain of 44 would not deliver the message that Americans repudiate the radical Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda. It would be treated by the media as a failure to meet expectations.

I was very disappointed in the reaction from Ace's commenters: Effectively they told him to chill out, that the polls all looked great, that Republicans are motivated to vote, that knocking doors is beneath their dignity, and it doesn't do any good anyway.


The only poll that matters is held on November 2. The only people who will vote in that poll are the ones who remember to show up. Those of us who care about the future of the country need to motivate and remind the conservatives who only occasionally vote to show up.

In 2004, about 1.5 million Oklahoma voters showed up to elect Tom Coburn to the Senate and to give George W. Bush the majority in every single county. A massive turnout effort, organized under the leadership of then state GOP chairman Gary Jones, had volunteers contacting hundreds of thousands of conservative voters in the days leading up to the election.

Less than a million voters turned out in 2006. Gov. Brad Henry got about 100,000 votes more than John F. Kerry did in 2004, but his Republican challenger, Congressman Ernest Istook, got less than a third of the vote that George W. Bush received.

One-to-one, face-to-face contact is by far the most effective means of voter persuasion. A 2002 study by a couple of Yale political science professors found "that during a local election, each face-to-face contact with a voter increased his/her chance of voting by seven percent. Furthermore, their results suggest that every 12 face-to-face contacts garner one additional vote, even if that voter had never heard of the candidate beforehand."

It would certainly be more convenient for the candidates if robocalls, sign waving, and literature drops (the political equivalent of ring-and-run) were the most effective methods. Door-to-door campaigning is time-consuming, and it requires a lot of advance work by the campaign staff to prepare lists, maps, and literature and to recruit volunteers to do the work.

But, as Ace has discovered, retail politics is also a lot of fun. It's a chance to socialize with people who share your passion for politics, and you come back from a day knocking doors with stories of interesting encounters.

There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with government. Voters would like an alternative to the party in power, but they have to know there is a realistic hope of change for the better. There are Democratic House seats that should be competitive -- the district has voted for Republican candidates for other offices, the Republican challenger is a credible, articulate community leader -- but they won't be competitive because the challenger doesn't have the money or manpower to introduce himself to the voters.

Your effort can make the difference. Be the wave. I challenge each of you to volunteer at least two hours between now and election day for a conservative candidate. More on how to do that in the next post.

In my previous entry, I wrote about several cases in which District Judge Linda Morrissey had been reversed on appeal for abuse of discretion and errors in law. In just four hours of searching, despite internet connection problems for about half of that period and no easy way to find reversals for a given judge, I found eight such cases, by no means an exhaustive list of Morrissey's reversals.

As I expected, the entry received a lawyerly comment (posted from an IP address associated with the Tulsa law firm of Rosenstein, Fist, and Ringold) pooh-poohing the significance of these errors.

All trial judges err. Unlike some professions, a judge's error is not always indicative of incompetence. Many matters of law are unsettled, and in such cases, a reversal indicates only that the appellate court disagrees, not that the district court should have known better.

I don't buy it, and neither should the voters. In only one of the cases I looked at was there anything unsettled in the law, and in that case Morrissey went entirely in the wrong direction, looking to Michigan law and precedent rather than Oklahoma precedent, and in so doing, she went against the express wish of the decedent to give his IRA to his children. In all the other cases, Morrissey went against clear law and facts. In the civil case where Morrissey abused her discretion, it appears that she was blatantly unfair to one of the parties in the lawsuit. In the two criminal cases, Morrissey set up and followed her own sentencing policy, contrary to law. From the facts of the cases presented in the appeals court rulings, it appears that Morrissey's rulings were also contrary to common sense.

I suppose for a lawyer, a reversible error by a judge may mean more billable hours, but for the normal people involved in the case, fixing the error in appeals court means more expense, more anxiety, more waiting for justice.

Sometimes the party fouled by a judge's negligence, arrogance, or ignorance doesn't have the means to pursue an appeal. The injustice stands.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Scott Weisberg, who had spent some time in the Tulsa County courtroom of District Judge Linda Morrissey, in a case involving a severe head injury to his daughter, and he wanted to let the public know about his experience.

