The Edmond Sun

Opinion

February 8, 2013

In the shadow of the skyline

EDMOND — Oklahoma City is a vibrant, dynamic city. MAPS, new businesses and the NBA Thunder have reinvigorated a once almost vacant downtown. This city now boasts Bricktown, the Peake, a new library, the renovated Deep Deuce, the Oklahoma River and the landmark Devon Tower. Once only a destination for commuters from the suburbs, Oklahoma City is on the move and on the map. For most residents, it is a great place to live.

We take pride in our city emerging as a model for others, yet just beyond the lights of the skyline there is serious unfinished business.

Many living only blocks away see the skyline daily, but what it stands for in economic prosperity seems a million miles away, hopelessly out of reach. The skyline casts long shadows of darkness for those in poverty. Their days are marked by immeasurable challenges including hunger and homelessness. Our city’s success is remarkable, but for these folks it is a reality they only dream of. The Devon Tower symbolizes the strength of commerce. Companies like it employ thousands. But for those in the shadows, any job, any help would do.

Strong and compassionate people, we unite in crisis, whether the tragedy of the 1995 Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing or havoc wrecked by weather. We lift ourselves and each other up and go forward together. This is evident by the changes in the skyline. Our focus has been developing greatness. But in the neighborhoods nearby, we seem to have forgotten folks in the depths of poverty. To change their plight is our most important challenge. Then we can claim greatness as a city.

Out of sight and out of mind, public education is under siege by shortages of money, low teachers’ salaries and lack of resources for hungry and homeless children. For these kids, schools are their only lifeline. Ninety-eight percent of our city’s 42,000 school children are on free and reduced lunch. This is a cancer at the core of Oklahoma City. Unless we address this problem, the skyline is only a facade. Our success is incomplete. School officials are dedicated to teaching these children but are also called to ensure students are fed and to act as caregivers and caretakers. On weekends, many students leave uncertain of bare essentials. Teachers are unsung heroes, committing their life’s work to these children. We must do the same. Shame on us if we do not try. These children need our help. We must choose to recognize it. It is unacceptable to ignore it.

Oklahoma City can truly emerge as a magnet for new business, entertainment and expansion by solving underlying burning issues of poverty and education. We can do this. These families’ future and ours is intertwined in the classrooms, not the streets. Opportunity fosters unforeseeable positive change. Building a great city is also about making a larger difference in people’s circumstances. We can offer hope equaling the impact of our beautiful skyline. For us now, legacy in constructing lives is as important as constructing buildings.

PHIL G. BUSEY SR., an Edmond resident, is chairman and CEO of The Busey Group of Companies and DRG, an Oklahoma City-based defense contractor.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results