Oklahoman ltrs. to the Ed. 12/4

http://newsok.com/article/1694773/

YOUR VIEWS: COLLEGES, SCHOOLS
OSU athletic village isn’t needed
I’m an Oklahoma State University alum who would love to see the athletic village come to fruition. It would be a boost for the university and for Stillwater’s economy. I’m foremost, though, an American who believes in the Constitution and the rights we enjoy as citizens. I particularly believe in a person’s right to be safe and secure in his own home. Eminent domain has its purpose. It’s a necessary evil when an overriding need arises in the public interest. Note that I said “need” instead of “want.”

OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder said the project will assist recruiting and “help the university, city and state.” Will the university cease to exist if we fail to build an athletic village? Of course not. Will Stillwater’s economy stagnate if we don’t build it? Don’t be silly. This athletic village is clearly a “want” that would assist and be a help. But it’s not a need and no one thing, no matter how much it’s desired by however many people, should ever trump the rights of a single American citizen.

I’ll be ashamed of my alma mater should OSU officials use eminent domain to bully citizens out of their homes to get themselves an athletic village.

James Gover, Altus


Disruptive gift
“Ambitious OSU plan rouses anger among campus neighbors” (news story, Nov. 27) omits a piece of information vital to an understanding of the issue: Funds for purchasing the 100 acres of property were secured by a major donation from T. Boone Pickens. It follows that if the OSU regents decide that the proposed “athletic village” would be unwise, imprudent or contrary to the university’s mission of teaching, research and service, that gift could be declined.

The human impact of the project, and questions about its timing and presentation to the community by the OSU administration, are well addressed by The Oklahoman. Questions are being raised about whether the projected population of college students over the next five to 15 years could even support such an investment in athletic facilities — worthy in themselves, perhaps, but hardly part of the core mission of a university. Pickens’ proposed “gift horse” should be looked at long and closely by the regents and all Oklahomans before it’s allowed to disrupt the lives of so many members of the community.

Lee Agnew, Norman
Agnew is an OSU graduate.


Wrong mission
Regarding “Ambitious OSU plan rouses anger among campus neighbors” (news story, Nov. 27): Except for time spent in service during World War II, I’ve been associated with Oklahoma State University for 65 years. As an alumnus and faculty member, and having served as a member of the Faculty Council, I’ve had years to observe how a land grant university should operate. Its mission is to aid and help people in the state through teaching, research and extension. It is not taking the homes of the sick and elderly through eminent domain to build an athletic village. We love to see OSU teams win, but not at the expense of the elderly and sick.

Cecil D. Maynard, Stillwater

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8 Responses to Oklahoman ltrs. to the Ed. 12/4

  1. Greg Swaim says:

    Some of you folks keep talking about “800 elderly” and “the sick and elderly” and yet of the actual owner occupied homes in the section of land we’re talking about only eight homes are actually occupied by the owners and the average age of all persons who actually live in this area is 31 years old.

    Nice try, but trying to put an “sick and elderly” face on what is over 90% rental property by college students is a bigger lie than anything you are accusing OSU of.

  2. Cathy says:

    Greg, You have posted comments that seem to contradict facts about the proposed master plan, but have not responded to several direct questions regarding your assertions. Personally I have never read or heard a claim of “800 elderly”. Maybe you can provide a source citation?

    Your comment above also leads me to believe that you are not aware of the extent of the proposed expansion area.

  3. Dr. Ted Douglas says:

    Greg, obviously you are part of the “old spin”. Even the Foundation is now admitting that owner occupied units in the target area are 25 or 26%. The problem with spin is once you lie about a fact, then can anything else you say be trusted? There is no official voice of the people in the area so we can’t determine for sure what the average age, occupation or residency in the area is. OSU on the other hand has an official spokesman that has lied in the past couple of weeks. At one of the meetings OSU had a map with houses that were owner occupied highlighted. Several homes were pointed out that were marked as rental that were not. So they admit to that lie, what other lies are they going to tell? I doubt that they are lying about the experimental waste water treatment facility that is shown on the map north of McElroy. This facility is located in direct contact with the creek that runs along Duck. I wonder if they plan on discharging into the creek? I too have never heard the claim “800 elderly”. But let me ask you this Greg Swaim, if OSU decided to take your house in Quail Ridge and at the same time they took your parents house in the Country Club, would you want to be paid less than your parents? To me, age has absolutely nothing to do with it.

  4. Marion Agnew says:

    Greg, you’re obviously laboring under a huge misapprehension. People opposed to the expansion are just a group of individuals, not a wealthy organization with a fancy PR machine. Nobody is trying to perpetrate a fraud.

    The only face we’re trying to give the expansion is a HUMAN face. Actual people live in these homes, something the OSU administration ignores. Each home is owned by a person, a human being. Each home has people living in it — homeowners or renters, young or old.

