Let us preface this by pointing out that, had it not been for civil rights achievements, we would not be where we are today.
But there is an ongoing negative campaign being orchestrated by some of our would-be Black leaders, who for the last three and a half decades, and have opposed anything positive for the northeast quadrant of our city.
These claimed-to-be-leaders all claim to be products of the Civil Rights Movement, and, if they’re all we get, then we want another rights movement.
That campaign is led by a small group of Black elected officeholders, many of whom have never had to meet a payroll, and are, essentially, jobless hangers-on who have eked out paltry existences by living off doles, grant money, etc. Largely, they are without any visible means of support and ran for their offices with their eyes on an anticipated paycheck.
A new generation of these free-loaders have surfaced recently and are, today, following in the footsteps of their predecessors.
Those predecessors go way back.
One of them existed in the 1980’s and was typified by the man who tried selling the idea of building an apartment complex near the then-called National Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Well, all hell broke loose, once supporters of the Cowboy Hall got a hold on the architectural plans and construction plans for the apartment complex, which this Black leader once referred to as being “the Warwick West of the East.”
The plan was summarily denied and that Black leader ended up building what is clearly another sleazy, decadent housing project.
The predecessors of this new generation of exploiters have opposed every single proposal that came along that promised real economic development for northeast Oklahoma City. If we supported it, they opposed it.
These are some examples of the last 35 years; examples of abject failures.
- That group opposed Remington Park, the now booming horse-race track and casino, with one elected official declaring it would amount to nothing of substance and dismissed the race track as likely to be only a source of horse manure.
- When the then-governor proposed the revamping of and rebuilding of Lincoln Boulevard (from NE 4th street to NE 13th Street), we supported that because of what it would bring economic development to the area, many of our elected legislators opposed that.
- When that same governor worked with us to redevelop the NE 23rd Business Corridor, they opposed that, but, now, all of the infrastructure from Broadway to Coltrane Boulevard has been rebuilt to make possible what is happening today.
- Most of these would-be Black leaders have either no credit or bad credit.
We are reminded of that Black car dealership owner who made a big to-do about buying the Skirvin Plaza Hotel, which had, at the time, been out of business and vacant.
Well, he bought it alright, but, in the end, didn’t have the financial wherewithal to close the deal. Eventually, he got out of town, deserting his dealership and the Skirvin Plaza, too.
- Another example of what these self-declared leaders did occurred when one of our state representatives sponsored a protest across the street from the Governor’s Mansion to try and rip-off the state government that wanted to declare eminent domain on a number of vacant, dilapidated houses in order to build what is now the Oklahoma History Center.
- They opposed the vast redevelopment of the Deep Deuce area, but, today, that area is the cornerstone of the tremendous revitalization of the entire Downtown and Bricktown beehive of economic activity.
To illustrate how out-of-touch these so-called leaders are, a black legislator, having opposed the Deep Deuce redevelopment, proposed that the state government budget the mere pittance of a sum to build a sidewalk in the area.
- Now that we’re about to vote on a jail bond issue to build a new facility to replace the current, cesspool of an imprisonment chaos, we should recall that it was our Black county commissioner who almost went to prison herself for allegedly colluding with builders and architects to get kickbacks from using inferior materials to build the current county jail.
Try and imagine what better a shape we’d be in if a quality jail had been built in the first place. Maybe we wouldn’t have experienced easy escapes, dreadful facilities, decadent drug-trafficking in the jail, multiple deaths of inmates and gang activity.
- We have supported what is now continuing efforts to rebuild the NE 23rd Street Business Corridor. They opposed those efforts, too, but now our firm has three of the most attractive buildings on that corridor. There’s still even more success stories to come.
- Years ago, that same group of nay-sayers decided to start a newspaper to fight ours. They said they wanted to run us out of business, but, alas, that venture—led by a Black elected official and a group of frustrated others—that newspaper venture failed. They started another one, but noone knows where they can find a copy or even why they’re still pretending to be a newspaper.
- That same group opposed us and others in adopting the first MAPS project (some call it MAPS 1).
- For the last 22 years, we have sponsored a Juneteenth Festival.
These jealous negative forces got together and went to a bank in a city north of Oklahoma City, got someone to sponsor their own festival and tried having it the same day as ours.
That venture was an abject failure. Now, they don’t have a sponsor and they’re trying to get some unlucky soul to back them.
Well, the nay-sayers—these elected officials looking for a paycheck–opposed that and really MAPS 2, 3 and 4.
Now, let’s fast-forward to today.
The most prominent of that new generation of negativity is Ward 7’s City councilwoman Nikki Nice.
Most recently, she and another councilwoman were the only ones to oppose a City Council proposal to take ownership of Stiles Park in order to do something with the property that would be beneficial to Oklahoma City.
The park—the oldest in the city—has been just sitting there for years with nobody using it, etc.
But Councilwoman Nice opposed it.
There’s some evidence that she’s quietly in support of the fellow who falsely claimed to have some ownership rights to the Freedom Center and she appears to have openly embraced the disgraced and pushed-out-of-office former city councilman, who is her predecessor.
Now, that same group of new generation would-be leaders—having noted our more than 20 years of sponsoring a Juneteenth festival—they decided to start their own, and went from place to place trying to raise money to finance their deal.
They failed here, too, with their festival turning out to be a new version of the joke about a nation sponsoring a war, but noone showed up to fight.
Apparently, she has also aligned herself with a would-be businessman and aspiring rap star, as well as another joker, who is her “bag-man.”
That same Diabolical Duo made an unsuccessful effort to establish another Black chamber of commerce.
They failed, of course. We thank God.
With this new generation of would-be leaders, our community has wrought immense shame.
Under them, we have elected two women to county district judge positions, both of whom came extremely close to being disbarred and were, actually, ejected from office for what really were felony crimes, which they both could have been sent to prison.
Imagine that, lawyers who were elected to serve made to leave the bench because of ethical and questionable violations.
What shame! How embarrassing!
The most of these two erstwhile judges—after being kicked off the bench by a state court that passes judgment on a judge’s ethical and moral fitness to serve on the bench—had the unmitigated gall….the temerity….to go to the State Capitol and attempt signing up as a candidate for the same seat she was kicked off.
Since state officials knew she was coming (she had to file papers ahead of time to declare herself to be an aspiring candidate). They were ready for her.
When she walked in all decked out in her red dress, she was met with the state Election Board secretary (who usually is not present for these candidate filings).
He calmly read to her a statement from the state attorney general.
“Pursuant to an opinion by the Oklahoma attorney general, a person who has been removed from his or her judicial position cannot ever run as a candidate for any judicial office in the state,” the state Election Board secretary said (or words to that affect).
She walked away.
That is what all these self-declared Black leaders should do. They should just walk away and put a stop to this madness.
But, in actual fact, this madness is really all our fault, for we keep electing this same caliber of office-holders.
Enough is enough!