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Which is the better rivalry? Bedlam or the Red River Showdown?
By Kyle Salomon,
When it comes to rivalries in sports, you hear about the Yankees-Red Sox, Lakers-Celtics or Michigan-Ohio State, but the one rivalry that trumps them all is the Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas.
Now my counterpart, Patrick Osborne, believes the annual Bedlam clash between the Sooners and their bitter in-state foe, Oklahoma State, tops OU-Texas when it comes to rivalries.
Osborne will dazzle you with ideas such as the in-state brotherhood or that on-campus sites are better than the neutral site, but in reality, in no world is Bedlam ever bigger or better than the clash of crimson and burnt orange every October in Dallas.
First, we have to look at the tradition of the rivalry. Oklahoma and Texas are consistently among the top two programs in college football. The Longhorns lead the series 60-43-5 over the Sooners, but OU is closing the gap rapidly.
Every time these schools meet, it almost always sets a clear picture for what the rest of the Big 12 football season will look like. The winner of the big game will have the upper hand to win the conference the majority of the time.
Yes, Bedlam is always one of, if not the final regular season game of the year for both OU and OSU, but only in this decade have the two programs been comparable on the field. The Sooners lead the series 84-17-7. Not much of a “rivalry” if you ask me.
Next, we take a look at the venue of the Red River Showdown. The Cotton Bowl on the fairgrounds of Dallas is an historic football cathedral with a backdrop that will drop your jaw and open your eyes to true college football history.
The stadium holds a capacity of 92,000 people with 20,000 or 30,000 more crazed OU or UT fans outside the stadium watching on the big screen. The game always takes place in the middle of October, which is always in the middle of the Texas State Fair. It’s simple, you take one of the craziest and most fun state fairs across the whole country and put a football game of that magnitude right in the middle of it, you have yourself one heck of an atmosphere.
However, with all that being said, possibly the coolest thing about the venue at OU-Texas is the split right down the middle of the stadium. One side of the stadium is completely doused in crimson and the other side is filled with burnt orange. There is not a better site in all of sports.
Remember what former Ohio State and NFL star running back Eddie George told former OU and NFL star Roy Williams in his first OU-Texas experience. “Yeah, this is a lot bigger than Ohio State-Michigan. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Those words say it all.
While the on-campus site argument is valid from Osborne, the 60,000-seat stadium in Stillwater just wouldn’t quite compete with the atmosphere in Dallas. Perhaps if OSU could actually fill up the stadium for a Bedlam game he might have an argument. Then again, when it comes to the Red River Showdown, it takes a backseat to no other rivalry. Just ask Eddie George.
Which is a better rivalry? Bedlam or the Red River Showdown?
By Patrick Osborne
With the college football season rapidly approaching, it seems like the perfect time to talk about what is the better rivalry, the Red River Showdown or Bedlam?
Bedlam, the annual matchup of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, wins this battle. Although Bedlam does not have the same pageantry or tradition as Oklahoma and Texas, it is the better rivalry all around.
As an Oklahoma fan who attends Oklahoma State, I’ve seen both sides of this great rivalry. I’ve experienced the heartbreak of defeat and the joy of victory in both crimson and cream and orange and black.
I’ve been to the Red River Showdown and I’ve been to Bedlam, I’ll take Bedlam any day of the week. Unlike the other rivalry, Bedlam leaves all the lasting memories on each respected school’s campus.
The Dallas experience for OU and Texas is one of a kind, but nothing beats making the drive to Stillwater or Norman in hopes of seeing your school get the big win in the other school’s house. Neutral sites will never compare to on-campus matchups.
Who can forget Bedlam football? The Ice Bowl round two was amazing, or heartbreaking, depending on which color you wear.
I was there for Bedlam basketball in Gallahger Iba Arena. After the big win, shouts of Boomer Sooner could be heard during the singing of the alma mater by the OSU students. The response was simple – sing louder. So, of course, naturally the shouts returned louder as well.
