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; Scott Briggs, Vice President of Administration, OPUBCO Communications Group; Owen Canfield, Opinion editor; and Ray Carter, chief editorial writer.

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


  • Income 'inequality' focus is misguided and destructive

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Aug 2, 2015

    AMONG those on the political left, it’s fashionable to decry “income inequality.” They mistakenly assume any growth in top incomes comes at the expense of those at the bottom. New data released by the liberal Economic Policy Institute (EPI) inadvertently demonstrates why efforts to reduce income inequality are a path to nowhere. Historically, whenever the gap between the nation’s highest and lowest earners declines, it’s the result of economic downturn or recession. Any ideology that views the Great Depression with economic nostalgia is missing the point. Consider this: The EPI’s data shows the national share of all income held by the top 1 percent of earners rose to around 25 percent in the 1920s, but declined to

  • For Boeing and others, Oklahoma offers friendly skies

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Aug 2, 2015

    IN 1986, Boeing chose an energy-dependent city near an Air Force base as the site for a new maintenance facility promising a massive payroll. Oklahoma City competed hard for the project. We didn’t get it. The honor instead went to Lake Charles, La.  It was the first of three instances when an aerospace giant came courting but left Oklahoma as a bridesmaid.  At a time when it was abundantly clear that the state economy was overly dependent on oil and gas, the city desperately needed a game changer. It just got one — again — from Boeing itself. The Wednesday groundbreaking on an $80 million facility near Tinker Air Force Base represents an uplifting bookend to the heartbreaking announcement by the company in

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Solid quake policies in place

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Aug 1, 2015

    OKLAHOMA experienced a powerful earthquake when a 4.5-magnitude quake occurred near Crescent on Monday. Reaction to the event was strong as well, and we’re not talking about immediate Twitter feedback. On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission announced that two disposal wells in the Crescent area had been shut in, and a third had reduced its injection volume. This is an example of policy working as intended and of energy companies acting responsibly, although skeptics will prefer to look at it as a case of these companies simply trying to cover their backsides. The Corporation Commission said the operators of Devon Energy Production Co. LP and Stephens Energy Group LLC acted voluntarily.

  • Long past time to remove ban on U.S. oil exports

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Jul 31, 2015

    SAY this for the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran, which has received a chilly reception from many in Congress: It has provided momentum to lift this country’s obsolete ban on petroleum exports. During a news conference Wednesday, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner noted that, “If the administration wants to lift the (oil export) ban for Iran, certainly the United States should not be the only country left in the world with such a ban in place.” In Oklahoma, state finance secretary Preston Doerflinger said the proposal to ease sanctions on the sale of oil by Iran is cause for concern, especially because overproduction of foreign oil and this country’s export ban have contributed to declines in

  • On highway bill, more can kicking by Congress

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Jul 30, 2015

    IT was wishful thinking a few weeks back to believe Congress might, for the first time in a decade, pass a long-term highway funding bill. The standard fallback — a short-term extension — seems to be the option of choice once again, sorry to say. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has been trying since late June to get his six-year highway bill approved before Friday, when current highway funding expires and lawmakers head home for their August recess. Inhofe said this week that his bill has about as much bipartisan support as anything Congress will take up. Yet it also has unanswered questions about how it will be financed, and firm opposition in the House, thus

  • Oklahoma court challenges are likely over city limits drilling law

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Jul 30, 2015

    THIS year lawmakers attempted to strike a balance between economic development and reasonable regulation of drilling activities in city limits. It appears those efforts have fallen short, meaning court challenges and continued legal revisions are likely. Senate Bill 809 was meant to prevent cities from implementing a ban on drilling within city limits by making the Oklahoma Corporation Commission the primary regulator of drilling activity. However, the bill preserved cities’ authority to adopt “reasonable” regulations regarding health, safety and welfare. This was meant to allow local regulation of traffic, noise, odors, setbacks, fencing and items related to floodplain management.

  • Oklahoma needs to do more to rid schools of predators

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Jul 29, 2015

    ALLEGATIONS that a former Edmond Memorial High School band director had a sexual relationship with an Edmond student are a reminder that the state must do more to keep sexual predators out of Oklahoma schools. Unfortunately, it’s now possible for pedophiles to quietly resign and retain teaching licenses. Cameron Kedy is charged with soliciting sexual conduct with a minor. During an investigation, Kedy, 27, initially denied knowing the girl — a former student. Then he admitted knowing her. Then he admitted messaging using fictitious names. And then he admitted the girl stayed the night in his bed several times, but denied a sexual relationship.