What follows is Weisberg's characterization of the case and how Morrissey handled it. In an ideal world, I'd have time to review the case in depth and draw my own conclusions. I've decided to publish Scott Weisberg's perspective on the case because he is willing to attach his name to it.

To summarize Weisberg's grievance against Linda Morrissey: A trust was set up as a result of the settlement over his daughter's injury to provide for her long-term care. His ex-wife (the girl's mother) presented receipts for reimbursement from the trust. Morrissey appointed Deborrah Ludi Leitch as guardian ad litem, ostensibly to look after the daughter's interests and to determine whether reimbursement was appropriate. On Ludi Leitch's recommendation, Morrissey denied reimbursement. According to Weisberg, the money paid to Ludi Leitch out of the trust for her services was almost as much as the amount of the disputed receipts. In Weisberg's opinion, Morrissey could have evaluated the receipts herself, leaving more money in the trust for his daughter's future care.

What follows in the block quote below (after the jump if you're on the home page) are quotes from Weisberg; anything in brackets has been added by me for the sake of clarity.

To err is human. Mistakes will be made. Nobody's perfect.

But when a district judge errs, it's a costly mistake. The wronged party, who has already paid for attorneys in a case, must pay even more for the cost of an appeal. There are additional court costs. If the case goes to the State Supreme Court, Tulsa County residents bear the additional burden and cost of travel to Oklahoma City. Then there's the stress of waiting months or years for the final resolution of the case. If the district judge is reversed, the case will likely be remanded -- sent back to the original judge to fix the mistake and reconsider the decision. More delays, more lawyers' fees, more anxiety.

A search through the Oklahoma Bar Journal reveals District Judge Linda Morrissey, running for re-election, has committed a long list of errors that have been reversed by Oklahoma's higher courts. In at least one case, the appeals court goes so far as to say that Linda Morrissey abused her discretion.

Here are just a few of Linda Morrissey's reversals (all emphasis mine). The summaries and paraphrasing are my own; please click the links to review the original information on which my summaries are based.

Court of Civil Appeals DF - 106739: In a foreclosure case, the defendant's attorney pulls a surprise during preliminary proceedings in Linda Morrissey's chambers: He contested, for the first time, the authenticity of the note and mortgage. The bank requested a continuance, because it wasn't prepared to respond to this previously undisclosed accusation. Linda Morrissey said no. The bank offered to present a copy. Judge Morrissey said no; the bank had to have the original note. The bank said it had the original note, where it normally keeps such documents, just not in the courtroom. Morrissey awarded the defendants -- the people who didn't pay their mortgage -- $55,172.51 in court costs and attorney's fees.

The Court of Civil Appeals unanimously ruled that Linda Morrissey "abused [her] discretion" in the case. Linda Morrissey's abuse of discretion took 17 months to correct.

(Details on the case from the April 24, 2010, issue of the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Vol. 81, No. 12, p. 1106.)

In two criminal cases, State of Oklahoma vs. James Ricky Ezell III and State of Oklahoma vs. Robert Mark Stephens, the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Linda Morrissey's "'policy' of running sentences consecutively" constituted "an abuse of discretion as it incumbent upon a trial court to consider all sentencing options available."

2007 OK CIV APP 120: This involved a couple who left a sum of money to their two children, a son and a daughter, in the form of a trust. The son, who was trustee, borrowed $200,000 from the trust for himself and a business partner, with no documentation of the loans, and he concealed his share of the debt.

The son sought to get himself named personal representative of his parents' estates; and his sister, a beneficiary of the trust, objected that he was unfit "due to serious and substantial conflicts of interest, breaches of trust and self-dealing involving the sole asset of the estates," namely the $200,000 loan. He had also delegated check-writing privileges to his wife, who paid "her sister-in-law a large sum of money...." All of this was in the district court record, according to the decision of the Court of Civil Appeals.

Morrissey even denied the daughter "the opportunity to present rebuttal evidence and closing arguments."