    Professional analysts are careful with facts. Professional communicators bring a high level of discourse to a discussion. If you have facts that the rest of us don’t have access to, please share them in a way that enlightens everyone.

  5. Ann Williams says:

    Greg, I think you must be getting your information from OSU sources. It has NEVER been said anywhere that I have seen or read that there are 800 elderly individuals living in their homes in the proposed acquisition area. However, the source giving you the number of 8 is WAAAY off. You might want to check your souces a little more throughly. The court house would be a good start for you. If you do not know its location, please contact me and I will be glad to give you the address and directions to its location. I realize that you may not know the city that well, since you have not been back in Stillwater long. I will give you a little more accurate count on the numbers of homeowners living in their homes, and you won’t have to go to the court house, if you want to take my knowlege of it. Try 47 + 3. I am sorry that I cannot give you an accurate age average. I have not done that particular study and I do NOT like to pass information that I cannot verify. Good policy, ya think?

  6. Leonard G. Herron III says:

    Hi Greg, it has been a few years you worked with me in Enid for a while, we are both graduates of the same department at OSU. I would like to make what I consider about five very important points.

    1. The powers of eminent domain should ethically only be used out of necessity. OSU has other alternatives. I have written my state legislative folks and received a note back indicating that the abuse of the use of eminent domain powers is being looked at by the Oklahoma Legislature.

    2. With all the resources of OSU you would think that if they were going to try and acquire an area that the University would know exactly how many of the properties were rentals, how many were businesses, how many were owner occupied, how many of the housing units were occupied by elderly and handicapped persons, what the accessed market values are, how many people depended upon these property for their income, how many jobs will be lost etc. It appears either they don’t or if they do they don’t want the public to know.

    3. The planning process has been and inside joke. The planning process hasn’t even done a good job of including all the communities or organizations within OSU much less the residents of the City of Stillwater and neighborhoods close to campus and has been rushed.

    4. The way this is all being handled is creating enemies not friends and supporters across the state. I believe that this is going to hurt athletic recruiting and limit investment within close proximity to the OSU Campus for sometime to come. OU has to love this.

    What can be the saving grace? Go back to the drawing board. Come up with a plan that has unbiased input from all parties involved that is developed out in the open. Use a planning process that builds support not one that creates division and develops enemies. Do things right. If Mr. Pickens truly loves OSU he will allow the time that this will take.

    I would ask you for your support to do things right.

    Leonard G. Herron III

  7. Susie Kessler says:

    Greg, someone who is a public figure (so to speak) should be a little more careful about what the facts to an issue are. Do your homework yourself next time and you won’t have to worry about faulty information that you pass on as accurate.

  8. Carol D says:

    Just thought I would look to see what has been done since I lost my home to the urgency of this so called Athletic Village and sadly, It sits desolate and empty. I witnessed things that would be considered ILLEGAL and unethical during the entire process. The area did indeed have elderly people that lived in that area. My grandfather owned our home. He also worked for the university and was treated with ill regard. He was in his 90′s and owned his home since the 1950′s. He, along with others were manipulated, and fair market value was manipulated. Then you have the issue of the trees that were taken down and destroyed. Many of the trees were older than the university. This is sad, especially being an Agricultural school.
    Greg, you seem quite arrogant. You’re information is faulty and your attitude simply makes you seem untrustworthy. As for OSU, I was a fan of the entire community including the university. Now, I see that this was a simple case of fraud by not only the city officials, but anyone involved in the so called “Athletic Village”. The take over was sloppy, chaotic, ill planned, dangerous (due to home invasions) and deceptive. I am disgusted with how you cleared out a community so swiftly with your lies and deception of a ‘time restraint’… yet nothing has been followed through. This thread is revealing. The people speak and no one with any kind of “authority” does anything but turn a blind eye. OSU AND the city of Stillwater are making enemies and a bad name for what was once a nice place to live and easy to support. I would never support OSU or the Stillwater community again. The area now looks disgusting and trashy. Seeing the carnage left behind where families once lived is unacceptable! The impact of this still affects people. It was traumatic and has left some people damaged and misplaced. This project took homes away and it is a deeper wound to see nothing has really changed. Leonard G. Herron III said in greater detail what I wish I could articulate. This thread is clear that is has done more damage than good. The people spoke back when this started and nothing was done. We were laughed at in town meetings, there were silent auctions for homes not even properly sold yet…. I witnessed a city official ‘lifting’ things out of the home next to ours at 2AM.
    When we were burglarized, the city “couldn’t do anything” because “no one” knew who’s jurisdiction controlled the area. The men got away with breaking in with full force, yet teenagers were arrested for vandalizing abandoned homes. Nothing made sense and still doesn’t. It’s fraudulent.
    And as for Greg, you have no business in the world of journalism.

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