My first experience of Bedlam wrestling, the sport that gave the rivalry its name, came this past year during my first year at OSU. GIA was rocking, crimson and cream and orange and black combining to make an unforgettable atmosphere and experience. It was pure Bedlam at its purest state.
I can go on and on about my Bedlam experiences as a Sooner and Cowboy, but that would just lead me to the same point. It’s different than OU and Texas, but there is just as much hatred in this rivalry.
OU is that annoying big brother who always thinks they are always better than you and finds a way to get a win on a lucky break. OSU is that increasingly growing little brother who is tired of being pushed around and wants everyone to know it.
At the end of the day they are still brothers of the state of Oklahoma, but when it’s go time neither wants to lose to their brother. They hate their brother so much during the fight because they know losing means a year of hanging their head when they see the other brother.
That’s what makes this rivalry so special. We know the other guy. We work with that Cowboy. We are married to that Sooner. There’s nowhere to hide after a loss and plenty of places to gloat with a victory.
Bedlam is defined as a place or situation of noisy uproar and confusion, and anytime these two schools meet you can plan on plenty of uproar and confusion. Bedlam is bedlam.
Canadian County Coalition of Children and Families recently held its “first annual” awards banquet, acknowledging those among us who have shined in their efforts to help children and their families.
While it was gratifying to see people like Dolores Sanders-Alvarez, Billie Linam and others acknowledged, we need to also stop and thank people who every day put their hearts on the line as they work to make better lives for children and youth who have had to deal with situations far beyond their years.
The coalition probably isn’t known to many outside their own “community,” but it should be. Many of its members work long hours, and do a lot in their own time, to improve the situation for area children. They don’t have an 8 to 5 job they leave at the door; the situations they see and the children they literally help save are a testament to their dedication and caring.
It is people like Ann Parkhurst, Cedric Mills, Rosemary Klepper, Jenny Kellbach and so many others – their fight to help others is something that not only helps those directly involved. They make our communities a better place to live, they raise our standard of living.
Organizations like Gary E. Miller Canadian County Children’s Justice Center and Youth and Family Services are filled with others – many of them coalition members – who work to make the world a better place for the smallest and youngest of us. Michael Ellison has talked to thousands of students about bullying and how it can be prevented. He has helped countless students who have been a victim of other students’ cruelty – and in the process, has most likely helped our county avoid tragedies we see on the national news.
Special Judge Bob Hughey, like his predecessor and namesake at the children’s justice center, Gary Miller, see horrors they can’t even discuss in cases that involve children’s welfare. He makes decisions, day in and day out, that will impact families. Those decisions can be difficult – who wants to actually take a child from his or her parents? But sometimes that cannot be helped and Hughey takes that responsibility on his shoulders. It’s something I wouldn’t want to have to do.
The justice center sees the best and worst of families. They help children and youth who cannot help themselves, but they also work with youth who have lost their way. They may have trouble in school, an addiction problem, started in on criminal activity – Hughey and his staff work to try to turn those kids around, before their actions permanently scar their lives.
Turning lives around is a big part of Dee Blose’s life. The Youth and Family Services director celebrates every milestone, every positive as if it was her own child’s. And the children she and her staff deal with really are their own, through extension. Whether it’s a new playground, a program to help disabled adults or just helping families get through bureaucratic hurdles, these people display dedication and caring every single day.
As the saying goes, the children are our future. We are lucky – and we should thank – all of these people who work each day to make that future a bit brighter.
To the Editor,
Our granddaughter is in special education and Special Olympics and we have enjoyed all of the recent stories about these kids and who they are. It is difficult for the families sometimes because our loved one’s struggle is not seen by many people and people don’t realize how hard they work or how much they go through every day. It’s only through the hard work of people like Cherie Miller and her teachers that our granddaughter has grown and achieved so much.