  • Remember the name while debating nation's oil reserve

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Jul 29, 2015

    BOONE Pickens wants to draw down the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. We’re not sure that’s a good idea, but at least such a drain would deflate the SPR’s status as a political football. Letting the air out of reserve stocks seems to be a favorite of politicians. Some Oklahoma legislators, for example, never warmed to the idea of the Rainy Day Fund. Before citizens voted to protect this valuable resource, lawmakers tapped it injudiciously. The SPR isn’t a cash fund, but it is liquid. So it’s no surprise that in an era of petroleum surplus, some members of Congress want to write checks on the SPR’s account. Does it still make sense to stockpile oil? It certainly did when the SPR was created in 1975, in the

  • OK Republican chairman finds new ways to make waves

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Jul 28, 2015

    IN his column last week, the Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer expressed his outrage over the way that medical officials at Planned Parenthood blithely discussed the sale of fetal body parts. The remarks, recorded secretly by an anti-abortion group, have understandably riled conservatives and others who oppose abortion. Krauthammer noted that controversy provided Republicans in Congress with a chance to make a difference with this issue. His suggestion? Members should work with all their might to enact a ban on late-term abortions. As Krauthammer pointed out, roughly two-thirds of Americans say they would support such a ban. So such a move by Congress might actually prove successful.

  • Further investments key to bettering streets, roads in OKC, state

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Jul 28, 2015

    A report showing that streets and highways in and around Oklahoma City and Tulsa are among the worst in the country had something of a “dog bites man” quality to it. No one who has spent even a little time driving in Oklahoma’s two largest cities should have been surprised. Certainly Oklahoma City residents who responded to a recent community survey would nod in agreement with what the national nonprofit TRIP said about our streets. Of those responding to the city survey, only 22 percent were satisfied with the condition of city streets. The firm that administered the survey suggested the city make street improvement one of its priorities in the next two years. Eric Wenger, director of public works for Oklahoma City,

  • Privatization critics ignore government's track record

    The Oklahoma Editorial | Published: Mon, Jul 27, 2015

    AN Oklahoma lawmaker suggests state business-recruitment efforts might become more fruitful if they were outsourced to a private vendor. But a pro-union group argues privatization would lead to corruption and reduced accountability. Apparently, those critics haven’t noticed what already occurs when government officials control incentive programs. Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, has requested a legislative study to consider whether the state should privatize all or part of the Department of Commerce. She notes that Arizona started down that path in 2011, and several states have shifted business-recruitment efforts to privately run boards. But Osborn’s study proposal is drawing fire from Good Jobs First, a Washington,

  • Light touch would be best with Oklahoma drone regulations

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Jul 27, 2015

    IN the private sector, interest in commercial applications for drones is on the rise. The industry’s biggest barriers remain heavy-handed federal regulation and potential state laws based on critics’ unfounded fears. For many businesses, particularly farmers, drones could reduce costs and improve efficiency. The Associated Press recently reported on a Maryland event where farmers from across the country inspected the latest technology. Mike Geske, a Missouri farmer, said unmanned aerial vehicles could simplify monitoring of irrigation pipes. Geske, who pays three men to do that job, said drones could generate “phenomenal” savings on labor and fuel.

  • OKC's charter schools have earned funding for facilities

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Jul 26, 2015

    IN the private sector, success is rewarded and failure is penalized. But in the realm of public education, schools demonstrating the greatest success educating challenging student populations are often given the least financial support. It’s time for that to change. When Santa Fe South Charter School was launched in 2001 in south Oklahoma City, classes were held in a church basement. Today, the school continues to use facilities never intended as classrooms. Superintendent Chris Brewster notes one recent addition was previously a dance hall. “We took the disco ball down and painted over everything,” Brewster told The Oklahoman’s editorial board. Other classes are held in a former racquetball court at an old YMCA

