Everyday so many different professions - priests, financial officers, government representatives, police officers, sheriff departments, district attorneys, county commissioners, school teachers and non profit entities are being caught up in scandals, bribery, corruption, intimidation and sexual acts. All are people and professions with whom we have placed a public trust and yet so many people defend or cover up for many of those who have committed these acts.
In his case, Mr. (Randy) Baldridge was convicted by a jury of his peers, based on the evidence presented and testified to by those that had knowledge of it. It’s the way all cases are made. Bob Portiss is a well respected person in the community with a large responsibility. Why would he lie? If one believes them (Bruce Long and Cindy Rash) are lying and guilty and should be punished for their testimony and admissions, then one must believe all of their testimony that Baldridge is guilty.
Sometimes immunity or a lesser sentence is offered to a small fish to effect his cooperation in getting a bigger one. It’s a dealing tool used by all credible law enforcement agencies. Drug sellers will sometimes give up their supplier to get the same kind of deal.
Baldridge states to the Progress that the FBI wanted him to give information on other vendors and officials and he wasn’t going to do that. An odd statement for an innocent person with no knowledge of other wrongdoing. But that was his opportunity to trade off. Most of the people (including newspapers) have forgotten the Oklahoma Commissioners scandal of the late 70s where numerous county commissioners were involved. Maybe they should dig those articles back up and refresh. The law and court system is not always applied fairly. It depends greatly on your wealth or position as to how you are treated and often times whether or not it’s an easy case to prosecute for the district attorney. Law enforcement officers often do not treat everyone equal either and sometimes rear themselves up as gods with their authority. It is something we will have to deal with until the people learn they can demand better.
When an outside agency such as the FBI comes in and conducts an investigation, it should be embraced — not ridiculed or condemned and I for one applaud their efforts and wish them success in any further investigations.
It is incumbent on all Law abiding citizens with knowledge of any wrong doing by any public servant to step forth for the good of the community and their self respect. Public officers take an oath to uphold the public trust. Let’s hold them to it. The FBI has been on this for too long for this to be all there is to it. And, I am keeping an open mind waiting to see if or whether else it may lead.
Sammy Weygand, Claremore
Disgusted ... angry
I moved from Tulsa to Rogers County three years ago. I was both disgusted and angry when I read in your Feb. 4, 2007, stories about Randy Baldridge being found guilty that many residents think he was “railroaded.”
Look at the trial facts and it’s
not possible Mr. Baldridge was “railroaded.”
The jury was made up of non Rogers County citizens who did not know Randy Baldridge and had no emotional ties to him. Nobody on the jury had any business dealings with Randy Baldridge and had no political motives or agenda against him. The jury looked at all the facts of the case both for and against Randy Baldridge and decided he was guilty as charged. How is that “He was railroaded”?
Speaking as an “outsider” in Rogers County, it appears to me that many people here are more upset that Randy Baldridge was engaged in standard “good ole boy” Rogers County politics and found guilty of federal crimes, than that he committed the crimes in the first place. How sad.
Disbelief ... upset
I am still in disbelief of the guilty verdict for former commissioner, Randy Baldridge. And, what is more upsetting is the fact that two employees are still on the payroll after pleading “guilty,” changing their testimonies, and perjuring themselves. Yet, we taxpayers are still paying their salaries. Why is Commissioner (Kirt) Thacker so reluctant to dismiss these employees? The District Attorney has explained that these are “at will” jobs. How wrong is this?
It makes me wonder how many other guilty employees we have on the county payroll. Perhaps we need a grand jury investigation of the entire county.
Citizens of Rogers County, please let the District Attorney and this commissioner know how you feel. Voice your opinion now and at the next election.
Sue Knight, Inola
deserves a medal?
I found myself taking an unexpected interest in the Commissioner Randy Baldridge Case. Somewhat intrigued, since I was a victim of an embezzlement myself I Googled the name Randy Baldridge and found a complete account of the trial along with a detailed account in quotations of witnesses in the Claremore Daily Progress written by Krystal J. Carman and Joy Hampton.
As I read through the multiple articles I often found myself questioning why is Baldridge the one on trial. When you follow the money trail, which usually will lead to the guilty party, however as presented in the article it is not Baldridge who should be on trial let alone be found entirely guilty.