She was once a very isolated and quiet girl. Now she has blossomed into a beautiful and outgoing person who is happy and content. Thanks to people at the school district and to those at the Mustang News, we now aren’t the only ones who know that.
We are very happy to see that the newspaper is looking at all of the positive things in Mustang and the school district. It is very nice for us to be able to show a newspaper and say to people, “That’s our girl,” just like football and athletes’ parents can do. They are athletes and they really are special. They’re a great group of kids and we appreciate this recognition. Keep up the good work.
Ed Barnes, Mustang
Who are the top-10 football coaches in the Big 12 Conference?
By Kyle Salomon,
Now that basketball season is officially over, the college football hype machine has officially started across the state of Oklahoma.
In honor of the college football hype season, I am going to rank the Big 12 football coaches 1-10 in order of best to worst.
1. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Stoops and the Sooners went on an incredible three-game run to end the 2013 season winning two difficult road games at Kansas State and at Oklahoma State in frigid temperatures. The two road upsets propelled Oklahoma into a Sugar Bowl showdown with SEC bully Alabama, which was the two-time defending national champion and one fluke play against Auburn away from competing for a third consecutive title. OU pulled out some Sooner magic against the Crimson Tide and put a beat-down on Nick Saban and company.
Stoops has the Sooners back in the national eye as Oklahoma is a favorite to compete in this year’s four-team college football playoffs. Stoops’ eight Big 12 Conference titles, one national title and wins in every BCS game make him the clear-cut No. 1 coach in the Big 12.
2. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Given his track record against Oklahoma and Texas and his sub-par bowl game record, this might be a surprising pick to some of you, but Gundy is well-deserving of this selection. Gundy has taken the Cowboys to new heights as the head man in Stillwater. Yes, he has struggled against the two Big 12 bullies, but he has taken the Pokes to their only football conference title in the school’s history. He also led the orange and black to an incredible Fiesta Bowl victory against Stanford in 2011. When Gundy took the program over, OSU fans were thrilled to get seven- or eight-win seasons. Now, Poke nation isn’t happy unless the Cowboys are winning 10 or 11 games and competing for Big 12 crowns. These accomplishments definitely warrant him as the No. 2 coach in the Big 12. After all, he is a man. He’s now 46.
3. Bill Snyder, Kansas State
Snyder is one of the most underrated coaches in sports history, not just college football history, but sports history. Kansas State football was a laughing stock across the nation for decades before Snyder came in and completely changed the culture. He turned the Wildcats into perennial winners and made them competitive in the Big 12 Conference. Snyder’s first retirement came in the mid-2000′s when Ron Prince took over in Manhattan. KSU began to sink back to depths of college football, which caused Snyder to return to the sidelines and he now has the Cats back to being a feared opponent in the conference.
4. Art Briles, Baylor
If you would have told me 10 years ago that Baylor would be one of the favorites to win the Big 12 Conference in 2014, I would have called you crazy. But it’s true. The Bears are here and here to stay as long as Briles and company stick around in Waco. For the first time in school history, Baylor beat both Oklahoma and Texas in the same season in 2013 and won their first ever Big 12 Conference title. Who would have predicted this? But Briles has the Bears steamrolling right now, which is why he’s deserving of the No. 4 spot.
5. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State
Rhoads is one of the most underrated football coaches in the Big 12 Conference. Being at Iowa State, he lacks the resources and tradition needed to recruit top-notch athletes like Oklahoma, Texas and Oklahoma State are able to do on an annual basis. Yet the guy still somehow has the ability to strike fear into those opponents and the rest of the Big 12. If you put a truth serum in every Big 12 coach, I promise they would tell you Ames, Iowa, is one of the scariest places to travel to in the entire conference.
6. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
No, this ranking has nothing to do with Kingsbury’s coaching ability. This ranking is all about the young coach’s dashing good looks. No, I’m kidding. He is one of the best quarterback coaches in all of college football. You think Johnny Manziel became Johnny “Football” on his own? No way. Kingsbury was a vital piece to that puzzle. The guy won seven games in his first year in Lubbock with Tommy Tubberville’s players. Imagine what he will be able to do when he gets his own recruits at his service.
7. Charlie Strong, Texas
Many of you may be wondering how I can put Charlie Strong so far down this list given his record as the defensive coordinator at Florida and as a head coach at Louisville. It’s simple. This is the Big 12 Conference. This is not the Atlantic Athletic Conference. Look at what has happened to other coaches in the conference who came from smaller conferences. Dana Holgerson has struggled mightily at West Virginia since coming from the Big East and Gary Patterson hasn’t seen much success at TCU coming from the Mountain West. Yes, Strong will have more resources and much better talent at his disposal in Austin, but as we all know from the final few years with Mack Brown, that doesn’t always equal out to wins.
8. Gary Patterson, TCU
This low ranking is not a reflection of Patterson as a football coach. The fact of the matter is, this guy can flat out coach on the gridiron. Just look at what he has been able to do while coaching the Horned Frogs. The purple and black dominated the Mountain West for years and even pulled off some miracle upsets, such as the 2005 season opener over the Sooners in Norman. But Patterson has struggled since coming to the Big 12. Beating the big boys is a lot more difficult when you have to play them almost every week during the regular season.
9. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
Holgorsen is an offensive genius. No one is questioning that, but I am going to question the man as a head football coach. Like Strong and Patterson, Holgorsen dominated a smaller conference like the Big East with the high-octane offense his teams display. However, the defenses in the Big 12 are a lot better than those that reside in the Big East and the offenses are pretty good, which expose the weak defense the Mountaineers employ. This will be Holgorsen’s final year in Morgantown.
10. Mike Stoops, defensive coordinator, Oklahoma
If some of you are crying foul at this selection, notice how I said ranking of the Big 12 football coaches, not head coaches. If anyone out there actually believes that Mike Stoops is not a better football coach than Charlie Weis, then you might need to have your head examined. Stoops was responsible for the dominant defenses the Sooners had in the early 2000’s. Since his return to Norman in 2012, he has slowly and steadily turned the Oklahoma D back into the best unit in the Big 12 and one of the best in the nation.
Who are the top-10 football coaches in the Big 12 Conference?
By Patrick Osborne,
As football season rapidly approaches, it seems like the right time to look at the Big 12 Conference and rank all 10 coaches from worst to best.
10. Charlie Weis
Still new to the Big 12, Weis has yet to do anything major at Kansas. The Jayhawks have posted 1-11 and 3-9 records under Weis in his first two seasons, only one of which was a conference win. Weis has only one bowl win in his career, the Hawaii Bowl when at Notre Dame.
9. Dana Holgorsen
Remember this guy, Cowboy fans? In his three seasons at West Virginia, Holgorsen has seen a steady drop not only in talent but also wins. After the move to the Big 12 from the Big East Conference, Holgorsen has won just six of his first 12 conference games. He has one Big East title but nothing to his name so far in the Big 12. Without a solid season this year for the Mountaineers, Holgorsen could be job searching come December.
8. Kliff Kingsbury
This season proved good looks don’t get you everything for the first-year head coach. After a quick 7-0 start to the season, the Red Raiders finished by losing their last five games of the regular season. Although the Red Raiders showed a lot of promise, even during the five-game losing streak, it’s still unknown how good Kingsbury really is. Going into just his second season, he’s still working with other coaches’ players. With that said, Kingsbury looks like he could grow into a solid coach with great quarterbacks every year. Just look at what he did with Johnny Manziel while at Texas A&M.
7. Paul Rhoads
Anybody want to sign up for those wacky Thursday or Friday night games in Ames, Iowa, to play Rhoads and the Cyclones? Cowboy fans, how confident are you every time Oklahoma State travels to Jack Trice Stadium? Although he has a 27-36 record at Iowa State, with the players he has and has to coach against, this is not bad at all. Rhoads always finds a way to put out a competitive team even though he’s outmatched in nearly every game.
