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
  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • RedBlueAmerica: What should the U.S. do about illegal immigrant children?

    The crisis along the southern U.S. border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all.
    President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in borrowed money from taxpayers to cover the growing “care, feeding and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups” when our own veterans are not taken care of. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized the president’s plan, saying more money should go toward securing the border.

    July 17, 2014

  • VA scandal highlights the need to change Pentagon spending priorities

    The ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal raises an important question: When our veterans are being denied access to basic health care, why is the Pentagon squandering billions of dollars on programs that do not benefit our military forces? Is there a link in organization attitudes?

    July 16, 2014

  • For better politics, it’s time for some raging moderates

    Like more than 20 percent of my fellow Californians, I am now classified as a no-party-preference voter, registered to vote but with no affiliation to any of the state’s political parties.
    I am for lower taxes and for marriage equality. I am tough on crime and I am anti-abortion. I believe that a pathway to citizenship is a necessary part of immigration reform and that student test scores should be a critical component of teacher evaluations.

    July 15, 2014

  • Father on mission to stop gun violence

    Since his son died six weeks ago as collateral damage to a troubled young man’s wish for vengeance, Richard Martinez has been asked whom he holds responsible.
    “I’m responsible,” the California lawyer answers, referring to most Americans’ failure to push harder to change gun laws after earlier mass shootings. “All those kids died and none of us did anything.”

    July 14, 2014

  • The Kansas City Star: Obama must end the public information barriers

    Mr. President, you have a public information problem. Again. Several months ago, journalism organizations complained about a lack of access for news photographers to pertinent presidential events.

    July 14, 2014

Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
     View Results