Linda Morrissey appointed the son as personal representative, over the daughter's objection, despite "express[ing]... concern about Appellee's obligation to the Trust and his delegation of trust administration duties to his wife." The appeals court ruled: "This was error" on Morrissey's part. The evidence "clearly demonstrated [the son's] lack of integrity as that term is defined" in 58 O.S. 102. The appeals court reversed Morrissey's decision.

In this case, it took nine months to fix Linda Morrissey's mistake, from the date of her erroneous decision to the appeals court's reversal.

2008 OK CIV APP 73: A mother put a child up for adoption and relinquished her parental rights in writing. The father objected to the termination of his parental rights and although his attorney had announced at a hearing that he would agree to give up his rights if he would be allowed visitation, the father withdrew his consent to such an arrangement and never signed a permanent relinquishment. Judge Linda Morrissey went ahead and issued an order terminating the father's parental rights despite the lack of a permanent relinquishment. The appeals court unanimously ruled that Morrissey "erred as a matter of law" in issuing a termination order without the father's signed permanent relinquishment. Morrissey's error took about a year to fix.

2006 OK CIV APP 90: A man designated the adult children from his first marriage as beneficiaries of his IRA. Upon his death, his surviving spouse from a later marriage sought an injunction to keep the money from going to the children, and Linda Morrissey granted the injunction, basing her decision on Michigan law. The Court of Civil Appeals concluded that Morrissey's "grant of the preliminary injunction was erroneous as a matter of law and is VACATED." Fixing Linda Morrissey's mistake took 17 months, from the date of the erroneous injunction to the appeals court's decision.

Court of Civil Appeals DF - 106937: The Court of Civil Appeals ruled that Linda Morrissey "erred when [she] entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff after finding that Defendants' defense of lack of contract was not encompassed within the court's pre-trial conference order listing claims and defenses of the parties."

It took 17 months to correct Linda Morrissey's error.

(Details on the case from the August 21, 2010, issue of the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Vol. 81, No. 22, p. 1832.)

Court of Civil Appeals IN - 100409: The Court of Civil Appeals ruled that Linda Morrissey erroneously granted summary judgment when there were contested issues of material fact to be resolved regarding a revocable trust and will. This Morrissey mistake took 13 months to fix.

(Details on the case from the February 19, 2005, issue of the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Vol. 76, No. 7, p. 567.)

Ken Yazel for County Assessor


While I'm supporting Republicans across the board, there are a few cases where the GOP candidate has done such a faithful job in serving the taxpayers and/or represents a significant improvement over his Democratic opponent, that I want to underline and emphasize my endorsement a hundred times over. One such public servant is Ken Yazel. I am proud to endorse Ken Yazel, a true friend to the taxpayer, for re-election as County Assessor.

Yazel has at times been the lone voice at the County Courthouse raising concern about wasteful spending and deceptive budget numbers. He has been one of the few elected officials to speak publicly against tax hike initiatives like the River Tax.

Yazel has also defended taxpayer interests by insisting on fair property assessments for everyone, even the very wealthy. If someone builds a $25 million house, they ought to pay property taxes on the full amount; otherwise, property taxes go up for the rest of us to make up the difference. Because Ken Yazel stands up for all taxpayers, the very wealthy have made him a target. We need to stand up for him.

Ken Yazel has also been a great friend to public access to public records. Public means online, and Ken Yazel added to the county assessor website the ability to search the Tulsa County assessor property database online. You no longer have to go to the library to find out who owns a piece of property or how much it's worth. You no longer have to ask the County Commissioners permission and pay a monthly fee to access this public information. My story on where the named members of Save Our Tulsa live and the median value of their homes would not have been possible without this valuable research tool. Oklahoma County has had this sort of tool for many years, while most Tulsa County officials resisted. Yazel's leadership on this issue alone is enough to earn my heartiest endorsement.