6. Bill Snyder
The Kansas State athletic department should seriously consider renaming the team the fighting Bill Snyders. Snyder is Wildcat football and Wildcat football is Bill Snyder. How many coaches get to coach in a stadium named after them? Although he only has two conference titles, Snyder has a 178-90-1 record while at Kansas State. Snyder always has one of the classiest and hard-working teams in the conference and rarely fails to compete. It would be nice to see the man Wildcat fans adore get one more conference title before his time in Manhattan is up.
5. Gary Patterson
I can’t help but like a guy who isn’t afraid to wear purple. He has a 120-44 record in his 13 seasons as the Horned Frogs leader including the memorable Rose Bowl win against Wisconsin in 2010. Although his teams have gone 4-5 and 2-7 in their first two seasons in the Big 12, I’m going to give Patterson a little more time. By a little more time, I mean this season. The Horned Frog leader is known for his stingy defense and his team’s ability to embrace the underdog role. The time to win is now for Patterson and TCU.
4. Mike Gundy
I wanted to put the man behind America’s brightest orange higher on my list but I couldn’t. At Oklahoma State, Gundy has posted a 77-38 record in his first nine seasons. Under him, the Cowboys have won one Big 12 conference title and a bowl win for the ages in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl against Stanford. Although Oklahoma State is now consistently one of the top teams in the Big 12, Gundy comes in at number four for his lack of big wins. Gundy has just one win against in-state rival Oklahoma, and always seems to find a way to lose the big game. Cowboy fans might not want to hear it, but it’s time for Gundy to Cowboy-up and start finding a way to win that big game.
3. Charlie Strong
Let me be the first to welcome Coach Strong to the Big 12. Welcome to the post-Mack Brown era, Longhorn fans. Although he has yet to coach a single Big 12 game, Strong posted an impressive 37-15 record at Louisville. The Cardinals were known for their discipline and hard work while under Strong, and won one of the biggest games in school history when they beat Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl. Strong completely turned around the Louisville football program and I expect him to do the same in Austin.
2. Art Briles
Baylor is no longer the doormat we all used to look forward to playing thanks to the coaching of Briles. He has a 44-32 record in six seasons as the Bears leader, and has brought the team to new heights every year. Briles did what most Big 12 fans thought was never possible when he won the Big 12 title after knocking off Oklahoma and Texas in the same season. Baylor looks to be in great hands as long as they can keep Briles under contract.
1. Bob Stoops
Big game Bob, welcome back. Remember when OU wasn’t supposed to win another game going into the Kansas State and Oklahoma State stretch? Remember when they did, then went on to win the Sugar Bowl against Alabama? Sooner fans will. In his 15 seasons at OU, Stoops has posted a 160-39 record and is now the all-time wins leader at the school where Barry Switzer coached. He went to all four BCS bowls, has won eight Big 12 titles and has one national title. With the kind of consistency where he’s never gone worse than 7-5, Stoops is without a doubt the best coach in the Big 12.
Mustang has come a long way since the days of a dusty four-way stop at the corner of Mustang Road and state Highway 152.
A relatively small community completely surrounded by our much larger capitol city, city officials could be content with sitting back and letting those resources satisfy the entertainment needs of its residents. After all, Mustang has become so much more than its 12 square miles. With school district enrollment topping 10,000 last year and subdivisions cropping up in what is technically part of Oklahoma City, many people who actually are not “residents” of the city consider it their home. It’s not just because we’re part of the same zip code or have kids who attend Mustang schools – it’s the atmosphere, the essence of what Mustang really is.
A big part of that is the city’s transformation. Look around at how busy things are – the stores, the roads, the restaurants. We’re growing and beginning to attract businesses we just recently saw settle north of us along the Interstate 40 corridor. While cities like Yukon and Oklahoma City still have that asset, Mustang has an equally important one – its people.
