Saturday, July 26, 2014

Oklahoma Supreme Court Violates Constitution

  Oklahoma has more than her share of corruption. The legacy of executive, legislative, and various county & municipal scandals are more shameful than we want to face up to.

The constitutional impact of the ruling
But the power-grab of this present supreme court is becoming very dangerous.  They were asked to rule on a constitutional issue of eligibility in a district attorneys race. The current abigious language of our poorly-written constitution seems to say that only one of the current candidates can lawfully be elected. When a legislature hikes the pay of an office, none of those legislative members can be elected to that office until their current term runs out (in this case, Nov. 19th).
  The candidate who's eligibility is being challenged, Fred Jordan; put together a legal team to make the argument that the real election doesn't happen on election day. Not the primary election, not the run-off, or even the general election day. And attorney Terry Simonson actually has some precedence for this untenable position. Some 70+ years ago  the Oklahoma Supreme Court said that the election really doesn't happen until the new legislature convenes in January (at least in a governor's election).
  Well, this current supreme court ignored both the language of the constitution as argued by the petitioners, and the arguments of the respondents, including Terry Simonson's notion and the previous court's precedence.
  Instead, they embarked upon a de-facto rewriting of the Oklahoma Constitution so as to make new restrictions which they believe is less ambiguous and more workable.

the current Oklahoma Supreme Court jurists
The major problem with that is, They do not have the power to re-write the constitution. That power is reserved to the PEOPLE.
  The Oklahoma constitution is a hodge-podge of over 150 amendments and so much ambiguity that we keep creating messes which require court rulings.
  The people of this state need a better-written constitution. But the people need to vote on the language and not leave it up to legislatures, courts, executive orders, or lawless mobs.
  The current court has demonstrated a basic lack of respect for the powers invested in the people. They wrote a new constitution and forced it upon us. It's supposed to be the other way around!
Justice Taylor
dissents ruling
  Judge Steven Taylor should be applauded for his dissent opinion that the Court “refused to properly construe” the Constitution in this matter. He found that the Court misconstrues the term “elected” to mean “assuming or taking office.”
  ”There appears to be a disconnect between the Court’s decision and the plain language” of the Constitution", Taylor wrote. “For Tulsa County, the Republican primary runoff will be held on August 26, 2014. No Democrat has filed for the seat. The winner of this runoff will receive a certificate of election, which will be issued…on August 29, 2014…Therefore, under Oklahoma election law, the certified winner of the primary runoff will be deemed elected to the position of Tulsa County district attorney.
David Van Risseghem

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ken Yazel Wins A Supreme Court Fight

Wealthy Tulsans are living out their retirement
 years in tax-exempt single-family "cottages"
 like this, at Montereau, in South Tulsa.
  The Oklahoma Supreme Court agreed with the Tulsa County Assessor that his office could hire it's own attorney to fight the possible appeal of a tax assessment dispute on a very costly piece of property.

  County Assessor, Ken Yazel, had battled The Warren Medical Research Center, Inc.; Montereau, Inc., and the Tulsa County Board of Equalization to put some valuable property on the tax rolls.  Montereau challenged the assessment and the Board of Equalization said the property was not taxable because of its nonprofit incorporation.
   Yazel  appealed that decision in district court ... Read the story at the Tulsa Beacon.
  The Oklahoma Supreme court has not yet heard the actual case. This ruling simply corrects a lower court's misapplication of state laws and regulations for the county assessor's office and procedures.
  The question that stumps the Tulsa County taxpayers is;
 "Why didn't Tulsa County's district attorney's office provide the needed legal representation?"
The Tulsa County Library lists the following information of the


Tulsa County Courthouse Annex
500 S. Denver, Room 116
TulsaOK 74103
Phone: 918-596-5836

  1. Fax: 918-596-5867
Contact: Debi Toliver, County Clerk Deputy.

  1. Chairman: Dr. A. Theodore Kachel, V. Chair: 
  2. Warren G. Morris, Member: 
  3. Ruth B. Gaines, 
  4. Sec: Earlene Wilson.

  • Excise Board meets as needed. Equalization Board meets daily to weekly depending on the number of protests filed. Meetings are usually held in Commission room 119, Tulsa County Administration Building.
  • A three member board with two distinct functions, as follows:
  • As the Excise Board, it functions as the watchdog agency which reviews all appropriations and requests of the county to determine if they are legal and adequately funded. The Excise Board computes the levies for all county municipalities and certifies them to the County Assessor; it apportions the millage; it reviews and approves the county budgets.
  • As Equalization Board, its duty is to equalize, correct, and adjust the tax assessment rolls to conform to fair cash value by adusting the appraised or market valuation of certain properties or correcting any errors it may discover.
  • Updated 5/10. Update req mailed 3/12, 3/13
Alternate Names: 
Equalization Board.
Excise and Equalization Board.
Excise Board.

 We cannot naively pretend that politics and money have no impact on the consistent application of justice. In a very real way, justice is purchased. We see a clear distinction between the verdicts and sentences that the courts hand out to the poor and the wealthy. Prosecutors are often compared to cowards when faced with a court case and a defendant with a high-priced crack legal team. Does Montereau's vast assets have any impact on the case?

  Is the cost of county govt. being carried on the backs of our less-affluent population? Should "for-profit" medical facilities pay property taxes just like "for-profit" auto repair centers or veterinary clinics? We don't generally celebrate higher taxes, but we do demand equity in how the current laws are being applied to all segments of Tulsa's society.
David Van Risseghem