Pull Your Oar or Get Out of the Boat

The other day Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett paid a visit to Tulsa to speak about his life and concerns for the state.  Oklahoma City, unlike Oklahoma, has had a succession of great mayors who joined with the private sector to rebuild their city.  Most people point to the bombing as the turnaround point for Oklahoma City.  The city took a major blow to the chops, but got up and pulled together.

I am a bit more selfish and want to share in their success.  To me it was a Tulsa-raised governor, Frank Keating who showed Oklahoma City residents that they were special and how to channel their compassion and fight to make their city great.  Today, if you are not in the boat and pulling totally for Oklahoma City – then get out.  Our state needs a huge dose of Oklahoma City medicine.  That is why many Oklahomans want Mayor Cornett to run for governor.  Mayor Cornett is not a clown and can get out of bed and go to work, which Governor Henry had so much difficulty in doing.

Anyway, at the Cornett visit, the mayor told an Israeli story.  It seemed that an American statesman was watching a military training exercise in which soldiers would rescue fallen comrades.  The diplomat watched as large troopers had no difficulty in picking up smaller soldiers and taking them off the field.  This was not the case when smaller men tried to save larger people.

The lesson was not lost on the American diplomat.  His view was what happened on the field was actually a problem in most states.  The problem is that the private sector is being asked to carry huge bloated government.  This is exactly what Oklahoma faces today – too much city, county and state government coupled with an education monopoly that produces poorly educated graduates, but wants ever more money for a job done badly.

Mayor Cornett told a story he learned in Montana when the National Mayor’s Association met in the state. Mayor Cornett was chairman of that group.

Well, at one of their meetings Montana officials referred to their state as urban.  “Big Sky Country” as urban?  They actually are since they do not have all the small towns that Oklahoma does.  We have hundreds of bergs with 2,500 or less residents.  They can’t pay their way and must rely on others in the state.  They can’t even pay for their public schools.

Oklahoma wastes so much money trying to maintain a system that doesn’t work.  We don’t need 77 counties and 515 school districts.  We don’t need all the school administrators who are non-classroom teachers and we certainly don’t need to raise taxes to support a bloated, ineffective and perpetual government.

In his op-ed piece, John Tidwell, former senior aide to Congressman John Sullivan and now state director for Americans for Prosperity, reminds Oklahomans that the non-teaching workforce at Oklahoma colleges and universities is 61 percent higher than the national average.  If we brought that figure in line with other states, the savings would be $328 million.  Why can’t we just do it?

We don’t need new taxes, we need reforms.  There are too many Oklahoma special interests in the boat dragging their oars.  You can’t win the race when half of the oars are bent straight down or as they say turn turtle.  The private sector which has no mandatory retirement system unlike state government can’t be expected to carry useless government that cannot reform anything.