That is nowhere more apparent than in the city’s iconic Town Center. Once a sleepy locale mostly used by civic and business groups for meetings, everything at Town Center has not only grown, it’s improved by leaps and bounds. From the newly expanded and refurbished library, to senior center and parks and recreation facilities, Mustang has changed even in the last seven years.
Three women have been instrumental in that change, individuals who work behind the scenes and who have made Mustang’s transformation come alive. While there are many who have contributed to the city’s success – most notably Justin Battles, assistant city manager/parks and recreation director – these three women deserve a nod of thanks and a huge pat on the back for working tirelessly to bring the city to life.
Mustang Library has come a long way from a storefront with a few books. Now a premiere library in the state, director Desiree Webber has guided her staff and along the way developed fun, unique programs that have excited and educated residents young and old. Ask Desiree and she gives all of the credit to her staff. There’s no doubt Mustang Library’s staff is an asset to the city; but, as in any organization, a staff is a reflection of its leader.
Look at the library calendar this summer and every day there’s something new. Whether it’s the Oklahoma Children’s Theatre stopping by, an unusual art class or simply ways to keep reading exciting for children and youth, the library’s bustling activity does all of us proud.
“Activity” is a good word for Mustang’s Senior Center, which has also grown into “the” place for seniors to be. In a world where seniors sometimes seem to get left behind, Ashley Wisner has expanded the center’s world, and in the process has shined a light on the area’s lively senior community. With a huge variety of special activities held at the center itself, throw in trips for dining, shopping and shows, gets seniors out and keeps them active. They are not just watching the world go by; they are part of it, and Ashley, whose official title is adult program coordinator, is a big reason for that. She may have that long title, but to area seniors, she’s a friend and an advocate – and that’s all they need to know.
Bringing the world to Mustang is one of Jean Heasley’s greatest strengths. Mustang’s interim director of Parks and Recreation Department, Jean is everywhere at once – organizing Spooktacular, getting sponsors for Mustang’s Eggstravaganza, working with residents and staff alike at Mustang Aquatic Center. Jean is a whirl of activity, making it look easy to keep 53 balls in the air at one time. She has brought fun and memories that will last a lifetime to generations of area residents.
Desiree, Ashley and Jean – and their staffs – are big reasons why Mustang has grown and become the kind of city we all want to be a part of, a place to forge memories and someplace we’re proud to call home.
To the Editor,
I was terribly upset, tiered up and cried after reading your June 12, 2014 news article which had the broad caption “Abusive requests cost taxpayers, city”. I reflected back a few days and recalled where you had informed the public how you made your living with the use of “words. I considered that statement, the fact that you are a big time editor for the Mustang News, and your use of not just words but your expertise in putting them together in phrases and sentences that do hurt, harm and pass judgment upon me unduly. I will not attempt to get into a “word” battle with you because after all, you have already told everyone of your vast array of credentials and knowledge and my going up against one with those credentials would not be fair.
As I often do in times like this I reached for my Bible and looked for comfort there and of course it is always there. I read two or three verses as follows; Behold the Lord God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? “lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; “the moth shall eat them up”. The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary; he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.
Since you have been so abusive toward me, it is only fitting that I must examine some of the terrible things you have said. First I would encourage you to read God`s Word, Psalms 34, verses 13 and 14 or better yet I encourage you to read the entire chapter. You accuse me of “dabble in rumor and innuendo”. You accuse me of using the process of “hurting good people”. Numerous times you render your judgment, not opinion”, but declaratory judgment upon me. You are also very careful and you make sure that you defile my name, name me specifically and with out due process, declare your ultimate findings in a public newspaper. You accuse me of inflicting “wrath” upon the City Manager since the 2011 election. The record speaks for itself in the fact that the City Manager has not been here that long. You say that Mount has used his words to hit over the head those who have been hired, and appear dedicated to, serving the city. You again pass your personal judgment when you speak of my being a concerned citizen getting answers and your personal findings are that “That`s not the case”. You accuse me of personal attacks on the City Manager. What a shame that a person in your position would print something like that. You accuse me of having led to a series of communications. Am I supposed to be limited to my communications? Even after having listed some of the viscous, bad things that you have written, I continue to find comfort in the “Bible”. “keep my tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking evil”.
