Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sequester Effects on Secretary of Defense, OU's Max Westheimer Airport Control Tower Plus Norman City Council Elections

We have the Secretary of Defense taking a pay cut but not members of Congress?  When are members of Congress going to give back a portion of their pay to stand with their employees?  
From Reuters:  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will take a voluntary pay cut as a show of solidarity with Pentagon employees who will have to take unpaid time off over the coming months, a Defense Department spokesman said on Tuesday. 
Hagel will give back the equivalent of 14 days' pay to the government, Pentagon spokesman George Little said. That would come to about $10,750, based on Hagel's salary of $199,700.

"My understanding is that there is a legal way to actually write a check, if you will, back to the U.S. Treasury," Little told reporters. 
Most of the Pentagon's 800,000 civilian employees will have to take 14 days of unpaid leave as it implements more than $40 billion in spending cuts before the fiscal year ends on September 30 as part of a blunt budget-cutting effort known as "the sequester" that will affect a broad range of government operations. 
Republicans and Democrats set up the sequester in 2011 as a worst-case scenario that would force them to find other ways to narrow trillion-dollar budget deficits, but they have been unable to do so. 
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and David Alexander; Editing by Eric Walsh)
We have the Secretary of Defense taking a pay cut but not members of Congress?  When are members of Congress going to give back their pay to stand with their employees?  In fact members of the House should be refunding money to the US Treasury with their three-day work week Republican leadership has  implemented for 2013 since Republican are in control.

Then there is the part of Republicans going after Obama's daughters for taking a spring break vacation while the members of Congress are on another vacation - third of the year - first one coming ten days into session - all House vacations paid for by taxpayers.  House plans only 109 work days for 2013.  Let's see how that breaks out -- there are 260 days in a five-day work week and 156 days in a three-day week for the year and the House is not going to work even half of the 5-day and only 69% of the 3-day work week.

Why are the members of the House getting full pay and expenses?  Yet they have the nerve to keep holding sequestration hostage so other people have to take pay cuts while wealthy donors keep their tax loopholes.  Republicans are showing more each day they could less about the average American which makes the GOP outreach DOA as far as most of us are concerned.  Actions/words speak louder then GOP rhetoric.

Another story crossed the wire yesterday in a Press Release from the University of Oklahoma that they will be funding the Max Westheimer Control Tower during this time of sequestration:

OU To Keep Max Westheimer Tower Open
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             
CONTACT: Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701 
NORMAN – University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren today announced that OU will provide bridge funding to keep the Max Westheimer Tower open and operating until budget issues are resolved in Washington. 
Non-appropriated auxiliary funds will be used by the University to provide the resources to staff the tower from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 
“OU has one of the top aviation education programs across the nation and internationally,” Boren said.  “It is one of only 29 programs accredited by the AABI (Aviation Accreditation Board International).  
“The OU program is expected to continue to grow rapidly,” Boren said.  “Our first concern is the safety of our student pilots.  Max Westheimer is one of the busiest airports in Oklahoma.  It has almost 60,000 take-offs and landings annually, almost half the number of Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers Airport.” 
Ken Carson, Director of OU’s Aviation program, said, “The department and most importantly, our students are very pleased by the support of the University and the announcement by President Boren.  We have always viewed our flight operations at Westheimer as a holistic safety management approach, and air traffic control services are key to safe, orderly and efficient operations for both OU aircraft and the General Aviation aircraft which use Westheimer.” 
Boren also said that maintaining a tower-controlled airport is of great importance to the community and is an important contribution by the University to Norman’s economic development.  
John Woods, President and CEO of the Norman Chamber of Commerce, said  “The University’s and President Boren’s commitment to the Norman community has always been above and beyond.  Providing bridge funding for the contract tower program at Max Westheimer Airport proves that commitment to not only the crucial flight programs at OU but for the direct economic benefits our airport provides Norman.  This is just another example of the great partnership Norman has with the University of Oklahoma and why we are grateful for the OU presence in our community.”  
While Republicans complain about contract control towers shutting down for their wealthy donors, University of Oklahoma President David Boren acts to find a way to insure the Max Westheimer tower stays operational.  President Boren is a former US Senator and Oklahoma Governor who understands how Government should work as he was a Senator in the days when both sides worked together for the good of the Country.  This is the perfect example of the difference between a long time Democrat who reacts by doing what is necessary to keep the tower open versus whine from the Republicans who caused the sequester to go in effect as Speaker Boehner said he got 98% of what they wanted with the sequester agreement which means the Republicans own sequester.