Yazel's opponent, Nancy Bolzle, would be dismissed as a perennial, unsuccessful candidate if it weren't for her connection to the Money Belt social network. She's a lobbyist, and the "endorsements" page on her website consists of six lobbying clients -- four of them from other parts of the state -- commending her lobbying skills. She couldn't find anyone to say she'd be a good county assessor. She has no management experience to bring to a job that requires oversight of 90 employees. She has no background in property valuation. It appears that she is running strictly for the purpose of ending Ken Yazel's courageous, faithful service on behalf of the taxpayer.

Her "news" page has two columns, one column devoted to articles about herself, one column for Ken Yazel. Nancy Bolzle's list consists mainly of stories from Danna Sue Walker's society column in the daily paper that tells of parties she's attended. The Ken Yazel list shows him tackling substantial issues, defending the taxpayer's interest.

Bolzle's husband is a developer; it would seem to be a built-in conflict of interest for her to be in a position to set property values for ad valorem tax purposes. Her husband is defendant in a $7.2 million foreclosure action filed by Arvest Bank regarding a development in Glenpool.

This is an easy choice: We need Ken Yazel's experience, his fairness, and his commitment to the best interest of the taxpayer working for us at the County Assessor's office.

The Yazel campaign could use your help in the final 10 days of the election. Contact Ken Yazel through his website to volunteer.

MORE: Back during the primary, Ken Yazel provided a fact-filled response to mudslinging from his primary challenger.

There's an impressive crop of Republican candidates running as challengers or for open State House and State Senate seats in the Tulsa area. Each one is an accomplished individual with a great deal of life experience to bring to the Legislature. They'd also represent Oklahoma's conservative social and fiscal values at the State Capitol. Kim David (SD 18), Jadine Nollan (HD 66), and Glen Mulready (HD 68) are all running in open seats. Randall Reese (HD 72) is challenging incumbent Seneca Scott; Molly McKay (HD 78) is challenging one of the legislature's most liberal members, Jeannie McDaniel. McDaniel. McDaniel is also notable for her work at City Hall and at the State Capitol to undermine local historic preservation protections and local control of zoning.

Senate District 18: Kim David owns and operates a property management company in Wagoner. (Her opponent also lives in Wagoner.) David is married with two kids serving in the military -- a son in the Marines and a daughter in the Air Force. Here's the Tulsa Beacon profile of Kim David. SD 18 is a "Mary-mander" -- stretching from 11th and Memorial to Grand Lake, shaped to allow Mary Easley to move up from her old State House district to the Senate district once held by her son Kevin Easley. Mary Easley is at last term-limited.

House District 66: Jadine Nollan, the Republican nominee, is already an established leader in the community: president of the Sand Springs school board, executive director of the Sand Springs Community Services Council, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce. She's a graduate of Charles Page (Sand Springs) High School and OSU. Her Democrat opponent, Eli Potts, seems like an eager young man, but with little life experience (he's 21) and as a member of the minority party, he's not likely to make much of an impact for the district.

House District 68: Glen Mulready has been in the insurance business for 26 years, three years with his own business. He has served as legislative chairman (a volunteer post) for the Oklahoma State Association of Health Underwriters, so he's already had some first-hand experience dealing with the legislative process. The Tulsa Beacon profiled Glen Mulready back in May. His wife's family owns and operates Shepherd's Fold Ranch, a Christian summer camp and retreat center north of Skiatook.

House District 72: Randall Reese is the first Republican to challenge for this seat since 1996 if not earlier. He was the Republican nominee for City Council District 3 in 1996 and 1998, and ran in the free-for-all special election for that post in November 1998. An August 25, 2010, feature story in Urban Tulsa Weekly on the HD 72 race mentions that Reese, 53, is retiring after nearly three decades as active duty and reserve military. He's got an impressive background and comes across well in reporter Mike Easterling's story.

Reese said he's lived in the district most of his life and has seen it decline from a middle-class area that once was home to a number of companies offering good blue-collar jobs to a place where many residents now struggle to make ends meet.

"I'd like to see it come back," he said. "One day, it will."

Reese served as a linguist in the military, speaking German and Russian, and said he's been comfortable living in a diverse community since he spent three years residing in a Hispanic enclave in East Los Angeles after high school. He said he understands the road to progress is paved with cooperation.