It is my opinion that I should be able to review and obtain records of any public governmental office during regular business hours according to the Law, not according to anyones personal schedule and since you freely quote the Laws, surely you should understand that. Who are you to declare that I am abusing the tone and spirit of open records act? Even with your vast use of “words”, does that also give you the expertise, professionalism and ability to render judgment? As to the costs of my obtaining open records is beside the point. The Law should prevail upon that issue as well. For your information, I must inform you that I paid for the records that I obtained and that also was done according to the law. For your information as to my sending copies of correspondence to the City Attorney. You should know that when I or anyone receives correspondence from someone and a copy has been sent to others, then, as in my case, it is appropriate to do like wise.
It really blew me away when you made the statement, “We all should be more proactive in how those who govern us act and what they do”. For your information, we are not governed by a King, Queen, or Dictator. Perhaps that statement made by you, helps to explain some of our vast differences. I live in a country of the home of the free and the brave. I enjoy a magnitude of freedoms that other countries do not have. I am not governed by anyone, as you suggest, but contrary to that, I am governed by rules, regulations and laws. Perhaps this has been a little lengthy but let me suggest to you that you get some help in the knowledge of civics, government, good judgment and the lists goes on and on.
I never like to close with out attempting to give my adversary some information. You should be made aware of “Libel and Slander”. Libel is based on defamation in writing, while slander is based on the spoken word. All that I would have to prove in Court is that your written words are defamatory, they are published to third persons, time and place, and according to some courts, the persons to whom communicated and damages. Oh, yes, I will be keeping your newspaper article for further uses.
Donal W. Mount
June 12, 2014
By Brandy DeVous
In this world there will always be some horrible events, and with each horrible event comes unbelievable generosity, some are just random acts of kindness.
Annie Ames, a second-year 4-H member, heard about the Prague girls from her mother. The two girls had unfortunately lost both parents in a matter of two days. Annie, hearing their story, decided to give $500 from her Canadian County Premium Livestock Bonus Sale check to the two girls.
“It felt like the right thing to do,” Annie said. “The girls needed the money more than I did.”
With Annie only beginning in the 4-H program, I asked if she planned on doing anything like this is in the future.
“Yes,” she said. “It made me feel good knowing I helped out someone in a hard time.” For every horrible event there is an act of unbelievable generosity. This time it was a young girl who decided to give out a random act of kindness.
Perhaps the largest and most important part of a journalist’s job is to shine a light on things many people do not see.
Whether it’s government practices that aren’t above board, a company that has questionable practices, a candidate who has buried secrets or a myriad of other issues, it’s up to us to give people all of the facts, even if those facts aren’t positive. The job can be ugly in that way, but it’s important to tell these stories, good and bad.
In today’s world, media outlets aren’t the only ones with access to – and a willingness to share – public information. The Oklahoma Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act are tools not just for journalists, but also for anyone seeking information on government’s inner workings. This is a good thing; it’s a way for people to be informed, to get involved in the world around them.
But there’s a gray area that becomes an issue. That’s the place where news outlets and others don’t find the news, they push to make it. With partial (or sometimes no) facts, they dabble in rumor and innuendo. In the process, good people can get hurt. In these circumstances, a light is not shown on issues or injustice, but rather on people who seem to have different motives. In those cases, the quest for public information has nothing to do with informing the public or public service.
Such appears to be the case with a former Mustang official and current resident who has taken his “search” for information to extraordinary lengths and for no apparent legitimate reason.