As a business owner/landowner, Commissioners frequently will assist in project not solely government related. I can give several examples: Once my sidewalk was repaired, another time trees were removed from my property. That is the reality in city government and the city/county takes responsibility as being a good neighbor. Can other counties boast of sums smaller than 13,000 in community favors or goodwill over a five-year period.
Commissioner Baldridge should be receiving a medal of honor. Think about it for a minute, In five years of Community service, the prosecutor, investigator, found a total of $13,000 of misappropriations or good ol’ boy favors without any direct evidence that Baldridge was the actual recipient.
However the cost associated with the investigation, prosecution, trial, defense costs along with incarceration, if any, will cost the taxpayers conservatively between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in expenses.
With all do respect, if Prosecutor Mr. Joe Wilson would like to make an impact on crime, eliminate the good ol’ boy mentality, then he should start with the Cheney and Bush administration ...
John Stuart, Enid
This coming Spring Cleanup referendum — for a County Grand Jury to convene — on the front lawn of Rogers County Courthouse at the corner of highways 66 and 20 on Thursday, March 1, between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. is a return of government back to the “WILL” of the people.
The month of March is said to come roaring in as a LION, and so it shall. Its assembly charges that judicial and fiscal control have been divested of the people and wrongly reinvested/taken /stolen by special interest groups whose religious agenda is to politicize their minority interests over the sovereign/majority “Will of the People”.
... Patriotic volunteers, community servants unfortunately have grown tired and fallen apathetically asleep. In the past, their minds have been deluded to thinking they have no influence to bring effective change/accountability to local and national government … but no longer. ...
Bruce Long and Cindy Rash have federal and state constitutional rights whose criminal and civil laws protect them under the Federal RICO and State Whistleblowers ACTS as well. Their inner convictions were what led them as civil minded citizens to “expose the truth” …
It is time that the public understand what is intended in the correct interpretation of “right to work state”, granted employers to hire and fire at “WILL”. The right given to all is the “righteousness” endowed to all by the rightful interpretation of “Good Law”. This County Grand Jury’s coming referendum is designed to come in with the roar of a lion by convicting men and women in high places to be convicted by the truth as was Bruce and Cindy, (the referendum) hopes to render judgment innocent as a lamb of peace.
It’s sad, but this past weeks termination of Jo Dawn Mathews, Rogers County assistant clerk, is evident of retaliation of elected officials whose self wills have overcome them in exposing the political and personal follies of their ways.
The list of volunteers is increasing daily to effect progressive reform of a referendum to call these politicians to accountability entrusted them only by the will of God.
Stephen E. Hager, Claremore
of the good things
I had such a fabulous experience last night (Feb. 14) that I was moved to write a couple of paragraphs. I hope you can share this with your readership.
Valentines Evening at the Belvidere: What a triumph! The mansion is always filled to brimming with light and a happy atmosphere. I guess that comes from the 200-foot windows and noon time light. In the evening, however, the shadows and chandeliers conspire to create a very romantic venue.
As always the food was exquisite. ...
If you missed it, you really “missed it.” This was an extraordinary evening of tantalizing tastes.
My table was the only table in the place that was not a couple, or a couple of couples. We were three women, my mother, my 96 year old grandmother and I.
We sojourned out from Tulsa to enjoy this special evening at the Belvidere. We were treated to live piano music courtesy of Ruth Ellen. The entire vignette was perfect. The food was beautifully presented, seasoned, and prepared to perfection.
Claremore, sit up and pay attention, you have a jewel in your midst. Go to the mansion with confidence that you will have a grand time for special occasions, but do not forget that the lunch fare is also wonderful.
Thanks for a lovely evening Mickie.
Pamela J. Vesley, Tulsa
What is this thing called love. I wonder. When you enter the room why do I get this lump in my throat, this knot in my stomach, a flutter in my heart, those goose bumps on my body, sweat on my brow, a quicken in my breath. The sound of your voice gives me pleasure and the sight of you, oh, how wonderful is the sight of you. Is this the thing called love?
Patricia Mitchell Collins
The Progress welcomes letters to the editor on topics of general interest. Letters generally should be no longer than 250 words. The editor reserves the right to edit for length, grammar and accuracy. Letters attacking private citizens or businesses are not accepted, and anonymous letters are discarded unread.
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