The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord Everest, member at large; J.E. McReynolds, Opinion editor; Owen Canfield III. chief editorial writer; and Ray Carter, editorial writer.

To submit a letter to the editor, go to this page or email yourviews@opubco.com.

Top Stories


  • Fixing the U.S. tax code would solve the inversion 'problem'

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Aug 20, 2014

    Tax inversions were all the rage, but now that they’ve enraged liberals and outraged President Barack Obama, the trend may slow. Inversion involves an American multinational company moving its headquarters offshore to avoid a system that taxes U.S.-based multinationals at 35 percent on whatever they earn worldwide, not just on what they earn here. The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. This is one of just seven countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that assess taxes based on global rather than domestic income. The average is 24 percent, or 11 percentage points lower than in the U.S. No wonder inversions are appealing.

  • Want salt with that food fad?

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Aug 20, 2014

    Sodium has been under assault for years. Fast-food chains have been peppered with criticism over high-fat, high-calorie offerings that, when seasoned with a toy giveaway, supposedly put children on a path toward poor health. What’s a fast-food company executive to do these days when: Researchers suddenly proclaim low-salt diets aren’t optimal to health? Burger King’s healthy choice “Satisfries” are so unpopular that they’re yanked from the menu? The same chain’s chicken fries are brought back by popular demand? Not all Burger King outlets are dethroning Satisfries, but enough are to make a splash in the frying vat.

  • Oklahoma budgeting omissions add some perspective to 'shortfall' claims

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Aug 19, 2014

    RECENT reports show that, once again, Oklahoma’s economy is doing fairly well. That’s a bit of a problem for lawmakers because it’s becoming impossible to ignore the disconnect between reports of economic growth and simultaneous claims of state budget “shortfalls.” A report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows Oklahoma’s per-person consumer spending soared nearly 16 percent from 2009 to 2012. In Oklahoma, per-person spending was $31,391 in 2012, compared with $27,154 in 2009. Only North Dakota did better, with an increase of 28 percent during the same period. Both states are benefiting from energy booms. On average, people have more to spend in Oklahoma today than they did just a few years ago.

  • For Oklahoma City school district, hope is the only choice

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    OKLAHOMA City asked a lot of Dave Lopez. He delivered much in return. His on-the-clock time with Oklahoma City Public Schools ended Aug 8. The school board sent Lopez out with a resolution that aptly captured what he accomplished in what must have simultaneously felt like a very long and a very short year. The board praised him for accomplishing “many notable goals” in temporarily running the largest school district in the state. Lopez, the board said, reorganized and streamlined operations, secured a new administrative building, built partnerships with the community, restored trust and confidence in the district and helped fill the chief operating officer and superintendent posts.

  • Language debate one of many issues dividing Americans

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Aug 18, 2014

    AMONG the many issues dividing Americans today is something that many Americans believe shouldn’t divide us at all. It’s language. English isn’t the “official language” of these United States. This nation has no official language, but a majority of states — including Oklahoma — do. The key word here isn’t language but “official.” In 2010, Oklahoma voters decided 11 state questions, including four that, at the time, we referred to as “ideological benders.” State Question 755 was proposed as a means of barring Oklahoma courts from using international or Sharia law when deciding cases. SQ 751 was a constitutional amendment to require that all “official” state business be conducted in English. SQ

  • 'Marshall Plan for Energy' offers strategy that would ease Russia's clout

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Sat, Aug 16, 2014

    THE list of international crises and conflicts is so long these days, and so rapidly changing, that it’s hard to tell the players without a program. How quickly the unrest in Crimea and Ukraine was overtaken by the news from Gaza and Iraq and then, back to Ukraine, the downing of a passenger airline. In the words of Mark P. Mills, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, “Europe is steaming toward a new Cold War with Russia and dragging America along in its geopolitical bow wake.” When Vladimir Putin flexed his muscles earlier this year, we urged U.S. officials to help lessen European dependence on oil and gas supplied by Russia. This dependence is one factor in the tepid response by Euro-pean powers to the shoot-down

  • Talking about mental health issues needs to become routine in Oklahoma

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Aug 17, 2014

    EVERY now and then, news events remind us of the fallout from mental illness — a spate of suicides among high schoolers, a man kills several family members including an infant, a doctor who’s convinced that his son is possessed by the devil stabs the boy to death. Robin Williams’ suicide was another jarring reminder. Authorities say Williams hanged himself in his California home. A brilliant comic and accomplished actor, Williams, 63, had long acknowledged his fight with depression and substance abuse. That step — admitting he needed help for mental illness — is one that too many people won’t take. The stigma tied to needing help for your brain remains a major hurdle. There’s a feeling of shame attached.