Former Mustang Ward 6 Councilman Donal Mount has used words – a lot of them – over the last few years to presumably get to the bottom of a myriad of city issues. Through more than 80 letters and open records requests, Mount has obtained reams of documents from city officials. Requests have ranged from contract questions to city financial issues and beyond.
While it’s commendable for any city official to go above and beyond in his duty to his constituents, there becomes a time when requests can cross the line to intimidation and abuse. When an individual uses words as weapons and consistently appears to look for “issues” – where none have been even suggested – words become accusations. Even the appearance of accusations, founded or unfounded, can cause problems for both individuals and entities.
“Intimidating” and “abusive” – that’s the way some Mustang staff members described Mount’s communications to them and about them.
“It is becoming more and more difficult for me to sit in the mockery of a formal council meeting,” Mount wrote to fellow council members in an Oct. 2 email. “Perhaps the new city manager thinks that he has an equal voice, consideration, rights and discussion privileges as does a city council member.
“I think that early in the new city manager’s tenure, it should be explained to him exactly what his duties and responsibilities are,” Mount concluded.
But it is Mustang’s city managers who have been the brunt of Mount’s wrath since his 2011 election. In letter after letter, Mount has used his words to hit over the head those who have been hired, and appear dedicated to, serving the city.
If this barrage, no matter the tone, had stopped after Mount lost the Ward 6 seat and left council, one could argue the former councilman was perhaps just zealous in the representation of his constituents. If the tone of his requests led to a resolution of his requests, perhaps he would be a concerned citizen getting answers. That’s not the case, however. In a series of May correspondence sent to Rooney, Mount continued personal attacks on that official – for records he requested May 17 and had not picked up as of June 10.
“It is comforting and I am pleased that ‘you look forward to hearing from me soon,’” Mount wrote to City Manager Tim Rooney May 17. “I can gather from the tone of your letter the apparent anger, hostility and combative attitude you have toward me…”.
In fact, it is Mount’s review of the documents he requested that has led to a series of communications up through June 3 between the men.
The issue, perhaps, goes back to the original request. Like the other requests made by the former councilman, he states he wishes to review documents; he will then advise city staff which he wants to copy.
In the recent series of emails and letters, the city manager attempts to advise Mount when he and/or City Clerk Lisa Martin will be in the office so the former councilman can review documents. It is that offer that has led, time and again, to a June 3 communication from Mount to Rooney.
“I simply must work harder at helping you ‘understand,’” Mount states. “I have interpreted nothing and I do not have to because the ‘law’ is very plain and clear. I understand emphatically what was communicated to me by you and I have a number of highly educated people that concur with my understanding.
“Now as to ‘understanding’ and ‘interpretation’ perhaps this will help you a great deal,” he continues. “I continue to appreciate your kindness, respect, thoughtfulness, and gentle attitude.”
It’s not wrong for anyone to request documents or ask questions. I applaud anyone who cares enough to attend council meetings and who takes the time to find out what’s going on. Not enough people do that, let alone who even know who their representative may be or what the city is doing.
It is when you have someone who is abusing the tone and spirit of open records acts, who uses something meant to protect as a weapon against individuals who have very little chance of defending themselves that there is an issue. According to city records, many documents requested by Mount were provided to him as a member of council long before he even submitted his open records requests – he voted on many of them. It is unclear why the former councilman needed information after he already voted on a matter.
Beyond the tone and spirit of these requests, there is a very black and white question that affects all Mustang residents. How much does this cost? Mount’s requests and correspondence – most recently arguing over him simply going to city hall to review documents – are sent not only to Rooney, but to City Attorney Jonathan Miller. How much have taxpayers paid for these exchanges – and what has been the benefit to them?
We all should be more proactive in how those who govern us act and what they do. That doesn’t give any of us the right to be abusive or to use something that was meant to help shed a light on things as a weapon.