The Norman Transcript

October 21, 2012

Apathy and term limits make for a boring election


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — While many states are enjoying a robust national political debate complete with newspaper and television advertising, Oklahoma is once again left out of the picture.

Longtime political strategist Pat Hall of Norman concedes the state’s electoral votes will go to Mitt Romney. Oklahoma hasn’t voted for a Democrat for President since Lyndon Johnson ran in 1964.

“We’re not a flyover state,” Hall told a business group. “Heck, we’re not even a drive-by state.”

The lack of contested races is embarrassing, he said. Of 27 state Senate seats, only 13 are contested. Of 101 House of Representatives seats, only 34 are really competitive races.

The six state questions have wide-ranging implications but voters may not get that far down the ticket and may just as well vote no.

“Term limits and apathy have decreased the number of competitive races,” Hall said. “This election is boring to some people.”

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Skay McCall grew up running through downtown Norman. His family’s clothing store on Main Street gave him a birds-eye view of downtown.

He could stop by the TG&Y for lots of cool stuff, grab a sheet of taffy at the Sooner Theatre snack bar and then hunker down for a double Disney feature.

He’s back downtown now as a manager of Das Boot Camp, a new Main Street restaurant in the spot of Norman’s first TG&Y at 229 E. Main Street.

The restaurant, owned by the Gmeiner family of Royal Bavaria on Sooner Road, opened this weekend.

It’s a German theme with handcrafted beer and authentic food. The new restaurant is the latest on Main, which is becoming quite the dining destination.

Between University and Porter, we count more than a dozen eateries, ranging from Thai to Greek.

That’s a long way from coffee shops, Denco’s, Levi’s, Eddie’s and The Chicken Shack.

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More than two months after the wildfires scorched the southeastern side of Cleveland County, stories of Oklahomans generosity still abound. Donations came in $10s and $20s but also $500 and $1,000 checks as well as truck loads of furniture and clothes and part of a young girl’s Barbie Doll collection.

Jim and Annette Brown’s Maguire Farm Store was donation central after word spread about their burn closet.

The burn closet was an outgrowth of Jim’s volunteer firefighter work years earlier. When neighbor families lost everything and had no insurance, the closet was tapped for used appliances, clothes, beds and dressers.

In an e-mail, Jim said news coverage of the uninsured poorest of the poor, those who just barely make it in the best of times, struck a chord in the heart of the typical TV viewer.

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“A crippled man who operates a small thrift store at Mustang sent two pickup loads of refrigerators and washing machines, then came himself with another pickup crammed with household items. Other major appliances mysteriously appear on the slab in front of the burn building,” Brown wrote.

“At Sam’s Club for a pallet of water for the fire crews the store manager loads my trailer, then says,

“There’s a lot more water on there than what you ordered. That’s from us and here’s my cellphone number if you need anything else after the store has closed. And I mean anything.”

“...two goosenecks of freshly-baled hay appeared at the store, about 500 square bales (about $3,000,  by my guess). “This is for those who lost grass;  use your own judgment on who gets it,” they said.

Andy Riegereditor@normantranscript.com366-3543

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