"I don't fight with anybody," he said.

"But I would like to work with people. I believe in working together. I don't believe in fighting with anybody. Politicians always say they'll fight for this or they'll fight for that. Well, I've been in the military, and I know what fighting is. With all this fighting, it's no wonder we're so polarized between Democrats and Republicans."
Reese, who is pursuing his degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix, said he learned from almost three decades in the military that the only way to get most things done is through the team approach.

House District 78: Molly McKay is a patent attorney; her everyday work is with creative and innovative entrepreneurs. McKay has had her own practice since 1994. She earned her law degree in a night program. Before going into law, McKay worked in industry as an analytical chemist. She has served as president of the University of Tulsa Alumni Association and the Florence Park South Neighborhood Association. Here's the Tulsa Beacon's profile of Molly McKay.

I always have grand plans for election years: An entry on each race, setting out at length my reasons for one candidate over another, for voting for or against a ballot proposition. In years past, I've had much more time than I have this year for writing. So here we are two weeks from the election, and I've received a few polite inquiries from readers who have absentee ballots in hand and are unsure about a few of the dozens of votes they have to cast.

While I still hope to crank out some specific stories on specific races, here's the short version, the who and what, not the why.

Federal, state, and county races: Vote for the Republican. I don't always endorse the Republican nominee, but for all the races I've looked at this year, the Republican is by far the better candidate.

Judicial races (Tulsa/Pawnee Counties): Vote for the Republican challenger -- John Eagleton, Bill Musseman, Jon Patton. All three are listed first on the ballot. (If you live in a different judicial district and would like me to look up the candidates' voter registration, post a comment or shoot me an email.)

Judicial retention (Appeals Courts, Supreme Court): Vote no, and let our new conservative Republican governor fill the vacancies. (I always vote no without a compelling reason to vote yes.)

State questions: No on the fours -- 744, 754. Yes on everything else. (By the way, I think the author of the ballot language indulged in a bit of editorializing on some of the questions.)

744 (school funding tied to other states): No.
746 (voter ID): Yes.
747 (term limits for all statewide officials): Yes.
748 (composition of apportionment commission): Yes.
750 (consistent signature requirements for initiative petitions): Yes.
751 (official state actions in English): Yes.
752 (composition of judicial nominating commission): Yes.
754 (unamendable amendment on appropriation formulas ban on predetermined formulas for spending): No.
755 (courts can't consider sharia, international law in decisions): Yes.
756 (ban on Obamacare coercion): Yes.
757 (rainy day fund increase): Yes.

City of Tulsa propositions: Yes on both.

1 (city rainy day fund): Yes.
2 (fix schedule problem created by 3-year staggered council terms): Repeal would be better -- back to 2 year terms and fall, odd-year elections -- but this fix is better than the expense of funding a separate city election infrastructure.

Be the wave!

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It's highly entertaining to watch the approach of what appears to be the biggest political wave in a generation. It's fun to watch once-safe incumbents blow a gasket, demonstrate general cluelessness, or show their complete insensitivity to the problems and concerns that face their constituents. A political junkie could easily while away the day scouring the blogs for the latest news from more than 100 competitive House and Senate races.

But a political wave isn't a force of nature like a hurricane or a tsunami, a power too great to be affected by human actions. In fact, a political wave is just an aggregate of individual voter responses to the actions of candidates, parties, media, volunteers, and other voters. To push the meteorological analogies a little further: Not every tornado watch turns into a tornado warning. Conditions may be favorable for tornadoes to form, but other factors have to be at work to cause a tornado to appear. In the case of a political wave, the factors that will make the difference between a fizzle and a flood are in our hands.

There are many congressional districts this year where a smart, accomplished Republican is challenging an arrogant incumbent Democrat who is out of sync with his district. Despite a massive generic ballot advantage, Republicans will not win each of those seats. A challenger needs funds and manpower in order to introduce himself to the voters, to establish himself as a credible candidate, and to connect his opponent to the mess in Washington. That means that you and I need to get involved. We need to invest our time and treasure in making the wave happen.