  • Nature of partisanship seen in some water policy choices

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Jul 26, 2015

    What a difference a few weeks and several isolated weather events can make. Drought-plagued California and the (formerly) drought-plagued western part of Oklahoma have seen rainfall with record-busting qualities. Northwest of Oklahoma City, Canton Lake was given up for dead not so long ago. Now water again is lapping at its shores, although it’s not quite back to normal capacity. The vagaries of weather continue to defy the gloom-and-doom predictions of the most ardent climate change alarmists. What mankind can do about drought is wrapped in a complicated set of policy decisions that reflect not the quirks of weather but the nature of partisanship. A plan to provide drought relief to California farmers has run

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Survey shows OKC residents mostly pleased with city

    Published: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    IN the eyes of its residents, Oklahoma City is doing more than OK. A survey this spring of 1,370 households by ETC Institute found that two-thirds of Oklahoma City’s residents are satisfied with the overall quality of services provided by the city. The 67 percent favorable rating far outstrips the national average for large U.S. cities, which is 48 percent. Almost nine in 10 residents said Oklahoma City was an excellent or good place to live, 84 percent said it was an excellent or good place to work, and 81 percent gave it excellent or good scores as a locale for raising a family. In all three categories, the city fared much better than the national average for large cities.

  • OK County officials face big challenge with jail proposal

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Jul 24, 2015

    AFTER spending seven months studying the issue, a special committee has recommended using a sales tax of no more than 1 cent to build a new Oklahoma County jail. Our guess is that county commissioners will sign off on the idea, at which time the real work will begin — convincing voters of the merits of the plan. It won’t be an easy sell for a few reasons. One is that many people feel they’re taxed enough as it is. Oklahoma County presently has no sales tax, but the state and the city each have one, and together they total 8.375 cents on the dollar in Oklahoma City. The total is 8.5 percent or higher in a number of municipalities within the county.

  • Minimum wage law reducing chances for low-skilled workers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Wed, Jul 22, 2015

    LOS Angeles plans to bump its minimum wage to $15 an hour. Although touted as a way to help the working poor, the main beneficiaries may instead be wealthy individuals eyeballing properties currently held by businesses that employ low-income workers. As noted recently in The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles is home to a still-significant garment industry. There are twice as many manufacturing workers in the Los Angeles metro area as in Chicago or Detroit. Roughly one in eight of those manufacturing workers in Los Angeles County is employed in the apparel industry. Thus, the Journal notes, the city is the first “with a large low-wage manufacturing base” that has chosen to raise the minimum wage so dramatically.

  • Lives likely to be saved with OKC police med program

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Jul 23, 2015

    THE Oklahoma City Council took a step that will likely save lives, when it voted Tuesday to enter into a program that will allow police officers to carry the medication naloxone. As Police Chief Bill Citty said in advance of the council vote, this move is “a no-brainer.” Naloxone is used to offset the effects of overdoses from drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. Sadly, the need for naloxone is great in Oklahoma because the state struggles mightily with abuse of these prescription painkillers. According to the state Health Department, the number of overdose deaths from prescription drugs has more than doubled in Oklahoma since 2003. The number of deaths due to hydrocodone and oxycodone has more than quadrupled during

  • Change-up in GOP presidential debates is an idea worth considering

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Jul 22, 2015

    “INCLUDE them all!” That’s the call from Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, regarding the number of Republican presidential candidates who should be part of the televised debate process. Donald Trump’s continuing misadventures give credence to Sabato’s suggestion. Trump’s derogatory remarks about Mexicans during his campaign kickoff announcement resulted in NBC cutting ties with The Donald, but didn’t hurt his candidacy. The king of bombast has remained at or near the top of various polls tracking Republican voters’ preferences in the crowded field. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

  • Survey results may augment push to boost Oklahoma voter turnout

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Jul 22, 2015

    WE heard a fair amount during the 2015 legislative session about declining voter turnout. In 2014, only about 40 percent of registered voters went to the polls, although true voter participation fell below 30 percent. That takes into account how many eligible citizens weren’t registered to vote. Oklahoma mirrors what has been happening nationally. For the 2014 midterm elections, which are always marked by low turnout, a meager 36 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. According to the U.S. Elections Project, that was the worst turnout rate since 1942. State Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, is making it a priority to try to increase voter turnout by reforming the voting system. This session, lawmakers approved two of his





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