  • ScissorTales: Severe weather warnings, by degree

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Aug 16, 2014

    THE federal government classifies drought severity into five categories. The Fujita scale for measuring tornadoes has six levels. Hurricanes are rated from 1-5 by the Saffir-Simpson scale. Earthquakes have their own rating system. Heck, even the Mohs Scale we heard about in Geology 101 puts a number to the hardness of minerals, from 1 to 10. What the above have in common is that they measure what is or what was rather than what could be. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center is partly in the business of predicting what could be. It issues forecasts for severe weather potential using three threat levels. Make that five, beginning Oct. 22.

  • State inmates in county jails: A problem that sheriff's don't mind

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Aug 15, 2014

    A financial pickle that many county jails in Oklahoma find themselves in provides an example of how difficult it can be to change a long-established government practice. For years, these jails have housed inmates who were convicted of state crimes. They should be serving their time in state prisons, but they’re held locally until space becomes available in those state prisons. Over time what in theory should have been (and probably was at first intended to be) a temporary fix has become a regular practice. Consequently, county jails now rely on the money that the state Department of Corrections pays them to house DOC inmates. When they formulate their budgets each year, sheriffs automatically build in the amount expected

  • Oklahoma workers' comp panel needs to get troubles behind it, quickly

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    DURING a meeting last week of the new state Workers’ Compensation Commission, Assistant Attorney General Neal Leader told members that the agency had experienced “a lot of growth pains.” That was putting it mildly. The commission has been embroiled in controversy the past several weeks, primarily regarding the way it has conducted its meetings — specifically, its use of executive session to deal with issues that should have been dealt with in public. Part of the blame belongs with the attorney general’s office: One of its attorneys gave commission members bad advice. That attorney subsequently was fired. Another problem, as commission Chairman Troy Wilson put it, is that complying with the state’s Open Meeting Act

  • Citizens, economy feeling the pain of Dodd-Frank

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Aug 14, 2014

    THIS year many congressional candidates are focused on Obamacare, federal debt and deficit spending. These are important and worthwhile campaign issues. But Republican candidates should also focus on the negative impact of the Dodd-Frank financial “reform” law. Passed in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, the law was purportedly designed to prevent irresponsible banking practices and future bank bailouts. In practice, though, the law is perpetuating the “too big to fail” status of the nation’s largest banks while reducing citizens’ access to capital. In Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, this issue hits home for the Republicans facing off in the Aug. 26 runoff, Patrice Douglas and Steve Russell.

  • EPA regulations provide little long-term benefit

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Aug 13, 2014

    FEDERAL regulations are often touted as necessary to improve the environment. Yet many such regulations generate more economic harm than environmental enhancement. That certainly appears to be the case with the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent actions. OG&E and state officials challenged the EPA’s “regional haze” efforts, taking their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. They ultimately lost. The courts ruled the EPA could reject far more sensible state-developed compliance plans and impose more draconian measures.

  • Old West event recalls a time when self-reliance carried the day

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Aug 12, 2014

    WHAT a scene it was: Honest-to-goodness cowboys on horseback driving longhorn cattle through the middle of Dodge City, a town that many consider to be the center of America’s Wild West culture. How long’s it been since this scene played out? A hundred and fifty years or so? Actually, it was earlier this month. Dodge City Days is an annual celebration in the western Kansas locale, commemorating the rich Western heritage of a frontier town that was the inspiration for television’s long-running oater series “Gunsmoke.” The cattle drive, the first major one since the 1880s, is a new wrinkle added by organizers hoping to capture more attention for the town and more tourism dollars.