Ace, head ewok at Ace of Spades HQ, wasn't content with merely chronicling the 2010 Demplosion, so he has challenged his fellow bloggers to get out from behind the keyboard and to organize and lead get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts across the country. He understands that it's the ground game that makes it possible for an insurgent challenger to beat an incumbent. He's hoping that the social aspect.

To help organize the effort, FreedomWorks has created BeTheWave2010.com. Register (it's free) and you can look over the map for Be the Wave events across the country. Find one close to you, sign up, help a great candidate, and have fun getting to know your fellow activists.

As busy as I am with family, work, and blogging, it would be easy to justify staying behind the keyboard, but from years of volunteering, I know how much person-to-person contact matters. So I've set a date and a time -- Saturday, October 30, 12 noon to 6 pm -- for a BatesLine Be the Wave event. The place is still TBD, but it will be somewhere within a short drive of Tulsa. We'll gather at noon for a bite to eat, we'll get our marching orders and materials and hit the streets. At the end of the day, we'll report back in, then find someplace nearby to swap stories over a dutch-treat dinner.

I've set up an event on Eventbrite. If you're interested and available on October 30, please sign up, so I can get a sense of the level of interest. You'll get updates as details are firmed up.

(Are you already volunteering for a candidate? Tell us all about it in the comments below.)


(Photoshop kindly provided by ExurbanJon of Exurban League, who had created similar images for Arizona's so-called Blue Dog Democrats, who are, in reality, "Pelosi's Poodles.")

The most important vote a congressman casts is the vote for Speaker. That vote determines who will control committee chairmanships, who will control the staff who write legislation, who will control the legislation that reaches the floor. Whatever marginal good Dan Boren has done with votes on individual bills, he has undone a hundred times over by his votes in 2007 and 2009 to make Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House and to keep her roster of radical leftists in charge of congressional committees. (UPDATE: Boren also voted for Pelosi in 2005.)

Boren says he's for gun rights and claims to be pro-life, but his vote for speaker keeps gun-grabber, radical pro-abortion John Conyers in control of the Judiciary Committee. Dan Boren has voted to keep Barney Frank, who deserves a great share of the blame in the housing bubble and collapse, in charge of the Financial Services committee. Dan Boren says he's for energy independence and against cap and trade, but he votes to keep radical Henry Waxman, who supports cap-and-tax and opposes expanding energy exploration in the US, in control of energy and climate legislation.

Although Oklahoma's 2nd Congressional District has a long history as a Democrat Party stronghold, the overwhelming majority of its residents are conservative. Every county in the district voted for George W. Bush over John Kerry in 2004 and for John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008.

2nd District voters need to understand that Dan Boren is betraying their values by caucusing with the Democrats in Washington and voting to give left-wing leadership control of the House of Representatives.

There's a great alternative on the 2nd District ballot this year: Republican nominee Charles Thompson, a veterinarian and Army veteran from Hulbert. Not only does Thompson support 2nd Amendment rights, domestic energy exploration, and fiscal sanity, if elected he'll vote for congressional leadership that shares those views.

Thompson is not well-funded, and the pundits don't give him much of a chance to win. But if there was ever an election year when a grassroots candidate in tune with a district's values can beat the money and famous name of an out-of-step incumbent, it's this year. To make it happen, Charles Thompson needs your volunteer time and campaign contributions, so that District 2 voters will get the message that a vote for Dan Boren is a vote for San Fran Nan and her leftist pals to continue to control Congress.

John_Eagleton_District_Judge_2010.pngThis will come as no surprise to anyone: I endorse John M. Eagleton for District Judge, in the election for Judicial District 14, Office No. 9. John Eagleton has the character, temperament, experience, and commitment to the law to serve us well as a District Judge.

Am I biased? John is a good friend of mine, but if he's elected I gain nothing personally, and I would lose the services of my attorney and an ally on the City Council. But I would benefit along with all the citizens of Pawnee and Tulsa Counties (Judicial District 14) to have John Eagleton on the bench.

