Well, it’s Election Time in Mayes County
NOW is the time to start discussing these issues. If you and your friends [and enemies] post their thoughts about candidates here, you can say things that will never make it to the Daily Times, or The Paper. Share this with your friends. Be sure to click “Follow” at the top of the page, and you will get an email notification when new matters are posted.
The Primary Election is scheduled for Tuesday, June 24th. Early voting at the courthouse the preceeding Friday, Saturday, and Monday. BE SURE TO VOTE! 😄😎
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE CANDIDATES
Alva Martin is not up for election this year. Anyone interested in filing next year? Hope so, he rules the Commission with an iron hand (or Iron Fist?). He killed the public comment agenda request, and threatened to have the Sheriff remove me from the meeting when I was trying to apologize. Remember the Tulsa World Article?
Kevin Whiteside has filed and is unopposed in District 1. We understand that Kevin also drove an Adair School Bus, while still employed by District 1, and was loved by the kids, and obviously had “nerves of steel”. Some rumors around that he had a bad temper, but haven’t found anyone who has seen this. He is currently employed as a District 1 Road Foreman, and doing a good job. We just hope that Alva will not try to control his decisions as a Commissioner. We think Kevin will make a good one. If you need to contact him, his cell number is 918-373-4054, which incidentally has a last digit just one number less than mine. You Sudoku fans, figure out my cell number!
Ryan Ball, incumbent, has drawn two opponents. We think Ryan has done a pretty good job as a Commissioner, although he has a couple of warts. He DID oppose Darrell and Alva on the MESTA Mess, and the “Fixit Six” exercising good judgment here. But in the “Wart” classification, we understand Ryan has only completed a very, very small portion of the County Commissioner Training which is required by law for every new Commissioner. How about it Ryan, are you going to “git’er done” as my friend Larry the Cable Guy says? Larry do you read my blog? Also some rumors about Ryan and some split purchases, and unlawful dredging. He better watch this stuff, or someone is going to come after you!
Leon Stites, some call a perineal candidate. He is husband of my good friend Tammy Stites, longtime secretary in the Pryor District Attorney’s office. If you have ever had a “hot check”, and I am sure none of my readers ever have, you have met Tammy at the front desk in the DA’s office. Please don’t hold that against him. Grin again!
Randy Pierce, from Locust Grove. Sorry Randy, but I am not acquainted with you, but would love to meet you. Just wonder WHY would anyone want this thankless job as a commissioner. Did Ryan do something to hack you off? Let’s try to get together. I usually have coffee at Carl’s Junior after Monday Commissioner’s meetings.
Well, that’s the lineup for County Commissioner races. Comment here with what you think about the candidates.
Court Clerk Candidates
Tammy Qualls, is the current Court Clerk, and is doing a lousy job, according to folks who visit the courthouse. . She was First Deputy Clerk when Lori Parsons retired. Tammy did a good job while I was on the bench was always the “go to” person when I had a problem. The job as a Court Clerk is a very hard one. There are tons of paperwork, and reports, and having to deal with people who are sometimes unhappy to be there. I hear she is only on the job about half the time, has a sour attitude, and doesn’t help her employees with their problems.
A very good long time employee is ready to quit.
Rita Harrison, another long time deputy has also filed. I think this may have come as a surprise to many of the courthouse folks, but I may be wrong. She would make a good Court Clerk, and has a lot of experience. Rita has my support, and my vote. I hope she has yours!
Joni Gates, has also filed. I have no idea how she is going to do in this election. I don’t remember if Joni was ever a deputy court clerk or not. I just saw her around the courthouse a lot. She and husband Jerry were in my court a lot of times on different matters, but of course some of those were when she worked for Pryor Attorney, Cherie Meislahn.
UPDATE June 24, 2014: A friend sent me a message on Facebook, inquiring as to whether Joni was eligible to hold office by reason of activities of her husband Jerry Gates, a former Pryor Firefighter, should disqualify her, and requested I use her history of full names in this post. Here is what she said:
“I have a question about who is eligible to run for offices in Mayes County and I wasn’t real sure who to ask, so I will start with you, if I may. I saw that Joni Jordan Erwin Hauenstein Gates was proceeding to run for County Court Clerk. With her husband being caught stealing fishing tackle from Wal Mart, while employed at the Pryor Fire Department, wouldn’t that be an issue for her holding a County office seat? Also, he was charged with urinating in an ex-girlfriends gas tank on her vehicle. I assumed that an elected official would have a fairly clean slate with the law, including their spouse. Am I wrong in assuming this? I am not involved with either of the Gates, but I know that those 2 items, on Mr. Gates, were in the local The Daily Times in the past. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
Associate District Judge
Quite an unexpected surprise here, Tammy Ward, City Attorney at Locust Grove has filed against incumbent Associate District Judge Shawn Taylor. Don’t know if anyone around the courthouse or bar association saw this one coming.
