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No conspiracy at play in Oklahoma school shelter dispute

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: December 2, 2013

IN a legal paper filed on the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, Oklahoma Senior Assistant Attorney General Neal Leader invoked the grassy knoll.

And well he should have.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office has been accused of conspiring with the governor, and others, to thwart a $500 million statewide bond issue on school shelters. An attorney for a group circulating an initiative petition brandished the conspiracy weapon after Pruitt's office changed the ballot title for a possible referendum on the bond issue. Another party in this alleged conspiracy is The State Chamber.

Leader's response to this was to say “there is no man on the grassy knoll here” — a reference to lingering beliefs that John F. Kennedy wasn't killed by Lee Harvey Oswald alone (if indeed Oswald was involved at all!) but by one or more other shooters, hidden above a grass expanse as the presidential motorcade passed on Nov. 22, 1963.

Shelter supporters are circulating a petition to have the bond issue placed on the ballot next year. Gov. Mary Fallin has said she prefers that local school districts, rather than the state, provide for shelters. The State Chamber is uneasy with the source of bond issue financing, a franchise tax.

This all makes for intriguing political theater, but it shouldn't make for the kind of “Could it be...?” pseudo-documentaries that show up on The History Channel.

The attorney general's office has a clear-cut role in fashioning ballot titles for state questions. Leader, who identifies himself as a Democrat in the Nov. 22 filing, said there was no discussion with the Republican governor or The State Chamber about the ballot title wording. The petitioning group wants Pruitt, a Republican, removed from the process because, among other dubious claims, chamber members are funding his re-election campaign.

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by 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...
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