OKLA. CITY —
To the Editor:
In a recent column, Oklahoma Rep. Jason Murphy (“How a no vote solved gas tax problem,” The Edmond Sun, April 30, 2013) commended the wise and educated voters of Oklahoma for seeing through the 2005 fuel tax increase and demanding more action of our state policy makers. With the recent work of our elected officials, along with the Department of Transportation, our roads and bridges have seen much improvement during the past couple of years.
I have seen first-hand Oklahoma’s policy makers roll up their sleeves and demand the government use the designated motor vehicle tax revenue to improve our state’s structurally deficient roads and bridges and I praise them for their work.
Because our legislators have had to be more resourceful with funds, there is more competition among those providing services within the roads and bridges construction industry. Member companies of the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors (AOGC) are taking all possible steps to ensure roads and bridges are built and rebuilt better than ever, faster than ever and for the absolute best deal. This work is in direct response to Oklahoma’s policy makers who have demanded our money be spent in the way it was intended without increasing taxes.
The work of Rep. Murphy and Oklahoma legislators has been one of dedication and hard work. Both member companies of AOGC and residents and visitors alike are noticing their time and efforts on this issue.
Working alongside the Department of Transportation on the Eight Year Improvement Plan, Oklahoma’s road and bridges are certain to be transformed within a timely manner using already allocated funds, without taking more money out of the hands of Oklahomans.
BOBBY STEM is executive director of the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors.
OKLA. CITY —
To the Editor:
Compromise to the rescue
Washington is trying to rescue itself. The Republican method is too much compromise that’s still better than none. President Barack Obama’s strategy is policy sleights of hand and staff shuffles. While no piece of this takes us where we need to go, the GOP at least is stumbling in the right direction.
Let’s visit first with the negative side of what Republicans did. Backing a deal done between the budget chairs of the House and Senate, House Republicans agreed to still more excessive federal spending that is also excessive national jeopardy.
Ethiopian Jews fly into Israel
Edie Roodman, who serves as the director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City, recently gave a presentation on the African Jews of Ethiopia and their flight into Israel. The presentation took place at the Federation’s Oklahoma City Office, and Roodman explained that Ethiopian Jews, who are known as “Falashas,” believe that they are the descendants of the son born to the Ethiopian Princess Sheeba and fathered by King Solomon’s palace and the Jewish princes who accompanied her on her journey back to Ethiopia after she left Solomon’s Kingdom.
Those princes married local Ethiopian woman, the Falasha’s maintain, and created a Jewish community in that African nation. But Roodman reported that scholars in Israel believe that the Falashas are in fact the descendants of the lost tribe of Israel known as “Dan.”
For higher costs, go ahead and restrict exports
On his recent trip to Warsaw, Secretary of State John Kerry heard arguments for expanding U.S. natural gas exports to Poland. Polish officials made the case that letting liquefied natural gas flow from the United States to Poland would benefit European economies as well as the environment.
When it comes to lifting restrictions on gas exports, U.S. officials shouldn’t need convincing. If policymakers want to continue denying our economy the benefits of free trade, they should be the ones to explain why.
The most unscrupulous lobbying technique
Last week I described the abuse by which various area government entities have been designing construction specifications so as to limit competition and award a specific vendor. This drives up the cost to you the taxpayer. You may read that article at http://tinyurl.com/paaqa2y.
Bringing fairness to both children and felons
Let me go out on a limb here and make a statement that is categorically true in all places, at all times.
Seeking a ‘more perfect Union’
A recent opinion column needs a response (“Govern Locally and Protect Liberty” by Rep. Lewis Moore, Edmond Sun Opinion, Dec. 7, 2013).
Readmission to hospitals accounts for majority of health care costs
The holidays are a time of family, friends, traditions and gratitude. When a loved one has a terminal illness, the season can also mean added stress, fatigue, and financial burdens. Most families would not want to spend the holiday season in and out of an emergency room, yet nearly one in five Medicare beneficiaries is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of release. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, this translates to $17.4 billion in Medicare spending on patients whose return trips could have been avoided.
HealthCare.gov: A Bad First Impression
It’s often been said that you never have a second chance to make a first impression. During the launch of HealthCare.gov more than two months ago, the majority of Americans experienced a terrible first impression of the Affordable Care Act and its ability to deliver what the president had promised since its passage.
Good or bad, it is incredibly difficult to change a person’s opinion or feeling on something. As noted pundit Peggy Noonan said during ABC’s “This Week,” “Even programs can get reputations. You can get a sense that something isn’t working.” The initial problems with the website, including its inability to handle high traffic, error messages, long wait times and reported security issues, is a perfect example of a poor first impression. Now it continues to cause many to distrust the website.
One of my constituents recently shared, “I am afraid to even use the website because my personal information might get hacked.” Another said, “Even if the site would work properly, I do not agree with Obamacare.” I’ve received many other emails and stories from people who distrust the federal government’s ability to run and manage healthcare. In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll, 52 percent of Americans still think the law should be modified or repealed.
Editor stranded in ice storm experiences truest form of humanity
A foolish drive left me alone with my car stuck on a steep hill of a back road, covered in ice with temperatures falling into the low 20s. But as is the case with any horror story, heroes emerged to aid the helpless.
Downtown development could bring north, south sides together
Peter Ackroyd is a British historian who has written extensively about the city of London. One of his most recent works, “Thames: The Biography” details the extensive role that that waterway has played in the history of the United Kingdom.
The word Thames is one of the oldest names recorded in England, Ackroyd reports, and may owe its origins to the ancient Celtic word for running water. Julius Caesar constructed a bridge over the Thames in 54 BC to facilitate his invasion of the British Isles, and it was on the banks of the Thames at Runnymede where King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215.
When Queen Elizabeth II commemorated her 50 years on the British throne several years ago by leading a regatta down the Thames, she was part of a thousand-year-old tradition of British monarchs sailing on that waterway.
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