Shawn Taylor, the incumbent, has been on the bench quite a while now. He succeeded Terry McBride, when Terry was appointed a District Judge following Jim Goodpaster’s resignation to enter private practice. I know you all miss Jim as much as I do! Shaun’s wife Michelle is counselor at the Adair Schools, and holds a Doctorate degree. They have two small children. From all that I have heard, and observed during my time on the bench, Shawn has served well, honestly, and made good fair judicial decisions, and is well liked by those who appear before him. He has our support, and $money$, and we hope he has yours!
I was Shawn’s first campaign contributor. He now has an address for his campaign, and contributions. Send your checks to: Campaign to Re Elect Taylor, PO Bo 925, Pryor, OK 74362-0924.
Tammy Ward, attorney from Locust Grove was a late filer in the race. Don’t believe anyone saw her as running for this office. Tammy is City Attorney for Locust Grove, and is a pretty good attorney. Sorry Tammy, but we see no reason to replace Shawn. We hear through the grapevine (you know how informed the grapevine is around here), that she was wanting to run for some county office, and ran for Judge since she had signs in her garage left over from a previous campaign in another county.
We also understand that she has a new job working for a tech school, and is quitting as Locust Grove City Attorney, and withdrawing from other legal representations. Since running for office may have been a matter of money, with the new job, she may not campaign much. I guess as in all things, time will tell.
It looks like this race is going to heat up, with 4 candidates. Three have filed as Republicans, (Does that tell you something about the changing demographics of our area), and one as a Democrat. Let’s get rid of (not literally) the Democrat first.
Robert Post, of Catoosa was a late filer, filing as the only Democrat in the race. Robert is the husband of retiring District Judge Dynda Post. They now live in Catoosa. Robert does most of his practice in the area of Worker’s Compensation law, and works a lot for tv lawyer David Garrett the last I know. He doesn’t have any real experience in criminal law that I can recall. Word is he may be in the race to give Janet Steidley a job if she loses in the primary or runoff. I don’t expect to see much from him in the way of campaigning.
Erin Oquin, from Inola has been campaigning since last fall. She has served a number of years as a Special District Judge in our Judicial District (Mayes, Rogers, and Craig Counties), and has a lot of support from members of the bar, and law enforcement. Erin is a good person, was a good judge, and will make an excellent District Attorney. I will go on record here as supporting her, and hope you will too! Send your campaign contributions to: Oquin for District Attorney, PO Box 1414, Inola, OK 74036.
Matt Ballard, from Claremore has also been in the race quite a while, but not as long as Erin. Matt is currently a Claremore attorney, and by all reports does a pretty good job at lawyering. He came knocking on my door campaigning a few weeks ago. Nice to see any “door knocker”, since I know they are serious about winning. Matt also has the experience to be a good DA, but I think he doesn’t have the name recognition in Craig and Mayes counties as Erin does. My vote is still with Erin.
Janice Steidley, least, and I certainly hope last, is the current DA. Since her election, Janice has literally turned the 3 offices upside down! She really put the screws to my friend, and longtime DA Chuck Ramsey, and terminated him for no cause, other than being a male, after many years of dedicated and outstanding service! Really turned out as a blessing for Chuck though, he is doing quite well in his practice with John Crockett, on main street, in downtown Pryor. An Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper told me last week two very important things about Janice, and her running of her office. First, she now requires any officer to have an appointment before coming in to see an Assistant about a case! How ridiculous can you get in requiring our officers who put their lives on the line for us every day to make an appointment! Enough reason to fire her now. Second, also understand she is sitting on cases and not filing them. I can attest this is true. I am a victim, I hate to admit, and the DA has had a one inch thick report on her desk since early February, and will not even give me a courtesy of returning my phone calls, or answering my email about filing the case! Then there’s the Grand Jury scandal matter. Multi-County Grand Jury is now meeting, and discussing Janice along with 2 Rogers County Commissioners, who are in deep stuff now. Indictments now either down, or coming down. Rogers County is always in some kind of turmoil, it seems to be in their blood over there.
Update April 26, 2014: Last Monday Janice telephoned me, and told me that the criminal matter in which I was a victim had been referred to the Attorney General, and her office had disqualified. I know of no reason she should disqualify, other than the kind remarks I have said about her above! I telephoned the AG’s office, and talked to a vey nice gentleman there. He advised me that they had not received the info from Steidley. He told me that he was very familiar with Janice. I asked about the Multi-County Grand Jury, and was told that they were in recess now, but still hearing witnesses on their investigation of Janice. He called me back Friday, and told me the report had arrived, and he was taking it home to read over the weekend. Guess we will hear from him next week.
Update June 2014. The Attorney General’s office advised me that they had referred the case to Washington County (Bartlesville) DA’s office for review and filing. Hope to hear from them soon.
It’s time to Fire Janice Steidley NOW!
As one of my old favorite cartoon characters, Bugs Bunny says, “That’s all Folks”, at least for now. I’ve been thinking of calling Darrell “Bugs” because of all the Looney Tunes stuff he does, and Alva “Road Runner” because of the way he always bugs out of meetings without giving anyone the chance to talk to him. What do you think? Post your thoughts.
Primary Election date: Tuesday (of course) June 24
Numbers of Mayes County Registered voters by party, as of January 15, 2014
I will cover Second Congressional District Candidates when I figure out who they are.
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Judge Gary J Dean