Ideas Initiative Getting Lots Of Input

Sunday, February 18th 2007, 3:59 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Keith Perry of Skiatook would like to do away with Oklahoma's toll roads. John Howk of Bartlesville would like to see a new state Constitution drawn up.

Those are a couple of the ideas Oklahomans have contributed to House Speaker Lance Cargill's 100 Ideas initiative.

The initiative is a public think tank that seeks citizen input to address problems Oklahoma faces in its centennial year.

Patterned after a program in Florida, the initiative was launched in January by the nonprofit 100 Ideas Oklahoma, which operates on private donations.

The Florida initiative was paid for by that state's Republican Party and was criticized by Democrats, who said the organization paid no attention to their ideas.

At the end of the year, the 100 Ideas initiative will publish a book filled with the first 100 ideas from Idearaisers across the state. Cargill says he plans to use the book as an agenda for action.

Here are some other suggestions that have poured in from across the State.

--"I would like to see Oklahoma school children required to do volunteer community service each year as part of their education. They could work on community projects alongside community leaders and/or school officials. I believe this endeavor would not only teach children work ethic and volunteerism, but also foster pride in their communities. I believe that ultimately this would cut down on vandalism, littering, etc. because the children would have pride in their community and its work. This could start in grade school with requirement of 1 or 2 hours each year and a simple project could be selected that the whole class could work on such as planting a tree on the school grounds or in a park and advance from there with older students being required to put in more hours each year." Gayla Splinter, Erick.

--"I propose that the Oklahoma Legislature place itself under the same open meeting requirements as it has set for all other governmental entities. This should be applied to all. Currently, the House and Senate convene in 'conference committees' to work out the sticky details of legislation. This is how and where the deals are made that lawmakers don't want us, the general public, to see. With partisanship at an all-time high, I think this process being opened up for public oversight would improve the quality of legislation that is produced." Jay Hayes, Checotah.

--"Grade all restaurants with an A,B,C,D on the front window. Many cities do this." Denna Fo Fyffe, Midwest City.

--"Please consider combining the area vo-tech's with the 2-year colleges. This would reduce the duplication of administration and allow the students to be on a college campus. In other states this has encouraged the students to take college courses and many have obtained a college degree." Glenn Mayle, Miami.

--"Build pipelines from those parts of the state that have plenty of water, to those parts that don't get enough. Pipelines would conserve water, rather than letting it run down a dry river or stream bed. Have tight control over the selling of any water out of state. I believe water will become more valuable than oil in the next few decades and we need to find a way to conserve it and distribute it within the state." Stewart Hunter, Oklahoma City.

--"I want to thank the Legislature for the latest tax cuts but it really doesn't help a lot of retired people who are on fixed incomes or people that are exempt from taxes because they don't make enough income to even file. I think that you should look into a tax cut that would benefit everyone in the state not just a select few. The tax on food items and groceries should be eliminated and that would reach everyone it the state of Oklahoma." Terry Pitts, Edmond.

--"Mr. Speaker, with automakers dragging their feet, the closing of auto plants in OK and the recent report on global warming, why not bring together the best minds, and former auto workers, to design and build an efficient, economical electric car, capable of being plugged in at home, built completely by Oklahomans in Oklahoma. Why wait for Detroit?" Ed Hart, Blanchard.

--"First is Education: Reduce the number of districts to not more than one per county." Clarence Warner, Norman.

--"Oklahoma Indian History needs to be a requirement for middle schools to learn about the 39 federally recognized tribes and other Indian tribes that are not federally recognized. Oklahoma needs to capitalize on our own uniqueness." Tewanna Edwards, Shawnee.

--"On two occasions I have noticed unmarked automobiles with state of Oklahoma official plates being used for apparently personal use. Since the vehicles had no department or agency markings I contacted my representative to find out who the vehicles were assigned to so I could contact that department head. On both occasions I was told the vehicle assignment was confidential. I propose that all official vehicles be required to display a decal that identifies the department or agency so an inquiry can be made. I do not like taxpayer money being spent as a perk for a state employee." David Wood, Claremore.

--"Change the child support laws so that custodial parents who interfere with visitation by the noncustodial parent are denied support payments." Jonathan Rivers, Tulsa.

--"We as a state need to invest in and incentivize the production of biofuels. This includes incentives for the production of biodiesel, ethanol and biomass. The more clean, renewable fuel we can create in Oklahoma the less dependent we are on foreign imports. Let's keep the Oklahoma money in Oklahoma." Todd Stephens, Tulsa.