John and I have known each other since the 2002 city elections, his first run for City Council and my second. He's done legal work for me, and I've done computer work for him. I've helped out with several of his legendary barbecues. I've had the opportunity to see his response to both happy and trying circumstances. John Eagleton is loyal, generous, principled, good-humored, insightful, and hard-working: Those are the character qualities that stand out in my mind.

Eagleton's extensive courtroom experience sets him apart from many attorneys who have sought a judgeship. For the last twenty years, he has handled hundreds of cases, specializing in criminal defense, family law, and general civil litigation, trying cases not only in the Tulsa County Courthouse, but across northeastern Oklahoma. Before hanging out his own shingle, Eagleton served three years as an Assistant District Attorney, giving him experience as a prosecutor to add to his many years as a defense attorney.

Eagleton's work as a City Councilor is well-known. He has served as City Council chairman, vice chairman, and over numerous council committee meetings, maintaining order in often contentious and emotionally charged circumstances.

Eagleton is arguably the most fiscally conservative member of the council, often standing alone for fiscal restraint. Back in 2006 when the city coffers were flush and no one gave a thought to the financial difficulties that were just around a corner, Eagleton proposed limiting spending growth to the growth in population and inflation.

Eagleton opposed plans like the City Hall move, which has proven to be more expensive and financially risky than its supporters promised, and the stadium assessment, a tax on downtown property owners that may yet be overturned by the courts. He was one of only three Tulsa city councilors to oppose the Tulsa County river sales tax, a stand that took courage given the tax's influential supporters and the massive amount of campaign money backing the proposal.

After years of persistent advocacy, Eagleton succeeded in bringing about the implementation of an electronic ticketing system, designed to help our police officers make better use of their time when issuing a citation. The system reduces errors in the traffic citation process, and it gets officers back on the street patrolling as quickly as possible, helping to prevent the property damage and injuries caused by reckless and unlawful driving.

In 2007, Stephen Williamson, CEO of EMSA, Tulsa's ambulance service commended Eagleton: "EMSA's statistics suggest that your work [Eagleton's 2006 proposal to boost traffic enforcement] has led to a significant reduction in the number of crash-related injuries suffered by Tulsans. Quite possibly, your efforts have saved lives."

In the interest of fair treatment for all business owners who seek city contracts and better value for Tulsa taxpayers, Eagleton pushed for funding for the City of Tulsa Disparity Study. No one is well-served if a qualified contractor is barred in some way from competing to do work for the city.

I have not always agreed with John's actions as a councilor, but when we have disagreed, I have always felt sure that his decisions were grounded in principle, not political expediency or personal advantage.

John Eagleton is also a social conservative, solidly pro-life. A committed Christian, Eagleton and his family attend First Presbyterian Church. He is a graduate of the O. W. Coburn School of Law at Oral Roberts University. He became an Eagle Scout in 1972, and he continues to be active in Boy Scouts of America Troop One. He is also an active member of the Tulsa Downtown Kiwanis Club.

Eagleton has been married for nearly 18 years to Alison Eagleton, a captain in the U. S. Navy Reserve and a Nurse Corps officer. Capt. Eagleton was mobilized for participation in Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom in response to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In 2009, she was appointed by the Navy Surgeon General to be the reserve perioperative nursing speciality leader. The Councilor and the Captain have two sons, Alex and Mark, who attend Tulsa Public Schools.

In addition to Alison's service in the Navy Reserve, the family supports the military through John Eagleton donation of his time -- more than $20,000 worth of free legal services -- to American sailors and marines being deployed in the Global War on Terror.

Prior to beginning his race for judge, Eagleton was active in local Republican politics, attending county, state, and district conventions, donating his time and money to smoke barbecue for Republican fundraisers, and filing five times as a Republican for City Council. His opponent, a registered independent, is married to a former Democratic county party chairman and two-time Democratic candidate for public office.

Some readers have objected to my mention of the political affiliation of judicial candidates, protesting that the office is non-partisan. Certainly the administration of justice should not be distorted by associational loyalties, whether political, familial, civic, religious, or social.