  • U.S. still has major role to play in an ever dangerous world

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Aug 12, 2014

    PRESIDENT Barack Obama is dealing, albeit reluctantly, with a dangerous situation in Iraq, where the Kurdish region of the country is under siege from militants of the Islamic State group. It’s one of many places in the world that demand strong U.S. influence, even if this president would prefer to look inward, not outward. Obama has been easing U.S. influence and involvement internationally throughout his six years in office, convinced that this country had involved itself for far too long in the affairs of other countries. So we got out of Iraq, we’re getting out of Afghanistan, we’re cutting our military — and the bad guys are noticing.

  • As Uber arrives, Oklahoma City Council being asked “level the playing field”

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Aug 11, 2014

    WHAT happens when an irresistible smartphone app meets a moving object? You get the kind of controversy that pits Uber and similar providers against established taxi and limousine services. Uber lets riders use an app to summon and pay without cash for a means of transport. It’s just one of many instances where a social trend overtakes an established practice and threatens those offering a similar service in a traditional way. A comparable situation is seen in the phenomenal popularity of food trucks. Restaurants with fixed walls and overhead lose business to the upstart, mobile food vendors. Some of those restaurants responded by getting their own food trucks.

  • Transparency failures highlighted in new GAO report

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Aug 11, 2014

    GOVERNMENT transparency has long been among our priorities. But for transparency to occur, officials must be required to report information and their efforts must be monitored to ensure compliance. A new report by the Government Accountability Office shows why constant review is so important. In 2006, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, teamed with then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., to author the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. That law required the creation of a single website to publicly report most federal spending. To strengthen the law, Coburn was later part of a bipartisan group authoring legislation to augment reporting requirements. A new report by the GAO shows federal agencies have substantially

  • Rail car crackdown could slow or alter North American energy boom

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Aug 10, 2014

    ALL those “unsafe” cars on the road these days are causing angst and leading to billions of dollars in liability costs while prompting an aggressive government crackdown. The cars in question carry oil. The roads they run on are made of steel. The crackdown? It’s on track to slow or alter the North American energy boom, which has particular implications for the Oklahoma economy. As long as the new scrutiny of oil transport focuses on safety and emphasizes disclosure rather than curtailment, the effort deserves support. Our concern is that the scrutiny will morph from oversight into overreaction. General Motors and other carmakers are reeling from defects that have led to fatal accidents. More than 95 million

  • Revised 'arrestee DNA' bill has merit if narrowly tailored

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Aug 10, 2014

    STATE Rep. Lee Denney has led efforts to expand DNA testing in order to help Oklahoma law enforcement solve violent crimes. The Republican-controlled Legislature hasn’t gone along yet. Might that change in 2015? Denney, R-Cushing, hopes so. She’ll use an interim study this fall to further investigate the idea and try to gauge support. She has a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on her side. In that 5-4 ruling in a Maryland case, the court said it’s OK for police to take a DNA swab from persons arrested for felonies. The law in Maryland allows for DNA collection if a person is charged and a judge has found probable cause that he or she committed a crime. Twenty-eight states have laws that allow for “arrestee DNA”

  • ScissorTales: SHINE program a winner for Oklahoma County

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Aug 9, 2014

    A small effort to keep low-risk offenders out of the Oklahoma County jail by sprucing up blighted areas of the community is getting bigger all the time. SHINE (Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere) began in 2010, led by Republican District 2 County Commissioner Brian Maughan. Low-risk, nonviolent offenders who are given community service as part of their sentence are put to work clearing brush, removing graffiti and hauling away trash. The program has saved expenditures at the county jail — about $1.5 million per year — and transformed some parts of the county. Many areas are safer as a result of drug dealers and prostitutes being driven out.

  • Anti-texting legislation long overdue in Oklahoma

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Aug 8, 2014

    AN editor at USA Today wrote this week about getting struck from behind as he drove along a Virginia highway on his way home from work. The other driver was speeding. She admitted to being engrossed in a conversation with a friend when she smashed into his vehicle. “Whether by phone or text, it matters not,” John Siniff wrote. He also noted, “I’m one of the lucky ones.” Michael Youngs wasn’t so lucky. Youngs, 46, died Monday night after parts of an Oklahoma City pizza parlor fell on him. Police say a motorist dropped her phone while driving and as she reached to try to pick up the phone, the van drifted out of its lane, traveled through an intersection, jumped a curb and smashed into the building.