Now Republicans try to blame the sequester on President Obama.  How dumb do Republicans think the American people are?  We understand very well that Republicans in Congress refuse to close loopholes which allow the wealthy and large businesses to pay a lower tax rate then the average American.  Obama and Democrats want loopholes closed for the wealthy -- the GOP in Congress for the most part says NO!  Yet these obstructionists want to blame Obama for sequester going into effect.  The President warned the GOP there would be dire consequences but the GOP went right ahead with their stubbornness and obstructionist tactics.

Yesterday in the City of Norman where I live, we reelected Mayor Cindy Rosenthal for a third term. That was not shocking as her GOP opponent sent out some of the nastiest fliers I have ever witnessed and over the years I have witnessed a lot of nasty ones.  Don't think her opponent could tell the truth if he had to after those fliers that could be picked apart easily.  My neighbor supported the GOP candidate while I supported Cindy for the third time.  Know a lot of Republican women who supported her the first time and that has grown over the years with both GOP men and women supporting her because the local GOP has been fielding such bad candidates.  Guess we also had a Liberty candidate who I never heard of until I saw his signs yesterday and looked him up.  Together the two opponents could not get enough votes together in this non-partisan election to beat our Mayor.

Still remember the first election when I was attacked for supporting Cindy Rosenthal who is a Democrat as it was unpatriotic for me to support her.  It was actually very easy to support her as the GOP candidate had only recently started voting and was a developer - both rule out my support for any Mayor's candidate.  GOP has given up on me today as I refuse to attend any functions or give them support in any way.

What I found interesting was the three incumbents who were defeated were Republicans.  That is what happens across the board when you run negative campaigns instead of what you want to do for the City of Norman.  When your fliers are filled with lies like the ones from the GOP candidate for Mayor, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of voters.  Some of the Republicans in my neighborhood refuse to vote for any Republicans because of the hard right GOP here in OK and around the Country.

One neighbor told me that we need to start at the local level and build a coalition to get the obstructionist GOP out of the way at all levels.  We share the same sentiments that the Tea Party, John Birchers, Republican Assemblies and Militia have been bad for the GOP with taking it too hard right.  We now call ourselves centrist because conservative no longer works as we decided we cannot support the hard right GOP or the social issues of today's GOP with their war on women, gays, education, etc.

After talking to my neighbor earlier, I decided to call some Republicans I know in Norman today to ask them if what the GOP in DC is doing on sequester by holding it hostage to keep tax loopholes for wealthy donors affected their vote for Mayor and City Council. Made ten calls and 9 out 10 said it had an effect as they are sick and tired of Republicans at all levels.  The tenth person was already supporting Rosenthal and like me didn't have a city council election.

Are the City of Norman elections a sample of what is to come in 2014?  Mine is not scientific but I do know a lot of mad Republicans at the hard right track of the GOP on many issues including sequester and not closing tax loopholes for the wealthy.  Know others who have already left the party - we do have one thing in common -- we refuse to vote for the GOP in 2014.  With the GOP candidates coming forward like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruze, you can extend that voting Democrat to 2016 as well.

Congratulations to Mayor Rosenthal on winning re-election.  She is the best Mayor of any place I have lived in my life.  She wants what is best for all Norman residents not just a few. Must admit I breathed a sigh of relief last night when I saw the results as she was ahead the entire evening.  Now Norman can continue to move forward not backward.

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