But there is an ideological battle in this country over the interpretation and application of the law. The conservative approach takes the law at face value, takes the language of constitution and statute as it would have been understood by those who approved it. A conservative judge respects the acts of the legislature -- even when he disagrees with them -- and does not exceed his bounds by legislating from the bench. The only reason to overturn a legislative act is when it contradicts the higher law of our Federal and state constitutions.

There is also a radical approach to law, judicial activism, in which a judge may take it upon herself to set aside the clear meaning of the law and constitution and the intent of those who ratified it if the judge believes the law fails to serve the cause of social progress (as understood by the judge).

Over the last three decades or so, supporters of the radical approach have tended to sort themselves into the Democratic Party, while supporters of the conservative approach have tended to sort themselves into the Republican Party. So it's reasonable to treat party affiliation as a strong indicator of someone's judicial philosophy, in the absence of evidence to the contrary. (Call it a rebuttable presumption.)

Do you want more strict constructionists like Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia on the U. S. Supreme Court? Do you want Federal and state appellate judges who believe in judicial restraint? Are you sick of high court judges who think of themselves as philosopher-kings anointed to propel society in a "progressive" direction over the noisy objections of the majority conservative rabble?

De-radicalizing the judiciary begins at the district court level, even though district judges rarely deal directly with the constitutionality of legislation. District judges are the pool from which state appellate judges and Supreme Court justices are chosen, the pool from which Federal judges are appointed. Deprive a radical of a seat at the county courthouse, and you've cut off her ability to advance to higher courts where there is greater scope for judicial activism. Elect a strict constructionist as district judge, and you've increased the "bench strength" of conservative jurisprudence in America.

John Eagleton's conservative, strict constructionist inclinations are clear. On his website, there is a quote from The Law by Frederic Bastiat: "It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of law into an instrument of plunder." His belief in individual liberty and limited government has been evident throughout his years of service as a Republican elected official and his advocacy of fiscal restraint at City Hall.

Eagleton's opponent, Linda Morrissey, is the incumbent in this election. Although Morrissey herself is registered to vote as an independent, her husband, John Nicks, is a former Tulsa County Democratic Party chairman and was a Democratic candidate for Oklahoma Attorney General in 1994 and Tulsa County Commission in 2002. The two younger voters listed at that address, her sons, are also registered Democrats.

In 1992, Morrissey and her husband were listed, along with another judge on this year's ballot, Kurt Glassco, by the political director of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, as expected guests at Bill Clinton's 1993 inaugural gala, an honor typically given to the most fervent supporters of the man who would later become famous for "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." Her choice not to share the surname of her husband and children may also be regarded as an ideological marker that sets her apart from the traditional views of most of her constituents.

But beyond Morrissey's political and philosophical outlook, a number of Tulsa County residents simply don't consider her a fair or competent judge. Members of courthouseforum.com gave Morrissey an aggregate grade of C, and she has received more votes than any all but one other Tulsa County judge for "Worst Judge of 2010." (CORRECTION: Morrissey is actually in second place in the race for worst.)

Morrissey's rulings have been the subject of a number of significant reversals on appeal, most recently in June 2010; the Court of Civil Appeals ruled that Morrissey's award of $10,000 in attorney fees was not authorized by state law.

At a time when Americans are expecting greater government transparency, Morrissey seems to be moving in the other direction. Earlier this year, Morrissey ordered docket information on two cases -- one involving medical negligence, one involving condemnation -- removed from the Oklahoma State Courts Network website, a move that may well serve as precedent for other judges to block the basic details of cases from public view.

There are more stories to be told, more reversed cases to be reviewed over the next four weeks.

I believe that Linda Morrissey should be turned out of office by Tulsa and Pawnee County voters. I believe that John Eagleton would make an excellent district judge, and I urge you to give him your support and your vote on November 2.

MORE: I've just created a Facebook page for John Eagleton for District Judge -- show your support by clicking that Like button (see above). If you want to show your support in a more traditional way, John Eagleton yard signs are now available.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma Election 2010 category from October 2010.

Oklahoma Election 2010: September 2010 is the previous archive.

Oklahoma Election 2010: November 2010 is the next archive.

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